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Real Estate

Protecting your investment: 3 tips to save money and headaches

By - Last modified: April 18, 2013 at 11:39 AM

An ounce of prevention can go a long way, or so they say.

When it comes to your home or business property, this is certainly true. Buyers typically aren’t thinking about “down the road” until problems start popping up; then things can get both ugly and expensive. Here are three tips for property owners that may help alleviate those headaches:

1. Get a home warranty when you settle on the property. These policies cover mechanicals and fixtures in the property and can be very useful. In my case, we purchased a one-year warranty with our current home and within that year our entire A/C system needed to be replaced. That $350 looked pretty good after getting a system worth 10 times that installed!

Home warranties are plentiful in our midstate area; a couple of examples would be American Home Shield and First American. After the first year, you can renew them, often for a lower price that covers a few less things as you start replacing appliances, etc., that have product warranties included.

Keep in mind that home warranties have lots of exclusions and fine print so be sure to read the policy carefully and quiz your Realtor.

2. Have a good homeowner insurance policy. The policy you secured as you purchased the property is very likely to not be the best-tailored coverage you can get to protect yourself.

I asked Brian Hurst of the Clearspan Agency for his advice: “Review your coverage with your insurance agent to make sure you understand what each line of coverage is for and what it’s limitations are; sometimes people don’t realize that a retaining wall needs to be covered under “other structures” or that an above-ground hot tub is considered a personal possession.”

It’s not about getting the lowest price – it’s about having the most appropriate coverage for your property. In my case, I was able to rearrange my coverage to include more features for about the same annual expense.

3. Manage your payments monthly. Going on auto pilot with your electronic payments is all the rage today, but there are risks, especially with such sensitive accounts as your mortgages and insurance. Just this week a story broke in the York Daily Record/Sunday News about a family whose bank failed to properly debit their mortgage payment last November, and now they face undoing months of late fees and penalties being levied by the mortgage lender.

Brian Hurst of Clearspan added that if you use credit cards to auto-pay your insurance policy, be sure to closely monitor them if they expire or otherwise fail to make your payments. Make a point to put your eyeballs on your bank statements once a month and ensure everything is going out properly.


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