Posted in Home Investing

Don’t Gamble With Your Home: How To Protect Your Investment

finance sketch near laptop computer

GET A HOME INSURANCE POLICY

When you first buy a home, you’ll need a homeowners insurance policy. Usually, a bank requires home insurance so many homeowners get the cheapest policy just to get it over with.  However, it makes sense to put home insurance on your home, because it will take care of damages to your home caused by natural disasters and more. Make sure to purchase a policy that covers your home completely, in the unfortunate event that you would have to rebuild. Also, make sure to go through your policy to add things on your policy that match where your home is located. Homeowners in Utah would probably put earthquake insurance on their policy, but not hurricane insurance.

Many experts say you can save money on home insurance by increasing your deductible, or by installing smoke detectors, dead-bolts or burglar alarms. Homeowner’s insurance can also be purchased with auto insurance from the same company, which could get you a loyalty discount.

DON’T USE YOUR HOME’S EQUITY AS AN ATM

Homes build up equity as long as you take care of them. Banks will sometimes let homeowners take a loan out on that equity, or value of the home. The biggest mistake a homeowner can make, though, is using that equity as an ATM. There are times when a homeowner might need extra money. Maybe to pay for a college education or a much-needed vehicle. Those are both things that home equity can and should be used for. What gets troubling is when homeowners begin to use the equity in their homes to go on lavish vacations or other items you don’t need. Use the equity in your home to finance much-needed expenses, not whatever desire you might have that weekend.

DON’T SKIP A HOME INSPECTION

Before you buy a home, don’t forget a home inspection. Although you might think that you can easily see major issues with a home, nothing is further than the truth. You probably won’t be looking at homes to purchase that have obvious issues; sagging roofs, broken decks or leaking pipes. Instead, the homes that you will look to buy will have lesser-known problems that won’t be as easily seen. Walking through a potential buyer with a professional can help you know what you’re getting into with a home, and the professional can easily spot any code violations your potential home may have. That way, when you have purchased your home, you know what the house’s weak points are, and what you need to pay attention to when you’re maintaining your home.

MAINTAIN YOUR HOME

Would you ever buy a car and drive around in it for years, but never have the oil changed? Of course not … if you did, you’d probably end up ruining your car! Same goes for a home. You live in it every day and you use its systems and appliances to make your life easier. So instead of waiting for the day when your “oil” runs out and you have to buy a new home … start taking care of it now! Pay attention to your appliances and how old they are. Follow the manufacturers’ instructions and make sure to clean your systems and appliances properly. That way, when your home’s systems and appliances do fail, they’ll fail from normal wear and tear and you can save more money by getting a home warranty.

GET A HOME WARRANTY

The best way to protect your home’s systems and appliances is to get a home warranty.  As long as you maintain your home, when one of the systems or appliances fails from normal wear and tear, a home warranty will save you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars on home repairs. A home warranty works like this: you purchase a home warranty plan for a year (or more) from the best home warranty company you can find. Then, when something fails in your home that’s covered in your home warranty plan, you call them. They will send a service contractor out to your home, who will repair or replace the failed item for a service call fee.

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Posted in Home Maintenance

Spring Home Maintenance Checklist

white printed paper with four white roses

Take advantage of the moderate temperatures to get a head start on what should be an annual spring home maintenance routine.

EXTERIOR INSPECTION

“It’s good to do a walk-around of your property, especially after a storm” It can also take its toll on windows, walls, foundations, gutters, and decks.

Roof. You don’t need to climb up there yourself; with binoculars and a keen eye, you can probably spot trouble. Do you see any shingle-shift, suggesting that some fasteners may have failed and needed replacing? Any cracked or missing shingles? What about nail-pops? “We call them eyebrows,” Niles explains. “It’s when nails push the tabs of the shingles up, allowing water to get in where those nails are coming through.” All will need to be addressed to keep your roof at peak performance.

Chimneys. If you have a masonry chimney, check the joints between bricks or stones. Have any fallen out? Is there vegetation growing out of them? Each signals water infiltration. Also, look for efflorescence—”a white calcium-like deposit that indicates your masonry joints are no longer repelling water but absorbing it,” says Niles. Consider re-sealing masonry with a clear, impermeable or water-resistant barrier material (like Thoroseal products). Brush it on, small areas at a time; let it absorb for 15 minutes, then reapply—it may need a couple of applications.

Exterior Walls. Whether you have wood siding, stucco or brick, look for trouble spots, especially under eaves and near gutter downspouts. Water stains normally indicate that your gutters are not adequately containing roof runoff. If you have wood siding, check for openings, damaged areas or knots that have popped out, making way for carpenter ants, woodpeckers and other critters that may nest in or burrow through.

Foundations. When inspecting the exterior of your home, be sure to examine the foundation from top to bottom for masonry cracks. “Routine caulking by homeowners won’t do the job,” says Niles. “Hire a foundation specialist who can employ a two-part epoxy injection system that will bond cracks chemically,” he adds.

Windows. Leakage around windows will admit warm summer air and let cooled indoor air escape, so be sure to check that any caulking and weather stripping you have in place has remained intact. “A tight seal is the first line of defense against air and water,” says Marty Davis, marketing manager, Simonton Windows, Columbus, OH. If you experienced condensation inside the glass on double- or triple-glazed windows during the winter months, the weather seal has been compromised, and either the glass or the window will need to be replaced.