Buying and owning a home are goals for most Americans, but many don’t prepare themselves for the responsibility of caring for a house. Being a homeowner can seem overwhelming when you evaluate all the different things you have to do to keep your residence clean, safe, and comfortable, but there are plenty of resources available to help you manage it all.
Purchasing your home without putting yourself in poor financial health is a challenge in and of itself, and keeping up with maintenance and repairs can put you in serious credit card debt if you’re not careful. If you’re a homeowner or hoping to be one soon, read on to learn more about three ways you can avoid common household mistakes.
1. Take care of your financial health before you buy
Buying a new home in the U.S. is a significant expense and figuring out how to finance one without significantly damaging your financial liquidity can be a challenge. You don’t want to start your journey to homeownership in a fiscally irresponsible way. That doesn’t mean you need to be wealthy to become a homeowner, there are a lot of ways you can move forward with buying a house while you’re in debt, but it does mean that you need to be conscious of how much you can afford to invest. It’s also not a bad idea to ensure you have an emergency fund that you don’t need to dip into to cover your down payment or your monthly payment.
Talk to a professional about your ideal debt to income ratio and ask about how things like credit card debt or student loan debt will affect your ability to get a mortgage with a favorable interest rate. If you’re on the fence about going for it, it’s never a bad idea to take some time to save money. You can make a larger down payment, pay down high-interest credit cards, and work to raise your credit score (especially if you have a spotty credit history) so you’ll be in a better position when you approach a lender about a home loan.
2. Pet-proof and childproof your home
If you’re a pet owner or a parent, you know how easy it is to wind up with something broken if you look away for even a few minutes. That’s why it’s so important for pet owners and parents to pet-proof and childproof their homes. What that means depends entirely on the type of pet you have and the age of your child.
Whether you’re looking for top pet products for reptile owners or something to help you keep your puppy under control, high-quality products are essential for both the safety and well-being of your pet. Safe storage for pet food, removal of unsafe objects from low shelves and tables, and childproof locks for toilets, cabinets, and doors are a great place to start.
3. Don’t neglect regular home maintenance
One of the most common household mistakes you can make is forgetting to do proper routine maintenance on your home. It’s one thing to invest in creating a perfect space for yourself and your family, but keeping it that way requires effort.
Failing to do regular maintenance on home fixtures like your gutters, roof, windows, and doors can wind up costing you a fortune in repairs down the road if you neglect them and let small issues become larger ones. Windows and doors that have cracks and crevices can also let drafts in, making your HVAC system work harder to regulate temperature, which can drive up your energy bills. It’s a good idea to make a schedule for maintaining your home and stick to it every year.
It might feel like you always have a to-do list as a homeowner, but the best way to make sure your home retains its value is to be responsible for taking care of it. Once you get off to a fresh start with a new home, make sure you finance it in a responsible way and end up with a mortgage payment that you can comfortably afford.
Maintaining good financial health is essential since you’ll need to be able to invest in maintenance and repairs over the years in addition to your regular expenses for upkeep. Ultimately, the most important thing is that you create a safe and happy environment for yourself, your pets, and your family, and the best way to do that is to be informed and proactive from the very beginning of the homeownership process.