Newsletter

Does Your Home Insurance Cover Everything?

When you suffer damage to, (or the loss of), your home or its contents, you expect your insurance company to help you out. And, most do a good job of doing just that.

Still, it’s a good idea to review your policy with your insurance advisor and find out what’s covered and what isn’t. You don’t want to discover that your policy will not cover the cost of repairing the damage caused by a flood in your laundry room.

Pay particular attention to coverage in the case of water damage. Some insurance policies don’t cover floods and sewer backup unless an additional rider is purchased.

Also, check liability limits. Ask your advisor to recommend an appropriate level. Finally, make sure you know exactly how much your home is insured for. Are you covered for the full replacement cost? Are you comfortable with that coverage or the actual cash value?

Having the right insurance gives you peace-of-mind and is an important part of enjoying your home.

Keep in mind that experts advise you to review your insurance with your advisor. Ask lots of questions. Make sure you understand your coverage fully.

By the way, if you’re looking for an insurance advisor, I’m well-connected in the local “home” industry. I may be able to give you a couple of names of good, reputable professionals. Give me a call.

Making an Offer in a Competitive Market

Imagine finding a home you love, making an offer, and then finding out there are other competing offers on the table. Ouch.

If you’re looking for a property in a competitive market, it is likely that there will be multiple offers. Even just one can create the risk that you’ll lose the home. So how do you make sure your offer is enticing enough to win over the seller? Here are some ideas:

* Don’t make a low-ball offer. If you do, it might be dismissed and you probably won’t get another chance to bid — especially if the other competing offers are near the listing price.

* Have a pre-arranged mortgage and include that with your offer. This reassures the seller there won’t be any money issues. (Most lenders will provide you with a pre-arranged mortgage certificate for this purpose.)

* Go in with a price high enough that the seller will be interested, but not so high as to be leaving money on the table. This is tricky and requires a savvy knowledge of the current market.

* Have a REALTOR® present the offer on your behalf. A REALTOR® will know how to do so professionally, and in a manner that gives you the best chance of getting the home.

In a competitive situation, working with a REALTOR® who is an expert on the local market — and a skilled negotiator — is crucial.

Will an Open House Help Sell your Home?

You’ve probably seen signs around the area for Open Houses. You may have even attended a few. These are open invitations for potential buyers to drop by on a certain day and time, to check out the property and get more information.

When you’re listing your home for sale, you might wonder whether you’ll need to have an Open House.

To answer that question, you’ll need to consider the pros and cons. Planning and hosting an open house isn’t as easy as it may seem. There’s a lot of preparation involved. In addition, you’ll likely spend hours making your property look its best and you’ll need to be away from your home for a good part of that day.

That being said, an Open House has many advantages.

• It helps showcase features of your property that may not come across well in advertisements and listing descriptions.

• It attracts potential buyers who, for any number of reasons, might not otherwise call to view the home.

• It generates a buzz and publicity about your listing.

However, an Open House might not be necessary if there is high demand for properties like yours and you’re likely to get multiple offers.

If you have questions about selling or buying a home, contact us today.

Creating a Pantry, when You Don’t Have One!

A pantry is the ideal nook for storing extra food and other items ordinarily crammed into the kitchen. It’s also a nice design feature, as it harkens back to the days of country kitchens with spacious pantries.

You might be thinking, “That’s nice, but our home doesn’t have a pantry.”

That’s okay. These days, there are many ways to create a pantry in your home – even if it doesn’t have one! Here are just a few suggestions:

• Add shelves to the laundry room. If you have the space, this is the ideal place to create a mini-pantry.

• Purchase a portable pantry. There are many available on the market. Some are even disguised as cabinets you’d expect to see in living and dining rooms.

• Purchase a movable pantry. These units are on wheels and can slide in and out of the kitchen with ease. Some are short enough to slide conveniently under a kitchen table.

• Make use of an unused closet. These are rare in most homes, but if you have a closet that isn’t being used, it can easily be converted into a pantry.

As you can see, there are plenty of options available. You don’t necessarily need to build an extra room!

When it Comes to Offers, it’s Not Always about Price

When considering which of two or more competing offers to accept for your home, there is no doubt price plays a huge role. After all, if Offer #1 is $10,000 higher than Offer #2, that’s an enticing difference that puts thousands of extra dollars in your pocket.

