New Year’s Resolutions for New Homeowners
As the time for the annual exercise of making New Year’s resolutions draws near, make sure you’re adding some that go beyond promising to exercise more. As a new homeowner, you want to make sure you’re getting off on the right foot with your latest and greatest project. You want to put yourself on the path to success as a homeowner at the beginning, so that you’re going in the right direction for years to come. The team at Ernest Homes has some excellent suggestions for 2020 – so you’ll be enjoying your new home for years to come.
Make Your Emergency Fund a Priority
If you’re like most new homeowners, you’ve probably dipped into your savings during the past few months. The out-of-pocket costs of buying a new home may leave your emergency fund a little depleted. It’s a bit daunting to realize that if your hot water heater goes on the fritz or a tree limb lands hard on your roof, there’s no landlord to call. If you’re laid off from your job or face unexpected medical expenses, your mortgage lender will still expect your monthly payments to be made in full, and on time. If you don’t have at least 3 to 6 months of living expenses stashed safely away, this simple but essential step is one you should take right away. Jump start your resolution by making reasonable cuts to your budget to add at least $500 to $1000 to your fund as soon as possible. This early success will get you rolling, and will make it easier to see the value in saving for the inevitable rainy day. Once you’ve achieved this first goal, use a regular direct deposit to your fund to stash money away before you even see it.
Take a Home Inventory
It’s important to have an accurate listing of the high-ticket items in your home, so you’re prepared for the worst if it should happen. Snap pictures of appliances, furnishings, electronics and technology, and personal items such as jewelry and family antiques. Create a quick spreadsheet with a description, the value, its age and condition, and put these items in a safe place, such as a home safe or bank safe deposit box. This information will be crucial if it comes time to file a claim with your homeowner’s insurance. And speaking of insurance…
Review Your Homeowner’s Insurance Policy
You may have a homeowner’s policy that was adequate enough to satisfy your lender, but it may not be enough to cover your needs. Rather than depend on a standard, “one size fits all” policy that may leave you short in a vital area, check for unique insurance options that may cover unusual items or situations. You’ll also need to review important exclusions to your policy, such as natural disasters or liability issues such as injuries to non-family members that may occur on your property.
Finish Unpacking – Everything!
It’s almost inevitable that for some time after you’ve moved, there are odds and ends boxes, bags and bins that contain items that don’t yet have a permanent home. After the rush of the holidays has ended, resolve to go through these orphan remainders. Put away anything you know you want to keep, and sort the rest into two piles; the “Give Away” pile and the “Throw Away” pile. Be stern with yourself during this process. Don’t keep items if you don’t have sufficient space for them, and don’t keep items you haven’t used for a long time, especially if you don’t foresee using them in the near future.
Put a Get Together on the Schedule
One of the best things about having a home of your own is inviting others to visit! On New Year’s Day, choose a few dates during the year and sketch out an idea of what you’d like to do for each one. Host a Super Bowl Party? Have a summer BBQ? A Halloween bash? Or a fantastic sweet sixteen party for your daughter? The options are endless!
Make an Extra Mortgage Payment
Save enough extra each month to make an extra payment on your mortgage next December. This baby step will go a long way to helping you build a more equity in your home.
Happy New Year! You’re going to love your first year in your new home!