Indeed, lightning doesn’t strike twice, but it hardly ever strikes at all. So, do you really need that steep homeowner’s insurance? Homeowner’s insurance is important to have, because anything can happen and you may need to rely on your insurance policy in the event that there is a flood or if you have a mold outbreak. However, you don’t need to be paying an arm and a leg for the insurance. In fact, there is a simple and effective way to lower your insurance, so that you aren’t squeezing everything you’ve got out of your savings. At the end of the day, homeowner’s insurance is important, but it shouldn’t be causing you to go broke. Here is how to lower your homeowner’s insurance cost in five easy steps.

1. Raise your deductible. Most policies have a deductible of between $250 and $500. However, in most cases – especially if you live in an area where there are less natural disasters – you don’t need this low of a deductible. In fact, you could likely raise your deductible to about $2,000. What will happen is that your entire policy will drop in price.

2. Group your policies. Most homeowner’s insurance companies also carry and sell car insurance and other forms of insurance. If you want to save money, it may be wise to group your car and home policies together. The reason why this can save you money is because the insurance company will usually offer a discount if you give them more business. If your insurance company covers your home insurance policy and your car insurance policy, you could be seeing a steep discount on your policy premium.

3. Speak to a broker. If you want to lower your homeowner’s insurance even further, you should speak to a broker. However, before you speak to a broker, you want to ask yourself a few questions. For instance, does my insurance broker know the ins and the outs of the insurance industry? Does my insurance broker have great reviews online or with other customers? All of these questions are important to ask, because you want a broker that has a reputation for getting the best rates on homeowner’s insurance.

4. Look for discounts. When it comes down to it, you want to make sure that you keep your ear to the ground for any steep discounts. Discounts run the gamut – from loyalty discounts to discounts for taking measures to make your home safer. For instance, if you get smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors or even ceiling sprinklers – all of these things can make your home safer, effectively lowering your liability in the eyes of your insurance providers, thus they can lower your rates.

5. Shop around. Your last step takes the most legwork, but it can often be the best way to get a great rate on your homeowner’s insurance. Basically, it involves shopping around. When it comes down to it, the more insurance companies you visit and ask about insurance rates, the lower your premium will be. At the end of the day, sometimes creating a competition for your business is the best way to get the lowest rate for your homeowner’s insurance policy.

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When it comes to house mortgages, if you’ve been seriously considering refinancing yours, you are certainly not alone. The reality is that as the economy shifts and interest rates change, many people find themselves looking for all kinds of ways to save on their house loans. One of them is by refinancing.

What this basically means is that you are choosing to approach a lender in order to apply for another loan. However, before you can be approved, you have to go through a similar process as you did with your first house loan. You have to show proof of employment, your family income and also share any outstanding debt that you might have.
The reason why refinancing your home can work in your favor is that if you are able to get a good deal with your lender, it could save you money on your monthly payments. This leaves you with money to pay other bills or save up for your children’s college education or your retirement.

Of course, in order for the refinancing process to go smoothly, it’s a good idea to that you know about some of the common home refinancing mistakes that many homeowner make as well as how to avoid them. We have provided you with a list of five of them below:

Mistake #1: Failing to do enough research. By far, one of the biggest mistakes that homebuyers make is failing to do a thorough amount of research when it comes to refinancing. Our recommendation? Start with speaking to your bank about the kind of refinancing that they feel would work best for your budget. The more knowledge you have, the better equipped you will be to make a wise refinancing decision.

Mistake #2: Overestimating how much your home is actually worth. Being that you are refinancing, there’s a pretty good chance that you have lived in your house for a few years. This means that unless you have done some major renovations, there’s a significant chance that it has depreciated; at least a little bit. So consider having an appraiser come and inspect your house. That way, you can get a more realistic estimate of what your home is actually worth before applying for a second loan.

Mistake #3: Not looking at the big picture. Another mistake that homeowners make when refinancing is only focusing on what the interest rate is when it comes the loan. But the reality is that there are also lender fees and specific terms that they have with their loans. So, make sure that before you sign on the bottom line, you review all of the details. That way, you won’t be caught surprise.

Mistake #4: Being unclear about the documentation that is needed. Although the lender already knows all of the documentation that you are required to have, if you don’t as well, it could delay the closing process on the loan. One website that has a pretty comprehensive list of what you’ll need is RealEstate.MSN.com. Just go to the site and put “refinancing documentation checklist” in the search field.

Mistake #5: Forgetting that there are shorter-term loan options. If you were to consult with a couple of financial companies or mortgage bankers about a common mistake that people make when attempt to refinance their home loan, one of the things that they might mention is that many individuals fail to remember that they can also apply for shorter-term loans. For instance, if you applied for a 15-year fixed-rate loan rather than a 30-year one, you could pay your house off a lot quicker and significantly reduce your interest in the process. That would result in a refinance decision that you definitely won’t regret.

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5 Easy Ways to Save Money on Home Repair Bills

Home repairs. For every homeowner, they are a fact of life. After all, there’s going to come a time when your roof will need some new shingles or flashing, your HVAC unit will need to be fixed or your plumbing or electricity will need to be professionally serviced. And depending on what kind of repair your home needs, sometimes the bill can be pretty expensive. And that could potentially put you in a real financial bind.

That’s why we wanted to provide you with some easy ways to save money on home repair bills. By following these five tips, your home can get the right maintenance and you can stay within your budget too:

Have a budget and use cash. Before you purchase anything, first create a budget. That will help you to stay focused when looking for things because you will have a better chance of not spending more than what you initially decided that you could afford. Something that can help you to stick to your budget is to buy things with cash. Credit cards come with interest ratings, which means that you’ll end up paying more than what is on the price tag of your purchases.

Wait for sales. Oftentimes, when we think of things going on sale, it’s in reference to clothes or appliances; however, it’s not uncommon for home improvement stores to have sales too. That’s why it’s important to sign up for their mailing lists. That way, you’ll get flyers in the mail and sales announcements online too.

Use coupons and promo codes. There used to be a time when we pretty much had to rely on the Sunday paper in order to get coupons. But thanks to the internet, you can go to websites like Coupons and Retail Me Not and find a wide variety of coupons and promo codes. So, whatever it is that you need to repair in your home, look on coupon and discount websites to see if home improvement stores have special discounts available. You might be surprised by what you find.

Do some things yourself. Thanks to websites like HGTV, This Old House, DIY Network, Family Handyman and even YouTube, there are plenty of home repairs that you can do without the need of a professional. So before calling someone over to repair your broken tile or fix your toilet, first go on one of those websites and see if you can fix it yourself. It will save you money on labor fees, for sure.

Schedule service appointments annually. And finally, there are some things that you can avoid getting repaired or replaced just by having them professionally serviced once a year. For instance, while you may already know that programmable thermostats lower utility bills , were you aware that having a licensed technician come and inspect your HVAC unit once a year can help it to work more efficiently? So when it comes to your HVAC unit, furnace and fireplace, make sure to schedule annual service appointments. It will help to reduce your energy costs and could prevent you from ever needing to pay for a costly repair too.

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