Successful Homeownership

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Date
January 25, 2013
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If you’ve made it this far, congratulations! Buying a home can be a long, tedious process, but the reward is unmatched. In order to keep that reward, however, you must know how to be a responsible homeowner. It is important to always keep your finances in order. The budgeting skills you practiced to begin the process should be carried over to your new life as a homeowner. Always make sure you have money saved for a rainy day and make sure you get that mortgage payment in on time every month.

Taxes

Every homeowner can use the Home Mortgage Interest Deduction to deduct the interest that they pay on their mortgage from their federal tax returns. Depending on the town or city you live in, you may be eligible for a Residential Tax Exemption as well. Below are municipalities in Massachusetts that offer a property tax exemption with links for more information.

Boston
Brookline
Cambridge
Somerville
Waltham
Watertown

Home Maintenance

You should always keep in mind that one day you are going to sell your home and at that point you are going to want its value to be the highest it possibly can. In order to make that possible, you need to keep up on your home maintenance. You also don’t want anything to get out of hand and have it result in a large expense when it could have been avoided by keeping up with weekly or monthly maintenance. In Massachusetts, homeowners need to know how to prepare for each season. The weather of the four seasons can affect the home differently, whether it’s the snow in the winter, leaves in the fall, humidity in the summer, or rain in the spring. Make sure you are on top of your seasonal home maintenance.

Not so sure about your home improvement skills? Attend a Home Improvement Workshop offered through the City of Boston or Boston Building Resources.

If you are hiring a contractor, make sure you do your homework first.

If you are looking to donate furniture, appliances, etc. you can do so at Habitat for Humanity ReStore.

Landlord Resources

The Attorney General’s Guide to Landlord/Tenant Rights

The Good Neighbors Handbook

Condominium Association Resources

Association of Condominium, Townhouse, and Homeowner Associations

Community Associations Institute

Refinancing

When to Refinance Your Mortgage

Foreclosure Prevention

It is important to prioritize your mortgage payment over all other bills. The last thing you want to fall behind on is your housing payment. If you are struggling to make ends meet and you are unable to make your next mortgage payment, it is important to contact the servicer of your loan. It is much better to notify them of what is going on rather than trying to hide and hope they don’t notice. If they aren’t receiving their money, they will notice. To avoid the foreclosure process you will want to contact a non-profit organization that does Foreclosure Prevention Counseling. They will try to negotiate with the servicer of your loan to modify the terms of the mortgage or workout a repayment plan to give you time to get back on your feet and not lose your home.

Foreclosure Prevention Programs

Consumer Affairs Resources