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5 Things To Know About Severe Weather And Homeowners Insurance

5 Things To Know About Severe Weather And Homeowners InsuranceThe average homeowner feels secure knowing they have insurance in the event of a severe weather calamity. Most people believe that no matter what happens, they have paid for protection against disaster.

Unfortunately, not every homeowners insurance policy provides full reimbursement from severe weather losses. Hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes and other rare catastrophes may not be covered under your current policy. Consider the impact of these extreme events and whether you are fully insured for the subsequent losses.

1: Hurricane Damage May Not Be Fully Covered

The recent national mobilization to deal with the fallout from Hurricane Florence highlights just how catastrophic severe weather can be to people and property. That being said, homeowners generally anticipate calling their insurance carrier to file a claim after returning home and assessing the damage.

It may come as a surprise, but many policies limit reimbursement to damage attributed to high winds. For example, a tree falls on a garage or vehicle and the insurance outfit writes a check.

But damage attributed to water can be tricky. Many policies do not cover flood insurance. That could mean that water backed up in the street or a stream, lake or pond overflowing into your home might not be covered. That’s why homeowners are advised to clarify water-related coverage.

2: Floods May Not Be Covered

People living near bodies of water may be required to carry flood insurance when applying for a mortgage. Flooding represents a high risk that can result in a total loss. Lenders are often apprehensive about approving mortgages for properties in so-called “floodplains.”

FEMA offers coverage through the National Flood Insurance Program. Homeowners living just outside a flood zone may not be required to buy additional coverage. However, you are taking a significant risk.

If your policy does not cover flooding, you could be on the hook for the full cost of the home’s repair or replacement. Considering the average flood insurance policy runs about $700, it may be worth the expense to protect your investment.

3: Tornado Insurance Coverage Can Be Murky

Although most policies cover damage from tornados, premiums can run higher in regions prone to these severe weather storms. But, like hurricanes, tornados that additionally bring about flooding can pose a problem for homeowners who make a claim. A carrier may conclude that the high wind and impact damage enjoys coverage. Water, however, can be a very gray area. 

4: Earthquakes Often Not Covered

Like people who live in flood plains, earthquake riders may be required in certain areas of the country. Without additional coverage, the destruction caused by these catastrophic events may not be reimbursed. It’s imperative that people living in or around regions prone to earthquakes carry specific coverage. Imagine losing your home and still owing a monthly mortgage payment.

The important thing to glean from this overview about severe weather claims is that homeowners are wise to dig deep into their policies and have a clear, concise understanding about coverage. Keep in mind that water damage from flooding, rain and even sewer back-ups pose a significant threat to your home. For a few dollars more, enhanced severe weather insurance may be worth every penny.

Your trusted real estate professional is knowledgable about high and low risk properties. Be sure to utilize this valuable resource if you are in the market for a new property.

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Posted by on September 25, 2018 in Real Estate

 

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4 Things You Should Know About Easements, Right Of Ways

4 Things You Should Know About Easements, Right Of WaysRobert Frost once wrote that “Good fences make good neighbors.” The poet was not referring to people bonding over the task of mending fences. Rather, defined boundaries are an important facet of neighborly relationships.

Without clearly defined property lines and rights, otherwise good people too often become embroiled in land disputes. That’s why a basic knowledge about easements and right of ways can help property owners maintain a working friendship with people whose land abuts yours.

These are four of the important elements about easements and right of ways you should know.

1: Types of Easements

An easement allows another person the right to access a property for a specific purpose. There are two basic types. Negative easements prevent an owner from using their property in a certain fashion. This might preclude building another floor on a home that would block a water view. A positive easement might allow someone access to land for the purpose of clearing timber or driving over it. The right to passage over a property remains the most common.

2: How Right Of Ways Differ

A right of way is, in fact, a type of easement. The general difference is that it is often accompanied by a defined road or pathway that one party uses to cross over. Hunters often establish right of ways with property owners and landlocked homes generally have driveways running over another person’s land.

3: How Easements Are Created

There are several ways an easement may be legally created. The first is generally called a “permissive easement.” This basically means you give permission to another party to use your land in a specific fashion. Again, driving over it to reach their property is the most common.

A key element of a permissive easement is that, in most states, it cannot become permanent without the property owner’s express authorization. In other words, allowing someone to drive over your land does not give them the right to continue forever. You can decide at any time to revoke permission.

