Prices are up, I’m sure you’ve noticed! Inflation is definitely impacting everyone’s budget. If you’re a homeowner, the plus side of this is that the value of your home is likely on the rise as well. But the downside of that, is that the cost to carry your house, townhouse, or condo is also escalating.
Analysts are predicting sharp increases in the prime rate – and that means variable mortgage costs will go up as well. If your mortgage is coming up for renewal within the next year or so, it’s a good time to sit down for a conversation with your mortgage agent, to figure out the best course of action for you and your budget. It may be that sticking with a variable rate is still the best move, but you may prefer the safety and security of a fixed rate. The advantage of working with an independent mortgage agent or broker, is that they can look at all your options – not just those offered by your current lender. They have access to a whole spectrum of home-funding possibilities.
Besides trying to keep your mortgage costs in check, what else can you do? One area where we are bound to experience fluctuating costs in the foreseeable future, is our energy bills. No matter how you heat your home, fuel costs are on the rise, and even if you only use electricity to run the lights, your computer, your tv and so on, that electricity has to be generated somehow, so all of us can probably expect to see higher bills. To some degree we just have to accept this – we don’t set the rates – but what all of us can do, is use energy more wisely, and find ways to make our homes more energy efficient. That means things like installing low-flow shower heads, checking doors and windows for drafts and putting in weather stripping, and turning down the thermostat in winter, or going easy on the air conditioning in summer. Also, don’t forget to regularly change filters in force-air heating units, furnaces, or heat pumps. A dirty, clogged filter not only makes it harder for you to breathe, it reduces the energy of your climate control appliance.
Lastly, in your efforts to keep costs low, don’t scrimp on protective maintenance. Tackling smaller tasks such as cleaning out downspouts or repairing bathtub caulking can prevent much more expensive problems from developing down the road. Learning to do some basic home maintenance tasks such as fixing a leaky faucet can save you a lot of money, and sources like YouTube have lessons in almost any basic repair you can imagine. Big box building and home décor stores often have in-person classes as well, now that we are returning to more face-to-face contact. This checklist from TV’s Mike Holmes is a good starting point if you’re wondering how to keep your home in tip-top shape.