How to Get the Best Rates on Homeowner’s Insurance in West Virginia

It’s hardly surprising that homeowner’s who finance their property have homeowner’s insurance. Lenders require insurance as one of the requirements of any loan. The surprising thing is that well over 90% of all West Virginia homeowner’s who do not have to buy it still choose to do so.

The reason is obvious. A house is both an investment as well as an asset, and it makes good economic sense to protect both investments as well as assets. Of course that doesn’t mean anyone wants to pay any more for their policy than they absolutely have to.

One way to keep the cost down is to pay premiums yearly rather than monthly. If that isn’t possible then paying premiums automatically each month can also save you money.

Keeping a clean credit record saves you money, too. Treat credit cards and other forms of credit wisely since the higher your credit score the lower your payment.

Making your home safer and less susceptible to injury-related lawsuits will also lower your monthly payments. Fill in potholes around your property and remove and replace any broken or buckled concrete. Replace lose floorboards on porches and decks and make sure all railings are tight.

Making your home less appealing to burglars can also save you money every month. Trim bushes away from windows and install motion-sensitive lighting to keep burglars in plain sight. Install deadbolt locks on all exterior doors and add locks to all windows to keep burglars out of your home.

If your home is over 10 years old it may pay you to upgrade your plumbing and/or electrical systems. Talk to your agent and see how much a one-time investment on your part will pay-off in monthly savings.

Make sure you have the right number of smoke, fire and carbon monoxide detectors for the size and layout of your house. Make sure each detector gets a fresh battery every six months.

Buy a fire extinguisher for your kitchen. Make certain that you purchase a fire extinguisher that’s specifically rated for kitchen fires.

Increase your deductible. Increasing your deductible will decrease your monthly premium faster than just about anything else. However, don’t get carried away and promise to pay a higher deductible than you can really afford.

Buying a home protection service that monitors your home for fire, carbon monoxide and burglaries 24/7 is not only great for your peace of mind, such a system can also save you a lot of money – 20% or more on your homeowner’s insurance every month.

But be sure to ask your agent before you sign your name to any contract because not every home protection system will earn you the full discount.

See if you can find group policies. Some clubs and organizations offer their members low-cost group insurance.

Is anyone living in your home who is 55 or older and retired? If so you may be due a reduction in your monthly premium.

The final thing you’ll want to do is to buy your homeowner’s policy online. You’ll almost always save money if you purchase your insurance online. However, don’t just rely on 1 homeowner’s insurance price comparison website. If you really want to find the best rates on homeowner’s insurance in West Virginia you’ll make your price comparisons on a minimum of 3 different websites.

You’ll also be careful to enter the exact same information into the forms on all 3 websites so that you are comparing the same policy each time.

But once you’ve done that then you’re done! All that’s left is to review your results and grab the cheapest-priced policy. This is the way that you get the best rates on homeowner’s insurance in West Virginia.

Mountain Cabin Rentals in Virginia

Virginia Rental Cabins are perfect for experiencing ALL that the Blue Ridge Mountains have to offer! So many options await you all along the Blue Ridge Parkway, from Front Royal through Luray, down to Waynesboro, and even down to Wytheville and beyond!

When choosing a cabin to stay at, here are a couple of things you should keep in mind.

The word “Cabin” means different things to different people. For instance, many campgrounds offer cabins, but most of those are considered camping cabins, with no indoor plumbing, and no facilities for cooking other than a fire outside. Basically just a bed or two. It is like camping, only you’re not sleeping in a tent.
A step up are often called deluxe cabins, which are still in a campground setting, but also have a bathroom and kitchenette inside. At least you don’t have to take those nighttime treks to the shared bathhouse, and you can do some food preparation without first building a fire. These cabins are still very small, simply a front room with a bed, table, and kitchenette, and a back room with another bed, and the bathroom off to the side. Think “camping in comfort.”
Another step up are the cabins offered at State Parks. These cabins are nice, but typically are located fairly close together, and are not a particular homey type of atmosphere. However, they are larger, a little more secluded, and not as crowded as the cabins you’ll find in campgrounds.
And the final category of cabins are the cabins that are privately owned by families all over the Virginia Mountains. These will range from being fairly rustic to very deluxe. Amenities will vary, but may include such things as a Full Kitchen, Fireplace, Hot Tub, Children’s Play Area, Dartboards and Other Indoor Games, Satellite TV, Swimming Pools, and more. Some will be devoted to couples, and other will be more oriented towards families. Many would be very adequately described as fully furnished mountain homes.

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Property Management For Northern Virginia Real Estate

Below are ten critical tips garnered from a property management company with over 15 years of experience in the Northern Virginia apartment leasing market. Of course, entire books have been written on the subject of property management, so think of the below as the start of your education as a property manager.

1) Research comparable rent prices. It is very important to do your due diligence when it comes to what price you’re going to advertise your property for. Price it too low and you’re going to lose out on extra rental income, too high and you might never schedule a showing of the property. Rent price is dependent on a number of factors including, the economy, whether people are buying versus renting, if local companies are hiring and moving people to the area, what current comparable listings you are competing with, and what prices have been obtained recently. For a list of comparable rent prices and average days on market it’s best to consult a local Realtor. In Northern Virginia be sure to research comps from NVAR’s metropolitan regional information system.

