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How Flood Insurance Works

(Published on - 7/10/2019 1:44:14 PM)

What is flood insurance?

Homeowners’ insurance doesn’t cover damage to a home caused by flooding; instead, a separate policy is needed to cover flood-related losses, defined as caused by water traveling along or under the ground.  

 

ATLANTA – How does flood insurance work? Robert W. Klein, an expert from Georgia State University in Atlanta, Georgia, answers questions about the topic.

1. What is flood insurance?

Homeowners’ insurance does not cover damage to a home caused by flooding. A homeowner must have a separate policy to cover flood-related losses, defined as water traveling along or under the ground.

Most such policies are underwritten by the National Flood Insurance Program, which is part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The National Flood Insurance Program was established in 1968 to address the lack of availability of flood insurance in the private market and reduce the demand for federal disaster assistance for uninsured flood losses. Another purpose was to integrate flood insurance with floodplain management, which includes such things as adopting and enforcing stricter building codes, retaining or restoring wetlands to absorb floodwaters and requiring or encouraging homeowners to make their homes more flood-resistant.

The National Flood Insurance Program’s activities are funded largely by the premiums and fees paid by its policyholders, supplemented by a small amount of general funds to help pay for flood risk mapping. Because the National Flood Insurance Program serves the public interest, some believe that more of its funding should be borne by taxpayers.

Homeowners can purchase a federal flood policy directly from the National Flood Insurance Program or through a private insurer. Separately, some private insurers sell their own flood policies on a limited basis for properties that are overcharged by the National Flood Insurance Program.

2. How many American homeowners have flood insurance?

It is difficult to determine exactly how many homeowners have flood insurance.

The National Flood Insurance Program had just under five million policies in force as of June 30. Of these policies, approximately 68% were on single-family homes and 21% on condo units. There is no source on how many private flood policies are in force, but my sense is that it is very small relative to the number of National Flood Insurance Program policies.

In recent years, the number of such policies has been dropping across the country. Some of the counties hardest hit by Harvey, for example, such as Harris (which includes Houston), have experienced significant declines.

A more revealing – and more difficult to ascertain – stat is the share of homeowners in a disaster area who actually have flood insurance. In Harris County, for example, experts estimated that only about 15% of homeowners were insured for floods – though the percentage was higher in areas near coastlines.

3. Why do people at great risk of flooding forgo insurance?

A number of factors affect a homeowner’s decision to buy flood insurance (or not).

People who perceive that their exposure to floods is high are more likely to buy it, all other things equal. And the mandatory purchase requirement forces owners of mortgaged homes located in Special Flood Hazard Areas – areas at high risk for flooding – to buy insurance.

However, 43% of homeowners incorrectly believe that their homeowners’ insurance covers them for flood losses.

Other factors also come into play, such as a lack of information, the difficulty of calculating flood risk and the expectation that the government will provide disaster assistance – which is rarely the case.

4. What does flood insurance cover?

With a National Flood Insurance Program policy, a homeowner can purchase coverage on a dwelling up to U.S. $250,000 and the contents of a home up to $100,000. It does not cover costs associated with “loss of use” of a home.

The National Flood Insurance Program policy limits have been in effect since 1994 and need to be updated to account for the increase in the replacement cost of homes and the actual cash value of their contents. Although not the best measure of the replacement cost, the median price of new homes sold in the U.S. has soared 132 percent since 1994.

Some homeowners buy additional flood protection from private insurers to make up any shortfall.

5. Why is the National Flood Insurance Program underwater?

The National Flood Insurance Program has faced considerable criticism over its underwriting and pricing policies, which have resulted in a substantial debt. Essentially, its premiums are not high enough to cover how much it pays out on claims and its other costs.

Part of the problem is that about 20% of the properties the program insures pay a subsidized rate. But many other National Flood Insurance Program policyholders are also paying premiums substantially less than what it costs to insure them because the rates do not adequately account for the catastrophic losses incurred during years when more major storms than normal strike, such as Katrina and Rita in 2005 and Sandy in 2012. As a result, the National Flood Insurance Program currently owes an accumulated debt of about $20 billion to the U.S. Treasury.

