Category: (3)

Man’s Best Friend and Insurance Ratings

by char-maccallum-real-estate-group-inc

dog.jpgFew people doubt that most dog owners love their pets and treat them well.  The costs associated with having a dog can include medical and dental that rivals human expenses, premium food, toys, grooming and license fees.  However, one of the expenses not anticipated by pet owners is a higher homeowner’s insurance premium.  Recently when one of our new buyers purchases a home in Olathe, Kansas, they placed a call to get a quote on home insurance.  She was very suprised when asked if she had a dog and what breed. Hmmm.  At the Char MacCallum Real Estate group, we LOVE our dogs and family pets.  So we wanted to tell our clients and friends a little bit more about why our Olathe home buyers were being asked that question.

The cold truth is, there are almost five million dog bites a year with children being the main victims.

“Dog bites accounted for more than one-third of all homeowner’s insurance liability claim dollars paid out in 2012, which amounted to more than $489 million,” said Peter Robertson, representing the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America, testifying against the bill at a hearing of the Committee on Financial Services.  He said, “The total cost of dog bite claims increased by more than 51 percent between 2003 and 2012.”  It is now estimated that dog bites cause losses of over one billion dollars a year.

Some insurance underwriters have denied or canceled coverage or increased the premium of the owner’s liability insurance based on the homeowners’ specific breed of dog such as Pit Bulls, Dobermans, Akitas, Mastiffs, Malamutes and even German Shepherds.  The aggressive nature of certain types of dogs combined with specific training or lack of training, abuse or neglect are identified by insurer’s refusal to provide liability coverage.

If you are considering what insurers identify as a high-risk pet, you might want to visit with your insurance agent prior to acquiring your new best friend to see if it affects your rates.  We know that our furry friends are part of the family and we want to make sure that you have all your details covered when purchasing anOlathe home.  Our Kansas City area is a great place to live and very pet friendly.  At the Char MacCallumReal Estate group, we just want to make sure that you know your wallet friendly options when purchasing aJohnson County area home!

Don’t Do It!

by char-maccallum-real-estate-group-inc

iStock_000004411494XSmall(er).jpgYou’ve seen lists telling buyers what to do to find the right home but knowing what not to do can be just as important.  After finding the right Kansas City home, negotiating a contract, making a loan application and inspections, buyers, understandably, start making plans to move and put their personal touches on the home.

One of the most important parts of buying a home is finalizing the mortgage information.  At the Char MacCallum Real Estat Group we can’t stress enought that in today’s tenuous lending environment, little things can derail the process which isn’t over until the papers are signed at settlement and funds distributed to the seller. Verifications are made by a lender at the beginning of the loan process to determine if the buyer qualifies for the mortgage. The verifications are usually done again just prior to the closing to determine if there have been any material changes to the borrower’s credit or income that might disqualify them.

Simply stated:

1. Don’t make any new major purchases that could affect your debt-to-income ratio
2. Don’t apply, co-sign or add any new credit
3. Don’t quit your job or change jobs
4. Don’t change banks
5. Don’t open new credit accounts
6. Don’t close or consolidate credit card accounts without advice from your lender
7. Don’t buy things for your new home until after you close
8. Don’t talk to the seller without your agent

The Char MacCallum Real Estate group and lenders are working together to get you into your new home. It’s understandable to be excited about one of the biggest decisions you’ll make and that you feel you need to be getting ready for the move.

Planning is smart but don’t do anything that would affect your credit or income while you’re waiting to sign the final papers at settlement.  If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call your real estate agent to ask.  It’s better safe than sorry.  We can be reached at the Char MacCallum Real Estate Group at 913-782-8857.

Who is my agent?

by char-maccallum-real-estate-group-inc

Secret agent 150.jpgEver been asked a strange question?  When buying and selling Kansas City homes, we’ve heard them all!  More often than you’d expect, homeowners refer to the person they bought their insurance from as their agent. It sounds reasonable but it’s definitely not accurate. That person is the agent of the insurance company and they legally represent the company, not the customer. Even an independent agent who can place a policy with different companies is still an agent of the company.

A mortgage officer, in most cases is an employee and represents the company. And the same is true for a title or escrow officer. It’s important to understand the actual relationship to know what you can expect from them.

Any business person who wants to stay in business must treat their customers fairly and with a high degree of service. As a customer, you should be able to reasonably expect honesty and accountability. The difference is that employees owe their loyalty to their employer and agents owe their loyalty to their principal.

An agent owes more than just honesty and accountability. The principal can expect complete disclosure, obedience, loyalty, reasonable skill and care and confidentiality from their agent.

This advocacy is very beneficial during the buying or selling process to coordinate all aspects of the transaction. The agent can bring valuable experience to your side of the transaction to provide confidence that your best interests are being represented from start to finish.

Most states have a recognized procedure for the real estate professional to create a formal relationship between themselves and a buyer or seller. This requires a fiduciary/statutory responsibility that places the principals’ interests above the agent’s own personal interests. At the Char MacCallum Real Estate Group, we take our responsibilities to our clients very seriously!  We want to earn our clients business as well as their respect.  As members of the Olathe Chamber of Commerce, we know the difference a small business can make to a community and we take care of our officers, agents and fellow realtors with pride!