Why Is Homeowners Insurance Important?

Costs
Homeowners insurance costs differ according to home size and location.

Will You Get a Mortgage if You Have Credit Problems?
Paying for homeowners insurance makes some people cringe. Shelling out money month after month for an intangible product can feel like pouring water into the sand. Insured owners living in prime locations such as the Berkeley Hills pay so that they can rebuild in case disaster strikes. Homeowners insurance could be the best thing you’ll buy–and hope you’ll never have to use.

Lenders and Insurance
Lenders require that homeowners obtain adequate insurance before funding a loan. Because banks and other lending institutions typically put up 80 per cent of a home’s value in cash, they insist that those receiving the money insure the investment. Insurance experts inspect properties for general upkeep before issuing policies and also help determine the level of coverage needed.

Types of Insurance
Basic homeowners policies cover damage to the house caused by fire, vandalism, hurricane, lightning, or other specifically covered events. Homeowners policies also cover loss or damage of personal property due to theft or other covered events. Expensive collections of jewellery or furs might need additional rider policy coverage. Losing possessions can be a shock if you never considered that possibility when opting against homeowners insurance. Policies also cover liability up to certain limits, protecting the insured in case someone injures himself on the property. They also pay for costs if someone sues the homeowner. Some people increase the amount of liability insurance they have with umbrella or extension coverage.

Exclusions
Basic homeowners insurance does not cover damage caused by earthquake and flood. Policies generally deny coverage of damage resulting from chronic and extreme neglect and faulty maintenance. There are limitations on mold-related situations and caveats for specific dog breeds kept on the property.

Alternative Insurance Options
California’s FAIR Plan coverage offers high-risk pool insurance for homeowners living in high-fire areas such as the Southern California foothills. Policies under FAIR, which stands for Fair Access to Insurance Requirements, are expensive and limited in scope. Wrap-around policies allow those with FAIR Plan coverage to supplement the policy with additional privately provided coverage. The state government in California also regulates earthquake policy availability for those who already have homeowners coverage. High deductibles and policy premiums dissuade some owners from purchasing earthquake coverage, betting that their home will never be involved in a significant quake.

Considerations
Some people drop coverage if they are not required to have it. In the event of damage, an uninsured homeowner might lose the building and a place to live. A home is the largest asset most people have, so losing yours could be ruinous. Even if fire or wind damage never occurs, a slip by an uninsured worker on a slippery tile staircase could cost a homeowner thousands for medical care and lost wages.

Let me help make your home buying or sale a success. If you’re ready to begin the buying or selling process, give me a call today!

Stella Bonin
Associate Broker
480.797.4884 / 619.250.6214
stella.bonin@yahoo.com

I am never too busy for your referrals.

Our Team serves all Southern California and Maricopa & Pinal Counties (AZ).

California Bureau of Real Estate Lic. # 01222569
Arizona Department of Real Estate Lic. # BR550696000

“Equal Housing Opportunity”

Walkability, Proximity and Home Values

If you’re able to walk instead of drive to the supermarket for a gallon of milk, you and your neighborhoods home values may benefit from the exercise. Homes in neighbourhoods with good walkability are preferred and more valuable by home buyers than similar homes in neighbourhoods where residents must drive to get to amenities.

Proximity to amenities as restaurants, coffee shops, schools, parks, stores, open spaces and libraries will raise the home value. The bigger, more urban the city (think San Diego or Phoenix), the bigger the boost in home prices walkability adds. Neighborhoods in cities with less dense populations like Julian, CA, or Maricopa, AZ, have the smallest boost in home prices from being walkable but still preferred by some home buyers on the decision time choosing a home.

The availability of public transportation also played a role. The higher home values tended to show up in walkable neighborhoods near good public transportation where people could live without an automobile or prefer to limit the use of an automobile.

The closer, the better when we are referring to the neighborhood’s “Walk Score,” which measures how close the homes were to amenities and homes within a quarter mile to one mile of the amenities earned the highest walk scores and had the highest values compared with similar homes with lower walk scores.

The walking also has important social benefits and having people walking around signals that an area is safe, friendly, convenient, lively, and interesting attracting buyers to that neighborhood.

Thinking of buying or selling? I’m happy to help!

I am never too busy for your referrals.

Stella Bonin
Associate Broker
480.797.4884 / 619.250.6214
stella.bonin@yahoo.com

Our Team serves all Southern California and Maricopa & Pinal Counties (AZ).

