6 Habits of Smart Homeowners

6 Habits of Smart Homeowners

Owning a home is a big responsibility. Not only do you have that mortgage payment to stay on top of (plus insurance, utilities, and all those other bills), but you also the physical aspects of homeownership to tend to — repairs, maintenance, and general upkeep.

If you’re new to it, it can actually be pretty overwhelming. 

Fortunately, having some smart systems in place can help — both with managing your house and your stress levels.

Are you prepping to buy a house? Just moving into one?

Here are six healthy homeowner habits to develop from day one

1. Automating your mortgage payments.

Missing a mortgage payment is not an option. Not only will you get hit with late fees, but it will also hurt your credit and put your home at risk. What’s worse? A lender can move to foreclose on your property with just three missed payments.

If you want to prevent this, set up automatic payments just to be safe. If you’re uncomfortable doing this (maybe you want to check your bank account before sending that payment), then set up some sort of alert or alarm instead. If you can share it with others in your household, too, then do it. The more safeguards you have in place, the better.

2. Knowing when to call in a pro.

Are you planning on going full Fixer Upper when you move into that home? Proceed with caution. DIYing stuff around the house can be fun, but only take on projects you know you can properly handle. Painting and restaining are fine, but if your electrical system needs rewiring or there’s an issue with plumbing, you’ll want to call in a pro. 

DIYing fixes that you’re not trained to do will not only put you and your loved ones in danger, but it could cause further damage (and costs) as well.

3. Building up a healthy emergency fund.

When things went awry as a renter, you could always call on the landlord. They’d fix the sink, replace the light bulbs, and handle any repairs or maintenance issues that cropped up along the way. Sadly, those days are gone when you’re a homeowner. 

Now, not only are those unexpected repairs under your purview, but you also have to pay for them, too. Want to make sure you don’t have to take out a loan or go bankrupt if the house needs a new roof or HVAC unit? Start building up those savings ASAP. Experts usually recommend having at least six months’ worth of expenses on hand just in case.

Pro tip: Buying a home warranty can help offset repair costs, too, though you’ll usually have to pay a fee for each service you need. You also may be required to use certain service providers.

4. Having a regular maintenance schedule in place.

Making necessary repairs is important, but so is preventing those repairs in the first place. In fact, probably maintaining your home will actually save you money in the long run (plus, probably make you more cash when you sell it later on).

To make sure you’re on top of maintenance, you should have a clear-cut schedule for seasonal and annual tasks — things like cleaning out the gutters, changing the air filters, fertilizing the yard, and more. (Here’s a winter one to get you started). 

5. Auditing your insurance coverage from time to time.

It’s easy to just keep the same insurance policy and provider year after year, but in reality, that’s not the best move for your property. As your home ages (or you update it and add new features or systems), your insurance needs will change, too. You might need more insurance to cover that addition or new roof, or you might be able to scale back due to market conditions or other factors.

Either way, your policy deserves a detailed assessment at least once a year. You should also shop around with several insurers to make sure you’re getting the best deal and coverage.

6. Keeping a clean and tidy house.

No one likes to clean, but it’s a necessary evil when it comes to owning a home. Letting the dirt and grime build up will only depreciate your home value and hurt your investment. It could also lead to costly problems like pest infestations or health hazards like mold and mildew.

If you’re dreading this part of homeownership, consider getting a once-a-month maid service or, if that’s too pricy, spread the chores out among your whole family. Even little ones can help around the house if you make it fun.

Are you ready to buy a home?

If you’re ready to make the move from renter to homeowner, then get in touch with an Embrace Home Loans expert today. They’ll help guide the way.

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Aly Yale

Aly J. Yale is a freelance writer focusing on real estate, mortgage, and the housing market. Her work has been featured in Forbes, Bankrate, The Motley Fool, Business Insider, The Balance, and more. Prior to freelancing, she served as an editor and reporter for The Dallas Morning News. She graduated from Texas Christian University's Bob Schieffer College of Communication with a major in radio-TV-film and news-editorial journalism. Connect with her at AlyJYale.com or on Twitter at @AlyJwriter.