Going out of Town?

You may want to add THIS to your pre-travel checklist to keep your home protected.

When you head out of town on vacation, you probably take several steps to make sure your home isn’t broken into while you’re away, from leaving lights on to pausing your newspaper delivery.

But did you know that your home is at a greater risk of damage from water leaks than fire and theft when you’re away? According to property and casualty insurance company Chubb, the time between when a leak occurs and when it is discovered is the single greatest factor in determining the amount of damage, making leaks that occur while you’re away much more damaging in terms of both cost and severity.

The time between when a leak occurs and when it is discovered is the single greatest factor in determining the amount of damage.

Chubb, Insurance Company

In the past 10 years, the frequency of sudden pipe bursts has nearly doubled. In 2015, water damage accounted for nearly half of all property damage, according to the Insurance Information Institute. A study from Chubb finds that, despite the fact that 91 percent of homeowners rate themselves as “vigilant” or “doing an okay job” at preventative home maintenance, and that close to half (45 percent) have or know someone who has experienced a water leak in the past two years, only 18 percent have installed a water-leak detection device.  

Of all homeowners, high-net-worth individuals are particularly at risk. When compared against other income segments, for instance, high-net-worth individuals are the most likely (55 percent) to report being “vigilant” about conducting preventative maintenance, yet are the least likely (26 percent ) to rank internal water leaks as their top home-related concern. High-net-worth homeowners are also the income group least likely to periodically inspect appliance hoses (33 percent compared to 61 percent of middle class homeowners, the most of any income group), a frequent cause of internal water leaks.   

While there are a number of steps homeowners can take to mitigate the risk, Chubb recommends that when they go through their pre-departure process of locking doors and windows, identifying a neighbor to keep an eye on their home, and ensuring some lights are left on, that homeowners also add shutting off the water main to the checklist.

Additional findings from the survey include:

– The majority of homeowners (63 percent) cite the threat of relocating for an extended period of time (between one month and a year) as their first or second most potentially concerning water damage-related event.

– A quarter of all homeowners have never had their appliances inspected, despite being the surest way to prevent a leak from occurring.

– Many homeowners also cited the loss of irreplaceable items (59 percent) and repairing structural damage (46 percent) as the top most potentially concerning water damage-related events.

– The majority of homeowners are unfamiliar with the most common sources of internal water leaks, with close to half (49 percent) identifying the water heater as the most likely source (independent analyses indicate plumbing supply systems pose the greatest risk).

Closing & Escrow 101

Buying and/or Selling a home can be a confusing process. There are lots of moving parts and lots of terms you may or may not fully understand… Escrow, Title Insurance, Preliminary Title Report… to name a few. To help you better understand the process, I’m sitting down with industry experts to breakdown the process for you. This week on Real Estate 101 we’re discussing closing and escrow with Janette Tims, an escrow officer at Western Title and Escrow in Eugene, Oregon.

What is Escrow?

Escrow is the process in which buyers and sellers of a piece of property establish terms and conditions for the transfer of ownership of the property. These terms and conditions are given to a third party known as the escrow holder. In turn, the escrow holder has the responsibility of seeing that the terms of the escrow are carried out. The escrow is an independent neutral account and the vehicle by which the mutual instructions of all parties to the transaction are compiled with.

What is Title Insurance

The purchase of a home is often the single largest investment people will make in a lifetime; therefore, the importance of fully protecting such an investment cannot be over stressed. Title insurance is protection which assures that the rights and interests to the property are as expected, that the transfer of ownership is smoothly completed and that the new owner receives protection from future claims against the property. It is the most effective, most accepted and least expensive way to protect property ownership rights.

What is a Preliminary Title Report

Before issuing a policy of title insurance, the title company must review the numerous public records concerning the property being sold and financed. The purpose of this title search is to identify and clear all problems before the new owner takes title or the lender loans money. The research helps determine if there are any rights or claims that may have an impact upon the title such as unpaid taxes, unsatisfied mortgages, judgements, tax liens against the current or past owners, easements, restrictions and court actions. These recorded defects, liens and encumbrances are reported in a preliminary report to applicable parties.

If you are thinking about buying or selling, be sure to build a team you can trust. People who will communicate clearly and keep the transaction on track, as well as, a team who will keep your best interests in mind. Excellent customer service is at the HEART of what I do. If you don’t have a lender, I’m happy to recommend several to choose from whom I trust and do business with regularly.

