Southern Colorado Insurance Changes

Southern Colorado Insurance Changes

I love it here... so thankful for limited natural disasters like tornado, hurricane, earthquakes. However, Colorado is still subject to blizzards, hail, wind, and fire. 2012 and 2013 were devastating locally when it comes to fire. Much of those homes have been rebuilt. So, let's talk about the unfortunate weather issues of 2016 And how it's changing insurance for southern Colorado. 

A huge part of eastern Colorado Springs was hit hard by a "hail bomb". According to the Colorado Springs Gazette, the 6th most devastating weather event in Colorado history. When you use the term catastrophic, you know it's serious. 33,200 property claims of $188.2 million and 51,300 vehicle claims of $164.6 million... I'll do the quick math, that's 84,500 claims to the tune of $352.8 million. There were other storms as well, but this was the worst. So if you think those claims aren't going to cause your rates to go up, think again!

We've all seen hundreds of vehicles driving round with temp tags, damaged hoods, temporary window patches and even some shattered windshields. There are also the vinyl siding homes and townhomes that are covered in patches. Frankly there were areas that looked like a war zone. Homes have seen damage to roof, window, siding, etc. Not all claims on vehicles necessitated full replacement, but shops were/are busy doing major repairs... plus rental cars were hard to come by and I'm sure the dealerships struggled to keep inventory. 

So, now, the insurance... We were able to purchase and investment property this Spring. Thank God it was not hit by this catastrophic storm. I went to our HOA meeting this week and learned quite a bit about how HOA property insurance works. It was eye opening, that's for sure. Thankfully our insurance agent's office took great care of us when we set up our policy.

Here's the gist... many insurance carriers are on a percentage deductible, based on the value of the property. Let's say you have a 5-unit townhome building that is valued at $1,000,000 and your deductible is 2% (they range from 1-10% deductibles!)... that means your HOA will have to pay a $20,000 deductible. So your HOA reserves would have to exceed that deductible. In the case of this storm, there are thousands of "attached" units affected, I'm not sure how many buildings. But I can't imagine their HOAs had the reserves, which means the owners all get a "Special Assessment"... sounds so nice and special, but it's not good, its expensive!! So, homeowners have to come up with thousands out of pocket, even though they are "adequately insured". One of the biggest things that came out of this, and the most important take-away from this blog!!--- if you own a town home/condo go get LOSS ASSESSMENT COVERAGE, right now!!! It is not very expensive and can help cover this "gap"!!! This Loss Assessment Coverage should be in place with every home owner, so the special assessment doesn't kill your family budget! I called my agent's office the day afer the meeting and made sure we were set up, and we were. I upped our coverage anyway, because it's worth it.

I also had a new buyer move here from Wisconsin in November. She was shocked when she called to set up their vehicle insurance. It was about double the amount they had paid for their vehicle insurance in WI. Their agent sighted recent claims, specific to southern Colorado, that caused all rates to rise. 

We heard a lot in 2013 after the Black Forest fire that insurance is really expensive, until you need it. There were many families that were under- or un-insured. My best advice, is that even if it costs maybe a bit more, MAKE SURE you have the coverage you need on all of your belongings, because otherwise it's going to cost you far more out of pocket should there ever be a need to file a major claim!! Also, review your policy notifications every year, because your insurance company could change your policy from flat deductibles to percentage, and it could be pricy to deal with the potential claims! 

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Why you should not rule out selling your home in the winter months

Why you should not rule out selling your home in the winter months

Winter will here before we know it, but that should not give you any concern at all if you are considering putting your home on the market for sale in the next few months.  Here are my reasons why:

1. The winter market can be less competitive for Sellers since many families will wait until Spring to list their home. Economics 101: Supply and demand.  Supply goes down, price goes up. This creates a unique opportunity for a Seller to make a little more money just by selling in the Winter months.

2.  The smaller amount of inventory in the form of active listings will allow Sellers to get more attention from a bigger pool of Buyers. This bigger pool of Buyers creates another unique opportunity for Sellers in the Winter months.  A bigger pool of existing Buyers will typically translate into shorter times before a Seller can expect an offer.  

3.  Many people do not know this, but many larger corporations will transfer existing employees or hire new ones early in the new year. During this time period, and especially in larger metro markets like Denver and Colorado Springs, this activity tends to produce highly motivated Buyers for Sellers listing their homes in the Winter.

4.  Buyers looking to purchase in the winter tend to be more bound and determined to buy. Most folks will not do a great deal of window shopping in the harsher weather months of December and January like they tend to do in warmer months like March and April. Listing your home in the Winter will likely eliminate some of the 'lookie loos' of the Spring months.   

To support my rationale, I found a study that came out in late December, 2013 from the online brokerage firm, Redfin. This study found that Sellers net more above asking price during the months of December, January, February, and March than they do from June through November. Further, homes listed in Winter sold faster than those listed in Spring. The likelihood of selling a home when listing in Denver broke down like this:  If you listed your home in Winter, you had a 77% chance of getting it sold in six months or less, in the Spring, you had a 64% chance, in the Summer, you had a 63% chance, and in the Fall, you had a 68% chance.

Winter is coming friends, and numbers don't lie! If you are needing or wanting to sell your home in the Winter months, you can and with confidence! Feel free to give me a call.

