If you don’t have a house or apartment of your own, then you must have debated whether it’s better to just rent a place or buy a house. This is because let’s face it- both options come with certain costs. With a rented house, the monthly rent and security deposit are the main expenses, but even when you buy a house, you have to pay home loan installments and bear the maintenance costs.
Irrespective of what others say, buying your own home is better than renting a place especially when we talk long-term. This is because the rent will always increase with inflation but loan installments will remain the same and will cease to exist at a certain point. Besides, there are several ways you can minimize home improvement costs. For instance, you can:
1) Recalculate Your Homeowners Insurance
Homeowners insurance might not be mandatory but it’s certainly something you need to have if you want to protect your family and your house from financial problems. However, you might be spending an excessive amount of money on it if don’t know the answer to the question- how much homeowners insurance do you need?
Here is the thing- homeowners insurance is comprised of various factors which include dwelling coverage, personal property coverage, liability coverage, etc. When you increase the area covered and the cover amount, then the premium increases accordingly. So, you can remove the unimportant portions of your house from the insurance plan and reduce the coverage to lower the overall premium.
2) Clean Your Air Conditioner Filters Frequently
It’s no secret that air conditioners consume tons of energy. However, there are many simple things that you can do to bring the costs down. For instance, by merely cleaning the air filters on a regular basis, you can cut the energy costs by as much as 15%. You may not even need help from a technician to do that as most modern air conditioners have easily accessible air filters that you can manually take out for cleaning.
3) Switch to Energy Efficient Equipment
Modern household appliances like refrigerators, air conditioners, heaters, etc. are designed to consume less electricity without compromising with the performance. So, if you are still using 5-10 years old appliances, then you can consider replacing them one by one with newer models.
4) Use Solar Power
Using a clean source of energy like solar energy is a smart idea because of two things- you get to protect the environment, and you can save money in the process as well. Besides, more and more organizations around the world are realizing the potential of renewables sources of energy and offering new and innovative products that you can use in your day-to-day life. For instance, if you want to choose the right portable generators for your home, then you can find one that’s environment-friendly and solar-powered. Similarly, there are a variety of solar lights and lanterns, and even solar swimming pools that you can use in your home to save money.
5) Learn to DIY
Calling a handyman for every leakage or drywall repair is not cost-effective. The good news is that you can learn basic home improvement techniques yourself through online courses especially offered by large hardware stores like Home Depot like digital workshops. Imagine the kind of money you will get to save when the handymen charge as much as $50 an hour on average.
6) Install a Programmable Thermostat
You can save a lot of money on cooling in the summer and heating in the winter by installing a programmable thermostat. This is because it can allow you to automate home temperature as per your requirements in a way that power consumption is minimized. Not only you can install it yourself but getting started is also rather easy.
7) Replace Power-Hungry Lights with LEDs
A well-lit home certainly looks beautiful. However, traditional bright lamps and lights consume a lot of electricity. So, you can instead install energy-efficient LEDs around the house to save money, or go one step further and pick color-changing smart LED light bulbs which can allow you to control the ambiance with different colors.
8) Seal Your Home Properly
If there are air leakages in the doors and windows, then they can increase your energy costs by forcing the air-conditioner/heater to work harder. So, make it a point to check different areas of your home thoroughly for possible gaps and leakages that might be allowing unwanted inflow and outflow of air. You can also read a guide or two on caulking and weather-stripping to do a professional job yourself.
9) Install Ceiling Fans
Ceiling fans consume only a fraction of electricity that the air-conditioners consume. However, their air circulation effect can allow you to get keep your thermostat 2-3 degrees higher in summers, and lower in winters which can go a long way in minimizing energy costs. So, it’s a good idea to install these fans in all the rooms. If you are buying new ones, then you can also check the energy rating before purchase.
10) Take Advantage Of Tax Benefits
There are many tax benefits you get as a homeowner that you need to be aware of. For instance, you can deduct the interest up to $750,000 of mortgage debt if you are married and file with your spouse. Otherwise, you can write off up to $375,000 if you file individually.
If you are a first-time homebuyer, then you have the option of withdrawing up to $10,000 from a retirement account for the down payment of the house. Now, that’s not exactly a cost-reduction technique, but it can surely make your life a little easier and you won’t have to take another loan for the down payment if you don’t have the cash ready.
As you can see, homeownership costs can be easily controlled if you are careful with the appliances that you use and take good care of the property. The tips shared above can be also of great help in alleviating some of your financial burden. So, implement them and see the impact for yourself.