However, price isn’t the only thing you should think about when comparing multiple offers. There are other factors you need to consider as well.

For example, what conditions are in the offer? If Offer #1 is conditional upon the seller selling his current property for a specific amount, then what if that doesn’t happen? You could end up with an offer that dies and be forced to list your home all over again.

In that circumstance, accepting the lower offer may be your best move.

There’s also financing to consider. Most sellers will attach a certificate from their mortgage lender to show that they can afford the home and will likely secure financing with little difficulty. If you get an offer where the ability of the seller to get financing is in doubt, that’s a red flag.

The closing date is another important factor. Offer #1 might propose a closing date that’s perfect for you, while Offer #2 is four weeks later. If you’ve already purchased another home, you might require a month of bridge financing if you accept Offer #2. There’s nothing wrong with that per se, but the costs and additional hassle are factors you should consider.

As you can see, assessing competing offers isn’t as easy as it looks. Fortunately, as your REALTOR®, I will guide you toward making the right decision.

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Finding an Honest Home Improvement Contractor

You can’t call yourself a dentist unless you have specific hard-earned credentials. Just about anyone, however, can hang a shingle and call himself a home improvement contractor. That’s why choosing a reputable one is so difficult. Here are some tips:

• Find out if he or she is truly in business full-time. A part-time or occasional contractor may not have the experience necessary to do a great job.

• Ask about licenses and other credentials. Some contractors have accreditations from professional and trade associations.

• Review his or her project portfolio. A reputable contractor will have photos and other evidence of work completed for similar clients.

• Check online for reviews. If there are more than five poor reviews within the past three years — that’s a red flag.

• Ask for references. Then, call at least one.

Finally, the best contractors are those that get recommended by people you trust.

Looking for a contractor recommendation? Call today.

How Much Time Should You Spend Viewing Homes?

Figuring out how much time you should spend viewing properties for sale is a little like asking, “How long should I spend trying on shoes?”

The answer seems obvious: As long as it takes to make a decision!

Buying a home is significantly more complex than purchasing shoes – and the stakes are higher too! You need to make sure you have all the information necessary to confidently make the best decision.

There are basically three stages to viewing a property:

1. Macro

2. Micro

3. Professional

When you view a home on a macro basis, you’re looking at it from an overall perspective. For example, you may do a general walk-through to get a first impression and determine if the property has the basic features you need, such as the number of bedrooms and the size of the backyard.

Macro viewing is often the fastest stage in the viewing process and can sometimes take just a few minutes.

If you like what you see, then it’s onto the micro stage. At this stage you take a closer look at the details of the property. You might, for example, spend extra time in the master bedroom imagining how your furniture would look and fit.

The micro stage takes longer simply because the home is now on your shortlist. You’re interested and are considering making an offer.

Finally, the professional stage involves getting a qualified home inspector to go over the property with a fine tooth comb. That typically occurs after you’ve made an offer.

As your REALTOR®, I will guide you through a viewing so you’ll know what to look for and can make a smart, informed decision. Call today.

Finding the List Price “Tipping Points”

Tipping point imageSetting the right list price for a home is a mystery for many sellers. How do you begin to determine what buyers are likely to pay for your property? After all, no two homes are exactly alike.

Yet, setting the right price is crucial. You need to avoid the two price “tipping points” that, if crossed, can cause you a lot of problems.

The first tipping point is a price that’s low enough for buyers to begin thinking something is wrong. They wonder, “Why is your price so low? What are you not telling us about your property?”

But that’s not even the worst problem with this tipping point. If you do get offers at that low price, you’ll have a bigger issue – leaving thousands of dollars on the table.

The other tipping point is setting your price so high it discourages buyers from giving your listing a second look. When your price is that high, you’ll get few enquiries and even fewer people coming to see your property.

Of course, you can lower your price later, if necessary. But experience shows that reduced prices make potential buyers skeptical. Most sellers who price high in the hopes of getting a windfall actually end up selling for much less than they would have if they had priced their properties correctly in the first place.

So what’s the right price to list your property? The answer is somewhere in-between those two tipping points.

Call today for help determining the right price for your property.