9 new year's resolutions home improvement
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With the festive season well underway, promises and resolutions for 2020 abound. Commitments to exercise aside, here’s the top-9 list of what you should try to achieve this year.

This time, it’s going to be different. A brand new year, brimming with possibilities, and you’ve resolved to get on top of keeping your rental property in order. In 2020, nothing can stop you.

Cut energy use

First of all, houses are a major source of energy-drain. There’s a reason your bills keep growing. In 2020, gain control of what energy your appliances and electronics are gobbling up and trim your energy use. Unplug your appliances when they’re not in use, hang window shades to keep your apartment cooler in summer without the use of an air conditioner, or add a timer to control how long your lights stay on. 8 awesome ideas to save you money on utilities is another great read if you’re looking for tips.

Purify your indoor air

Indoor air quality is actually a major environmental health hazard. If that comes as a surprise, consider this: Indoor air is full of potential contaminants, such as dust, mould spores, pollen and viruses. It’s not a happy place for a hayfever sufferer, let alone the average person. The problem is at its worst in winter, when we tend to keep our windows and doors shut. There are a number of ways to eliminate some of these harmful lung irritants at home. Consider using a portable air cleaner designed to remove specific pollutants; no portable air cleaner will remove all pollutants. Simple measures to keep asthma and hayfever triggers away from your house include fixing leaks and drips as soon as they occur. Standing water and high humidity actually encourage the growth of dust mites, mould and mildew.

Budget for unexpected payments

As you know, each stage of the renting process comes attached to a price tag. Circumstances can change unexpectedly. That in mind, there are good reasons to practice good money habits before and during your tenancy. If you’re creating a financial planner for 2020, remember to take into account things such as application fees, weekly rental payments, pets, storage costs (if applicable), bills, increases in rent and the potential that you might move house.

You might also like:
– Who is responsible for pest control, landlords or tenants?

– Applications: How long before I am approved for a property?
– Your rental ledger – Why you should be asking for a copy

Keep your payments up to date

Don’t miss payment deadlines – it’s as simple as that. If you do, notify your agent or landlord that your payment is forthcoming. If you frequently miss payments, it signals to your property manager that you can’t manage your money. This information will be recorded in your tenant ledger. Putting a good plan in place to avoid rental arrears occurring can ease some financial stress. A good relationship with your landlord/agent will go a long way, but try to get ahead in your payments to avoid extra pressure.

Get organised (de-clutter)

There are no excuses in 2020! First of all, that clutter has got to go. We’re not saying you should be living a minimalist lifestyle, but there’s no reason your rental should be less than tidy. In the new year, start by creating extra storage space so you can store unneeded items away. Struggling to find storage space in your rental property? This post has a number of hints and tricks to help you out.

Support your local neighbourhood

2018 was a tough year for a lot of people – there’s no avoiding that. Sometimes a little altruism goes a long way to help restore balance in a world that can seem a little topsy-turvy. Why not volunteer your time and energy to help others, and preserve the value of your local neighbourhood? Australia’s Neighbourhood Watch program fosters a strong sense of community. Set up a meeting with your closest neighbours to discuss any concerns and priorities for your local area. You could ask a local police representative to come to your first meeting to answer any questions.

Curb your home water use

Did you know the average person uses 100,000 litres of fresh water every year? Reducing your water consumption at home is a simple way to decrease your water and energy bills, while also reducing your property’s impact on the environment. The shower is typically the biggest source of water use (around 34% in the average Australian home), followed by the toilet (26%) and laundry (23%). To reduce costs and environmental impact, choose water efficient shower heads, toilets, appliances and taps. If you are moving into an unfurnished rental, look for the national Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards (WELS) label as a guide for choosing washing machines and dishwashers. The label contains a star rating (the more stars, the more water efficient) and data on actual water consumption.

Exercise your DIY skills

Spending quality time with your friends and family takes planning, but it’s so worth the effort. Why not make a home emergency preparedness kit? If you have kids, you could make a scavenger hunt of gathering up all the necessary supplies (i.e. torches, candles, duct tape, etc) and assemble your kit together. It’s a good way to teach children about what to do if there’s an emergency. If you’d rather not spend extra money on buying new furniture, consider learning to make your own! Pinterest is a terrific source of handy DIY projects – with a little elbow grease you could be relaxing on some beautiful homemade chairs and benches in no time.

Finally, use low maintenance materials

Above all, everyone would like to worry less. If you want to lessen your anxiety burden, ask your landlord if they can install low-maintenance materials and products designed for a more trouble-free service. LED bulbs, for instance, last a long time – up to 50,000 hours between charges. While the initial cost is high, they do pay for themselves in energy savings over a period of time.

You might also know:
– The pros and cons of month-to-month (periodic) agreements
– How soon should I start searching for rentals?
– Writing a rent reduction letter

What other New Year’s Home Resolutions would you add to the list? Did something on the list stick out as most noteworthy to you? Let us know in the comments below.