Maria DiCarlo - Wakefield, MA Real Estate, Reading, MA Real Estate


You are required to get homeowners insurance when you purchase a home. You probably are so excited about buying a home that you neglect to learn the ins and outs of your policy. Unfortunately, there are many things that insurance won’t cover, yet many homeowners think that they are covered under their home insurance policy. Below, you’ll find some things that are often not covered by your home insurance, even though you might think they are. 


Broken Pipes


While your home insurance will cover damage from water in your home (different than flood insurance), the policy probably won’t cover what it takes to fix broken pipes. Your best bet in this area is prevention. You should be sure that your pipes are insulated properly and that there is adequate airflow around the pipes in your cabinets.


Earthquakes


If an earthquake hits, you’re out of luck when it comes to your homeowners insurance policy. You typically need a separate policy to get earthquake coverage. If you live in an area prone to earthquakes, you’ll need to inquire about specific policies to protect your home from this type of natural disaster.


Floods


You’ll also need a separate policy in the event of a flood. Homeowner’s policies do not cover damage or losses caused by flooding. You can get optional coverage and this is highly recommended, especially if you live near a body of water or in an area that’s prone to flooding.


A Sewer Backup


If a sewer backs up, you’ll face some serious damage in your home. Unfortunately, your homeowners policy will not cover this type of damage. The repairs can be hefty. If you wish, you can always add this type of coverage to your policy. 


Only Portions Of Disasters May Be Covered


If a hurricane hits, any damage that has been caused by the wind will be covered by your home insurance policy. If you face flooding, however, and do not have a flood insurance policy, you’ll be out of luck. Without extra coverage, some natural disasters can be a special disaster for you and your wallet. 


Keep Up The Maintenance On Your Home


It’s important to understand what is and isn’t covered by your home insurance policy. When you know how to prepare for different situations, it will make caring for and maintaining your home and your financial future a lot easier. If you prepare accordingly for natural disasters as directed, and perform proper maintenance on your home, your insurance policy should act in the best interest for you. If you happen to live in an area where you are prone to natural disasters, make sure you get the appropriate additional coverage that you’ll need to protect you.


Imagine what it will be like when you discover your dream house. In all likelihood, this residence will meet all of your needs, along with your budget. However, it is important to note that the final price of your home is unlikely to be what you'll wind up paying for your new residence. There are many hidden home costs that you should consider before you finalize your home purchase, including: 1. Property Taxes Property taxes are a necessary evil. And even though every homebuyer would like to avoid them, these taxes must be paid consistently. Typically, property taxes are billed annually as a percentage of your assessed home's value. They may total thousands of dollars that you'll be responsible for paying every year, and as such, should be considered when you budget for your home purchase. Although you cannot avoid property taxes, you can plan for them. Homebuyers who budget accordingly, meanwhile, will be able to ensure that they can pay these taxes on time for the length of their mortgage. 2. Utilities You've decided to buy a home, but how do you plan to pay for electricity for your new residence? Or how do you intend to pay to heat and cool your home? Utilities are paramount, and the costs associated with utilities need to be evaluated during the homebuying process. Fortunately, working with an experienced real estate agent ensures you'll be better equipped to understand the utilities costs you may encounter when you buy a new residence. A real estate professional may be able to provide insights into how much utilities will cost based on the size of your home and your individual needs. That way, you'll be able to get a better idea about how much you'll need to save each month for electricity, heat and other utilities. 3. Home Repairs and Maintenance Even a brand new house will require repairs and maintenance over time. And even though every room in a home looks like it is in great shape now, the same may not hold true even a week, month or year from now. Putting aside money each month enables you to prepare for any minor or major home repair or maintenance projects that could arise. Furthermore, those who are in dire need of extensive home repairs may be able to apply for a home improvement loan to ensure they can get any home improvement projects done as soon as possible. Remember, planning ahead usually is a good idea, particularly for homebuyers. Budgeting for the unforeseen costs associated with buying and owning a home is important, and doing so will ensure you're prepared for any challenges that may come your way. Creating a budget and sticking to it can help you find a great home that won't force you to stretch beyond your means. Plus, those who develop a budget that includes potential hidden homebuying and homeownership costs can avoid the risk of falling into debt. Prepare for the hidden costs of buying a new residence, and you'll be able to maximize the value of your purchase.

