Homeowner Tips

7 New Homeowner Tips Don’t Want To Miss

Keep these new homeowner tips in mind as you continue your journey to homeownership.

When it comes to where you live, few things are more thrilling than transitioning from a renter to a homeowner.

While it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement when you move in to your new home for the first time, some homeowners bite off more than they can chew at first. 

Luckily, there are several practical steps homeowners can take early in the journey to save money, effort, and time in the long run.     

Tips for maintaining a good home as a homeowner

As a first-time home buyer, it’s impossible to know what it’s actually like to be a homeowner. Keep these tips in mind to avoid making the common mistakes that get new homeowners in hot water.

1. Don’t go overboard when it comes to personalization

You’ve just given up a significant amount of your life savings to cover a down payment, closing costs, and moving costs. It’s a lot of money any way you slice it.

Most first-time homebuyers are strapped for cash. Not only have their savings been exhausted, but their monthly expenses have also increased as a result of the additional costs associated with owning their new house. In addition to paying a mortgage, property taxes, and insurance, homeowners also need to cover the costs associated with all sorts of things — like cleaning out gutters, landscaping, replacing the water heater when it eventually fails, utility bills, and hiring a locksmith to change the locks.

Unless you’re keen on DIY projects, you may also have to hire electricians and plumbers to make sure your lights and faucets are all working as they should.

While everyone is looking to personalize their house and replace their apartment furniture with something more homey, that doesn’t mean you should go on a spending binge to update all these things at once.

Affording to stay in your first home is just as important as securing it in the first place, and no matter how gorgeous firm maple kitchen cabinets are, they aren’t worth endangering your new position as a homeowner.

Don’t rush. Give yourself ample time to calculate the costs of owning a home and manage your savings. For example, the existing kitchen cabinets should still remain in the home until you budget out the project and make sure you’ve saved enough money to make the upgrade.

2. Don’t ignore important maintenance 

Making ordinary repairs is one of the new costs that come with homeownership. If your roof leaks or your toilet backs up, you won’t be able to contact your landlord. This is why it’s so important to pay for a home inspection and show the report to your real estate agent, who can then use that information to negotiate with the other realtor to help you get a better deal.

While you should be cautious about spending money on non-essential upgrades, you shouldn’t ignore any situation that puts you in danger or has the potential to deteriorate over time (e.g., a faulty HVAC system should be fixed immediately). Procrastination can turn a minor issue — such as a clogged air filter — into a much bigger and more expensive one.

Again, having a property inspected before purchasing it can help you protect against maintenance difficulties down the road. You don’t want to move into a house only to find out you need to replace your thermostat the next day.

3. Don’t hire unqualified contractors

Make no attempt to save money by taking on home improvement projects that you are not qualified to tackle. This may appear in conflict with the first point, but it isn’t.

Your house is both a place to live and a financial investment. As such, it’s deserving of the same degree of care and attention as anything else you hold dear.   

There’s nothing wrong with doing your own painting, but if your garage doesn’t have wiring for an electric outlet, don’t make a hole in the wall and start messing around with copper wiring.

Hiring specialists to undertake tasks you don’t know how to do is the greatest way to keep your house in good shape while avoiding harming yourself or creating a larger issue. Also, make sure to check with the local building department and obtain any necessary permits before proceeding with any project.   

4. Don’t do your own taxes  

Even if you despise the idea of paying for an accountant when you do your taxes, it can be beneficial once you own a home.

Even if you’re penniless from the house purchase, don’t skimp on tax preparation. It’s a great idea to employ an accountant to guarantee that your tax return is finessed accurately so that your potential refund is maximized. Most people’s tax deductions are allowed to increase dramatically when they purchase a home.   

If you wish to do your taxes yourself, having your tax expenses carried out by a professional for one year can give you a template to utilize in future years.  

5. Keep receipts when you make future improvements

The money you spend on upgrades can be used to increase your home’s basis cost when you sell it, allowing you to maximize your tax-free earnings on the sale.

For argument’s sake, let’s imagine you bought a home for $170,000 in 2007, and it’s been your principal residence ever since. You’re planning to sell it this year for a price of $460,000 — a $290,000 gain.

But over the last 15 years, you spent $50,000 on in-home upgrades. If you’ve kept your receipts and stayed on top of your spending, all of a sudden you’ve spent $220,000 on your house instead of $170,000. So, you’d be hit with a $240,000 capital gains bill instead of a $290,000 bill — unless you buy a new principal residence with these funds, in which case you wouldn’t owe anything at all.

6. Understand the difference between home improvements and home repairs  

Regrettably, not all home expenses carry the same weight when determining the value of your home. The IRS considers repairs part and parcel of homeownership, as they retain the home’s original value while not adding to it. This may not always appear to be the case.

For instance, if you got a foreclosure and had to repair a lot of damaged systems, the home is worth more once you replace these items. The IRS doesn’t care because you earned a discount on the purchase price because of those damages.

Only renovations, such as a new roof or air conditioning, can help you save money on your taxes when you sell your house.

Consult IRS Publication 530 or your accountant if you have any questions about gray areas — such as remodeling your bathroom because you had to bust into the wall to fix some old, failed plumbing.

Also, don’t fool yourself into thinking it’s OK to spend money on something just because it’s a necessary “repair” when it’s actually a pleasurable enhancement. That’s not good for your bank account.

If you’re moving into your first house, you may want to consider working with a company like American Home Shield or Choice Home Warranty. By doing so, you won’t have to worry about paying for so many repairs when you’ve just moved in.

7. Buy homeowners insurance to protect yourself

Your mortgage lender will require you to get homeowners insurance that covers the costs associated with completely replacing the property in the event of a catastrophic loss. As a homeowner, though, that isn’t the only type of insurance you need.   

