Jeffrey Harrington's Blog
When pests come into your home, there’s no creepier feeling that you may have as a homeowner. You may turn to your house insurance for assistance if the problem gets really bad. Let’s say that termites have taken over your home and gotten into your walls or foundation. Maybe mice have gotten into the walls of your home, or a squirrel has caused some major issues in the attic. Whatever the problem is, you want to remedy it quickly. It might be an expensive fix no matter what, but it has to be remedied for you to continue to live comfortably in your home.
The Truth About Homeowners Insurance
Unfortunately, homeowners insurance doesn't cover pest infestations. It doesn’t matter if the termites have literally eaten you out of house and home, the insurance companies consider pests to be an avoidable problem. Even though you may wonder how bugs can be considered “avoidable,” it’s simple. The insurance company believes that regular maintenance and checking of your property can help to prevent bug infestations. This is why it’s so important to take care of your property and not neglect it.
There are a few exceptions to the rule. If your ceiling caves in and it was caused by some of the pest damage, your insurance may cover the cost of the repairs to the ceiling. They may not cover the materials that are needed to repair the ceiling itself. Insurance claims can be tricky, so you’ll need to ask a lot of questions if these problems do occur for you.
What Homeowners Insurance Covers
There’s nothing more frustrating than paying an insurance premium to find out that it doesn’t actually cover anything that you need at a certain point and time. As a general rule, homeowners insurance policies cover things that are considered accidental. This would include natural disasters like hurricanes, hailstorms, or high winds. If a tree falls on your home due to a windstorm, there was really no way of preventing that from happening. Your insurance would cover this. Damage that happens over an extended period, like that of a pest infestation or an aging home generally is not covered by house insurance.
Some insurance companies do offer separate policies to cover damage from certain types of pests like termites. There are several varieties of insects that cause damage to wood structures, so these policies may be more general stating that they provide “wood destroying insect” coverage. If you live in an area that’s prone to termites, there’s a few options available to you including something called “termite bonds.”
Your best course of action as a homeowner is prevention. Keep up with regular maintenance around your home and inspect your home regularly for any problems that you may find.
Purchasing a home should be fun, memorable process. However, many homebuyers struggle with fears as they embark on the process of acquiring their dream homes.
Some of the most common homebuying fears include:
1. I will pay too much for a house.
Overspending on a house is a common fear among homebuyers nationwide.
If you pay too much for a house, you may struggle to afford the monthly payments for the duration of your mortgage. Perhaps even worse, your house may lose value over time. And if you eventually decide to sell your home, you may be forced to accept less than what you initially paid for it.
Ultimately, an informed homebuyer will understand the differences between a buyer's market and a seller's one. He or she will be able to determine whether a home is affordably priced and proceed accordingly.
An informed homebuyer also will know the importance of getting pre-approved for a mortgage. With a mortgage in hand, this homebuyer will understand exactly how much that he or she can spend on a house.
2. I'll wait too long to submit an offer on a residence.
If a homebuyer is uncertain about buying a particular house and waits too long to submit an offer, he or she risks missing out on this residence altogether.
Fortunately, there is a simple way to avoid this problem.
A homebuyer who knows what he or she wants to find in a dream home can narrow a home search. Then, if the homebuyer discovers a home that matches or exceeds his or her expectations, this individual can submit an offer right away.
Don't forget to submit a competitive offer, i.e. one that accounts for the needs of both a homebuyer and home seller, as well. A competitive offer will stand out from other proposals and increase a property buyer's chances of securing his or her dream residence.
3. I'll buy a home that will fail to maintain its long-term value.
What you pay for a home today is unlikely to remain the same over the course of several weeks, months or years. But a homebuyer who employs an expert home inspector can learn about a house's strengths and weaknesses and ensure a property is a viable long-term investment.
A home inspector will conduct an assessment of a house after a property seller accepts a buyer's proposal. At this point, an inspector will examine a house's interior and exterior and identify any potential issues. Lastly, a home inspector will issue a report with his or her findings, and a homebuyer will have a final opportunity to modify or rescind an offer on a house.
For homebuyers, it is important to work with a trusted home inspector – you'll be glad you did. This home inspector will go above and beyond the call of duty to evaluate a house before you finalize a home purchase.
Working with an experienced real estate agent may benefit a homebuyer too. With a top-notch real estate agent at your side, you can get the support you need to acquire a first-rate home that will maintain its value both now and in the future.
What does it take to acquire a top-notch home in a seller's market? Ultimately, it may prove to be a lot of work, especially for first-time homebuyers.
In a seller's market, there is an abundance of homebuyers and a shortage of home sellers. As a result, high-quality houses sell quickly, and homebuyers who lack real estate insights may miss out on an opportunity to purchase their dream residence.
Lucky for you, we're here to teach you about the ins and outs of a seller's market and ensure you can secure a first-rate house in any housing market, at any time.
Now, let's take a look at three tips for homebuyers who want to purchase a house in a seller's market.
