Home insurers can “non-renew” for too many claims

Posted by at 8:44 am

If you have a home mortgage loan, then your lender is going to require you to carry homeowner’s insurance. It may be the biggest purchase you’ve ever made, but the lender has a lot invested in that home too – and wants its investment protected. But be warned. Insurance is not a maintenance plan – home insurance coverage is designed for sudden and unexpected large losses. Homeowners who file more than one claim unrelated to weather in less than three years can expect to be “non-renewed.” Non-renewal is not cancellation. Insurance companies cannot cancel a policy that has been in force for more than 60 days except for failure to pay the premium, fraud, or serious misrepresentation in the application. But like any business, an insurer “reserves the right to refuse service to anyone,” so long as they provide you with...
Read more
July 17th, 2017

Adding up the costs when selling

Posted by at 4:30 pm

The price of selling a home is about $15,190, according to a recent study.by Zillow. The price? But isn’t selling about making money? Sellers often forget there is also going to be money going out – staging, painting, landscaping and cleaning. Then there are the big chunks – the real estate agent’s fee and the closing costs. Since 63 percent of today’s sellers have never sold before, the “price of selling” can be a big surprise! Let’s start at the top. Most real estate agents’ fees are paid through a commission. Usually about 6 percent of the purchase price, the commission is subtracted from the proceeds of the home sale. The problem is thinking of the commission as something you are losing. A good agent builds the commission into the price of the home, and adjusts accordingly. The amount collected...
Read more
July 13th, 2017

Spec construction poised for comeback?

Posted by at 10:10 am

With the rising price of existing starter homes, one segment of the new construction marketplace may be poised to take off at a pace not seen since the days following World War II. By the end of the 1940s, America had essentially ceased building homes – diverting usable materials to support the war effort. The demand for affordable homes created by the returning soldiers fueled the new “spec” home industry. “Spec” is another name for “speculative” construction, building new homes for sale with no particular buyer in mind. In the 1950s and 1960s, many builders turned out thousands of simple, mass-produced homes at an affordable cost. Most sold and the builders turned a tidy profit. Insert Millennials into the equation in place of GIs. Today, there are at least 30 million potential buyers younger than 36 looking to settle down. And it’s not...
Read more

Plan for a smooth move

Posted by at 2:30 pm

You’ve signed the closing docs, and the deal is done. Now it’s time for the big move. With or without movers, pacing and planning are the keys to a safe and successful transition. It begins What about the days before the move? You might want to consider deep cleaning the new house. The walls, floors, counters and baseboards will never be this exposed again. Run a load or two through the dishwasher and washing machine. Dust high sills and don’t forget the refrigerator. A bug bomb is a good idea. Even if you can’t see them, they might be there. You can accomplish this only one time and still have time to clear any noxious fumes before children or pets show up. Plan ahead If you always have a “moving plan” in the back of your mind, it can lessen the...
Read more
June 15th, 2017

Universal appeal

Posted by at 1:16 pm

Everyone likes the idea of building a home exactly to specifications – often without thinking of the future – and future buyers. Here’s the news. The house is probably going to outlast you. And most people don’t end up living in the same home forever. Unless you pan to retire (and die) in your current home, a universal approach to remodels and maintenance makes good fiscal sense. The old concept of universal design was synonymous with “senior accessible” or “handicapped friendly.” And it is all of that. But it can be so much more. It’s about thinking ahead, considering angles. Seeing problems with access and usage before they happen. How many folks do you know who moved into homes without taking time to consider clearances, heights and angles? Big plans for furnishings, add-ons and creature comforts can be spoiled by narrow doorways or...
Read more

Report: Sacramento is hot!

Posted by at 12:08 pm

Sacramento, home of one of the newest branches of Bay Equity Home Loans, was lauded as one of California’s hottest housing markets in the May 25, 2017 issue of The Wall Street Journal. Though it’s the state capital, Sacramento had taken a bit longer to emerge from the Housing Crisis slump while the rest of the state surged. Led by an aggressive downtown renewal plan, many of Sacramento’s most desirable neighborhoods are cropping up in the urban core – a shift from its past developments featuring gated suburban communities. Among the standout downtown projects are Downtown Commons, a vacant mall converted into a two-level outdoor mixed-use entertainment and shopping complex. Condominiums with city and river views, as well as room service and concierge, are breaking new ground in luxury living. Other features include new artist lofts, warehouses renovated for unique retail and office...
Read more

Self-Managed Homeowners Associations

Posted by at 2:32 pm

With the skyrocketing price of homes today, many homeowner association neighborhoods are looking to save where they can. Some have found they can maintain desired aesthetic standards at a lower cost with self-management, where neighbors agree to share administrative duties instead of paying a professional management company. This can mean a huge savings for the growing number of HOA communities. HOAs maintain standards for landscaping and cleaning of common areas, and enforce rules for upkeep on the membership’s homes. HOAs often protect property values by not allowing neighborhood problems to fester. Majority Rules Some self-managed HOAs are governed strictly by the majority rule. In America, the one-voice, one-vote concept is quite popular, especially considering some recent election results! In such “pure” democracies, community spirit is often enhanced. In an increasingly stratified society where folks often just stay in their own homes...
Read more
May 4th, 2017

Tracking credit trends

Posted by at 12:54 pm

  Opinions differ on credit scoring’s new trend toward “trended data” – where borrowing and making payments on your credit accounts is carefully tracked over time. The nation’s leading credit reporters – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion – are switching to the VantageScore trended data system this fall. Meant to provide more context to debt load, it’s supposed to give lenders a more holistic view of a person’s credit behavior. Mortgage-backing giant Fannie Mae already requires underwriters to use trended data when assessing home loan applications. Historically, credit card reports only contained the balance, the amount of available credit and if a borrower was making payments on time. Before trended data, some credit users could “game” the system, by opening more credit cards, and not using them. By keeping utilization low and paying bills on time, scores would improve, regardless of the amount...
Read more

A gift horse: The home seller’s curse

Posted by at 4:32 pm

So, you put your home up for sale, with a listing price based on local comparables. As luck would have it, a buyer comes along within days – maybe even hours – and meets that price. Heck, maybe they even throw in an extra 2 or 3 percent for good measure. This is probably one of those times referred to in the phrase: “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.” But sometimes, when everything goes right, we have trouble accepting it. It’s a curse The “curse of the first offer” is well-known to real estate agents who have been around for a while. The seller’s reaction to an early offer? Almost inevitable: “Maybe we should wait and see if we can get more.” Today’s seller is probably right about one thing: There will be other offers. In marketplaces around...
Read more

Homeownership: A savings lifeline

Posted by at 12:30 pm

With home prices rising to all-time highs, many potential buyers may imagine drowning in a sea of monthly payments stretching across many years. Naysayers bob to the surface with harrowing tales of home-buying gone wrong. If the down payment doesn’t get you – well the property taxes, maintenance and insurance surely will! These so-called “savvy” investors say renters who dutifully put all money not spent on housing into stable investments – like mutual funds – may get a greater rate of return. Criticism of homeownership as an instrument of wealth-building has understandably become louder in the last decade, after a Housing Bust that put more than 10 million homeowners upside-down, and 4 million more into foreclosure. Though most underwater homeowners have swum back into positive equity, and many of those foreclosures are mortgage-eligible again, the math geeks remain in a...
Read more