For most, buying a home is their greatest investment and best asset. They’ve worked hard to save the funds for a down payment, other loan costs and are now budgeting for a monthly payment. However, along with owning a home comes the responsibility to, at minimum, maintain its value. Owning a home can become one of your greatest assets through routine maintenance, budget friendly updates and smart remodeling decisions.
Protect your asset because the better you take care of it, the better it will take care of you.
- Schedule regular mechanical maintenance. Annual service of your air conditioning and furnace will reduce your utility expenses, increase its life and likely avoid any unexpected major replacements or repair. If something needs to be fixed, take care of it as soon as you can to avoid any further damage or a more costly repair.
- Inspect your home routinely. Routine inspection of certain areas in your home and yard will result in a healthier home for the future. Some suggested areas for inspection include the following:
- Yard and exterior – water drains away from house, check foundation for cracks, check gutters and drain spouts.
- Roof, walls and windows – shingles in good condition, check attic vents, look for leaks in windows and door sills, clean dryer vent
If you would like a larger list of recommended areas of routine home inspection, see this checklist provided by the Center for Healthy Housing.
Budget Friendly Updates
There are many cosmetic updates you can make to your home at a budget friendly price.
- Paint, paint, paint! Painting is one of the most cost effective home improvements. Not only is it a simple fix, but choosing the right paint color can transform a room.
- Looking to add or update existing landscaping around your home? Choose low maintenance options that require less routine effort. Plants native to your area are a great option as they can withstand the environment, resulting in more money in your pocket.
- Save money on energy costs. Between the hot, humid summers and gnawing, cold winters, energy bills can put a large dent in your monthly budget. Many utility companies provide free energy audits of your home to determine where you can improve efficiencies.
- Update the bathroom. If you can’t afford a full on bathroom remodel, updates are a definite people pleaser. Focus on faucets and fixtures.
Smart Remodeling Decisions
A remodel project, large or small, can be time consuming and expensive. Whether you have just purchased your home or have lived there for many years, it’s important to be smart about your upcoming project.
- Plan your remodel. A remodel will take time and better to aim to finish the marathon rather than win the race. Write down your plan and know your budget – it’s fun to dream, but it’s also important to be realistic.
- Gather estimates. If your remodel requires working with a contractor, obtain estimates. You want to be prepared for the time and cost of your project. Obtaining an estimate from more than one contractor will allow you to cost compare.
- Talk with a realtor & do your research. Know what upgrades will add value to your home. Don’t spend all money on an upgrade that won’t give you a return in the future. In almost all cases, a kitchen upgrade, will give you one of the greatest returns.
- Be wary of trends. Remember shag carpet in the bathroom? Trends can fade with time and can deter someone from purchasing your home in the future. Try to stick with ideas that can withstand the test of time.
Whether you plan to stay in your home for many years to come or will be moving in the near future, it is important to consider how you can work to not only maintain the value of your home, but hopefully improve it. Markets will always have a part in your home’s value, but focusing on the areas above will give you the knowledge to increase your future return.