With the New Year upon us, it’s that time when we resolve to make our lives better through dedication to change for the better. What better time to think about your home and how you can improve your life, both financially and aesthetically. We’ve come up with 6 New Year’s Resolutions to help inspire your 2016!
1. De-Clutter (Purge and Organize)
Everyone’s got it. Stuff lying around that you haven’t used in ages, clothes left unworn or worn out, stuff stuffed into closets and garage spaces filled with things that you might use someday, so you keep holding on to them. But that day never comes, and it just builds up.
- Have I used the item in the past year?
- Does the item have sentimental value that makes it worth keeping?
- Is this item unique and something I know I will use soon?
If the answer to these questions is no, then out it goes!
The next step is to organize what’s left. If your home is pinched for space, don’t despair. There are tons of brilliant ideas for organizing your clutter. House Mix compiled a guide for organizing your home room by room. It even has printables!
2. Make Extra Mortgage Payments
Making extra payments can dramatically shorten the time until your mortgage will be paid in full.
BankRate put together the following scenario: The monthly principal and interest on a $150,000 mortgage with a 30-year term and an interest rate of 5.5 percent totals $852. Paying an extra one-twelfth of that amount, or $71, each month would increase the payment to $923, but also shorten the term by five years and one month and cut the interest expense by $30,789.
Paying a little extra principal each payment means you end up paying less in the long run, and can drastically reduce the length of time you are making payments. Another option is to make a payment every two weeks, rather than monthly payments. That equates to an extra full payment each year!
3. Re-finance Your Mortgage
This is especially true if you have a variable mortgage. Even if you end up with a higher payment, refinancing an adjustable-rate loan can make sense. That’s because a fixed rate will protect you from interest rate risk. Rates are expected to go up in 2016, so locking in a low rate now is crucial.
BankRate asks you to consider a scenario where monthly principal and interest adds up to $898 on a $200,000 mortgage with a 30-year term with a variable rate starting at 3.5 percent. Refinancing that loan with a fixed rate of 5 percent raises the principal and interest payment to $1,073, an additional $175 a month. But if the variable rate jumped to, say, 7.5 percent, the payment would increase to $1,389, an additional $491 per month. Locking in the extra $175 now might be difficult, but paying that extra $491 further in the future could be much harder still.
4. Get Homeowner’s Insurance Discounts
Looking back can actually be forward-thinking! Major repairs or improvements that you made to your home in 2015 can get you a discount or a lower quote on this year’s coverage. Updated your electrical or plumbing, or replaced your roof? Insurance companies see that as reduced risk against fire, leaks, or pipes bursting. Call your homeowner’s insurance company to see if you can score a discount!
5. Tackle That Project
Been putting off painting the basement, adding on that porch, or upgrading to granite? Resolve to get it done!
Make a list of all the home projects you’d like to tackle in 2016. Create a realistic calendar keeping in mind your budget, time, and ability. Projects you do yourself can save you a lot on labor, but some projects are best left to the professionals. Check out our Pinterest page for tons of DIY ideas, tips, and solutions.
6. Make a Fresh Start in a New Home
When your life changes, so to can your needs and necessities for your home. A drastic change in salary, a new baby, or an empty nest can change what your dream home looks like. Moving can give you that fresh start that makes your life easier or gives you the lifestyle you are craving.
Take the leap, and call a Realtor to get the ball rolling! Action Team Realty can guide you in selling your current home, and even help if you’d like to turn your current home into an investment property!