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Maintaining Success Over Time


Maintaining your home is important for housing success

There are many things that contribute to long term success in independent living. The first step is planning ahead and finding the right home for your circumstances. A smooth transition into your new home can help, too. Once these steps have been achieved, there are many circumstances that can arise that challenge success.


Some people lose their homes because they moved into a home that is not affordable for them. A home is typically considered affordable for you if the cost per month is no more than one third of your monthly income. Therefore, it is important to consider how much you can afford to pay when planning your move and selecting a home.

If you have trouble paying your rent or mortgage, it is important to consider whether it is likely to be a short-term or long-term problem. If it is a long-term problem in which your monthly payment will continue to be more than one third of your monthly income, then you should consider finding a more affordable place to live or taking steps to lower your monthly payment, if possible. If you are renting an apartment, you may be able to renegotiate the rent. If you own your home, you may be able to refinance your mortgage to lower the monthly payment. Another way to lower your monthly share of a housing payment is to take in a roommate. 

If the problem is a short-term issue and likely to resolve, then you can look for short-term rental assistance or mortgage payment assistance. Many communities have programs that are designed to provide short-term help to keep people from losing their homes because they can’t afford to pay their rent or mortgage.

You can also apply for help to pay your utilities, such as electric and water service. If you can get help to pay these expenses, then you can use the money you would have used to pay for these expenses to pay your rent or mortgage instead. For example, the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) can assist customers pay their home energy expenses. Your utility company may also be able to help you find assistance. For example, Florida Power and Light has a webpage dedicated to helping customers who need assistance in paying their electric bill. You can also visit other websites, such as Utility Bill Assistance or Financial Help Resources, to find agencies that can help you. Another way to find help in your community is to call 211 from any phone or visit the national 211 website.


Another key ingredient for success is learning to take care of your home. When renting a home, most of the maintenance will be taken care of by your landlord. However, you can expect to take care of a few basic things on your own. For example, you will need to keep your home clean. It is important that you learn how to clean your home or otherwise develop a plan for services to assist you in cleaning your home. If you have a tablet, computer or cellphone, you may want to try an app to help you keep your home clean, such as HomeRoutines or Tody. To turn your household chores into a game, try recording your house cleaning chores into the app called EpicWin and have fun while you clean.

You will also need to take your garbage to the trash receptacle provided by the landlord. This may be a common dumpster used by many residents or it may be trash bins used only by your household. If you have curbside pick-up of garbage in your neighborhood, it may be necessary to take garbage receptacles to the curb for pick up by waste management. Waste management picks up garbage on a fixed route on a regular schedule, so you will need to learn the schedule for garbage collection.

Some communities require residents to recycle. You can learn about how to recycle at your home from your landlord or from the waste management company that picks up your trash. Recycling is good for the environment, so you may want to recycle even if you are not required to do so. To learn more about recycling, visit the website of the United States Environment Protection Agency. Other helpful websites on recycling include: www.wikihow.com/Recycle or www.iwanttoberecycled.org and www.realsimple.org.

You will also likely need to learn some other basic maintenance tasks, such as replacing light bulbschanging air filters and plunging a clogged toilet or sink. Your landlord can assist you in learning these tasks or you can get help from a Supported Living Coach or from family and friends.

If you are a homeowner, you will have additional home maintenance responsibilities. When you own your own home, you are the one responsible to make sure all task necessary to maintain your home are completed. You may take care of some of these tasks yourself. You can also ask friends and family for help. Some homeowners hire others to do some tasks for them.

Some home maintenance tasks for homeowners include: yard work, such as mowing and fertilizing the lawn, trimming trees and shrubs, pulling weeds and applying mulch; cleaning drain spouts and gutters; pressure washing the driveway, walkways and exterior of the house; servicing the air conditioner and appliances; and pest control.

If you receive assistance through Florida’s First Time Homebuyer Program, you are required to take a First Time Homebuyer Education course from a Homebuyer Counseling Agency. You can learn about how to maintain a home during your First Time Homebuyer Education course.

As a homeowner, you will also be responsible for repairs if anything breaks. You will need to budget for these repairs. If you are a homeowner, it is helpful to have a savings account for home repairs.