There are plenty of trade-offs between renting and owning a home. But among the most significant differences is the heightened responsibility that comes with being a homeowner.
When you’re a homeowner, everything becomes your responsibility. If a toilet leak causes water damage, that’s on you. If there’s a crack in the foundation, you’re the one footing the bill. If the yard gets out of hand, it’s you who has to pull weeds and trim shrubs.
But being a homeowner doesn’t have to zap all of your free time and cause incredible stress. If you’re building a new house, you get to call the shots. And with some smart investments, you can own a house and enjoy low-maintenance living.
Here are a few helpful suggestions:
- Opt for Fiber-Cement Siding
If you’re choosing between vinyl siding and fiber-cement siding, it’s highly recommended that you go with the latter option.
Not only does fiber-cement siding look better (nearly indistinguishable from real wood), but it lasts longer, requires less upkeep, and is rot- and insect-proof. It also has the benefit of taking paint well. That means you can easily repaint it down the road for a new look.
- Choose Quartz for Countertops
Granite was the popular choice in luxury kitchens for decades, but it sure takes a lot of work and effort to maintain. Not only does it have to be resealed every so often, but it can also take a beating. If you want an option that costs the same, looks better, and requires less maintenance, go for quartz.
The beauty of engineered quartz countertops is that you don’t have to worry about stains, scratches, and germs. It’s made out of 95 percent quartz (one of the hardest materials in the world) and is antimicrobial. There are also more varieties and finishes to choose from.
- Go With Gas Fireplaces
While there’s something nostalgic about a wood burning fireplace, prefabricated gas fireplaces require far less maintenance and effort to maintain and use. They don’t need a masonry chimney, can be installed in any room, and yield a more efficient, cleaner burn.
“No more lifting heavy wood or wasting toasty heat up your chimney,” eFireplaceStore mentions. “Most importantly, no more having to worry with sourcing enough wood fuel for the winter! As available fuel reserves continue to dwindle, many will find that it can be difficult to continue using a wood burning fireplace as a primary heat source.”
The key is to choose the right venting system and select a model that’s sufficient for the space where it’ll be installed.
- Hardscapes Over Softscapes
While most yards typically consist of lawn space and flowerbeds, these softscapes require considerable upkeep. Hardscaping might be a better option.
“Less lawn equals less work,” home improvement expert Nina Malkin explains. “That’s the best argument for hardscaping—that’s the use of pavers, brick, or decorative stone. Whether you opt for a patio or lay garden paths, you’ll have a durable surface that never needs weeding or watering—although you may want to sweep it occasionally. Options abound, from neat grids to a patchwork effect, so a great no-fuss look is just a stone’s throw away.”
- Seal the Garage Floor
A traditional cement garage floor creates a lot of fine dust and causes shoes to track dirt and grime indoors. For a small premium, you can have your garage floors sealed. Not only does this look better, but it also adds a protective layer that significantly reduces the amount of dust dragged inside.
- Pay for a Home Warranty
Even with a new house, things are destined to break, malfunction, or stop working. By paying for a home warranty service, you don’t have to worry about major expenses or repairs. You simply pay your monthly premium and a small fee for each service call. Everything else is covered.
Consider the Cost
While the aforementioned suggestions all sound nice in theory, you will have to consider the cost. The upfront expense can render some of these materials and processes unrealistic. More than likely, you’ll have to choose which ones you want to prioritize.
Remember, low-maintenance homes are more expensive in the short-term (but more cost-effective over the long haul). If you’re willing to be hands-on, you might save some money, but you’ll have more stress and less free time.
Life is all about tradeoffs. As a homeowner, you have to choose which factors matter most to you and your family.