Easy Home Staging Tips

For most of us, our home is the biggest investment we will ever make. When it comes time to sell, treating your home as such will help you get a bigger return on your investment. You want it to look it’s very best when potential buyers come through or view your photos online. First impressions matter, which is where home staging comes in. Home staging emphasizes its strengths and minimizes its weaknesses. This is important for your marketing photos and when potential buyers are trying to visualize a life there.

Here are a few tips to help you get your home ready to sell.

Declutter

One of the first things you want to do is declutter. Clutter takes up space and space is what sells. Make your home look bigger and more desirable by editing down to just the basics.

De-personalize

De-personalizing goes hand-in-hand with decluttering. You want potential buyers to be able to picture their things in the house. Go room-to-room and clear off the countertops, desk tops and shelves of all personal items. This includes your family photos. In this case, less is always more.

Clean

Cleaning goes a long way to improve the look and feel of your investment. A deep clean before you list the home is a good idea, but then set aside time each week to give the floors and bathrooms a once over.

Spackle and Paint

Now that your home is decluttered, de-personalized and clean, it’s a good time to spackle and paint. Filling in the holes and applying a fresh coat of paint will freshen the look of the house. Using lighter colors like white or beige will make the room feel bigger.

The National Association of REALTORS took a look at the value staging a home brings to the selling process, the return on investment or ROI. Here is what it determined.

  • 83% of buyers’ agents say that staging makes it easier for buyers to visualize the property as their future home.
  • 44% of buyers’ agents say that staging a home increases the dollar value offered
  • 53% of sellers’ agents say that staging a home decreases the amount of time a home spends on the market
  • 95% of agents recommend that sellers declutter their home before putting it on the market.

When it comes to the return on investment, a staged home will sell faster and for more money than a non-staged home. The results of a recent Coldwell Banker survey show staged homes sell for more than 6% above the asking price. For a $200,000 listing, that’s $12,000 extra in the seller’s pockets.

AimeeHartwigRealEstate.com / 541-579-9213 / aimeehartwig@bhhsrep.com

Appraisals on Certain Home Sales May NOT be Required Soon

If a new Federal rule is approved it will have a sizeable impact on the real estate market. Federal regulators are close to approving a proposal to increase the appraisal threshold on residential home sales. What’s that mean for you? It means that certain home sales, of $400,000 and under, may not require an appraisal. Since 1994 the appraisal requirement has been set at $250,000.

The proposal is currently awaiting Fed approval to move forward. It has been approved by both the FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.) and the OCC (Office of the Comptroller of the Currency), so experts believe it’s only a matter of time before the Fed approves the rule, it’s entered into the Federal Register and enacted as the law of the land.

Now, it’s important to mention this does not apply to ALL loans. New rules do NOT apply to loans that are wholly or partially insured or guaranteed by, or eligible for sale to, a government agency or government sponsored agency. That means loans sold to or guaranteed by the FHA, HUD, the VA or Fannie and Freddie Mac would still require an appraisal, per agency rules. However, the new rule would apply to approximately 40% of home sales.

541-579-9213 / aimeehartwig@bhhsrep.com

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The Seller Advantage

We can help you make informed decisions.

Informed Sellers Can Make Better Decisions

It’s simple math… the more people who see your listing, the greater the chances for a fair and timely sale of your property.

At Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices we have one of the industry’s most comprehensive strategies for ensuring maximum exposure of a property to buyers searching in your area.

We also keep our sellers informed about current market trends by providing them with an overview of the competitive selling landscape. This helps you, the seller, make strategic pricing decisions to quickly sell your home at an agreeable price.

Here is what you get with our Seller Advantage:

Listing Presentation Report

Our Seller Advantage program gives you the information and decision-making tools throughout the home sale process. Here’s how… Our Listing Presentation Report will show you exactly how many potential buyers are searching a specific neighborhood for homes similar to yours.

Listing Activity Report

Then, once you’ve listed with me, a Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices network agent, you will get our Listing Activity Report. This details how many times your home has appeared in potential buyers’ search results and how many times your listing has been viewed.

Market Activity Report

Last, but not least, we offer a market activity report. Perhaps your not ready to sell, but would like a sense of buyer interest in your neighborhood and in homes like yours. The Market Activity Report will show you just how many people are searching in your neighborhood for a home like yours. You’ll gain specific market updates including new listings, price changes and status changes.

Such comprehensive information, combined with the global reach that only Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices can offer, will give you unmatched advantages when you list and sell your home.

Contact me to set up your free home evaluation now. Let me help you get the most money for your investment!

Your Local Real Estate Expert

c: 541-579-9213 / e: aimeehartwig@bhhsrep.com