Home Owners Insurance

Do you have the right coverage? Are you paying too much for insurance? Your house is your home which includes your family and their health and happiness. are you covered for contents?  Your furnishings, your tools, your family car or your weekend toys? What happens if we endure a weather related tragedy or a homeowner error causing loss. All this can be taken care of ahead of time. Remember, you can never predict but you can always prepare. Checking yearly and comparing quotes can save you money.

Another way to save money is yearly maintenance. Keep up with conditions and you will save money. Keep your Wind Mitigation Verification reports up to date for qualifying discounts. Older homes over 25 years will need to maintain the 4 major components in order to insure their homes, a yearly 4 point insurance report can provide you and your agent with the condition and age of your Roof, HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning), Electrical and Plumbing components. Your homes roof should be checked yearly to ensure for weather tightness.

If you have had any work or remodeling done and used proper permits, you may be eligible for discounts. Have you recently purchased new furniture, computer equipment?

It is important to keep in mind that insurers have made major changes to what risks are covered and the costs required to insure against them. The costs of rebuilding your home typically increase from year to year. The amount of homeowner’s insurance coverage you have now may not cover the cost to rebuild your home at today’s prices.If you haven’t updated your coverage recently, you could be under insured.

Keep in mind, protect your investment.Only you can assure your home will maintain it’s integrity and value. Stay on top of maintenance and check to make sure you protect you and your family. Need help, Just ask.

Yearly home maintenance

I know, home maintenance, not your favorite topic. But, without it, it becomes house maintenance or worse, the banks issue. Actually, home maintenance shouldn’t be a chore, rather a way to mindlessly block out the normal day to day. Don’t look at it as a challenge but a goal. Most homes here in sunny southwest Florida are a one story ranch style with not more than 10′ to the gutter. Others may need more ladder and nerve , otherwise, maintenance covered here is the same.

If you had the mindset to have a home inspection and your report is still available, use it. The inspection has every aspect covered and, if you go section to section you can spot trouble areas before they get worse or perform the basic maintenance needed at that time. A visual inspection can save you time and money in the long run. Neglect costs money, isn’t your time valuable?

A typical 30 minute walk around the house inspection can make you aware of potential failures just by sight. Many are cosmetic, some only by sound and still others that just fail. You can usually spot the warning signs of failure before deficiencies make the checklist.

  • Look at your roof and roof components such as vent pipes and ridge vents
  • Check your trim boards and soffits, look for loose damaged sections
  • Exterior walls, chalky paint, damaged siding, cracked stucco, dirty surfaces
  • Windows, doors and trim. Any damaged glass, rusty doors, missing caulking?
  • Gutters and downspouts, clean and seal. Extend diverters where needed
  • Landscaping, cut and remove if close to structure. Trees 20′ and bushes 2′ away from structure which will help keep moisture away from home.
  • Grading. If water is pooling against structure, regarding and more drainage is needed
  • Driveways/walkways/patio surfaces. Clean all surfaces, seal cracks or reset pavers
  • Screen cages or enclosures. Check anchor bolts and screening, replace as needed
  • Plumbing, HVAC, Electrical components, if visual looks like it needs attention, consult a licensed professional for advise on repair or replacements.
  • Pools, seawalls, docks and decks all require annual maintenance. Check each component and repair/replace as needed
  • Pests such as ants, termites, rodents and bees can all be spotted and deterred if caught in the early stages.

Keeping the exterior will help ensure the interior will stay dry and comfortable for many years. As always, many components of your home will require proper permits and/or a Licensed contractor to perform some of your annual maintenance. Pay a little today or pay a lot later, your choice.

Questions to ask your Home Inspector

How does it work?

Most Inspectors will show you where the main components are and how to operate them. Typical items such as the main water shut off valve and the main electrical shut off and breaker panel. HVAC systems require maintenance as well as the plumbing and roof systems. Your inspector can point out these items and explain typical maintenance requirements.

Is it really as old or bad as it looks?

Inspections are based on facts. If it looks old, it probably is. Many mechanical components in homes have data plates or tags that may or may not be readable or legible. Now it becomes the “opinion” of the inspector as to its age. What may look like a major costly repair to you could be just a cosmetic issue in the inspectors mind. Many items have life expectancies and your inspector may call it out just based on age, sometimes, that straightforwardness makes it hard for you, the home’s buyer, to understand what a big deal is and what so much isn’t. All this information is what you need to know whether to move forward with the deal, whether to renegotiate and what to plan ahead for.