1. Understand Your Homebuying Needs
Know what you want to find in a dream home before you start checking out properties. That way, you can narrow your home search and pounce on new homebuying opportunities as soon as they become available.
Creating a list of must-haves for your dream home may prove to be a great idea. This list will enable you to refine your home search and accelerate the homebuying process.
Also, consider your immediate and long-term home needs. If you plan to raise a family in a new home, you may want to consider exploring houses that are close to schools. Or, if you don't own a car but work in a major city, you may want to assess properties near public transportation.
2. Examine Your Finances Closely
Let's face it – the temptation to outbid rival homebuyers can be overwhelming in a seller's market. However, homebuyers who understand what they can afford can map out their home search accordingly.
Get pre-approved for a mortgage before you start looking at homes in a seller's market – you'll be glad you did. With a mortgage in hand, you'll know what you can spend on a new house and tailor your home search based on your budget.
Don't forget to meet with several banks and credit unions to explore all of your mortgage options as well. By doing so, you can learn about different mortgage options and select the right one based on your finances.
3. Work with a Real Estate Agent
A real estate agent understands that buying a home in a seller's market can be exceedingly difficult. As such, he or she will do everything possible to help you purchase a great residence at an affordable price.
Collaborating with a real estate agent is a must, especially for homebuyers who are operating in a seller's market. A real estate agent can set up home showings and negotiate with home sellers on your behalf. Plus, he or she can keep you up to date about new houses that will meet or surpass your expectations.
Buying a home should be a fast, easy process, even for homebuyers who are searching for a residence in a seller's market. Thanks to the aforementioned tips, you should have no trouble navigating a seller's market and acquiring a superb residence.
What produces carbon monoxide?Carbon monoxide, or CO, is produced by burning fuels. Common items that emit CO gas, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, include:
- motor vehicles
- small engines
- gas ranges
Why is CO so dangerous?Carbon monoxide, when inhaled, replaces the oxygen in our blood. If too much CO builds up in a closed room it can cause serious health problems or even death. Common symptoms from CO poisoning include:
- fast breathing or heart rate
Who is at Risk?Everyone can be exposed to carbon monoxide, but some are at greater risk than others. According to Mayo Clinic, the most at-risk people for CO poisoning include:
- Unborn babies - fetal blood cells absorb CO faster than regular blood cells, therefore unborn babies experience oxygen deprivation much more rapidly
- Children - kids take breaths more frequently than adults, making them more susceptible to CO poisoning
- Older adults - older people are more likely to experience brain damage from CO exposure
What preventative steps can you take?The home is full of potential dangers when it comes to CO poisoning. Here are some of the most important steps you can take to reduce risk:
- Buy and maintain CO detectors for your home
- Never use your oven to heat your home
- Never leave a vehicle or small engine running in an enclosed space such as a shed or garage
- Do not use a charcoal grill inside
- Do not use a gas lantern inside a tent for prolonged periods of time
- Don't run a generator in your home or basement
- Have your chimney checked for blockages
- Check the ventilation on your gas appliances
- Fire safety is also carbon monoxide safety - breathing in smoke fumes from a house fire can cause CO poisoning and death
One of the best things that you can add to your home is a solar power system. These can be costly but they save you a lot in the long term on utility costs. While government programs have scaled back for these energy saving improvements over the years, there’s still many benefits to them. You can even get a loan specifically for installing solar power to your home.
Before you take the leap, you’ll want to know for sure if solar will really add value to your home. Of course, you want a return on your investment.
The good news is that there’s no doubt about it that installing solar panels does definitely add value to your home. There’s one caveat to the value: You should own your solar power system as opposed to leasing it through a solar company or a power purchase agreement.
Homes that have solar panels sell for more money simply because they offer a definite return benefit to the future owner.
Does A Leased Solar System Offer The Same Benefits?
Owning your solar system will save you more money in the long run than leasing your system. When you own a solar power system, the FHA requires that the total value of your solar system be added to the total value of your home when you go to sell it. If you lease the panels, this value cannot be added to the home during an assessment.
If you have financed the system, the rules may be a bit more lenient. While you technically don’t own the system, you are paying towards owning the system yourself. Each lender will have their own standards for this, so check with them for specifics, as your home must meet certain standards and eligibility requirements.
Securing A Mortgage With A Leased Solar System
If someone is looking to secure a mortgage with a leased or currently unowned solar energy system, there are a few hurdles that you might face through the process. These problems include:
Solar lease payments must be included in the buyer’s debt-to-income ratio.
The panel owners must have a third-party insurance to cover damage to the property that’s being mortgaged in the event of malfunction or faulty installation of the panels.
Solar Panels Are An Overall Great Investment
It’s really hard to go wrong if you purchase or finance your solar panel system. As long as you own the system, value will be added to your home. You’ll also save on your own utility bills. Your home will undoubtedly become more attractive to buyers if you decide to sell your home in the future.