Avoiding Money Pits that are Associated with Homeownership

Owning a home can be one of the most rewarding aspects of adult life. In some cases, it can mean a constant pouring of money into a virtually bottomless pit. Fortunately, most homeowners don’t have to endure the “money pit” syndrome that owning a house can lead to. For new homeowners, it helps to remember a few time-tested strategies for avoiding the negative side of being a property possessor. Here are five suggestions culled from expert panels of real estate pros: 

Keep the AC and Heater in Top Shape

One of the biggest financial “surprises” that many homeowners face each year is a broken air conditioner or heater that needs to be replaced. By taking care of the unit that came with your home you can significantly extend the life and performance of HVAC systems. Experts say that every new homeowner, even if there’s been a thorough inspection before they purchase, should have a professional do a full-scale inspection of the air conditioner and heating unit.

Find out how old the system is, what problems it might have and what the average life is expected to be. This small expenditure, in the form of an inspection fee, can mean thousands of dollars in savings. That’s because it’s always much cheaper to maintain an HVAC system via regular check-ups and repairs than it is to replace one that breaks down. 

Monitor Appliances That are “Always On”

Dozens of standard home appliances, like toasters, lamps, and others actually are “energy vampires,” sucking up small amounts of juices 24/7 if they are plugged in. Consider using power strips in kitchens, bedrooms and living rooms. Plug multiple appliances into each strip and set the master button to “off” before retiring each evening. The amount of energy you’ll save on an annual basis will be “shocking.”

Mind the Refrigerator

Refrigerators are, financially speaking, similar to small air conditioning units. Regular check-ups and routine maintenance pay solid dividends. One thing you can do in between annual visits from a professional includes making sure there are at least two inches of clearance between the refrigerator and the wall, cleaning dust and dirt from underneath the unit regularly and never placing large or heavy objects on top of the frig.

Comparison Shop for the Right Insurance

Home insurance comes in hundreds of varieties, each package tailored specifically to the size, age and price of a given structure. Just like buying a car, there is no one-size-fits-all home insurance policy for everyone. It pays to shop for policies based on price, keeping in mind the add-ons you need and want. Finding the cheapest home insurance policy is one of the smartest ways to avoid dropping money into the homeownership money pit.

Have Regular Roof Inspections

It doesn’t cost much to have a roof inspected. For some reason, many homeowners neglect this simple, inexpensive task that can save them thousands of dollars. Keeping a roof in top shape is not rocket science, but you need to have an annual inspection from a pro to make sure that shingles are in working order, there are no leaks in the “building envelope,” and attics are properly ventilated.


Arnel Ariate is the webmaster of Money Soldiers.

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