The Importance of Homeowners Insurance

In addition to providing shelter and comfort, our home is often our single greatest asset, and it’s important that we protect that precious investment. Most homeowners realize the importance of homeowners insurance in safeguarding the value of a home. However, what they may not know is that about two-thirds of all homeowners are under-insured.

 

What a Standard Homeowners Policy Covers

A standard homeowners insurance policy typically covers your home, your belongings, injury or property damage to others, and living expenses if you are unable to live in your home temporarily because of an insured disaster.

The policy likely pays to repair or rebuild your home if it is damaged or destroyed by disasters, such as wildfires, a winter storm, or lightning. Your belongings, such as furniture and clothing, are also insured against these types of disasters, as well as theft.

Some risks, such as flooding or acts of war, are routinely excluded from homeowner policies. Special coverage is needed to protect against these incidents. Your insurance company can let you know if your area is flood or earthquake prone. The cost of coverage depends on your home’s location and corresponding risk.

Other coverage in a standard homeowners policy typically helps cover the legal costs for injury or property damage caused to other people. For example, if someone is injured on your property and decides to sue, the insurance would cover the cost of defending you in court and any damages you may have to pay. Policies also provide medical coverage in the event someone other than your family is injured in your home. If your home is seriously damaged and needs to be rebuilt, a standard policy will usually cover hotel bills, restaurant meals and other living expenses incurred while you are temporarily relocated.

Keep in mind that homeowners insurance policies provide coverage for the owner(s) living in the home. If you plan on renting out your home, you’ll need to purchase landlord insurance in addition to your homeowners policy.

 

How Much Insurance Do You Need?

Homeowners should review their policy each year to make sure they have sufficient coverage for their home. The three questions to ask yourself are:

  • Do I have enough insurance to protect my assets?
  • Do I have enough insurance to rebuild my home?
  • Do I have enough insurance to replace all my possessions?

Here’s some more information that will help you determine how much insurance is enough to meet your needs and ensure that your home is sufficiently protected.

 

Protect Your Assets

Make sure you have enough liability insurance to protect your assets in case of a lawsuit due to injury or property damage. Most homeowners insurance policies provide a minimum of $100,000 worth of liability coverage. With the increasingly higher costs of litigation and monetary compensation, many homeowners now purchase $300,000 or more in liability protection. If that sounds like a lot, consider that even a dog bite claim can easily be tens of thousands of dollars. Talk with your insurance agent about the best coverage for your situation.

 

Rebuild Your Home

You need enough insurance to finance the cost of rebuilding your home at current construction costs, which vary by area. Don’t confuse the amount of coverage you need with the market value of your home. You’re not insuring the land your home is built on, which makes up a significant portion of the overall value of your property.

The average policy is designed to cover the cost of rebuilding your home using today’s standard building materials and techniques. If you have an unusual, historical or custom-built home, you may want to contact a specialty insurer to ensure that you have sufficient coverage to replicate any special architectural elements. Those with older homes should consider additions to the policy that pay the cost of rebuilding their home to meet new building codes. Finally, if you’ve done any recent remodeling, make sure your insurance reflects the increased value of your home.

 

Replacing Your Valuables

If something happens to your home, chances are the items inside will be damaged or destroyed as well. Your coverage depends on the type of policy you have. A cost value policy pays the cost to replace your belongings minus depreciation. A replacement cost policy reimburses you for the cost to replace the items.

There are limits on the losses that can be claimed for expensive items, such as artwork, jewelry, and collectibles. You can get additional coverage for these types of items by purchasing supplemental premiums.

To determine if you have enough insurance, you need to have a good handle on the value of your personal items. Create a detailed home inventory file that keeps track of the items in your home and the cost to replace them.

 

Create a Home Inventory File

It takes time to inventory your possessions, but it’s time well spent. This extra preparation also helps to keep your mind at ease.  The best method for creating a home inventory list is to go through each room individually and record the items of significant value. You can also sweep through each room with a video or digital camera and document each of your belongings. Your home inventory file should include the following:

  • Item description and quantity
  • Manufacturer or brand name
  • Serial number or model number
  • Where the item was purchased
  • Receipt or other proof of purchase / photocopies of any appraisals—along with the name and address of the appraiser
  • Date of purchase (or age)
  • Current value
  • Replacement cost

Pay special attention to highly valuable items such as electronics, artwork, jewelry, and collectibles. Simple inventory lists are available online.

