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39 tips for every homeowner: Day 4

by Community Manager

‎07-03-2014 04:00 AM

Just like anything in life, homeownership has its do’s and don’ts. We cover those, and more, in today’s installment.


39 tips couple25. DON’T touch your retirement savings. “Never put yourself in a situation where you have to dip into your retirement assets to buy, maintain or improve your house,” says Scott Halliwell, a Certified Financial Planner™ with USAA. “That’s a good indication you’ve stretched yourself too thin.” He suggests having an emergency fund that covers three to six months of expenses to avoid this.


26. DO re-evaluate personal documents. Major life changes such as a home purchase are great reasons to review and possibly update your life insurance and important estate planning documents, according to J.J. Montanaro, a Certified Financial Planner™ with USAA.


39 tips warranty27. DO consider a home warranty. “If you didn’t negotiate one at closing, buy one,” says Dana Winans, director of relocation services for Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, a Dallas-based firm that participates in the USAA MoversAdvantage®program.Many policies cover problems with appliances, heating or cooling systems, and interior plumbing. “You pay a small cost annually, which is so much less than if you had to pay $3,000 to replace a furnace.”


28. DON’T expect a major tax refund. “Most people believe they will have a significant tax refund the year they buy a house,” says Gregg Turkovich, a certified public accountant based in Buffalo, New York. “That’s not always true, especially if you purchase your house in the second half of the year and only have a partial year’s worth of deductions.” Turkovich reminds new homeowners that they can write off property taxes and mortgage interest but not their entire mortgage payment.


29. Ask the listing agent for past utility costs. This way, you won’t be surprised by how much it may cost each month for electricity, gas and water.


Maintain the exterior


30. Appearances matter. Curb appeal helps maintain property values. Take pride in your new investment.


31. Watch the heat. It can cause foundation problems. Consider placing a soaker hose 12 to 18 inches from the home’s outer edge during spells of extremely high temperatures.


32. Water rules. In many southern cities, homeowners can be fined for watering their lawn on the wrong days of the week.


33. Meet the landscaper. The lawn care vendor knows the yard. Ask sellers for contact information and fees.

Friday: We’ll cover tips 34-39.




MoversAdvantage® is offered by USAA Relocation Services, Inc., a licensed real estate broker and subsidiary of USAA Federal Savings Bank. Program may be unavailable for employer- sponsored relocations. Not available for transactions in Iowa or outside the US. This is not a solicitation if you are already represented by a real estate broker. 


Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. owns the certification marks CFP® and CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ in the United States, which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board's initial and ongoing certification requirements.



Community Managers

Briana Hartzell

Briana Hartzell

Briana knows all about moving. This Navy wife has helped her husband relocate to four different naval air stations in the last three years. A former USAA employee, Briana is co-founder of The Triple Dish, a blog focused on food, fitness and military life.

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Wendy Poling

Wendy Poling

Wendy is a social media strategist and founder of, featuring a popular military spouse blog and the hit podcast Navy Wife Radio and now Military Life Radio. She is the wife of a submariner who has also served in Afghanistan.

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Charles Pratt

Charles "Chazz" Pratt

Charles "Chazz" Pratt III is a former U.S. Army Captain who made the Military-to-Civilian career transition in 1994. In his book, The Fort Living Room Transition Course, he shares valuable tips & tricks to help you succeed. Since his transition from the military, he's worked for several Fortune 500 companies, including Pfizer, Genentech, and St. Jude Medical, among others.

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Scott Halliwell

Scott Halliwell

Scott Halliwell is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ practitioner.

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Joseph Montanaro

Joseph "J.J." Montanaro

Joseph "J.J." Montanaro is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ practitioner.

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