The odds are you’ve spent more time than usual in your home during the pandemic. This extra time at home may have made you more aware of issues, large and small, around your home. Now, with the new year upon us, homeowners should start to think about ways they can address problems in their current home, plan for their next home, reduce their household budget, and enhance their overall quality of life.
Though the spread of COVID-19 has presented a slew of new challenges for homeowners, you can still make attainable resolutions to improve your home situation. The next few months mark the perfect time to create new goals and set your plans into motion.
Read on for five resolutions you could make in 2021 and the necessary steps to achieve them:
1.Plan For Your Next Home
Rather than improving their current space, some will plan for a move in the new year. If, during quarantine, you determine that your home no longer meets your needs, you should consider moving to a property that better aligns with your lifestyle. The decision to move is one that requires time and research. Even if you don’t think you’ll be ready to buy a new home in 2021, you can still start planning for the future.
Saving for a new home takes time, but evaluating your options and creating a savings plan is a good first step toward moving into your next home. Jumping into the home buying process could happen sooner (even this year!) if you have a lot of money in your savings. However, if you don’t have much saved, you can still leverage low-cost options like FHA loans, which require a low down payment and may put you in a better position to buy even if you have limited savings or have faced financial hardships in the past.
2. Declutter Your Current Home
Many homeowners aim for a fresh start in the new year with a decluttered home. Cleaning out your home may not seem all that difficult, but it can be easy to push it to the side if you don’t have a schedule in place. Start by making a list of all the areas in your home that need cleaning. Then create a month-to-month plan for tackling each area. To manage your workload, you could deep clean one room each month until your house is complete.
As you create your cleaning schedule, think about what’s necessary at each stage of the process. Large purges may require more time and planning, so you may want to look into ways you can ease the process. Consider using a dumpster rental service for convenient trash removal or enlisting a professional cleaner to ensure a thorough job. Figuring out these logistics earlier in the year will help you stay organized and on track with your goals.
3.Complete Necessary Renovations
If a full-fledged move is not in your plans for the new year, updating your current home is an effective way to enhance comfort and create a space that is better suited for your needs. Take a moment to think about which areas in your home could use a refresh. Be sure to look for signs that a renovation is necessary and prioritize projects that will yield the most value for you, whether that value comes from boosting your home’s value before selling or improving your comfort and quality of life.
If you’re planning for future renovations, be sure to consider the logistics of your projects, as well. Take note of what material and assistance you will need, and be sure to allow yourself enough time to get all of your projects’ details in order. Taking time to schedule your renovation plans in advance will help you avoid last-minute planning or stress and help guide your saving strategy.
4. Cut Your Monthly Expenses
The new year is a great time to think about ways you can reduce your monthly expenses. Some homeowners invest in green technology and energy-efficient home features to lower their energy bills while also reducing their carbon footprint. Simply replacing items with eco-friendly alternatives could take hundreds off your bills each year and simultaneously help the environment.
Also, you should evaluate your home budget and identify any recurring expenses that you can cut. For instance, you may not need your gym membership if you’re looking to distance yourself from others socially. Evaluating your spending and trimming costs wherever possible will put money back in your pocket so that you can achieve your other resolutions sooner.
5.Build-Up Savings for Maintenance and Repairs
Even if your roof or appliances have years of life left, building up your savings early will help you tackle repair and replacement costs as they come up. Plan to save between 1% and 4% of your home’s value each year on maintenance and repairs. You may not have to save as much if you live in a recently-built home as there likely won’t be as many repairs. However, if you have an older home, you should budget closer to 4%.
Budgeting for unexpected expenses is essential for avoiding stress when issues do arise. As you head into the new year, take inventory of your appliances and any major structural components like siding or plumbing that may need to be maintained or replaced soon. Then if you haven’t already, start setting aside money each month, so you have the financial means to cover these costs.
The new year presents new opportunities to revamp your current home and even prepare for your next one. As you get ready for 2021, keep these resolutions in mind and set some of your own resolutions to ensure an organized and productive year at home.