Category Archives: Home and Finances

Sensible Home Warranty Complaints

Some time ago I posted about the importance of home warranties and about the Sensible Home Warranty company in particular.  Since then, I have received a few complaints from people who were less than happy with the service they received from this company and so I decided that I would re-post on this issue and try to discuss some of the Sensible Home Warranty complaints I have heard.

Check with Friends and Neighbors For Their Recommendations

Unfortunately, it seems that there may be some discrepancy between the actual branches, with some getting a five-star review and others not. This is somewhat the same with many different companies and institutions. For example, you may have a great customer experience with one branch of a company and a poor experience with another. My suggestion, if you are looking for a home warranty company to work with, is to ask friends and neighbors for their recommendations. There will often also be local online forums where you can ask for recommendations.

Read the Fine Print

In some instances it seems that there were clauses or points mentioned in the fine print that were not immediately noticed and failing to adhere to those requirements meant the warranty was void. While this is unfortunate, especially in situations where the details are not clearly spelled out, it is always up to the person signing the contract to thoroughly read through all fine print.

Contact Better Business Bureau

If you feel your claim was handled unjustly get in contact with the BBB.  They list the company on their website, http://www.bbb.org/reno/business-reviews/home-warranty-plans/sensible-home-warranty-in-sparks-nv-90007878 and they give them a C+ rating. If you visit this site you will see that the main thing affecting their rating was that there were 85 complaints filed against the company.  To their credit, it appears that they responded to 84 of those complaints and they were resolved. So, if you feel you have a legitimate complaint, contacting BBB about it may be the best way to get your complaint resolved.

Take Your Time Choosing The Right Company

It can take time to find the right home warranty company, but it is definitely worth taking the extra time needed in order to find a company that will work well for you. It is often a good idea to read what others have had to say via online reviews.  Of course, when reading online reviews you will get a wide variety of different opinions and often a lot of complaints as opposed to many good reviews.

In looking over quite a few Sensible Home Warranty reviews it seems that the main Sensible Home warranty complaints are regarding their not having service people available to come to your home and thus asking you to arrange for someone to come to do the work. Unfortunately, sometimes the claims took a long time to be refunded or because the repair work wasn’t done according to their specifications the claim was refused. I would not feel that comfortable arranging for someone else to come in and to the work specifically because they may not be aware of all of the details regarding the warranty and what is and is not considered acceptable.

In summary I would caution you to choose your home warranty company carefully. If possible, look for someone who has a good reputation in your local area by asking friends and neighbors who they would recommend (or who they would recommend you stay away from!) Read the fine print carefully before signing a contract. If you do have problems with any company, file a complaint against them with BBB as there is probably a much better chance of it being resolved than if you try to do it yourself.

How To Find A Good Quality Plumber

When it comes to finding a good plumber in West Palm Beach, many people have a negative view of these professionals and do not realize the importance of their job. Plumbers are professionals worthy of the prices they charge in most instances. Still, you do want to find a service that will provide you with the best type of service while still offering a decent rate.

If you want to know how to find reputable plumbing services, you can turn to word of mouth advertising or on TV and radio. But the most important factor is to ask for referrals. Your neighbor or friend at some point has used the services of a plumber and may be able to point you to a good company. In fact, this is usually one of the best ways to find a competent plumber who does not charge unrealistically high fees.

It is best to keep your options open and check the internet for online companies with positive reviews. So for example, if you live in West Palm Beach area, you want to look for a local company. When you obtain the names of a few companies, then enter their names on a search engine and look for customer reviews about their services. One thing to be aware of,  however, when looking over customer reviews is that in some instances these may actually be paid reviews and not genuine reviews of the company. If in doubt, just ask around. If you are searching for plumbers in your local area it should be fairly easy to ascertain which ones really are worthy of their online reviews.

After narrowing down your search to the most suitable company, contact them and ask about their prices. You need to get a full breakdown of labor and material costs so that you do not get an unpleasant surprise later. The plumbing company should be transparent with their customer at all times. You may also want to ask what their price is for various plumbing supplies that are used in the home–use these prices when comparing different plumbing companies.

It is important to mention that you should consult the services of a plumber in West Palm Beach at least once a year to check your pipes and make sure everything is functioning correctly. Preventative maintenance is less expensive than repairing and you can establish a good relationship with the serviceman so if you need them in an emergency you will get priority. This is by far the best and cheapest way to seek the help of a professional plumbing company in West Palm Beach.

Understanding Cheap Home Contents Insurance

There are many factors that affect cheap home contents insurance. First of all it must be understood that if one starts to look for a cheap home contents insurance plan, then one must first get one’s facts straight about the reasons why an insurance plan for a house and its contents is high or low. Then one must also be able to and must look for the best deals in the market and compare them for differences once all the information has been collated. What one must look for are the nuances and the factors which can be taken into account to bargain on the premium amount and hence get the most economical plan.

