January 14th, 2016 at 10:00 am

Homeowner resolutions

Whether you call them resolutions or a “honey-do” list, every homeowner has a set of objectives they’d like to accomplish – preferably sooner than later. From repainting to refinancing, each residence benefits when its occupants puts their goals on paper or computer.

We’ve compiled 10 homeowner resolutions that are worth considering, depending on your home and lifestyle. Go ahead. What have you got to lose (except equity, if you don’t keep your home in top shape)?

  1. Refinanhomeowner resolutionsce: You might be able to refinance your home loan at a lower rate and save money on interest. Adjustable-rate mortgages are especially attractive right now, even with the Federal Reserve Bank’s recent ¼ percent hike on its benchmark interest rate.
  2. Overpay your monthly mortgage amount: Paying extra can help you pay off your loan faster and build equity sooner. Check with your lender first to see if any hidden costs are associated with paying off your mortgage early.
  3. Test for Radon: Odorless and colorless, this gas is one of the leading causes of lung cancer in the U.S. It can build up inside your home undetected. The Environmental Protection Agency recommends testing for it every two years.
  4. Improve your home security: A more secure home doesn’t need a costly security system. Installing deadbolt locks, adding outside night lighting, using window locks, and putting up a property fence can go a long way to deter would-be burglars. You can also keep your home safe using high-tech apps and systems.
  5. Have your home reassessed. You might be paying too much in property taxes and not even know it. Check with the county tax assessor to make sure your home’s assessed value hasn’t gone up or down since the last assessment. If it’s down, you might be in for a break.
  6. Get an energy assessment: Your utility company and some nonprofits will visit your home and offer a free energy assessment charge, or you can hire a professional energy auditor. Either will give you suggestions for stretching your energy dollars. Even tiny changes, such as unplugging unused devices or programming your thermostat on a schedule, can make a big difference.
  7. Don’t let weeds go to seed: Keep the weeds in your garden and landscaped areas under control so they don’t overtake plants, decrease curb appeal, and potentially lower your home’s value. As the old saying says, “One year’s seeding equals seven years’ weeding.”
  8. Cut back on water use: Find simple ways to save water around the house. Install a low-flow showerhead or toilet. Reduce shower times. Use outdoor watering systems only when needed. To go all out, learn about xeriscaping, a type of landscaping that reduces or eliminates the need for of water.
  9. Get organized: Start getting rid of clutter by going through your home and create three separate piles: Keep, Throw Away, and Donate. After you go through everything, focus on finding storage solutions. Retailers like The Container Store, Walmart, Sears, and Target sell loads of products that will help you compartmentalize.
  10. Protect your pets during an El Nino event: Make sure they have access to one or more “safe zones” to hide in if they become frightened. Possibilities include a crate, an open closet, or a room with access to food, water, blankets, or beds.

Do you have other home resolutions on your list for 2016? Let us know what they are in a comment.

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