Can you show me?

During the inspection your inspector will be busy collecting data, crawling through spaces and doing laps around the perimeter. You take this time to visualize where your new sofa will go and wonder will it be too big for this room. Soon you realize somewhere the inspector is inputting data and you had a question. If the inspector is finished he/she should take 10 or 15 minutes and walk you through the place, pointing out all the items they’ve noted need repair, maintenance or further inspection.  When you get the report, then, you’ll know what and where the various items belong. Also, choose an inspector who takes digital pictures and inserts them into each section of their reports!

If you were to buy this, what would you do first and how soon?

Our job as inspectors is to point out all items in need of upgrade or repair to include maintenance and routine time lines for future inspections and possible failures.

But, no home is perfect.  What should you do if something is at the end of its useful life? My opinion may be “Do nothing until it breaks”. That could be today or 6 months from now. Point is, we can’t predict a failure, but we can prepare. We can give you a better understanding of what does and doesn’t need to be repaired, how to repair in order of importance, and how a home warranty can be a big help during the buying process to protect your money in the long run.

Can you refer me to someone to fix it?

Most home inspectors will probably tell you that you can fix some things yourself. This may help minimize the laundry list of repairs at the end of an inspection report to know that a number of them are really DIY-type.  Even uncomfortable Buyers feel empowered to either (a) watch a few YouTube videos that show them how it’s done, or (b) hire a handyperson to do these small fixes, knowing they shouldn’t be too costly.

And even on the larger repairs, your home inspector might be able to give you a few referrals to the plumbers, electricians or roofers you’ll need to get bids from during your contingency period, which you may be able to use to negotiate with your home’s seller, and to get the work done after you own the place. And same goes for any further inspections they recommend – if neither you nor your agent knows a specialist, ask your home inspector for a few referrals.

 

When do I need a Home Inspector

When do I need a Home Inspector? Do some research. While you may have already decided on looking for a new home, why not start your search for a home inspector as well. Referrals work well, I still recommend checking credentials as well as experience. If you can not get a referral, many sites offer services you may need and, they already did your homework and checked the credentials.

If your buying a home, once you have reached an accepted offer, you can now get your inspection scheduled. Most contracts give you a 10 day inspection window where others may only have 7 days. Check with your Realtor agent.

Pest inspections or Wood Destroying Organism Inspections may be required by your lender.

If you need one of three insurance inspections as per requirement, before  a new policy or renewal, contact an inspector right away to get on the schedule. Most inspection companies can accommodate insurance inspections within 48 hours. These inspections are as listed; Wind Mitigation Verification reports, Four Point Insurance Inspections and Roof Certification reports. All must be performed by a qualified Licensed Inspector on approved forms.

Anyone wishing to put their home on the market would benefit from a pre sale inspection. A pre sale would give you the edge, knowing what the issues are before listing. Many items found during a pre sale inspection could be corrected and minimize the repairs or conditional requests from potential buyers. Most buyers who purchase a home with a pre sale inspection will waive the inspection period, resulting in a quicker sale.

11 month warranty inspections can be ordered within the 11th month. These inspections cover all aspects of the home 11 months after build to avoid an out of warranty issue.

 

Pre-Inspection Agreement

What is a PRE-INSPECTION AGREEMENT

(Must be read and acknowledged prior to Inspection)

REPORT LIMITATIONS

This report is intended only as a general guide to help the client make his own evaluation of the overall condition of the home, and is not intended to reflect the value of the premises, nor make any representation as to the advisability of purchase. The report expresses the personal opinions of the inspector, based upon his visual impressions of the conditions that existed at the time of the inspection only. The inspection and report are not intended to be technically exhaustive, or to imply that every component was inspected, or that every possible defect was discovered. No disassembly of equipment, opening of walls, moving of furniture, appliances or stored items or excavation was performed. All components and conditions which by the nature of their location are concealed, camouflaged or difficult to inspect are excluded from the report.