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Tankless vs Tank Water Heaters: What's the Best?

Tankless vs Tank Water Heaters: What's the Best?

I've often wondered, so maybe you have too, what the best style of water heater is for a home. The tankless option which came out years ago to provide more energy efficiency seems to be a great option, because water isn't sitting in the typical stand-up tank being heated and unused. 

However I wanted to get some expert advice, so I consulted with my favorite HVAC pro, Bob Brown of Brown's Heating and Cooling

Here is my long-winded analysis, with his advice. 

Cost Comparison

* The typical stand-up water heater is less expensive to install...$1400/1500 for traditional tank vs $4500 for tankless water heater

Energy Efficiency

* The tankless water heaters have recovery issues, despite their claim to a quick recovery, especially in Colorado where the groundwater comes out of the ground at 52 degrees. It takes more energy/time to get it to a comfortable shower temperature.

* Most tankless water heaters are manufactured for sea level, where the water comes out of the ground at 70 degrees, and obviously then takes less energy to get it to needed temps

* Tankless water heaters generally yield 7 gallons per minute of hot water, and stand-ups yield 11.2-13 gallons

* One tankless water heater might support a small home, but larger custom homes are putting in 2-3 tankless water heaters, obviously adding expense

Retrofitting

* Most homes are built with inadequate natural gas output for tankless, BT rating too low, so existing homes looking to upgrade will also need to upgrade gas service into the home, which is an added expense

* Venting will likely need to be updated/upgraded for tankless heaters as well

Conclusion: Buying a Tank Water Heater vs Tankless Water Heater

Overall, it seems the tankless water heaters aren't a great option at our altitude, as the added expenses and energy needed don't necessarily offset the energy savings. Over time, the 

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Why Buyers Should Get Sewer Inspections

Why Buyers Should Get Sewer Inspections

A lot of first time homebuyers may not be aware that sewer inspections are not part of your routine home inspection. This is so important. Buying a home & moving is stressful enough as it is. Finding out that you have a bad sewer line after closing would just add to that list. Sewer line inspections can range from about $150-$300. Plumbers will inspect the line to see if its bellied, split, offset, collapsing or clogged with tree roots. They will also check the material of the line as well. This has become important because construction in the 1950’s, utilized a tar like cardboard called Orangeburg. This type of material is known to just fall apart & collapse resulting in very costly repairs.

Even if your potential dream house wasn't built in the 1950's, a sewer inspection might be a worthwhile cost. If there are issues encountered during the inspection, you’ll want to be sure to have your plumber record a video of the line so that it can be provided to the sellers. Sewer line replacements or back-ups can cost thousands of dollars and the repair or replacement of the line is usually EXCLUDED by most insurance companies. Sewer inspections are easy. You can ask your Realtor for a recommendation, or call a plumber of your choice. It's worth the peace of mind & security, knowing that there aren’t any hidden issues in your new home. 

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5 Things To Do this Weekend in Colorado Springs

5 Things To Do this Weekend in Colorado Springs

Pine Forest Spring Show and Sale, Lewis Palmer High School, Sat 10-5, Sun 11-3.

Admission: $6. Sponsored by the TriLakes Women's Club, this event has over 100 bakers dishing up their goods as well as gourmet food trucks for the first time this year. You can also enjoy antiques, craft items, birdhouses, garden art and more. The TriLakes Women's Club is celebrating their 40th year of putting on this great show. For more info: www.tlwc.net

 

Great American Cleanup, Sat. April 23 9 am, various sites around the Pikes Peak Region.

Admission: Free. A great day to volunteer and help cleanup your community including roadways, waterways and trails. The Sierra Club helps out with a cleanup of Monument Creek, meet at Roswell Park 515 W. Polk at 10:30 am Saturday. For other locations, visit www.gacppp.com

 

Woodland Park Wind Symphony World of Windcraft, Sun April 24, 1:30pm, Ute Pass Cultural Center

Admission: Free. Rescheduled from last weekend, The Woodland Park Wind Symphony pays tribute to video game music. This show will be fun for both the old school video game lovers as well as people playing the current video game offerings. Come dressed as your favorite Video Game Character and enter the costume contest which will be followed by the concert. For more info: www.woodlandparkwindsymphony.com

 

International Sculpture Day Celebration, Sangre de Christo Arts & Conference Center, Sun April 24.

A community sculpture installation will take place on Sunday using publicly donated lamps. At 7pm, a lighting ceremony will highlight the exhibit. A reception, community sculpture walk, food trucks and music by the Change Agents is also planned. For more info: www.sdc-arts.org

 

Go to Kelly's Open House, 4545 Bridle Pass Dr, Colorado Springs 80923, Sat & Sun 1-3pm. Pikes Peak Views!

2 Story stucco home with 4bd/4ba/2.5car garage. Walkout basement includes a wet bar, exercise & theater area. This floor plan is great for entertaining with an open kitchen & vaulted ceilings in the living area. The kitchen features tons of storage, corian counter tops & recently updated stainless steel appliances. Main level office includes built ins. Large deck & 2 patio areas. The master bedroom overlooks Pikes Peak!! 5 piece master bath & so much more. This home has been well maintained & it definitely shows!! For more info: http://www.springshomes.com/mls/5766751-4545-Bridle-Pass-DR-Colorado-Springs-CO-80923 . 

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