California Bureau of Real Estate Lic. # 01222569
Arizona Department of Real Estate Lic. # BR550696000

“Equal Housing Opportunity”

Good manners & Trick-Or-Treat!

Very important for your children to know and do before and during they trick-or-treat?

To plan for this festive day, we’re establishing some general ground rules for those on the “receiving” end.

Children stay on the walkway to the front door. You don’t want to mow down your neighbors’ prize mums.

Ring the doorbell twice, if it is not response do not insist,  go to the next home.

Be careful with the homes that are dark, should not be approached. Perhaps they are either not at home but if they do not wish to participate in Halloween you need to respect their decision can be for religious believing.

Always carry a flashlight so cars can see you and you can see where you’re walking.

And parents can add reflective tape to costumes and candy containers.

Be courteous when someone answers the door, say “Trick-or-Treat” nicely.

Be sure to say, “Thank you” after receiving your treat. Only get one candy to be respectful with the homeowner and other children. They will be more children after you looking for candies too.

Never go into someone’s home. If anyone invites to go inside be polite but decline the invitation.

Only eat candy that is wrapped. Candy unwrapped can contains something that can damage your health.

Time to start Halloween is when it becomes dark outside and not past 9:00 p.m.

Don’t rifle through the candy to find your favorite treat.  Once again take one treat unless told otherwise.

California & Arizona

Times for Trick-or-Treating

Usually, there is no set schedule for trick-or-treating in California and Arizona. Check with your city in case that it is a time scheduled this year.  Most trick-or-treaters will arrive at homes between 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., but there is no hard rule about it. Notwithstanding the fact that it is Halloween, city curfews are still enforced.

If Halloween falls on a school night, it is usually a good idea to wrap things up by 8:30 p.m. or 9 p.m. at the absolute latest.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Thinking of buying or selling? I’m happy to help!

I am never too busy for your referrals.

Stella Bonin
Associate Broker
480.797.4884 / 619.250.6214

stella.bonin@yahoo.com

Our Team serves all Southern California and Maricopa & Pinal Counties (AZ).

California Bureau of Real Estate Lic. # 01222569
Arizona Department of Real Estate Lic. # BR550696000

“Equal Housing Opportunity”

6 Tips For Your First Home Sale

Are you ready to sell your first home? Let me help! Here are some tips for easing you into the process and making your home sale a success.

  1. Property Disclosures. As a seller, you will need to disclose all known material facts. Take special note of health and safety conditions, such as missing smoke detectors or broken windows. Additionally, paying for an inspection and completing simple repairs upfront can save you money on buyer requests for repairs or a reduction in the sales price during negotiations.

  2. Pricing your home right. Price your home appropriately for its condition and your neighborhood — I can help you find the right price through a comparative market analysis.

  3. Home showings. You’ll need to make time for buyers to view your home. Ideal home showings are flexible for a buyer’s schedule and allow them to walk through your home with their real estate agent when you are not present.

  4. Staging and decluttering. Be prepared to remove personal items and tidy up before a home viewing. Buyers want to be able to envision themselves in your home — depersonalizing and cleaning will help your home appeal to buyers.

  5. Reviewing offers. Consider all the offers you receive. Sellers have a tendency to ignore the first offer they receive from a buyer, expecting a better offer to come along. Don’t let a great offer slip by just because it’s the first offer you receive.

  6. Timing your sale. Expect your home sale to take at least three to four months to complete. This allows for proper marketing, home viewing, negotiations, and closing. Also, consider creating a timeline for when you aim to move out and complete the purchase of your next home.

Let me help make your first home sale a success. If you’re ready to begin the selling process, give me a call today!

Stella Bonin
Associate Broker
480.797.4884 / 619.250.6214

stella.bonin@yahoo.com

I am never too busy for your referrals.

Our Team serves all Southern California and Maricopa & Pinal Counties (AZ).

California Bureau of Real Estate Lic. # 01222569
Arizona Department of Real Estate Lic. # BR550696000

“Equal Housing Opportunity”

What is a Homestead?

A homestead is the dollar amount of equity you have in your home that you qualify to exempt from creditor seizure.

The dollar amount of the homestead you hold in equity in your home has priority on the title over most judgment liens and some government liens, but not your mortgages.

Two types of homestead protections are available to California homeowners:

• the declaration of homestead, which is recorded;  and

• the automatic homestead also called a statutory homestead exemption, which is not recorded.

Both homestead arrangements provide the same dollar amount of home equity protection in California.