Another way that easements are formed is by adverse possession. This tends to lead to hostilities between neighbors because one party asks the courts for a legal right to use your land based on prior usage. The lawsuit generally offers little or no compensation. It’s basically a land grab.

The more amicable way to create an easement is by granting an abutter the right to use your land. This generally entails creating a land-use agreement in which the property owner receives reasonable compensation.

4: Easements May Have Time Limits

An easement does not necessarily last forever. Some are granted with a defined expiration date. Others are recorded with the deed and are passed on from owner to owner. When buying a home, a title search should be performed that provides detail about existing easements and right of ways. This is an important part of purchasing a property because land disputes can be financially and emotionally taxing.

If you have concerns about any type of easement on a potential property, be sure to discuss it with your trusted real estate professional.

 
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Posted by on September 21, 2018 in Real Estate

 

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3 Things to Know About Winterizing Your Home

3 Things to Know About Winterizing Your HomeTemperate fall weather means it’s time to put summer vacations behind you and start planning for winter weather.

Switching coveted leisure time to home chores can be a difficult challenge. More than a few homeowners want to keep kicking back on weekends. But autumn winds mean all hands on deck. Homeowners who procrastinate could find their properties vulnerable to seasonal changes. These are some things to keep in mind about winterizing your home.

Fill The Cost Gaps

Arguably the single biggest waste of money is allowing heating and cooling loss. The small gaps where doors, windows and other material meet can be a conduit for migrating air. Drafts cause utility bills to increase with homeowners reaping zero benefit. Consider addressing these areas.

  • Windows: It’s important to remember that window caulking has a limited life span. As it cracks, shrinks and expands, its efficiency diminishes. Check it annually and don’t hesitate to replace it.
  • Weather Stripping: If you live in a frigid region, weather stripping can save a boatload of cash. Most home stores carry products that act like tape and fill the seams around doors. It’s an easy DIY project that can more than pay for itself.
  • Door Guards: Similar to weather stripping, door guards are designed to eliminate drafts under the doors. There are permanent and temporary products that can address this issue.
  • Flues Need Support: Many chimneys allow mass amounts of air to flow freely into homes. You don’t need to call a mason and rework the hardware to fix this draft. Try inflating a balloon inside it to cut off air circulation. Just remember to remove it before lighting a fire.

Gutter Avoid Disaster

A common problem homeowners overlook is the gutters. When these become clogged with leaves, twigs and other material, water can back up and impact the outer walls of a home.

Water penetrations remain the single greatest danger to homes and homeowners. Moisture behind walls and under floor boards can spur dangerous mold growths. Certain molds can cause critical health conditions, particularly among our valued elders and young children.

If you live in an area that frequently suffers freezing temperatures, gutters can fill, freeze and break. Better to clean them out now than buy new ones in the spring.

Insulation Matters

When people think about insulation, the pink stuff in the attic usually comes to mind. While that remains an excellent product to mitigate energy loss, let’s talk about another type.

Water lines can be negatively impacted by cold weather. Frozen pipes can crack, burst and cause a flood. Check for areas that are exposed. It only takes one sharp cold snap to damage water lines and a home’s interior. The time and cost of wrapping exposed pipes could prove far less expensive than hiring a plumber and remediation contractor.

When preparing a home for winter, think in terms of air and water. Those are the culprits that will cost you money and jeopardize your family. 

Maintanence is a wise way to protect one of your largest investments. If you are looking to add to your portfolio or put your current home on the market, be sure to contact your trusted real estate professional.

 
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Posted by on September 19, 2018 in Real Estate

 

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It’s Pumpkin Spice Season: Plan A Neighborhood Potluck

It's Pumpkin Spice Season Plan A Neighborhood PotluckFall is the time to get back into a comfortable routine, but it’s also a great time to incorporate social events into weekend work parties, and gather friends to offer neighbors a helping hand — or just moral support — to spruce up their property.

While building a new sense of community may be a side effect, it can’t be denied that giving homes in need of minor repairs a little TLC is good for the dollar value of the neighborhood as well as for the soul. REALTORS agree that the overall appeal of a neighborhood adds value to individual homes.

Police departments and security companies also note that cohesive communities are less prone to crime than neighborhoods where residents don’t really know one another.

