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Top Property Insurance Claims

by Jon Smith, CRB, CRS, GRI

Homeowners insurance is something that every homeowner needs and while you never want to have to use it, it is vital that you have it in case of an emergency. Did you know that water damage is the most common (and costly) homeowners’ property insurance claim? Keep in mind, you don’t have to live in a flood zone to be hit by this kind of property loss. Roof leaks, bursting pipes and drainage issues are also contributing factors to water damage in your home.

It is vital that you review your policy so you know what is covered in and to make sure you are adequately cover this kind of loss.

Don’t get caught short in case of an emergency and your property suffers any kind of material damage.Do your homework when you select your insurance company and policy. Property insurance claims vary based on geography and even neighborhood, so it is also important to understand what the risks are for your address,

According to Allstate Insurance Company, below are some common types of property claims.
• Hail
• Water
• Wind
• Theft
• Physical damage (other)
 
Each area is different so be sure that you understand the specific risks associated with your neighborhood and that the policy you choose protects you from those kinds of damages.

Allstate offers a great tool called the Common & Costly Claims, check it out on their website www.allstate.com. Simply put in your zip code and the tool offers the top five property claims and the average cost by zip. This tool can help you determine the kind of policy or rider that you may need to make sure your home is safe and that your assets are protected.

It’s also a good idea to work with an agent so that you understand exactly what your policy covers; and in the event of a claim, how to recover the full value of your belongings or real property. Certain policies also cover temporary housing or living expenses for catastrophic loss- make sure you take full advantage of the premiums you pay!

 

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Is Your Contract Binding?

by Jon Smith, CRB, CRS, GRI

If you haven’t already entered a binding contract for a new home, then you’ve missed part one of The Home Buyer Tax Credit (it was April 30th).  If you have, then keep it mind that part two requires that you close on the home on or before June 30, 2010.

One of the questions that has come up as part of the tax credit push is what exactly is a ‘binding contract’ in the eyes of the IRS. No one really seems to know, but it does raise some interesting points.

For any kind of tax benefits or allowances, it is best to seek the advice of a tax accountant or attorney. They can help translate murky guidelines and offer the best course of action when buying or selling a home.

When it comes to actually writing an offer, the next step is to allow your realtor to craft the contract or use a standard state contract. Your offer should be thorough and concise. Don’t leave any terms blank or undefined. Any ambiguities in an offer can lead to interpretation down the line that render the contact ‘non-binding’. Not only can this have an impact on your Home Buyer Tax Credit, other tax advantages or even the ability to close on the deal.

Do your homework – and let tax and real estate professionals guide you. From the IRS to your local chapter of NAHB to your CPA, you should make your decisions based on a number of resources:

Internal Revenue Service

National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)

National Association of Realtors

All contracts have some contingencies – and some are more important than others. Just be sure to consult with an expert to make sure your offer is clean, clear and enforceable.

 

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Common Misconceptions About Residential Appraisals

by Jon Smith, CRB, CRS, GRI

You have found the perfect home and are ready to buy, and you lender needs a real estate appraisal. If this is your first time buying you may not understand exactly what that is. A real estate appraisal is a detailed report that is created by a licensed appraiser in your state and establishes the market value of a residential property. A number of considerations go into an official appraisal, and it forms the basis of the bank’s determination of the loan value. While appraisals do consider market comparisons, the actual appraisal value comes from much more than a market analysis.

Here are the components of a residential appraisal:

  • Property details
  • Comparisons  to at least three similar properties
  • Evaluation of the market conditions in the area
  • Environmental conditions that could decrease the property’s value
  • Structural issues that could decrease the property’s value
  • Estimate of time on the market
  • Status of the home site – new development, established neighborhood, acreage

Common misconceptions

  1. Appraisals aren’t the same as home inspections
  2. Appraisals are owned by the lender and not the buyer
  3. Assessed values don’t necessarily match market value
  4. Realtors do not provide appraisals
  5. Consumers do have the right to question appraisal facts and contest them

Understanding the neighborhood and ‘comps’ are an important part of your buying experience, but you are also bound to the official appraisal given to the lender. Work with your realtor, lender AND appraiser to make sure you understand all the details in the appraisal report of your new home.

 

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New Home Monitoring Technology

by Jon Smith, CRB, CRS, GRI

If you are a homeowner who is interested in the latest in home safety tecnhology, you will want to check out the latest from Schlage. They are now offering the ability to monitor and control yourr home from anywhere. Schlage LiNK™ is a new amazing technology that lets you remotely control and monitor access to your home 24/7 from any Internet enabled computer and most web enabled cell phones.  This new remote home management offers many benefits, below are some of the things you can do:

•Check the status of your lock and set temporary codes to your home from your Internet enabled computer or cell phone
•Change, add, or delete access codes to your lock remotely
•Access a 90 day history of who has accessed your lock in

Some of the benefits:

•No key to hide, lose, carry, or forget
•Ready to use out of the box. Installs quickly, usually in less than 30 minutes
•Powered by a 9-volt battery. If the Internet goes down or the power goes out, the lock still provides you secure access to your home
•Use the keys provided with the lock as a standard door lock
•Ability to program up to 19 unique user codes
•Add, change, or delete user codes in seconds

The system can be accessed via computer or cell phone and you can send a command to your home using the password-protected Schlage LiNK online interface on your cell phone or computer. The command travels to your home via the Internet, using Secure Socket Layer (SSL) encryption technology, the same security used for online banking

Many cell phones support the Schlage LiNK application. Currently, Blackberry and Windows Mobile phones are supported with the Schlage LiNK phone application on Verizon. A Schlage LiNK application compatible with other Verizon phones is undergoing testing and should be available by the end of 2009. To see if your phone is supports this system, text “phone” to 695465 (MYLINK) on your cell phone to see if it’s compatible.

 

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Displaying blog entries 1-4 of 4

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Contact Information

Photo of Jon Smith, CRB, CRS, SRES, SFR Real Estate
Jon Smith, CRB, CRS, SRES, SFR
Iowa Realty
3521 Beaver Ave.
Des Moines IA 50310
515-240-2692
Fax: 515-453-6404
 

 

 

Licensed in the State of Iowa