However, you need to record a declaration of the homestead to receive all the benefits available under the homestead laws. These benefits allow you the right to sell, receive the net sales proceeds up to the dollar amount of the homestead and reinvest the funds in another home.

As a homeowner, you qualify for one of three dollar amounts of net equity homestead protection:

• a $75,000 equity as an individual homeowner with no dependents;

• a $100,000 equity as a head of household; or

• a $1750,000 equity if you are:
◦ 65 years or older;
◦ disabled; or
◦ age 55 years or older with an annual income of no more than $25,000 or a combined gross annual income of no more than $35,000 if married.

The homestead declaration needs to be signed, notarized, and recorded to take effect.

Your recorded homestead does not affect your creditworthiness.

Anyone of several individuals may sign and record the homestead declaration, including:

• you as the owner of the homestead;

• your spouse; or

• the guardian, conservator, or a person otherwise authorized to act on your or your spouse’s behalf, such as an attorney-in-fact.

Arizona’s homestead exemption laws protect up to $150,000 of a person’s equity in their dwelling from attachment, execution or forced sale. A person or married couple may only claim one homestead exemption and must reside in the dwelling for which the exemption is claimed.

33-1101. Homestead exemptions; persons entitled to hold homesteads

A. Any person the age of eighteen or over, married or single, who resides within the state may hold as a homestead exempt from attachment, execution and forced sale, not exceeding one hundred fifty thousand dollars in value, any one of the following:

1. The person’s interest in real property in one compact body upon which exists a dwelling house in which the person resides.

2. The person’s interest in one condominium or cooperative in which the person resides.

3. A mobile home in which the person resides.

4. A mobile home in which the person resides plus the land upon which that mobile home is located.

B. Only one homestead exemption may be held by a married couple or a single person under this section. The value as specified in this section refers to the equity of a single person or married couple. If a married couple lived together in a dwelling house, a condominium or cooperative, a mobile home or a mobile home plus land on which the mobile home is located and are then divorced, the total exemption allowed for that residence to either or both persons shall not exceed one hundred fifty thousand dollars in value.

C. The homestead exemption, not exceeding the value provided for in subsection A, automatically attaches to the person’s interest in identifiable cash proceeds from the voluntary or involuntary sale of the property. The homestead exemption in identifiable cash proceeds continues for eighteen months after the date of the sale of the property or until the person establishes a new homestead with the proceeds, whichever period is shorter. Only one homestead exemption at a time may be held by a person under this section.

Thinking of buying or selling? I’m happy to help!

I am never too busy for your referrals.

Stella Bonin
Associate Broker
480.797.4884 / 619.250.6214

stella.bonin@yahoo.com

Our Team serves all Southern California and Maricopa & Pinal Counties (AZ).

California Bureau of Real Estate Lic. # 01222569
Arizona Department of Real Estate Lic. # BR550696000

“Equal Housing Opportunity”

 

What is a “due-on clause”?

The due-on clause is a trust deed provision which allows your lender to call the debt due and immediately payable on any transfer of legal or equitable ownership unless prohibited by law. The primary event triggering the lender’s due-on clause and a call for immediate the payoff of the debt is the sale of the property liened by the trust deed.

The due-on clause is not only triggered by a sale using a grant deed or quitclaim deed, but by other transfers of legal or equitable ownership of real estate to a buyer, recorded or not, including:

• land sales contracts;

• lease-option agreements; and

• wraparound carryback devices also are known as all-inclusive

trust deeds (AITDs).

The due-on clause, on any type of property, is also
triggered when leasing the property to a tenant for:

• a term over three years; or

• any term length when coupled with an option to buy.

An assignment or modification of an existing lease does not trigger the due-on clause, unless:

• the term of the lease is extended beyond three years; or

• a purchase option is granted to the tenant.

On owner-occupied, one-to-four unit residential property, transfers that do not trigger due-on enforcement include:

• the creation of a junior lien where the owner continues to occupy;

• a transfer to a spouse or child who occupies;

• a transfer into an inter vivos trust when the owner continues to occupy;

• the death of a joint tenant; or

• a transfer upon the owner’s death to a relative who occupies.

Thinking of buying or selling? I’m happy to help!

I am never too busy for your referrals.

Stella Bonin
Associate Broker
480.797.4884 / 619.250.6214

stella.bonin@yahoo.com

Our Team serves all Southern California and Maricopa & Pinal Counties (AZ).

