This guest post by Dylan Snyder provides advice to better manage homeownership expenses.

People know that buying a home costs a fair bit of money. Owning a home could cost as much or more. With these tips, homeowners can help to reduce their monthly costs in the management and upkeep of a home.

1. Buy the Right Size

The first and often the fastest way to cut down on the high costs of homeownership is to avoid having to pay as much for them in the first place. People who buy more property than they can reasonably afford end up being “house poor” for at least a few years as they work to increase their income. Buying a more modest home or property that has growth potential is an easy way to start accruing equity without completely going broke. In areas where property values are higher, putting down a larger down payment when possible can help to minimize the bite taken by the monthly mortgage payment.

2. Research Upgrades

Anyone who has gone through a complicated series of home upgrades probably understands that it can be more difficult to engage in home improvements without going over budget. Upgrades are necessary over time to keep the home useful for residents, and relevant in the neighborhood. However, the kinds of upgrades homeowners pick may affect the home’s overall value, as well as the cost of the improvement itself. Homeowners should research any changes they plan to make, to ensure that they fully understand the costs involved in relation to the future benefit in use or resale value.

3. Assess Insurance Risk

The cost of insuring a property is something that every homeowner should consider an important part of the homeownership package. If something goes wrong, insurance could help pay to fix or replace it. Insurance rates depend on the size of the property and the age of the home, as well as its features and location. A home set near a river that floods frequently may have higher insurance needs—however, some homeowners may be paying too much. A professional assessment and taking the right actions can lower one’s monthly bill in many cases. Similarly, that attractive swimming pool or trampoline carry insurance risks that often translate into higher bills. People should evaluate these concerns with every property or upgrade they consider.

4. Aim for Efficiency

Once people move into a home, they may not realize how much they will pay for certain kinds of services, such as energy. Utility bills are often based on use, and systems that are more efficient could save a lot of money over the lifetime of the equipment. Replacing windows with double-paned models with low-e coating could reduce heat gain during the summer. Buying energy-efficient air conditioners, furnaces, and water heaters may cut the expenses to run these machines by hundreds of dollars.

5. Minimize the Mortgage

After they have closed on a home purchase, homeowners may have several opportunities to change their mortgage payments. If they made a down payment of less than 20 percent and are required to pay private mortgage insurance, they may be able to eliminate those monthly premiums once they have accrued enough equity in the property. People who got a mortgage with an adjustable rate could refinance to a fixed-rate loan that might cost them less. Like any other mortgage, refinancing costs money. As such, homeowners should carefully research their options and make sure that refinancing will work to their advantage, before they pay to negotiate a new loan.

Once people factor in the costs of mortgage, services, and upgrades for a home, buying a home may sound like an even bigger investment. By targeting their use of services and upgrades to their ideal benefit, and minimizing the mortgage, homeowners can save money.

Dylan Snyder is a real estate consultant and the team leader for The Snyder Group at Keller Williams Realty in Jupiter, FL. The Snyder Group is among the top producing teams in South Florida and one of the Top 50 Keller Williams teams nationwide. Connect with Dylan.

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