September 28, 2021
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Hot! Five Tips for Being a Responsible Homeowner

Young couple buying a new house

Whether you’re a first-time buyer or a longtime homeowner, understanding your responsibilities is an essential part of the equation. After the honeymoon phase ends and routine sets in, it can be easy to develop bad habits or become less enthusiastic about day-to-day tasks. These five tips will help you make the most of owning a home and keeping your neighbors, HOA, and banker happy in the process.

1. Maintain Your Home

This one may seem like a given, but some chores may fall by the wayside after you’ve owned your house or condo for a while. If you have difficulty keeping up with things due to physical impairments or a busy schedule, consider hiring someone to handle chores and repairs. If financial concerns prevent you from making major repairs, consider taking out a loan. And if your credit score isn’t what it used to be, know that getting a home equity loan with bad credit is possible. Take care of these items to keep your home looking good and functioning correctly:

  • fix roof
  • clean gutters
  • maintain paint job
  • replace a damaged mailbox
  • keep your fence in good working order

Regular maintenance doesn’t just make your property look good. It can help prevent much more expensive repairs or replacements down the road.

2. Prevent Pests

Some pests pose health and safety risks to people and pets. Certain pests cause costly property damage, and others are simply nuisances. And infestations don’t just affect your household; they may draw other pests and increase the local pest population. Insects and rodents wreak havoc on even the cleanest homes, but keeping pests at bay is much easier when you maintain the following habits:

  • keep trash cans covered
  • get rid of standing water
  • bring pet food inside at night
  • remove garbage and lawn debris
  • call a pest control service to eliminate infestations

Prevent hazards ranging from contaminated food to electrical fires by making your property less attractive to bugs, spiders, mice, and rats.

3. Mind HOA Restrictions

If a homeowners association governs your community, you may have an entirely separate set of rules to follow. While many are common sense-based, others may be specific to your location. Following these guidelines will help you stay compliant with your HOA:

  • know the rules
  • pay your dues on time
  • make any required repairs or adjustments

From past-their-prime holiday decorations to broken gutters, you may be violating regulations by neglecting routine maintenance. Ensuring that you understand your obligations helps you comply with community standards.

4. Keep Up With Your Lawn

A well-maintained lawn enhances curb appeal, helps prevent pests, and increases pride of ownership. Your neighbors will also appreciate living next to a tidy yard. Keeping tall grass at bay also helps stave off pests and makes mowing easier. Staying on top of these lawn maintenance tasks will make you proud, prevent conflicts with neighbors, and avoid unpleasant dealings with your city’s code enforcement department:

  • pull or treat weeds
  • bring toys and other clutter inside daily
  • trim hedges and overgrown tree branches
  • rake and bag or burn leaves

No one wants to look at a neighbor’s unkempt yard or have their property endangered by overgrown trees. Reduce your liability, reduce the likelihood of pests, and enjoy the increased curb appeal of a well-kept lawn.

5. Pay Your Bills on Time

You may not think of your bank or the tax collector when it comes to responsible homeownership. But many new homeowners don’t fully understand the extent of their commitments to lenders and communities. It’s easy to get swept up in the excitement of new furnishings, remodeling, and other improvements. From water heaters to roofs, though, the many components of your home can break down — sometimes all at once. Multiple repairs or replacements can put you behind on otherwise manageable payments, resulting in an inability to make good on your financial commitments. An emergency fund will help you stay on track financially so you can pay these bills on time:

  • mortgage
  • property taxes
  • home equity loan
  • homeowners insurance
  • home service providers

Keeping up with your financial agreements feels good. It can also help raise your credit score so you can enjoy lower insurance premiums, better interest rates, and more attractive borrowing options.

Being a responsible homeowner is good for morale and helps beautify your neighborhood. We hope these tips help you optimize your ownership experience.

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