California Bureau of Real Estate Lic. # 01222569
Arizona Department of Real Estate Lic. # BR550696000

“Equal Housing Opportunity”

Be a good neighbor!

Whether you’re new to the neighborhood or have lived here for decades, it’s always a good idea to stay on your neighbors’ good sides. These relationships will help when there’s a disaster, you lock yourself out of your home, or when you go on long trips and need someone to keep an eye on your house.

Here is a list of actions to take that will help build positive relationships with your neighbors:

  • Introduce yourself — Bring a small housewarming gift to new neighbors and visit neighbors on your block with treats during the holidays.
  • Exchange phone numbers — Even though everything happens online today, it’s always a good idea to have the phone number of a neighbor in case of emergency.
  • Keep your yard tidy — No one wants to be that person who doesn’t maintain their yard, causing neighboring property values to diminish. Make exterior maintenance and landscaping a priority, and hopefully your neighbors will follow your lead.
  • Discuss big exterior changes — Before you build a fence or cut down a tree near the border of a neighbor’s yard, let them know. They will appreciate the courtesy and will likely return the favor.

Thinking of selling? I’m happy to help!

I am never too busy for your referrals.

Stella Bonin
Associate Broker
480.797.4884 / 619.250.6214
stella.bonin@yahoo.com

California Bureau of Real Estate Lic. # 01222569
Arizona Department of Real Estate Lic. # BR550696000

“Equal Housing Opportunity”

Save money with meal planning

Saving money to cover your next home project or a down payment for a future home purchase can be daunting. Planning your meals is a simple way to get started saving.

Meal planning can save the average family of four $50-$200 a week on groceries and eating out. Here are some tips to get started:

  • Plan your meals for the coming week each Sunday and aim to visit the grocery store just once each week. This saves you money and time.

  • When planning, reuse ingredients so nothing goes to waste. For example, if one recipe calls for just half a bunch of carrots, plan another recipe later in the week that will use the other half.

  • Check your pantry and refrigerator before making your plan for the week, aiming to use all of your current ingredients before buying new ones.

  • Plan your meals so that you make enough for leftovers, useful for packing lunches so you can avoid eating out at the office.

Thinking about selling or buying? Contact me for more ideas to prepare for your next step.

I am never too busy for your referrals.

Stella Bonin
Associate Broker

West USA Realty
480.797.4884 / 619.250.6214
stella.bonin@yahoo.com

California Bureau of Real Estate Lic. # 01222569
Arizona Department of Real Estate Lic. # BR550696000

“Equal Housing Opportunity”

Top 6 Household Items Known To Cause Cancer

In the modern era, we are exposed to many different harmful chemicals on a daily basis. Workplaces and restaurants all have to adhere to certain safety measures to ensure that workers and customers alike are not exposed to dangerous amounts of these substances. However, many toxic chemicals can be found in your home as well. Take a look at the World Health Organization’s statistics on leading causes of death worldwide. It will tell you that the more advanced a country is, the greater your chances of dying of cancer. Advancements have brought down infectious diseases.

1. Air Fresheners

This is believably the number one product that most of the people have in their homes. The Natural Resources Defense Council reported that almost all of the common air-fresheners, even those tagged as being “all-natural” contain chemicals with serious carcinogenic potential. Any household item that contains some type of fragrance or “perfume” has a toxic chemical called phthalate. There are numerous types of phthalates that have different health consequences, but almost all of them have one thing in common — they affect reproductive health. Many of these air fresheners do not clean the air as we expect they will, but they do provoke respiratory problems such as asthma and cancer. As much as possible, choose fragrance free products and make your own homemade air fresheners to avoid phthalates.

2. Hair Color

Many women and a few men wouldn’t dream of consuming anything that isn’t natural and organic, but they have no problem putting cancer-causing chemicals on their heads once a month. Although ingredients vary, most home hair coloring kits contain quaternium-15 – a known neurotoxin, skin irritant, and formaldehyde releaser; diethanolamine (DEA) – a carcinogen that interacts with nitrites to form a carcinogenic nitrosamine; fragrances – a cause of contact dermatitis and a carcinogenic potential; phenylene-diamines and propylene glycol – carcinogens that can cause contact dermatitis. Perhaps it’s time we must decide to stop being partially “natural” and go all the way. Embrace the gray, and let’s age graciously.

