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10 home renovations that will save you money in retirement

There are a number of retirement-friendly renovations that can make your space fit your needs better while saving you money in the long run.

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Anita Chauhan
November 18, 2022
Blog overview

Renovations can save you money in retirement

If your budget is tight, you don't need to make all 10 of these home renovations in one go. Identify the most important or urgent needs (i.e., if your gutters are leaking, your foundation is cracked, or if you find standing water) and address those first.

Whether you're thinking ahead or about to enter retirement age, finding smart and cost-effective ways to capitalize on your existing assets could be top of mind. 

Depending on your life stage, your needs may vary. As one of your most valuable assets, your home can be one of the largest costs you carry. This is especially true if you still carry a significant amount on your loan or mortgage. But, thankfully, maintaining your dwelling home doesn't have to be expensive, especially as you move into retirement age. Since some recurring monthly costs aren't permanently fixed, homeowners can do a few things to lower them

Downsizing or aging in place?

Generally there are two pathways you may take when sorting out your finances and housing for retirement: downsizing/moving, or upgrading to age in place.  

If you are considering downsizing or selling your current home, you should consider renovating or upgrading aspects to get the most out of your home and increase its overall value. If this is the route you are choosing, check out our blog on renovations

If you plan on staying put and aging in place, there are things you can do to help make your space fit you and your needs better while saving you money in the long run. This blog shares some quick and easy home renovations homeowners can consider to help keep monthly costs down before and during their retirement. Let’s dive in. 

1. Energy efficient doors and windows

Going green can have significant benefits to your overall home costs. You can make a dent in your energy bills by replacing your house's outdated windows and doors with newer, energy-efficient ones. These new windows and doors go a long way in reducing overall energy consumption. 

Suppose your budget is constricted and you cannot invest in new ones. In that case, you can always work with a contractor to find intelligent ways to reduce energy loss through windows and doors. If you can invest in new windows and doors, always choose ones that are Energy Star certified. The ones you choose will be impacted by the climate in your area.

2. Energy-efficient appliances

Like energy-efficient windows and doors, selecting the right appliances for your home can help significantly reduce energy costs. Home appliances include washers, dryers, fridges, stoves, and washing machines (and more!) and typically make up a substantial amount of your monthly energy costs. 

Always choose the high-efficiency ones when you're in the market for new appliances. The appliances that aren't energy efficient will add to your monthly bills. Always remember to check the energy ratings before buying! 

If your budget allows for it, change up your older appliances in favor of these newer, more streamlined ones. Take note of how you use your current devices and their overall energy impact. Maintaining your appliances will also have a significant effect on your energy bills. 

Avoiding high energy bills and repair costs can be simple. Adhere to the manufacturer's guidelines for cleaning and maintenance; when you're not using them, make sure to turn them off. 

3. Tankless water heater

Tankless water heaters feature an on-demand heating function that can help reduce energy bills. Tankless water heaters help you only use water as needed, whereas tank water heaters store water and keep it heated throughout the day. Despite large upfront costs of going tankless, you'll be able to save money in the long run since these products have a longer life span. 

Choosing tankless comes with more considerable societal benefits too. Your choice can help make a difference in how much energy and water homeowners consume over the long term.

4. Low flow toilets and plumbing

Did you know that according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), homes in the US use nearly 1.2 trillion gallons of water every year for showering alone? 

Keeping up with the home's water usage by simply shifting to low-flow showerheads and plumbing can make a massive difference to the environment and your bills. The latest low-flow toilets have two flush options, making them much more efficient and environmentally friendly. 

When choosing low-flow toilets or showerheads, aim for products with a WaterSense label. These devices can help manage and reduce the water you and your family use daily. 

5. Smart Home Tech

Saving on costs can go beyond your home appliances or plumbing. Smart home tech has become a very fast and easy way to invest in your home and reduce money in both the long and short term. 

Home tech has grown significantly as technology develops, offering homeowners safety, cost savings, and convenience. Here are a few to explore: 

Smart thermostat 

Right off the bat, this can be one of the best investments you make for yourself and your wallet. A smart thermostat can save your home's heating and cooling expenses significantly. 

Most smart thermostats on the market have timers or apps that allow you to manage temperatures remotely. So, when you're out of the house, you can set it to switch off automatically when you leave, keeping the airflow to a minimum until you come back home. Not continuously running your thermostat can significantly reduce energy bills. 

