Owning a home is cheaper than it was five years ago.
Believe it or not, on average, homeowners are spending about $65 less per month on their mortgages than in 2009, according to a recent Census report. Back then, homeowners were spending $1,000 per month, and now that number is down to $934. It’s not much monthly, but over 360 payments, every dollar helps.
If your home is costing you the same as it was half a decade ago, maybe it’s time to figure out how to shave some of those costs. Here are four ways to cut your housing costs.
1. Shrink your homeowners insurance bill
Bankrate just released some “surprising homeowner’s insurance discounts” you may not know about.
- Four out of 10 top insurers offer discounts for a newly purchased home.
- Three of the 10 largest homeowners insurance companies offer a price break for seniors.
- Request a quote and switch to a new carrier before your existing policy expires and three of the top insurers will offer an early bird discount.
- Belong to a fraternity, sorority or professional association? Two of the largest insurers will give you a discount for that.
Most importantly, remember to update your homeowner’s insurance if you renovate or install security features. Most insurers will offer discounts there.
2. Refinance your mortgage
Everyone (myself included) thought interest rates would rise this year. The economy was improving and the Fed was stepping away from its bond-buying stimulus program that kept rates artificially low, all signalling a rise in rates above 5 percent.
Instead, rates have actually dropped. Last week, they were under 4 percent for 30-year fixed-rate mortgage. So if you’re paying more than that, it’s still a good time to refinance. Even if you’re pretty close to that 4 percent, you may still save money if you follow my four rules for a home-run refinance.
3. Cut your utility bills
4. Fight your property tax assessment.
If you feel your property tax assessment is too high, or at least much higher than your neighbors with similar homes, follow these four steps to fight your property tax assessment. If you can successfully lower the assessment, you’ll save money for years to come.