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7 Home Maintenance Tasks All Homeowners Should Master

by Home Action News

7 Home Maintenance Tasks All Homeowners Should Master

 

Whether you're a first-time homeowner or a seasoned veteran in home ownership, there are a few home maintenance tasks that all homeowners should master in order to keep their home in tip-top shape. Use these seven tasks as a general guide: 
 
Clean the garbage disposal in your kitchen sink. It is widely agreed upon that the best way to keep your garbage disposal blades clean and sharp is to run vinegar ice cubes through it. This easy task can eliminate odors as well as maintain your garbage disposal unit, keeping your kitchen clean and functional.
 
Check fire safety equipment. Test the batteries in your smoke detector and carbon monoxide detectors every six months. If you ever need either one, you'll be glad you kept them both well-maintained. At the same time, you should check to make sure that your fire extinguisher is easily accessible and not nearing its expiration date.
 
Inspect/replace HVAC filters. Your furnace and air conditioner units play a vital role in keeping your home comfortable during all seasons. Keeping the filters clean and free of pet hair, dust and debris can go a long way toward prolonging the life of your HVAC units. This simple task can mean the difference between a quick fix and a costly repair down the road.
 
Vacuum the dust-collecting parts of your major appliances. Vacuuming your dryer's exhaust duct each year can prolong the life of your dryer. Same for the coils underneath your refrigerator. Trapped dust can result in trapped heat, leading to energy inefficiency and decreased life expectancy.
 
Test your garage door sensors. If you have a garage door, it is important to make sure the auto-reverse feature is in working order. This feature can keep your garage door from being damaged — or damaging any of your personal property, family members or pets.
 
Clean the gutters around your home. If your home has gutters, it is important to keep them clean and free of debris, especially during the rainy season. Standing water can create all kinds of problems. It can damage your home as well as provide a breeding ground for insects. Keeping your gutters clean will ensure that they are draining properly at all times.
 
Keep up with landscaping. In addition to improving your home's curb appeal, clearing away dead plants or shrubs on a regular basis can help you notice any issues early on. Also, make sure to check for any dead or dying limbs that overhang power lines, parking spots or your roof. Clearing away dead limbs before they become a problem can minimize stress down the road.
 
Keeping up with a few simple tasks can mean the difference between a routine repair and a costly replacement. Taking these steps can maintain the value of your home.

5 Surprising Things Your Homeowners Insurance Doesn't Cover

by Home Action News

5 Surprising Things Your Homeowners Insurance Doesn't Cover

 

Unless you have read all of your homeowners insurance policy, you may think that your home and property are protected against any issues. The truth is, there are things your insurance policy doesn't cover that you may not be aware of. Many homeowners know that water damage and flooding isn't covered, but these five other things may surprise you. 
 
Termites
Termites can severely damage the structure of your home, but the damage from these pests is not covered under typical homeowner insurance policies. Many insurance companies consider damage from termites to be preventable, so make sure to take note of moisture around your home and take a close look at any wood for possible damage. Be sure to keep woodpiles and plants a good distance from your home.
 
Earthquakes
Just as floods are not covered by homeowners insurance, neither are earthquakes. What is interesting about this is that many policies cover damage from a volcanic eruption. Your insurance also will not cover landslides, mudslides or earth tremors. If you live in an area where earthquakes occur, you should consider purchasing extra earthquake insurance.
 
Expensive Jewelry/Personal Property
Your expensive jewelry is not covered by your homeowners insurance policy. Many policies will cover personal artifacts up to $1,000, but after that you will need a separate rider to cover the value of the rest of your items.
 
Your Home Business
It is logical to believe that your home business is covered by your homeowners insurance policy, but this is not always the case. If you own a catering business that you run from your home and someone gets sick with food poisoning, you aren't covered for that. If you are training a client in your home gym and he or she breaks a bone, you are not covered. This is especially true if your home business is run in a structure on your property separate from your home.
 
Certain Dog Breeds
Many dogs are covered under homeowners insurance policies, but only if they are not considered to be aggressive or a high risk. You may be shocked at how many dog breeds are considered uninsurable. Breeds such as Rottweilers, chow chows, Doberman pinschers, pit bull terriers and Akitas are all uninsurable breeds.
 
Does your homeowners insurance policy cover any of these? If not, you should consider getting special riders to ensure that you have all the coverage your home will need.

5 Reasons Your Home Insurance Premium Went Up

by Home Action News

5 Reasons Your Home Insurance Premium Went Up

 

Home insurance premiums are a vital part of homeownership. But if your premiums spiked recently, you may be scratching your head wondering why. Interestingly, there are several factors that can cause an increase in your premiums. Here are just a few.  
 
1. Your house might be getting old
 
When your house and the systems in it start to get old, it costs more to insure your house because as anything ages, it becomes more susceptible to damage. Roofs can get leaky, foundations can shift and crack, and delicate systems like air conditioning, electrical and plumbing become worn-out and more difficult to maintain. 

There's no real consensus on how old a house has to be for the insurance on it to go up. It goes up because an old house is a riskier house to cover. Old and frazzled electrical or heating systems could cause fires. Old plumbing starts to leak and cause water damage. Roofing gets old and can get torn off by the wind. All these combine to form a larger number on your bill.
            
2. Your credit may have changed
 
While a risky house makes for high premiums, so can risky people. If your credit dips due to missing payments on things, it could become harder to pay for home insurance. Note, however, that insurance companies have access to your credit report only in certain states.
 
3. Pets
 
Certain breeds of dog, along with "exotic" undomesticated pets, can cause your premiums to go up because they increase your liability rates. This is because your insurance company is the one that pays in the event your pet harms someone. Exotic pets, including creatures like tigers, monkeys and bears, are an even greater risk because they are undomesticated and much more likely to attack someone (even an intruder).
     
4. Home additions
 
There are two ways a home addition could increase the cost of your insurance. One is by increasing the total square footage of your home. Because home insurance is typically designed to rebuild your home if something happens that destroys it, adding a room or two will make it more expensive to rebuild and thus more expensive to fully insure.
 
The second sort of home addition is adding something like a trampoline or a pool (so-called attractive nuisances), since these increase the cost of potential liability payments in a similar way as certain breeds of dog or other animals do – if someone gets hurt, even if the person is trespassing on your property, he or she can sue you, which means that your insurance might have to pay the cost, and anything that the insurance company thinks it has to pay for means that your premiums are going up.
 
5. Local environment and building costs
 
Your premium can also go up based on things entirely outside your control, such as building costs in your area changing and climate fluctuating. If your area becomes more susceptible to heavy storms, flooding, tornados or any other destructive weather in the latest environmental trends, your premium could go up.
 
When is the last time your premium went up? I'd love to share more of my thoughts on this subject with you. Connect with me today to discuss this or any real estate topics. I look forward to hearing from you.

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Photo of Frank Taglienti Real Estate
Frank Taglienti
Berkshire Hathaway PenFed REALTORS®
565 Benfield Road, Suite 100
Severna Park MD 21146
410-440-0824

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