The following is a guest post written by Jessica Thiefels.
Homeownership in the U.S. is increasing according to the U.S. Census Bureau. In fact, the Q2 2018 U.S. homeownership rate was 64.3 percent, up from 64.2 percent in Q1 2018 and 63.7 percent in Q2 2017, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Being a homeowner is exciting and rewarding—not to mention it comes with a lot of perks. No more landlord, no more renting, and no more leases. While owning a home has a long list of benefits, it also comes with great responsibility and hard work. Being a good homeowner means retaining the value of your home with continuous maintenance, keeping your financial health in check and much more.
Luckily, there are many tools and guides available to help you be the best homeowner you can be. Below are eight of our favorite guides and tools to help you be a better homeowner.
If you plan on renovating your home, head over to HomeAdvisor’s True Cost Guide. This tool gives you accurate estimates for common home renovation and repair costs.
Whether you are planning on remodeling your bathroom or installing a new garage door, True Cost can help. The tool takes real costs from real home projects and combines it with local and national cost data to give you the closest estimate for what you can expect.
Use this estimate to vet potential contractors and companies so you can avoid working with someone who will charge too much.
As the protection for your most valuable and expensive asset—your home—homeowners insurance is critical. However, not all homeowner insurance policies are created equal, and with so many to choose from, it can be difficult to decide which is best for you.
Consumer Report’s Homeowners Insurance Buying Guide not only gives homeowners tips on how to choose the best insurance but it also provides ratings for the top homeowners insurance companies such as Allstate, Amica and State Farm.
If you’ve already signed up with homeowner’s insurance, use this guide as a way to evaluate whether now is a good time to switch to a new provider, negotiate rates, or update your current coverage.
Understanding the market value of your home is important for insurance purposes, property tax, financial planning and if you ever plan on selling.
Zillow’s Zestimate tool estimates the value of your home using millions of public and user-submitted data points. It also takes into account special features, location, and market conditions. While Zillow’s Zestimate is useful, it’s important to note that it’s an estimated market value, not an official appraisal.
With TV’s being part of the modern home, more and more people are mounting them to make space and create a cleaner look. However, mounting your TV isn’t the easiest homeowner task and one that can lead to a lot of damage, both to your home and your TV.
Puls’s guide is a great resource if you want to mount your television without ripping out a wall or making one too many holes—you own that wall after all, so you want to take good care of it. The Puls blog is also filled with homeowner guides for your garage door, kitchen and more, so keep it bookmarked.
CrimeReports is an online tool that provides up-to-date information on crimes within your neighborhood. All you have to do is type in your zip code to see what’s happening or what has happened recently.
The tool also allows you to set update alerts, so you always know if something is going on in your neighborhood. You can even register your security camera as a resource for local law enforcement, keeping your home and your neighbors safe.
When deciding what to remodel in your house, consider both use and need within the house, in addition to return on investment (ROI). The Cost Vs. Value report is put out each year and tells you which renovations will lead to the greatest and lowest return.
For example, the 2018 report found that a garage door replacement has the greatest return. Consider this data as you embark on new home projects to make sure you’re getting the most for your time and money.
Are you the handy type who likes to take on home renovation and décor projects yourself? Home Depot has a robust selection of DIY and how-to guides on a variety of home projects, including lawn and garden ideas, shower door configuration, and kitchen backsplash guides.
These how-to guides and helpful DIY videos provide step by step instructions as well as material recommendations pulled straight from their shelves. It’s a one-stop-shop for those looking to start a home passion project.
Being an eco-friendly homeowner doesn’t have to be expensive. EnergySavvy is an online tool that helps homeowners minimize wasted energy and save money. Create a profile and get a score based on your current energy efficiency. Once you’ve done that, the tool then finds different ways you can improve your energy efficiency. The tool even suggests contractors to help you implement the improvements and find rebates to make it cost-effective.
*** Jessica Thiefels is an entrepreneur and founder and CEO of Jessica Thiefels Consulting. She’s been writing for more than 10 years and has been featured in top publications like Forbes. She also writes for Business Insider, Virgin, Glassdoor and more. Follow her on Twitter @JThiefels and connect on LinkedIn.