Home Value – HomeownersInsurance.org http://www.homeownersinsurance.org Homeowners Insurance Tips and News Fri, 28 Jun 2013 15:01:02 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.1 Little Things You Can Do to Increase Your Homes Value http://www.homeownersinsurance.org/little-things-you-can-do-to-increase-your-homes-value/ http://www.homeownersinsurance.org/little-things-you-can-do-to-increase-your-homes-value/#respond Wed, 03 Nov 2010 02:11:15 +0000 http://www.homeownersinsurance.org/?p=1188

Everyone likes to make improvements on their homes as the years go by, and every project you do only helps add to your homes value while also making sure it remains comfortable for you and fits your tastes. One thing many people dont consider is that there are even very cheap and obvious things you can to to make your house look nicer while improving the homes value.

One thing that can help keep your house looking nice is having it power-washed once every year or even every two years. This will help the house keep a clean appearance, which is always important when you are having an appraisal done. Another thing yo can do to help the appearance and value is by planting some small shrubs around the yard, or even around the house. You do want to remember with any plants to keep them a little bit away from the foundation, especially plants with heavy thick roots since they can cause foundation damage which will just hurt the homes value.

Keeping your yard looking nice and clean and also clear of weeds and a well maintained lawn always help and are very easy and cost effective to maintain and improve upon. Also making sure any sidewalks are free of cracks and weeds will keep your home value up. if a new crack appears due to weather then just fill it right in, it is a quick easy DIY job.

Other things that can be quite costly are replacing any old windows and doors (inside and out), replacing siding or repainting when needed, making sure the roof stays in good shape, and fixing or having redone if there are problems. these are all things you should be doing for maintenance every so many years anyways, but if you keep on top of all the little problems as they arise you will avoid bigger problems and you will also keep the value of your home up.

Image Credits: http://www.flickr.com/photos/36122696@N08/3354077450/

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Living in a Money Pit http://www.homeownersinsurance.org/living-in-a-money-pit/ http://www.homeownersinsurance.org/living-in-a-money-pit/#respond Fri, 24 Sep 2010 14:58:18 +0000 http://www.homeownersinsurance.org/?p=977

When you buy a house, it’s not like buying a toaster. If you buy a toaster and it doesn’t work right, or doesn’t do everything you want it to do, you simply take it back. In a worst case scenario where the store won’t take it back, you simply buy another toaster. If you buy a car and it gets into a wreck and needs repairs, you have your car insurance to pay for it. If your home turns out to be a lemon and need a bunch of repairs, your homeowners insurance isn’t going to cover it. In fact, if someone is injured in your home because of those things that need repair, it’s entirely possible that your homeowners insurance won’t cover it.

Here is a way to tell if you’re living in a money pit: you’re spending more than 2 percent of your home’s value each year, on average, on home repairs.

Now, you can expect that, occasionally, this will happen. Everyone needs to replace a roof or a furnace, from time to time. When it happens on a regular basis, however, then you know you’ve got a bigger problem.

ServiceMagic, which is a company that is involved in a variety of home services including repairs, has offered a list of categories when it comes to putting money into your home repairs:

  • The Money Pit. As mentioned if you spend more than 2 percent annually on home repairs you have a money pit.
  • The Sinkhole. A sinkhole is a little bit better than a pit, according to ServiceMagic. If you spend between 1.6 percent and 2 percent of your home’s value each year on repairs, you have a sinkhold.
  • The Drain. A more mild but still significant category is the drain. If you spend between 1 percent and 1.5 percent a year on repairs, you have a drain.

