Life is full of myths and half-truths. Homeownership is no different. You'll often hear all kinds of advice about what to do and what not to do in your home.
Sometimes, this advice is simply no good.
Here are some of the most common myths and the truths you should know:
- Light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs are not worth the cost - The price has dropped significantly since they first showed up. Furthermore, a LED bulb can save over $60 over the lifetime of the bulb which is about 10 years on average. While you might not see a drastic decrease in your electric bill right away, over time, you will save a great deal of money.
- Friends know great contractors - They might, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't do due diligence. Every contractor that works on your house needs to give you a state license number and an insurance policy number. You should check the state website to make sure the license is still active. You also need to contact the insurance company to make sure that the policy is in force. No amount of paperwork is perfect, but it will help to have those endorsements. You should also look online for reviews.
- Grass is all you can put on your lawn - In some places, like Nevada, you might find it more economical and easier to simply adapt to the native environment. Grass might seem awesome, but in the desert, you're going to pay a lot of money to keep it alive in the heat of summer. Native plants can be wonderful and save a lot on water costs. You can also look for drought-resistant grasses. Another thing to look for is ground covers that don't need mowing like red clover. Consider where you are and make a "lawn" accordingly.
- A kitchen upgrade will make my house more valuable - Not necessarily. Trends and wants for kitchens and bathrooms change every year. If you're going to remodel, do it for yourself, not for the home value. Look to "update" to classic styles that will be desirable in 10 years. If you simply want to update your kitchen a bit, throw up a new layer of paint. That will change the entire feel of the kitchen and cost less than $1500.
- Turning off the heat or AC when you leave saves money - Nope. Here's why: If it's very cold or very hot, your heater or AC will need to work much harder to change the temperature. In colder climates, leaving the house without heat can lead to burst pipes as well. Leave the temperature at a nice steady level while you're out of the house and you'll save money on energy and a lot of wear and tear on your AC or heater.
These are only a few ideas that get passed down like old spouses tales. Unfortunately, they aren't true.
If someone gives you a piece of advice, verify that it's actually true before you let it into your house.