Maintaining & Optimizing The Value Of Your Home

Maintaining and Optimizing the value of your home

Your home is probably one of the biggest purchases you will ever make, so keeping it in good condition is essential to protecting your health, safety, and investment.

Maintaining the value of your home is incredibly important. You could lose money when it’s time to sell or refinance if you don’t make efforts to maintain your home’s value, and repairs could cost more in the long run.

Planning for Expenses

Some larger expenses may be replacing the roof, installing new windows, or replacing the furnace or water heater. There are many other expenses, but these tend to be the costliest. It’s always a good idea to save for these expenses, but they can be financed with personal loans or home equity lines of credit. Also, consider saving to help pay cash for smaller, more routine upkeep projects and repairs like landscaping, painting walls, replacing carpeting, and refinishing wood floors.

Now that you know what kind of expenses to plan for, let’s take a look at what maintaining your home can involve.

  • Maintaing the exterior of your home
  • Maintaining the interior of your home
  • Home Improvements

Selecting and Working With a Good Contractor

Although some minor projects are small enough to be handled on your own or by a handyman, other projects such as larger updates or full remodels may require hiring a contractor. Having a good contractor (and knowing how to find one) makes all the difference.  

While cost will most certainly be a consideration in choosing your contractor, it shouldn’t be the sole deciding factor. A good contractor will help you make the best choices for your home and your budget and they will be there to guide you every step of the way. They’ll also be transparent in their actions and the information they provide. They’re able to give you a fair estimate and adhere to that contractual agreement. In addition to online reviews, consider asking friends, neighbors, and your real estate agent for recommendations on service providers they’ve used. Conduct phone interviews and/or meet face to face so you can get a feel for how you might work together. Make sure the contractor you choose has the appropriate licenses and insurance for your home improvement project. Some projects may require permits, so you will need to discuss whether they’re required and who will obtain them.

Once you’ve found the right contractor for the job, there are some things you need to keep in mind.

  • Keep an open line of communication.  
  • Discuss your expectations upfront before construction begins regarding when the work will be started and completed, daily cleanup, and any special care that needs to be taken, such as not stepping on flowers or making sure all stray nails are picked up. 
  • Agree on a payment structure that works for you both. A portion should ideally be held back until the project is completed satisfactorily.
  • Be sure any required permits for the work are obtained.
  • Be proactive in checking the contractor’s work throughout the process. 
  • Obtain any changes in writing.
  • Keep a written log of all changes discussed. 
  • Although it’s the contractor’s job to stick to the budget, consider keeping a small emergency fund just to give yourself a financial cushion. 
  • Set expectations for the project completion date and what to do if your project looks like it won’t be finished on time. 

Before investing in heavy renovations or improvements, consider the overall potential value of your home and the most you think you could sell it for in your area. When investing in huge add-ons, renovations, or improvements, it’s a good idea to consider how long you intend to stay there and what you might be able to recover if you were to sell compared to what you put in

Energy Efficiency

Energy efficiency can be beneficial in many ways. Some energy saving features can be good for your long-term finances, as well as your home and the environment, by lowering your energy consumption and improving the comfort and health of your household. Energy efficiency improvements that help reduce allergens, mold, and mildew can also benefit family members with asthma or other respiratory issues. The more energy and water you conserve, the more consistently you can plan for utility costs. As you make more energy efficiency upgrades, you can also lower the overall cost of maintaining your home.  In some cases, when making energy efficiency improvements, you can see the investment pay off sooner as energy costs decrease, saving you money on utilities.

Some energy upgrades may require considerable upfront costs. However, many energy improvements can be done by hand with minimal cost or effort.

Here are some energy efficiency tips:

Lights: Seeing energy savings can be as easy as using a different type of lightbulb. LEDs use as much as 75% less energy than incandescent bulbs, so converting some of your most frequently used fixtures can help lower your energy usage.

HVAC Filters: You can make things easier on your HVAC by replacing your filters regularly, which decreases the amount of energy you’ll need to blow hot or cold air around the house.  

Misc: There are a lot of ways to make your home more efficient, and while smart devices can help, there are simple things you can do that make an impact:

  • Your refrigerator and freezer are more efficient when they’re full, so keeping them stocked can cut down on their energy usage.
  • Since it’s usually hotter during the day and cooler in the evenings, using heat intensive appliances like a dishwasher, washing machine and dryer at night can make it easier to keep cool during the day.
  • When it’s time to replace old appliances, be sure to look for the Energy Star logo for more energy efficient options.
  • Smart thermostats learn your schedule and can help decrease energy costs, but a simple programmable thermostat can also help ensure you’re not heating or cooling an empty house.  

Home Safety and Security

A home security system can protect your home and possessions from theft and fire. Security systems range from simple alarms on windows and doors to installing cameras, motion detectors, and floodlights around the property. Choosing the right one for you depends on what you’re looking for in a home security system, as well as your budget. Some security systems connect to smoke detectors and will alert your security company if smoke is detected, even if you’re not home. In addition to protecting your home, security systems often provide peace of mind and a sense of safety whether you’re at home or not. Don’t forget to have fire extinguishers handy and regularly check their expiration dates.

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