Title insurance is a type of liability insurance most commonly found in the United States and Canada. It protects against economic damage caused by a defect in title to your real estate and the invalidism or nonbinding of mortgage loans. As a homeowner, title insurance protects your property ownership. On the other hand, home insurance is a type of property insurance that protects you from financial loss due to natural disasters, theft, or different types of covered disasters. Most home loan lenders will require proof of home insurance that covers the total value or fair price of the home before financing anything.
Title insurance has three policies: owner’s policy, lender’s policy, and construction loan policy. They all cover different liabilities for the various participants in a real estate transaction. It is sometimes called a loan policy because it is only issued to home loan lenders.
An owner’s policy covers:
A lender’s policy works to protect the lender from possible losses if the seller cannot legally transfer title rights. The lender is protected up to the amount of the loan.
Many states have separate policies for construction loans. Acquiring title insurance for construction loans involves a "Date Down" endorsement, which acknowledges that the property's insurance cover has increased due to construction funds invested in the real estate.
There are several types of homeowners' insurance in the United States that have become industry standards. They are designated HO-1 through HO-8 and offer varying levels of protection depending on the homeowner's needs and the type of property receiving the cover. There are three types of coverage; actual cash value, replacement cost, and extended placement cost. The policy covers four kinds of incidents: interior damage, exterior costs, damage to personal belongings, and injuries experienced while on the property.
It covers the costs of damages due to any unfortunate event. Home insurance can be claimed for damage due to the following causes:
When purchasing title insurance, a closing agent initiates the process upon completion of the home purchase agreement. It is a one-time fee that covers two components: a premium charge and service fees. The premium is paid once at the end of the sale. The cost of an owner’s policy is based on the purchase price of the home, while that of the lender is based on the loan amount. The premium on an owner’s policy ranges between $500 and $3,500, depending on your state and insurer.
Several factors influence the cost of a homeowner’s policy, such as your state; the age and method of construction of your home; the average distance from the nearest fire station; your credit score; the insurance provider, etc. In the US, the average cost is $1,312 to $250,000 per year. However, the amount of premiums that you have to pay might be higher or lower than the listed average costs due to the variables mentioned above.
A homeowner policy helps you cover the financial cost of repairing damage to your home. Other benefits include the following:
Owner's title insurance is optional, but the lender's title insurance is required. If a claim arises after purchase, an owner's policy can protect you from losing your equity and your right to live in the residence. Even if you purchase a new home, defects may exist due to previous owners and the building contractor failing to pay all of its contract workers.
Title insurance protects the homeowner for the duration of their property ownership. If unpaid property taxes, outstanding liens, or fines for code violations appear after the property has been purchased, the uninsured homeowner will bear the entire financial burden. However, if you cannot cover these unexpected costs, you may be held liable for far more than you bargained for.
Now comes the million-dollar question. For liability reasons, the answer is yes. These insurance policies protect you differently and equally for investments made in your real estate. A title policy will only require one premium and offer a cover protecting your property ownership. A home insurance policy has annual premiums and protects you from damages such as theft, vandalism, and natural calamities.
Before you settle on an insurance policy from the service provider, do your due diligence and get quotes from different companies. At first, it might sound like a lot of expenses go into insuring yourself, but later on, you’ll be glad you did it. Protecting yourself and your investments from future unforeseeable and expensive costs relies on having insurance cover. Getting both a title and home insurance cover is a smart way of covering both your flanks. Contact us so we can help you narrow down your choices.
Homeownership is a dream for most people, with good reason as it comes with many benefits. Most potential homebuyers consider how such a purchase will affect their finances, and there are many financial as well as non-financial benefits to owning a house. For one, when you own your own home, your assets grow larger than someone who rents. If you are considering buying a home, here are some more benefits you should know about.
