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What should be on your calendar?Each home is unique and will require different types of maintenance. But in general, most homes share characteristics that can be applied to your situation. We'll break up maintenance into two categories: safety and upkeep. Safety For the well-being of you and your family, be sure to add these items to your list:
- Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors checked (monthly)
- Smoke and carbon monoxide batteries changed (every 6 months)
- Fire extinguisher checked (every 12 months)
- Test door and window locks (every 12 months)
- Inspect your HVAC filters (every 3 months)
- Clean the drains of your sinks and shower (every month)
- Test seldom used objects like spare bathroom sinks and toilets (every 2 months)
- Clean refrigerator coils and vent (every 6 months)
- Replace water filters in refrigerator, sink, etc. (every 6 months)
- Clean your gutters and drainage system (every 12 months)
- Repair ripped window and door screens (every 12 months)
Seasonal maintenanceIf you live in an area that has significant climate changes throughout the seasons, then there are an whole host of maintenance tasks required to prepare for the change of weather. Some common tasks include:
- Turning off outdoor water to avoid frozen pipes
- Replacing door screens with glass
- Cleaning, installing, and uninstalling air conditioners
- Sealing or repaving walkways and driveways
- Cleaning chimneys
- Dusting off heaters
- Inspecting your roof shingles
Creating your calendarNow that you know what to put in your calendar, its time to decide how you're going to make it. If you carry your smartphone with you everywhere and check it constantly, it might be a good idea to use a good calendar app, preferably one that syncs with your other calendars (work, Facebook, etc.). Google Calendar allows you to categorize calendar events by colors, sync between accounts, and invite others to events (such as when you need your family's help with something on your list). If you're not big on technology, you could always keep a calendar attached to your refrigerator or in a frequented spot in the house that you and your family will remember to check often. Whichever method you choose, the important thing is to find one that works for you so that you don't forget these important items to keep your house, home, and family safe.
Science fiction has long reveled in the concept of autonomous homes and transportation. But it wasn’t until very recently that these dreams started to edge their way into reality. With semi-autonomous vehicles on the manufacturing line and “home assistants” like Google Home flying off the shelves, today’s average homeowner now has options.
The growing number of home automation technologies is encouraging even more innovation in a burgeoning market. But, the newness of these devices and the confusion around what they actually do can make it difficult to decide which one to bring into your home.
In today’s post, I’m going to introduce you to some of today’s most handy smart home devices to burden the workload of homeownership and give you some tips on which of the best technologies are yet to come.
One of the first smart home devices to hit the shelves was arguably the home assistant. They look like small Bluetooth speakers but have the ability to respond to your voice commands. So far, the front runners are the Google Home and Amazon Echo, but there are a number of other brands in the running as well.
Many of the tasks you use a smartphone for can also be easily accomplished with a home assistant. Tell it to set or turn off your alarms, look up things on Google, ask about the weather, play music, and so on. The Amazon Echo functions similarly but also integrates with other smart home systems so you can control things like your lights and coffee maker just by asking.
Many home automation manufacturers have taken to selling kits that enable you to automate your home one outlet or device at a time. You can then control these devices with your smartphone, whether you’re at home or at the office. (Ever get worried you left the iron on? No more!)
The best part of these devices is how customizable they are and the fact that many integrate with assistants like Amazon Echo. However, some systems, like Samsung’s SmartThings, has its own central “hub” that connects your devices.
Smart home security
Security companies were one of the earliest adopters of automation. Today, many of the biggest home security companies (think ADT and Vivint) aren’t just making your home safer, they’re also making your life easier.
Common among these smart home security systems are things like cameras you can control with your smartphone from work, alerts from smoke and CO detectors, and door and window sensors to alert you if someone enters, or attempts to enter, your home.
These technologies are still evolving. That means each year newer, better devices will hit the market. However, this process of innovation will also drive down prices, which is good news for you as a homeowner and consumer. So, think about what your specific needs are and choose the products that fit them. And, if you’re not sure about any of the products on the market, don’t be afraid to hold off--the next best thing is right around the corner.
Investing in a multifamily home could be a smart choice for you. The rental market is always in demand in areas all across the country. Even in a buyer’s market, there's plenty of people who still need to rent for one reason or another.
Homeowners Associations Can Save You A Lot
There’s a lot less maintenance involved on your part if you buy a property that’s a part of an association. There will be less landlord responsibilities on your part since everything outside of the walls is considered a common area. The dues that you pay each month, known as HOA fees, are what helps to take care of all these maintenance issues.
Before you invest, you’ll need to take into account the monthly fees along with your financial plan. On the downside, if your association has some issues that can’t be worked out, you’ll end up having a special assessment charged to you. You may want to do some research before you sign up with an association.
You’ll Save On Taxes
Buying a duplex is a pretty good deal. As far as taxes go, it counts as one building, yet, you’re getting monthly rent from tenants. Alternatively, you may choose to live on one side of the property, and rent out the other side. Either way, you’re saving on both taxes and insurance because both of these fees are blanketed under one building.
You Can Bring In Some Revenue With Multifamily Units
The rent-to-purchase price ratio is generally better with multifamily units. The amount of money that you’ll bring in each month with rent will almost always be more than the amount that needs to be paid for the mortgage. Keep in mind that some money must be set aside for maintenance costs and other emergencies. This is where the phrase “income property” comes from.
You’ll Be In A Prime Location With Multifamily Homes
When you’re planning to rent out properties, you want to own a building where people want to be. These types of units are often seen near colleges, universities and urban areas. You’ll always have a lot of people who are looking to rent, which means properties won’t be left vacant for long.
A Rental Can Be Great Retirement Income
Whether you’re an empty nester with plenty of rooms in your home available to rent, or just someone who would like to build up some equity, using a property as a rental is a great way to make some additional revenue. If you choose to rent out part of your home, make sure that you have a lease with well-defined terms and a set of house rules. You may need to define things like what food will be shared, set up a laundry schedule and state how utilities will be paid and when.
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