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Many consumers search for a long time looking for insurance policies for health and car, but often don't think about comparing prices when insuring their home. Many times, new home owners accept the insurer recommended by their Realtor or lender, and current homeowners don't often consider shopping for a new company. But with a little bit of research, you could save hundreds of dollars a year on home owner's insurance.
You could save money even without switching companies by considering about the following:
Increasing Your Deductible
To reduce your monthly charge, think about carrying the highest deductible. The higher the deductible you pay, the lower the premium costs. You may even save up to 25% by increasing the deductible from $100 to $1,000. Always make sure you have enough available cash on hand to cover the larger deductible if you need it.
Improve Your Home Security
Most insurance companies will offer customers a discount if they have smoke detectors, dead bolts, fire extinguishers, burglar alarms, and for those in neighborhood watch areas and alarm systems that connect to a third-party monitoring system.
Most insurance companies will offer multiple coverage discounts by using one company for all of your insurance needs.
Confirm Distance From Fire Stations
Your premiums will be higher if you live more than five miles from the nearest fire station and more than 1,000 feet from a fire hydrant.
Check for available record and renewal discounts
Is This a New Home?
See if new and renovated homes qualify for additional discounts. You may qualify for discounts if your home was built or rebuilt within the past 10-15 years.
Is Your Home Note Paid Off?
Ask your insurance agent if any additional discounts apply for mortgage-free homes. Some insurance companies offer up to a 5% discount when your mortgage is paid off.
Mortgage lenders always require borrowers to carry a home owner's insurance policy. But even people who own their homes outright should be covered by home owner's insurance. Typical homeowner policy covers loss or damage to the property as well as personal liability, which covers suits from injuries or illnesses related to the property. Losses under a homeowner's policy will be paid on either a cash value basis or replacement cost value. With the "actual cash value" method, the policy owner is entitled to the depreciated value of the damaged property. The older the item is, the less money you may receive for its replacement. Under the "replacement cost" coverage model, which typically costs more, the policy owner is reimbursed the amount it costs to actually replace lost or damaged items.
The homeowner's policy is actually a group of policies that combines more than one type of insurance coverage. There are four basic types of coverage contained in a homeowner's policy:
1) Dwelling and Personal Property
2) Personal Liability
3) Medical Payments
4) Additional Living Expenses
How to Collect
All insurance companies operate under a conditional contract. This means that policy owners are responsible, in part, for loss recovery. In other words, if you have an insurance policy and suffer a loss, you must:
1) Notify the insurance carrier as soon as possible after a loss has occurred
2) Protect the property from further damage by making repairs to prevent further damage
3) List personal items damaged, including descriptions, actual value, and replacement cost
4) Be prepared to show an insurance company representative the claimed damage
5) Complete a statement for the insurance company, explaining circumstances surrounding the loss
You never get a second chance to make a first impression. That age old saying doesn't just apply to you, it can apply to your home as well! So, make sure that the first impression anyone — including potential buyers — gets of your house leaves a lasting good impression. Amp up the curb appeal with these simple tricks of the trade. Some of them might surprise you!
Top Tips to Enhance Your Home's Curb Appeal
• Power was the exterior of your home. This can reveal any loose, cracking, or peeling paint that may need fixing. Hire a painter, or do it yourself!
• While you're at power washing your house, power wash those windows as well. Clean them on the inside, too.
Be sure to remove any stray debris or cobwebs. Leaving these will make your windows look dull when you want them to sparkle and shine.
• Affix or replace any loose roof shingles.
• Clean out gutters. Replace them if they're rusty, bent, or even if they look old or in disrepair.
• Rake up any leaves in your yard. Tidy up the flowerbeds or gardens, showing off your green thumb.
• Get rid of any weeds, dandelions, or grass that's cropping up through the driveway or sidewalks.
• Trim trees so they're not in the way of the roof.
• Make sure all of your lawn care tools and toys are stowed away. Make sure your garden hose is rolled up nicely.
• Put any bikes, skateboards, or scooters into the garage.
• If you have a basketball hoop, keep an eye on the net. Replace it if it starts to look old, torn, or dingy.
• Trim unruly bushes. If they're starting to look dry or scraggly, no matter what you do, it might be time to get rid of the bushes.
• Install a motion detector light in the front yard. That way, if potential buyers come by in the evening, they can see the front of the house.
• Install low-wattage ground lights along the front walkway.
• Keep the walkway to the house, the driveway, and the sidewalks in front of the house neatly swept.
• Plant eye-catching and brightly-colored flowers in front of the house. Keep them watered and looking fresh. Remove any wilted, dead blooms as soon as you see them.
• Wherever the foundation shows, place a planter in front of it with colorful flowers.
• Give your front door a fresh paint job and replace the door's hardware. Or, if the door can't be saved, replace it.
• Paint or stain any wooden fences and repair any broken fencing.
• Replace your mailbox.