When tax time comes every year, homeowners search for tax breaks. Luckily there are plenty of tax deductions that can add up to several thousand dollars. The biggest deduction to itemize is mortgage interest. You can deduct the interest up to a limit depending on when you take out your mortgage. Home equity loans interest is also deductible if you use the funds to substantially improve your home. You can claim home office deductions if you use part of your home exclusively for official purposes. You can get breaks on property taxes, but it's limited. Add up all the tax deductions you qualify for and itemize. You should take full advantage of the tax benefits to save some money every year.
An investment or financial portfolio stores all your assets; it's more of a concept than physical space. A solid portfolio can help you achieve long-term financial dreams. You might even repay your mortgage early or consider other investments. You can have some control over your financial future. Whether you realize it or not, purchasing a home will be great for your portfolio. You will have a higher risk tolerance, allowing you to embrace most opportunities that come your way. A house is a major asset whatever way you look at it; it will diversify your portfolio and let you dive deeper into investing. You can start thinking about the financial steps you want to take for the future.
Most creditors see a mortgage as good debt since it’s secured by the value of your home. Your ability to maintain mortgage payments is seen as debt responsibility and financial stability. Debt is seen by most as the greatest threat to financial independence, but mortgage debt is the only one that defies all the rules. Credit score agencies usually add points if you can manage different debts. Your mortgage might help you improve your credit score. It's also one of the few safe loans with low interest because your property is a guarantee that the loaned funds can quickly be recovered if a problem arises. The interest is also tax-deductible, which potentially makes the loan even less expensive.
Your home equity is the difference between what you owe and how much you can sell the house for. The more you pay your mortgage, the more your equity grows. If you have a reliable source of income and know you can repay, a home equity loan may be an option as you can use your home equity as collateral and acquire some funds. You can do plenty of things with such loans to improve your home or invest in other things. Home equity loans are typically called second mortgages, and you can use them for large expenditures.
The highest level of privacy you can attain is being able to decide who does and does not enter your home. You can use a modern security system to keep your belongings and loved ones safe; you are free to add as many security features as you want to your house. When you are renting, you won't have exclusive rights to the property, which means less privacy and security.
Having enough room to play outside becomes a higher priority when you have a family with children. You want your children to have the best upbringing possible and having a home will be part of it. You can hold family gatherings, cookouts, and many other family-exclusive activities because you have the space. Apartments can restrict you from having pets. But when you finally have your own house, you can get the pet you have always dreamed of. A home gives you and your family endless possibilities, especially when you have a private outdoor space. Having a garden might also be possible; you can turn the home into your private paradise. You can also pick a location with the best school district.
You are probably tired of making an apartment feel like home when you don’t have any freedom to customize it however you like. Home buying can change that. You have the freedom to create the home you want, starting with the house design, decorations, and paint. Pick the colors and the style you want to make your dream home a reality. Renovate the space when you see fit, hang pictures and art for a more personal feel. Customize the home to make your pets and family members (not to mention your guests) feel comfortable.
Homeownership has a liberating feeling you will never take for granted. If you have been a long-term renter, purchasing a home is indeed a level up. It gives you happiness and a sense of stability. It’s a haven for you and your kids if you have always dreamed of having a family. Maintaining a stable environment like a home is emotionally satisfying. Putting down roots allows you to form friendships that last a lifetime. Your neighbors become part of your community which reinforces the sense of stability.
There is no doubt that home buying is a worthwhile investment because of these benefits. If it's your goal to be a homeowner someday, start working towards that. Once you own a property, you can do so many things that aren't possible as a renter. Homeownership comes with a sense of pride and feeling settled in your community can improve your quality of life.
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The process of buying or selling a home can be very complicated, so you need to be ready for what comes next after your offer is accepted.