If you stay in residence with someone who depends on your earnings to pay the mortgage, you’ll require life insurance with that individual named as a beneficiary so that they can stay in the home if you die unexpectedly. Similarly, disability-income insurance will replace your income if you become unable to work due to a disability.   

Additionally, once you own a house, you have a lot to lose in the case of a lawsuit, so be sure you have adequate auto insurance coverage. If you work for yourself, consider forming a company, which will provide you with significant legal asset protection.   

While you’re at it, consider buying umbrella insurance to cover the gaps left by your previous policies. An umbrella policy can help take up the slack if you’re in a car accident, and you’re at fault with a fine of $1.2 million, and your auto insurance policy only covers the first $260,000. These policies usually come in $1 million increments.

Insurance companies you might want to check out include Liberty Mutual, Progressive, and Geico. These companies have received great reviews from thousands of customers around the world; you shouldn’t hesitate to work with them.

You’ll also want to make sure you’re also protected by installing a home security system. If that sounds appealing, consider working with leading home security companies like ADT and Vivint. Both have great promotions for new customers and flexible packages to meet your needs.

What are the benefits of proper home maintenance?

There are several wonderful benefits to being a homeowner, yet some go unnoticed or unreported. Let’s take a new look at 10 of these benefits, including several that you might not be aware of — particularly if you’re a new homeowner. 

Tax advantages   

You can deduct both property taxes (up to $10,000) and mortgage interest from your yearly income taxes as a homeowner. If you’re a first-time home buyer, you’ll reap more benefits as the majority of your mortgage payment goes toward interest.   

Increase in value   

Houses usually appreciate in value over time. The Price-Shiller Index explains that the average yearly increase in the cost of existing residences was 3.4 percent from 1988 to 2009.

A $210,000 house becomes a $546,313 house after 32 years — an increase of 173.7 percent. With a yearly increase rate of 3.5 percent, a $500,000 property today will be worth $1,373,293 in 20 years.   

Inflation protection   

Currently, inflation is much higher than it usually is. When you buy real estate and are able to lock into a low mortgage rate, you can protect against inflation with fixed costs. If you don’t own a house now, not to worry; even if you get a mortgage with a higher rate today, you can always refinance when rates go down in the future.

Credit enhancer   

Your debt payment history accounts for the majority (35%) of your FICO score, which companies evaluate to figure out the terms and rate of a loan. Your FICO score increases if you proceed to make a mortgage payment in full when it’s due.  

That said, your score will fall if you fail to pay on time. A 30-day late mortgage payment, for example, may lower your credit score.

If you’re ever struggling to make your payments, consider refinancing your mortgage through Quicken Loans, Amerisave, and LoanDepot. These loan organizations are certified by Better Business Bureau; all three of them have an A+ rating. Also, having more than 3,500 customer reviews on the popular platform Trustpilot, all three lenders score about 3.8 out of 5 stars.

It can help you establish equity

Let’s say you put down 20% to buy your home, and the lender is financing the rest. Each payment you make on your mortgage helps you build more equity. For many homeowners, the goal is to get to 100% equity one day.  

Final thoughts

When you’re buying a home, creating a budget and sticking to it will help you save cash, time, and effort in the long run. To make sure you don’t buy something you regret, it’s important to pay for a home inspection and share the results with your realtor because the ultimate cost of a new home includes many hidden costs.

As a renter, you may not have been aware of how much it costs to own a property. When you buy your house, your taxes will change. As such, it’s critical to get familiar with the tax regulations that apply to homeowners or, better yet, engage an accountant.    

The enormous independence that comes with owning a home comes with obligations. By managing your funds effectively, you will have the money you need to keep your house in a solid state to secure your investment and keep occupants safe.

Whatever you do, don’t let the thrill of being a homeowner result in making poor decisions that threaten your personal safety and your financial situation. By keeping these tips in mind, you can move into your new home with confidence and begin your journey to financial freedom.


The content provided on this website is offered for educational purposes only. While we endeavor to provide accurate and up-to-date information, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability, or availability of the content for any purpose. Visitors are advised to consult with qualified experts before making any financial decisions or taking any actions based on the information provided on this website.

Homeowner Tips Windows

Window Replacement: The Best Window Buying Guide

When it comes to window replacement in your home, the choices can quickly become overwhelming whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or a seasoned veteran.

There’s no doubt that’s a good thing. But there are a wide variety of styles, materials, glass options, grille styles, custom designs, as well as a plethora of colors and textures.

With all of these choices, it can be difficult to settle on the perfect window installation. To get the most out of your search, it helps to know what to look for and what questions to ask. 

To help you select the best windows for your needs, here’s a convenient guide to window replacement. 

Is it worth it to replace your windows?

It’s economical to replace outdated windows that make your home uncomfortable, look outdated, lessen its curb appeal, and require a lot of repairs.

Low-maintenance, high-quality, and energy-efficient replacement windows — like Pella windows or Andersen’s ENERGY STAR-certified windows — offer a variety of benefits and can add great value to your home. The benefits of home window replacement include adding character to your home, increasing its value, and reducing your energy bills:

  • Greater energy efficiency. DIY repairs won’t make your windows more energy efficient, even if you can fix them for a short time. You can save money over time and reduce your impact on the environment by using less heating and cooling energy when you install energy-efficient windows in your home.
  • Increased comfort. Replace your old windows with energy-efficient replacement windows to reduce your energy bills and keep your home comfortable throughout the year. New replacement windows are better insulated than those made ten years ago, and you can have fresh air flowing into your home anytime with easy-to-open screened replacement windows.
  • Superior durability. Through the use of modern technology, various window manufacturers have been able to design quality windows that last for over 20 years with the right care. It’s a sound investment to upgrade your windows with new ones that will continue to pay dividends for decades to come.
  • Lower maintenance. Replacement windows come in a variety of styles that are easy to clean from the inside. Replacement windows are very low maintenance so they remain in good working condition for a long time. Painting old wood windows every few years and maintaining them can cost a lot of money and time due to rain, snow, and ice damage — particularly depending on the number of windows you have. Also, old windows — particularly single-pane windows — tend to break and are difficult to fix or replace due to their hardware. 
  • Increased home value. After a window replacement project, your home becomes more attractive, more secure, quieter, and more energy-efficient, which increases its appeal to potential buyers. If you replace your windows & doors, the increase in the value of your home will more than offset the costs.
  • Improved appearance. Choosing the right windows for your home can refresh the appearance of your home. Whether you are looking for single-hung windows, double-hung windows, triple-pane or double-pane windows, storm windows, fiberglass windows, or accent windows, you will be able to find them in a variety of shapes, sizes, and frame colors. By doing so, you can ensure your new windows will fit the existing openings and give your home a distinctive look — whether you’re in New York, Florida, or California.