2) Clean and prep your rental property. First impressions can mean everything. If your rental property does not show well this can be devastating. You can be in the best area, across from a metro station, and with tons of companies hiring just around the corner, but if the walls are marked with crayon and you can’t pinpoint that certain smell (the not good one) then you’re likely not going to find a tenant. A reliable cleaning company in Northern Virginia is Maid Perfect.

3) List the property on the local MLS. The Multiple Listing Service (MLS) in many areas is going to be a solid source of leads for potential tenants. Real estate agents can list your property on the MLS and then the property is exposed to thousands of other agents who can show the property and find tenants for your unit. In Northern Virginia make sure your property is listed on MRIS.

4) Post your property on free listing websites. 70% or more potential tenants start their search for a rental on the internet. That being said, you want your listing to be posted on as many sites as possible. There are too many to list in this article, but a few Google searches will lead you to a ton of websites willing to host your listing and contact information free of charge. Use these sites to actively market your rental property. In Northern Virginia one of the key sites to be listed on is the Washington DC section of Craigslist.

5) Market your rental unit to local companies. One of the main reasons that people move is for a new job. Companies that are actively hiring are typically the largest source of new tenants in a given metropolitan area. Make best efforts to get in touch with the relocation departments of local companies so that they can actively source new hires to you. These new hires NEED to find a place to live and will be the best source for tenants that are ready to make a decision. In Northern VA, you can find a list of the largest businesses in your area by visiting Fairfax County’s government website.

6) Shoot a short video of the rental property. Pictures are nice, but video is better, especially when dealing with potential tenants that are relocating and can not see the property in person. You can use the video to qualify potential tenants for showings. Simply host the video on your favorite free video sharing site (YouTube, alo video, etc… ) and then point the potential tenant to the video to make sure they are interested in your unit. If they have further interest after the video showing, it might be worth setting up a showing in person. The average tenant looks at over 6 properties before they make a decision, so shooting this video can save you quite a bit of time when dealing with potential tenants that just want to take a look, but are not ready to make a decision. In Northern Virginia you will want to post your video to Fairfax TV.

7) Run a thorough credit check on the tenant. If we lived in a perfect world, everyone would pay their rent on time and there would be no evictions. The problem is we don’t live in a utopia. Have you tenant fill out a rental application which gives you permission to run a credit check on them. Make sure that you follow the latest FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act) rules and regulations and get a FICO score for the potential tenant. This score will give you a good idea of whether the tenant is going to pay the rent on time, late, or not at all. A bad score usually means a tenant that will give you problems. It’s better to leave the place vacant than take the risk. In Northern Virginia the you should provide the tenant with the FCRA rules and regulations after running their credit. Legalities are often state specific. Please consult your state’s landlord tenant act before running credit or other background checks on potential tenants.

8) Obtain a rock solid lease agreement. The lease dictates the relationship between the landlord and tenant. You want to obtain a fair lease agreement that protects you as the landlord. If things go well with the tenant, then you will probably never look at the lease again, however, at the first sign of trouble, this piece of paper is all you have to get you out of a bad situation. It may be worth having a leasing specialist or Realtor draft the lease for you, a lawyer might be too expensive, unless you have multiple properties and can reuse the same agreement. In Northern Virginia you’ll want to contact NVAR to obtain a rock solid lease.

9) Find a good contractor. When the plumbing goes out, or the HVAC does not work, who are you going to call? If you’re an expert in these areas then you have nothing to worry about… most of us aren’t. It’s a good idea to get to know an honest, reliable and timely plumber, electrician and general contractor. Timeliness is of supreme importance. Make sure to develop a good enough relationship with your contractor such that they take care of your tenants in a timely and professional manner. If the contractor isn’t contentious, it will hurt the relationship with your tenant. In Northern VA you can obtain a good list of contractors by going to the Washington DC section of ServiceMagic.

10) Consider using a Realtor, property manager or leasing specialist. Hiring the right help can make your life a lot easier. These folks will do all of the above and more for you. However, be sure to do your research. Not all property managers are created equal. Use someone local who has expertise in your community.

Northern Virginia Real Estate

Unlike other states, Virginia’s main disclosure statute requires sellers to disclose very little about their houses. Virginia law requires sellers to disclose the following information:

Whether the property is in an area where military air installation is located
If the house has a defective drywall
If the property has previously been used as a meth lab and hasn’t been cleaned according to the state guidelines
Whether the property has a septic system that needs to be repaired, but the owner has obtained a waiver from the Virginia board of health. The seller should let the buyer know whether the waiver will apply to the buyer
Sellers may choose to disclose whether the property is in a designated tourism activity zone.
In Virginia, newly constructed homes are usually exempted from statute disclosure rules.
In addition to the state disclosures, sellers must also meet the federal disclosure requirements. Sellers with houses constructed before 1978 are required with federal Title X disclosures. These are disclosures regarding lead-based paint and hazards.
As the seller you should give EPA-approved information pamphlet to buyers. These pamphlets should give information relating to lead in your home. It’s also required that you give buyers the option of conducting lead-based paint assessment.