 

Storing Your Home Inventory List

Make sure your inventory list and images are safely stored in case your home is damaged or destroyed. Keep them in a safe deposit box, at the home of a friend or relative, or on an online storage site. Some insurance companies provide online storage for digital files. (Storing them on your home computer does you no good if your computer is stolen or damaged.) Once your inventory file is set up, be sure to update it as you make new purchases.

We invest a lot in our homes, so it’s important we take the necessary measures to safeguard against financial and emotional loss in the wake of a disaster. Homeowners insurance is that safeguard. Be sure you’re properly covered.

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5 Mistakes to Avoid After Pre-Approval

Getting pre-approved is a great first step for buyers, but there can be a number of hurdles in the process. Here are a few cautionary steps that can be taken to make the experience as smooth and worry-free as possible.

 

Pre-Approval

Getting pre-approved has many benefits for buyers: it strengthens their buying power, assists in identifying their price range, helps communicate their preparedness to sellers, and, once their offer is accepted, helps to speed up the closing process.

Pre-approval is broken down into two steps: pre-qualification and pre-approval. During pre-qualification, buyers will share their financial information with their bank or lender to understand the approximate loan amount they can expect to qualify for. The pre-approval process is a little more involved, as the lender will conduct a thorough review of the buyer’s financial health to give them a more detailed picture of how much they can borrow, estimated monthly costs, and what interest rate they can expect on their loan.

 

Image Source: Getty Images

 

Mistakes to Avoid After Pre-Approval

Being pre-approved doesn’t mean buyers are all set. There are certain mistakes that can throw buyers off course, and in some cases, lead to a denial of financing. Here are five common mistakes that can do just that:

  1. Large Purchases

    Any large purchases—credit or cash—made after getting pre-approved can easily cause trouble for buyers. Making a large credit purchase equates to increasing debt, which raises a buyer’s debt-to-income ratio. Large cash purchases decrease a buyer’s cash-readiness from the time when they were pre-approved. In both scenarios, the lender may call into question a buyer’s ability to make their mortgage payments.

 

  1. Quitting or Changing Jobs

    Knowing that a buyer has a stable source of income is important to lenders. Accordingly, it is best for a buyer to wait until after the home loan process is complete before taking steps to change their employment. Not only could changing jobs potentially put their mortgage pre-approval at risk, but it could also delay their settlement, since it takes time to prove a new salary.

 

  1. Unpaid Bills

    Missing bill payments can be especially harmful to a buyer’s candidacy in the time between getting pre-approved and closing on the home. During pre-approval, lenders are using your ability to pay bills on time to help them paint a picture of your finances and it’s important to keep that picture consistent.

 

  1. New Credit

    Opening new credit accounts will likely change a buyer’s credit score, which may cause adjustments in their interest rate. Lenders, upon seeing a new line of credit, even a store credit card, may elect to review the buyer’s risk of non-payment.

 

  1. Paying Off Debt

    While most people would think paying off debt is a good thing, if a buyer pays off any significant loans or credit card debt after pre-approval, their lender will want to know where the money came from. The decrease in debt will also have an effect on the buyer’s debt-to-income ratio, which may alter their creditworthiness.

 

The period of time between pre-approval and closing on a home can be a tedious one for buyers. Before making any significant financial decisions, it’s helpful for buyers to speak with their lender to get an idea of how it may impact their financial standing. The complexities of this process also highlight the importance of working with an experienced agent.

For assistance planning a home purchase, connect with a Windermere Real Estate agent here: Connect With An Agent

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Moving Into a Vacation Home

For some homeowners, purchasing a second home – or a vacation property – provides a place where they can have a change of scenery and an escape from day-to-day living. Since the start of the pandemic, a number of homeowners have chosen to move into their vacation homes to do exactly that on a longer-term basis. However, certain aspects of buying and moving into a vacation home differ from a traditional home purchase, so it’s important to work with a buyer’s agent who understands the nuances of both.

 

Before You Buy

One of the first things to consider before buying a vacation property is whether you are financially ready to take on everything that comes with managing and maintaining another home. If you’re still in deep with your primary residence’s mortgage and are not cash-ready, it may not be the best time to purchase a second home.

Like any home purchase, there are pros and cons to owning a vacation home. Vacation properties are likely to retain their value depending on where they’re located. They also allow you to experience the never-ending vacation lifestyle. However, owning a vacation property can come with its own set of unique expenses. Not only will be you responsible for all the maintenance work that you might normally leave to a property management company, but if the vacation home is located on the water or a steep hillside, you can also expect higher homeowner’s insurance costs.

