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A home is a basic human need as it protects you from predators and the elements. It also secures your social status in the community and offers a sense of intimacy and well-being. However, housing forms a considerable expense for an average family with additional expenses such as insurance, property taxes, and utilities. Therefore, when determining the size and location of your home, affordability is the critical factor to consider. Here are some tips on keeping your housing costs down this year.
Refinance Your Mortgage
Refinancing your mortgage is one way you can potentially keep your housing costs down if you own your home. Mortgage is a payment of your loan together with interest, and if you can lower the rate of interest, you can lower your mortgage. Refinancing helps you to swap an existing loan with a new one.
However, this method does not always apply to everyone. It is ideal to use it when you have improved your credit after buying a home, and you are eligible for a lower rate of interest. You can also try when there is a decrease in federal interest rates making mortgage rates more competitive. Finally, after paying a good amount on your balance, a new loan would reduce your monthly payments by spreading less money over more time. Veterans and active duty military personnel can apply for VA loan benefits for VA approved condos. You can ask a professional the details of getting a loan benefit for your personal situation. You never know what housing and financing options there are available for your family.
Reduce the Cost of Utilities
The hidden costs of owning a home determine the overall housing cost. They include homeowner’s insurance, taxes, utilities, and repairs and maintenance. Reducing these costs can help you reduce your housing costs. When it comes to home repairs and maintenance, you can choose to do it yourself rather than hiring professional technicians. Repairs such as toilet and faucet leaks and painting do not require expensive specialized tools. Performing these tasks can help you lower your housing costs.
Proper insulation in your home can help you reduce heat and cooling losses. If your home has inadequate insulation and weatherstripping, it can allow cold or warm air to escape through the windows, walls, attic, and doors. There are various ways you can improve insulation in your home, including:
- Sealing and insulating air ducts
- Keeping air conditioner vents and heating registers clear
- Replace worn weatherstripping around windows and doors
- Install portable heater and fans to reduce the operation of air conditioners and furnaces
- Use foam silence or gaskets around electrical outlets
- Install double-pane doors and windows or cover with transparent film
- Solar panels on your home
You can save energy bills in your home by using technology. Automatic devices that can help you save energy include programmable thermostats, energy-efficient bulbs, lighting controls and timers, solar panels, and energy star certified products. If you have young kids in your family, you can try to make a game out of keeping your utility costs low. For example, everyone who turns their bedroom/bathroom lights off during the day gets a point. After a certain number of points, they can get money or a treat or your choosing. This can be a great motivator for the whole family. Every family is different, so do whatever fits best for your household family dynamic.
Rent a Home to Reduce Housing Costs
Renting can help you lower your housing costs since there are no hidden expenses. Typically, if anything serious needs to be repaired, you will not be responsible for paying for it. As long as the problem is from normal wear and tear of a home, of course. You should always do your best to keep the home in the best possible shape. You can also easily change your housing costs by moving into a different home or apartment. The amount of rent is usually determined by the location, square footage, and amenities. You can compromise on any of the three factors to reduce your monthly rent by a significant amount. Trendy or desirable areas with amenities like a tennis court or swimming pools tend to be more expensive. You can make trade-offs to save money by giving up some amenities or living in rural communities where the rent is lower.
Additionally, properties with views or proximity to good churches, schools, or shopping areas tend to be more expensive. When aiming to lower your housing costs, you need to evaluate which qualities are essential to you and the ones you can compromise.
Apply for Property Taxes
Property tax can increase your overall housing cost even though it’s charged once or twice a year. You can calculate your property taxes by using the value of your home and applying your city tax rate. You can file an appeal if your property taxes have increased in recent years. You may have to get more information from your local tax assessor’s office since different cities have different processes for appealing property taxes. To get your taxes lowered, you will have to prove that the assessed value of your home is higher than it should be. Depending on your location, age and situation, you can apply for property tax relief.
If you aren’t sure what steps you would need to take in looking into this, you can always talk to a professional. An expert will know what needs to be done in order to keep your housing costs down. They will also be able to give you tips that can save you money over time as well.
Conclusion for Reduced Housing Costs
Owning a home is considered a privilege and part of the American Dream. Reducing your housing costs will help you live a financially stable life. Using these tips will help save your housing costs which could result in huge wins for the future. Do your best to save your money, keep your home well maintained, and do your part in keeping your housing costs down.