My partner and I usually start the new year by setting extreme and unrealistic goals for ourselves. In the past, we have pledged to never ever eat out again for the rest of our lives, to live on packaged ramen and canned beans, and to wake up at the crack of dawn every day to force ourselves to run approximately 12 miles. However, we only disappoint ourselves later when we inevitably break these austerity measures masked as “resolutions.” This year, we’ve decided to set goals for ourselves that are a little bit more reasonable.

Creating home improvement and real estate goals can significantly help you save money and improve your overall wellbeing. What’s more, New Year’s resolutions for your home don’t have to be extreme to make a difference. Here are a few ideas for realistic and affordable goals for your home.

For homeowners:

1. Create an emergency fund.

This one is tough, as it’s easier to spend money now on all of the home improvement projects begging for attention than squirrel it away for the unforeseen future. However, maintaining an emergency fund is a financial safety net for your home. If you have emergency funds set aside, you won’t have to panic when your furnace breaks down in the middle of the winter or your plumbing goes haywire.

2. Go green.

Creating a more energy-efficient home doesn’t necessarily mean investing in solar panels or scrapping all your old appliances. Energy Star has some excellent, affordable ideas for how to save energy and money. Simple projects to save energy include replacing all your standard light bulbs with LED bulbs, which takes a couple of hours and can save you $75 annually, and improving your home’s insulation with weather stripping and caulking around doors and windows.

3. Create a plan to build equity.

Equity basically refers to how much of your home you’ve paid off. You can start building equity by paying your mortgage each month. To build equity faster, NerdWallet has a few ideas, including investing in home improvement projects (which allows you to accomplish two resolutions!) and switching to biweekly mortgage payments.

For homebuyers:

1. Save for that down payment.

Take a minute to review how much money you already have available for a down payment and how much more you need. Check out SeaReal’s previous post about how you might not need as much money as you think to buy a home.

2. Pay off your debt.

The holidays with all of their gleeful spending and travels can be rough for everyone, and the average American household has about $15,000 in debt. Keep in mind that sometimes eliminating all your debt in a short amount of time is unrealistic. Atlantic Coast Mortgage suggests that you focus on bringing your debt-to-income ratio below 36%, which still qualifies you for favorable mortgage programs and rates.

3. Find a real estate agent.

Real estate agents are your friends, especially when it comes to navigating the wild Seattle area housing market. If you’re interested in buying or selling or even just knowing the value of your home, reach out to the SeaReal Team at at 206-518-5518 or to find an expert who can help you set and meet your real estate goals in 2018.