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Moving Insurance

by The Pilgrim Team
New homebuyers who are preparing to move into their new home will need to do their research and shop around to select a moving company they feel comfortable with. Even if you are moving cross-town or cross-country, many factors such as price, time, and of course quality will need to be considered. You want to find a reputable company who will not only give you a fair price, but also take great care of your belongings. While some moving companies may be better than others, accidents can and will happen. So should you purchase moving insurance?
 
It is important to know that most moving companies provide "valuation" not insurance. Valuation is the predetermined limit of liability on your moving contract or official inventory sheet.  This is automatically part of the contract with no extra cost. In most cases, valuation is based on weight, not actual property value.
Below is more information on valuation and what it means:
  1. Declared value: The value of your possessions is based on the total weight of the shipment multiplied by a specific amount per pound. For example, if the specific amount is $1.50 per pound, and your household goods weigh 15 000 pounds, the mover would be liable for a maximum of $22,500.
  2. Lump sum value or Assessed Value: If your household goods do not weigh much, but are valuable, you can purchase insurance for a specific amount per $1,000 of value. This must be declared in writing in your contract, inventory paperwork o bill of lading.
  3. Full value protection: This type of valuation most closely resembles actual insurance, and it includes lost, damaged or destroyed property. Just as with an insurance policy, the coverage will pay for the repair or replacement and deductible will apply.
If the worst happens and your property is lost or damaged, you should report the problem as soon as possible. Many companies have a window during which you can file a claim against the delivery - anywhere from three to nine months. Just as you do when you rent a car or lease a property, you should go over the inventory sheet quickly and get the mover to acknowledge receipt of your claim.
 
Finally, you should also check with your insurance company or agent to see if your current homeowner's policy covers all or part of a move. Additionally, you might choose to purchase a supplemental insurance, sometimes called "Goods in Transit" policy directly from your homeowner's agent. Your agent or company representative can help you find the coverage that is best for you and your family.
 
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Slow Market? You Can Still Sell!

by The Pilgrim Team

Eventhough we are still in a sluggish economy and the market is slow, the good news is that home prices are low and interest rates are the lowest in many years. But, in spite of these benefits for homebuyers, many real esate markets are still slow in several parts of the country. With a surplus of home inventory and existing home sales that are in steep competition with new home foreclosures, many homesellers are needing to know how.

So how do you get your home off the market and into contract? Below are some helpful tips to getting your home sold quickly and the price you’re looking for:

 

  1. Pick the agent who is right for your market. Find an agent that has a good track record with sales in your market range and Neighborhood. Good sales stats in your price bracket demonstrate that the realtor knows what buyers are looking for and how to move property similar to yours. A great agent can help you move your home, even in a tough market.
  2. Know your market. Understanding the ‘comps’ in your area will help you reach a realistic asking price and get a better handle on the competition. Ask your realtor to provide this information and also take opportunities to visit open houses for Homes for sale in york pa that are comparable to yours. You can learn a lot about staging, pricing and what is appealing to buyers.
  3. Keep up with repairs and maintenance. Don’t hesitate to make necessary repairs and maintenance to your home when you are ready to sell. You don’t have to undergo major remodeling or expense. Simple updates like fixing broken steps, touch up painting and keeping your lawn mowed and flower beds cleaned out will really go a long way in making your home look move-in ready.
  4. Be flexible. From having your home ready to show at a moment’s notice to your willingness to negotiate, the key to selling your home in a slow market is flexibility and responsiveness. Going the extra mile for prospective buyers can really make a difference in getting more people through the door ready to make an offer.
  5. Add value. Remember that you are competing with short sales and foreclosures, so any extra value you can add to your home can make it more attractive. Whether it’s an appliance, patio furniture or a simple cost concession, small items can add up to big pluses when prospects are evaluating the total value of your home.

In a slow market, you need to get your home noticed quickly and be willing to negotiate so that prospective buyers see a great value in your property. Don’t stop looking for ways to make your home stand apart from the competition.