Home buying can be an exciting and stressful time. The process of searching for homes, making an offer, and closing on a home can take anywhere from three weeks to several months. Furthermore, getting approved for a mortgage, having inspections performed on the house, and completing all other steps can quickly feel overwhelming. Real estate transactions are complex, so it's essential to be prepared for what comes next after your offer is accepted. Once your offer is accepted, the next steps in the home buying process include:
After an offer is accepted, the first thing to do is open an escrow account. The buyer and seller sign the necessary paperwork to transfer funds to ensure that inspections, appraisals, and other items outlined in the contract are completed. While the homeowner oftentimes covers the cost of the home inspection, there may be additional fees that come with the buying process. In addition, the buyer's lender will require an appraisal to ensure that the home is worth the purchase price. The buyer should also review the title and homeowner's insurance policy at this time to make sure there are no surprises down the road. This is also a good time to review the title and home insurance policy. Be sure to ask any questions you may have about either document. Furthermore, it is important to know what the escrow company is and what they will be doing on behalf of the buyer and seller.
The lender will need a few things in order to finalize the mortgage; among them are copies of the signed purchase agreement, title report, proof of funds, and your loan application. Be sure to have everything ready to go so that the process can move along smoothly. In addition, it's important to be aware of your credit score and what you can do to improve it if needed. Most lenders require a credit score of at least 620 to qualify for a mortgage. The sooner you can provide these documents to the lender, the sooner they can process everything and avoid any delays. This is particularly important for borrowers who are self-employed or have a less-than-perfect credit history. Moreover, many buyers choose to lock in their interest rate at this time, so the sooner you submit your loan application, the more likely you are to get the rate you want.
Home inspection and an appraisal are two of the most critical steps in the purchase process. The home inspector will check for any major repairs that need to be made before closing, and the appraiser will ensure that the home is worth the price you agreed to pay. If there are any major repairs that need to be made, this is the time to negotiate who will pay for them. Furthermore, you don't want to buy a home that has been significantly damaged. The appraiser will point out any major repairs or other issues with the house, and it is best if you know about them before going through with the sale. A home loan is based on the value of the property, so a low appraisal could lead to your offer being rejected. This is the most challenging part of the home buying process for many buyers. In some cases, a buyer can come to an agreement with the seller that covers items such as closing costs or repairs.
After your offer is accepted, the next thing to do is to contact all of the utility companies and transfer services. Bills can still be sent to previous owners for a couple of days, but it's important that new homeowners take control of their utilities as soon as possible. This will reduce the chances of a power outage or any damage to appliances and fixtures during the moving process. Furthermore, if the previous owners are staying past closing, they will need to vacate by the time of possession or negotiate an extension with your realtor or lawyer. In some cases, new homeowners may have final bills from the seller's portion of the home, which may need to be negotiated in the contract. Home selling and buying is a complex process that can be overwhelming for first-time buyers. By knowing what to do next, you can ensure a smooth transaction. For more information, please consult with your realtor or lawyer.
Now is also a good time to ask for a final home evaluation. The inspector will come back and make sure there were no additional problems, and the lender will go over closing costs and how they will be paid. These can include points, real estate commissions, loan origination fees, transfer taxes, recording fees – all things that you should be prepared for. Homebuyers should also take the time to review their closing statement. A final home evaluation ensures that everything is in order before you close on the property, and it's one of the last things you can do before becoming a new homeowner.
Purchasing a home is a huge investment, contact a licensed realtor to walk you through the process and to make sure that everything is done correctly. By following these tips, you can ensure a smooth home buying process. These are just a few of the things you need to do after your offer has been accepted. With a little bit of preparation, you'll be ready to close on your new home and start moving in.
Homeownership has many advantages. It's key to building wealth. That's why for most people, their home is their most valuable asset and represents the majority of their net worth. But owning a home comes with some maintenance costs.
Not only does a home cost a great deal to acquire, but it also costs quite a bit to maintain. Some estimates place the ongoing yearly costs of owning a home at around 5% of its value. For the average home in the US, that works out to over $13,000 per year. There is plenty of uncertainty built into that number. For example, having a major appliance break could add thousands of dollars to that total. And there's no way to know when an unexpected expense will overwhelm your budget.
That's where home warranties come into play.
Home warranties are a popular way for homeowners to try to contain the costs of homeownership and eliminate unexpected expenses. Here's an overview of what they are, how they work, and when they're worth investing in. Let's dive in.
