The end of the year is coming fast. As a homeowner, there are some timely issues that will benefit you financially to review. In between the holiday celebrations, get yourself set for a sound new year by going through this checklist before the clock strikes midnight.
Make a home inventory
Once you’ve opened your Christmas presents, you want to make sure your new possessions are listed for insurance purposes. The more complete the home inventory, the easier it will be if the unthinkable happens. It’s wise to put that list on Google Drive or some other cloud storage that’s offsite. Jewelry, art work and collectibles should be valued (consult your agent on these items). DocuHome provides a place to upload pics and tag items in a room for a more accurate valuation.
Review your insurance coverage
Make sure your home is covered, especially what you owe on your mortgage. The Insurance Information Institute says typical homeowners insurance policies cover the structure and your belongings from fire, wind, hail, liability, theft and vandalism. Add-ons include flood and earthquake. You should also check to see how long temporary housing and expenses are covered in the event of a loss.
File for a homestead exemption
Depending on the state, a homestead exemption shelters all or some of your primary residence from certain property taxes and creditors following the death of a spouse. This can be extremely helpful for the disabled and seniors with limited incomes. Each state is different as to how and when you need to file, so check with your city or county.
Evaluate your mortgage
Check the terms and compare your rate with current rates. Consult your lender about refinancing before rates go up. Review your escrow account, and budget accordingly if property taxes are going to increase.
Think about a new home
If you’ve purchased a home this year, you might want to adjust your witholdings to balance the savings you’ll gain in deductions (i.e. interest, points). The IRS withholding calculator is a good place to start if you’re wondering what your tax liability could be.
Check in with your financial advisor
Each year, you should set some financial goals. Do you want to pay off your house? Save for a down payment? Save for retirement? Invest?
If you haven’t already winterized your home, get it ready for low temps and wet weather.
BY SUSHA ROBERTS. GRAPHICS BY MACI HASS.
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