How to budget for window replacement costs

The cost of a new window depends on many factors. Window costs are affected by several factors, including brand name, quality, material, and size.

The average cost of replacing a window is between $375 and $800. Window costs can range from $375 for basic vinyl frames to $1,275 for higher-end wood windows.

A contractor or supplier’s estimate will allow you to determine a specific price. The average prices above, however, can still be used to draw up a rough budget.

No matter how well you budget, you might still find that you can’t afford to replace your windows. Here are some options to consider: credit cards and home equity line of credit.

Credit cards with introductory zero interest rates can help you finance the cost of new windows for your home. Credit card financing is available at many large home improvement stores. 

Use a credit card to pay for your window and make sure you can repay the full amount before the introductory period ends. If you don’t, you’ll be charged full interest on the original balance.

You can also borrow money from your bank using the equity you have built in your home. Typically, home equity lines of credit are large loans that can only be used for specific expenses, such as home improvements or medical bills.

Learn about the different types of windows

You can choose from a wide range of window styles and glass patio doors that serve different functions in different rooms and locations of your home. There are many styles and types of pane glass available today, including double-hungs, casements, awnings, bows, bays, slidings, awnings, picture windows, and a wide variety of custom shapes.

Single-hung and double-hung windows

Most homes have single-hung or double-hung windows. In general, these styles are popular because of their low cost and convenience. Their name comes from the fact that they have two panes, one on top of the other. Most are equipped with a simple locking device and can be opened by lifting the bottom panel and frame.

Additionally, double-hung windows have an adjustable top panel that slides forward and backward. The top panel can be removed in hot weather to provide better ventilation. A double-hung window is also much easier to clean. 

In cases where windows are located above ground level, this is a great solution that eliminates the need for expensive (and dangerous) window-washing services. Single-hung and double-hung windows only differ in this top panel. 

Casement windows

Most casement windows swing in or out, as opposed to sliding up or down. There’s less effort involved in operating casement windows because they have a “crank” handle. 

Casement windows with push-outs don’t use cranks, but they’re not common. Due to the fact that the entire window opens rather than just a section, casement windows provide excellent ventilation as well. Another advantage of casement windows is their size. When it comes to making a statement, casement windows are one of the best options.

Sliding windows

In sliding windows, there are one or more panels that slide horizontally along an upper and lower track. You can easily open half the window to allow air to flow through. In contrast to the other windows, they aren’t as airtight.

Awning windows

Kitchens and bathrooms are perfect places to use awning windows since they open at the bottom and hinge at the top. So, they’re the opposite of hopper windows (discussed in further detail below) and open from the top and hinge from the bottom, which makes them ideal for basements.

Picture windows

The best way to highlight a gorgeous exterior view is with picture windows. Although they don’t open, they can add a great deal of charm to your home. You can think of a picture window as a framed painting on your interior walls. The painting’s subject? Stunning views.

Arch and radius windows

Arch and radius windows are extremely versatile. This type of window is characterized by a rounded, half-circle top and a square or rectangular bottom. 

You can add soft curves to the design of your home with this type of window because it lets in plenty of natural light. Traditional doors and windows also have horizontal and vertical lines that complement each other. You can make a statement by installing an arch radius window over an existing window.

Hopper windows

In the basement, the hopper window reigns supreme. Even though these windows are great in basements, they are also useful in garages and attics, as well as any room that requires light and ventilation. In addition, it’s a smart choice for spaces that have limited window space because of its “inward-opening” feature. 

Bow and bay windows

Bay windows contain three to five windows at angles of 25 to 45 degrees, while bow windows contain three, four, or five windows at angles of 10 to 15 degrees. Whether you create a new reading nook or update an existing one, both window styles make a beautiful focal point for any home. Whether you have a bow window or bay window, you can add end vents in either double-hung or casement styles.

Garden windows

A garden window is basically a mini bay window designed to house plants. Their name comes from the fact that they protrude from the inside of your home like tiny greenhouses. By keeping plants and herbs on the shelves, you get sunlight into your home while being able to see them from the outside. 

Adding garden windows to a room can make it feel more spacious. In kitchens and living rooms, they can be installed with side panels that offer ventilation to the plants.

Custom windows

Custom-built windows are another option if the other windows mentioned in this second don’t suit your needs. When you order custom-made windows, you have the option to choose the shape, size, and angle of the frame.

If you want a truly unique look for your home, custom windows are a great choice — particularly if you’re home is a new construction. That said, custom windows are generally more expensive than standard windows.

