How to protect your investment once you buy a home

Buying a home is probably the biggest investment you’ll ever make. It’s a lot of money down for a long time if you take out a mortgage, but it’s also the place where you and your family create memories together. After signing the papers and moving into your new home, you want to make sure that important investment is protected. If you’re considering buying your first home, keep these points in mind:

  • Always make your mortgage payments on time. Late or missed payments can lead to extra charges and will hurt your credit score, making it harder to buy a new home down the road or apply for a credit card.
  • Anticipate the additional costs of owning a home. It’s not just a mortgage payment – there are maintenance costs, alarm monitoring, snow removal, etc. You may need to do some renovations as small as repainting or as big as installing a new furnace. Build up an emergency reserve fund to help mitigate the impact on your day-to-day life if an emergency happens.
  • Make a budget and stick to it. Be conscientious of how much you’re spending and how much you’re earning. If you are spending more than you earn, readjust and find ways to spend less.
  • Come up with an emergency plan and be prepared with smoke and carbon monoxide alarms properly installed. You should have at least one fire extinguisher and a bug out bag in a home in case of fire, flooding or any other natural disasters.
  • Get homeowners insurance. This will cover the home and items within it. You never know if/when something will happen, but if it does, you want to make sure you’re covered. It’s a small price to pay for peace of mind in case disaster strikes.

If home improvements sound too pricey for you, there are some options to make them more manageable:

  • Talk to your broker about renovations or improvements; they may have financing options for you that can be included in your mortgage loan.
  • If you choose to make energy-efficient improvements, you may qualify for a partial refund on your mortgage loan insurance. Options like smart thermostats, LED light bulbs and solar panels can make a big difference in the short- and long-term.

You can also find resources to help you track your budget and do calculations in this home buying guide. If you’re looking for a workbook and checklists to help stay ahead of the game, download them here.

Owning a home is a big responsibility and an even bigger financial commitment. You want to make sure that you and your home are protected. Your home is more than just the place you sleep; it’s an important part of your life and an expression of you as a person. Follow these steps to ensure that you’re following best practice in protecting your new home.

 

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