If your home falls into one of these categories, it may be time to crawl out of the pit (or sinkhole or drain) and find a home that doesn’t cause as much of a fin

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Is Buying a Home a Good Savings Vehicle? http://www.homeownersinsurance.org/is-buying-a-home-a-good-savings-vehicle/ http://www.homeownersinsurance.org/is-buying-a-home-a-good-savings-vehicle/#respond Mon, 05 Jul 2010 17:57:07 +0000 http://www.homeownersinsurance.org/?p=706 Until recently, most anyone would tell you that it makes more sense to buy a house than rent, if you are able to afford to do so. The reasons, they would claim, are simple. Namely, when you rent, you throw your money away, and will never see it again, but when you buy, you build equity. But, when you factor in other concerns like home maintenance and repair, homeowners insurance, and taxes, is it really the best way to build a nest egg?

It Depends

The answer varies, depending on a number of circumstances, including your location, your credit (and the resulting interest rate), and market factors over which you have no control and likely can’t predict with any degree of accuracy. Ultimately, if you really want to know what makes sense for your situation, you need to do a little homework.

Understand the Interest

With most mortgage loans, the overwhelming majority of what you will be paying for the first 10 years is interest. Interest paid is money thrown away that you will never see again, every bit as much as rent is. For the first 5 years, an average of 80% of what a homeowner pays covers interest. Years 6-10 still see the homeowner divesting 70% of his payment into interest. Unless your housing costs are actually lower than what you were paying to rent, you probably would do much better investing your money into something else.

What Constitutes Housing Costs

When determining your housing costs, it’s important to keep in mind that your mortgage or rent is just the beginning of it. If you’re a homeowner, you also need to factor in homeowners insurance. You also need to consider the costs of upkeep. Small things like gas for the lawn mower stack with larger tag issues like fixing plumbing or wiring, repainting every 8 years or so, and replacing the roof every 20 years. By the time many homeowners have any significant equity, they find that they need to borrow against it to maintain the house, keeping them in a cycle of debt.

If You’re Going to Buy

There are at least one very good reason to buy a house, in any market. To live in it. If you are going to be in the same house for the duration of a 30 year mortgage, then you can certainly make a case that it is a worthwhile investment. You will get back a good part of what you put in (though by no means all, in most cases), and you will have had the benefit of living there. Today, however, homeowners average barely 7 years in a home before trading it in for another house and another mortgage. And if you do that, in most cases, you throw away considerably more money than if you had just rented.

Photo via alancleaver_2000

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Top 50 Landscaping Sites for Help and Inspiration http://www.homeownersinsurance.org/top-50-landscaping-blogs/ http://www.homeownersinsurance.org/top-50-landscaping-blogs/#comments Fri, 16 Apr 2010 15:02:15 +0000 http://www.homeownersinsurance.org/?p=328

Landscaping your property is the absolute best way to improve the “curb appeal” of your home. Whether you’re looking to improve the property value, or you just want to make your lawn & gardens look nice, it sure isn’t easy. It’s tough enough coming up with inspiration for the look you desire that will work with the challenges of the land you’re working with. What makes it more difficult is the up-keep and knowledge that must go along with it. We’ve compiled a list of our top 50 favorite sites to help you with inspiration and information for making your property the talk of the neighborhood:

Professional Landscaping

1.      Green Bay Nursery: Landscaping and gardens

2.      Backyard Oasis: Designer landscape and swimming pool creations.

3.      Partridge Design: Fine landscaping design since 1977.

4.      Clearwater Summit Group, Inc.: Residential landscaping services – Commercial, Residential, Renovations, Other Landscaping Projects.

5.      Hanselman Landscaping: Garden Design and Installation, Japanese Gardens, Garden Care, and Specialty Trees.

6.      Garden Designer: Landscape and garden design and ideas.

7.      Landscaping Blog | Landscape Design: Landscaping and garden design ideas.

8.      Landscape – Urbanism: Focus is on landscaping and vegetated architecture, urbanism, green roofs, living walls, and ecological planning.

