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Home Ownership

Home Warranties- A Look at the Good and the Not So Good

Renters have a few advantages over homeowners. When you own your own home, you are solely responsible for repairs and maintenance, which can get really expensive. One thing that homeowners might consider is purchasing a home warranty- but are home warranties really worth it? Let’s look at the facts so that you can make an informed decision that is good for your home and for your wallet.

How Much Do Home Warranties Cost?

Home warranties aren’t cheap. If you are considering a policy you should plan on paying somewhere in the range of $300 to $600 each year. Of course, there are some policies that are less and a few that are quite a bit more expensive. In addition to your annual premium, you will also have to pay a deductible each time you need a repair. Once again, the amount of your deductible will vary based on the policy you choose. Generally you can expect to pay between $50 and $100 per service call.

What Do Home Warranties Cover?

While home warranties aren’t cheap, they do offer quite a bit of protection to homeowners. Generally policies cover all of your home’s major appliances including the fridge, the dishwasher and the heater. Most policies also cover your electrical and your plumbing. Some policies allow you to add in additional appliances like the washer or dryer. When it comes to policies, no two are alike, so make sure that you know what type of coverage you are considering. Every policy is different.

How Do Home Warranties Work?

If you have a home warranty in place and something breaks down, you will contact your home warranty company first. They will then arrange for repair or replacement of your damaged item. All you pay is the deductible and the remainder of the repairs will be handled at no charge. This can make repairs very easy and stress-free. You won’t have to worry about finding  a great plumber, electrician and oven repairman, the warranty company will be your call when something goes wrong. Bear in mind that if you have multiple items break down, that you will have to pay your deductible twice even if you only have one service call.

What Don’t Warranties Cover?

Home warranties won’t cover everything in your house. Each policy varies, but generally they do not cover pre-existing problems. They also won’t cover items that are damaged due to inappropriate use. This means that if you throw a wild party at your house and break the dishwasher in the process, you won’t be covered. If you attempt a repair and do not succeed, you can also void your warranty. Each policy is different, but most contain various loopholes and restrictions that your home warranty provider can use to keep from paying for repairs.

Are Home Warranties Worth the Expense?

Home warranties can be a great way to protect your finances. Think about it, if your dishwasher breaks down and needs to be replaced, it will cost you at least $300. If your home warranty costs $400 per year and you have a $50 deductible, you have almost paid for your policy in just one repair, and the dishwasher is one of the least expensive major appliances in your home.

On the other hand if you have a newer home and newer appliances, you might not really get the value from your home warranty. If nothing breaks down, you are out the yearly premium and you receive nothing in return. Also since policies can have loopholes, you may find that your policy excludes your damage.

Another thing to keep in mind is that home warranty companies will always choose to repair if possible. They know that replacing items is expensive and if there is any way to keep your 20 year old heater working, they will patch it back together. Since you have to pay your deductible each time a repair is needed, there may come a time that it is cheaper to replace an item yourself rather than calling out the home warranty company again.

Tips for Shopping for Policies

If you are planning on purchasing a home warranty, here are a few tips that will help protect you and your finances.

  • Read Your Policy Carefully- Since home warranty policies can be filled with loopholes and exceptions, make sure that you read the entire policy carefully. Before committing to a plan you should know which appliances are covered, what you have to pay and what your responsibilities are in regards to maintenance of your appliances.
  • Shop Around-  Don’t turn to the first company that you find. Look at several top companies and compare. It is a good idea to look at several aspects of each company when comparing. If you only look at price or coverage you won’t get a clear picture of which company is the best for you.
  • Choose Reputable Companies- There have been cases of home warranty companies refusing to make repairs and ripping off their clients. Always make sure that you check out the companies that you are considering. The Better Business Bureau is a great place to check providers for complaints.
  • Use Your Policy- If you have a home warranty, make sure that you use it. Don’t attempt repairs on your own or replace equipment without first checking with your home warranty company. If you pay for the policy, you need to make sure that you use it.

A home warranty can be a great choice for protecting your home and your finances if you are a homeowner. When appliances fail, it can be very expensive to replace them. With a home warranty, you don’t have to worry about not being able to afford important repairs. However, they aren’t for everyone or every situation.

 

Home Ownership

Is it time to replace the old boiler?

Yet again the British summer is dragging its heels, with no sign of any prolonged sunshine coming our way anytime soon. Whilst the lack of rays can be depressing, as there’s not much chance of getting to the beach anytime soon, it’s not the biggest problem.