Systems and conditions are not within the scope of the building inspection including, but are not limited to:formaldehyde, lead paint, asbestos, Chinese (defective drywall) drywall, toxic or flammable materials, mold and other environmental hazards; pests and or infestation, playground equipment, efficiency measurement of insulation or heating and cooling equipment, internal or underground drainage or plumbing, any systems which are shut down or otherwise secured; water wells (water quality and quantity) zoning ordinances; intercoms;security systems; heat sensors; cosmetics or building code conformity. Any general comments about these systems and conditions are informational only and do not represent an inspection.

The inspection report should not be construed as a compliance inspection of any governmental or nongovernmental codes or regulations. The report is not intended to be a warranty or guarantee of the present or future adequacy or performance of the structure, its systems, or their component parts. This report does not constitute any express or implied warranty of merchantability or fitness for use regarding the condition of the property and it should not be relied upon as such. Any opinions expressed regarding adequacy, capacity, or expected life of components are general estimates based on information about similar components and occasional wide variations are to be expected between such estimates and actual experience.

We certify that our inspectors have no interest, present or contemplated, in this property or its improvement and no involvement with trades people or benefits derived from any sales or improvements. To the best of our knowledge and belief, all statements and information in this report are true and correct.Should any disagreement or dispute arise as a result of this inspection or report, the Client will allow the Inspection Company to inspect the claim prior to any repairs or waive the right to make the claim. Client agrees not to disturb or repair or have repaired anything which may constitute evidence relating to the complaint, except in the case of an emergency.

The Inspection and report are performed and prepared for the sole and exclusive use and possession of the Client. No other person or entity may rely on the report issued pursuant to this Agreement. In the event that any person, not a party to this Agreement, makes any claim against Inspector, its employees or agents, arising out of the services performed by Inspector under this Agreement, the Client agrees to indemnify, defend and hold harmless Inspector from any and all damages, expenses, costs and attorney fees arising from such a claim.

 

New construction home inspections

Do newly constructed homes need Home Inspections? A professional home Inspection of a new home is very important. I can spot potential problems early, while they are still easy to correct. As a qualified home Inspector, I may find problem areas where the sub-contractors have taken shortcuts or have exhibited poor workmanship.

The good news is that hiring a professional licensed home inspector can pay for itself many times over both monetarily and with peace of mind.

New construction homes have many problems. Building a home is a complex orchestration involving many different subcontractors and their employees each working on a different system of the house usually without regard to the other house systems. With all the separate activities occurring at the same time, it is nearly impossible for the builder to carefully check all phases of construction.

The job of municipal building inspectors is to check for compliance with applicable building codes. Building codes are minimum standards. While most municipal building inspectors are doing their best, factors beyond their control prevent these inspections from being enough.

Problems found before you buy can be fixed before moving in to your new home. You won’t have to deal with the dust and noise from repairs, or the inconvenience of having to stay home from work while workers are in your house. While there will likely be some minor touch-ups that will need to take place after you move in, you will want the builder to fix any significant repairs right away.

Defects can be repaired before they result in serious consequences or costly damage. Safety items such as gas leaks need to be addressed to protect you and your family. Missing attic insulation that will result in higher utility bills can be installed. Raised shingles which can lead to rotted roof sheathing can be repaired before purchasing your new home.

When you decide to sell your formerly new home, the buyer will likely get a home inspection. Problems that date back to the original construction will be discovered even if you never knew they existed. At this point, it’s too late to get the builder involved. You now own those problems.

Should I be at the Home Inspection?

Should I be there for the Home Inspection?
You are not required to be there for the home Inspection. However I recommend that you be present. It’s a valuable learning experience for most people and will help you get the most benefit from the home Inspection. By following your home inspector you can ask questions directly and the home inspector can explain maintenance tips for specific areas. I feel you will be able to better understand the finished home inspection report and get the most benefit from it by having attended the home Inspection. I will not leave the property until you are satisfied I have answered all of your questions.

Can I just do the home inspection myself?
Chances are that even If you happen to be very familiar with home construction, you still do not have the knowledge, training and experience of a professional Home Inspector. I have inspected thousands of homes. I are not only familiar with all of the systems and components of a home, how they work and need to be maintained, but I also know what to look for warning signs for potential problems. But beyond the technical expertise and experience a professional home Inspector brings, it is important to remember that the home inspector remains an impartial third party. If you are involved in buying or selling a house, it’s impossible for you to remain completely unemotional about the house, and this may cloud your good judgment. As your professional home inspector I will provide unbiased, objective reporting of the facts.