The land of mortgages is a big one and Ryan Boughen a multi-award-winning Regina Mortgage broker with TMG The Mortgage Group, understands how confusing it can be with new rules and rates and information appearing regularly in the market. There are also dozens of lenders with thousands of mortgage products available. Each lender is unique in the types of situations they will lend on, their terms and conditions, and their best mortgage rates. Ryan Boughen is a Trusted Regina Mortgage Broker and in his first Trusted Regina mortgage tip, he shares 6 new years resolutions every home buyer should consider.
6 New Year’s Resolutions for Every Homeowner
Lately we have been spending much more time in our homes than usual. With homes and finances at the forefront of many household conversations, here is a list of 6 things you can do to improve both your home and your finances.
Thanks! - Ryan Boughen - TMG Mortgage Broker
Pay Off Your Non-Mortgage Debt FIRST!
The general rule of thumb is that you should focus on paying off higher-interest debt before lower-interest debt. You may be paying a higher rate on a credit card or private student loan than on your mortgage, so you'd benefit more by paying those off early.
Don't pay so much toward the higher-interest debt that you risk defaulting on mortgage payments, though. Yes, credit cards can be expensive, and the issuer may take legal action if you default on card payments. But defaulting on mortgage payments can be an even bigger risk because you could lose your home.
Build A Realistic Emergency Fund
Owning a home comes with a lot of responsibility and expenses, some that you can plan for in advance like property taxes, and some that just pop up unexpectedly. If you haven’t already started saving for those unexpected expenses in an emergency fund or rainy-day fund, the new year is a great time to start! Saving any amount is beneficial in case of an emergency but about 3 to 6-month’s salary is usually recommended. A high-interest savings account is a good place for your emergency fund. You’ll still be able to earn interest on your savings, and it’s not completely locked away in case you need to access the funds quickly.
For some people, work from home measures may be in place indefinitely. The lines between your personal and professional life may be blurred during this time. The best way to keep strong boundaries is by trying to maintain a similar routine to when you’re in the office. Ensure you set boundaries to limit overtime work, always take breaks throughout the day, and log off your work computer at your usual end of workday time.
Make Your Home As Energy Efficient As Possible
We live in Saskatchewan, so that means there's no avoiding heating and cooling costs, and they are only going to rise as time goes on. Whatever you can do to make your property more energy-efficient is a worthwhile investment! It also makes it more attractive when you decide to sell.
For tech-savvy homeowners, making your home more energy-efficient with gadgets like smart thermostats or programmable LED lights can be a lot of fun! Even if technology isn’t your thing, small fixes around the house can help make your home more energy-efficient and potentially save you money too. Here are a few things to add to your list:
- Seal all air leaks around windows and doors
- Use cold water or energy-saving settings for washing machines and dishwashers
- Unplug devices and appliances when not in use
- Lower your thermostat while you’re away from home or in less used areas of your home
- Install a low-flow showerhead
- Opt for energy-efficient window treatments like honeycomb shades
Make Your Home A Space You Love
Starting off the new year ( or a new week! ) in a clean, organized space is a huge mood booster. Plus, with many people working from home now, organized space can also help your productivity. While there’s no right or wrong way to declutter and organize your home, one useful method is to work by room to make the task more manageable. Look at everything you have and split the items into three piles: Keep, Donate, and Toss. Perhaps you could read
Marie Kondo's book The Life Changing Method of Tidying Up
, she is a Japanese professional organizer and has a simple method to declutter your life, from clothes to books to knickknacks. She wants you to answer just one simple question when it comes to any of the items in your house:
Does it bring you joy?
If you answer yes, you keep the item. If you hesitate or say no, you donate it or throw it out. It’s simple, it’s brilliant, and it’s something that's completely intuitive.
Once you’ve decided what’s staying, you can make sure everything has a designated place so you can keep things tidy in the long run.
Start A Household Maintenance Checklist
As with most new year’s resolutions, it’s easy to start the year off strong but as time goes on it may become more challenging. Set yourself up for success and stick to your home goals by creating a household maintenance checklist. Create a recurring calendar reminder so you never forget to take care of tasks around the house. For example, set a reminder to change your HVAC filter every three months or clean your eavestroughs twice a year. Proper home maintenance is a good way to prevent having to pay for home repairs over time.
Plan To Pay Off Your Mortgage Sooner
Depending on how much you still owe on your mortgage, the idea of paying it off may be daunting but don’t be discouraged. Even small steps now can help you become mortgage-free sooner. Start by increasing your regular payments. For example, instead of purchasing a takeout dinner, put that extra $50 towards your mortgage payment for the month. Keep that up for a year and you’ve already put an additional $600 towards your mortgage and over 5 years, an additional $3,000.
Another simple way to pay your mortgage off faster is to put any additional or unexpected income towards your mortgage. That can be anything like funds from a tax return, a bonus from work or inheritance. Before you make any pre-payments, double-check your mortgage pre-payment options with your mortgage lender so you don’t exceed your allowable limits.
Ryan and his team of Regina mortgage experts will determine what your specific needs are and then review and analyze what is the best mortgage option for you.
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