For lots of us the summer brings relief as our gas bills drop dramatically. When you have a monthly outgoing, that for many now stems in to three figures throughout the winter, it’s always nice to see it drop for at least a short while in the summer months.

Sadly, with the daily temperature struggling to hit double figures across the country the heating is still having to go on and no end is in sight. Add to this, the mentality of the major providers, whose only real concern seems to be squeezing as much money as possible out of the public, and you could be forgiven for thinking the only solution is to buy more woollens or emigrate to warmer climates.

Does your boiler need replacing?

Well, all is not totally lost, as you can take certain steps to bring the cost of your heating down a good bit over the cost of an average month. Taking the time to replace your household boiler can save a substantial amount of money over a short period, not to mention reducing carbon dioxide emissions. However, if you are considering upgrading your boiler, it’s important to speak with a reputable supplier such as Help-Link as it’s vital to have it done professionally and for as little cost as possible.

If you’re concerned that your boiler is costing too much to run, the first step is to speak with an expert, as they are in the best position to advise you. There are many different types of boilers on the market and it may be that yours is very dated, or that it is just the wrong type for your property.

An expert will discuss the types of boiler available to you and what advantages can be gained from the various options available. It may be that a combi boiler is the right option, as for many homes, these are the most cost efficient on the market.

Which boiler is the right one for your home?

Or, maybe your water bills are of an equal concern and a water efficient boiler may the right one for you. Energy efficient condensing boilers save money by recycling the waste gas and then reusing it to generate heat and if you don’t currently have one, you could be throwing valuable money down the drain. Either way, it’s important to consult an expert on this, as not every boiler is right for every home.

Another factor to consider is warranty. Some suppliers will offer a very limited warranty, whereas others will offer a guarantee that can last as much as a decade. This is very important, as the last thing you want to do is to end up paying out a few years after having the new boiler fitted.

The one expense you will have when you fit a new boiler is the initial outlay. Two important factors to remember are as follows. Firstly, you may be entitled to a grant which could help reduce the costs considerably, so it’s best to enquire before jumping in head first. Secondly, it may be that you can take out finance and spread the cost of the boiler, so you are not paying out in one go. This can be a great way of paying as you can offset the cost of the new boiler against the savings you are making from reduced outgoings.

It doesn’t seem that the British summer is going to be here anytime soon so you if you are considering a new boiler, it may be more prudent to speak to someone now, rather than waiting until the winter.

Home Ownership

Six Tips To Saving Money In Every Aspect Of Your Home

Home, it’s where the heart is and it’s where you spend a lot of time. You want your home to be a relaxing and happy place where you can come home from work and put your feet up.

Instead, for a lot of people, home is where you come back from work to find bills you need to pay and messes you need to clean up. Pretty much, you come home from work to work.

While bills can be a pain, there are many things you can do in and around your home to help you save some money and some time. From organization projects to ways to cut the bills back, here are some things you may want to try in your own home to make life just a little more tolerable.

Start With Organizing Your Bills

There’s more to planning a budget than just writing down what you owe and what you have coming in. You also need to organize your bills. Sometimes you have extra bills that aren’t always on the budget plan, like that magazine subscription you just had to have.

Start off by making sure you have a place to keep your bills, and that it is someplace visible. You don’t want them to be out of sight, out of mind. On top of that, always make sure you open all of your bills.

One things that may help is to set up automatic payments, and then just keep a list of what comes out when so you make sure you don’t overdraft your account. Not only does this guarantee bills are always paid on time, it cuts down on waste in your home by going paperless.

Once your bills are all organized and you’ve done the whole budgeting thing everyone does each month, you will be able to see where you could, or should, cut down on expenses.

Cutting Down Your Monthly Expenses

Once you know what bills your have coming and compare that to your income, you can decide what things need to go and what needs to stay. Obviously everyone needs food, shelter, heat and water, but are there ways you can save on those things?

To save money on the electric bill it helps to be more energy efficient. That doesn’t just mean changing your light bulbs though. look for energy efficient appliances when it’s time to invest in new ones. Also, don’t leave things plugged in all the time if you are not using them. They’ll continue to draw energy.

Saving money on the heating bill can be as easy as keeping the heat turned down and bundling up a little bit more when it’s chilly out. You can also have your insulation checked. Good insulation helps hold heat in your home allowing you to keep the thermostat lower.