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Local July 4th Celebrations

by The Pilgrim Team

The 4th of July weekend is almost here and people all over York, County will be celebrating with fireworks, food and time with family and friends. Our area is offering several patriotic celebrations for everyone to enjoy. Below are a few of the events that are happening in our are. Enjoy your holiday and celebrate America's 234th birthday!

 

York Independence Celebration

Fireworks show: 9:20 p.m. Sunday at York Expo Center, 334 Carlisle Avenue
Show length: 30-40 minutes
Best parking: Free parking at Expo Center.
Other activities: Concert from the York Symphony Orchestra, York Junior Symphony Orchestra, York Youth Symphony Orchestra, and York Symphony Chorus at 7:30 p.m. Gates open at 6 p.m.

Annual Fourth of July "BLAST"

This festive event will be held Independence Day weekend with children's parade, pageants, commercial and community displays, contests, arts and crafts vendors, food vendors, book sale, face painting, dunk tank, silent auction, raffle, games, battle of the bands, Entertainment, fireworks and more. See website for more details and vendor forms. For more information call 717-428-1752 or visit their website at www.jacobuspa.com  

Freedom Fest 2010

This music festival at the Mount Hope Estate and Winery features 13 bands, including The Hackensaw Boys, Hoots and Hellmouth, Slimfit, and Toy Soldiers, along with local bands. There will be food vendors and a micro-brewery. Doors open at 11 a.m. Saturday and music starts at 1 p.m. and lasts till 11. Those who wish to may camp overnight until Sunday.
Admission: $10
Notes: Camping is free, but campers must register online. Campers will be served a pancake breakfast in the morning.
Info:
http://www.parenfaire.com/

Fireworks Show

10 p.m. Saturday at Lititz Spring Park, 18 North Broad Street
Admission: Adults: $10, $8 in advance; Ages 2-10: $4; Under 2; free
Show length: 30 minutes
Best parking: Warwick High School and Lititz Recreational Center. Best view: Baseball field inside park.
Notes: Fireworks are synched to music. Fireworks can be seen from outside the park, but the music cannot be heard.
Other activities: Festivities start at 11 a.m. and include a zumba demonstration, a 3-legged race, an egg scramble, a candy scramble, sack races, and the 69th Queen of Candles Pageant. Live music by The Rodans, Dooligus, The Green Onions, and Bang Up Battery. At 7:30 p.m., Asbury Fever will perform a Bruce Springsteen tribute concert. Info:
http://www.lititzspringspark.org/

 

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Costly Trends Impacting Homeowners Insurance

by The Pilgrim Team

Homeowners insurance continues to rise at alarming rates. Additionally, some new home buyers are facing challenges in finding companies to cover their property at all; and existing homeowners are seeing policies cancelled after years of rate increases.

What’s going on with property and casualty insurance?

  1. Buyers should be aware of Chinese drywall and other inferior materials. Recently, Consumer Reports has highlighted an issue with faulty Chinese drywall. Bought cheaply, thousands of complaints are stating that the product is not only inferior and likely to fall apart, but is actually a health hazard. The problem is not widespread, but presents enough of a trend that insurers are covering their bases by excluding it from coverage or raising rates as a preventive measure against possible claims.
  2. Location, location, location – and if your dream home is on a coastal waterway, be prepared to pay more for your homeowners insurance. What’s more, insurance companies are requiring separate deductibles for coastal property – primary insurance and secondary wind, water or specifically hurricane risk. If you file often, be prepared to go without; frequent claims cause insurers to cancel or not renew.
  3. Lower home prices are also driving rates up and replacement or rebuilding coverage down. Even if the value of your home falls, shop around for the best price on covering your home in the event of a disaster, and make sure your coverage is adequate.
  4. And if things aren’t bad enough, bad credit scores continue to drive up rates on homeowners insurance (as well as auto and other insurance). People with poor credit are considered to be a high risk for responsible behavior and an indicator of future financial trouble. With unemployment rates high and home prices falling, poor credit is driving up rates across insurance plans.