Get familiar with various frame materials

Choosing the right materials for a window frame can influence its thermal performance, but it can also influence its thickness, weight, and durability. Standard window frame options include:

  • Wood. Wood-framed windows are renowned for their aesthetic value. They’re available in a variety of shapes and sizes. Maintaining them properly can extend their life and reward energy-conscious homeowners with high R-values (a measure of thermal resistance).
  • Wood clad. Wood-clad windows provide warmer interior appearances and superior weather resistance compared to traditional wood-framed windows.
  • Aluminum. Unlike wood-framed windows, aluminum windows are strong, lightweight, and durable. Aluminum, however, is prone to condensation and mold, which can harm your health.
  • Vinyl. Vinyl is a low-maintenance, long-lasting window material that resists moisture. Additionally, vinyl windows can be customized in an unlimited number of colors, making them less expensive than wood windows.
  • Fiberglass composite. Fiberglass composite windows offer the fine appearance of wood but with less hassle. In high heat or freezing cold, they don’t warp, sag, or become brittle.
  • Composite: A composite window combines plastic with organic materials to create a strong, energy-efficient window. You can order custom colors if none of the stock colors appeal to you.

Best practices for buying replacement windows

Almost any large city has an abundance of window companies, which makes the replacement window industry highly competitive.

During the process of replacing your windows, salespeople may mislead you about the amount of money you can save (through energy savings). And not every company is completely honest with its estimates. And does “lifetime warranty” really mean lifetime warranty?

Doing your research and shopping around pays off. Here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Get five or more estimates. Nobody enjoys getting estimates, but they’re really important when it comes to adhering to your budget. Make sure you get at least five free quotes. A wider range of prices puts you in control. The good news is that getting an estimate for replacement windows is easy. It is rare for companies to charge for estimates, and salespeople usually work around your schedule for in-home consultations.
  • Know your target. Never let a salesperson tell you which windows need replacing. Even honest salespeople may feel tempted to add a few more windows to the estimate.
  • Find off-brand windows. Rather than just looking at expensive name brands, ask the salesperson to show you a wide variety of window manufacturers.
  • Sit on the estimate. Be careful not to act on the estimate right away. Before committing, you may be able to negotiate a lower price. There’s a lot of room for negotiation in this industry.
  • Consider inexpensive windows. Due to fierce competition among replacement window manufacturers, you can find cheap replacement windows that still meet your needs.

Replacement window construction

A window frame’s material will also have a significant impact on its efficiency. Frames made from vinyl with insulation and fiberglass perform better than those made from wood, wood-clad vinyl, and vinyl without insulation. Compared to any of the other materials, aluminum and steel perform the worst.

Sash-only, insert windows, and full-window replacements are the three types of window replacements.

  • New jamb and sash liners are included in sash-only replacement kits for improved operation and durability. Installation is easy, but they should only be used in windows that are in good shape otherwise.
  • Often called retrofit windows or inserts, you install them inside existing window frames. It’s only necessary to remove the window stops and old sashes. The existing moldings, both inside and outside, will be fine. It’s easier, less expensive, and less messy to install inserts if the old frames are in good shape, rot-free, and square. The sills are normally custom-made to match the exact dimensions of the openings and angle of your existing sills. One advantage of retrofit windows is they’re available with tilt-in cleaning.
  • Remove all of the existing components of the window before you replace it with a new one, including the casings, frames, sashes, and exterior trim. You can correct an old window frame that’s deteriorating, is out of square, or a new window style or size using this method. In spite of the increased labor, cost, and disruption involved with a full-frame replacement, you can better insulate around the window frame, which is one of the most common places where energy leaks occur. You can spray closed-cell foam insulation between the studs and the window frame after removing the trim. You can spray closed-cell foam insulation between the studs and the window frame after removing the trim. As a bonus, you don’t lose any glazing area with full-frame replacements.

Window shopping: Which style and material is right for you?

There are many types of windows and materials available on the market. Each of these variables has a different purpose. 

While you should consider many factors when choosing your ideal windows, the final choice ultimately depends on your taste, perspective, and understanding of your needs.

Voilà, you now have all the information you need on window replacements for your next home renovation project. Here’s to taking your house to the next level with new windows!


The content provided on this website is offered for educational purposes only. While we endeavor to provide accurate and up-to-date information, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability, or availability of the content for any purpose. Visitors are advised to consult with qualified experts before making any financial decisions or taking any actions based on the information provided on this website.

Homeowner Insurance Savings Tips Warranty

Home Warranty vs. Home Insurance

What’s the difference between a home warranty vs. home insurance?

Imagine you’re preparing to make an offer on a new home, and your agent suggests you request a home warranty from the seller. As a condition of your mortgage, your lender has already informed you that you must obtain homeowner’s insurance.

Doesn’t it seem redundant to have both?

The truth is it isn’t.

A home warranty and a homeowner’s insurance policy serve two entirely different purposes despite the apparent similarity between the two. Homeowners — and especially those who are about to buy real estate for the first time — need to understand the differences between the two so they can determine whether they require one, the other, or both.

Home Warranty: The Basics

An independent governing body in each state regulates companies within the home warranty industry. Even though warranties function in a similar manner to insurance, they aren’t the same thing as an insurance policy. You can use a home warranty to repair, replace, or service your electrical system, water heater, plumbing system, central vacuum system, and kitchen appliances. Depending on the policy and service contract you get, home warranty coverage can also include things like air conditioning units, HVAC systems, septic systems, and garbage disposals.

Purchasing a home warranty can be particularly appealing for homeowners who lack the financial resources to cover unexpected, expensive repairs or who lack the time to research reputable contractors. Home warranty providers give these homebuyers the peace of mind that comes with knowing they have comprehensive coverage if they buy a house and experience 10 major appliance breakdowns through normal wear within a few months.

In some cases, however, homeowners may save more money in the long run without a warranty, especially if they own newer, higher-quality home appliances and built-in systems unlikely to break down in the near future.

When you notice a malfunctioning appliance or home system and have a warranty, you should file a claim with your service provider — like American Home Shield (AHS), Cinch, or Liberty Home Guard, three of the best home warranty companies — as soon as possible to request service. That’s because some companies won’t accept your claim if the covered item hasn’t worked for a while. Upon request, a technician will come to your house to diagnose the issue and see if it’s a covered repair. If not, you may have the option to purchase add-on coverage.