First of all, it must be understood that a cheap home contents insurance plan totally depends on the distance of a property from the nearest fire station. This is an important factor to be considered because if the house catches fire, the further the fire station is, the later the help will arrive and hence the extent of the damage is higher due to the delay in the arrival if the fire truck. Of course it is not only in case of fire but also other natural events like flood and earthquakes. There is also a cover provided against theft and robbery, which brings us to the next factor that affects the home and contents insurance premium. The location of the house matters and when an insurance assessor visits the property to assess it for damage, he also assesses the crime rate in the area.

This information is sought by punching the post code in the database the home insurance companies have which gives them a bird’s eye view of the crime rate in the area and hence they can assess the risk of damage to property due to theft and robbery.

Common features seen when you compare Home Insurance

If you compare home insurance with any other insurance plans, you will find that there are some common factors that affect the premium rate. When it comes to any insurance plan, the basic factor that drives the plan and the insurance assessor to calculate a premium for the cover is the risk factor. The basic criteria for getting insurance is after the assessment of the prospective buyer to find out how likely is he to file for a claim. The higher the likelihood, the higher is the insurance premium amount.

Hence, if you compare home insurance plans from different companies, there will be a few common factors that you will see despite the differences in the premium amount quotations for the same insurance cover. All the insurance plans will take into account the location of the house and assess it for its complete value minus any adjacent flat grounds around it. Only the house is considered and many a times, the total value of the house includes the content inside the house. The home insurance companies negate the overall value and offer a large percentage of this value as the insurance cover. Where the location is concerned, an insurance assessor’s job is to see how much risk the house is at being where it is. He will assess how much time and efforts will it take to douse it in case the house catches fire. Hence the distance from a fire station and immediate crime levels in the vicinity matter considerably. Crime rate is considered to assess the susceptibility of the house to robbery and theft.

Lastly if you compare home insurance plans, you will also find that one of the factors that affect the insurance premium amount is the material that the house is made up of. If the material is flammable, then the insurance premium is high.

Will I Be Penalized If I Sell My House to my Kids?

Selling your house to your children can be mutually beneficial. If you’re looking to unload the asset and have retirement on your mind, selling your home to your kids at a low price can help your situation and their credit. It is possible to sell your home at a low price to your kids, but there is a possibility of incurring penalties. The short answer to the question is yes—if you sell the house below half of its market value, there will be penalties.

Forgiving Debt

Some homeowners sell their homes to their children for the fair market value of the home. Years later, they simply forgive the debt. This can incur a penalty for two reasons—the IRS will view this as a large gift and the value of the home will be taxed. Also, your children may be taxed on the difference between the home’s original value and its current assessed value.

How Low Can You Go?

The IRS will charge your children capital gains tax if you offer them the house at less than half of its fair market value. To avoid this tax, you must sell the house to them at above 50 percent of its value.

Gift Limits

If you’re hoping to get around that 50 percent rule without a penalty, you can legally gift a maximum sum of money to another person without taxation (check with your accountant or the IRS—this amount varies from year to year). You can give each of your children the maximum amount in cash gifts (as can your spouse, if applicable, separately). They can then purchase the house at above 50 percent of its value and remit payment using the funds you have provided. This is legal but a tricky process best conducted under the supervision of a trusted accountant and real estate attorney.

Hire Professionals

Conducting real estate transactions is always best done with the help of seasoned professionals, like a Minneapolis realtor with experience in handling paperwork. Real estate lawyers specialize in ensuring the smooth and legal transactions of real estate and they are well worth the investment. Real estate lawyers can also double-check your paperwork and file everything through the proper channels. Additionally, your accountant is an excellent resource regarding the IRS and what they are allowed to tax. If possible, you and your children should see the same accountant come tax time to ensure consistency in the paperwork.

Transactions occurring between family members typically incur greater attention from the IRS. If you proceed with sales of Eden Prairie homes under the guidance of your accountant or tax adviser, you stand a better chance of avoiding penalties from the IRS.

Home improvement projects and the costs

More and more people are realizing that they can take on tasks around the home as DIY projects and save money by not having to hire a professional company to do the work for them. This is a wonderful thing to see and if you are someone who fits in this category you should be proud of yourself for having the motivation to do so.

If you have some renovations at home you are interested in getting started with but you are not sure how you are going to cover the costs, there are options that may work for you.

Many homeowners opt to take out a loan when they have home improvement projects to complete. Even if you already have other loans out in your name this is one of the best ways to go about things. This way you can cover the costs of all the tools and supplies you need upfront and simply pay off the balance in monthly increments.

You also have to consider that the total cost of any home renovation project usually wouldn’t come to more than a few thousand dollars at the very most so it is not going to be as large a loan as you would need for college, a vehicle or a house.

