Woman picking cherry tomatoes in her backyard.

Key Things to Know About Homeownership

So, you bought a home. Congratulations! That’s a huge accomplishment.

Now, how do you maintain it? Who do you call if you get a leak in your ceiling? What are all those numbers in your mortgage statement? Should all the pre-existing smoke alarms be replaced?

We know it can be overwhelming. Take a deep breath, it’s going to be OK! This ongoing series will calm your new-home worries, so you can relax and focus on celebrating your achievement.


What's in a Mortgage Statement?

Not sure what that list of costs in your mortgage statement are? Shopping for a home and wondering if you’ll be able to understand your mortgage statement when you receive one? 

We’re here to help! Here’s a quick explainer on how to understand your mortgage statement.

Help! What Should I Do if I Can’t Afford My Utility Bills?

The year 2020 is behind us, but we’re still navigating our way through COVID-19. If things weren’t tough enough, much of the country is now scrambling to heat their homes during the cold winter weather. 

If your household is experiencing financial hardship this winter, here are some resources to help with your utility bills.



Man and woman ripping up carpet during home renovation.

Real Talk: DIY-ish Your Home Renovation

Found a good deal on an old or disregarded home? Ready to update yours? 

If you’re feeling handy and are on a budget, check out our tips to DIY your home updates.

Get Handy with Our Simple Guide to Home Maintenance

There’s a lot to maintain while owning a home. From heating and cooling to plumbing and electricity, down to the foundation itself.

Our ongoing series on home maintenance basics will help you keep up your home and grow your investment with confidence.

Flood Insurance ... Do You Need It?

Flooding is a risk even if you’re not on the East Coast during hurricane season.

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), all 50 states experience floods, and more than 20% of flood insurance claims come from moderate- to low-risk regions.

So, what is flood insurance? Is it different from homeowners insurance? Is it required or optional? What does it cost and who sells it? 

Common Escrow Errors and What to Do About Them

When you pay your mortgage bill each month, some of the money will be stored up in escrow to cover your taxes.

But lenders aren’t the only keepers of escrow accounts. They can be managed by various qualified entities, from escrow agents to real estate attorneys and title companies.

Regardless of who oversees your account, administrative errors do happen. Here are some of the most common escrow errors and how to handle them.

When Should You Change Your Smoke Alarm Batteries?

Like opening your mail or cleaning out your coffee pot, changing your smoke alarm batteries tends to land on the list of things that rarely get done. But it’s actually really important (as is opening your mail, honestly) and it’s never too late to get in the habit.

So, when should you change your batteries, or install new alarms? Our simple guide to maintaining smoke detectors answers these questions and more.