Home Insurance: The Basics

Home insurance is home protection that covers big-ticket items. You can get home insurance for roof leak coverage. You can also use it to cover damage from major accidents, bad weather, and more. Depending on the plan option you select, the policy will likely cover replacements and repairs in the case of theft, flooding, and fire.

In most cases, lenders require homebuyers to get home insurance when they get a mortgage. You’ll pay different amounts depending on the bank’s requirements, your own preferences, and what’s estimated to cover your home if any of the above happens.

The price of home insurance varies and can also differ based on where you live. In most cases, the insurance company gets paid directly by the owner each year. Sometimes, insurance premiums are tacked onto mortgage payments.

The Difference Between Home Warranty and Home Insurance: Coverage and Costs


What does a home warranty cover?

Most home warranties cover the main systems in a house — like malfunctioning garage door openers, built-in microwaves, ceiling fans, water dispensers, sump pumps, exhaust fans, ductwork, icemakers, and cooktops. Home warranties can also cover large appliances like dishwashers, heating systems, air conditioners, ovens, refrigerators, washers, and dryers.

There are different home warranty plans that offer coverage on all or some of these things. As you shop for a plan, make note of any exclusions in each policy to determine what your coverage limits and coverage options are, whether you need to purchase additional coverage, or if it’s a complete home warranty or a basic plan.

Damage caused by malfunctioning systems or appliances isn’t covered by home warranties. For instance, if a toilet leaks, the home warranty company will pay to fix the toilet but not any damage to the house caused by the leak. On the other hand, homeowners insurance would cover this cost.

What does home insurance cover?

There are six main areas of coverage in most home insurance policies. Let’s take a look at each one:

  • Dwelling: In dwelling coverage, you get cover for your house and its structures, including the interior, the exterior, the foundation, and cabinetry.
  • Coverage for other structures: You’re covered for detached structures like fences, sheds, and garages.
  • Personal property coverage: Covers items in your home from covered damages. It usually pays for the replacement of the damaged item or its depreciated value.
  • Loss of use coverage: If you have a disaster that damages your house and you have to move temporarily, loss of use coverage pays for your living expenses.
  • Liability coverage: This covers you if you cause an accident, damage someone else’s property, or cause bodily injury.
  • Coverage for medical payments to others: If someone gets hurt on your property, insurance covers the medical bills.

Some home insurance companies offer endorsements to round out your coverage. The most popular endorsements are identity theft, earthquakes, and backup water.


Home Warranty Cost

Most home warranties are 12-month contracts. Unlike homeowner’s insurance, you don’t have to get a warranty to get a mortgage.

It’s an optional purchase, usually after you’ve bought a house, but it’s a smart one. For an additional fee, you can add coverage for items like roof leak repairs or pools and spas to your home service plan.  All of the fixes come with a workmanship guarantee.

No matter which plan you select, you will have to pay a small service call fee when a technician comes to repair covered appliances.

Home Insurance Cost

Most banks require you to obtain home insurance before issuing a mortgage on a home. You will also most likely have to pay for your home insurance as part of your mortgage payment, at least for the first year. 

The average cost of homeowners insurance is $1,312 per year, though this can vary widely from state to state and depends on which coverage plan you choose. You’ll have to renew your policy each year. 

When your insurer approves your claim, you’ll have to pay a deductible. But when you have a comprehensive plan, the policy will cover any additional costs. When it comes to home insurance comparisons, you’ll want to do your research since different companies offer different rates and deductible requirements.   

Home Warranty vs. Home Insurance: How Do They Work? 

How a Home Warranty Works: Example

Here’s an example of how a home warranty could be useful.

Consider a scenario where one of your covered systems — your dishwasher — stops working because of plumbing stoppages. You would:

  • Report broken or damaged covered items to your warranty provider.
  • Pay a service fee.
  • Let the warranty company send out a technician to fix the problem. 

How Home Insurance Works: Example

Here’s an example of how you can use your homeowners insurance.

Let’s say your fence collapses during a storm. You file a claim with your insurance company. Depending on the damage, they may request photos or send an adjuster out. 

You will receive a check from your insurance company for the full repair amount. They’ll subtract your deductible from the total cost. Once your insurance company determines the damage’s estimated cost, it will send you a check for the full amount. Then, you can schedule repairs when it’s convenient for you.

Do You Need Both Protection Plans?

It may be necessary to purchase both home insurance and a home warranty to protect the structure and systems of your home — particularly for the first year or two you live in the house. If you have home insurance, you won’t have to pay high repair costs if the house’s structure begins to show signs of damage. 

A home warranty can help cover the cost of repairs or replacement if a malfunctioning appliance or system damages your home’s structure or belongings. Consider purchasing a home warranty along with your home insurance policy. Together, they’ll offer protection for all parts of your home.

When you’re ready to buy a home warranty, research your options and check with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and read home warranty reviews to make sure the vendor is reputable. Ask for a free quote and shop around to make sure you’re getting the best deal.

Here’s to picking the best warranty for your unique circumstances!


The content provided on this website is offered for educational purposes only. While we endeavor to provide accurate and up-to-date information, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability, or availability of the content for any purpose. Visitors are advised to consult with qualified experts before making any financial decisions or taking any actions based on the information provided on this website.

Homeowner Savings Tips

Spring Home Checklist & Top Tips

2024 Edition

Advertising Disclosure: We may receive compensation from the products and services mentioned on this page, but the opinions expressed are our own.

As the days grow longer and warmer, homeowners across the country are turning their attention to spring home maintenance.

After a long winter, it’s important to take the time to make sure your home is ready for the warmer weather season ahead. Not only will this help maintain your home’s value, it can also save you money in the long run by preventing costly repairs.

In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the key spring home maintenance tasks that every homeowner should consider.