 

Moving In

Any moving process presents unforeseen challenges and moving into a vacation home is no different. Whereas previously the home provided accommodation for relaxing, moving in will require it to meet the demands of everyday living. It may be high time to make repairs or upgrades to the home, which could drive up your move-in costs.

Before moving in, assess the condition of all furnishings to get an idea of what needs replacing. Making the home your main residence will put added strain on your appliances, so what may have previously worked well for short-term stays won’t cut it for full-time living. Check your refrigerator, dishwasher, and washer and dryer to see if they need updating before moving in.

If you’ll be working remotely in your vacation home, think about your desired work conditions before putting together your home office. Having a designated workspace will help balance your home and work life.

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Buying with Gardening in Mind

Every home buyer has a list of must-have amenities that they’re just not willing to compromise on. For some, it could be an open floor plan or maybe a certain number of bedrooms. For others, that priority is a place to garden.

A garden provides a place where one can nurture the earth, feel connected to other living things, and have a positive impact on the environment. If you’re a home buyer who requires space to garden, here are a few things to consider:

 

The Hardiness Zone

When searching for a home, location is always high on the list of priorities, and for gardeners, it’s no different. If having a garden is important to you, the first thing you should do is check the hardiness zone to determine what you can realistically grow at any home you are considering buying.

Hardiness Zones are used by gardeners and growers around the United States to determine which plants will grow best in their region. The USDA uses the average annual minimum water temperature in the area to establish the zones, making it a great place to start when looking for your next garden.

Hardiness Zones don’t change by street like neighborhoods do but knowing where you are in the zones map can be a helpful guide to what to expect, especially if you’re moving to a completely new region.

 

Outdoor Space

Your Windermere agent will be able to use a combination of property metrics, photos, and land surveys to help narrow down your search to homes with adequate outdoor space for a garden.

Ask your agent about lot size versus the home size to make sure there is enough land to build and sustain a garden. Prior to visiting homes in person, check the exterior photos to get an idea of the area.

 

Local Wildlife

Local wildlife organizations have resources about the animals that might appear in your backyard. Knowing this will not only help you protect your veggies, herbs, and other plantings, but also aid in creating a wildlife-friendly sanctuary. The National Wildlife Foundation offers suggestions on how to do this and offers tips on how to attract songbirds and butterflies to your garden.

 

Infrastructure Requirements

Depending on the size of your garden, you may need to set up appropriate infrastructure for easier care, like a sprinkler system, raised beds, or outbuildings. If the land is uneven, consider installing raised beds that will help flatten the growing surface for your veggies and fickle flowers. A greenhouse can help you control humidity and light levels but be sure to consider the construction costs alongside your home loan amount.

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Working with a Buyer’s Agent

What is a Buyer’s Agent?

 

A typical real estate transaction involves a buyer’s agent representing the buyer and a listing agent representing the seller. A buyer’s agent helps the buyer identify potential homes to pursue, advises them on negotiations, and helps navigate any hurdles during the buying process. Once they are under contract, the buyer’s agent will work to close the sale, monitoring all the key dates and deadlines along the way. Once the transaction is complete, buyer’s agents split the commission of the sale with the listing agent.

 

Advantages of Working with a Buyer’s Agent

Find the right home

A buyer’s agent not only possess expert knowledge of local market conditions, but they also have access to tools that will help their clients see the widest array of available homes, and eventually, find the right home. By exploring the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), they can access the vastest network of available listings, and receive up-to-date alerts on open houses. They are usually the first to know when a home hits the market and are sometimes aware of homes that are scheduled to list in the near term.  Buyer’s agents can advise their clients on how a home’s outstanding repairs and improvements could affect their decision to purchase, whether the home is in need of an inspection, and discuss the necessity of a home warranty.

 

Save time

Buying a home takes time, but a buyer’s agent will help streamline the buying process. This includes paying close attention to their client’s budget and preferences in order to focus their home search to only those listings that match their needs. Buyers can then decide which homes they would like to view in-person and their agent will contact the corresponding listing agent to set up showings. Buyer’s agents are founts of knowledge, able to provide or track down information a buyer may not be able to readily access on their own. Additionally, they are connected to a network of professionals and can produce references for mortgage brokers, real estate attorneys, inspectors, and more as needed.

