Homeownership is an expensive business. Even after the years of saving for a deposit, there’s still a hefty mortgage, maintenance costs and decorating to consider. Of course, we all jump right in with the last one. After years of renting and riffling through home decor mags thinking ‘one day’, we can’t resist the urge to let loose our inner interior designer. But should we indulge our hearts or follow our heads?
There are some improvements to your home that should be number one on your list when you first move in. These are the jobs that will save you hundreds of dollars a year in utility and maintenance costs. That’s the kind of saving that comes in handy when you’re picking out a designer sofa!
- Windows and Doors
Windows and doors are absolutely not the first change your heart wants to make to a new house. So listen to your head. The exterior of the house is just as important as the interior, particularly if you are moving to a home that has been vacant for some time. Investing in new doors and windows makes it obvious to any opportune vagrants that someone lives there now. It also ensures the building is secure against thieves.
Whether you are investing in windows in St. Louis or new doors in Portland, the added security will reduce your insurance premiums. But there are also other savings to be made. New doors and windows increase the thermal efficiency of your home, meaning the heating and A/C systems don’t need to work flat out to keep you comfortable.
It is all very well investing in new doors and windows, but this is only half the issue. If your appliances are not running efficiently, you will be wasting money on fuel. This is true of every appliance in the house. Old dishwashers, washing machines, air conditioning units, they all require more electricity or gas to work than a newer machine.
Consider the age and state of the appliances before you buy a house. A seller will know if the boiler is twenty years old and can’t argue with you knocking the cost of a new one off the price of the house. Even if they don’t agree and you get no concessions, it is still important to renew the appliances as soon as you can to reduce maintenance and running costs.
- Structural Factors
Chances are you got a full survey before you bought the house so you ought to be aware of any potential structural issues. Even so, it is important not to neglect the exterior of your home and to take time to assess it for damage.
Cleaning the guttering is a cheap and quick job you can do yourself that could save you a fortune. Water is the most common cause of structural problems. You don’t want to give it a chance to build up around a blockage and leak down the brickwork.
Walk around the property, look behind bushes or plants growing up against the wall. You want to make sure there is no water damage, cracks, pest damage or mould visible. If there is a problem, dealing with it sooner rather than later is always the cheapest option.