It’s a similar thing with air conditioning. Only run it when you need to, like when the sun is at it’s highest. Have windows open on cooler days instead. Keep shades closed so the sun doesn’t heat up rooms. And, of course, cook on the grill often to save from heating the stove up.

Saving On Entertainment In Home

If you have a high speed internet service, you may be able to cut out cable all together. Learn more here about some of the high speed internet services that are available. With a good service you can have Netflix and HuluPlus to watch your favorite TV shows and movies.

Look for services that don’t have any hidden costs for using too much bandwidth, which is something you’ll do using things like Netflix. But you’ll go from $30 or more for cable packages to under ten dollars a month for a streaming service.

In order to stream without watching on your laptop or home computer, you will want to invest in a WiFi ready BluRay player. But with that you can also save money on entertainment by purchasing DVDs and BluRay discs when you see a good sale, instead of spending theater prices.

It’s pretty easy to save money on bills if you just take some time to do the math. You may still have a messy house to clean when you come home from work, but at least you’ll have less bills to worry about and more time for fun with your family.

Home Ownership

Essential Tips For Finding The Best Property

Best Property

Credit here

Moving house is always going to be a pain in the backside. You will have so much to think about that you’re almost certain to forget something important. Not only that, but your family will probably add to the stress, especially if you have young children. Even so, you’ll need to find the ideal property first, and that’s where most of the hard work comes into play. Throughout the course of this article, we’re going to present you with lots of tips that could help to make the process a little easier. At the end of the day, the last thing you want is to uproot your family and move into a less and suitable home. Considering that, you should pay close attention to all the advice we’re about to relay.

If this is the first time you’ve moved home as a family, there are lots of different elements you’ll want to think about. We’ve done our best to cover them all in this post. However, you still might like to create a “to-do” list. That is the best way of ensuring you don’t overlook anything, and your moving day goes as smoothly as possible. Whether you’re relocating due to a new job or you just fancy trying something new, the tips below will guarantee you stand the best chance of getting things right.

Choosing the best location

You’ll want to perform a lot of research when looking for a new home, but that’s much easier than it used to be. While you should still visit your chosen area to ensure it’s suitable, you can find lots of useful information online too. Crime rates usually play a big role in determining whether or not an area is suitable. Luckily, the government published regional crime statistics on a quarterly basis these days, and so you can find out everything in a matter of minutes.

Finding good schools

Presuming you have children, you’ll want them to attend a good school, right? Again, league tables are frequently released, and inspection reports are often published online. So, all you have to do is make a list of all the schools in the area and compare them using that information. It might also make sense to arrange appointments where you can take a tour of the school and speak with teachers. That should be enough for you to get a feel for the place. If you have any doubts, simply try somewhere else. It’s usually better for your children to attend schools closer to major cities as they tend to have more money and thus employ the best staff.

Considering your work commitments

When looking for a new home, you’ll want to make sure it’s within a suitable distance of your place of work. Nobody wants to spend more than an hour commuting each morning, and so you should draw a circle on the map of around thirty miles. Any further away than that, and you will be out of the house for far too long each day. Of course, if you’re lucky enough to work from home, that isn’t a problem. Unfortunately, most people don’t have that luxury.

Assessing your requirements

Depending on the amount of people in your family, their ages and their interests, you should aim to find a property that fulfills your needs. If one of your children plays a lot of football, you’re going to want somewhere with a big garden. Likewise, if you have lots of children, you’re going to need somewhere with enough bedrooms. That might sound like an obvious point, but you would not believe the amount of people who settle for somewhere unsuitable just to make the move happen as soon as possible.

Using real estate agents

While you will save some money if you look for a property off your own back, often the best technique involved employing the services of real estate agents. They will do most of the hard work for you. All you have to do is give them a list of requirements and wait until they get in touch with suggestions. Just be warned that agents will want to make the most commission possible, and so they will always try to push your budget as far as it can go. With that in mind, you should tell them you have slightly less money to spend that you actually have. That way, you should stay within your budget, even if they insist on showing you properties that are more expensive than you stipulated.

Advertising on social media

Social networks are fast becoming the best place to sell almost anything. For that reason, you should make a few posts on relevant pages explaining that you’re looking for a new home in your chosen location. You never know; you could find someone comments with details of a property they’re trying to sell that meets your requirements. Stranger things have happened.

