When making a list of New Year's resolutions, homeowners should be sure to include their houses. Properties need plenty of attention year round, and few opportunities are as ideal as the beginning of January to make some needed changes or get up-to-date with any required repairs.

A home inspection can be the perfect compliment to any list of New Year's resolutions. A licensed professional will look over the entire house and spot any defects or other concerning areas that could pose a problem. Then, it will be easy for homeowners to fix and shift their focus to other endeavors throughout 2014. 

In addition to a home inspection, New Year's resolutions should cover a few other key areas as well, so a house is ready for another whole year.

Explore every avenue

Maintenance and repairs are expensive - especially when it comes to real estate - and that is why homeowners should look closely at their finances and many other aspects in order to save money and spruce up a home. 

For starters, there are several steps one could take regarding a mortgage, according to HSH.com. Refinancing a mortgage is one option, which could lead to a lower rate and more monthly savings. There are also other insurance options that could provide a financial boost for homeowners. A person with already-low rates could decide to prepay, instead of refinancing, too. 

"You can shave years off your mortgage by setting up biweekly payments, making one extra payment each year or rounding up your monthly payment every month," Robert Lund, vice president for residential mortgage lending for New York-based Bethpage Federal Credit Union, told the news source. "The difference prepayment makes depends on your loan balance, your loan term and interest rate and how much extra you pay."

The new year is also a great time to maintain and repair a home, HSH.com explained. Many tasks need to be done at least once per year, so January could be an easy time to remember all of those crucial steps. The outside is a great place to start, either with yard upkeep or a check of the roof, gutters and other critical systems. After that, it may be smart to look at the sump pump and smoke detectors. 

Any homeowners feeling overwhelmed may want to call in a property inspection. An expert can clarify any concerns and answer a number of questions related to a house's more important systems. 

Home resolutions for the new year

Thankfully for homeowners, there are a lot of easy repairs and improvement projects one could do in January. This way, the new year will get off on the right foot and any problems won't become more complicated as the months progress.

For example, the furnace filter should be checked regularly during the coldest time of year, according to Consumer Reports magazine. One that is in great shape will reduce costs, and many disposable filters only run between $10 and $30. So, a simple change now will quickly provide a great return on investment. A slightly more expensive upgrade to a filter that removes dust and pollen will also help resident's with allergies live comfortable year round.

In addition, the new year should be when homeowners take a look at their humidifiers, the news source noted. Winter's air is often quite dry, which means this component will be working hard around the clock. Therefore, regular cleanings are needed to make sure it is working properly and efficiently. 

Overall, a property inspection should be included on a list of New Year's resolutions. Homeowners who want to have a safe, secure and affordable house can learn a lot from these professionals, and take the proper steps to fix any problems that could pop up.