There are certain building supply and other stores that offer materials and plans for DIY projects and offer financing to customers. On approved credit you could be approved for financing and in turn have the freedom to pay the loan off over time rather than spending all the money for it upfront. This is much more convenient an option for most homeowners.

There are also many finance projects set up for homeowners wanting to complete renovations to their home, which can help. For homeowners who make under a certain annual income they may be eligible to receive funding or at least write off the costs of their home improvement projects on their next tax return.

Always ask lots of questions and get all the information you can when taking on DIY projects in the home. You never know where and when you could be saving yourself money.

These tips come from the DIY home improvement folks at Concrete Anchor Bolt.

Home Insurance Deals – How do I get a cheap one?

home insuranceHomeowners should know that you can get a cheap home insurance deal if you are prepared to incorporate a few of these money saving tips before you go out getting a household insurance quote.

It’s a well know fact that many property owners when receiving their annual home insurance renewal premium, don’t bother trying to get another quote from another supplier they just, let their policy renew automatically. It’s a pity because these property owners are throwing away hundreds of pounds every year because of there laziness. I mean some of these individuals might think that they have a cheap deal and are happy with there quote, but if they took the time to obtain a quotation from another provider they might think differently. Home insurers are very competitive today and there are always better deals coming out all the time. Some offering free contents when you buy their buildings cover and online discount of up to 25%. Some companies are offering free emergency cover and legal expenses too. The best advice I can give is to go and get as many quotes as you can at first from as many insurers and brokers as you can. You’ll be surprised at how much money you could potentially save off you’re premiums.

In some cases you can get additional discount if you help to make your property more equipped to handle a disaster. Think about adding storm shutters to your windows and doors, purchasing sand bags in case of floods or how about making your garden and outbuildings more resistant to storms and wind. You can also reduce the risk of damage to your home by updating the electrics and plumbing.

Depending on the insurer you can also get discount if you have an approved burglar alarm fitted in your home. Also, securely lock all doors and windows too with dead locks, so you’re not giving thieves easy access in your home. The less of a risk your home is to being burgled and you making a claim the bigger the discount you could receive from the insurer.

Trailer Home Insurance

Motor home trailerTrailer homes take on many aliases.  They can be mobile homes, caravans, recreational trailers, travel homes, and many more personalized titles.  But when it comes to trailer home insurance, any of these names fall under the same category.

Your recreational trailer is considered like your boat trailer in most cases with only a few minor differences in the terms of the policy.  Like most agreements it is to be paid monthly or annually and in turn the insurer will cover any losses monetarily that may occur during the term of coverage.  When deciding on a carrier for your trailer insurance needs it is always a good idea to collect several (at least three) quotes from different companies before purchasing.  The terms of coverage should be relatively similar from one insurer to the next, but some basics are a must.

If you wish for only a basic plan, liability to cover another’s vehicle or property, it is important to discuss with the prospective agent if this policy extends to properties both on the road and at a site such as trailer and RV parks as this is more often the resting place of your trailer.  But accidents do happen en route as well.  Determine through conversation with your insurance provider whether your trailer is considered a model or recreational travel trailer and needs coverage under auto owners insurance, homeowner’s policy or more specific mobile home policy if available or applicable.

Be certain that whichever coverage you select will include legal losses.  This is usually a given but not to be overlooked.  Just as helpful will be coverage for the cost of transporting your wrecked or damaged trailer from an accident to whichever destination you need it.  If you haven’t priced towing for over-sized vehicles lately, the numbers will astound you.   Get this added protection.

Another point that should be cleared with your provider is state-to-state laws and how they apply to your specific usage.  A trailer that is parked out of state should be covered still be covered and you do not need to reside in that state to have a policy there, clear this with your insurance company ahead of time to avoid any unwanted surprises.

From Housekeeper to Business Owner

maidcleaning_02You are known in your neighborhood as being very house proud and you have the immaculate house and well tendered lawn to show for it.  The reason why you can keep such a tidy house is because you have a lot of spare time on your hands and because you enjoy doing it.  Therefore, have you ever thought about doing it as a business?  Perhaps housekeeping and household organization is your calling.

In order to find out whether a house cleaning business is worth your time to pursue, you will first have to get a gauge on how much it is paid.  You can do this easily by phoning your potential competitors for a price quote.  Get their estimate on how much they charge per room (dimensions) and how much they charge per hour.  Do they have special discounts for biweekly customers, monthly customers?

Once you get an idea of how much you can charge, you can practice on your family and friends at a reduced price.  True, you don’t really need practice house cleaning, you’ve been doing that well on your own, but this time you’re doing it for others.  Do you meet their cleaning expectations?  Are you fast enough for the job?  Can you handle the physical demands of multiple clients?

