Even though we’re well into a new year, it’s not too late to think about your situation and set new financial goals for the coming year. If you own a home, there are quite a few things you might consider doing to improve your situation. While you might not want to attempt every goal suggestion out there, there are still some good ideas you can implement, depending on your situation. Here are 3 homeownership goal ideas for the coming year:
1. Refinance Your Home
If you haven’t refinanced your home in a while, now might be the time to take the plunge. Mortgage interest rates remain near historic lows. This means you can save a great deal of money over the life of your home if you refinance.
Remember that you don’t have to refinance to a 30-year loan if you would rather not. If you only have 18 years left on your mortgage, consider refinancing to a 20-year loan or a 15-year loan. Depending on your current mortgage rate, and what you qualify for, you might be able to refinance to a 15-year loan and pay close to the same amount each month as you do right now.
Refinancing can help you ease your cash flow, lock in a lower rate, and generally improve your situation. With speculation that 10-year Treasury rates will start to rise again soon, as the Federal Reserve starts to increase its own rates, and as the economy improves further, refinancing this year might be the wisest course of action.
2. Home Improvement
Could your home use an upgrade? Keeping your home in good condition is an important part of helping your home retain its value — or even appreciate in value. Home improvement can also help you get more value out of your home, although that is most likely to come in terms of sentimental value and increased comfort.
Now might be a good time to follow up with home improvement. Prices for materials are still reasonably low (although they are on the rise as building demand picks up). Additionally, you can probably get a home improvement loan, using any equity you have in your home, for a relatively low rate. With mortgage rates low, including for HELOCs and HELs, it’s possible to lock in an affordable rate to make home improvement changes.
Additionally, there are still some energy efficiency tax breaks in place if you improve your home with solar panels or other major systems, like geothermal. Double-check to see if you qualify, then look for special financing programs and tax breaks before they expire.
3. Cosmetic Upgrades
If you aren’t in a position to make some serious home improvements, consider cosmetic upgrades. Now is a good time to declutter, getting rid of the things you don’t use that are filling up your home. You can sell them and get a little extra cash, or donate to charity for a tax deduction. You might be surprised at how just decluttering can help refresh your home and make it feel like a new place.
Other cosmetic upgrades to your home can make a difference in how you feel about it, or increase its appeal (if you plan to sell). Replacing the flooring, adding new paint, and changing fixtures are all somewhat small, cosmetic moves that can improve your enjoyment of the home without costing you a great deal of money.
Carefully consider your financial situation, as well as your other goals. With a little planning and the right approach, you can improve the comfort of your home, and maybe even increase its value down the road.