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How to Prepare Your Home for a Hurricane

Your home is one of your most important investments so protecting it from natural disasters should be a top priority. The Atlantic storm season is heating up with more storms expected in the wake of Harvey and Irma. If you’re in harm’s way, either now, or in the coming weeks, then you should take all the necessary precautions.

Not all these improvements will require a serious investment but if you have the budget it’s well worth retrofitting your home as much as you can. Other things are just a matter of simple preparation which is within anyone means. Read on to discover what you can do for your home and family.

Stormproof your home

There are numerous steps you can take to storm-proof your home. Some will call for more of an investment but others not so much.

  • Secure your roof – you can reduce roof damage by installing hurricane straps and clips to secure the roof to your house’s frame. This, along with other methods will give you the best protection.
  • Buy or purchase storm windows – you can purchase commercially made storm windows, or make your own for each window and door. Use exterior grade or marine plywood that’s at least five-eighths of an inch thick and cut them to fit each window. Use more heavily reinforced plywood to cover large pieces of glass like sliding doors.
  • Secure porches and carports – if you have a porch or carport attached to your home this could cause severe damage in heavy winds. Make sure the posts supporting your porch are securely attached to the ground.
  • Install head and foot bolts on each door – protect doors against heavy winds by installing bolts at the top and bottom. This is both affordable and easy to do yourself.
  • Caulk around doors and windows – to protect your home from moisture damage apply caulk around the edges of your doors and windows. Make sure you do it right.
  • Test sump pumps and drains – test your sump pumps and drains to ensure that they’re working correctly. Also, keep an extra set of fresh batteries on hand.
  • Clear your lawn – don’t leave anything around your lawn that could act as a flying missile. Secure and store any garden furniture, flower pots and other items

Review your insurance policies

Home insurance policies can vary a lot by region. check that you’re adequately covered and if not take out extra insurance. Standard home insurance does not cover flood insurance so consider taking out some extra coverage. Your insurance agent can help with all this. If there’s an imminent storm on the way it may be too late for this. If however, you’re in a safe zone then now is the time to do this.

Take an inventory of your property

Lastly, take a survey of your home and possessions each year. This way you’ll know exactly what you have and what it’s worth. This will make dealing with the aftermath much easier as you’ll know exactly where you stand.

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3 Things to Avoid When Buying a New Home

Avoid these three things when buying a home

While buying a new home can be an exciting time in your life there are a few pitfalls to avoid if you want things to go smoothly. Many home buyers make the mistake of thinking everything will work fine if it’s a new home. Fact is, there’s no such thing as a perfect home.

Despite a builder hitting everything on their checklist, problems will always crop up. Problems can also arise from the buyer failing to ask the right questions. For instance, maybe you’re planning to have a child soon but only find out later that the water tank isn’t large enough to handle an extra person. Problems like these can be avoided if you approach things with the right mindset. In today’s article, we’re covering just that and what you should avoid when buying a new home.

Don’t buy if you expect to move again in the next few years

Everyone loves to feel like a homeowner but too often people let that desire dictate their purchase decisions. You may not like having to write your landlord a check every month while paying down zero equity. If though you expect you’ll be moving again in a few years it makes no sense to buy now.

If you’re unsure how long you’ll be in a location then it’s probably better to rent, equity or no equity. There’s no guarantee you’ll be able to sell or rent it in the future and with closing costs, property taxes, and a potentially depreciating asset you may end up paying more than the equity you’ve put down. Check your finances and take a while to decide before ever buying a property.

Not having an inspection done

You wouldn’t buy a car without first looking at the engine, likewise, you shouldn’t buy a house without taking a closer look at it. Things might seem fine to you but a professional inspector can spot hidden costs you can’t. Before deciding on anything, hire an independent housing inspector to do a review of the home and what potential costs could await in the future. They’ll have a better eye then you for spotting potential problems like water damage or termite infestations.

If a price seems too good to be true then that’s a sure sign that there are a few hidden costs involved. Renovations can run into the thousands of dollars and take years to finish so don’t skimp on hiring an independent inspector. They find problems most of the time and only cost, on average, about $300.

Not being open to negotiations

Purchasing a new home will be one of the most important decisions of your life but surprisingly many people are often averse to negotiating. They don’t like being confrontational or disagreeable and feel the price should be the price. However, negotiations don’t have to be hostel and failure to be open to them could mean losing out on a better deal.

When done professionally negotiations most always work in the buyer’s favour. Lenders and builders will expect some negotiating, it’s how the game works. If you walk in knowing what your budget and credit limit is you can position yourself better in negotiations, making the time spent preparing for negotiations worth every penny.