 

Making an Offer

Once you’re ready to make an offer on a home, the importance of working with a buyer’s agent kicks into high gear. There are many different elements that impact an offer’s success, and this is where a good buyer’s agent’s specialty lies. Through their expertise, they can help their clients craft a more competitive offer and negotiate as needed. Sometimes the most competitive offers are not just about the price. Offers can win when a buyer’s agent has researched the seller’s needs and pulled together an offer that speaks to those needs. Any advantage buyers can gain to make their offer stand out will strengthen their case. This is especially important in competitive markets when multiple competing offers are on the table.

Throughout the process of making an offer on a home, a buyer’s agent is there to answer any questions that may arise and pore over the details so that nothing goes unnoticed. This is critical since sellers will likely toss aside any offers that come in with missing documents, errors in the contract, and other inconsistencies. When buying a home, buyers often fear that they will miss something during the buying process, that they are going to pay too much, that there will be something wrong with the house after they buy it, or that they’ll lose the home to another buyer. Buyer’s agents help to alleviate these stresses and make sure the buying process runs smoothly.

 

When determining which agent to work with, it’s important to ask questions to gain an understanding of their expertise, see their personality, and get a gauge of how well they understand what you’re looking for in a home. If you would like some help connecting with an agent, you can get started here: Connect with An Agent

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Relocating for Remote Work

As the ubiquity of working from home continues, many homeowners are making the decision to move. Whether the motivation for relocating is to lower the cost of living, to be closer to family, or simply a fresh start, there are various factors to keep in mind when relocating for remote work.

Before You Relocate

Before you make the jump to a new life in a new place, making time for some strategic planning will help ensure your relocation goes as smoothly as possible. A logical first step is to consider the financial impact of your move. Depending on your company’s policy, there may be adjustments to your pay when you relocate. If this is the case, factor in your pay change as you form your relocation budget. Research the cost of living in your new hometown to understand how a compensation adjustment may affect your home search and your lifestyle once you move.

If you are moving out of state, relocating could affect your benefits and your taxes as well. There’s a chance that your employer’s health insurance plan does not offer coverage in the state you’re moving to. Talk to your employer to discuss your options. Before moving out-of-state, find out whether the two states have a reciprocal tax agreement, especially if you’re moving between states that have differing income tax regulations.

Your New Home for Remote Work

Working remote has given homeowners the freedom to choose their desired location, unbound by a work commute, especially if their company has indicated that there are no clear signs of returning to in-person work anytime soon. Knowing your desired work environment will help to tailor your home search. If you’re looking for peace and quiet while you work, explore listings in rural areas. If the hubbub of city life is your idea of a comforting backdrop, direct your attention to metropolitan areas.

For the remote worker, it’s more important than ever that your home accommodates your working needs. As many homeowners have experienced throughout the pandemic, you spend a great deal of time in your home office, so finding the home with the best workspace for you should be a priority. If you desire a private area where you can focus, a home with an open floor plan may not be the best choice. Instead, you may want to look for homes with a separate bonus room or extra bedroom.

Once you’ve moved into your new home, it’s time to put together your home office. Whether your previous home office was a professionally curated environment or a makeshift workspace in the corner of a room, a new home means a fresh start for your remote work. Like many homeowners, by now you’ve likely got a solid grasp on what your ideal home office looks like. Keep those elements alive when you relocate and enjoy productive workdays in your new home.

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What to Consider Before Buying an Equestrian Property

Buying a horse property is a very different experience from a conventional home purchase. The first and most important step is to work with an experienced equestrian specialist, but there are some additional items you should also consider before buying.

Location, Location, Location

When looking at equestrian properties, one of the most important things to consider is location. You want to make sure the property is near resources you will need like feed and tack stores, local vets, and more. You should also consider everyday needs, such as groceries, gas, shopping, and community amenities.

Knowing Your Needs

Having a clear vision of your specific needs is a very important step when buying an equestrian property. For example,  a casual rider doesn’t require the same capability and organization as a professional equestrian, and similarly, a professional will often need a horse property with strict specifications.

Property Features and Facilities

Something to consider is the soil type on the land you’re looking at. There are 12 different soil types and some of the best for horses are sandy, loamy, organic soils. Not only is this the best option for your animals, but these characteristics will also impact the quality of grasses for pasture growth. Whether you decide to pasture or hay feed, ensure there is adequate hay storage, especially for winter months when, depending on what part of the country you live in, grass may not be as ample.