Planning the move

Once you’ve found the best property you can afford, the only thing left to do is put in an offer and wait for it to be accepted. So long as the sale goes through, your next worry is the moving process. While some people like to handle the whole thing on their own, professional removals firms like The Professionals could help to make the endeavor much easier. There are plenty of similar companies in your local area, and you can find their details by searching online. The best thing about using a removals firm is the price. Their services are usually very affordable, and using them means you won’t have to lift a finger.

Thanks for taking the time to read through this post guys. We sincerely hope you are now in a better position to find the best property for your family. No matter where you want to live, an ideal home is out there. All you have to do is identify it, and the tips in this article should help you to do that in a timely manner.

Good luck with the move. See you next time!

Home Ownership

10 Coastal Communities That Are Actually Affordable

Finding the best property starts by nailing down the ideal location. For many of us living in a beachside community is at the top of our bucket list. Living in a coastal city is like perpetually being on vacation. Time seems to move a little slower and everyone appears to be in good spirits when they’re near the water.

If you’ve ever taken a beach vacation you may think living the dream of an oceanfront lifestyle is way too expensive unless you have an upper-class income. While that may be true in some coastal cities, there are many communities that offer affordable living for the middle class. Make your coastal living dream come true in one of these affordable beach towns.

Corpus Christi, TX

For a sizable city, Corpus Christi, TX is actually quite affordable, even though it’s right next door to popular Padre Island. There are a number of things that make Corpus Christi an inexpensive coastal city. For starters, Zillow estimates that the average home price is just under $200,000. The area is also deregulated, which means you can compare electric rates Corpus Christi providers currently offer to find the most cost-effective plan. It’s a big money saver in the hot months of summer. Another consideration is that Texas doesn’t have a state income tax, which offsets the cost of higher home insurance rates on the coast.

Crystal Beach, TX

This city has been noted for being one of the nation’s most affordable oceanfront communities, it’s got the home prices to prove it. With a median home price of just $153,500, it’s easily one of the least expensive cities on our list. Having a population of just 1,600 means Crystal Beach is also an intimate and quiet place to kick back and relax. Plus, a free ferry can take you the short ride to Galveston Island for additional fun in the sun.

Matlacha, FL

Matlacha is one of the few areas of south Florida that is fairly affordable. This old-school fishing community has maintained its character and flair over the years and the vibe has often been compared to the Florida Keys. But instead of paying more than $565,000 for a home you can get a colorful row house for around $185,000.

Pensacola, FL

If you prefer a slightly larger city that’s lively Pensacola, FL is a fantastic option. The city has been called an affordable alternative to Palm Beach, and with home prices that hover around $125,000, it’s definitely more budget-friendly. In addition to miles of white sandy beaches, Pensacola also has a variety of shops, restaurants, and a vibrant nightlife.

Gulf Shores, AL

Alabama doesn’t have as many miles of coastline as other states, but the little bit it has is quite impressive. So are the home prices, especially in the lively coastal city of Gulf Shores. The area is noted for having 32 miles of white sandy beaches, beautiful blue-green water, historic sites and first-class golf courses. At just over $230,000 for the average home, Gulf Shores is a popular spot for retirement or buying a vacation home.

Myrtle Beach, SC

Hilton Head may be a hot spot for golfers and vacationers, but locals know to home shop in Myrtle Beach where a dollar goes a lot further. The popular beach town boasts 100 golf courses in the area, over 1,700 restaurants and 60 miles of beachfront.

Old Orchard Beach, ME

Maine isn’t known for its beaches, but there is one place that’s been a coastal vacation destination for years. Old Orchard Beach comes to life when the weather warms up. There’s a seven-mile strip of beach, a historic pier and an amusement park right on the water. For less than $300,000 you can get your own piece of the “garden by the sea”.

Crescent City, CA

Bet you didn’t think you’d see a California city on the list. Crescent City is in the northern part of the state close to Oregon. It’s a combination of rocky shores and sandy beaches, but there are a variety of aquatic activities to enjoy in the spring and summer. With median home prices at about $250,000, this is one California coastal city people can actually afford. While this may seem like a hefty price tag it’s far less than California’s median home price of just over $490,000.

Empire, MI

The next best thing to the ocean is a great lake. The tiny village of Empire, MI is situated on Lake Michigan, and it’s one of the areas that’s known for its unspoiled beaches. Believe it or not, the dunes can reach 400 feet and the waves are sometimes big enough to surf. A big benefit of living on Lake Michigan is your home insurance will be a fraction of the cost to cover a beachfront property.