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Date Archives: February 2020

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February
26

 

 

Home warranties are an interesting thing, considering they can bring peace of mind but also affordable fixes for a home with older appliances. A seller may offer one in closing to sweeten the pot, which makes it a reasonable consideration for potential buyers. Even though a home warranty may sound like good financial protection, it is good to know more about them and whether this investment is worth making.

 

How a Home Warranty Works

A home warranty is a contract between a homeowner and a home warranty company. Costly repairs on appliances in a new home purchase can be difficult to swallow, especially after spending so much to move into the home. Home warranties typically cover repairs of a furnace, air conditioning unit, plumbing, and electrical systems. Major appliances like washers, dryers, and refrigerators are often also included. Most plans offer the basic coverage, but some additional components can provide a better umbrella for any repairs that are needed which exceed the basics.

 

Know the Costs

Even though a home warranty is only a few hundred dollars upfront for a year, the cost depends on what property is purchased. If the family owns a condo or townhouse, the warranty may cover more or less than a single-family home and costs will shift accordingly. The home's square footage does not impact the price unless the property is more than 5,000 square feet. Garages should be covered by the basic policy, also. Some other considerations:

  • Home warranties charge a service call fee of between $75 to $125 every time the request is made to examine an issue
  • If more than one contractor is needed, there may be costs for each of them to visit the property
  • Some problems are not covered by the warranty or will be denied coverage

 

Peace of Mind

A home warranty truly provides peace of mind to homeowners looking to pay the premium 'in the event something happens.' Much like any other insurance, those premiums get paid out in case something were to go wrong or something major breaks. For sellers of the home, a one-year home warranty with purchase can provide protection against buyer complaints later if defects arise. This does not exempt a seller from the legal requirement to disclose problems with the home upfront.

 

Potential Drawbacks

One gray area homeowners may not be aware of once they move is the 'proper maintenance' clause. This clause is the source of many disagreements between home warranty companies and warranty holders. Companies may use this clause to exclude or deny claims. The homeowner and contract who make the house call may disagree on what constitutes proper maintenance. If the furnace was not maintained by previous owners, for example, they may limit how much they payout or the company can deny payment of the claim. Another area that is not always discussed is the fact the premium may get paid yearly but that money could be put into a fund for emergency repairs that won't cost a premium upfront. Just because a premium is paid, and a contractor paid to visit the home, does not mean repairs will be made and the homeowner is out a few hundred dollars or more.

 

Although a home warranty is not a guarantee, it is protection against potentially expensive repairs. Prior to purchase, discuss it with the realtor. Find out the options and check around. Be sure to know your options before you buy one and make sure it is the right choice for you and your family. 

 

Choice Properties works with families to ensure they make the best decisions possible when buying a home. We help you navigate the process of buying a home from the start of your search until closing. Our experts work hard to ensure you are satisfied with the process of looking for your family's next home. Call us if you are ready to find that perfect property to suit your needs. 

February
19

 

Millennials are a unique group of people with a wide array of interests, experiences, and desires for travel and adventure. They also struggle under the weight of debt for school while seeking to be employed in a shifting economy. Living 'paycheck to paycheck' is the norm for many millennials, but now they are seeking new opportunities in real estate. While homeownership seemed out of reach for many people due to rising costs, nearly half of millennial first-time homebuyers feel ready to purchase their first home. 

 

Meeting the Challenges

Millennials are not new to challenges. Unfairly labeled as 'having it easier,' than previous generations, they work hard to create new work environments and spaces, redefining what people think of as 'work.' Delayed marriage can often delay the onset of that first home purchase. More often, millennials are working while raising a family to keep costs low. Older millennials graduated during the last great recession and found themselves struggling with an economy not hiring, school debt, and a housing crisis all in one. This made them more resilient and less fearful in the current economy to strike while the iron is hot.

 

Home Ownership Perks

Giving up creature comforts like going out to eat with friends and buying the latest gadget is easy for some millennials focused on buying a home. Young homeowners are getting savvy about what they buy, where, and how they invest in property for the future. As millennials make their new homes, renovate, and buy furniture, they create space for themselves and the family they can enjoy. They are looking to move out of bigger, more expensive cities in suburbs or smaller towns with a more community feel. Some of the perks they enjoy:

  • DIY projects with the help of more stores and helpful shows demonstrating how to care for a home
  • Using the sharing economy to barter and use friends to help them navigate homeownership like lawn care and maintenance
  • Creating vibrant communities of young people with young families
  • Investing time in learning about interest rates and mortgages to avoid higher payments in the future 
  • Buying less house for the money or investing in fixer-uppers
  • Encouraging friends and other millennials to invest in their own homes

 

Building equity for the future is important. It is also important to have a stable home environment in which to raise a family. The concerns and worries over rentals can drive people to homeownership quickly, investing more money up front to make an investment down the road. Millennials are joining the homeownership club now more than ever and reaping the great benefits of having their own property to call home sweet home. 

 

Millennials are not the only people purchasing homes. Everyone is looking to own property at low-interest rates and in affordable markets. Choice Properties helps you decide where and when to invest in property for your future. If you are a millennial, or someone looking to buy a future home, call us. Let us help you make the best investment possible for your family.