In the short term, Congress will have to increase the National Flood Insurance Program’s borrowing authority for it to pay the claims.

These inadequate rates also exacerbate the moral hazard created by flood insurance. People are more likely to buy, build or rebuild homes in flood-prone areas and have diminished incentives to invest in flood risk mitigation, such as by elevating their home, if they can buy insurance at below-cost rates.

6. What can be done to fix the program?

Legislative efforts to reform the National Flood Insurance Program to put it on firmer fiscal footing have produced mixed results.

Fundamentally, the program millions of Americans rely on to help them rebuild their lives after a devastating flood needs to be fixed. Its dire financial straits could be resolved by either making taxpayers foot more of the bill or increasing premiums closer to full-cost rates for most homeowners, while also raising total coverage levels.

At the same time, the government needs to do more to convince or compel more at-risk homeowners to buy flood insurance – which would be harder to do if it were to raise rates. To me, this suggests that increasing taxpayer support for the NFIP will have to be part of the solution so that pricey premiums don’t become a deterrent to someone buying insurance.

With the likelihood of much more flooding in the coming weeks and years, more needs to be done to mitigate the risk, including producing more accurate and timely maps of the flood risk in various areas, especially high-risk areas, educating people about what those risks really mean and helping relocate homeowners as necessary.

Copyright © 2019, The Conversation, under Creative Commons. All rights reserved.

 


Weekend Warrior Home Value Improvement Ideas !

(Published on - 7/2/2019 9:02:01 PM)

 

 

 

 

 

High-Resale Value Projects to Tackle In a

Weekend

 

 

“There’s no place like home,” as the old saying goes. That’s especially true when it comes to an investment.

You live in and love your home, but there might come a time when you have to leave it. And when that time comes, you’ll want to get as much money as you can for your property so you can move onward — and upward.

In order to increase your abode’s value, you might think you have to put in a ton of time, effort and money, but that’s not entirely true. Instead, you can take on weekend projects over time to spruce the place up so when it’s time to sell, you have a completely updated property that’ll end up selling itself.

 

Ready to get to work? Roll up your sleeves and start on one of the following five weekend projects.

 

1. Repaint Your Kitchen Cabinets

When it comes to smart investment in your home, the kitchen is one of the best places to start. Buyers expect kitchens to be updated. Stone countertops, stainless appliances and sleek flooring all make a space feel modern. Obviously, these changes require a lot of money and, sometimes, a lot of time. That’s why you can tackle it in bits and start first with your cabinets.

Old wooden cabinets with equally dated hardware — think oak doors with shiny brass handles — don’t require a complete gut job. Instead, spend a weekend repainting them a more neutral hue. Finish the project off with new metallic knobs and pulls to complete the modernized look.

 

2. Make the Eye Go up With Crown Molding

Most homes have roughly the same ceiling heights, but there’s a little trick to make yours look bigger — crown molding. Yes, that white line at the top of your painted walls will draw eyes upward, making the room appear airier than it may very well be.

The project is easy enough to complete, too. You might not be able to install molding throughout your entire home over a single weekend, but you can certainly tackle the project on a room-by-room basis. Again, start with the spaces likely to draw in the most moolah:

  • Kitchens
  • Bathrooms
  • Living spaces
  • Master bedrooms

These tend to be the make-or-break rooms when it comes to a big purchase. Crown molding adds a bit of detail, a feeling of luxury that’ll certainly add to the bottom line.

 

3. Boost Curb Appeal — and Backyard Bonuses

No one will come in your home unless the first impression is stunning. Another DIY project should be a landscape overhaul of your front yard. It can be something as simple as adding a path of pavers to your front yard or sprucing up your flowerbeds with colorful blooms. All of this will catch the eye of potential buyers — and fatten up the bottom line of the offers they make.

Another easy fix — your garage door. If it’s street-facing, it’s another area for prospective buyers to look at, and it has a great return on investment.

You don’t have to stop with the front of your home. Especially if you live in a climate that permits lots of outdoor activity, you’ll want a backyard to match. Some may require you rent or buy tools for landscaping and other applications, but imagine the payoff with, for example, the beauty of a functioning fire pit in your backyard. Not only will you be able to enjoy it while you’re still living in your home, but potential buyers will easily be able to envision themselves sitting around a fire.