Smart lighting 

Despite our best efforts, sometimes we may forget to turn off a light or two when we leave a room. With smart apps, you can connect your entire home in a flash, including your room lighting. You can use motion sensors to manage your room lighting via an app or set timers. For a lighter lift (and cost), you can even get lower-tech lights with sensors that remain off when no one is in a specific room. 

These smart lights and sensors can reduce your energy usage by a good margin. Smart lighting also allows you to use an app to control your lighting even when you are away from home. With these features, you avoid leaving lights on unnecessarily.

6. Security systems

Installing a home security system is one of the best investments you can make for your home. These systems, if you can afford them, can help you avoid potential loss of precious personal items, provide safety and peace of mind, and can also lower your insurance costs. 

Insurance agencies understand that homes with safety or security systems are less likely to be targeted or invaded by thieves. Homes protected by security systems come with lower risk, which means lower premiums for the homeowner.  

7. Ceiling fans

Ceiling fans are a great way to lower cooling costs in the summer months. Instead of pumping the air conditioner, you can use a ceiling fan to help offset heat in specific rooms around your home. 

One downside to ceiling fans is that they cannot be installed in rooms with low ceilings. When choosing a ceiling fan, make sure you get the right size. If your room is big, go bigger to effectively circulate the air, ensuring that the room cools down. 

Similarly to any other electrical items in your home, ensure that you turn your fans off when not in use so you can curb extra energy consumption. You can even buy smart ceiling fans that connect to your other devices, so you can manage all your energy-powered appliances on your phone or remotely. 

8. Solar Panels

Not only does solar energy have many benefits for the world, but it can also help the individual homeowner manage energy and overall costs with ease. Despite the high price for the installation of solar panels, the upfront investment pays itself back through the years. Since solar is a renewable energy source, as long as there is sunlight, you can power your home cleanly and efficiently.

Installing solar panels gives you a great resource of low-cost energy flow in perpetuity. The best part? Solar panels are a gift that keeps giving. The energy garnered from your solar panels can be used for heating the house, heating your water, lighting, powering appliances, and much more. 

On top of it, across the US, the government will reimburse homeowners that invest in solar energy with tax credits and rebates. The amount you receive is typically a percentage of the cost of buying your solar energy system. Learn more about energy tax credits here.

9. Quality gutters

Sometimes the simplest home fixes can help you manage your household costs. In some cases, that means updating your gutters. Adding quality gutters to your home can help you avoid long-term damage to your roof and foundation by water damage.

 Homes without quality gutters risk extensive water damage and can come with extra repair costs. Damage to this extent can also impact your home value negatively. 

You can customize your gutters for your home to ensure the best performance, durability, and aesthetics. These updates can also impact your curb value, which can grow your home value. 

Uncertain if your home needs new gutters or not? You can check for the following signs of wear: 

  • rust
  • mold and mildew
  • cracks and/or leakage
  • sagging gutters 
  • cracking foundation
  • standing water

10. Insulation

Insulating your house, especially the attic, is another simple way to improve your home and save on costs in retirement. 

A well-insulated home means less energy to heat it in the cooler months and less energy to cool it in the warmer months. 

Insulation can make a massive difference if you live in an older home. Most older homes were not built with energy efficiency in mind, so there are many home renovations or improvements you can undertake to create a more energy-efficient home. To figure out how much insulation you need, you can run an energy audit on your home. 

Enjoying your retirement with fewer home costs

When we enter retirement age, our income or sources of revenue may change significantly. Despite this change, there is no reason why you can't improve your current home or living situation by making some quick fixes that will increase your home value and reduce your energy costs. 

Through undertaking simple home improvements, you can save on your total monthly expenditures — and avoid having to spend more on emergency repairs. The money can be returned to you to help you pay for other things, including food and paying for a vacation, or simply enjoying your time off in retirement. 

These improvements can help you save money on a fixed income and increase your home value. Remember that if your budget is tight, you don't need to make all these home renovations in one go. Identify the most important or urgent needs (i.e., if your gutters are leaking, your foundation is cracked, or if you find standing water) and address those first.

To pay for some of these improvements, you can dip into your savings, or you could use your home equity to secure tax-free cash. A Fraction Mortgage can help you update your home and grow your total home value, all while tapping into your hard-earned home equity. Learn how to qualify today

Disclaimer: Information in this article is general in nature and not meant to be taken as financial advice, legal advice or any other sort of professional guidance. While information in this article is intended to be accurate at the time of publishing, the complexity and evolving nature of these subjects can mean that information is incorrect or out of date, or it may not apply to your jurisdiction. Please consult with a qualified professional to discuss your specific situation and confirm any information.