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Buying a new home is an exciting time in life! Whether you are a first time homebuyer or experienced in the homebuying process, it is a huge accomplishment. However, the downpayment and monthly mortgage isn't the only costs that come with owning a home. Homeowners insurance may often be overlooked by first time homebuyers, as it's not a popular topic of discussion. When financing through a bank, homeowners insurance is typically required. Although it's required, it's most certainly worth the cost. Navigating through various homeowners insurance policies may feel confusing. Here is what to look out for when searching for the best homeowners insurance, ensuring you're paying the best price for the best coverage. 


1. Coverage


Coverage is the most important factor when searching for the right homeowners insurance. Most offer an array of coverage policies which are broken down by the amount protection they offer. This means how much the insurance company will replace your valuables after a natural disaster or a loss. The three main types of coverage policies include:


  • Cash Value Replacement Coverage: This option will replace the cash value of the items lost, while taking into account the depreciation of your personal items.
  • Full Replacement Coverage: Full replacement coverage will reimburse you the complete cost of your items, at today's cost. Meaning there is no depreciation. 
  • Guaranteed Replacement Cost Coverage: If your home is a total loss, this coverage will completely reimburse the actual cost with no coverage limits, in today's dollar amount.

2. Additional Coverage Plans

There are an array of coverage plans that you can add to your existing policy, for even more protection. Many opt for this if they live in an area where natural disasters are known to occur. This may include:


  • Flood Insurance: Those who live in areas prone to flooding are encouraged to purchase an add-on of flood insurance onto their policy. This will ensure your items are covered following an event of a flood or severe storm surges.
  •  Earthquake Insurance: This plan will protect your values and items in an event of an earthquake. Those residing in California are more inclined to include this policy onto their plan. 

3. Get Three Quotes Before Making a Decision

Just as you browse and shop for your new home, you will want to do the same for homeowners insurance. Take this time to consider what you need within a policy, in terms of the coverage needed and where you reside. For example, those buying a home in Ohio most likely do not need earthquake insurance. By shopping around and learning pricing and options available, you will be able to make the best decision.

Choice Properties offers you a chance to find the home of your dreams. We work with your budget and ideas in mind to support your ultimate vision. Call us if you are ready to check out the available inventory or to speak with a reputable agent who can assist you with your home buying needs.


A Beginner's Guide to Homeowners Insurance

Home insurance may not be the most interesting topic to discuss when buying a home, but it is essentials for new homeowners to understand the details that influence homeowners insurance. Virtually all mortgage lenders require insurance coverage, and for good reason! When shopping for insurance companies, understanding your policy options is key. Take time to view this beginner's guide to homeowners insurance to help understand what a basic homeowners policy provides.

Damage to the Interior or Exterior of Your House

There are a number of tragic events that could damage the interior or exterior of your home. A few to consider are:

  • House Fires
  • Hurricanes
  • Lightening
  • Vandalism
  • Other Natural Disasters

In the event of damage due to covered costs, your insurer will compensate you for repairing or rebuilding if necessary. However, damage caused by floods, earthquakes, or poor home maintenance are not covered and you may need to find an outside provider.

Loss or Damage to Personal Belongings

Clothing, furniture, appliances, and other valued items are often covered if they are destroyed in the insured disaster. However, there may be a limit amount depending on the company you choose to insure through. According to the Insurance Information Institute, most insurance companies will provide coverage for 50-70% of the amount of insurance you have structured in the home.  

How Much Does Homeowners Insurance Cost?

According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, the average cost of homeowners insurance was $791, however this rate can easily fluctuate based on insurance companies and specific policies. The price is first determined by how much coverage you purchase which is a decision you must make after determining the value of your home and taking inventory. Other factors that can influence the cost are your zip code, the size of the house, proximity to fire hydrants, the condition of plumbing, and electrical systems.

Choice Properties understands your needs and desires when it comes to the home search. We are here to help you define what you want, seek the best property and move forward feeling educated and able to make good decisions throughout the process. You can trust us to help you navigate it with the best real estate agents working for you. Call us to get started on your dream home search today.


Questions to Ask When Buying an Indian Lake House

Waterfront homes hold a beauty unlike any other naturally appealing to most buyers. Although waterfront homes easily grab the eye, not many people consider the responsibilities that come with purchasing a lake house. At Choice Properties, we want you to enjoy the fun experience Indian Lake has to offer which is why we firmly believe buyers should research more on waterfront properties. We have listed questions to ask when buying an Indian Lake home, allowing you to be fully prepared throughout this exciting process!