Other important features to consider are:

  • Does it have indoor stalls?
  • Does it have multiple fenced pastures for rotating your livestock? This will ensure the ultimate health of your pasture and the grass that is produced.
  • Are riding trails nearby or will you have to trailer to get to trails?
  • Is there an indoor or outdoor arena? These are important for training, breaking, and even veterinary care, at times.
  • Does it have a secure tack room that rodents cannot penetrate?

Accessibility

Accessibility is another important factor to consider. This includes the convenience of your land but also important resources like water. Each horse will drink approximately 5-10 gallons of water per day; therefore, readily available potable water is vital. The accessibility of your horse property is crucial for bringing in vets, food supplies, and getting around quickly in emergencies. The navigation around your property should be easy to swiftly get from the home to the barn or other facilities. Suitable access to the barn with wide turnaround driveways is essential, which may include grading an additional access road.

Flexibility is Key!

The more specific your property criteria, the more challenging it may be to check everything off your wish list. While it’s important to know what you want from the property, it’s equally important to be open minded and realize that the property may require some extra work to meet all your needs.

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The Importance of Pre-Approval

To set yourself up for a smooth and successful home purchase, getting pre-approved is perhaps the most productive first step you can take. It strengthens your buying credibility, informs your home search, and speeds up the closing process.

 

The Pre-Approval Process 

There is an important distinction to made between two important steps of your mortgage application process: pre-qualification and pre-approval. They are similar in that they both help to inform your financial standing, but there are key differences between the two.

Pre-qualification

Pre-qualification is the first step in your mortgage application process. It will help you to understand the approximate loan amount you can expect to qualify for. You’ll begin by sharing your financial information—debt, income, assets, etc.—with you bank or lender. After reviewing the information, the bank or lender will give a loan estimate. The process is relatively simple, only taking a few business days to process.

Pre-approval

The pre-approval process is more involved than pre-qualification. After submitting a mortgage application, your lender will require all the necessary info to conduct a thorough credit history check and review of your financial health. Getting pre-approved will give you a better idea of how much you can borrow, estimated monthly costs, and what interest rates you can expect on your loans. Mortgage pre-approvals are typically valid for 60 to 90 days.

 

Benefits of Pre-Approval

Credibility

The truth is, each home on the market can only go to one buyer. To maximize the chance that your offer is accepted, sellers need to know that your offer is serious. Getting pre-approved shows that you are financially prepared and, in the event that your offer is accepted, there will be no hold ups in obtaining your mortgage. This assurance is what sellers want to know about their potential buyers, especially in a seller’s market.

Home search

Not only does pre-approval help to bolster your case as a buyer, but it also Indicates your affordable price range. By knowing your budget, you will be able to hone your home search and start preparing offers, eliminating any potential wasted time looking at houses you can’t afford.

Closing process

Once your offer is accepted, you’ll be counting down the days to move-in. Unfortunately, the closing process can often drag on, leaving buyers feeling like they’re in post-purchase limbo. Pre-approval will speed up the closing process, since the mortgage approvals have already been taken care of, allowing you to focus on next steps like appraisals and inspections.

 

When to Get Pre-Approved

Being financially prepared for a home purchase is a solid indicator that you’re ready to go about getting pre-approved, but what does that look like? Buying a house means taking on serious debt, so it’s important to either have your remaining debt paid off or have a clear path to becoming debt-free before getting pre-approved. Having adequate savings for a down payment is a sign that you’re ready to make your offer. For any questions about the pre-approval process and to get connected to a mortgage professional, contact your Windermere agent.

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Buying with Remodeling in Mind

Everyone has their own definition of a dream home. For some, they know right when they see a home that it’s perfect as is. For others, it takes remodeling to achieve their vision. Whether you’re looking for something in need of a few upgrades or a total fixer-upper, buying with the intention of remodeling comes with added considerations.

 

Finding the Right Home to Remodel

 

When it comes to choosing the right home to remodel, you’ll want to look for a property that not only aligns with your renovation plans but has significant ROI potential. How much value a home stands to gain depends on a variety of factors, like the cost of the project and your local market conditions. Knowing this information will help paint a picture of a home’s potential ROI. By conducting detailed Comparable Market Analyses (CMAs), your Windermere agent can provide helpful info on how similar homes in the neighborhood have performed on the market. Though these factors don’t provide a concrete valuation, they will help you understand how much your home could be worth. 

