For many people, buying a home is the biggest investment in their lifetime. Although, very few people think of their home that way, which can be a costly mistake.
A home is an investment as well as many other things, including a sanctuary and an expression of who you are. We encourage you to keep those priorities front and center as they bring meaning and happiness to your life.
Luckily, these purposes are not mutually exclusive. You can have a home that is a safe + comfortable refuge, an expression of your unique identity, and a well-maintained investment.
While tending to the investment variable in this value equation involves some straightforward strategies.
Fix-It First: Protecting Your Home Asset
Your home is like your car and many other physical assets; the more you care for it, the better it will care for you. To take the best care of your home, it will require planning, diligence, and for most of us, outside help. Here are some suggestions for healthy home care:
Regularly scheduled mechanical maintenance: Having your air conditioning and heater serviced twice a year will reduce utility bills, increase the life of your equipment, and avoid the frustration unexpected failures. It is also important to change your filters.
Fixing things in a timely manner: Letting problems linger can lead to further damage.
Check the envelope(outside surfaces) of your house twice a year: This is where unattended repairs can lead to LARGE costs.
Don’t wait until…
You are getting water in your home to fix your roof.
Rot has reached the frame of your house to have the wood replaced.
The paint has peeled to paint your home.
Do It Right: The Cost to Maintain Your Home
Most people have a mortgage, but there are also other ongoing costs associated with owning your home that you may not think about as much as your mortgage payment. These costs include such things as insurance, utility costs, and maintenance. By reducing these costs, it will save you money every month and be just as beneficial as refinancing that mortgage at a lower interest rate.
Schedule an energy audit: Investing in an energy audit can save you money. Many fixes can pay off in as little as two years. Some other repairs will take longer but once the investment is paid off, it is money in the bank every month thereafter.
Purchase higher quality fixtures and appliances: If you have heard the expression “builder grade”, it simply means the lowest cost option. Builders are motivated to use builder-grade fixtures and appliances because it lowers the cost per square foot of a home. Price per square foot is the primary measure that most homebuyers use to evaluate a home purchase. This might be the worst way to calculate the value of a home. To get the cost per square foot down, the quality is typically compromised.
Make It Last: Aging in Place
Seniors are staying in their homes longer, otherwise known as aging in place. The longer a person can stay out of assisted living, the better their quality of life and the more savings they will retain either for unexpected expenses.
Staying at home allows seniors a higher level of independence, while also reducing the stress of having to relocate. As you can imagine, a sense of connection to personal space becomes heightened as we all age. Here are a few aspects of aging in place to consider in a new home or a home remolding project:
Remove stairs and steps: One of the first things that we notice as we age is how much more difficult stairs become. If you can find a single-story home with very few or no steps, you will be better prepared to age in place.
Create the framework for an accessible bathroom: Having difficulty bathing often necessitate a move to assisted living. Even if a person is not in a wheelchair, a roll-in shower without a curb is much easier to navigate. Also, placing blocks in the walls of showers and baths can make the installation of grab bars easier. With a little planning, using the facilities as we age can be made much safer.
Prepare to install wider doors: Narrow doors, especially in bathrooms, are a barrier to wheelchairs + walkers and an impediment to aging in place. If possible, request framing for large doors, even if a smaller door is preferred. The small door can be removed later and with a slight modification, a larger door can be installed.
Improve the lighting: Unfortunately, our vision degrades as we age. Luckily, there is a lot that we can do with light to improve our ability to age in place. Light is a very important factor in aging. When remodeling, request a lighting study for each room. Contrast is also a big factor in assisting aging vision and is particularly important in kitchen remodels. When countertops are a hue that contrasts with the flooring, orientation, and vision are greatly aided.