A seller disclosure is of great importance to you as a buyer as it gives you more details about the home that you are looking to buy.

If you are looking to buy a house in Virginia, you need to do the donkey work by yourself. You should inspect the house or hire a professional to help you out. When doing your own inspection you need to focus on the following areas:

Grounds: inspect septic tank, drainage systems, driveway, sidewalk and fence.

Electrical system: it’s impossible to do this by yourself thus you have to hire a professional to do it for you. The professional should ensure that the electrical system is up to code and the system is working perfectly.

Structural elements: you should go through the house and ensure that the construction is well done and there is no evidence of bowing or sagging.

Exterior surfaces: ensure that there is correct clearance between siding material and ground.

Roof: you should inspect the condition of the shingles, chimney, vents and gutters. As rule of thumb ensure that everything is perfect.

Interior plumbing: hire a professional plumber to help you identify any damaged or leaking pipes. Ensure that the toilets, sinks, showers and bathtubs are fully functioning.

Prohibitions put in place

While the seller’s disclosure obligations are minimal, Virginia law has standards that the seller must follow. The law requires that the seller shouldn’t do or say anything that distracts the buyer from finding a problem. The seller also shouldn’t cover up a known defect.

Conclusion

Virginia law requires that sellers disclose very little about a house. If you are interested in knowing more about the house, you should undertake private assessment. To buy the right house, work with a certified and experienced professional.

Northern Virginia Real Estate

Unlike other states, Virginia’s main disclosure statute requires sellers to disclose very little about their houses. Virginia law requires sellers to disclose the following information:

Whether the property is in an area where military air installation is located
If the house has a defective drywall
If the property has previously been used as a meth lab and hasn’t been cleaned according to the state guidelines
Whether the property has a septic system that needs to be repaired, but the owner has obtained a waiver from the Virginia board of health. The seller should let the buyer know whether the waiver will apply to the buyer
Sellers may choose to disclose whether the property is in a designated tourism activity zone.
In Virginia, newly constructed homes are usually exempted from statute disclosure rules.
In addition to the state disclosures, sellers must also meet the federal disclosure requirements. Sellers with houses constructed before 1978 are required with federal Title X disclosures. These are disclosures regarding lead-based paint and hazards.
As the seller you should give EPA-approved information pamphlet to buyers. These pamphlets should give information relating to lead in your home. It’s also required that you give buyers the option of conducting lead-based paint assessment.

A seller disclosure is of great importance to you as a buyer as it gives you more details about the home that you are looking to buy.

If you are looking to buy a house in Virginia, you need to do the donkey work by yourself. You should inspect the house or hire a professional to help you out. When doing your own inspection you need to focus on the following areas:

Grounds: inspect septic tank, drainage systems, driveway, sidewalk and fence.

Electrical system: it’s impossible to do this by yourself thus you have to hire a professional to do it for you. The professional should ensure that the electrical system is up to code and the system is working perfectly.

Structural elements: you should go through the house and ensure that the construction is well done and there is no evidence of bowing or sagging.

Exterior surfaces: ensure that there is correct clearance between siding material and ground.

Roof: you should inspect the condition of the shingles, chimney, vents and gutters. As rule of thumb ensure that everything is perfect.

Interior plumbing: hire a professional plumber to help you identify any damaged or leaking pipes. Ensure that the toilets, sinks, showers and bathtubs are fully functioning.

Prohibitions put in place

While the seller’s disclosure obligations are minimal, Virginia law has standards that the seller must follow. The law requires that the seller shouldn’t do or say anything that distracts the buyer from finding a problem. The seller also shouldn’t cover up a known defect.

The Home Plumbing Kit – Best Items For Emergencies

It goes without saying that every home bathroom should have some plumbing supplies in the event of a sudden toilet overflow or clog, or problem with the shower. You never know when something might happen that causes your pipes to groan or leak, and while you don’t have to take a course in home improvement, knowing enough and using the right tool to head off a major catastrophe until the plumber arrives can save you in repair costs.

If you don’t already have these items on hand, be sure to check at your local home improvement store today. The simple investment is worth it in the long run.

Plunger: Definitely, if you have toilets, you need a plunger. For small clogs when the water won’t circle the bowl like it should, a few tugs can usually solve a minor issue.

Air Purifier: This may seem like an unusual item for plumbing problems, but if something should happen that causes a nasty stench in the house, you’ll want to clear the air quickly.

Industrial Strength Cleaner: This is for surfaces in your bathroom. After an overflow, your floor and fixtures are covered with germs and bacteria. While soap and water help, you want to be certain the area is disinfected so nobody gets sick.

Plumbing Wrench: Ask your plumber or home improvement expert for a recommendation on a good wrench to have to hold off leaks in an emergency.

Plumber’s Tape: Another good temporary leak fixer is a special industrial tape that the pros use to create a seal on pipes.

With your home emergency kit, you can help your plumber with any bathroom problem without fuss.

Kathryn Lively is a freelance writer specializing in articles on Virginia Beach plumbing.