First Time Homebuyers Insurance

A First-Time Homebuyer’s Guide to Homeowner Insurance

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Buying your first home is exciting and daunting at the same time. You have to deal with a lot regarding closing costs, down payments, appraisals, and other things. Homeowners’ insurance tends to take a backseat in this case since the law does not require homeowners insurance. Nonetheless, mortgage companies insist on homebuyers purchase insurance before finalizing the deal.

While most people would rather do without this insurance, a lot of homeowners forget that their home is one of the biggest investment and they could lose a lot in case of theft, fires, disasters, or accidents. Securing your home and the belongings in it should be a top priority.

Read on to learn more about how rates are determined and the different types of coverage available.

Types of Coverage

There are mainly four types of standard coverage in a homeowner’s insurance plan.

These include:

1. Possessions

The content of your home also suffers when your home is damaged. Homeowners insurance pays to replace or repair these items.

2. Structure

The homeowner’s insurance covers the whole structure of your home in case of damage by lightning, fire, or unprecedented accidents. Some policies cover various structures like sheds, fences, and garages. Structure coverage also covers heating and air conditioning, plumbing components, and electrical wiring.

3. Living expenses

If your home becomes uninhabitable following a disaster or accident, your daily routine is affected, and you may need to find temporary housing. Homeowners insurance can help you cover costs involved such as meals, transport, and accommodation.

4. Liability Protection

Sometimes a person may get injured on your property. Getting homeowners insurance protects you against lawsuits or any expenses if people get hurt while in your home. Failure to have liability insurance could lead to you losing your home if someone is injured.

What Isn’t Covered By Homeowners Insurance?

According to this website, there are certain events that most standard homeowners insurance policies won’t cover. These include construction damage, sewer backups, floods, tenant’s claims, earthquakes, and unsecured nuisances like pools or trampolines.

It’s important to understand what insurance policy covers and what is not included to avoid surprises when your claim is denied. Also, it’s critical to know the type of coverage you should look for as this will depend on your needs.

Additional Tips on Homeowners Insurance

1. Ask Questions

Before signing on any one policy, make sure that you’ve asked as many questions as you can think. Compare quotes from different companies and ask what is covered and what is not covered in the policy.

2. Determine How Much You Can Afford

Your budget will determine the rates and coverage you qualify for. Be sure to have a figure in mind when shopping around for homeowner insurance. The cost of this insurance also depends on its location, price, and age of your home.

3. Know How Home Insurance Deductibles Work

Deductibles are the amount of money subtracted from a policy claim. High deductibles allow you to save money on monthly premiums. Nevertheless, you’ll be responsible for any financial outlay when it comes to claims.

Homeowners insurance helps to protect your significant investment, and that is your home. Make sure to compare the different insurance policies by various companies and ask a lot of questions before signing any paperwork.

Apartment Hunting

Top 7 Amenities Tenants Look for When Apartment Hunting

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Apartment hunting can be stressful even for the savviest searchers. The housing crisis in many regions means that belts are drawn tight in many places. People are still looking for that dream place, and for those who have the money to spend, there are a few things they look for when searching. Check out this list of 7 amenities that will turn an apartment hunter’s ‘maybe’ into a ‘yes.’

1. Bathtub

For some reason, weight room style showers have become all the rage. This can be a real turnoff for those who are apartment hunting. A shower is guaranteed in all places, a bath less so. The reasons for this are plenty; it’s harder to bathe children and pets in the shower, it’s far more difficult for those with mobility problems to shower than it is to take a bath, and people enjoy relaxing with a long soak at the end of the day. Since the shower is always guaranteed, there’s no reason not to be on the lookout for a bathtub.

2. Dishwasher

It’s 2018, and there are kitchens in South Korea that practically do everything for you. Dishwashers should come standard in all apartments nowadays. It saves the hassle of cleanup after cooking and is a modern convenience that has been around for ages. Apartment hunters will be pleased to see a dishwasher included in the kitchen.

3. Washer/Dryer

This means a washer and dryer in each apartment, not a laundry room at the bottom of the stairs where tenants who are already paying rent have to pay more to clean their clothes. Laundry rooms can also be an unsafe place especially for people on their own, so this a popular amenity. Before signing a lease and moving in, these cheap Cypress moving services say to be sure to ask your landlord whether the unit is equipped with these appliances. Without an in-unit washer and dryer set, laundry day could become quite the chore.

4. Swimming Pool or Hot Tub

These types of amenities are often only provided at the very high end when it comes to apartment buildings, but this can be one of the primary draws for tenants. If it’s in their price range, people are going to go to the place with the pool or hot tub over any alternative without one.

5. Gym

This means more than throwing a couple of exercise bikes and a treadmill into a spare room. People often pay quite a lot for gym memberships, and if they can rent a place that includes exercise equipment, they’ll see that as fantastic savings. REscour suggests that Millennials are especially enticed by apartment buildings that offer group workout classes, like yoga and cycling.

6. Off-Street Parking

In many metropolitan areas, parking is at a premium, and it’s only getting worse. Knowing that you won’t have to search for a parking space for hours is a definite plus.

7. Central Heating

In some places (not Miami of course), heating can be absurdly expensive and not always reliable. If an apartment provides central heating, it’s going to be on the top of the list for those searching in cold climates.