1. Inspect your roof

Winter weather can be tough on your roof, one of the first items on your spring cleaning checklist should be checking for any roof damage as soon as possible. Look for damaged or missing shingles, cracks, and leaks. Addressing any issues early can help prevent further damage and save you money in the long run.

If you’re not comfortable inspecting your roof yourself, consider hiring a professional to do it for you. Normally, roof repairs or replacement is one of the highest ROI home improvement projects you can take on.

2. Clean gutters and downspouts

Clean gutters and downspouts are essential to the health of your home. Over the winter, debris such as leaves and twigs can accumulate in your gutters, which can lead to clogs, mildew, and water damage.

Use a ladder to access your gutters, and remove any debris by hand or with a garden hose. Once you’ve cleaned your gutters, make sure your downspouts are clear as well. If you’re not comfortable cleaning your gutters yourself, consider hiring a professional to do it for you.

3. Protect what matters most

Having peace of mind in the down economy starts with knowing your home and family are better protected from catastrophe.  Whether it’s burglary, intrusion, fire, or any other environmental disaster, home monitoring services are critical and serve as your eyes and ears when you need it most.

Luckily for you, ADT, the #1 Smart Home Security provider in the U.S., is currently running a special promotion to receive a FREE* installation of a Google Nest Doorbell. ADT also offers a 6-Month Money Back Guarantee** to ensure that you are satisfied with your purchase.

Are you aware that you will likely be able to save a nice chunk off of your home insurance premium after you install your new security system? Most insurance carriers provide a discount specifically for having home security.

So, ready to step it up for your ultimate peace of mind? Make sure your loved ones are safer and that you’re better protecting the largest investment of your life. Take advantage of this special promotion, and get a FREE quote from ADT today.

4. Check your HVAC system

Your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system has been working hard all winter, so it’s important to have it serviced by a professional to ensure that it’s working efficiently.

A professional HVAC technician can inspect your system, clean or replace air filters, and perform any necessary repairs. This will help save you money on your energy bills and extend the life of your system.

Spring is the perfect time of the year to check your air conditioning unit. The last thing you want is to learn the hard way that your air conditioner isn’t working during the dog days of summer.

5. Inspect your windows and doors

Windows and doors can be a major source of energy loss in your home. Check for any cracks or gaps in your windows and doors and seal them with caulk or weatherstripping. This will help keep your home cool in the summer and warm in the winter, reducing your energy bills.

6. Maintain your lawn and garden

Spring is a great time to get your lawn in shape and touch up your garden. Regular maintenance can help prevent costly landscaping issues and increase your home’s curb appeal. Consider hiring a professional landscaper to trim trees and shrubs, fertilize your lawn, and plant new flowers and plants.

7. Shop home insurance quotes

Let’s face it: Everyone who owns a home needs homeowners insurance. But how often have you actually used your insurance? Probably not nearly enough to make up for the cost year after year.

Here’s something most people don’t know about home insurance: It’s actually one of the easiest ways homeowners can save.

Homeowners insurance is actually pretty inexpensive but most people are paying far too much. In fact, most homeowners can save up to thousands off their annual bill for the same, or even better coverage by using this popular website.

In around two minutes, you can get quotes from the top insurance providers that ultimately compete to give you the lowest rate possible — allowing you to get a big discount on securing great coverage. Many folks report they’re able to get huge savings just by using this site to help reduce their bill for free.

8. Test your carbon monoxide and smoke detectors

Carbon monoxide and smoke detectors are essential safety features in every home. Make sure that your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working properly by testing them regularly. This is a simple step that can save your life and protect your home.

9. Check for water leaks

Water leaks can cause significant damage to your home, so it’s important to check your pipes, faucets, and toilets for any leaks. Look for signs of water damage, such as water stains on walls or ceilings, and address any leaks as soon as possible. This will help prevent water damage and save you money on your water bills.

10. Clean your dryer vent

A clogged dryer vent can be a fire hazard, so it’s important to clean it regularly. Remove the vent from the back of your dryer, and use a vacuum or brush to remove any lint or debris. This will help prevent fires and extend the life of your dryer.

While you’re at it, check out your washer to make sure it’s working properly. If not, it may need a tune-up.

11. Inspect your sump pump

If you have a basement, you likely have a sump pump to prevent flooding. Inspect your sump pump to make sure it’s working properly. Pour a bucket of water into the sump pit to make sure the pump turns on and removes it.

12. Look for termites

March through June are prime season for termites and critters to thrive and begin tearing through the wooden structures in your home.

If there are tiny insects flying out of the exterior structure of your home, they could be termites. Also, if your next-door neighbors suddenly put up a carnival-like tent to get rid of termites, you’ll want to call a licensed pest control professional as soon as possible.

13. Examine your water heater

Nobody wants a leaky water heater. If it’s not working properly, your water heater could damage the floor it sits on and cause you to make many more costly repairs. If you see any water or signs of rust around the water heater, you’ll want to call a professional to inspect it.

These small leaks and signs of rust could eventually cause sediment buildup and major problems in the future if they’re not taken care of right away.

14. Explore for leaks

Basements and attics are usually the main points of entry for leaks. It’s extremely important to inspect each with great caution to make sure winter didn’t leave small holes behind that water can work its way through.

If you smell or feel musty when you enter the attic or basement, those are clear signs that water may be making its way inside. Check the walls, ceiling and other materials for discoloration and any signs of water stains. If you find any, call a professional immediately.

15. Don’t let pricey home repairs kill your budget

Why is it that things always seem to break when you need them the most? 

Don’t fall victim to faulty appliances and costly home repairs anymore. Instead, invest in a home warranty, which covers the gaps in most traditional home insurance policies. In the long run, you are likely to save thousands of dollars from having to repair those old appliances. 

Enter American Home Shield, the USA leader in home warranties. They’ve been protecting people from such nightmares for over 50 years. 