Unlike insurance, it's a service contract designed to cover the cost of the repair or replacement of major household items. In most cases, they cover things like large kitchen appliances and the home's major systems. But home warranties aren't insurance. They only cover costs associated with the normal wear and tear of covered items. So, if, for example, your refrigerator got damaged due to flood – it wouldn't pay to replace it.
That is, in fact, the primary difference between home warranties and a homeowner's insurance policy. The former covers the costs associated with routine maintenance and care for a home's major systems, while a homeowner's insurance policy pays for unexpected damage to property in the home. It protects against losses connected to things like fires, floods, and theft. Together, the two provide comprehensive protection for both the routine and extraordinary costs associated with owning a home.
Although different providers offer warranty plans that cover various items in a home, there are some covered items most of them share. These include:
• Heating / Ductwork
• Hot water systems
• Central or split-unit air conditioning systems
• Ovens, ranges, and cooktops
• Garbage disposal units
• Garage door openers
Depending on the provider, it's often possible to add warranty coverage for other household items like:
• Well pumps
• Septic tanks
• Pool and spa equipment
In most cases, home warranties don't cover the structural components of a home. That means they don't cover things like walls, windows, foundations, and doors. They also won't cover solar panels because they're considered a structural item.
And home warranties also won't cover commercial appliances. That means they don't cover many high-end kitchen items from major brands like Sub-Zero and Thermador. And they also don't cover duplicate items by default. That means homes with a second kitchen would need to purchase additional coverage for all of the items in it – even if they're the same items in their primary kitchen.
But even covered items are subject to certain restrictions, such as a home warranty won't cover pre-existing damage to a covered item. Every item must go through a visual and operational examination before it's eligible for coverage. At that time, a representative of the warranty provider will check for obvious damage to each item and conduct a basic test to see that it's functioning normally.
Even then, most home warranties feature a 30-day waiting period before they go into effect. That way, the company can rule out most undetectable pre-existing problems with covered items. It is designed to prevent a homeowner from purchasing a policy to cover an appliance they know is about to fail.
There are also limits to what home warranties will pay to repair or to replace covered items. Some impose limits on a per-item basis. For example, a policy might specify a maximum of $1,000 for microwave or $3,000 for an HVAC system. Others set a maximum limit that applies to all covered items, which usually represents the maximum replacement cost of the most expensive covered item.
In most cases, home warranties are worth purchasing for anyone buying a secondhand home. This is because it's often impossible to know the true condition of a home's major systems or if they've been put through excessive wear and tear. And because purchasing a home is a significant investment, the last thing a new homeowner would want is a string of unexpected expenses right after they move in.
For the same reason, people selling their homes might purchase coverage to convince would-be buyers that everything in the house is in reasonable working order. Doing so serves as a guarantee to the home's new owners that they're not going to end up paying for the damage done by its previous owners. In that way, homeowners' warranties make an attractive addition to a home that's listed for sale.
The costs of a home warranty are reasonable enough that either party would be well-served by purchasing a policy. The average cost comes in at between $25 and $50 per month, which works out to between $300 and $600 per year. After that, the only other cost is a reasonable service call fee between $75 and $125 when something breaks. So, the first time that a major covered appliance needs replacing, the policy will more than pay for itself.
Buyers of newly-built homes typically don't need home warranty coverage. This is because most homebuilders offer similar coverage for at least a year after a home's completion, and it comes standard with the purchase of the home. Plus, new major appliances come with their own warranties that cover major problems for a year or more after purchase. It wouldn't make sense to purchase coverage until several years into the home's existence in those cases.
Any way you look at it, home warranties are a smart way to manage some of the ongoing costs of homeownership. But they're not for everyone, and anyone buying a policy should do their homework and read all of the fine print before buying coverage. Like insurance, a home warranty can seem costly when you don't end up using it – but it can be a lifesaver when bad luck strikes and multiple appliances break in quick succession.
Get in touch with us for professional help on your real estate investment journey, call 650 550 8646.