5 Tips for Stress-Free Homeownership

Follow these 5 tips for stress free homeownership from Woodard Cleaning & Restoration in St. Louis, Mo.

Congratulations on your new home purchase! While owning a home is extremely exciting and rewarding, it is important to prepare yourself for the added stress and expenses that come along with homeownership. With the headaches that come along with closing on a home, moving, and the endless paperwork, new homeowners find themselves totally shocked when they face their first at-home “crisis.” If you fall into this category, take comfort in knowing that you’re not alone! We've compiled 5 tips for stress-free homeownership.

Be Prepared

Sure, owning your own home comes with a great deal of perks and freedom, but it also comes with an enormous amount of responsibility. Remember when your toilet overflowed into the hallway, or the air conditioner broke in the apartment you used to rent? What did you do? Well, you called your landlord, who waved their magic “fix it” wand over the problem. As a homeowner, you no longer have the ability to lean on your landlord for help; you’re now the owner of that magic "fix it" wand.

For large issues, like a house fire or flooded basement, you’ll want to rely on your homeowner’s insurance for help, but for smaller ordeals, it’s best to have a “just in case” fund to fall back on. As best practice, we recommend saving 2-3% of the cost of your home every year to cover the cost of broken appliances, window replacements, and plumbing problems.

Be Proactive

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again, a smart homeowner is a proactive homeowner. Think about the amount of time, energy, and money you've poured into your new home – you owe it to yourself to stay on top of maintenance needs! Try forming a home maintenance checklist, and perform regular inspections to ensure everything is in working order. Trust us when we say that a proactive attitude goes a long way, and saves a lot of money. Some key items, and inspection points, to note on your home maintenance checklist include the basement, the yard and landscaping, and gutters and downspouts, as all three of these areas are common causes of water damage and floods.

Be Efficient

If your home doesn't already have energy efficient appliances installed, consider replacing them. Using energy efficient appliances is not only eco-friendly, but doing so will save you an unbelievable amount of money. Sure, these appliances may have a slightly-higher price tag than non-efficient models, but in the long-run, you’ll find that the amount you’re saving on annual energy costs is totally worth the price difference. The best part? Some companies even reward you for making the energy efficient switch! In Missouri, Ameren’s CoolSavers Program offers up to $720 in cash-back rebates for upgrading and maintaining your air conditioning system!

Be Educated

We’d never claim that homeowner’s insurance is simple to understand, or a cut-and-dry subject; it’s not. However, it is up to you to educate yourself on every detail of your policy. After all, if your home floods, and you never read over the reasons why you should opt for flood insurance coverage, you’ll wish you did… but, sadly, at that point, it is too late. To avoid those “could have, would have, should have” moments, do yourself a favor and ask your agent every question that pops into your mind.

Also, don’t feel embarrassed to question things that seem confusing or unclear – it is totally fine (and completely normal) to feel overwhelmed. Your agent has the answers, but can’t provide them unless the questions are asked, so speak up!

Be Organized

We’re not talking about organizing your kitchen, bathroom, or the dreaded junk drawer… we’re talking about the organizing the important stuff. At any given moment, you should always know where to find your insurance policy, the deed to your home, and records of all maintenance that has been performed. We realize that life happens, and things get lost, buried under stacks of junk mail, or filed incorrectly, but when it comes to your home, we strongly suggest adhering to a strict organization routine.

Try making a home maintenance binder, and keeping it in an easily accessible location, like your home office. While we’re on the subject of organizing your records, don’t forget to save your receipts. You may love your new television today, but tomorrow, it could decide to stop working, for no reason at all – without the receipt, you’re just asking for additional stress. Do yourself a favor and hold onto everything that relates to your home.