Taking steps to streamline the cost of your home is a great way to start 2017. Try these 5 easy property resolutions.
With all the best intentions in the world, many New Year’s resolutions don’t even make it to the end of January.
However, taking a little time to complete some (or all) of these 5 New Year’s property resolutions will mean your pocket will feel the benefit for at least 12 months – or longer.
1. Start overpaying (even a little bit) on your mortgage
If you have a mortgage, you’ll be paying a set amount every month based on an agreed interest rate. But chances are, this is only the minimum you can pay to the lender – not the maximum.
Most lenders permit you to overpay by up to 10% a year without charging a penalty. And, if you can afford to take them up on the offer, you could save yourself a fortune in interest repayments.
For example, a mortgage of £200,000 (taken over 25 years) on a fixed rate of 3.5% would cost £1,002 a month.
Upping this payment by £200 to £1,202 a month, would see you clear the debt 5 years and 11 months early, and save more than £26,000 in interest.
Bear in mind that deals priced on a lender’s standard variable rate (SVR), as well as offset mortgages and some trackers allow for unlimited overpayments.
2. Switch to a mortgage better deal
If your current mortgage deal has come to an end, you’ll probably have reverted to your lender’s SVR which tends to be considerably more expensive, so get switching.
Reducing the 3.5% rate of the same £200,000 mortgage down to 2.5% will shave an immediate £100 a month off your repayments.
3. Review your home insurance
First, check the level of buildings cover is accurate. This is based on the rebuild cost rather than the market value of the property, which you can check at the Association of British Insurers’ website.
Next, check the cover for your contents is accurate and up-to-date – the average value of a three-bedroom home is £55,000, according to the ABI.
Remember that most insurers impose a single item limit (literally the maximum you can claim for each thing). So, if you were the recipient of any expensive gifts over Christmas, you should call your insurer and arrange separate cover.
While you’re on the home insurance warpath, check you have the best deal for your circumstances. Jump onto a comparison website like uSwitch.com to compare deals.
4. Insulate your loft
It’s easy to let lofts languish. But getting yours insulated and boarded over this year will mean a warmer house AND more effective storage space.
You could even qualify for a grant under the Energy Company Obligations (ECO) scheme, available from one of the big energy companies – although you’ll need to be on certain benefits such as pensions credit or tax credits or have an income of £16,010 or less. Call the Energy Saving Trust on 0300 123 1234 to find out if you qualify.
If you don’t, loft insulation for a three-bedroom house costs in the region of £400 – but you could soon make the money back in cheaper energy bills.
In fact, switching to a cheaper energy supplier can also save a fortune – more than £600 a year according to uSwitch.
5. Get your boiler serviced
Waiting for your boiler to break down before giving it any TLC can be expensive – and result in a cold and miserable few days. So, just like your car, put it in for an annual service (British Gas charges around £80).
It’s also worth considering boiler insurance which will cover you all-year-round. A basic policy costs around £100 a year, although boilers over a certain age won’t qualify. Find out more with Zoopla’s guide, Is boiler insurance worth it?