When buying a house, we all have the best of intentions. We tell ourselves that we’ll be meticulous in how we care for the property and won’t let things get out of hand. Then life happens, and little issues crop up here and there. Before you know it, the house is in disrepair, there’s not enough money to fix the problems, and you just live with the consequences and hope everything will miraculously come together.
But what would it look like if you stopped being passive and actually became a proactive homeowner who took initiative and did things right the first time around? Believe it or not, you’d save a lot of money and experience far less stress and anxiety.
7 Proactive Habits to Adopt
“Being proactive is a posture you take towards the world,” blogger Brett McKay explains. “It requires an individual to accept responsibility for his situation (no matter how dire) and take the initiative to make things better. Instead of letting their conditions and circumstances be the driving force of their decisions, proactive people allow their values to determine the choices they make. Proactive people act rather than being acted upon.”
While McKay is talking about proactivity in a larger context, you learn to be proactive by executing in very specific areas of your life. In terms of homeownership, being proactive means dealing with issues, problems, and needs as soon as possible, rather than responding to them after the fact.
Unsure of where to start? Here are some habits you should adopt:
1. Stay On Top of Cleaning
It’s spring, which means a lot of people are taking the time to clean their homes, spruce up landscaping, and get their homes in order. But the fact that we focus so much on spring cleaning is just a sign that we don’t do enough to take care of our homes throughout the rest of the year. If you really took the time to clean on a regular basis, you’d already have everything in order.
But I don’t have time to clean, is probably what you’re thinking. However, the truth is that cleaning doesn’t take much time if you do it as you go. Just 15 to 20 minutes per day is enough to stay on top things.
2. Deal With Small Issues Right Away
The problem most of us have is that we wait until small issues become major problems. If you want to buck this trend, you need to convince yourself that home maintenance is non-negotiable.
“Adopt the attitude that the cost of good home maintenance is usually minor compared to what it will cost to remedy a situation that you allowed to get out of hand,” real estate professional Thom Lemon writes. “For example, unclogging and sealing gutters may cost a few hundred dollars. But repairing damage to a corner of your home where gutters have leaked can potentially cost several thousand dollars.”
3. Take Inventory of Your Home’s Possessions
Nobody ever thinks they’re going to lose their home to a flood, tornado, hurricane, fire, or other natural disaster. Yet, each year, thousands of homeowners find their homes destroyed.
You might not be able to prevent a natural disaster, but as a proactive homeowner you can set yourself up for a faster and more comprehensive insurance claim by creating a home inventory.
A home inventory is simply an inventory of all of your personal belongings – from clothing and kitchen appliances to jewelry and art. In the unlikely event that something does happen, this will help you maximize your payout (and get it faster).
4. Budget for Home Maintenance and Repairs
Trying to deal with multiple home repair problems or maintenance issues at once can be daunting. That’s why it’s best to set aside a portion of your budget each month for these issues and deal with them one at a time.
As a rule of thumb, you should expect to spend 1 percent of your home’s value on home repairs and maintenance throughout the year. Sometimes you’ll spend less, while other times you’ll spend way more. But if you budget for 1 percent, you’ll at least have some money set aside to address little things here and there. (On a $300,000 house, this means setting aside $250 per month.)
5. Create an Emergency Fund
A couple hundred dollars per month might help you with replacing a leaky faucet or fixing a broken window, but it isn’t going to pay for a new roof or HVAC system. This is why it’s also important to have an emergency fund in place.
An emergency fund is three to six months of household expenses that you set aside in a savings account. If your normal household expenses are $3,000 per month, this means your emergency fund should be $9,000 to $18,000.
6. Invest in Termite Protection
If you live in an area of the country where termites are pervasive, you’ll want to invest in some termite protection as a way of proactively addressing future problems.
As ADT explains, “Termites can be detrimental to the quality of your home while compromising wood structuring and causing cleaning problems. A termite infestation won’t always be immediately apparent, but by hiring professionals or inspecting your attic and other crawlspaces, you can find termite infestations before they have a chance to cause severe damage.”
7. Purchase Adequate Insurance
Finally, proactive homeowners always purchase adequate insurance to protect themselves against high risk factors. In addition to standard property insurance, you may look into flood insurance, personal umbrella liability insurance, and ordinance or law insurance.
Green Residential: Houston’s Leading Flat Fee Rate Agency
When you’re a homeowner, it pays to have as many connections as possible. And at Green Residential, we pride ourselves on being Houston’s go-to connection point in the real estate industry. Whether you’re buying, selling, or investing in real estate, we can help you navigate the complexities of the process in a cost-effective and professional manner. For additional information, please contact us today!