If you answer yes to these questions, then it is time to create a house cleaning business plan.  Even though you’re likely starting this venture on your own, you still have to calculate start-up costs.  They will be fairly minimal like buying cleaning items and perhaps some advertising from the local papers.  However, the best form of house cleaning advertising is through word of mouth.  Get your friends and family members who were happy with your house cleaning to talk you up amongst potential clients.  Let them know you’re looking for house cleaning work.

If you were house proud before, you’ll be doubly proud of the services and business you’ve created due to your house cleaning prowess.

A guide to help you save cash on your home insurance policy

Want a guide to help you save cash on your home insurance policy? Here are just a few points that I have put together to enable you to get a better deal on your buildings and home contents insurance premiums.

You could look for buildings and contents separately. This will give you another idea of how good a deal you are getting. Is it cheaper to get these separately or not? Some companies offer free contents insurance when you buy their buildings insurance, this can be a good advantage but is this a good deal, ask yourself why would they give it free, is it that the buildings insurance premium is a higher to take in the free contents insurance, is it really free?

How many years no claims discount have you got on your insurance? This can sometimes make a big difference on the discount that may receive from the insurance company if you haven’t claimed for the last four or five years you may be able to receive a discount of between thirty and seventy percent. If you do make a claim is it viable, it may loose you your discount, work out the difference in the cost of the claim and the discount received. A Churchill home insurance online offers a good no claims bonus.

If you have a burglar alarm installed you may receive a discount from the insurance provider. If your burglar alarm is one of the approved installers e.g. NACCOS you may even be given an even bigger discount, and this all adds to the savings you can make. It sometimes makes sense to install one of these makes if you haven’t already got one and the insurance provider can give larger discounts.

If you are looking for contents insurance separately you may have to have an idea of how much your contents are worth, just go around your house a room at a time and give estimated values to the contents of your home.

I hope that you find this small guide useful and it will help you obtain a cheaper home insurance policy.

Sensible Home Warranty Plan

Home warranty typically covers the mechanical systems in the home — such as heating, plumbing, electrical systems and built-in appliances — for a period of six months to one year, depending on the policy. However, most home warranties DO NOT cover structural problems such as a leaky roof or a cracked foundation. That’s why it’s crucial that you always hire a professional home inspector to inspect a home before you buy it.

Sensible Home Warranty

There are about 50 or so big home warranty companies in United States and hundreds of local companies. So it is hard to choose the company that works best for you. There are several factors you should consider. Choose a company that has good reputation for handling claims. Sensible home warranty is one such company. While there are some negative reviews, they have plenty of customers with positive experience.

You don’t have to limit your choices to one company or other. Your selection criteria may depend on other factors such as policy premium, deductible per incident, coverage of appliances etc. Refer to reviews and listing of home warranty companies before you make your choice.

A Trade Service Call Fee is a small expense to the customer which is due each time a contractor comes to the home to diagnose a problem. The amount of your Trade Service Call Fee can be found on the back of the application. Since it may require more than one contractor or several unrelated trips to the house by the same contractor, (one to fix the pipe, another to fix the dishwasher) there is a fee due for each trade a service call covers. It’s perfectly alright to report more than one breakdown at a time.

Reviews:

Rob Jornia, VA

Four days before Thanksgiving, my oven went out. Yes, I had a turkey and all the trimmings, waiting to be cooked. So I called Sensible, to file a claim. This was my first claim, as I had just signed up with them in Nov, as my previous warranty company stopped issuing policies in my state. I’d read all the reviews on Sensible Home Warranty, and they seeemed like the best choice…and, wow, am I glad I chose them.
They kept me informed as to the progress of finding a repairman, and within 48 hours, sent Cox Appliance company to fix the oven. He did a spectacular job, and the oven was fixed in record time for me to cook Thanksgiving dinner.

Sensible is the third home warranty company we have used over the last 15 years. They are head and shoulders above the current pack for a number of reasons:

1. Their fees are reasonable.
2. They tend to approve, not disapprove, repairs.
3. You can actually speak to someone who is authorized to make things happen, and they do.

No company is perfect, and let’s face it: any insurance or warranty company is supposed to be cautious about claims; individuals are as likely to be unscrupulous as some companies are, and a good company cannot afford to be taken advantage of.

It was our experience with two prior companies, who had once had charged reasonable fees and provided quick, reliable service, somewhat quickly morphed into companies that seemed to be more geared to not providing repairs. Front line representatives were the only ones reachable as a human voice, and they either had no authority or pretended they did not. As important, local repair companies that had provided years of service suddenly stopped working with these companies. Their complaints and observations echoed our own.

Interestingly, we found Sensible Home Warranty via this site, and we are concluding our first year with them. There has only been one small hiccup in a handful of repair requests. We happen to have timed it just right when their phone center was being upgraded, and reaching them took a bit longer. However, once we got through and explained that we had not gotten the service we expected, they began calling us proactively to make sure things were going well.