Homeowners Year End Checklist

As the clock ticks its way to the end of the year, it’s important for all of us to take a step back and look into how else we can  improve our overall “homeowner wellness” picture. Here are some suggestions on things to review at this time of the year:

  • Consider refinancing –  With current rates being close at historical lows (at the time of this posting), it’s always worthwhile to evaluate current options and make the best move based on your situation. Mortgage experts agree that the rates might just stay this way for a little longer, but nobody really has a crystal ball to figure out what direction they’ll take. When in doubt, talk to an experienced lender.
  • Get the Tax Benefits Available to You – The most common tax benefits include mortgage interest and the Homestead Exemption – with this last one often ignored and/or misunderstood by homeowners.  Keep in mind that not all homes get this exemption, that exemption rates may vary depending on several factors, and it doesn’t cost a single, solitary cent to request it, so make sure that you read the information provided by the State, as well as the exemption application itself. Estate planning should also be looked at to ensure that your investment is protected in the event the unthinkable happens. As always, and to determine any or all tax benefits available to you, your professional tax advisor will be the best person to counsel you for your personal situation.
  • Review your bills – It’s healthy to create a habit of reviewing what you pay for services vs what’s available in the market. Utility rates are always good to check, but there are certain areas in our community where there is no choice of carriers (regulated). Home and Auto insurance, for example, can be an area that merits discussion with a reputable risk management professional. Take a home inventory – it might help you determine whether you’re under- or over-covered by your policy. By the way, make sure you keep a copy of your inventory outside of your home!
  • Safety-check your home – This might sound like carryover from the prior checklist, but the intent is to make sure that all your security systems are fully functional: Locks, alarms, carbon monoxide and smoke detectors, chimneys and furnaces. After all, isn’t it nice to read a good book by the yule log?
  • Know how much your home is worth – Now, this doesn’t mean that by doing this, you’re obligating yourself to sell your house right away. The intent of this information is to help you make informed decisions down the line. For example: (a)  it can help you protest (or agree with) the assessed value that the County has placed on your property; or (b) it may help you decide if you can take the home equity loan that you might need to make the addition that you have been waiting for.  If you decide to sell, however, then you and I need to talk  ;o)
  • Don’t put off Preventive Maintenance – If you own a home now, you’re well aware that with every weekend there is a new project. If that project involves preventive maintenance, my hat is off to you – you’re taking the right steps to maintain your investment. Create a checklist of the most common items to do: change AC filters, change detector batteries, clean pool filters, get a pest inspection and/or service, winterize your sprinkler system… the works.

Of course, this list is not all-inclusive, and in fact, we’d love to hear from you. Post your tips and tricks in our Facebook page to get a chance to win a little holiday cheer – and the thanks from fellow homeowners!

 

Happy Holidays! 

 

About Rianne Sanchez

I want to be your agent for life!

If you have any questions about the Real Estate Market in The Woodlands, Spring, Magnolia market, give me a call!

Cell: 832-620-7262
Direct: 832-482-1104

Full-service Real Estate agent focusing on The Woodlands and surrounding communities. I can help you buy or sell for the best price in this area. Call today for a free, no obligation, market analysis of YOUR neighborhood.