9.      Terra Nova Ecological Landscaping Blog: Santa Cruz backyard landscaping designs.

10.  Elizabeth Carmel’s Landscape Photography Blog: Fine Art Landscape Photography.

11.  House Landscaping Ideas: Ideas for house, front yard, and backyard landscaping and free landscaping software.

12.  Unique Landscaping: Specializes in luxury pools and landscaping designs.

13.  Matt Anders Landscaping Blog: Landscaping guide, Austin, TX.

14.  O’ Connell Landscape: Design and build landscape contractor.

15.  Studio G: Landscaping design products, inspirations, ideas, and destinations journal.

16.  Exterior Worlds: Home and garden landscaping.

17.  Tree Hugger: Green resources.

18.  Land+Living Network: A modern world’s lifestyle and design.

19.  Free Soil: International collection and collaboration of everything landscape and environment.

20.  Plant NJ: Swimming pools and landscaping design and construction.

21.  Our Gardner: Horticulturists working as residential estate gardeners.

22.  Glorious-Landscape: Landscape fine art photography.

23.  Garden Visit: Find gardens, garden tours from around the world, and trip planner.

24.  Great-Landscape-Photography: Great landscape photography guide.

25.  Copy Landscape Blog: Texas landscaping design horticulturist.

26.  Solid Ground: Specializes in high-end commercial and residential landscaping.

27.  Garden Minnesota: Expert outdoor living landscapers.

28.  Digital Landscaping: Landscaping design, land art and training.

29.  All States Landscaping: Transforming Utah’s landscape since 1985.

30.  HLI: Houston Landscape Images uses your vision to design your landscape.

31.  Fine Gardening: Plant guide, design ideas, how to’s, videos, discussion and gallery.

32.  CalFinders: Connecting homeowners with contractors nationwide.

33.  Sounds Green: Landscaping lifestyles blog.

34.  Nations Harvest: Lawn Care Fundraiser.

35.  Green Landscaping: Sustainable green landscaping.

36.  Go Green Tool Shed: Ecological landscaping and going green.

37.  The Greenview Spring: All things green and garden resource.

38.  Lawn Care Landscape: Affordable, Eco-friendly professional lawn care for Ohio residents.

39.  The Lawn Blog: Fun, current information for the lawn and “green” industry.

DIY Landscaping

40.  CURBappeal: Living luxuriously on a limited budget.

41.  Backyard Landscape Ideas: Tips, Ideas, Resources, and How To’s.

42.  Go Green! Blog: Landscape supply helping people beautify the planet and their yards.

43.  Green Industry Pros: Tips, lawn equipment sales and repair.

44.  Farmington Gardens: Front yard and backyard gardening for beginners – vegetables and fruit trees.

45.  Front Porch Ideas and More: Porch and yard curb appeal landscaping.

46.  Savvy Landscaping: Tips, ideas, and tricks for adding curb appeal to your landscape.

47.  Black Forrest Co.: Beginner to expert designs specialized for the DIY landscapers.

48.  Danny Lipford: Home improvement advice.

49.  Great-Backyard-Landscaping-Ideas: Ideas, tips, landscaping information, and news letter.

50.  Landscaping Videos: Landscaping videos, plans, and pictures.

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Is Home Ownership Overrated? http://www.homeownersinsurance.org/is-home-ownership-overrated/ http://www.homeownersinsurance.org/is-home-ownership-overrated/#comments Tue, 26 Jan 2010 19:09:12 +0000 http://www.homeownersinsurance.org/?p=186 castleThere was a time, thankfully long past, when owning land meant you were a member of the elite in society. The “landed gentry” were the ones who made the rules, who owned the means of production and who had the most rights. Home ownership was more than just a status symbol or an investment. Owning a home meant that you led a different, more privileged life. Home owners were first class citizens, while those that rented were living their life in coach.

Today, that’s changed. Some of the most powerful and wealthy people on the planet don’t own homes. They simply rent apartments or homes all over the world. You can be the most successful person in the country today, and whether or not you own a home has no bearing on your success.