Can You Get a Loan?

The first question to ask is the probability of getting a mortgage loan for a waterfront home. Since it's a vacation home, mortgage loans are usually higher and may take longer than residential homes, so it's important to tackle this step early on. Discussing credit score and credit history with a loan provider allows you to set a budget for your Indian Lake Home. Once you obtain your loan, our expert agents will work beside you to show you the best homes in your price range.

What Do You Want in a Lake House?

Consider making a list of must-have items you crave in a lake house, as well as those you can live without will help narrow down your search. For example, how close to the water you want to be? Do you prefer a small, quaint cabin or a large house with a dock? Taking time to discuss the amount of space and bedrooms you will need helps weed out unrealistic homes. It's important to keep an open mind when touring potential homes as it may be challenging to find a complete list of must-haves in one space.

Have You Factored in Other Expenses?

The fun and memories made are definitely worth the cost, but don't forget to factor in other expenses as well. Waterfront properties often have a higher maintenance checklist than residential homes, including dock upkeep, rusting items and wearing out do to the proximity of water. These expenses can easily be avoided by taking care of possessions and tackling any issues at the first sign.

What Insurance Have You Researched?

Have you been researching insurance plans? Because waterfront homes are more susceptible to damage from natural disasters, such as flooding, insurance rates are typically more expensive. Keep insurance rates in mind as you calculate overall budget and expenses.

Does the Property Fulfill Your Lifestyle?

Perhaps the most important question to ask yourself is if the property fulfills your lifestyle needs. In the excitement that comes with buying a waterfront home, it can be easy to lose sight of why you want to live near the water in the first place. For example, a home on a lake beach may require you to travel to a nearby dock to store and use your boat. If you don't mind traveling a few miles to get to your boat, then a dock can be ruled out! Your happiness is the final factor in determining the lake house you desire.

Choice Properties understands your needs and desires when it comes to the home search. We are here to help you define what you want, seek the best property and move forward feeling educated and able to make good decisions throughout the process. You can trust us to help you navigate it with the best real estate agents working for you. Call us to get started on your dream home search today.


 Insurance FAQs for New Homebuyers


Purchasing home insurance for the first time can be overwhelming. Review some of the common insurance questions before shopping for coverage to build knowledge of policies and find the best one to suit the family's needs.


Why Buy a Policy

Most states require drivers to possess auto insurance prior to driving a car off the lot. Home insurance is different in that a person can legally own a home without insurance. If a loan is needed to purchase a home, the lender will likely require the family to purchase home insurance as a way to protect the investment.


Coverages Included

Home insurance policies typically include coverage for the home's structure, contents, liability, other structures (toolshed, etc) and additional living expenses. Learn more about items typically covered in home insurance policies:



If the home is damaged or destroyed by a covered peril and needs to be repaired or rebuilt, insurance can help cover expenses. Structural coverage is not the same as the amount paid for the home. A person needs to set structure coverage for the amount it would take to rebuild the home from the ground up.



Coverage typically begins for belongings which are damaged or destroyed. Usually set between 50 and 70 percent of the home's structural coverage, high-value items (jewelry, art, valuables) may have a cap on the repair/replacement value..



If a person becomes injured on the property, the liability portion of insurance can help pay for medical, rehabilitation and/or funeral expenses. This will also include legal fees in the event the injured party decides to sue. Liability is usually set around $100,000 worth of protection. Insurers recommend more at $300,000-$500,000.


Covered Perils

Standard home insurance policies can cover damage by fire, windstorms, hail, lightning, theft, vandalism, explosions and riots. Typically, water damage from freezing and bursting pipes is also covered. Damage from floods or earthquakes is typically not covered as natural disasters require separate policies for people living in a high-risk area where this is a more common occurrence.


Policy Cost

Insurers take the following into account to determine cost of coverage:

  • Credit score

  • Claims history (personal and claims history for the area)

  • Location of home

  • Age of home

  • Cost associated with rebuilding home

  • Proximity to fire department

  • Pet owner status (owning a dog means more liability coverage)

  • Coverages selected


Saving Money

When looking for ways to save money, scope out discounts. Most providers offer discounts to policyholders. Build multiple policies (home, auto) with same provider for simple ways to save more each month. Raising the deductible (amount agreed to pay personally toward a claim prior to insurance) will result in lower premiums. Set it reasonably low enough to be affordable but also provides coverage necessary in the event disaster strikes.




Looking for guidance through the home buying process?

The award-winning real estate agents of Choice Properties are on hand to answer your questions.