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Do you read & understand your home insurance Policy?

MURPHY’S LAW

Property home insurance premiums have risen dramatically over these last years. Ever wonder

why? Well, it doesn’t take Miss Marpole to crack the mystery here. CBC Marketplace reported that, “a couple of years ago, insurance companies were so competitive and their rates so low, they barely covered costs but their investments in the stock market allowed them to make money. Then the market crashed and September 11 led to a $60 billion loss. The solution was to raise rates and tighten up their underwriting. That meant cherry picking customers to reduce a company’s exposure to risk.” It has obviously become evident that since 9/11, home insurance companies are reluctant to take on risks that might have seemed insignificant in the past. Underground oil tanks, knob and tube wiring, marijuana grow-ops and mould were not on the

insurance companies’ radar in years gone by but they certainly are now. Homes that have these

concerns run the risk of not being able to obtain insurance, higher premiums or having their

insurance rendered void. It is not only homes that fail to meet the scrutiny of insurance companies but consumers personally can fail the suitability test. If a homeowner makes several claims, the insurance company may well choose not to renew their coverage as they might

ascertain that they are a poor insurance risk. What many consumers are not aware of is what is

NOT covered in their policies. “Exclusions” can lead to heartbreak yet it would appear that many people are happy to live in ignorance. According to a Harris Interactive Survey, “homeowners are largely unaware about the scope of the insurance policies that cover their homes.” It is easy to see how most people take for granted that they are covered “no matter what” but this is simply not true. Take for example, the everyday scenario where a Seller moves out of their home

some time before the new owner moves in. This period where the home is empty may not be

covered by an insurance policy. When a seller moves out of the house it is assumed that they

have no intent in returning and thus, most policies will not cover vandalism or malicious acts during the time the home is vacant. Similarly, if a home is left “unsupervised” for an extended period of time while you are away enjoying your African Safari, many property insurers consider it “empty” as well. It may well be that if your water pipe breaks and floods your basement during this time, you will be on the hook yourself for the clean up and repair.

Edward A. Murphy was an engineer born in 1917. He observed that if anything can go wrong it will.

Ignorance is not bliss. Check your policy today.

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Market update!!

 

As most of you have heard, sales in the Vancouver real estate market have been down this year, the numbers vary from area to area. The strata market has been soft, while single family homes and building lots have been significantly better, again depending on the area.

The media types have been talking about a so called bubble, and a correction in the real estate market, as if there will be some dramatic shift in prices one day. I believe this is a misnomer. To the contrary, we’ve seen small corrections happening every day over the last few months to compensate for the smaller number of sales, as opposed to a sudden price drop. So in effect, the correction has already and is already happening on a daily basis. This doesn’t mean that it could not correct more, or less as time goes on. Some buyers believe that because of the slow market, they should automatically submit low ball offers assuming that home sellers should be desperately trying to sell and escape the market before this correction, however again this is wrong thinking, as there is a good chance that new home sellers entering the market have priced their home correctly, given the current circumstances.

 

 I believe that because the interest rates have been so low for so long now, a lot of the new home buyers that could buy, did buy in the last couple of years, leaving a lack of new home buyers to drive the entry level market. There are however still a small number of new home buyers entering the market all of the time, and of course folks upsizing and downsizing, to continually add some buoyancy to our market.

     

Despite the market sales being lower this year, I’ve been very fortunate, so thank you friends, family, and valued clients!!   

 

 

All the Best!

 

Garth   

 
Who's Doing  High Fives Now?    SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER, 2007
 

If you think lenders make too much money, you are not alone........ However, it's very likely that you, the borrower, are an eager participant in all those profits. Billions of dollars are literally given away to the banks each year because of consumer  pathy. Lenders know this and in fact they "bank" on it. What do we mean?
Well, a recent survey conducted by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation reveals that despite all the new mortgage products on the market, people looking to renew their mortgage will more often than not, revert back to their current lender. In fact, according to the report, 81% of them did. Does this make sense when the competition could be offering lower interest rates and better terms? It doesn't. There is some good news though. This same survey indicates that consumers are shopping around slightly more than they were in the past. People that were renewing their mortgage were faithful to their financial institution to the tune of 88% in 2000. By 2006 this dropped 7 percentage points.
This decline in lender loyalty was also very evident in repeat home buyers and people that refinanced their mortgage because of wanting extra cash to make home  enovations or consolidate debt. In 2006 only 65% of these consumers went back to their current provider – well down from what it was in previous years. The only category that remained relatively stable was first-time home buyers.

57% of these buyers financed through their banking institution in 2000 and this remained almost constant - 58% in 2006. It would appear that first-time buyers are savvy and cautious when it comes to mortgage debt. Initially, they do their

research diligently when it comes to comparing lenders and what they can offer. However, these very same buyers that were so careful at the start, oon join the ranks of those that are "too busy" at mortgage renewal time to check out and compare lenders. Most people know that banking is a business. However, not all acknowledge that bank

employees are paid to look after the bank's best interests – not yours. In fact these employees have quotas to fill – big quotas! It is amazing that people will go to seminars sponsored by Lenders and expect to be told how to negotiate the best mortgage deal for themselves.  Puh-leeze! That's like inviting a fox to the chicken coop to tell the chickens how to avoid getting eaten by him. It makes no sense whatsoever, yet that is exactly what people do. Even more remarkable is the fact that these potential customers believe they are getting sound and unbiased information and actually act on the

advice given by the fox. This can be a very costly mistake. 

 
However, let us explore mortgage renewal in greater detail.
 
Mortgage funding is extremely competitive. Lenders spend an enormous amount of money just to get mortgage business in the first place and they certainly don't want to lose customers now or at any time in the future.
If homeowners would just take a few hours and shop around for several proposals from different lending institutions when their mortgage term is up, they might be pleasantly surprised about their findings. The chances are that they would quite possibly receive an offer from another Lender that is better in both interest rates and/or terms provided.
Lenders may even pay for all the set-up, transfer and legal fees when the mortgage business is transferred to them. Once a homeowner has different options in hand, the power to choose becomes theirs. They can accept this new favorable proposal or have their current lender match or better it. Odds are, your lender isn't going to be
willing to give up your business without a fight.
How much actual cash could be saved by keeping Lenders honest? Well, let's figure it out. A $300,000 mortgage calculated at 6% over a 25 year amortization period works out to monthly payments of $1,919.42. Conversely, at 5.5% and using the same criteria, the payments are $1,831.18. The difference is $88.24 per month. Now multiply that by 60 (five years of monthly payments) and you will see that by negotiating a better rate, rather than blindly accepting the first offer, you have saved $5,294.40. Really, with a little investigative effort, you could have put a stash of cash in your jeans or made a handsome contribution towards paying off your mortgage. Instead of the Lenders' CEO's counting profits and doing high fives around the boardroom table because of consumer apathy, you could be going on vacation. You may be trained to be loyal but hopefully, not tamed! Next time . . . shop around!
The data relating to real estate on this website comes in part from the MLS® Reciprocity program of either the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV), the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board (FVREB) or the Chilliwack and District Real Estate Board (CADREB). Real estate listings held by participating real estate firms are marked with the MLS® logo and detailed information about the listing includes the name of the listing agent. This representation is based in whole or part on data generated by either the REBGV, the FVREB or the CADREB which assumes no responsibility for its accuracy. The materials contained on this page may not be reproduced without the express written consent of either the REBGV, the FVREB or the CADREB.