 

4. Beautify the Bathrooms

Bathrooms have a big effect on buyers. They expect clean, modern updates, just like in the kitchen. Overhauling your powder room is an easy weekend task that might require small swaps, such as a new modern light fixture over the vanity or a new vanity altogether.

Your full bathrooms will require a bit more attention if you want them to be up to snuff. Again, look in the familiar places:

  • Lighting fixtures
  • Cabinets
  • Hardware
  • Countertops
  • Tile

You don’t have to shell out a ton of money to have someone else re-tile a wall or backsplash in your bathroom, either, if you have the patience to demo and tile the space yourself.

 

 

5. Out With the Really Old 

Some accents once considered fresh and fashionable now give your home a dated appearance. You probably already know what in your home screams 70s, 80s or 90s. Whatever it is should go in due course.

The list of outdated design elements is truly endless, but some of the biggest offenders are old-school wallpaper, the floor-to-ceiling wood paneling that may or not be actual wood, and, of course, popcorn ceilings. By removing these three offenders alone — a popcorn ceiling doesn’t take much effort — your home will snap right back into 2019.

Once people start envisioning themselves living in your home, you won’t have to envision offers pouring in — they’ll start coming thanks to your hard work. You go, weekend warrior.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


7 Things To Have On Your Checklist When Choosing A Real Estate Pro

(Published on - 7/2/2019 7:27:37 PM)

As a homebuyer you’re about to embark on one of the biggest, most stressful and exciting journeys in your life. You need to be certain that you can trust your real estate professional to deliver the goods.

However, choosing the right realtor can be difficult. There is a lot to consider, and with fierce competition between agents, all of the information can be a little bit overwhelming. Here are some key steps to help you pinpoint the real estate agent that will be the best fit for you.

 

1. Speak With Former Clients

When you meet the agent in person, they obviously will be putting their best foot forward. So, for a more unbiased view of their work habits, try to speak with people who have worked with them in the past. Online testimonials are a great place to start. But for more in-depth insight into the agent’s area expertise, check out their Facebook page. If you have friends in common, ask them about their experience with the agent in question.

 

2. State Board Records

Check with your local REALTOR® board for license information, employment history and disciplinary actions.

 

3. Industry Designations

Real estate agents often go above and beyond minimum education requirements to specialize in specific areas of the business. Depending on what you’re looking for, you might want to look for an agent with specific credentials and designations.

  • CRS (Certified Residential Specialist) – Looking for a residential home? These professionals have been specially trained in residential sales.
  • ABR (Accredited Buyer’s Representative) – Qualified ABR agents specialize in helping their clients buy their new home. To become an ABR, agents first need to have the required experience before they are able to undergo specialized training. Once qualified, agents are able to assist you through the entire process, from locating suitable properties based on your wants and needs to closing the deal. These agents are top of their field.
  • SRES (Seniors Real Estate Specialist) – These agents have specialized knowledge and experience working with people in the 50+ age range.

Also, don’t disregard peer-given awards; these can be a sign of an accomplished agent.

 

4. How Long They Have Been In Business

This is obviously a great measuring stick for an agent’s experience. You can find out how long they’ve been in business through the licensing association. However, newer agents with the right work and community experience often offer a fresh perspective and enthusiasm to get the job done. Who you choose depends on your personal preference and real estate goals.  

 

5. Current Listing Inventory

You can find an agent’s listings online through their social media pages, personal website and sites like realtor.com. Take a look at how their past and current listings compare to the type of house you are looking for and explore their marketing strategy. Also, take note of the number of listings they have and ask them what their typical inventory looks like.  

Be prepared with listing inventory questions, should you take the next step and interview the agent.  Do they specialize in select neighborhoods?  What is their niche area?  How long do homes typically stay on the market?

 

6. Knowing The Neighborhood

A good agent should know about other available properties in their area of expertise  “off the top of his head,” says Robert Irwin, author of Tips & Traps When Buying a Home. “You want someone like that who’s on top of the market.”  

