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Home Owner Insurance Checklist

by Don DeHanas, Associate Broker

 It can be easy for homebuyers to overlook home insurance costs. Most buyers tend to focus on factors such as quality of neighborhood, property taxes, school districts and available recreational and cultural outlets. But the seemingly mundane detail of home insurance can add up to a big investment. The size, location, construction and overall condition of a house can affect insurance cost, choice and availability, according to the Insurance Information Institute. When looking at prospective homes, the Institute recommends that homebuyers consider the following:

 

• Where is the nearest fire department? Houses located near a fire station usually cost less to insure.

• Are the plumbing and electrical systems in good condition? Poorly maintained, unsafe and/or outdated systems are more costly to insure than well-maintained ones.

• Is the home vulnerable to wind damage? A beach home may be more susceptible to wind damage and can be more costly to insure than homes located inland.

• Is the home at risk for flooding or located in a flood zone? Most standard homeowners’ insurance policies do not cover floods, so you may need a separate policy, which you can get through the National Flood Insurance Program, which is serviced by private carriers, or from a few specialty insurers.

• Is the home located in an earthquake-prone area? If so, earthquake insurance requires an endorsement or a separate policy.

• Is the house well constructed and well maintained? Homes built with disaster-resistant materials and designed to meet current building codes are more likely to withstand natural disasters.

Your home is your biggest investment. Make sure you protect it with the right type of homeowners’ insurance policy.

 

Thinking of buying or selling a home, or know someone who is, please let us know by calling 301-870-1717

Rachel DeHanas on Featured Panel

by Don DeHanas, Associate Broker

Rachel DeHanas Broker/Owner of DeHanas Real Estate Services in Waldorf will be a featured panel member at the National Star Power Confrence being held in Nashville, TN next month.  DeHanas' panel discussion regarding Bank-owned properties, is one of the hot buttons facing the real estate market today.

Guest speakers at the Star Power conference include Alex Charfen, CEO of Star Power Systems and The Distressed Property Institute, Dave Ramsey, best selling author and Financial Expert, Howard Brinton, National Speaker and Founder of Star Power Systems, Dave Linegar, Chairman and co-founder of RE/MAX, and Alex Perillio, President and CEO of Realogy.

It is an opportunity for real estate professionals to walk among the legends and learn from the best in the business.  The conference is scheduled for July 25-28. For reservations and additional information, go to www.starpowerconference.com.

Charles County Foreclosures Still High

by Don DeHanas, Associate Broker

Last week the Washington Post reported Charles County to have the second highest Foreclosure rate in Maryland behind Prince Georges County.  According to national real estate analyst Realty Trac, one in every 297 homes has had at least one foreclosure filing during the month of April, 2010, considerably higher than the national average of one in every 387.

Calvert County ranked number 4 in the State at one in every 311. 

The highest Foreclosure rate in the state was Prince George's County, where one in every 234 homes is threatened or was seized by a bank. Prince George's also leads the state in total foreclosures.

Maryland as a whole had a 3 percent increase in rates over March, and a whopping 51 percent increase over April 2009, the report said. The increase bucks the national trend, where the rate dropped 9 percent in the month and 2 percent in the year.

Subprime mortgages marketed to the influx of new residents are partly responsible for the high Foreclosure rate, Charles County Commissioner Reuben B. Collins II (D) said. 

My experience is somewhat different.  Early on in this crisis, many of my clients held subprime mortgages, but not now. Amoungst my many clients facing Foreclosure are a number of military and Federal Governement employees and their families being transfered to other parts of the world.  In many cases these homeonwers have impeccable credit, and are forced to take the credit hit or lose their jobs, or even worse, be separated from their families.

I also have a number of homeowners facing Foreclosure due to temporary job loss, health issues or other financial hardships that have been magnified by the current economic crisis. 

It is easy to blame those home buyers who "self-inflicted" their fate of Foreclosure, but now we are talking about credit-worthy buyers who are the actual victims.

Homebuyer Tax Credit May Be Extended

by Jeff Halbert, First Home Motgage

There is speculation circulating that the Homebuyer Tax Credit has been extended.  What has actually happened is an amendment to extend the closing deadline for the Homebuyer Tax Credit has been added to proposed legislation.  The amendment would extend the closing deadline from June 30, 2010 to September 30, 2010, however, this would only apply to purchase contracts already signed prior to the April 30, 2010 deadline.  Although this specific measure has been approved to be added to the legislation, it is a part of a larger bill entitled American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act of 2010 also known as the Tax Extenders Bill that is going through the legislative process.  The bill has been approved by the House, but was voted down in the Senate yesterday over concerns about the ballooning federal deficit.  However, the Senate is currently reworking their version of the  bill and once that happens and it is approved by the Senate, the bill will need to reconciled with the House version and approved by the President.  So, although the closing deadline has not officially been extended, it appears it is likely to happen.

