9 Ways to Save on Your Home That Grandma Never Told You

Classic advice — with a few modern twists for today’s homeowners.

Your grandma and her ma before her knew how to pinch pennies. Bet they knew where every dime of their household income went. Do you? Don’t kick yourself if you don’t. It’s tough in this day and age of automatic billing and apps that tap your debit card.

But we all could still learn a thing or two from grandma. Here are a few money-saving and money-making habits that your grandparents cultivated — some with a few modern twists that your grandparents wish they’d had back in their day.

1. Rent Your Rooms — and More

Your four-bedroom Cape Cod was ready for your future rugrats the day you moved in. But you? Not quite so ready. Your grandparents knew that extra space was a goldmine, and would rent it out. You’ve got it even better today with Airbnb or HomeAway (just make sure to check city regulations first).

Or commit to sharing space long-term: Finding a roommate makes you an honest-to-god landlord (and could score you a new bestie!), complete with tax deductions and blessed additional income.

There are other ways to leverage extra space that are easier today than in your grandparents’ day because it’s so easy to use the internet to advertise. If you’re lucky enough to live near a concert venue or ballpark, let attendees park in your driveway or parking space for some extra cash.

Have a rooftop patio perfect for parties? Check out Splacer, a new online marketplace for event planners, which can turn your home into a money-making event venue.

2. Revisit Your Insurance

The coverage you needed when purchasing the home might not be the coverage you need forever. Perhaps you sold your grandmother’s antique diamond ring, added a security system, or finally ditched the trampoline. Any of those things could actually make your rate go down. Give your agent a call to make sure you’re not over-covered.

You might even find savings on things you didn’t realize come built into your insurance.

“A lot of times, you find you have double insurance,” says Deb Tomaro, a REALTOR® in Bloomington, Ind. When a breach compromised her personal information, she set out to buy identity protection — only to find it was included in her homeowner’s policy.

“I would have paid for double coverage,” she says. “I didn’t know that until I asked.”

3. Research the Problem Before You Pay Someone

Your grandparents would have raged about paying someone for something they could do (or learn to do) themselves. Google DIY options before calling a pro — you might find your irritating issue super easy to fix on your own (and way, way cheaper).

Hiring a plumber to fix your leaky fill valve might cost $45 per hour (or much more). Handy homeowners might spend $25 or less on materials, saving you enough cash for a decent bottle of wine. And don’t bring out the handyman to fix cracking caulk — a $4 tube from the hardware store will do the job nicely.

4. Stock Up That Fridge

File this under strange-but-true: A full fridge regulates temperature better than an empty one. Open space in your refrigerator fills with warm air whenever you peek inside, making your poor appliance work overtime. Your grandparents’ fridges were smaller and easier to fill, so it wasn’t an issue for them. But today’s larger fridge/freezers can waste significant energy.

So go ahead, stock up on veggies, meat, and milk — just don’t let your grocery costs run amuck in the process. If you can’t fill it with usable food, place pitchers of water in your fridge to take up the space. And set your fridge between 36 and 38 degrees Fahrenheit for max efficiency.

5. Get FREE Stuff From Your Utility Company

Now this is a new one on your grandparents. Energy efficiency wasn’t quite the thing that is today. So, believe it or not, unlike a couple of decades ago, your utility company is working to save you money. Their methods might even be a little Oprah-inspired:

You get a free LED bulb!
You get a free energy audit!
You get an HVAC coil cleaning!
That’s right. Some utilities give away free stuff, like usage assessments, efficient bulbs, water-saving shower heads, faucet aerators, and more. And they may offer rebates for upgraded appliances. Bet your grandparents would have snapped those up if they had the chance.

“There are tons of ways to save,” says Steven Hughes, founder of Know Money, a financial literacy advocacy organization. “Some [utilities] are even sending out solar-powered panels to different houses, depending on the neighborhood, for no cost.”

6. Watch Your PMI

What’s PMI? Private mortgage insurance. If you put less than 20% down on your home, you’re probably paying for PMI, which protects your lender if you default on the loan. But once your loan-to-value ratio hits that blessed 20% mark, call your lender to cancel it.

Lenders aren’t required to remove it until you’re at 22% — meaning an eagle eye can save you a good bit of cash. You’ll save between $600 and $1,200 for each year’s worth of premiums you can avoid (for a typical homeowner).

You might reach the goal post earlier than you think.

“PMI usually ends seven or eight years down the road, but if you’ve made big changes to the home, you might reach that 20% value much quicker,” Tomaro says. Most lenders will require an appraisal to determine if you’ve passed the magic number.

7. Resist the Urge to File an Insurance Claim

Your homeowner’s insurance company doesn’t need to know about every bump, scrape, and petty theft. Think about how much you’re willing to pay out-of-pocket before an incident occurs. Frequent claims can increase your insurance score. That’s right, your insurance company gives you a score, which can affect your premium, so carefully assess your budget and deductible before filing.

“Have a conversation with all the decision-makers,” Tomaro says. You might decide you’ll skip any claim that would cost less than $1,000 to fix. In that situation, increasing your deductible might make sense — and it will save you on your monthly premiums.

8. Negotiate for the Best Price (You Can Do It!)

Accepting the first price you see can cost you — even when it comes to things like insurance premiums and handyman quotes. And you can put those haggling anxieties to rest: You don’t need to be a hard-nosed negotiator to save money on your monthly payments.

Often, asking politely for another rate is enough. Some home insurance companies offer discounts or extended coverage for teachers, long-term customers, and other groups. And when it comes to your cable bill, mentioning you need to check out a competitor before committing might net you another year’s worth of free HBO.