As a home seller, you're almost ready to list your home on the real estate market. For instance, you've committed a lot of time and money to complete extensive home repairs, conducted massive amounts of cleaning and even started working with a professional real estate agent. But even after all of your efforts, you still need to complete several last minute tasks to ensure your house is ready for prospective homebuyers to check it out. So what does it take to guarantee your house is ready for a home showing? Here are three last minute tips for home sellers to get a residence prepared for an upcoming showing: 1. Focus on the Flow of Traffic. Is it easy for homebuyers to get around your house? If large, bulky furniture and clutter fill your residence's walking paths, it may be difficult for homebuyers to walk around comfortably. Therefore, you'll want to spend some time investigating the traffic flow in each room of your home and ensure that homebuyers can explore your entire residence quickly and effortlessly. In the hours leading up to a home showing, you can improve the flow of traffic in any room simply by rearranging furniture as needed. Remember, you'll want to give homebuyers plenty of space, and moving furniture to ensure homebuyers can move around with ease is critical. You also can rely on your real estate professional for support in this area, as he or she will be able to provide you with last minute guidance to empower you to maximize the flow of traffic in every room. 2. Hide Your Personal Items. You know the photographs, trophies and other personal belongings that fill various rooms in your home? In order to provide a great first impression of your house, you may want to consider hiding these items before your home showing. The goal of a home showing is to give homebuyers a glimpse into what life would be like if they choose to purchase your residence. And if you keep your personal belongings out of sight, you can empower homebuyers to realize your home's potential and improve your chances of making a distinct first impression on homebuyers, too. Take a few minutes to place personal items in a desk drawer, a box in your attic or basement or other areas where these pieces will be out of sight during a home showing. By doing so, you can help your house create a unique impression, one that may make your home more attractive to prospective homebuyers. 3. Keep Your Home Clean. Ensure you make your bed, clean up your kitchen after breakfast and perform other last minute cleaning tasks to guarantee your home looks pristine. Ideally, any last minute cleaning tasks should only take a few minutes to perform. But ultimately, these efforts can make a world of difference in the eyes of prospective homebuyers. Guarantee your home is ready for an upcoming home showing – utilize the aforementioned tips, and you'll be able to accentuate the positives of your home to homebuyers at any time.

When you’re ready to buy a home, there’s an anxious excitement that’s within you, making you feel like a small child on Christmas night. One question that is probably burned in your mind throughout the home search process is, “How long is this going to take?” 


If you’re a first-time home buyer, you’ll likely be using some programs through the Federal Housing Administration, also known as the FHA. With any kind of home loan, there’s many variables that can affect how long the process will take. This can be due to many factors including the seller’s circumstances and the nature of your loan. 


When you’re securing a home loan backed by the FHA, you may wonder how long it’s going to take for the entire process to finish from beginning to end. 


Variables That Affect The Loan Process


Underwriting

This is one of the variables that can fluctuate the most in the home loan process. Once you have found the home that you love, the lending process can take a few weeks beyond the point where you sign a contract. This part could entail many different steps that may become hurdles for you as a borrower. Your loan officer can also have an impact on the length of the process. Some loan people are just faster than others! 


Keep in mind that you can’t close on an FHA loan until you get through the underwriting process. In the underwriting process for an FHA loan, it will be assured that you meet all of the criteria necessary for securing the loan, such as the standards that have been established by the HUD (Department Of Housing and Urban Development).      


Closing On An FHA Loan


While it’s difficult to say the exact amount of time that it will take for a loan to process, there’s some things you can do ahead of time to prepare. If you apply for an FHA loan before you have even found a home, you’ll expedite the process a bit. If you have been pre-approved prior to making an offer on a home, you’ll likely be in a better position than if you haven’t yet met with a lender. This will also make the underwriting process move a bit faster for you, provided there aren’t any major red flags on your paperwork.  


FHA Appraisals


FHA appraisals do differ a bit from appraisals for a home with a more conventional loan. With an FHA appraisal, the appraiser must look for things in two main areas including any health and safety issues and determine the market value of the property as well. This process will most likely only take a few days. Part of the appraisal process may include the appraiser looking at similar properties in the area in order to get a bit of a comparison on the value of the property. 


Can You Speed It Up?

If you have everything in order before you even decide that you’re ready to go on the house hunt, you’ll discover that the process of securing an FHA loan will be a bit smoother. Talk to a lender before you start the process so you can familiarize yourself with the requirements. Once you can present the lender with the right documents, they’ll be able to do their job with little intervention on your part.


If you’re looking to save more energy and money around your home, perhaps one of the first places that you should look is your plugs. Take a look around your rooms and see what outlets are being used. If every outlet is full of plugs, you may have some adjustments to make. 


There are so many things in our homes that require plugs including TV’s, microwaves, toasters, clocks, refrigerators, phone chargers, and more. 


Anything that is always plugged in actually adds to your electric bill whether you’re using it or not. This is known as phantom power usage. Even when a device isn’t turned on, it’s still using energy.


You don’t want to go around your home and unplug everything, only to plug it back in when you need to use it. Use this handy guide to discover what you should unplug and what you can leave plugged in your home in order to save some energy and some money. 


What To Unplug


Small Appliances


Large appliances in your kitchen would be impractical to constantly plug in and unplug. Smaller appliances, however, are much easier to manage. These include toasters, coffee makers, food processors, and microwaves. The small digital clocks on many of these devices, for example, are constantly using energy. Do you really need the function? If you don’t need to know the time, you should just unplug it and save your home some energy usage. 


Chargers


We need to charge just about all of our devices including laptops, iPads, phones, and even electric toothbrushes. these items don’t need to be plugged in all the time. Once a device is charged fully, be sure to unplug it. It’s only wasting energy otherwise!  


Computers


Unplug your computer each and every night. Screen savers and sleep modes don’t actually save much power from being used while your computer is plugged in. It’s a good idea to keep your computer unplugged for safety reasons as well. A strike of lighting hitting, for example, can cause your entire system to fry.


Keep These Items Plugged In


There are certain items that you can leave plugged in at your home without worry. These items include:


  • Power strips
  • Nondigital items
  • Items without clock or LCD displays




Power strips are particularly useful for items like entertainment centers and computer setups. Flipping the switch to the off position on the power strip helps to stop the phantom power usage. The convenient thing is that you won’t need to plug and unplug everything in individually, and you’ll still save power. 


Saving energy and money is easy when you have the right strategies put in place.




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