Keep Track of Everything

Set a personal record for record-keeping

Owning a home comes with lots of stacks of important and sometimes confusing paperwork. Don’t worry, it’s not going to bury you at your desk. We’ll help you know what all the documents mean, where to keep them, and when to use them. To learn about taxes, insurance and more, you'll want to keep scrolling...

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Keep in mind…

Did you know that 66% of homeowners are underinsured? Insurance is meant to replace your home and possessions. Opt for the most coverage you can afford.

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What's an adjuster?

You can hire a third-party insurance claim adjuster in the event your insurance company initially denies a claim. They advocate for you and handle all the paperwork.

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Denied, but not detered

It can be a blow if an insurance claim is denied. Don’t give up. Go up the ladder: first to the claim adjuster, then your agent, then consider an attorney or public adjuster.

Protect your new record collection

One strange aspect of homeownership is how you now have this stack of documents that are super important and you need to keep safe, but you might look at them less than once a year.

Start by dividing them into two categories: forever documents and receipts. Keep your receipts for repairs, maintenance, taxes, insurance, and warranties clearly filed and easily accessible. Your forever documents are: your purchase agreement, closing disclosure, mortgage note, and title.

Store the originals in a safe deposit or fireproof box; keep copies with your receipts.

Tax time comes –quickly!

Fair warning: during the first few years of homeownership, try not to wait until the last possible minute to think about taxes (we know from experience). Buying a home changes your financial life in a big way, and that shows up at tax time. The more prepared you are, the better off. That means knowing what you can deduct and getting ready to itemize!

Tax prep software is great, but might not cover all your bases, especially when things feel new and more complex. If you can work with a pro, we recommend it. If you make less than $55k, live with a disability, or speak limited English, there are resources out there to help you. Start by checking out VITA.

How (and when) to get your insurance working for you

Insurance is meant to be a comfort in the background, protecting you as you go on living. There are a couple things to think about every so often: when to use it, and when to change coverage. Claims are meant for big losses; the more you file, the more your premium goes up. Small claims might raise your payment more than it’s worth.

Always file a claim if there’s an injury. Take some time each year to see if your coverage still fits. Did you buy, renovate, or upgrade anything that might call for more coverage?

There might be new ways to save, too. Did you buy an alarm or anything else that might improve your riskiness in the eyes of your insurer? If you can handle a higher deductible, you can almost certainly lower your monthly payment.

  • Pro Tip:

    Know your coverage

    Be sure to know exactly which events your insurance policy covers. The Insurance Information Institute is a good resource for definitions and detailed information about insurance coverage.

Which improvements do you need to make right away?

Which can wait?

Plan your home improvements wisely >