A Community Work Day

While it’s not uncommon for some subdivisions to sponsor periodic get-togethers, or hold multi-family garage sales and social events, the idea of a day to share work and expertise to tidy up individual homes is less common. But it represents an ideal solution for residents who could use a helping hand to accomplish minor upkeep and repair projects.

Especially if you live in a neighborhood with some older residents, planning a coordinated “home improvement day” can be a unique and wonderful way to bring different generations together. Community work days are a great way to complete seasonal maintenance projects before the weather turns bad. It’s also a way to make light work out of required tasks and to have some fun as well.

Here are some ideas on how to do it right — the results can be greater than expected.

  • Talk the idea up with your neighbors: Set a tentative date and divide up the planning tasks.
  • Start a checklist of neighborhood skills. Chances are you’ll find engineers, carpenters, painters, and neighbors with plumbing and electrical skills among the residents. And there are also apt to be artists and craftspeople, master gardeners and children who love to rake leaves or pull weeds!
  • Plan block party, potluck dinner or homemade ice cream social for the culmination of the workday or weekend, and get as many people as possible involved.

A weekend work project is reminiscent of old-fashioned barn raisings. It’s also a way to build a new sense of community, as well as to add neighborhood appeal and value. The food and the fellowship are bonuses!

There are, however, some cautions: Help should be freely offered, and readily accepted. But leave costly or complicated repairs to professionals. This kind of event should be strictly for easy DIY labor needs.

Done right, this kind of ongoing community effort can become a lasting and honored tradition. It’s worth a try, right? In the end, the entire neighborhood wins.

If a sense of neighborhood community is a priority to you when looking for a new home, be sure to tell your trusted real estate professional.

 

 

 
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Posted by on September 18, 2018 in Real Estate

 

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5 Reasons To Sell Your Home This Fall

5 Reasons To Sell Your Home This FallThough the real estate business never stops, most people associate its busy periods of the year with the spring and summer seasons. And while this is true to a large extent, those who think that selling a home in the fall is a bad decision are sorely mistaken.

Just as families want to get into new homes before the school year starts, which makes spring and summer busy seasons, there’s also an urgency to get into new homes prior to the holiday season. It’s one of the reasons why you shouldn’t hesitate to list your home in the fall season.

Here’s a look at five more reasons why it’s smart to list your home in the fall:

1. Demand Is Still There

It’s a seller’s market out there, which means that there’s still high demand for quality homes. So don’t think that buyers have put their searches on hold until next spring, because they’re still out there. You’ll take advantage of this continuous demand by listing in the fall.

2. You Can Enjoy The Summer

You can enjoy next summer, that is. Yes, while sellers that list in the spring and summer are constantly cleaning, tidying up and exiting the home for showings, you can get out ahead of the game this fall so you can spend next summer enjoying your next home. 

3. Buyers Are Serious

In the spring and summer months, it’s not unusual to get a lot of traffic from people who are thinking about buying. While any kind of activity is usually a positive, these types of would-be buyers aren’t exactly the strongest prospects to make an offer. With how busy the fall season is for many families, you’re likely to get showings with buyers who are serious, and thereby more likely to make an offer if they like what they see. 

4. You Can Enhance Your Curb Appeal

Fall is characterized by cooler temperatures and changing colors. The former can really help green up your lawn, while the latter can make your house stand out if there are trees on the property. Aside from your home, the fall foliage can also enhance the appeal of your entire neighborhood.

5. There’s Fewer Home Sellers

A final reason to list in the fall is that you’ll have less competition on the market. That is, there are fewer available homes. If your home is attractive and sought after, you can potentially create a bidding war among interested buyers, which can help you net more off the sale.

Your trusted real estate professional can give you all the tips and tricks to prepare for a successful fall listing.

 
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Posted by on September 14, 2018 in Real Estate

 

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5 Things To Do This Fall To Get Ready For Winter

5 Things To Do This Fall To Get Ready For WinterSimple home and yard tips don’t have to take a lot of time, but can save a lot of headaches if that first winter storm catches you unaware.

Here’s a checklist to help you prepare:

Assess Your Windows and Doors

Take a walk around your interior, preferably on a windy day. Check for drafts and air leaks; replace weatherstripping, align door thresholds. and repair window frames and sills if they’re damaged. If you have storm windows, make sure they’re ready to install. Replace the screens in a storm door with glass panels. Also check your garage door to make sure that it operates properly.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, nearly half of a home’s total energy use is for heating and cooling, so it makes good financial sense to assure that your systems are as efficient as possible for every season.

