7 Home Insurance Tasks to Complete During Your Home Inspection Period

This was originally posted by Richard Morris with Southwest Premier Insurance Agency LLC and I thought the info was so valuable I needed to re-post it here!  If you have any questions about the inspection period or purchasing a home in Arizona, feel free to give me a call at 602-451-1268. ~Liz

You’ve just signed the purchase contract on your new home. You’re excited about getting into your new place and making it your own. I know! I’ve been in your shoes many times over the years.

Unfortunately, just because you signed the purchase contract it doesn’t mean you’ll have smooth sailing through your closing. There could be some choppy seas to navigate before you get to your destination. The Home Inspection period is the first of these to get through and 10 days will fly by. So, from an insurance perspective I’ve put together my 7 Home Insurance Tasks to Complete While in Your Home Inspection Period to help you get to your home closing on time and with as little trepidation as possible.

Follow these 7 tasks and it will be smooth sailing!

1.      Contact an Insurance Professional on Day 1

It’s important to begin securing your insurance for your new home early in the process not later. You’ll want to discover any issues which may increase your premium or impact qualification for insurance as early as possible so you can address them promptly. Preferably, contact an Independent Agent (see my video(2 min.) on Why you should choose an Independent Agent here) who’ll do the shopping for you among many top insurance carriers. They’ll know which companies have favorable underwriting and pricing for your individual situation.

2.      Review the CLUE reports

Yes, there are two CLUE reports. You should request the seller’s CLUE report, but more importantly, when working with your insurance professional you’ll need to review YOUR report. Your agent will get information on the SUBJECT (that’s you) and the RISK (that’s the property you’re buying). Your past claims matter, and could impact your potential rate or even qualification so this is a must do task during the inspection period. More about the CLUE Report here.

3.      Request all tree branches be trimmed back from the roof

This may seem like a strange request but it’s important to do. Many insurance companies will complete a “Drive-by” home inspection (at a minimum) and if the inspector sees branches hanging on the roof many insurance companies will send a notice of cancellation of the insurance policy if the problem isn’t rectified. Don’t go through this needless stress, address the problem early.

4.      Send your inspection report to your insurance agent

Many more insurance carriers are requesting this report today to grant Home Buyer discounts and or to verify the current condition of the home. In the past, I’ve used this report to gain approval from an insurance company underwriter when there was a major fire at a property to be insured. Your insurance professional should be reviewing this report with you from an insurance perspective; 99% of agents don’t.

5.      Consider Bundling your auto and home insurance to save money

How would you like to get your home insurance paid for by the savings that bundling your auto insurance brings? I’ve witnessed this many times. Unless you’re closing your home purchase in 10 days or less you have plenty of time to work with your agent to find the best package policy and price for your situation. Often times there can be hundreds of dollars saved annually by bundling so; Don’t leave any money on the table!

6.      Meet with your Insurance Professional personally to review the final policy selection

Resist the urge to have your documents mailed to you. If the agent you choose only wants to mail your application to you for signatures then you’ve picked the wrong agent or company. After all, your home purchase is probably the single most expensive asset you’ve ever purchased so why would you want your agent to “Mail it In”. The right professional agent will make the time to meet with you; don’t waste this opportunity to have a detailed review of the insurance that may someday be needed after a damaging peril.

7.      Complete a Home Inventory of your stuff while moving

I know it’s a busy time moving but what better time is there to log serial numbers of major electronics or take pictures or video your belongings while packing-unpacking. There are many fantastic online software programs to help you itemize and value your stuff, by room, so you have a permanent record of your inventory. This is an invaluable time saver if you should ever need to provide an inventory to your insurance company. I recommend DocuHome. Find out more about this program on my website http://www.swpremierins.com/content/homeinventorysolution.aspx

Author Richard Morris

Richard Morris, an independent insurance agent in Chandler, Arizona, has been serving and helping Arizona families with all their insurance needs for over 23 years. Visit his website at http://www.southwestpremierinsuranceagency.com to see all the ways he can help you with your insurance needs or call the office at (480) 336-2707 or toll free at (888) 907-9349. Connect with Rich on Google+ and Twitter.

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Organizing Kids’ School Papers

I have struggled for years(!) with how to organize, file, keep, and toss the kids’ school papers.  They end up all over the house, on my desk, and then in boxes that I have actually moved I am embarrassed to say how many times.

When school started I did this little panic because I still had last year’s stuff on my desk!!!  I had to get it cleared up fast since the next round was coming in.

The idea is that the kids will empty their school notebooks and gather all the beautiful artwork they create in these stackers on my desk:

Stackers on desk

Stackers on desk

I go through the papers regularly, usually once a week, but pull out the things that need to go back to school daily.  There is a self-inking date stamper sitting next to it so I don’t end up with more artwork that I have no idea which kid created it or when.  I have my own criteria for what I keep, it’s something loosely like this – it has to reflect their personality or something notable about them at the time.  I rarely keep worksheets or spelling tests.  I’m not sure I’ve ever kept a spelling test, actually.

These notebooks hold the keepers:

Artwork notebooks

Artwork notebooks


I put them together quickly, if you can’t tell I’m more of a functionality, get it done and move on to the next project kind of person.  But I did put scrapbook papers in the front, back, and the spine with their names on them.  Inside are page protectors to hold the artwork:

Inside the notebooks

Inside the notebooks


Their work can be slipped in quickly.  There are a lot of extra empty page protectors in the back so they can be inserted as soon as they are determined to be long-term keepers.

The notebooks are kept on a bookshelf where the kids can look through it anytime they want.  They really like having it accessible.

How do you manage the never-ending papers?

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Sight Word HILARITY!

