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3 Ways to Protect Your Home Investment
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You’ve scrimped and saved to get into a home you can call your own: a place where your family can grow and gather; a place where you can grow old and eventually retire. But your home is not just a place to create fond memories. It is a sound financial investment, and if you want to still have your beautiful home when you grow old and retire, you must treat it like the investment it is.
 
How can you protect your home investment?
 

Don’t fall behind on mortgage payments.

Falling behind on your mortgage payments without trying to get help is a sure way to lose your home and the money you have already invested in it. If your failure to pay is due to a temporary job loss or setback due to medical reasons, you should be able to work something out with your mortgage servicer; however, it may be easier to deal with your mortgage servicer if you work with a housing counselor first. If you’ve found you’ve financially gotten in over your head, housing counselors can help you as well.
 
After talking to your mortgage servicer, your mortgage may be put on forbearance--put on hold temporarily--while you try and get back on track. The money which is owed will still need to be repaid, but this a preferred solution for individuals facing temporary setbacks. Other solutions include repayment plans, refinance options, loan  modifications, principal reductions, etc. There are multiple options for holding onto your investment. Don’t give up without exploring them. Also, as a word of caution: there are unscrupulous people out there preying on those who are having trouble meeting their mortgage obligations. The scams they run promise to lower your monthly payments. Don’t believe them. Only your mortgage servicer can make those changes happen.

Prepare for ongoing costs and unexpected expenses.

Besides keeping up with your mortgage payments, if your property taxes and homeowners insurance aren’t held in escrow, you must be financially prepared to pay those assessments when they come due.
 
Other homeowner costs include your utilities; water, sewer, trash, electricity, and gas are your essential utilities to maintain. Always overestimate your utility costs so you never run short when the bills come due. Keeping up with these services is a necessity when keeping your home running properly.
 
Planning for emergencies is also imperative: a broken pipe, a non-functioning furnace, a hole in the roof. These types of emergencies can set homeowners back financially. Don’t fall into the trap of quick fixes or negligence. Both of these actions can devalue your investment and cause more problems down the road. If you don’t want to play the nothing-will-happen game and find yourself in a financial bind when it  actually does, the protection of a home warranty is a wise choice to keep your investment sound.

Perform regular maintenance checks.

To make sure your home is in its best possible condition, performing regular maintenance checks is imperative. Do an initial inspection of the roof, gutters, windows, furnace, water heater, garbage disposal, washer, dryer, indoor and outdoor water valves, landscaping, and exterior walls, etc. Repair or remedy any problems and then be prepared to follow a regular maintenance checklist schedule. There should be monthly, seasonal, and yearly lists to help you keep everything running smoothly and to address problems before they become unmanageable or more costly.
 
Besides inspecting fixtures, appliances, and foundational aspects of your home for issues, your checklists should also include deep cleaning your home at least twice a year, monthly checks for moisture problems ,cleaning dryer vents, replacing furnace filters, testing smoke alarms, checking for signs of insects or mice, etc. Keeping up on these “housekeeping” items also helps to protect the value of your home.
 
Protecting your home investment is essential if you want to live the life you’ve envisioned within its walls. By keeping up on your mortgage, preparing for ongoing costs and unexpected expenses, and performing regular maintenance checks, your home will not only maintain its value, but will most likely appreciate in value as well.


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