Apartment Rentals

Recovering Your Apartment Security Deposit | Pre-Move Cleaning Checklist

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When moving out of an apartment, getting your security deposit back is one of your top priorities. A thorough cleaning ensures that this happens. This checklist will help you do a complete cleaning of any rental so that you can feel confident of getting back your hard-earned money:

Entire apartment:

  • Remove all nails and screws from walls, and fill them smoothly. Repaint areas if needed.
  • Dust all ceiling and wall fixtures. Using a product like Pledge and a dusting cloth will help keep the dust from swirling around and landing somewhere else.
  • Dust all windowsills, shelves, and ledges.
  • Clean windows, doorknobs, and doors.
  • Wipe down all light switches and outlets.
  • Wash walls and baseboards.
  • Get rid of cobwebs.
  • Clean air vents and replace the filters.
  • Deep clean all floors (more details per room below).
  • If you’re moving large appliances (like a washing machine or dish washer), cheapmoverscharlotte.com suggests disconnecting these at least 2 days in advance to allow them to defrost and/or dry out.

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Bedrooms and living room:

  • Vacuum or sweep (depending on floor materials) the room after it’s empty.
  • If carpeted, clean steam carpets. Keep in mind that many landlords will not accept it if you just rent a steam cleaner and do it yourself. You may need to hire a company to do this for you.
  • Ensure closets are empty.

Bathrooms:

  • Scrub the shower and tub, and bleach the grout.
  • Wash the countertop and sink.
  • Clean and polish the mirror.
  • Clean out drawers, vanity, and medicine cabinet. Check cabinets beneath the sink.
  • Dust and clean exhaust fan, if there is one.
  • Clean shower curtain if it remains with the apartment.
  • Mop floor, and scrub any stains. Bleach grout if it’s tile floors.

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Kitchen:

  • Scrub the sink and faucet. Wipe away water spots with a soft cloth.
  • Clean inside and outside of cabinets, including shelves and doors.
  • Clean inside and outside of drawers.
  • Wash countertops.
  • Pull out the stove and clean behind and beneath it. Clean hood and exhaust fan.
  • Wipe down stovetop, and remove and clean drip trays. Clean inside oven.
  • Wipe down the exterior of the microwave, and scrub the inside.
  • Wipe down refrigerator, inside and outside.
  • Pull refrigerator out, and clean behind and beneath it.
  • Mop floor, and scrub any stains. Bleach grout if it’s tile floors.

apartment-cleaning

Outdoor spaces:

  • If outdoor spaces are shared with other tenants, only clean your area. If you have your outdoor space such as a patio, front stoop, or grassy area:
  • Clean and sweep patio, porch or step, and wipe down the outside of the door.
  • Clean sliding glass doors, if applicable.
  • Mow grass, and remove weeds.
  • Clean out any storage areas. Remove personal belongings, clear cobwebs and dust. Sweep floor.
  • Repair or replace any outdoor light fixtures that are not properly working.
  • Pressure wash concrete patio, parking space, or driveway.

If you take the time to complete this checklist, you’ll leave your apartment in excellent condition and should have no trouble getting back your security deposit. Many of these tasks can be completed prior to the movers‘ arrival, so you do a final once-over once the moving truck is loaded and be on your way. Best of luck with moving day!

Real Estate Marketing

Email Marketing Guide for Real Estate Agents

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Compared to social media and video marketing, there is nothing trendy or exciting about email marketing. About the only thing email has going for it is that it flat-out works. Figures supplied by the Data & Marketing Association show that email marketing typically delivers an impressive ROI (return on investment) of 4,300 percent.

Real estate is a highly competitive industry, and email marketing offers an effective and highly affordable way for you to stand out from the crowd and communicate with prospective clients in buying as well as selling scenarios.

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How Email Marketing Can Help Grow Your Real Estate Business

  • Email marketing delivers your message to a targeted audience of prospects who have already expressed an interest in hearing from you.
  • It provides a great ROI – each dollar spent returns an average of $44 according to a 2016 report by Campaign Monitor.
  • Results can be measured – you can track how many recipients open your emails, click on your links, or visit your website.

How to Start Your Email Marketing Campaign

  1. Set-up an Email Autoresponder Account

An autoresponder organizes and maintains your real estate email marketing list, and sends out your emails automatically based on the schedule that you select. Since many autoresponder companies don’t allow you to import your list, you’ll want to choose a provider and set your account up before you start collecting addresses. A number of both free and paid autoresponder options are available such as Aweber, OutboundEngine, MailChimp, Constant Contact, and GetResponse.

  1. Add an Email Subscription Form to Your Website

Place your email list sign-up form in a prominent place on your homepage. Offer a freebie incentive to encourage visitors to give up their email address such as a free report or a free comparative analysis of their home’s market value. Don’t go overboard in requesting personal information – ask for their first name (allows you to personalize your messages) and email address only at this stage. The more information you request, the fewer sign-ups you’ll receive. If you don’t have a website yet, a landing page hosting company such as LeadPages can set you up with a basic hosting page for your email subscription form.

  1. Expand Your Email List Marketing Outreach

Display an email sign-up form at open houses. Add a sign-up link to your business cards, brochures, your email signature, and your social media pages.

  1. Start Laying Out Your Content

The sky’s the limit as far as your email messages are concerned – just make sure you offer good value for your subscribers. Some tried, and true content ideas include home improvement ideas, listings updates, separate tip sheets for sellers and buyers, and local mortgage rate updates.

After you’ve sent out a few emails, encourage your list subscribers to complete a brief survey about their specific interests. This information can be used to segment your list and better target your content to home sellers, home buyers, renters, and any other client niches that you can think of.

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Home Buying

What to Know About Closing Costs

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Buying or selling a home is an enormous personal and financial commitment. While most people focus their attention on the purchase price of the home and mortgage costs, you must also consider other fees and costs. Whether you’re a first-time home buyer or a seasoned real estate veteran, closing costs are one of the most […]