Check Your Furnace and Fuel

Before cold weather arrives, schedule or perform any necessary routine maintenance on your furnace or HVAC systems. Clean ducts, replace filters, calibrate the thermostat, and fill the fuel tanks as required. This is also the time to clean the flue and check the chimney if you have a fireplace or woodburning stove. If your home doesn’t have a carbon monoxide detector, consider installing one to assure your safety during the winter.

Prune Trees and Shrubs

Working outside can be a pleasant weekend task during the cooler autumn season. It’s also the time to do some prep work on your landscaping so that your plants will be at their best for the next growing season. Depending on your location, and your commitment to your yard, now is also the time to prepare new garden beds and plant spring bulbs, or tackle projects like brick walls, planters and stone pathways.

Undo Outdoor Hoses

Burst outdoor hose bibbs can be the source of serious interior water damage, and the most common cause is a hose left attached when the first freeze occurs. Eliminate that possibility by undoing your outdoor hoses early in the fall. If you still must water the lawn or your garden, it’s easy enough to reattach the hose as needed. Also, remember to store coiled hoses in the garage or in a shed during the winter. They’ll last longer!

Check Roof Shingles and Gutters

Although it’s not a bad idea to check your roof and clean gutters and downspouts at least quarterly, it’s especially important before winter. Take note of cracked or curling shingles; check to make sure no daylight is visible from the attic, and make sure that all gutters and downspouts are clear of debris prior to snow and ice buildup.

Owning a home requires ongoing maintenance to assure that it will truly be a haven during foul weather, but it doesn’t have to be an unending task or cost a lot of money.

If you are thinking about listing your current home or searching for a new property to call your own, a trusted real estate professional can be one of your very best assets.

 
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Posted by on September 13, 2018 in Real Estate

 

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What Are The Housing Market Projections For 3rd Qtr 2018 — And Beyond?

What Are The Housing Market Projections For 3rd Qtr 2018 -- And BeyondThe National Association of Realtors (NAR), in its ongoing analysis of home sales statistics, believes that prices will continue to rise during the third quarter, but that uncertainty over elections could be a factor during the second half of the year.

However, NAR’s report noted that in July, a typically lackluster month, home prices rose by about nine percent, and days on market decreased significantly, perhaps signaling a strong start for the third quarter.

National statistics don’t necessarily tell the whole story, however. In addition, what will happen in the fourth quarter is, at this point, a bit more difficult to predict. Assessments about how home prices and real estate will end the year differ from one part of the country to another.

Looking Ahead

In 381 of 500 markets that were tracked, homes stayed on the market for fewer days in July 2018 than the median time on market the previous year, even in the highest price markets, typically a sign that demand is still outpacing supply.

Dallas-Fort Worth area mortgage lenders report a noticeable slowdown over the past several months, and the inventory of homes on the market has grown. But another Texas town, Midland, ranked as the nation’s hottest market for the second month in a row in July, based on continued high demand and the speed at which homes have been selling.

The list of fast-moving markets, compiled by by Realtor.com, also places Columbus, Ohio, Boston and Fort Wayne, Ind., at the top; Dallas-Fort Worth, interestingly, ranked 17th of 20 hot markets in the Realtor.com survey.

Potential Benefits

Some housing analysts note that even slight slowdowns in select markets, coupled with rising mortgage rates, may signal a wider downturn in sales nationally, adding that it is not entirely unexpected. Many real estate and mortgage professionals, however, view any potential “adjustment” as a good thing, with the explanation that the double-digit appreciation is unsustainable over the long term.

Prevailing wisdom is to take a wait and see approach leading up to midterm elections. Pollsters and pundits have widely variant opinions and, to date, trends are not sufficiently clear. In addition, the housing industry is seemingly healthy at this point and, barring unexpected major interest rate increases, demand for housing is likely to remain strong.

As one researcher at Texas A&M University explains, even a modest slowdown will likely only bring the real estate market down to 2016 levels and, in retrospect, that was a very good year! Other analysts are more positive, saying that an expected slowdown is positive and will prevent “a new bubble.”

As always, contact your trusted real estate and mortgage professionals to discuss the current situation in your local market.

 
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Posted by on September 12, 2018 in Real Estate

 

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