Are you selling your house? Don't let insurance get in the way.
With home ownership comes typical homeowner responsibilities like cutting the grass or shoveling snow, cleaning the gutters or even taking the trash out. In saying that, there comes a time in everyone’s lives where tedious daily tasks become overwhelming or even impossible due to age, health or any other reason. If you’re someone with this concern, it may be time to consider downsizing, including the sale of your home. It's always a good idea to be ready to sell your home, but there are some things that you can do to make sure that you're prepared for closing day.
Planning ahead will help ensure a smooth sale
If you're selling your home, planning ahead will help your sale go better. You can make sure that the house is in good condition and ready for viewing by potential buyers. This means preparing it for showings and keeping it clean during the time that it's on the market.
Planning ahead allows you to get rid of clutter and make repairs before showing time arrives. You'll also want to think about how much time it will take for repairs or renovations so that they don't interfere with other parts of life as well as causing stress while trying to sell a home quickly. Part of being ready to sell your home is making sure that it is in good condition, both structurally and cosmetically.
It would be wise to have a home inspection performed by a professional before putting your house on the market. An inspector will tell you if there are any problems with the house that need immediate attention, or if there are issues that can be addressed later but should be noted nonetheless. A home inspection is a critical part of the selling process, but it's also one that many people don't think about until they're ready to put their house on the market. As a result, there are many homes with major structural problems that don't get fixed before they go up for sale.
When hiring an inspector, make sure they are experienced in residential inspections (many general contractors do not specialize in this area). A good inspector will check every inch of your home and give you an honest assessment of its condition so that you know exactly what needs fixing before putting it up for sale.
Areas of most importance
In terms of a house insurance policy and avoiding any surprises down the road, focus on these particular areas:
Electrical Wiring Type
Insurance companies are becoming increasingly stricter when it comes to the size and type of your electrical panel and, more importantly, the electrical wiring type. For years, knob and tube electrical wiring has been a no-no for insurers and now, aluminum wiring is considered the same. It has been shown that homes with aluminum wiring manufactured before 1972 are 55 times more likely to experience a fire related loss than those with copper. If either of these wiring types are present, it may end up being VERY difficult for the new owner of your home to obtain adequate insurance.
Insurance companies are primarily concerned with the plumbing supply lines which carry water to your taps, as opposed to the drainage plumbing carrying waste away, as it is constantly under pressure. The most common types of plumbing are copper, plastic (PEX, PVC) and galvanized steel. Studies have shown that the safest type of plumbing available today is copper, as it is most resistant to corrosion. However, with today’s prices of copper, most plumbers and home builders are looking to use plastic materials for their supply lines as the cost is significantly less. If your home uses anything but copper for its supply lines, it would be a smart idea to speak with a plumber and your broker to ensure no issues will arise prior to listing your home.
For many years now, insurance companies have been cracking down on the use of solid fuel appliances (wood stoves, pellet stoves) for obvious reasons; it’s a literal fire inside your home! If a wood stove is present in your home, it will need to be approved for use by your insurer prior to its use. A few things that an insurance company will need to confirm are; whether or not the stove is certified for use in a home; and if has been installed as per the manufacturer’s requirements. Most insurance companies are now requiring that the unit pass an inspection by a certified WETT (Wood Energy Technology Transfer Inc.) technician. As well, your homes primary source of heat is of importance, whether that is a forced air furnace, fueled by natural gas or electricity or electric baseboards and must be able to be controlled by a hard-wired thermostat.
Here in Dauphin and surrounding area, most of our roofs have been replaced after the August 9th 2007 hail storm. As tumultuous of a time that was for everyone affected by it, ever since most of us have had the peace of mind knowing that our roofs have been in good shape since. Insurance companies will require the type of roof on the home, whether that is Asphalt/Fiberglass shingles or a metal roof, along with the year it was replaced and that the roof is in good condition with no visible signs of deterioration such as curling or chipping of shingles.
If you're looking to sell your home, it's important that you make sure it is ready. You can do this by planning ahead and making sure that your home looks its best. This will help your sale go better and make more money for you in the long run!
Ian Brezden, CAIB (Hons)
Partner/Insurance Broker – Love & Persson Group