 

Additionally, an amendment to extend the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is also included in this same piece of legislation.  As a result, the NFIP will be in limbo until the Senate can trim back the bill enough to get the votes it needs for passage.

La Plata High School Tops Recent Study

by Don DeHanas, Associate Broker

Newsweek Magazine announced, this week, its list of Americas Top Schools, and in it were 4 Charles County Schools, including La Plata, McDonough, Westlake and North Point Highschools.

La Plata High School topped the County's list, ranking at 487, while McDonough at 961, Westlake at 1,043 and North Point at 1,443, in Newsweeks list of the 1,622 of Americas top schools.

The Newsweek list is based on the Challenge Index developed by the Washington Post. It ranks the number of AP tests taken in relation to the number of graduating seniors. Schools rank in the top 6 percent if they achieve a ratio of at least 1.0, meaning they had as many tests taken in 2009 as they had graduates.

More than half of Maryland’s 185 public high schools – 53 percent – were on Newsweek’s list.

“We continue to work to ensure that our students are challenging themselves by taking the highest level of courses they can. We encourage students to take Advanced Placement classes and we continue to offer rigorous coursework for all students,” Superintendent James E. Richmond said.

Richmond pointed to a new initiative, the Stars (Scholars Targeting Academic Rigor with Success) program that is encouraging rising ninth-grade students to enroll in challenging courses. The program is designed to push students with potential, especially those from traditionally underserved populations, to take the most rigorous courses possible, including honors and AP classes.

DeHanas & Nichols Attend CRS Course

by Don DeHanas, Associate Broker

DeHanas and Nichols Complete Financing and Tax Course            

 

Don DeHanas and Stephen Nichols with DeHanas Real Estate Services in Waldorf has just completed a highly specialized real estate course, Financial and Tax Advantages for Agents and Their Clients, Las Vegas Nevada, presented by the Council of Residential Specialists.  The two-day course earns tow units of core credit toward the Certified Residential Specialist designation.

Every real estate transaction has tax and financial considerations. REALTORS must be prepared to help their clients understand the financial options that are available as they contemplate the single biggest purchase they likely will make in their lives. The right financial choice can save clients money and give them peace of mind.

During the two-day course, participants learned how to identify tax saving opportunities in real estate, financing alternatives, debt and mortgage management strategies, and tools to help them demonstrate financing options.  The course features applications and systems agents can use to become more effective at counseling clients about their real estate financing decisions.

“There are many new real estate financing options available today, more than you might think” says DeHanas.  “Knowing what options there are and how it can better help my clients will help me earn their trust and lead to more referral business down the road.”

The Council of Residential Specialists is a not-for-profit affiliate of the National Association of Realtors, comprised of more than 40,000 members.  It awards the CRS designation to experienced Realtors who have completed advanced professional training and demonstrated outstanding professional achievement in residential real estate.

DeHanas and Nichols specialize in residential real estate, working with investors, first time home buyers, move-up buyers and new construction.

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The DeHanas Team
DeHanas Real Estate Services
1218 Smallwood Drive
Waldorf MD 20603
Office: 301-870-1717
1-800-842-0190
Fax: 240-754-7867

Servicing all Anne Arundel County, Calvert County, Charles County, and Prince George's County as well as Annapolis, Bowie, Chesapeake Beach, Crofton, Dunkirk, Edgewater, Ft. Meade, Huntingtown, La Plata, North Beach, Odenton, Owings, Pasadena, Severn, Waldorf, and the Upper Marlboro areas of Maryland, all of Washington DC, and Northern Virginia, including Alexandria, Arlington, and King George County real estate advertised in this website are subject to the Federal Fair Housing Act of 1968 which makes it illegal to advertise any preference, limitation, or discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap and familial status, or national origin, or any intention to make any such preference, limitation or discrimination. DeHanas Real Estate Services will not knowingly accept any listing agreement for real estate sales in Anne Arundel County, Calvert County, Charles County, and Prince George's County as well as Annapolis, Bowie, Chesapeake Beach, Crofton, Dunkirk, Edgewater MD, Ft. Meade, Huntingtown, La Plata, North Beach, Odenton, Owings, Pasadena, Severn, Waldorf, and the Upper Marlboro, all of Washington DC, and Northern Virginia, including Alexandria, Arlington, and King George County areas which are in violation of the law. Our clients and customers are informed that all dwellings advertised on our website in Anne Arundel County, Calvert County, Charles County, and Prince George's County as well as Annapolis, Bowie, Chesapeake Beach, Crofton, Dunkirk, Edgewater MD, Ft. Meade, Huntingtown, La Plata, North Beach, Odenton, Owings, Pasadena, Severn, Waldorf, and the Upper Marlboro, all of Washington DC, and Northern Virginia, including Alexandria, Arlington, and King George County areas are available on an equal opportunity basis. All prices and finance claims appearing in this site are subject to change without notice.