So, why own a home? For status’ sake? Perhaps there is still some pride in owning your own home, as opposed to renting. Homes as investments are iffy right now, at best.

Here are some reasons home ownership may be overrated, and why it may be disappearing:

  1. Maintenance and care. In today’s society where most families have two working parents, finding the time to keep up the home and yard can be a challenge. Most people who own more than an acre or so are likely to hire someone else to mow their lawn, for example. While gardening may be cathartic and something you enjoy, the basic activities involved in home care can be a drag.
  2. Homeowners insurance. The fact is that renters insurance is a heck of a lot cheaper than homeowners insurance. If disaster strikes and you lose your house, you can lose some of your equity depending on home values. If disaster strikes and you lose your apartment building, you can replace your stuff and move into a different apartment building.
  3. Home ownership doesn’t make you any happier. A recent study supports the idea that owning a home doesn’t necessarily reflect a happier life or one of a higher quality. You can be just as happy renting as you can if you own a home.
  4. Home ownership doesn’t provide stability to a society. Take, for example, Switzerland. Home ownership is at around 35 percent in Switzerland, yet the country doesn’t seem to be about to fall apart.
  5. Homes are no longer secure investments. It used to be that the home was a person’s biggest investment and largest source of savings. The housing crash has taught us all that this isn’t necessarily the case.

Photo via PhillipC

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Home Insurance Prices May Rise Soon http://www.homeownersinsurance.org/home-insurance-prices-may-rise-soon/ http://www.homeownersinsurance.org/home-insurance-prices-may-rise-soon/#respond Mon, 02 Nov 2009 16:56:10 +0000 http://www.homeownersinsurance.org/?p=76 RisingPrice

In the middle of a financial crisis, you can expect that prices are going to fluctuate. This is especially true when it comes to things like insurance. According to a recent study, it’s likely that home insurance premiums are likely to rise as profits for insurance companies come in lower than what everyone is hoping for.

For 2009, experts think that homeowners insurance will jump a total of about three percent for the year, bringing the average premium to $841 annually.

It isn’t just homeowners insurance that will be affected, however. It is suspected that, in 2009, the typical auto insurance policy will have risen a full four percent. This makes the average policy cost right around $875 per year. This rise comes on the heels of an average rise of three percent in the cost of auto insurance last year.

Term life insurance rates are seeing a premium increase, as well. Some analysts suggest that the premium prices for term life insurance could rise as much as five to 10 percent over the course of 2009 and 2010.

These increases come at a bad time, of course. With the unemployment rate reaching record highs and wealth falling, consumers will continue to struggle with making premium payments.

Part of the cause for premium prices are rising is the same cause of many peoples investment woes. The profits from insurance companies come primarily from investing the money that the insured pay into the company. If those investment returns drop substantially, the company’s profits will drop substantially. That is, as a matter of course, going to impact premium prices.

Laws are changing, too, that allows insurers to pass on certain types of costs to customers. A law passed in Florida, for example, allows insurers to ask the Office of Insurance Regulation to increase their rates. Seven of the major insurers in Florida are asking to raise their rates between eight and 15 percent, in spite of the fact that Florida has gone several years without a major storm disaster. These companies say they need the increased revenue to pay for higher reinsurance costs, which are costs used to cover backup coverage after catastrophic claims are filed.

One company, Universal Property & Casualty, has proposed an increase to their premiums across the state to the tune of 9.8 percent. This company is the third largest home insurer, and has about 461,000 policies in the state. State Farm Insurance has plans to leave Florida, as it has determined that recent regulatory changes in that state have made operating there unprofitable for their company.

Still, Universal Property & Casualty isn’t proposing the highest rate hike. That honor goes to St. John’s Insurance Company, who is proposing an average rate of increase of 14.9 percent.

This phenomenon isn’t limited to Florida, of course. Insurers across the nation are reassessing their premiums, and many consumers may soon find that they’re paying a little more each month for their homeowners insurance costs.

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