 

Choose the Right Remodeling Projects

 

The right remodeling projects are the ones that align with your plans for living in the home. If you’re looking for an investment property, you’ll be targeting renovation projects that appeal to buyers, like a kitchen remodel, attic conversions, garage door replacement, and exterior projects that boost the home’s curb appeal. However, if you’re planning on putting down roots and staying for an extended period of time, you’ll want to focus on projects that maximize your enjoyment of the space. In either case, any structural issues require immediate attention and should be at the top of your list.

 

Know Your Remodeling Budget

 

Your remodeling budget will help you determine the scope of renovations you’re able to afford, and ultimately, which home is right for you. Knowing this information will help your agent identify which homes fall within your range. It will also guide your conversations with your lender when structuring your loan. For more information on home renovation loans, talk to your Windermere agent.

 

Break Down Your Remodeling Costs

 

Although remodel cost estimates aren’t always final, they give you an idea of what you can expect to spend. No renovation comes without hurdles and complications, so leave some wiggle room in your budget for unforeseen costs. This will allow you to expect the unexpected and stay within your budget. A cost breakdown will also help to identify areas where you can save money by doing-it-yourself. Painting projects, landscaping, and small-scale demolition are common DIY projects that can add up to significant savings.

  

Find the Right Contractor

 

For the remodeling projects that require professional expertise, finding the right contractor is another pivotal step in making your dream home a reality. Start by reaching out to your circle of friends and family for referrals. If someone you know and trust had a positive experience with a contractor, that’s a great starting point. Continue your search by gathering information for multiple contractors in your area and request project bids and timelines from each one. This will allow you to compare pricing and make a more informed decision. 

 

Conduct Thorough Inspections Before Remodeling

 

Buying a home with the intention of remodeling means that a home inspection is likely to produce a longer list of items than a newly constructed home. Conducting a thorough home inspection is critical to formulating your plans for remodeling. Additionally, it will help identify which issues need immediate attention, enabling you to negotiate repairs and concessions, so long as the inspection is performed during your inspection contingency period.

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Ways to Save Money by Going Green

Contrary to popular belief, going green does not have to be hard or cost money, in fact it can even save you money.  There are many small things that you and your family can do within your home to save money while reducing landfill waste and the use of natural resources. Discover a few ways to go green and save some money by choosing a green home.

 

Compost Bin

Composting is free and can provide you with rich soil to garden with. You will never have to buy soil and can easily grow plants and vegetables.  To create your own bin, get a large trashcan with a locking lid, then drill about 25 holes all around the bin and attach the bin to small platform (allows it to drain).  Once you start putting approved items in the bin go outside and roll it around in the grass every few days.

 

Energy Efficient Light Bulbs

You can save approximately $75 dollars a year by replacing your traditional incandescent with energy efficient light bulbs.  On average energy efficient light bulbs typically use way less energy and can last much longer, not needing to be replaced as much.

 

Laundry

There are quite a few options to save money and energy when it comes to laundry.  Here are a few: wait till you have a full load of laundry to wash, line dry your clothes, wash your clothes in cold water and when it comes time to get a new washer and dryer buy an energy efficient one.

 

Weather-Strip & Caulk

One of the main ways we use a lot of energy, especially in hot and cold climates, is through air-conditioning and heating. One way to reduce the use of heating and air-conditioning is to properly weather strip and caulk all windows and doors keeping your home cool and warm when needed.

 

Reuse and Reduce

Use items more than once when you can to avoid throwing them out; this might mean buying quantity over quality.  Another way is to join The Freecycle Network or Buy Nothing group on Facebook you can swap used goods with neighbors for free and also keeping more waste out of landfills.

 

DIY Cleaning

Start making your own cleaning products.  Not only can you customize, make them eco-friendlier but you will also save money buying products.  On average, most DIY cleaners cost less than a $1 to make per bottle compared to $5-$15 per store bought bottle.

 

Unplug & Turn Off

Put all your major electronics on a power strip and shut off when they are not in use.  Even if your electronics are shut off, they still will continue to draw electricity thought out the day.  Another tip is to make sure you unplug your cellphone when completely charged and always power everything down while not in use to save on battery life.

 

Toilet

There is an extremely easy way to make your toilet a low flow toilet.  Simply add a brick, wrapped in a waterproof bag or take a plastic water bottle and fill it with sand putting it into your tank.  This will reduce the amount of water with every flush. Once you are ready for a new toilet purchase a low-flush toilet.

 

Shower

Change up your shower head with an energy-efficient shower head that will use half the amount of water.  These shower heads are low flow but will significantly cut your water bill down.  Another option is to install a tap aerator which will also cut down water usage without changing the water pressure.

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