Taking care of your home appliances is a lot like taking care of your vehicle. Both are expensive, and if they aren’t maintained properly you’ll find yourself pouring money into repairs that could have otherwise been avoided. Today we’ll cover five common missteps when it comes to up-keeping your household appliances and show you how to plan ahead to save on repairs.

  1. Clean refrigerator condenser coils or fans
    Just like changing the oil in your car, the best approach to maintaining your appliances is by keeping a schedule.  The coils or fans beneath your refrigerator aren’t something you probably look at often. But they can get covered in household lint and dirt, which will shorten the life of your unit. We recommend cleaning them twice a year (mark it on your calendar!) or, if you’re a pet owner, check the coils every couple months–all that fur your dog loses in the spring will end up clinging to your refrigerator coils. Be sure to check your manual on the best way to clean your refrigerator.
  2. Avoid your oven’s self-clean feature
    Many modern ovens offer what seems like a saving grace–a “self-clean” feature. Imagine never again having to reach into the depths of a grease splattered oven. The catch? This popular function can also damage your oven or blow fuses. Plus it’ll probably set off your smoke detector in the process. Our best advice? Baking soda and vinegar–consider it today’s arm workout and scrub.
  3. Rinse dishwasher filters
    Many modern dishwashers in the USA crush food debris before draining them to avoid clogging your fixtures. This comes at the cost of being much louder than filter-based dishwashers. If your dishwasher has a filter ideally you should clean it at least as often your refrigerator, but if you start to notice a smell from the washer when it’s clean you know it’s time to rinse out the filter.
  4. Empty your dryer lint trap after each use
    When your dryer can’t move air efficiently it can’t dry efficiently. Running a dryer with a full lint trap places undue stress on the dryer, shortening its lifespan. The best way to remember this one is to make a habit out of cleaning it immediately when you open the dryer door. If you plan to clean the lint trap after you fold your clothes you may forget as you leave to put away your clothes.
  5. Don’t overload your washing machine
    We’ve all had nightmares of coming home to a soapy lake in our basement. Overfilling your washing machine usually won’t cause it to overflow. But it can damage or break the machine. Mind the size of your load when you fill the machine and save those king sized comforters for the laundromat. A good rule of thumb for load sizes: a small load fills a 1/3 of the machine, medium fills 1/2, and a large load fills 3/4.Keep these five cleaning tips in mind and you could end up saving hundreds on your home appliances.

Owning your own home offers you the chance to direct more of the decorative, structural and spacing options at your residence. You won’t have to accept design changes that a landlord makes. You also won’t have to clear it through your landlord before you allow a relative or friend to move in with you. When you own your own house, you also have equity to transfer to your children.

Don’t rob yourself of the business of owning a house

It’s this equity that can lower housing costs for your adult children. Depending on their personal situation, your children could also sell the house that you will to them and use the finances to buy a more modern home. They could also use money from the sale of your house to pay for their children’s college education, to start a business or to grow their savings.

But, owning a house is not magic. Even when lenders are lax, there are certain reviews that they conduct before they enter a mortgage agreement with you. Whether you realize it or not, you could be robbing yourself of the chance to own a home due to the way that you conduct your personal affairs, because of habits that you refuse to let go of.

In fact, incorrect statements and erroneous beliefs could set you up for one mortgage disaster after another. Even if you do get approved for a mortgage, you could end up paying higher interest rates. You could also be forced to move into at risk neighborhoods.

Habits that could put owning a home out of reach

Here are a few examples of thought and behavior habits that could rob you of the chance to own a good house years from now:

  • Asking high school and college friends for money whenever you spend all of your paycheck on clothes, concert tickets, dining or another source of entertainment
  • Giving people excuses as to why you cannot repay them money that they loaned you
  • Thinking that if people love you, they will always bail you out of poor financial decisions that you make
  • Blaming the government for your financial situation, especially when you regularly pay your bills late and started the habit while you were still living at home with your parents
  • Lying to bill collectors when they ask you when you are going to pay your bill
  • Thinking that your employer and other business owners have an endless supply of money, so you don’t really have to pay them
  • Buying products and services to feed emotions or perceived lacks in your life
  • Spending money to impress others

As early as middle or high school, you could start to develop thought patterns and behavioral habits that may hurt your house buying success in the future. Practice awareness so that you can spot yourself developing negative habits and unrewarding ways of thinking. Surround yourself with people who pay their bills on time and take full responsibility for their lives.

Stop yourself from believing that it’s normal to lie to vendors and that it’s marketers who are responsible for your overspending habits and not you. Set yourself up for success. Give yourself a chance to own a home in an progressive neighborhood, the type of home that your children can benefit from living in or selling generations from now.

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