9. Reap the Power of Rags

Although paper towels did exist back in your grandparents day, they didn’t spend money on them when an old rag would do. Disposable to them meant throwing money away. Follow their lead, and skip the one-use roll for washable rags, available in cheap multipacks. Or use the rags you already have: old T-shirts, cut-up beach towels — even socks work.

Even if you calculate the energy cost to run a load of laundry just for rags, you’ll still come out ahead by replacing your paper towels, unless you’re tossing your rags in the wash after every tiny wipe.

By: Jamie Wiebe @ House Logic

1320 W 168th Street # 6, Gardena 90247

LISTING PRICE: $375,000

In Escrow. Located just blocks from the up-and-coming Artesia Corridor, this lovely 2 bedroom, 3 bath home is conveniently located near shops, restaurants and eateries. The first level features an open concept living room with a cozy fireplace and leads into the kitchen, dining area and outdoor patio area. As you walk up the stairway to the second level, you will first notice the roomy hallway that leads to two complete master suites with balconies, bathrooms and walk-in closets. The second level also includes an extra spacious laundry area with lots of storage space. Additional features of this move-in-ready home are central air and heating and a spacious two-car garage that provides direct access to the home.

2 BEDROOMS
3 BATHS
1,200 SQ. FT
BUILT 1989

MLS#: SB17001515

Please call me if I can help you sell your home – Lucy Garber at (310) 293-4866.

3 Days on the Market – 2645 S. Dolphin Street, San Pedro, CA 90731

2645-dolphin-st_san-pedro-ca

SOLD by Lucy Garber.  Custom 4 bedroom, 2 level, single family home with detached guest quarters and 3-car garage. Impeccable interior with classic architectural elements blends seamlessly with exterior living space. First level features living room with fireplace, formal dining room, family room and a beautiful kitchen which opens out to the landscaped patio. Grand staircase leads up to the master bedroom with his and her closets and bathroom. 3 additional bedrooms, full bath and laundry room complete the 2nd level. Sold at listed price of $1,090.000.

Please call me if I can help you sell your home – Lucy Garber at (310) 293-4866.

How Design Sense Can Stop Burglars in Their Tracks

home-interior

It feels like there’s always a new rule about how to design your house. Whether it’s feng shui, how to make your room feel open, or how many colors to use, it can make your head spin trying to find the best way to decorate your home for you. All you want to do is make your home feel like home. Face it, no matter if you’re a rule follower or a rule breaker, when you enter your house after a long day, it feels good to feel at ease, to truly feel home. One of the things that make us feel most at home is to feel safe. Safety is an essential trait of any home and yes, it can be taken into consideration no matter if you have a furniture set or have collected pieces over the years. Get ready to learn Designed Defense.

Guarding with a Garden:

Great design and great protection start in the same place: the front yard. How you plan your garden will make a big difference in the protection of your home. First, consider the perimeter of the yard. Do you have a fence? Many think that having a fence will protect a home. But unfortunately, often it does the exact opposite. The fence provides privacy to you, but it also allows a person to move unseen behind it, and enter your home without worry of someone on the road spotting them. Best thing to do? Take down the fence. If you still want a fence and love the look, go for a shorter fence. Make sure that people can be seen behind it, and it’s for aesthetic purposes, not attempts at privacy.

Learn to love short plants. Little plants can make a big impact on your yard, while keeping your home nice and safe. These plants will not provide coverage for a burglar to break in. Like a fence, tall shrubs and overgrown trees allow burglars to move around unseen. If you have basement windows, keep the plants even lower. Trim your plants back from your basement windows.

Choosing flowers over big bushes means not only do you add extra color, but you’ll also be keeping your home safe. If you do not have basement windows, keep your shrubbery under the height of your first-floor windows. It will make your yard look neat, and protect your home.

Let There be Light:

Lighting can make or break a space. You want to set the right mood and lights can do the trick. Whether it’s a lamp or a light bulb, the quality and look of light change the feel of a space. But smart lighting choices can keep you safe too. Before we talk about lighting in the house, let’s stay outside. Add motion sensitive light outside. This will help you stop fumbling with your keys when you come in the dark, and it will also alert your community, literally putting a spotlight, on anyone moving around your yard who shouldn’t be there.

Inside your home, lights should be on timers. This way, whether or not you and your family are home, a potential burglar thinks you are. It will deter them from entering the property. They do not want to find a family at home. Empty properties are easier targets for a burglar, so they will not risk a property that looks occupied. It’s easy to use timers on your existing lamps. All you need to do is plug the lamp into the timer, the timer into the wall, and then set the timer. It’s helpful to have multiple lamps on timers. Consider timing the lights so it mimics your patterns as if you are home: turn the living area lights off as the upstairs lights turn on!

Use Your Blinds:

One of the most important rules of home security is to make sure that potential burglars do not know what you have that they might want to steal. The good news is this practice is easy to incorporate into your design. Always use your blinds and curtains. Don’t let anyone walking by on the street know about your new gaming system or computer. Not only do they know what you have, but they know where you keep it. Make sure to integrate closing your blinds into your evening routine. Additionally, keep valuables out of view from out a window. Even if they can’t be seen from the street, a burglar may peer through your windows, looking for potential targets.

Furniture Placement:

Use your furniture to your advantage. If you have a finished basement, don’t let your furniture be a helpful aid to someone entering into your basement through a window. Furniture can help in their descent. Make sure to keep furniture away from windows. Upstairs, use furniture to block anything that you don’t want the outside world to see. This can include valuables, and help you protect your privacy late at night.

The rules of design are completely up to you, but home security should always be a factor as you design your home.

From SimpliSafe.com