Seattle Real Estate News

Now that you are a homeowner.

January 14th, 2018 1:36 PM by Sam Kader

The first 12 months of home-ownership set the tone for your journey. With a few smart decisions, you can help yourself to avoid some of common pitfalls. 

1. Start an emergency fund. An emergency savings fund provides a financial safety net.  You no longer have your landlord to call when something breaks. Ideally, your emergency fund should cover several months of expenses but it's O.K. to start small. Have a budget and set aside a portion of of every paycheck with the goal of saving $500 as quickly as possible and then contribute as much as you can going forward with a goal of $5,000 seat aside. This should be enough to handle most sudden major expenses such as HVAC replacement.  

2. Review your homeowners insurance.  Home-ownership insurance is not one-size fits all. There are unique coverage options and exclusions that homeowners need to be aware of. For example, does your policy cover the full cost of your jewelry/other valuables, natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods or if your dog bites the new postal worker. 

3. Get an energy-efficient audit.  Getting an energy audit using door tests and infrared cameras, energy audits ensure air leaks and detect air infiltration or missing insulation. Audits are usually performed by utility companies, city governments and some contractors.  An energy audit not only will save you money in the long run but also will make your house more comfortable. 

4. Consider a home warranty.  It is also called a home-service contracts with annual agreements that offset the repair of replacement cost of major home 
components and appliances. 

5. Create a disaster kit with a home warranty.  A home inventory can be as simple as snapping pictures of big-ticket items in your home, record items, brands, original prices, ages and condition in a spreadsheet (you can find an app to do it). It is the best way to make sure you have enough insurance coverage to replace your valuables. Store the inventory along with copies of your personal identification, credit-card information and other important documents in a fireproof safe or another place that's easily access if you have to evacuate. 

6. Make a plan to build equity. Equity is a fancy word for how much of your house is paid off. Home equity can be used to pay off major renovations or pay off your student loans. You can build equity slowly just by making your monthly mortgage payments or you can find ways to speed up the process by switching to biweekly payments to get equity rich even faster. 


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