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Do You Have the Right Home Insurance?

by Alexandra Zega

Buying a home is a wonderful feeling. But now that you’re a proud owner, are you also a safe one? Do you have adequate home insurance? Below is a guide that will help you navigate through the ins and outs of several different types of home insurance.

HO-1

This is bare-bones policy, and has actually been discontinued in several states. This policy offers liability insurance, hazard insurance and a list of “named perils”— fire or lightening, volcanic eruption, explosions, and more.

This protects against several natural disasters and catastrophic events, as well as your personal belongings. However, it will not guard against earthquakes, floods, war, and nuclear accidents.

Often, your lender may require that you purchase flood or earthquake insurance if the house is in a flood zone or a region susceptible to earthquakes.

HO-2

This is an expanded version of HO-1, and includes any structure on your property, like that shed or pool house. The list of perils in HO-2 is longer than HO-1, and includes things like falling objects, freezing, and the weight of ice, snow or sleet.

HO- 3

HO-3 is the most commonly used coverage. This is most likely because it protects homes against any damage, so long as it is not specifically excluded. This coverage is also called the special form policy.

It’s important to read your policy thoroughly. With HO-3, while your home is covered against anything that is not excluded, your personal belongings are only covered for the listed perils.

Be sure to understand what this means, as well as have a grasp on what exactly is excluded.

Cash Value

A cash value policy pays owners the original purchase price of whatever was damaged, but cannot exceed the original purchase price, even if the home is valued at more.

Replacement Value Policy

This type of policy covers the cost of repairing a house and its belongings, regardless of the original purchase price. However, it cannot exceed the policy limit, meaning that a $250,000 policy, will pay for repairs and replacements up to $250,000.

Guaranteed Replacement Cost Coverage

If you want something more extensive, then the most comprehensive insurance policy is guaranteed replacement cost coverage.

This kind of coverage will pay to rebuild your home even if the cost to rebuild is more than your policy limit. Replacement cost coverage is more expensive and can cost from about $400 to $1,000 a year or more, depending on the area and the price of the home. However, even if you can afford it, this insurance is not available everywhere or for every property. For example, older homes may not be eligible. And some big insurance companies have begun to limit the amount they will pay to 120 percent of the policy's face value.

As a Member of the Top 5 in Real Estate Network®, I have a wealth of real estate and homeownership information that may be of help to you. Feel free to contact me any time and be sure to forward this article on to any friends or family that may be interested as well.

Is Downsizing the Right Choice for You?

by Alexandra Zega

Whether you are an adult with an empty nest, recently unemployed, going through a divorce, or even just tired of caring and maintaining for a larger home, it may be time to start the downsizing process. For some homeowners, downsizing may seem like the opposite of what you've worked for your entire life. For others, a smaller home is a thrilling idea due to the decrease in upkeep and bills, and the option of moving to a completely different area.

By deciding to purchase a smaller home or condo, you are potentially saving a substantial amount of time and money that could all be put toward things like entertainment, culture, your children's savings, or that dream car. Even though a lower-maintenance lifestyle may be just the right thing for you, there are a few things to consider first. Be sure to ask yourself a few important questions before making the decision to downsize:

  • What will you miss about living in a larger home?
  • Will this choice save you time and maintenance responsibility?
  • Are there any other factors that will affect your decision to move into a smaller home, such as an adult child moving back home temporarily?
  • Will your downsizing be able to handle such unforeseen scenarios?

Downsizers must also consider the cost of doing so. Not only will you have to cut down on your number of possessions, but furniture will also need to be downsized. You may have to sell larger items and appliances, and buy anew in order to suit the newer, more conservative space. This may or may not be an issue, but don't fail to consider this as another step in the process.

When trying to find the right house, think about townhomes, condos and lofts as options. Many household duties such as lawn mowing and repairs will be covered for you, providing you with an easier lifestyle and less responsibility. Aim for housing styles that will allow for modest living with minimal upkeep - that is the key to downsizing.

Lastly, choosing a neighborhood is an important part of buying any type of home. For smaller options, try looking in the center of town or downtown. Doing so can keep commuting costs low, provide you with more options and, in some areas, a degree of walkability.

Work with a knowledgeable real estate professional who can help you find something that's just right for you. Downsizing can be a very positive experience for flexible homeowners looking to move to the next stage of their lives.

As a Member of the Top 5 in Real Estate Network®, I have a wealth of real estate and homeownership information that may be of help to you. Feel free to contact me any time to learn more about this important information, and be sure to forward this article on to any friends or family that may be interested as well.

5 Innovative Green Renovations

by Alexandra Zega

Recycling, composting, collecting gray water—these are all ways you can save money and help the environment without leaving your property. However, if you are planning to sell, a few green renovations can go a long way in terms of appealing to buyers. Below are a few green insider tips on eco-friendly changes you can make to your home.

1. Recycled Roof Tiles
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, asphalt shingles represent up to 10 percent of residential jobsite waste. By using reclaimed clay or stone tiles, or slate, you can do your part to help keep tiling out of landfills, and save some cash while you’re at it.

2. Low-Energy Lighting
Electric lighting burns up to 25 percent of the average home energy budget. Adding low-energy light fixtures can have a large impact on your bills.

3. Lime Mortar
Using a lime mortar in brick or stone homes is a healthier choice than a cement-based mortar. Lime manufacturing produces less carbon dioxide, and it actually re-absorbs carbon dioxide, which lowers its carbon footprint even further.

4. Low Energy Appliances
Adding energy efficient appliances in your bathroom and kitchen packs a big appeal to buyers. A low energy toilet, shower, stove and refrigerator are all great choices.

5. Natural Flooring
Choose flooring from sustainable sources, like bamboo, which is classified as a renewable source. Bamboo supplies can be produced quickly and efficiently, which is why it’s a great flooring choice, and delivers less of an impact than wood but still has a great look.

In this market, getting a leg up on the competition is crucial to selling your house. Green renovations are a fantastic way to draw in buyers, add home value and get a great return on your investment.

As a Member of the Top 5 in Real Estate Network®, I have a wealth of real estate and homeownership information that may be of help to you. Feel free to contact me any time to learn more about this important information, and be sure to forward this article on to any friends or family that may be interested as well.

Displaying blog entries 1-3 of 3

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