Understand your current homeowners insurance policy and the coverage you are paying for. Shop around – it pays off to compare and switch insurers for better rate plans. And remember, all kinds of market trends can factor in what you pay – and what you get for it.

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Positive Housing Outlook From NAHB

by The Pilgrim Team

In last few years , it seems that we area always hearing negative news regarding the real estate market but now finally some good news is welcomed. According to National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and Wells Fargo, for the 5thconsecutive quarter, nationwide housing is near its highest level of affordability in 19 years  Housing prices and interest rates are still low and 72.2% of both new and existing Homes for sale in york pa are affordable to families who earn $63,800 (the national median income).

According to Bob Jones, NAHB Chairman, “Today’s report is very encouraging because it indicates that homeownership continues its more than year-long trend of remaining within reach of more households than it has for almost two decades.”

“With interest rates still hovering at low levels, companies starting to hire new employees and the economy beginning to rebound, this should encourage more home buyers to enter the market and help further stabilize housing and the economy.”

The national median home price for the quarter was $175,000. The NAHB uses a rule that no more than 28% of take-home pay can be used toward housing.

As with all real estate, location is key – Indianapolis and Youngstown, Ohio led the nation in affordability – 95% affordable based on local median income, followed by Dayton, Ohio, Syracuse, New York and Grand Rapids, Michigan.

New York City remains one of the least affordable cities, regardless of income. Still, any good housing news these days is cause for optimism, and home ownership is more than just a dream for many American families whose employment picture is stable.

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Getting Ready For Lawn and Garden Season

by The Pilgrim Team

Summer is offically still a few weeks away but we are in the swing of lawn and garden season. Taking care of your lawn and garden does not have to be a chore, it can be a pleasure with the right tools. To get prepared, below is what every home owner should have in the tool shed:

  1. Lawnmower – Of course this is a necessity! Most of us are familiar with standard rotary mowers – either gas or electric. The blades spin horizontally and often have a bag system for colleting grass clippings. Rotary mowers can be push, propelled or riding style. Reel mowers are push powered only. Falling out of favor to technology, reel mowers are becoming more popular because they are better for the environment and are much cheaper than rotary mowers.
  2. Weedeater – string trimmers are almost exclusively referred to by the famous brand name, but there are a number of styles and brands available, electric and gas-powered. They are a must have for flower beds, around trees and for other small tight areas that can’t be mowed.
  3. Spreader – these are generally push type, inexpensive buckets on wheels that spread fertilizer, seed or pest control materials quickly and evenly. Like lawnmowers, they also range in style and price depending on the size of your lawn and how much automation you choose.
  4. Blowers – also gas and electric, (backpack blowers are gas-powered) these tools blow air directionally to clean sidewalks, walkways, patios, carports and garages. Faster and less back-breaking than a broom, they are especially handy if your lot is heavily treed.
  5. Sprayer – sprayers come in various gallon sizes and are used to spot treat weeds or pests with liquid chemicals, allowing you to target troubled areas

Some of the smaller lawn maintenance tools that can be helpful, based on the complexity of your lawn and garden, and your interest in the details of lawn management can include:

  • Thermometer
  • Rain Gauge
  • Soil probe and thermometer
  • Trowels and hand tools

As with all tools, it’s a good idea to understand both the use and the care for your lawn equipment – including cleaning and storing them properly for the next use. Enjoy your landscape!

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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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Common Expenses When Selling Your Home

by The Pilgrim Team

If you are planning on selling your home there are different expenes that will come up related to the sale. It is important to know what differnt costs be required as well as what exactly they are. Below is a list of some of the most common costs that come with selling your home.

Closing Costs: Although most of the closing costs are the responsibility of the buyer, the seller is expected to pay the property taxes and insurance up to the date of the closing, even if they're not due yet. In addition, some buyers will ask the seller for help with other closing costs as part of the negotiations.

Realtor Commission: Typically there's a 4 percent to 7 percent commission on the sale price of the house if you opt to go with an agent. Usually this rate is between 5 percent and 6 percent, so be sure to account for this cost when pricing your home and figuring up your expenses that come with selling your home.