Oh my gosh my six-year old son and I just had the best time.  Like better than Chuck E. Cheese time.  And I think he learned some things.  Like maybe a few sight words.

1. We put sight words and the numbers 1-10 on pieces of paper and taped them to the wall.

2.  We loaded up our Nerf guns, set out the darts, and gathered all bows and bouncy arrows.

3.  We created a defense fort.

4.  Then, we shot at those sneaky sight words!

“Oh no! ‘Be’ is looking at us!  Shoot him!”

“Get that ‘little!’ Why you ‘little!’”
This one went on for a while because we couldn’t actually hit it!

“Hey! What’s 2+4? Get it!”

“Oh my gosh, where did ‘see’ go? Do you think you can get it? I’m out of ammo!”

And the hilarity that ensued when we were shooting at “me” and “you:”

Me:  Aggghhhh! “Me” is sneaking up on us!  Shoot “me!”

Him:  Shoot you?

Me:  No, not me, “ME!” You shoot “me” and I’ll shoot “you!” (waiving and pointing)

Him:  Don’t shoot me!  I’ll shoot you!

And so on.  For at least 10 minutes of absolute gut-hurting giggling.

Sight Words with Nerf Guns

My 10 year-old daughter was supposed to join us, when I came down stairs and asked her why she didn’t come up, she said, “I was reading my anthology book.”  I said, “The Secret Series?”  And get this, she said, “No, my text book I brought home from school today.”

And let’s just call this day a wrap ’cause today was AWESOME!

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Market Monday! The First! April 28, 2014

How about we start a thing we can call Market Watch Monday or Market Monday or something?  We can look at what the residential real estate market is doing.  Not always exciting (unless you love numbers and graphs, which I do! Spreadsheets are wonderful tools, btw.) but often very, very helpful.  I’m going to toss out some info, maybe give a bit of my opinion, but if you have questions or, as always, want to discuss over coffee, feel free call or email me!

Lockbox activity¹ – down 10.48% from last week

Number of active listings² – 26,892
Number of UCB/pending listings³ – 11,559
Number of homes sold last week – 1,603
Number of homes sold last month – 12,516

Average Days on Market as of the 14th of last month – 83.6 days

List to sale price ratio as of the 14th of last month – 97.3%

The National Association of Realtors Pending Home Sales info regarding the increase in March is here (keep in mind this is national and real estate is very local!).

¹ - Lockbox activity is when an agent opens a lockbox, showing a house is 80-95% of opens, putting/taking a lockbox on/off a new/soldlisting is the rest.

² – Active listings are listings that are not under contract

³ – UCB (under contract accepting backups) and pending homes have contracts but have not closed yet

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Super Hero Birthday Party!

My stepson turned 8 this week and we had a super fun super hero party at our house to celebrate!  I often curse Pinterest and it’s half-baked ideas that work half the time.  But this time it was full of really fun ideas for a super hero party.

Our theme for the activities, which were the main focus for our party:
Super Hero Birthday Party Games

We had a laser maze for the kids to climb through. Other Pinners used a hallway, but we weren’t planning to have people upstairs.  I planned to use the back of the living room couch and a flat wall, but then decided to use the pet pen we have.  Red yarn was the laser.
Super Hero Birthday Party Games Laser Maze

Helium filled balloons with little weights (the free clip ones they give you at the grocery store) tied at different heights for the kids to punch.

A lava pit to cross (kiddie pool filled with water, dry ice plopped in, and a 2×4 strapped to cinder blocks.  The bath tabs did not work to color it red as one Pinner suggested, our pool was too big for 8 tabs to even tint the water.  The kids did not care!)
Super Hero Birthday Party Lava Pit

The super heroes jumped over tall buildings!  Our 4 kids decorated the tall buildings (boxes wrapped in brown package paper) themselves, this was a fantastic activity for them so they could help and they were occupied while I did other things.  They used our little trampoline to jump over the buildings.

They sword fought a bop bag.  Swords were pool noodles chopped in half.  Other pinners let them sword fight each other, which I know from experience is a bad idea and turns into tears.  So I gave them the Angry Birds (not with the theme but who cares!) bop bag.  They loved it.  No tears.

They shot villains with water guns.  Villains were empty water bottles with an angry face drawn on them with Sharpie. I tried to give them a large bowl filled with water for quick refills but for some reason these water guns would not refill when submerged.  Too busy to trouble shoot that one.  Thankfully they moved on and did not turn the water guns on each other!

The kids webbed a villain with silly string!  Craig volunteered to be the villain.  I forgot to set some ground rules, which would be: not on the face.  I think he ingested silly string.  Look at the faces on those kids!!! (I think another Pinner let them silly string each other, but again, I was going for no tears.)
Super Hero Birthday Party Games Web Silly String a Villain

And everyone’s favorite – ZIP LINE!!!  What super hero doesn’t want to fly through the air!  Birthday boy actually looks like he’s flying in this picture!  Disclaimer:  BE SAFE!!! I set the stipulation on this one that it could be no higher a drop than the monkey bars at school. (Oh my goodness while editing this photo I zoomed in to birthday boy’s face for the first time.  The look is priceless.)
Super Hero Birthday Party Zip Line

I loved that the kids helped with the projects for the games.  My 9 yr old daughter made the signs for the activities.  All 4 decorated the buildings for the Jump Tall Buildings activity.  My 6 yr old son helped string the yarn for the Laser Maze.  And of course, they had to test everything pre-party!
Super Hero Birthday Party Drink

If you want details on anything we did, feel free to email me or write in the comments below!

We have another party coming up in a few months and I’m always looking for ideas!  What kid parties have you thrown that worked or didn’t work?

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