• Apply large, visible numbers to the front of your house.
• Keep the garbage bins in the garage — out of sight, out of mind.
Don't Forget the Sides and Back of Your House
• Power wash, sand, and stain your deck and patio.
• Secure loose railings or boards on your deck.
• Trim the bushes and vegetation throughout your backyard area.
• Set up attractive, comfortable sitting areas in your backyard. Staging the outside can be just as important as staging the inside.
• If you have a dog in the house, make sure to clean up after them on a daily basis. If your dog tends to bark, keep them inside as much as possible to keep them from scaring potential buyers away.
• Be sure to remove any wasps or ant hills from your property.
Put away all backyard toys and tools, and make sure your hose is rolled up.
Are you thinking of selling your home? Find out what your house is worth with my free custom evaluation report!
Appraisers take many factors into account when they determine the worth of a property. While some things, such as location, can't be helped, there are several others that a homeowner can do to make sure that his home is appraised for the maximum value.
1. Have Information Available
Appraisers don't spend a lot of time in the home. In fact, the pros inspect hundreds of homes per year, and it becomes pretty easy to quickly assess the amenities. That is not much time to make a good first impression, so make sure your ducks are in a row upon the appraiser's visit.
First, make sure you have a packet of information that you can give the appraiser as he hurries out the door after the inspection. This packet should contain the basics about the home, and anything that will help back up the offer that you accepted.
Have your Realtor include a fact sheet about the home with the address, the year it was built, square footage, number of beds and baths, and the size of the lot. Also, have your Realtor leave a CMA (Comparative Market Analysis) including a listing of recent sales in the area. The appraiser does has access to recent home sales, but there's always a chance that he may miss something.
Make a list of improvements you've made to the home. List them by date and include contact information for the contractor who did the work.
2. If It's Broken, Make Sure to Fix It
The appraiser assigns your home with what is known as an "effective age." This is largely based on the condition of the home and how well you have maintained it. This age may be older or younger than its actual age. If you have a cracked window, worn out floors, or outdated kitchen tiles, this could add up to a lower-than-average condition rating as the home's effective age will be higher resulting in comparables being utilized which will have the same effective age and resulting lower value. Therefore, fix anything that will age the home in the eyes of the appraiser!
3. Give your House a Cleaning
Most appraisers will tell you that it doesn't matter if your home is dirty or clean, and that it has no bearing on its value. Of course, we all know that illusions can sell, and if a clean house gives the illusion that the home is well-maintained, you might as well clean it before the appraiser arrives.
Overgrown landscaping, soiled carpeting, marks on walls, etc. all affect value and are part of the property's overall condition, and will be considered with the value.
While some things impact a home's value more than others, the bottom line is that the process can vary by appraiser. Anything you can do in the three areas listed above has the potential to streamline the appraisal process and increase the value of your home. Plus, going through these steps prior to listing your home will only help increase the number of potential buyers. And ultimately, selling your home is what it's all about.
Update your home without looking cheap is totally doable on a budget.
If you want to add some extra class to your home, taking on a DIY project can give you that extra sense of style while saving money. Here are some fast, easy and affordable projects you can do on your own to make our home look classier. By the way, these improvements will also help your home sell faster if you're in the market!
1. Replace Light Fixtures
Replacing an old light fixture with a more elegant one is an easy way to shift the ambiance of a room. By adding a sophisticated light fixture, you can control the intensity of the light and character of your room. You don't need to pay a ton of money for expensive new fixtures - you can buy used fixtures online if you want a vintage look.
2. Floating Shelves can do Wonders
Install floating shelves in your home. They combine the functionality of extra storage space while adding a bit of style. Floating shelves can be mounted in different patterns, and they come in various materials to give each room a unique touch. For a small room you should choose shallow shelves to display framed photos; for a larger room you should use deeper shelves to hold vases, books and trinkets.
3. Paint an Accent Wall
Painting an accent wall can add a nice pop of color and showcase some personality. This is usually a low-risk project, a homeowner of any skill level can tackle this project in a day. You just need some painter's tape, a brush and the color that suits you! Just make sure the color you choose is complementary with the other colors in the room. Stay consistent between warm and cool tones.
4. Use Decorative Molding
By adding decorative molding around your home, you add an extra touch of elegance. Install the molding to your ceiling by capping walls, columns and cabinets, or add chair molding lower to the ground. With detailed molding you can add character to your rooms while also making them feel taller and more finished.
5. Create a Stone Fire Pit
Take your new, chic style outside by building a stone fire pit in your backyard. This can be created in a few hours by taking uniquely shaped rocks or stones and putting them together to create a functional and stylish fire pit. Before starting the project, be sure to check your local fire codes or homeowners association to ensure you are safe and allowed to start building.
Adding a touch of class to your home does not have to break your bank! Just be sure to start with one project at a time, allowing yourself to complete one before starting the next. Contact me if you'd like to know how much value one of these improvements will add to your home!