Home Inspections: Although the buyer pays for the home and 
pest inspections, it's a good idea to get your own inspection before putting your house on the market. This way you're aware of any hidden problems before selling.

Legal expenses: Even if you are using a real estate professional and not selling your home yourself, you still may want an attorney to examine the sales contract and assist with closing, which can be complicated.

Prepayment penalty: Many Home Loans have prepayment penalties if you pay off the Home Financing early. Be sure to examine your mortgage agreement and read the fine print.

Other Fees Negotiated by the Buyer: Buyer negotiated fees are becoming more common in the current real estate market. Some of the most commonly seen buyer negotiated fees might include a home warranty paid for by the seller, the cost of repairs needed to make the sale, and the cost for a home inspection. Keep in mind that nost all parts of the real estate contract is negotiable.


Many homeowners are not aware of the costs involved with selling a home but there are some perks as well. With any home sale you are eligible for a tax write off of up to $250,000 gained in the sale of your home for a single owner, and $500,000 for married couples. This applies for most state taxes as well; check with a tax professional to get all the details of any Tax Credit that may be available to you and your situation. 

 

 

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Fixed Rate Mortgages

by The Pilgrim Team

When looking for financing on your new home purchase, you will be given many different options.  One of the most common is the fixed rate Home Loans, typically with a 15 year or 30 year term.  These traditional mortgages are amortizing, which means that you pay off the entire loan amount by the end of the term of the loan. This type of loan is very common but there are both advantages and drawbacks to these mortgages.  Depending on your financial situation, and the prospects of changes in your financial future, a fixed rate Home Financing may or may not be the best product for you.

Below are some of the pro's and con's of fixed rate Home Loans:

PROS

  • Interest rate on your Home Financing cannot be increased for the life of your loan
  • Monthly payment will remain the same for the life of the loan
  • Loan will be completely paid off by the end of the term

CONS

  • Fixed monthly payment amount may be difficult to make at the start of the loan
  • Large percentage of payment goes to interest payment in first years of the loan
  • Usually has a higher interest rate than a variable rate loan initiated at the same time
  • Interest rate cannot be reduced as in some variable rate programs
  • Maybe harder to qualify for, as higher income may be required

Depending on your financial situation, a fixed rate Home Financing may be the best solution for you.  If you can afford the monthly payment required to obtain the loan, then the fact that your interest rate and monthly payments will stay the same for the life of the loan while give you peace of mind and make monthly budgeting easier.

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Real Estate Attorneys

by The Pilgrim Team

If the purchase of a new home is in your future, you will have many decisions to make. Many home buyers may consider using the services of a real estate attorney for assistance with complicated documents and legal advise during the sale. Using a real estate attorney is a good idea, because the process of buying a house is complex, and most people find it's easiest to get through with a professional by their side.

Laws vary from state to state and some states require an attorney to create the purchase agreement and do the title search. There may be legal issues arise that your real estate agent can't answer, then you'll need an attorney's help. An attorney is also beneficial if there is any confusion or if you have questions about the documents then it is important to have an attorney look the documents over. Below are some other reasons you might want to consider using a real estate lawyer.

  • They can help protect your interests by examining all the legal documents before you sign them and can ensure that you’re not signing something that isn’t in your best interest. Always make sure you consult with a real estate attorney before you sign any legally binding documents to avoid signing a contract that can be damaging..
  • A real estate attorney is also better equipped to negotiate with the seller’s attorney; something that most buyers can’t do successfully because they’re too emotionally involved in the purchase.
  • If funds are being held in escrow as part of the sale, a real estate attorney has the authority to administer escrow. They can disburse funds as appropriate according to the terms of the escrow.

The cost of an attorney can vary, but typically the legal fees are higher when you buy than sell because the role of the buyer’s lawyer is more extensive. Most fees range from $500 to $1,500 for an average home whether you’re the buyer or the seller. You may find an attorney that will charge a flat fee for specific services and others bill by the hour. Usually, a lawyer can easily estimate costs related to a real estate transaction.

 

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Contact Information

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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