Act now and you can receive $100 off of your new home warranty plan. Claim your FREE quote today.

16. Clean your furnace

Chances are great that your furnace and fireplace have seen some serious usage during the last few months. Since spring has sprung, you’re probably not going to be using your furnace system for some time.

Spring is the perfect time to clean the filter system, blower, and motor of your furnace system. It’s also a great time to call a chimney sweep before the summer sun beats down and makes cleaning a bigger hassle than it already is.

You may not need to conduct all the repairs on this spring home maintenance checklist, but it’s always good to take a look at everything to make sure you have all the bases covered.

17. Replace old inefficient windows

Join the growing group of Americans who are finally smartening up by saving hundreds of dollars on their energy bills just by replacing their house’s windows.

Believe it or not, this is one of the greatest and quickest investments you can make in your home because of the large savings energy efficiency creates.

In fact, the U.S. Department of Energy proved you can save hundreds of dollars per year when you upgrade to new energy-efficient windows — like these from USA replacement window leader, Renewal by Andersen.

Act now to get a special Buy one get one 40% off plus an extra $200 off.* This is the best promotion available and it is yours today! Request your free quote while this offer is still available.

*Minimum purchase required, see offer for details.

18. Test your irrigation system

Your irrigation system has likely been stuck inside the frozen ground for a few months, which can be extremely harsh on these brittle pipes that help give life to your lawn and landscape.

Run the irrigation system to make sure everything is in working order. Check each sprinkler head to make sure they’re coming out of, and going back into, the ground properly. If they’re a little crooked or you find damaged sprinkler heads, replace them as soon as possible to prevent further damage to the system.

Testing the irrigation system extends to checking all the outdoor faucets attached to your home. We really hope you disconnected the hoses from every faucet! If you did — or even if you didn’t — turn on each faucet and connect a hose to each to make sure they’re working properly.

19. Scan screens

Chances are good that you have screen doors and windows that are designed to let that fresh spring air inside and improve the air quality in your home. Most likely, you don’t want any bugs coming through your window screens along with the air.

Walk around your home to carefully scan each screen for any holes that shouldn’t be there. If you find holes, don’t worry! Screens can be patched pretty easily with a standard repair kit from the hardware store.

20. Dump standing water

A key spring home maintenance tip that many people forget is to dump all standing water from your property. Standing water can become a breeding ground for mosquitoes, which seem to become more and more dangerous each year.

21. Paint the exterior

Take a close look around the exterior of your home to check if harsh winter storms have chipped or stripped paint from the outside of your home.

Although painting the exterior of your home isn’t necessary every spring, it’s the perfect time to change the color of your home! You may also want to keep an extra bucket or two of paint for the future in case you need to patch any spots.

Pro tip: If you’re thinking about painting your house this year, make sure to power wash the walls first.

22. Inspect your foundation

Spring brings thawing snow and, many times, torrential rains. Since excess water will likely be in the forecast, it’s important to check the foundation of your home to make sure the cold weather of winter didn’t leave behind any cracks that may allow water into your home’s structure.

Seal all cracks and imperfections with the necessary tools — or call a contractor to do the work if you don’t feel comfortable doing it yourself.

It’s also important to look for spots around the house with unlevel soil that could potentially allow water to pool and push up against your home. If you find any, pack them in with soil or landscape from areas that are away from your home.

23. Reseal woodwork

Winter often piles snow, sleet, slush, and other things onto decks, porches, and other wooden structures, which can cause tremendous harm to the overall makeup of wood-crafted structures and finishes.

Take a close look at any wooden decks, wood trim, and other wooden structures on the exterior of your home to see if they have been warped, stained, or discolored. If they have, it likely means the wood seal has worn off and it’s time to reseal it.

Have a wooden deck and want to know if you need to reseal it? Just pour some water on it. If the water beads up, the seal is likely still intact and you may be able to wait a few more months or a year before you need to reseal the deck. If the water doesn’t bead up, you’ll want to reseal your deck this spring.

Enjoy your home this spring!

Are you enjoying these spring savings recommendations from us?

Sign up here for more homeowner recommendations and other Exclusive promotions. Act now and you’ll also earn 100 FREE Approach Points — no strings attached.

*Requires a 36-month monitoring contract with ADT Video or Complete. Early Term and installation fees apply. Taxes addt’l. New ADT customers only. For full terms and pricing see offer website.

**Applies after ADT has made attempts to resolve a system-related issue. See offer page for full terms.

¹Source: Strategy Analytics, 2022


The content provided on this website is offered for educational purposes only. While we endeavor to provide accurate and up-to-date information, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability, or availability of the content for any purpose. Visitors are advised to consult with qualified experts before making any financial decisions or taking any actions based on the information provided on this website.

Guides Homeowner Tips

Best Tips For Repairing Your Credit

If you’re looking for ways to repair your credit, you’re not alone.

According to the latest data report from the Federal Reserve Bank, Americans currently have over $804 billion dollars of outstanding debt.

What does that really mean? While some people keep their credit in check, others aren’t as fortunate. Struggles due to the pandemic or even just overspending can quickly lead to financial ruin.

But it’s not all bad news. Even if you’re behind on your payments and your credit history leaves something to be desired, there are ways to regain control of your debt. When you have a good credit score, it’s easier to obtain personal loans with lower interest rates. So, if you’re in the market to buy a house for the first time, you should absolutely prioritize improving your credit score.

With all this in mind, let’s take a look at six actionable steps you can take to repair your credit score and start to build credit today.

Check Your Credit Report

Your credit report says a lot about you. It shows how often you make late payments, what your credit limit is, how much available credit you have, how many credit accounts you have, your credit utilization ratio, your credit card balances, when the last time you opened a new credit card was, and more.

As such, it’s important to know if what’s being reported is accurate. Knowing your credit score gives you a general idea of your own creditworthiness.

