One of the first things you think of when it comes to the American Dream is owning a home. This dream comes with a cost, however. For most people, the biggest single investment they’ll make is a home. Therefore, it’s a good idea to make periodic investments over time to ensure you’re able to make your dream home last. Here are a few that will help you maintain or increase its value over time.
One of the first investments you’ll want to make in your home, even if your bank does not require it or if you paid straight cash for you home, is homeowner’s insurance. A policy will protect your home for a number of problems that might occur. Tornado damage? A policy will usually cover it. Hail damage? You’ll likely get the same benefit. If your home experiences a major loss or a total loss and you have no insurance, you’ll have to pay to repair the damage or to buy a new house. This is an important investment to make.
No one knows with certainty when flooding might happen, but if your home lies within a flood plain, you’ll need to buy a separate flood policy because your regular homeowner’s policy will not take care of damage from flooding. Water damage can cause some serious damage. Just ask those who lived on the Gulf Coast during any hurricane that blew through and brought a huge storm surge with it. Mold can be one of the more dangerous problems that water can cause, so a flood insurance policy to take care of water damage quickly can be a lifesaver.
An Emergency Fund
Even those who think they are ready for just about anything will have an emergency every now and again. Damage that’s covered by insurance will still come with a hefty deductible in many instances. This is when an emergency fund can come in handy. It will pay the deductible so you don’t have to go into debt to get your house fixed.
Many parts of the country are plagued by threat of robbery and theft. This is where a home alarm system can provide some pretty nice benefits. Having a sign up that shows you’re monitoring your home remotely with ADT home security can be a major deterrent in the first place. Additionally, whenever a door or window is breached during a break-in, your local law enforcement will know about it because your security company will generally inform them. Finally, should a fire break out, many security systems will alert the local fire department so that your home is less likely to become a total loss.
Owning a home comes with many unexpected expenses. One of these might be energy costs if you’ve never lived away from your parents or if your landlord rolled your utilities into the rent expense. Your overall cost for utilities will often vary depending upon the part of the country you live in. Regardless, if you can make sure any new appliances you buy are efficient in their consumption of energy, you’ll probably save money in the long run. This goes for anything from your HVAC system down to cheaper appliances like your TV or your refrigerator.
While some of these expenses might seem unnecessary, they can really help you save money in the long run. They might even increase the value of your home over time. You don’t want to wind up paying tens of thousands that you don’t have if a flood runs through your town. Also, you don’t want to pay more for energy over a period of years. These costs add up. Risk management tools and energy efficiency can go a long way toward making your house part of your American Dream, rather than an American nightmare.