Life Hacks: Fun and Easy Tricks to Make Homeownership Easier

by Lauren Caggiano

Homeownership is exciting, but it does come with its share of responsibilities, too. The trick is to find ways to make tasks and less time intensive. Today’s savvy homeowner or (prospective homeowner) knows that time is money. That said, here are some ways to hack homeownership:

THERE’S AN APP FOR THAT

There is a wealth of apps available for both Android and Apple to help manage nearly every facet of your household. From home security and monitoring to budgeting, there’s a solution out there. Some are free, while others require in-app purchases to access additional features.
Some favorites include: Canary, WeMo, and Mint.

  • Canary is an app that allows you to see and hear intruders via two-way audio communication and live streaming.
  • Belkin's WeMo turns anything you can plug into the wall into a smart device. Did you forget to turn off your flatiron? The app can save you a headache or two.
  • Mint is a great app to track personal and household finance. Simply link all your accounts and keep your finger on the pulse of spending and saving.

If you are looking for ways to make your home a little smarter, check out this blog post on smart technology!

MAXIMIZE YOUR INVESTMENT

While many people are tempted to file their tax return on their own, there is value in hiring a professional after purchasing a home. He or she will know the ins and outs of the tax code and how homeownership and its associated expenses might work to your advantage. (In contrast to renting, home ownership significantly changes most individual’s tax situations and the deductions they are eligible to claim.) For example, you might be eligible for a tax credit for the purchase of energy-efficient appliances. Paying for just one professionally prepared return can give you a template to use in future years if you don’t want to avoid incurring the future expense.

CALL IN THE EXPERTS

Not into yard work? Can’t fix a leaky faucet? Don’t know a thing about installing flooring? Sometimes it’s best to call in the experts so you can get the job done right. A good contractor is worth his or her weight in gold. You might want to check with the local Better Business Bureau to vet their reputation. A vendor should be licensed and bonded, to protect you in case anything goes awry.

KNOW YOUR OPTIONS

If you’ve never owned, you might qualify for special financing options. An FHA loan may offer you a down payment lower than traditional loans. Similarly, if you are looking at a property in a rural area, you might qualify for a mortgage with no down payment required through a USDA loan.

Contact one of our Loan Officers if you have questions or would like to find the best option for you!

GO SECOND-HAND

The cost of furniture and home goods can add up fast for a first-time home buyer. Fortunately, there are several local Facebook pages or groups that offer gently used furniture for sale by owner. Craig’s List is another option. Scour the classifieds for garage sale listings, too.

Whatever your aesthetic, chances are there’s someone who shares similar tastes. Just be sure to meet in a public place to execute the transaction. Never meet a seller at his or her home. Always exchange phone numbers before meeting and report anything suspicious to the police.

FIND STRENGTH IN NUMBERS

If you’re not sure you’re ready to take the plunge financially—at least alone—shared ownership is a possibility. In this arrangement, a group of people buy a home together. Typically, the bedrooms and bathrooms are private, while common spaces, such as the dining, are shared. It’s crucial to have a written agreement before the co-ownership purchase occurs. This should address finances, property use, dispute resolution, and an exit strategy. Don't be naïve in thinking problems will never arise between you and your friends.

In short, these tips and tricks can free up some time and money, so you can focus on what matters the most. Here’s to more time spent with loved ones in your happy home!

If you are looking for a Home Loan Hack that will make your mortgage process even faster and easier, contact one of our Loan Officers! We would love to help!
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