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Disaster Strikes Your Second Home: Are You Prepared?

Once you decide you’re financially ready to buy a vacation home, one important step is insuring your new pad. It’s different than buying insurance for a primary residence. Factors such as where it’s located, who stays there and what amenities are available will help determine your home insurance needs. Your Vacation Home Versus Mother Nature For many people, the whole idea of a vacation home is to be closer to a sandy beach or among the crisp mountain air. That perfect location for rest and relaxation may come with some additional insurance costs. Hurricane season and intense rainstorms underscore the importance of knowing your coverage. The point applies to primary residences and vacation homes. When hurricane Florence hit in September 2018, more than 30 million people were under a flood watch and media outlets reported only about 3 percent of North Carolina and South Carolina homeowners held insurance policies.  And…

Insurance 101 for House Flippers

Flipping houses hit an 11-year high in 2017. It’s no secret why. Television shows such as “Flip or Flop” and “Rehab Addict” flaunt how flipping houses can provide a lucrative career or side hustle. But it’s not always an easy one. Many things can go south during a flip, including stolen materials or structural damage while the house sits empty. Mishaps that eat into potential profit. Most people go into a flip thinking about asking price, cost of renovations and earning potential. It’s important to add insurance coverage to the early list of considerations. Below we answer four common insurance questions from flipping newbies. What Type of Insurance Policy do I Need for my Flip? New house flippers may think general homeowner’s insurance will cover their needs. The type of insurance policy needed for a flip depends on the stage of the project. Here are four policies to consider. A…

Personal Finance Habits for Your 50s

After reaching important financial milestones in your 20s, 30s and 40s, things should calm down a bit in your 50s. If you followed good financial practices, you should have sizeable and growing retirement savings, shrinking debt and a clear path to retirement. And if you are off of your ideal plan, be sure to put the right habits in place right away to get yourself on the right track. While you can’t go back in time and change past spending and savings habits, you can start the right habits today. Start with these five personal finance habits for your 50s to get started. Pay Off Non-Mortgage Debt While the average debt for American households overall is on the rise, you should be working hard to fight that statistic for your own family. In your 50s, you should be saving and swelling credit card debt loads can crush those savings rates…

What You Need to Know About Tiny Houses and Insurance

More than a decade ago, a new movement began. One that emphasizes the philosophies of less is more, sustainability and financial freedom. The tiny house movement. Today you’ll find numerous TV shows, countless blogs and even a magazine dedicated to tiny house living. But even with its notoriety, living tiny is still a relatively new industry. Regulators, home insurers and builders continue to navigate the space. If you’re considering joining the tiny house movement, keep these considerations in mind. Goals and Primary Use What’s the motivation behind your desire to go tiny? Are you looking to right-size, live sustainably or eliminate debt? People have many reasons for living in a tiny house. Determining yours will help you stay on track as you go through the building process. Also consider the primary use of your new home. Will it serve mainly as a vacation house for your family, a VRBO rented to…

Outsourcing Home Maintenance: Costs and Benefits

With a rise in services such as Angie’s List, Thumbtack and Zaarly, today you can outsource just about any home maintenance task. But should you? Before picking up the phone and shelling out the cash for maintenance help, consider the pros and cons of outsourcing home maintenance versus doing it yourself. You may find the cost is completely worth it. Or, you may decide to save instead. If you currently pay for a home maintenance service you’re not alone. A recent Bankrate survey found more than three in five homeowners use at least one recurring home maintenance provider. These services don’t come cheap. Homeowners pay an average of $2,000 a year for maintenance services, according to the Bankrate survey. Zillow estimates the average is closer to $3,000. This is based on its review of the six most common projects hired for on Thumbtack. These services include “carpet cleaning, yard work,…

Updates For Your Home to Stay in it Forever

Your home is perfect for you. You love the neighborhood, the yard, the space. It’s where your kids grew up and where your grandkids come to play. You can’t imagine yourself living anywhere else. While many people think they have to leave their homes behind as they get older, aging in place is a growing trend in the home improvement world. Many families make modifications and updates to their home, allowing them to age in place by following the basic principles of Universal Design. Some updates require more extensive planning and come with a hefty cost. But a surprisingly number of updates can be made in a manner that is both time- and cost-efficient. Following these tips will allow you to make updates to your house so you can age in place. Change your Hardware Swapping out door knobs for levers and opting for thicker handles instead of knobs as…

3 Reasons Why Location Influences Home Insurance Rates

Location. Location. Location. We’ve all heard this common phrase in real estate and understand it can affect the market price of homes. What many don’t know is location also impacts home insurance rates. When determining your homeowners’ insurance rate, insurance companies take many factors into consideration. Each insurer has its own underwriting criteria and factors that influence rates. While some criteria are standard, some vary from one company to the next. For example, one insurer may prefer new construction. Another may choose not to insure homes built using certain materials, such as log homes. The insurer is assessing risk. Each factor reviewed helps the insurance company determine your home’s risk level. This directly correlates with your home insurance rate. So, how does location play a role in risk? According to Bradley Rynearson, a sales manager at SelectQuote, everything from state regulations to weather to your home’s proximity to a fire…