Aside from inventory expertise, ask the agent about the aspects of the community that are most important to you, including school ratings, restaurants, the community, shopping and other local amenities.  In addition to knowing what most attracts homebuyers to the area, a good agent also will understand the challenges homeowners in the area face.

 

7. Do They Have a Strong Online Presence

Social media is the new word-of-mouth, so an agent’s online presence can be a good gauge of how up-to-date they are on the market and their industry connections. Do they have an active Facebook, Twitter or Linkedln page? Are they updating their social media pages regularly with knowledgeable content? If they are, this is a good sign that they have their finger on the pulse. Smart agents often utilize online tools to streamline their social media systems and processes.

 

Choose Wisely

There is a lot to consider when you start looking for an agent. Don’t just pick the first one you find. Do your research online, interview at least 3 different agents and choose someone who you connect with and has your best interests at heart.

Want to get your home search started today? Search for properties in Canada or the United States at Realty Executives.

This guest post was written by Sara Luckman of CityBlast. The team at CityBlast helps over 10,000 agents and brokers with their social media marketing, keeping their Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn up-to-date and professional.


INTRACOASTAL, DOCKABLE LOT!

(Published on - 6/18/2019 12:34:04 PM)

 Looking for a place to call HOME? 

Look no further! 

Build Your Dream Home on this +2,500 square foot lot in 

Palm Coast Plantation.

Enjoy serene lakes, the Intracoastal Waterway and natural preserves all while

being just minutes from the beach.  Take in all that Florida & Flagler County has to offer. 

 

43 Riverwalk Dr. S., Palm Coast, FL 32137

INTERCOASTAL, DOCKABLE LOT!

Pick your own Builder to design your DREAM HOME. 

This property is located on a wide stretch of Intercoastal Waterway, watching

the sunrises in the morning over the boats cruising by.

Amenities in this Gated Community include a Clubhouse, Pool, Basketball, Playground,

Tennis Courts, Fitness Center, Jr. Olympic sized pool, Spa, Boat,

Trailer & RV Storage, Walking Trails, Freshwater Fishing Lake, Boat Launch.

An Intercoastal Community Dock for picnics. Minutes to beaches, shopping and dinning.

This is a lifestyle not just a location!

 

Click Here For More Information

 

Call/Text Shannon Vinnick Today!

386.503.1971

ShannonVinnick@RealtyExecutives.com

www.ShannonVinnick.com


Multi Generational Living

(Published on - 6/18/2019 12:31:52 PM)

Team Spirit, Cohesion, Teamwork, Together, Generations

According to the 2019 Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends report by the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), multi-generational housing continues to be a growing trend among homebuyers. This trend is driven largely by Gen Xers, who are the second-largest band of homebuyers today at 24%. Of that cohort, one in six purchased a multi-gen home, half of whom cited accommodating adult children as their reason for doing so. 

When it comes to millennial buyers, nine percent purchased a multi-generational property they could share with aging parents, per the report. 

Whether you're looking to accommodate aging parents or making room for your boomerang child, these tips will help you find the right place to make it work. 

Look for a home that was built with multi-generational living in mind.
Schumacher HomesLennar, and Plantation Homes are just a few of the builders offering a multi-gen solution in a brand-new residence. 

Tailor your home search.
If custom built multi-generational home isn't doable, look for a home that's easily convertible. A downstairs bedroom and bath is key for older residents, and an en suite bathroom is even better. A home with a basement or attic may seem like an ideal place to turn into a grandparent's haven, but stairs can be dangerous and obviously wouldn't work for a parent using a walker or wheelchair. 

A property with a guesthouse or enough land on which to place a granny suite or tiny home is another option. Just make sure the land is zoned properly to accommodate this type of structure. 

Make smart renovations.
Taking down walls to create an open floorplan is a smart move that can have a positive impact on your home's value and also make it more accessible for aging parents. 

The National Association of Home Builders' (NAHB) Aging-In-Place Remodeling Checklist recommends a "5-foot by 5-foot clear/turn space in living area, kitchen, a bedroom, and a bathroom." They also suggest wide hallways that measure a minimum of 36-inches across, good lighting, and non-slip flooring.

Sourced; B. Smith 


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