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Buying a new home? Read this first!

April 18, 2016

Enthusiastic-Family-with-Home-For-Sale-000082576699_DoubleWith interest rates still relatively low, it’s still the perfect time to buy your first home…or even your tenth!  At Founders Insurance Agency, we work with many homebuyers and have heard just a few, well let’s say “horror stories”.  Many of which could have been avoided with these simple tips:

Try it before you buy it – at least the area. Is the area within walking or driving distance of stores or places such as Church, schools, your business, a park, the library, places that are important to you? If you’re unsure, you should consider booking a room at a local hotel, B&B or a spot from VRBO or Airbnb for the weekend to see whether you (and your family) would be happy living in that region. Visiting a place as a tourist is very different than becoming a full-time resident. Diane Saatchi, a senior vice president at the real estate firm The Corcoran Group, says that no home is perfect, but many homeowners become frustrated with shortcomings that they could have averted.

The costs – Purchasing a home can be costly. Expenses include maintenance, taxes, utilities, upgrades, and insurance. There may be an uptick in traveling expenses, too. If this is going to be an additional home, you’ll be there only part of the year but the costs remain. Older homes may require additional expenses for renovations that include wiring, plumbing, and environmental inspection.

Look under every floor board – Well almost. You should hire an inspector to check the house over first. Older homes often have hidden issues such as knob & tube wiring, mold, structural issues, older corroding pipes. Environmental hazards may also come into the picture. Older homes may have asbestos or lead paint – things you absolutely need to know if you are doing any type of renovation or if you plan on renting the house out to others.

Making a checklist – Buying a home can be an emotional investment. Each family member likely has his or her ‘wish’ items; must-haves and nice-to-haves that tend to be overlooked in the scramble of reviewing houses. We suggest that you print your checklist and take photographs so you can cross your items off your list. Be ready to compromise – it’s rare to find a home that has everything in your price range. Remember – colors can always be changed fairly inexpensively but that 3rd bathroom is a bit more costly!

Lawyer up – A house is one of the largest investments in your life. The buyers’ contract comes with covenants, principles, and rules that you’ll want to understand in order to protect your property. Read the forms and contracts before you sign them and have your lawyer, mortgage broker and real estate agent clarify obtuse terms. Make sure you agree with all statements. Don’t be afraid to negotiate terms with sales offices, money lenders and builders. It’s all part of the game.

Protect it! – Work with an independent insurance agent who understands your personal finances. All homeowners’ insurance policies are different. Be smart and sit down with someone who can guide you on what you should and shouldn’t have as far as personal insurance.

**Founders Tip: Many things can affect your homeowner’s insurance rates: Age AND condition of your home, wiring, plumbing, furnace and roof. Some issues will cause standard insurance carriers to deny you forcing you to get a policy from an Excess Carrier – where fees and rates are often much higher. The list is long but here are the biggest offenders: Overall bad condition of the home including safety hazards, trampolines, underground oil tanks, pools with no fencing, roofs over 25 years old, knob & tube wiring and some dog breeds.

Once you’ve picked out your dream home, give us a call at Founders – we will do a free, no-obligation insurance inspection for you. Let’s identify red flags before your closing date!

Linda Robertson new pic

Linda Robertson

Platinum Accounts Executive


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