Quick Ways to Build Equity: Equity is the percentage of market value that you own in your home. Your lender owns the rest, so your goal should be to pay the lender’s share (the principal) down and build your share (equity) up.
You don’t need to go to extreme lengths to pay down your mortgage. Just follow these few easy tips:
- Buy wisely. Buy as much home as you can without straining your resources, so you can occupy your home longer. Moving and closing costs eat away equity.
- Pay a little extra. Pay a little more every month toward reducing your principal. Use bonuses or cash back on your credit cards to apply to your mortgage. Making one extra payment a year could shorten your loan payoff by as much as four years, saving you thousands of dollars in interest.
- Pay off other debts. Don’t incur new debt. Spend less on automobiles, dinners out and other expenses. Pay off credit cards and student loans as quickly as you can, so you’ll have more money available to pay toward your mortgage.
- Make improvements. Keeping your home repaired and updated helps you preserve equity by making market value higher.
- Let time work for you. Think of your home as a savings account where the money you put in can be retrieved one day – with interest. Historically, homes have increased in value as much as three percent a year in normal markets, which is a great way to build instant equity.
Too many Clothes, No Down Payment: Crazy fashion trends do more than strain closet space. They can sometimes send the message that trendiness is more important than building wealth. Here’s to save the money you spend on new clothes for something more rewarding – a down payment on your own home.
Reduce your wardrobe. Consign, donate or give away clothes you haven’t worn in a year or two. Keep anything that goes with at least three other items, like a jacket that works with a dress, skirt and blouse, or jeans.
Take better care. Fast fashion doesn’t last, so when you wash clothes, turn pants, skirts and blouses inside out first. Don’t use wire hangers. Fold knits instead of hanging them. Your clothes will look better and last longer.
Buy less. If you buy something for $100, look at how long the season is to wear it (four months) and how many times you’ll actually wear it (17). Take the cost ($100) and divide by the number of wearings. That’s a tax of $5.88 every time you wear it.
Bank the money. If you spend $200 a month on clothes, try a year without buying anything new and let that $200 multiply in a savings account, 401K, or CD. That’s $2,400 that could grow with compound interest and investment growth. In three years, you could have over $10,000 or more and that’s a good start toward owning a home.
Rainy Day Projects For Your Home
April showers bring May flowers, but they also give you time to check a few things off your to do list on a rainy weekend. Here are a few projects you can get done:
- Spring clean. Dust all the blinds, wipe down the quarter-round molding, and clean under the beds and furniture you haven’t moved in a while.
- Organize your closets. Unless you’re extremely neat all the time, you’re bound to have items you can sort. Create sections or piles to keep, throw away, and donate. Getting rid of clutter makes you feel good and it also makes your home look better.
- Paint something. Paint may take longer to dry in wet weather but it’s still fun to sand and finish an old table or spruce up a nightstand. Get your house paint from the garage and touch up dings on the doors and walls. Or paint some small terra cotta pots and fill them with plants for your kitchen window.
- Fix something. Even if you don’t know how, it’s time to stop that leaky faucet or install that new sink. Just visit the Internet for instructions or invite a knowledgeable friend to help, and then serve them dinner.
- Make updating plans. A rainy day is a good time to assess your home and think about projects you want to do later. Make a wish list of things you want to accomplish, like updating the kitchen or finding new lamps for the den.