3. Art and Crafts Supplies

You probably cannot ideate how something as seemingly nontoxic as a marker can be toxic to your health, but it’s true. Almost all glues, acrylic paints, and the solvents used in marking pens, contain toxic chemicals that have been linked to organ damage, allergies, and certain types of cancer. Although federal law, entitled the Hazardous Art Materials Act, says that art supplies sold must have warning labels if they contain any type of dangerous toxin, however, they don’t need to actually list the ingredients by name. Because of this, you should only purchase products that have been certified by the Art and Creative Material Institute (ACMI). Products that have this certification mean that they have been severally tested so that they are safe enough even for small children.

4. Kitchen and Bathroom Cleaners

We all are aware of those cleaners that are meant to scrub your sinks, tubs, and toilets? The ones that comes in pretty bottles but these are loaded with toxic ingredients such as crystalline silica, which is a known carcinogen as well as an eye, lung, and skin irritant. Silica is a known carcinogen. Some of these cleansers also contain “perfumes,” which, like air fresheners, contain carcinogenic phthalates. Instead of artificial cleaners one can use natural cleanser by mixing some vinegar and baking soda, or lemon juice and baking soda. These will neither endanger your health, nor will scratch the floor surfaces!

5. Hair Shampoos and Conditioners

This should be one of the hottest topics as we all use shampoos and conditioners. But, many people have been unaware of the toxins that are used in personal care items, even those that are labeled as being organic or natural. If you have ever read the labels you might be aware of the chemicals that it contains such as polyethylene glycol (PEG), cocamide DEA, and sodium lauryl sulfate, which make cancer causing agents when they are used together. To avoid the danger you can make your own natural personal care products at home – there are many recipes online that will tell you exactly how to make shampoos and conditioners.

6. Scented Candles

Most scented candles use lead wicks, while lead is one of the most dreadful things for your health. It is used to make the wicks last longer and burn more steadily, but lead is a deadly toxin that infuriate behavior problems and hormone disruption. Hold the wick and try to use it to draw a line on the paper. If you cannot see a smudge or line, your candle probably does not have a lead wick. Paraffin wax also creates highly toxic compounds. Toluene and benzene are both known carcinogens that are released into the air anytime paraffin wax candles are burned. Some candles also use artificial colors and artificial scent, which you inhale whenever you burn one of these candles.

 

Finding the right agent to work with is key to getting an offer accepted on the home you want or to have your home sold in a short period of time. I have years of experience assisting clients buying and selling homes. Contact me for more information!

Stella Bonin
Associate Broker
480.797.4884
stella.bonin@yahoo.com
West USA Realty
Arizona Department of Real Estate # BR5550696000
California Bureau of RealEstate # 01222569

“Equal Housing Opportunity”

What are discount points?

Points paid to a lender on origination of a mortgage are considered interest that is
prepaid as it has not yet accrued as earned by the lender. Points essentially buy down the mortgage’s interest rate from par for the life of the mortgage. When no points are paid or taken by the lender as a discount on origination of a mortgage, the interest rate stated in the note is the par market rate.

Depending on the purpose for obtaining mortgage funds, points are deductible for income tax reporting, either:

• fractionally throughout the life of the mortgage;
or
• entirely in the year the mortgage is originated.

The general tax reporting rule for expensing interest, unless excluded from the rule, is that only the fraction of the points paid which accrues each month over the life of the mortgage, called the life-of-loan accrual, may be deducted against that year’s income. In the year a mortgage is satisfied by prepayment, any prepaid interest not yet accrued — undeducted points — may then be deducted.

Excluded from the life-of-loan accrued reporting treatment is interest paid on a mortgage which finances:

• the purchase of an owner-occupied primary residence; or
• home improvements made to an owner- occupied primary residence.

The entire amount of points paid on a mortgage funding the purchase of the home you will occupy — not a second or vacation home — is allowed as a personal deduction in the year the mortgage is originated. This immediate deduction applies to all points paid in connection with the mortgage which finances the purchase or improvement of your primary home.

When your lender pays the points as a discount or an add-on to your mortgage, the points — as prepaid interest withheld by the lender — need to be deducted annually as they accrue over the life of the mortgage.

Your tax preparer knows how to report your points as a personal deduction.

Contact me today with questions about buying a home or listing your home!
I am never too busy for your referrals.

Stella Bonin

Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
480.797.4884 / 619.250.6214
stella.bonin@yahoo.com

I am licensed in California and Arizona and we have offices around the country.

California Bureau of Real Estate Lic. # 01222569
Arizona Department of Real Estate Lic. # BR550696000

“Equal Housing Opportunity”