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National Flood Insurance Program

by The Pilgrim Team

The National Flood Insurance Program expired May 31, 2010 after three extentions. After May 31, the NFIP will not have the authority to issue new or renewal policies until Congress reauthorizes the program. Although this will not affect existing policies, renewal policies within a 30-day grace period, or policies purchased prior to the program's lapse, any new policies will be effected.

FEMA allows buyers to "assume" the seller's existing policy without having to re-issue it.  The purchase requirement for flood insurance may be met with non-NFIP policies; for instance, Lloyd's of London, Chubb and AIG have offered such insurance, but it can be very expensive and is limited to a certain number of states, with other conditions.

The National Association of Realtors  has been working with FEMA, FHA, Fannie, Freddie and the VA to provide guidance, similar to what it provided in April, for lenders as to the steps they may take to meet flood insurance purchase requirement during an NFIP lapse. With updated guidance in hand, lenders should have the assurances that they need to continue to close loans. FHA has already issued updated guidance. Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the VA, and other lending authorities are expected to release guidance shortly, and NAR will post the guidance at www.realtor.org.

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The Importance of Title Insurance

by The Pilgrim Team

Once you purchase a home and obtain a Home Financing, you will be required to obtain homeowners insurance. However, many potential homebuyers may not be familiar with another type of insurance, title insurance. So what is title insurance and why do you need it? Once you buy a home you are given a title, it then the owner's right to possess and use the property. It may be the homeowner who is selling the home or bank with a Home Financing on the property that has the title. It is also a possibility that a third party such as a homeowners association if the dues have not been paid or even the government may also have liens against the property for unpaid taxes.

Problems with the title can limit your use and enjoyment of the property, as well as bring financial loss. It is vital to not only obtain title insurance but to also have a  title search done to protect your interest. By doing a search, it will reveal if someone other than the owner of the property owns the title. This search can be done by examining public records to look up the history of property ownership. While you can easily do your own title search, if you are obtaining a loan to purchase the property, the lender will require that a qualified third party do the title search. The title search shows not only limitations on the use of the property and rights others may have in the property, but also liens or monetary obligations that are outstanding against the property. 

Title insurance is different than the standard insurance where you are covered in case of a future event. For example, if you get car insurance you are insured in case you have an accident, you buy health insurance in case you get sick.  Title insurance is different as it covers events relating to the title that have already happened. It does not cover anything that happens to the title after the date of issuance. For example if you have liens filed against the property for taxes that you have not paid, your title insurance policy is not going to help you. But, if the lien is for taxes not paid by someone who owned the house before you, then you may have coverage under your title policy.

A title company will do a title search on the property before issuing the policy to see if there are any problems with the title. This search is done in an effort to minimize the risks of offering insurance.  Problems such as deeds, wills, outstanding Home Loans, judgements, and tax liens can be located from the search and can typically be cleared up before the closing on the property. When these problems are not cleared they will often be listed as exceptions to the policy's coverage. You would then need to decide whether the property is still something you want to purchase given the known problems with the title.

 

Saving Money On Homeowners Insurance

by The Pilgrim Team

Once you have purchased a home, you will need to obtain homeowners insurance. This type of insurance can be costly depending on your coverage and location and company you decide to purchase your policy from.  Below are some things to consider when buying homeowners insurance that can help to save you some money!

1. Shop around

Be sure to do your homework and check with several different companies for the best rates and the value they offer. You can look online for different companies and their rates quickly to compare. Check with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (www.naic.org) for information to help you choose an insurer in your state, including complaints. States often make information available on typical rates charged by major insurers and many states provide the frequency of consumer complaints by company.

Keep in mind that this policy will insure your home and everything you value in it, so don't consider price alone. The insurer you select should offer a fair price and deliver the quality service you would expect if you needed assistance in filing a claim. So in assessing service quality, use the complaint information cited above and talk to a number of insurers to get a feeling for the type of service they give. Ask them what they would do to lower your costs.

2. Increase Your Deductible

Deductibles are the amount of money you have to pay toward a loss before your insurance company starts to pay a claim, according to the terms of your policy. The higher your deductible, the more money you can save on your premiums. Nowadays, most insurance companies recommend a deductible of at least $500. If you can afford to raise your deductible to $1,000, you may save as much as 25 percent. Remember, if you live in a disaster-prone area, your insurance policy may have a separate deductible for certain kinds of damage. If you live near the coast in the East, you may have a separate windstorm deductible; if you live in a state vulnerable to hail storms, you may have a separate deductible for hail; and if you live in an earthquake-prone area, your earthquake policy has a deductible.

3. Make Policy Premium Payments Electronically.

Many companies now charge up to $5 for mailed or phone payments, so have your payments automatically deducted to shave that cost. Sometimes the deductions can come from your credit or debit card, so you don't have to worry if the money is in your bank account when payment time comes.

4. Purchase Multiple Policies From Your Insurer

Some companies that sell homeowners, auto and liability coverage will take 5 to 15 percent off your premium if you buy two or more policies from them. But make certain this combined price is lower than buying the different coverages from different companies.

5. Make Your Home More Disaster Resistant

Find out from your insurance agent or company representative what steps you can take to make your home more resistant to windstorms and other natural disasters. You may be able to save on your premiums by adding storm shutters, reinforcing your roof or buying stronger roofing materials. Older Homes for sale in york pa can be retrofitted to make them better able to withstand earthquakes. In addition, consider modernizing your heating, plumbing and electrical systems to reduce the risk of fire and water damage.

6. Improve Your Home Security

You can usually get discounts of at least 5 percent for a smoke detector, burglar alarm or dead-bolt locks. Some companies offer to cut your premium by as much as 15 or 20 percent if you install a sophisticated sprinkler system and a fire and burglar alarm that rings at the police, fire or other monitoring stations. These systems aren't cheap and not every system qualifies for a discount. Before you buy such a system, find out what kind your insurer recommends, how much the device would cost and how much you'd save on premiums.

7. Seek Out Other Discounts

Companies offer several types of discounts, like senior discounts. Insurance companies have found that retired people stay at home more and spot fires sooner than working people. Older people also have more time for maintaining their Homes for sale in york pa. If you're at least 55 years old and retired, you might qualify for a discount of as much as 10%. Some employers and professional associations administer group insurance programs that may offer a better deal than you can get elsewhere.

8. Review Your Policy Limits

You want your policy to cover any major purchases or additions to your home. But you don't want to spend money for coverage you don't need. If your five-year-old fur coat is no longer worth the $5,000 you paid for it, you'll want to reduce or cancel your floater (extra insurance for items whose full value is not covered by standard homeowners policies such as expensive jewelry, high-end computers and valuable art work) and pocket the difference.

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Photo of The Pilgrim Team Real Estate
The Pilgrim Team
Professional Realty Associates
2002 S Queen St, Suite 3
York PA 17403
Office: 717-757-5955
717-755-2683
Fax: 717-757-2887