If you have ever purchased a home, then you understand how big of an investment it is. Homeownership has many benefits, such as providing a comfortable space to call your own, investing in your future as you earn equity, and gaining access to certain tax breaks. In most cases, buying a home is going to result in a big hit to your savings, which means that you need to take extra care of your finances going forward.
Protecting your future and the future of your family should be priority number one as a homeowner. If you have made this type of investment, then here are a few tips that you should follow to uphold your financial interests now and in the future.
Never Miss a Payment
There are many things that can affect your credit score, both positively and negatively. One of the biggest detractors is making late or insufficient payments on debt that you have. This could take the form of missed credit card payments, late auto loan payments, or missing a monthly mortgage installment. Although this bill is likely to be one of your largest monthly payments, you must prioritize paying on time to avoid big hits on your credit score. A low score will affect your ability to take out other loans for cars, future homes, or other large investments. Before you purchase a home in the first place, make sure that you can afford to cover those monthly homeownership costs.
Address Maintenance Issues Early
Your house might be the biggest investment you have ever made. Once you move in, it becomes your responsibility to take care of the property and keep its systems running efficiently. It can be tempting to notice something going wrong and ignore the issue if it seems like a small problem. Do not make this mistake. Maintenance issues tend to compound if left alone and will end up costing you a lot more when something bigger happens. The last thing you want to do is ignore a small leak from your faucet that turns into a massive amount of water damage, forcing you to seek assistance from a Portland restoration company. Be proactive with repairs and address issues right away to avoid big expenditures later on.
Pay the Principal Down
A mortgage loan could have a term of 15, 20, or even 30 years. This means that you’ll be making payments for a long time unless you sell the house before then. Early on in the life of a mortgage loan, most of your payments will go toward interest. It could be years before your installments start covering more of the principal amount. However, you can save yourself a lot of money on accrued interest by paying down more of the principal now. You could make manual payments on the principal throughout the year or do a lump sum at the end of each year. This will reduce the total amount of interest you will have to pay and can shorten the life of the loan.
Invest in Upgrades
If you have any interest in selling in the future or saving money on utilities, then making upgrades to your home is a must. You can install more efficient windows, rooftop solar panels, insulation, and other features to reduce costs for heating, cooling, and electricity. Creating a dedicated office space in the house can be an enticing feature for future buyers who work remotely from their Portland homes. More efficient appliances in the kitchen can also improve your utility costs long-term and make the home more attractive to buyers. There are many home upgrades you can make with selling in mind, but these changes will also benefit you, improving your quality of life and cutting costs.
Winterizing Your Home
Speaking of high utility bills, heating in the winter can be one of the biggest perpetrators of increased monthly payments, especially in the Portland area where the temperatures can drop significantly. Staying warm means staying comfortable, and you probably don’t want to risk having a cold home where pipes can freeze. Winterizing your home to retain heat is the best way to stave off massive heating bills. Re-caulk the edges of your windows. Install a fabric stopper underneath doors to block that cold air from seeping in. Clear your gutters of debris to encourage drainage when snow and ice on your roof melt. Preparing your home for winter with these tips will keep your heating bill from rising too much.
Little Changes Can Make a Big Difference
When it comes to your financial outlook as a homeowner, small changes can have a big impact on your future. Making additional payments on the principal can pay dividends years down the road. Keeping up with your payments will protect your credit score. A simple remodeling with new windows can attract a buyer while reducing utility costs. These are small steps that you can take to invest in your financial future while owning a home.