However, that’s not always enough. You also need to review your credit reports to identify potential errors.

The first step is ordering a free copy of your annual credit report from a credit reporting agency. Why pay an annual fee for something that is free? To do this, request copies from all three major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. You can also get a free credit report at

Once you obtain a copy of your credit report, analyze it to make sure everything checks out. If, for example, you see that your report reflects inaccurate information — like missed payments on personal loans when you actually paid your installments on time — you need to address the issue.

Believe it or not, credit-reporting errors are common. In fact, approximately 34% of Americans find at least one error on their credit reports, according to a Consumer Reports investigation.

Once you receive them, go over your credit file with a fine-tooth comb. Make sure your personal information is correct — like your name, address, and Social Security number. If it isn’t, update it immediately.

While having the wrong birth date or incorrect spelling of your name doesn’t affect your credit, it can make verifying your identity for future loans difficult. It can also make it hard to open new accounts.

Look at each account you listed on your reports. Verify that your payments are being reported correctly and on time. You should also verify that all of your accounts are open and haven’t been closed without consent. If you have any negative marks on your report, make sure they are legitimate.

It’s almost important to check your hard and soft credit inquiries. Hard inquiries are inquiries that can impact your credit score. These appear on your report whenever you apply for a credit card or loan, like a mortgage. They can drop your score by several points for some time, so you need to keep those to a minimum.

Soft inquiries, on the other hand, don’t impact your credit score. These are usually done to prequalify you for credit line increases and new credit offers.

If you do find any errors, you need to file a dispute. All three bureaus offer online dispute options to file your claim. Unfortunately, it can take up to 30 days to investigate and remove any errors from your report. Patience is a virtue, as they say.

During this process, a bureau might say that the reporting is correct. Be sure to submit any supporting documentation you have to avoid any complicated disputes.

2. Set up credit monitoring

Credit monitoring can also help you repair your credit. If you’re interested in keeping real-time tabs on your FICO score, there are a lot of services to choose from, all of which offer various levels of protection. Some of the most popular free providers include Experian BoostCredit Karma, and Credit Wise by Capital One. Depending on your specific credit needs, there might also be more comprehensive paid versions of the service.

In addition to helping you stay on top of your accounts and improve your debt management skills, monitoring your accounts can help you avoid identity theft — or at least detect that you were a victim of a scam immediately after it occurs.

3. Use debt consolidation services

If you have a low credit score or errors on your report, debt consolidation services can help. These companies will work on your behalf to help improve your score and consolidate your debt.

However, with so many credit repair companies claiming to be the best, it might be tough to determine which are legitimate. To make your decision easier, some of the best debt consolidation companies include:

All three of the above-mentioned companies offer credit repair services and debt consolidation loans. It’s important to note that credit repair is not the same as hiring a credit counselor, who simply provides you with tips to manage your finances.

Credit repair services, on the other hand, create repayment plans with creditors, help remove errors on your credit reports, and ultimately help you qualify for home loans or new lines of credit.

It’s worth noting that, under the Credit Repair Organizations Act, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) prohibits credit repair services from asking for advance payments. So, if you need credit repair services, don’t shy away thinking you will have to pay up ahead of time.

4. Pay on time

Even if you can only afford the monthly minimum payment, always strive to pay your credit card and student loan bills on time. Your payment history accounts for 35% of your total credit score, so paying on time can make a huge difference in your personal finance situation, helping you avoid a poor credit score.

If possible, consider setting up all of your accounts on autopay. That way, you’ll never miss a payment. If you go this route, however, you need to make sure you have enough funds to cover costs each month.

If that’s not an option, you can always set up payment through your bank and have a certain amount transferred with bill pay. Most banks offer this service, so it’s just a matter of configuring the transfer.

5. Lower your credit utilization score

Even though paying with credit is convenient, doing so too often can also lower your score, resulting in bad credit.

At a high level, your credit utilization score is what lenders use to gauge your spending habits. Ratios less than 30% but more than 0% are considered excellent. If your utilization is higher than that, it’s negative information that credit card issuers will use to potentially deny your application.

Optimizing your utilization rate is as simple as using less while paying more. You can improve your score by paying in cash and trying to pay more than the minimum payment due each month.

6. Pay off debt

There are two kinds of debt: good debt and bad debt. Good debt has the power to make you money in the long run, like your mortgage. As you pay off your mortgage, you build equity in your home.

Your car payment and material goods are examples of bad debt. Their value depreciates over time and, in most cases, you never recoup the money you originally spent.

Credit card debt is another example of bad debt. While building good credit is important, it’s also possible to have too much credit if you’re not good at managing your money. You might be approved for numerous lines of credit, but what good is it if you can’t pay them off?

To get things going in the right direction and start paying off your debt, you can use the snowball or debt avalanche method.

The snowball method focuses on the smallest balances first. To get started, make a list of all your outstanding student loan, auto, home, and credit card debt. After you make the minimum monthly payment, take any extra money you have and put it toward paying off your smallest account first.

Your goal is to pay off the balance, not the interest. Once you pay it off in full, move on to the next account, and so on.

The debt avalanche method works the same but in the opposite way. Focus on the largest debt first and work your way down to the smallest. Any extra money you have goes towards the principal, not interest.

Wrapping things up

At the end of the day, having a solid credit score makes life easier.

If you’re struggling with bad or fair credit, take comfort in the fact that you’re not alone. And keep in mind that this post doesn’t explore every single thing you can do to improve your credit. For example, if you’re not good at using credit cards, you may consider applying for a secured credit card that you fund ahead of time to get used to using cards to buy things.

Ultimately, you need to know that repairing your credit is possible. All it takes is a solid strategy and the desire to make it happen.

But once you start seeing success, it’ll motivate you to do even more. Before you know it, you’ll be living the good life — free of bad debt with an exemplary credit score that helps you achieve your dreams of homeownership before you know it.