5 Ways to Spend Less on Housing as a Homeowner
According to the United States Department of Labor, the average American spends $18,886 a year on housing, or $1,574 a month. For most people, housing is their single biggest monthly expense, but also one of the most necessary.
As a homeowner with less flexibility than a renter, it can feel daunting to try to cut your housing costs. But there are ways to reduce your expenses and put a little extra cash in your pocket each month. Today, our real estate experts at Denver Mobile Homes outline five ways to spend less on housing as a homeowner:
1. Minimize your utility bill
The easiest way to cut costs as a homeowner is to pay attention to your utility bills. Lowering your energy usage with a few simple adjustments can significantly reduce your monthly expenses.
Heating and cooling
- Check for effective seals on your windows and doors.
- Make sure your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning ducts are clean and working properly to maximize their efficiency.
- Turn your thermostat down by 10 to 15 degrees overnight or while you’re away from home. You can invest in a programmable thermostat to do this automatically each day!
- Take shorter showers. Even shaving two minutes from your shower time can save as many as 10 gallons of water!
- Do some research to make sure you’re using an efficient showerhead. The United States Environmental Protection Agency places a WaterSense label on showerheads that meet their energy efficiency criteria.
- Wash your clothes and linens with cold water! Not only will your clothes last longer, but your per-load energy usage will also be cut by as much as half.
- Fix any leaky faucets or pipes to save gallons of water each month.
- Only run the dishwasher when it’s full.
- Turn off the sink while brushing your teeth or shaving.
- Upgrade your light bulbs to energy-efficient fluorescent or LED bulbs.
- Invest in smart power strips, which can cut passive energy usage from your TV or other electronics while not in use.
- Turn off the lights during the day and any time you leave the room.
Saving on utility costs can be as simple as being more aware of your monthly usage and taking small steps to reduce it. If you’re trying to save money as a homeowner, start here.
2. Rent out a room
If your home has extra or under-utilized living space, why not get it working for your wallet? If you live near a college, think about renting out the spare bedroom or basement to a college student or a young graduate. Plenty of people are looking for affordable housing options, and even an extra few hundred dollars a month can really help you reduce your own living costs. To get started, publish a posting on a site like Craigslist or Zillow. You’ll be able to screen potential renters as they express interest.
This solution is not for everyone, obviously. Many people do not want to put the time or effort into finding an ideal renter, or would prefer to maintain their privacy. But if you’re looking for ways to reduce your monthly housing expense, renting out a spare room is a great solution.
3. Become a host on AirBnB
AirBnB is a global company which has exploded in popularity in recent years. Members use the service to find or offer temporary lodging across the globe, usually for vacations or short homestay experiences. Some owners list entire apartments or houses on AirBnB, meaning short-term renters have full privacy and access to the entire home during their stay, but you can also list individual rooms, floors, garages, etc.
AirBnB lets you set the terms for short-term renters: you can choose the price per night, the maximum length of stay, and any specific requirements for guests. Signing up to host is free.
As with renting out a room, signing up to be a host on AirBnB means you’ll have to sacrifice some of your privacy. It’s up to you to decide if it’s worth the extra monthly income.
Another option for saving money on your monthly housing costs is negotiating a lower monthly payment through refinancing. Talk to your lender to see if you can change the type of mortgage you have (fixed rate, adjustable rate, etc) or negotiate a lower interest rate.
One thing to remember when refinancing is that you are only lowering your monthly cost of living. You’ll still owe the same total amount on the property, and in fact, you will likely end up paying more overall in interest if you have to extend your mortgage. When you cut utility costs, you are saving money you would have otherwise spent. When you rent out a room, you are increasing your monthly income. When you refinance your mortgage, you are simply deferring payments and will owe more in the long run.
If you’re focused on reducing your monthly costs, however, refinancing can definitely help.
Our final recommendation for saving money on housing is to move to a more affordable place. Although many homeowners are resistant to moving after they have already invested equity in their current home, the best way to save money is to live well within your means, and sometimes that means making a change.
Move to a cheaper location
Housing prices are usually highest in metropolitan areas, so you might consider moving a little farther from the city to a more suburban or rural area. The monthly savings will add up!
If you’re a recent empty nester or simply find yourself in a place with too much extra space, downsize! Moving to a smaller, cheaper home will free up some extra income each month.
Consider a mobile home
Finally, consider looking into mobile home living. Trailer homes have had a bad rap for too long; the truth is, they can be a wonderful low-cost housing option for homeownership. As of 2018, the average house in the Denver metro area costs nearly $550,000, and the Denver Post recently reported that buyers need to earn at least a $92,000 salary to afford financing a median-priced home.
In contrast, Denver Mobile Homes currently has comfortable, modern modular home properties listed for less than $60,000! Your dream of home ownership does not have to die with the skyrocketing Denver housing market. There are creative solutions for you.
If you are skeptical about living in a mobile home, please don’t hesitate to contact Denver Mobile Homes today. We’ve made it our mission to remove the stigma of mobile home living and make Denver housing affordable again. We sell and buy mobile homes across the Denver metro area and pride ourselves on helping the community find and develop unique housing solutions. For more information, give us a call today!