February
12

 

When people put together a home energy checklist, they are usually looking to save a few bucks. Just a simple switch here and a turn of the knob there can add up to literally hundreds of dollars in saved money over the course of a year. For individuals or families who live in places where the climate shifts year-round, it is extremely helpful to keep a checklist handy and go over it every month or so to be sure things are where they should be. 

 

Heating and Cooling

Heat accounts for 38% of energy use for houses on average;  more in some places, and less in others. Small changes to eating habits can bring down astronomical bills and make it more palatable:

  • Check filters: most people forget this regular maintenance check but it is really simple. Set a calendar reminder every month on the same day and time to check the furnace, air conditioner, and heat pump if needed. Note the size of the filters and replacement parts. Keep a spare one handy to make it an easy swap
  • Check thermostats: depending on the system, hundreds of dollars may be saved by setting it properly. A smart thermostat is being used in many homes that can be accessed remotely by phone app to increase or decrease temps when the person is away
  • Heating blanket: lower the thermostat by a few degrees and invest in heating blankets and heavy comforters to stay warm

 

Cooling

If the heating and cooling system are one, many of the same steps apply as above. If not, here are a few simple checks to keep in mind:

  • Close blinds during the summer days to keep cool air in and open again at night
  • Turn off A/C in spring and fall to save money but also air out the home
  • Use small fans or ceiling fans to cool the home rather than A/C
  • Plants can help: go green and be eco-friendly with evergreen shrubs around the home to protect it from cold wind. Plant trees on the south and west sides of the yard for shade and to cool the house in summer

 

Appliance Checks

Appliances can use lots of electricity and heat. Whether it is air or water, heating elements use energy inefficiently. A home checklist helps fix issues with appliances to save money down the road:

  • Check dishwashers to be sure they clean the dishes with a shorter wash cycle
  • Use cold water for laundry to save money
  • Use a toaster oven for quick-heating food rather than fire up the big oven for small-batch cooking
  • Check efficiencies on all heating and cooling appliances in the house to be sure they're functioning at maximum capacity
  • Turn off devices completely when not in use, including televisions, laptops, and other things which often get left 'powered on' and use up precious energy resources

 

A few other quick fixes can include checking light bulbs and switching them out for energy-efficient ones. Also, replace burnt-out bulbs and don't leave house lights on when not at home unless necessary. Keeping everything in working order and efficiently saves hundreds, if not thousands, over the life of a home (and the pocketbook). 

 

Families are going with Choice Properties for their realtor because they can help them find the right home for their needs. Whatever it is you are looking for, we will sit down to do a checklist of what your needs are and what you desire. If you are ready to take the next step in finding that perfect property, call Choice Properties today.

 

February
5

 

Ohio is the place to be for many individuals and families. There is a natural beauty, parks, and close access to highways which provide opportunities to explore nearby cities and towns. No matter what someone is looking to see or do, there is always something happening right in your backyard. To get there, however, takes a few steps before a final move is completed. 

 

The Right Move

People who want to move often look for similar things. They want safety, established communities, great schools, arts, and lower cost of living than where they are from. With all these in mind, it is no wonder people are looking to Ohio as the place to live. Compared with other states, Ohio's cost-of-living is one of the best in the nation. Housing prices are low and costs for electric, water, heat, and other utilities remain lower than the national average. Some other great features to consider:

  • Transit routes are all over, from door-to-door bus routes to national airports and upgrades being made every year, there are myriad ways to get to and from major cities and local towns
  • Schools offer diversity, generous funding, and increasing opportunities in athletics and STEM programs
  • Sports and recreation are high on the list for Ohioans. Whether you support state teams or national champs, there are many reasons to love Ohio

 

Be Prepared

Don't leave prep work until the last minute. Moving is a considerable expense and stressor. To best prepare for a move, it helps to have some key things in your back pocket:

  • Outstanding realtor: don't move without having someone in your corner to help find the best home, place to live, and amenities to suit your family's needs
  • Find a way to transport furniture and goods well before the move. Researching helps lower costs, including discounts to book online or in advance of the move date (if known)
  • Research the weather. Depending on where you move from, the weather might be a rude awakening when it comes to winter. Snow, sleet, ice, and rain are all part of a fall to winter scenario. Be prepared to buy the necessary equipment like snow blowers, shovels, and more to cope with it in your new home

 

When the day finally comes to make the big move, get a checklist together. Write everything down, check the mail to be sure all bills will be forwarded and review school checklists. Everything can be sorted when the move happens if it is quick, but it helps to have some things done in advance with a follow-up list for after the move. Proper planning helps people manage their new life in a new place but what matters is being able to finally put everything in one place and begin to grow roots in the great state of Ohio. 

 

When people look for a great place to live, they think of Choice Properties. We are the best in our area for helping families make the right choice for them when it comes to where to live and what type of home you desire. We help you from sale of your home to close on the new property. Contact one of our top-notch realtors at Choice Properties who specialize in the Ohio market to find the property that is right for you.

 

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