10 Reasons Why You’ll Always Be Broke if You’re a Homeowner
Owning a home brings instant freedom. No longer do you have to answer to a landlord when you want to spruce up your space — instead, you can redecorate, paint, and renovate to your heart’s content.
But there’s a double-edge to that sword. With all of the control in your hands, you have to foot the bill, too. This leaves many homeowners feeling like, well, they’re always broke. They’re always spending on their homes, whether they’re fixing what’s broken, bettering what’s already there or putting preventative measures in place to prevent future damage.
Here are 10 of the biggest offenders — the main reasons why homeowners feel strapped for cash.
1. Overstuffed Air Filters
Homeowners often overlook the filters in their homes, but these need to be changed regularly. A small spend now can prevent a costly repair in the future.
Unchanged air filters prevent as much air from escaping your vents, which means you’re spending money to have your home heated or cooled without feeling the system’s full effects. Over time, particle build-up in your filters can lead to clogs in your vents, thus causing the entire system to shut down. An HVAC system is meant to last 15 years, so replacing yours early because of negligence is a significant, unnecessary expense.
2. Unclean Dryer Vents
In a similar vein, your dryer needs its vent cleaned routinely. This maintenance is even more important than that of your air filters, as a clogged dryer vent can start a house fire. You probably already remove the lint from the in-dryer filter, but the vent attached to your machine should also be cleaned regularly. You can hire a professional or do it yourself so your home isn’t one of the 2,900 each year that burns because of a poorly maintained dryer.
3. Unwieldy Renovation Plans
Another trap homeowners fall into — a renovation that’s either over the top or disorganized to the point that it costs them money. Rather than making every change in one fell swoop, keep things simple by going room to room. Start with that spaces that need the most help, keeping in mind what you can afford at the moment. In other words, don’t overhaul your kitchen when your budget’s not big enough to get the job done the way you envision — it’ll just end up costing more down the line.
4. Broken Fire Detectors
How often do you test your fire detectors? It’s surprising that so many homeowners fail to do so, since these devices play such a vital role in home safety. Regular testing can reveal that your detectors need new batteries or that they no longer function. Obviously, replacing them can keep your family safe if there’s a fire — three in five home fire-related deaths occurred in properties where there weren’t detectors or where the devices didn’t work.
5. Indoor Humidity
As you’ve probably noticed, a lot of the things that keep homeowners broke are preventable, maintenance-related issues. Keeping your property’s indoor humidity at the right level not only makes your home more comfortable but preserves the built-in features and furniture you’ve used to decorate.
For example, humidity can ruin your wood cabinets since the natural material swells and shrinks with or without moisture in the air. Maintaining a 20- to 70-percent humidity level in your home can prevent damage and save you from having to replace cabinets and other wood furniture, much of which can otherwise last for generations.
6. Overstressed roofing
Snow seems so delicate when it’s falling, but it can be a massive burden on your home. Sometimes, it melts but refreezes in drains and on the roof itself, which can cause water to start pouring into your home. Needless to say, that’s an expensive problem to fix.
So, homeowners in snowy areas should invest in a roof rake, which allows them to clean snow from the top of their houses while remaining on the ground. The cost of this device pales in comparison to water-related repairs that come from an overstressed roof.
7. Eco-Unfriendly Electronics
Small updates can go a long way for homeowners. Routinely replacing traditional light bulbs with traditional light bulbs means you’re overspending on electricity and wasting your time going to and from the hardware store for a new set.
That’s why home updates should be made to an eye to eco-friendliness. Whether you’re swapping out light bulbs or major appliances, you can find an option that uses less power and resources to run, thus saving you money in the long run.
8. Unsecured Surroundings
A home security system costs a little bit each month to maintain, but the value of your peace of mind is priceless. Plus, preventing break-ins can save you from making the fourth-most common insurance claim and losing the average $3,990 worth of possessions that thieves typically take.
9. Unglamorous Upgrades
Many homeowners focus on the superficial when they move in and start sprucing things up. However, the unglamorous upgrades are more important, as they’ll waste money until they’re fixed — and save money afterward.
So, when you move into your home, focus on the heating and cooling system, the plumbing, etc. These are significant projects that cost a lot, but you won’t see any changes in the look of your house. However, the property will function more efficiently, which will save you money and stress in the long run.
10. Expired Home Insurance
Finally, it’s a huge mistake to let your home insurance expire without renewing your policy. Even if you don’t perform the routine maintenance described on this list, your home insurance can be your safety net. As you renew annually, be sure to update the value of your home and your possessions as you make updates or buy more items to fill your space — that way, you’ll be covered in the event of an emergency, thus preventing you from becoming just another broke homeowner.
Every home’s needs will be different, but one thing remains true from one property to the next: home ownership is expensive. But the above ten preventative or otherwise proactive measures can help lower the cost and make the whole process simpler now and for years to come.