How to Achieve Your 2017 Homeownership Goals

It’s 2017. While it can simply seem like an arbitrary calendar change, the new year is special for a reason. It’s a chance to wipe the slate clean and focus on creating the life you truly want. For many homeowners, their living spaces become woven into their goals and resolutions for the new year. But, putting those resolutions into action is so much more difficult than we’d like it to be. Just getting started – deciding on a first step, and pushing yourself to make it happen, is where so many people get stuck. It happens to us all in some capacity each year, but we’ve seen many homeowners overcome that first step and achieve their homeownership goals. Read on for our top tips for putting your new year homeowner resolutions into action:

1. Write down your goals.​ Set a timer for 3 minutes, and write down every dream that comes to mind for your home. Don’t limit yourself on practicality – just go for it and allow yourself to freely brainstorm. Anything from building a new addition, redoing the master bathroom, planting new flowers in the garden, or even simply cleaning the gutters more regularly are completely valid goals. Maybe you even want to sell your house! Whether you want to improve your home or move on to a new one, jot down your ideas.

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2. Prioritize your goals based on impact.​ Which are the most important to you? Your spouse, your family? Why? Which goals will have the most positive impact on the household?

3. Prioritize your goals based on budget.​ Which can you feasibly afford in the next 3 months? The next 6 months? This year? When considering cost, keep both finances and time in mind.

4. Research next steps.​ Once you’ve chosen your top goals and prioritized them, it’s time to research how to achieve them. Start with just one goal and write down as many steps as you can that are necessary in achieving the goal. Assign due dates to each step and share it with someone who can help you and/or keep you accountable.

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Research is incredibly important when you are tackling a new home project, especially if you intend to hire a professional to do it. Do you need a special permit for the work? Where can you find a trustworthy and hardworking contractor? What is the best time of year to do the project? Construction work, for example, is most often done in the summer – cold weather is undesirable because doors and windows are often left open and let in cold air, and workers tend to track in mud, snow, ice melt, etc. with their boots. But, that means that contractors are more difficult to schedule during the summer and may charge more during those warmer months. Plan ahead and book early if you intend to hire a contractor during the summer.

If you’d like to take the DIY route but don’t have any specialized home improvement skills, there are plenty of projects you can take on by yourself that will have a big impact on your home. Hop on the ladder and clean your gutters. Or, get a long-handled saw and prune some tree branches that are looming too close to your home to reduce moisture, deterioration, and prevent pests like squirrels from visiting too often. Something that requires no special equipment is washing your windows – and what a difference it makes! People are often surprised by how much brighter and more welcoming a space can look if the windows have been cleaned thoroughly.

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Lastly, the biggest no-cost change you can make in your living space is to declutter. Winter is the perfect time to dig into your storage closets, basements, and attics to weed out those items that you forgot were even there. It’s too easy to stuff those spaces full of clothes, books, toys, and games, because once you turn your back you never see the clutter. And yet, what a freeing sensation it is to donate those items! Make a room-by-room plan to go through your home and tidy up every nook and cranny. After you’ve finished, you’ll feel twice as relaxed and your space will feel twice as big.

Start the new year off right. You probably spend most of your time in your home, and you deserve to live in a place that you love and are proud to call your own. Don’t wait to start improving your space – write down your goals and get started!