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Melissa is a mother of 2, lives in Utah, and writes for a multitude of sites. She is currently the EIC of HarcourtHealth.com and writes about health, wellness, and business topics.

Searching for a home to buy is tough work. It’s emotionally exhausting. The process of moving all your stuff from one place to another is exhausting, as well. That’s why it’s tempting to think of the day you move into a new home as the end of a story. However, it’s also the beginning of a new one: the story of you as a homeowner. You have more freedom than you did as a renter, and that means you can really get the most out of your dwelling. It’s possible to maximize your home’s efficiency and comfort without paying too much out of your already-depleted bank account.

Roofing and Siding

For most people, the inside of our home matters much more than the outside. If a counter is scuffed inside our house, we will see it several times a day and make a priority. However, keeping an eye on the exterior of your house is a trickier proposition. We may only think about it when we pull into our driveway and say, “Hmm, the siding looks a little rough.” Then, we forget about it again, and nothing ever gets done. That’s why it’s not a bad idea to look into maintenance-free siding crafted from superior materials. Skimping on supplies now will haunt you later. You may think your asphalt shingle roof is fine, and it might be for a little while. However, in the long run, investing in residential metal roofing saves you time and energy, since you can count on the metal to protect your home against things like cracking, shrinking, and erosion.

It also helps to get a rough average for your home maintenance project before you start. For instance, one study found that building a deck costs an average of about $7,000, while trimming or removing trees is more of a bargain, at less than $700. You may want to remodel your kitchen, only to decide that paying $20,000 or so isn’t in the cards right now. However, you can sometimes remodel a bathroom for roughly half that. Remember, though, that prices change a great deal, depending on the specifics of what you add. A garden tub will cost more than a simple shower stall.

Indoor Efficiency

When you’re inside your home, do you get too much sunlight, or not enough? An unprotected window leaves you at the mercy of Mother Nature. However, installing blinds helps make the playing field more level. The U.S. Department of Energy says that window coverings can lower your heating and cooling bills, in addition to making conditions more comfortable for the home’s inhabitants. The governmental agency also reports that nearly one-third of a home’s heating energy is lost through windows. For the most flexibility, use what’s known as “operable window coverings;” the things you open or close, depending on conditions. If the bright midday light hits you right in the face when you’re trying to work, draw the curtains or close the blinds. A few hours later, you can open them again, and enjoy watching the sunset from your living room window.