Buying an Older Home and Getting Insurance
Benefits to buying an Older Home
Buying an older home in Orlando can mean touches of timeless beauty and loads of character. Older homes usually offer larger lots, bigger pools, and mature landscaping. Older homes can be found in the most charming and sought-after neighborhoods in Orlando. Many of these homes have the coveted tree-lined brick paved streets.
Home Owner Insurance Implications
For the purpose of insurance, an older home constitutes a home older than 30 years. Insurance companies will scrutinize the age of any improvements before qualifying the home for insurance. They want to know the age and condition of the roof, electric, air conditioner, and plumbing. Insurance companies want either a 4 Point Inspection Report before closing. If not, they will send their own inspector after closing to evaluate these 4 things.
Insurance companies are getting picky about the condition of a home. They may just require replacements prior to closing. Here are some common issues we see home buyers face.
- Roofs that are damaged or have less than 5 years life expectancy.
- Homes containing Polybutylene plumbing.
- Water heaters older than 15 years.
- Federal Pacific or similar listed electric panels or double tapped breakers.
- AC not working, often found in distressed properties.
86% of Buyers Don’t Know What a CLUE Report Is
Another new area that is causing buyer problems, is seller making make past insurance claims on the property and not disclosing it or realizing how it effects future home buyers. Now all the insurance companies are using the CLUE (Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange) report to search past claims on properties. These past claims can mean higher premiums or cancelation of insurance for home buyers. This is why it’s imperative to have a buyer’s agent.
What Can Buyers Do to Discover Past Claims?
The State of Florida offers sellers an opportunity to completed a “Sellers Disclosure” on their property. A seller can disclose information about the property, including repairs, and condition. There is only one question that pertains to sinkhole claims but no other property related claims.
Did you know only 12% of home buyers ask sellers for a CLUE report? Buyers can ask the seller to disclose insurance claim history or ask the seller to secure a CLUE report. Only sellers can request the report as the home buyer is not privy to it on their own.
What to do if you run into an issue?
It would be ideal to find a property that has all 4 items maintained and updated. That way buyers can easily get homeowners insurance with their preferred carrier at preferred rates. Home buyers do not always know there is an issue until they contact their insurance agent. A good insurance agent will evaluate the insurance carriers to determine which carriers will be the best fit. Most insurance carriers have different tolerances and requirements.
There are solutions for home buyers that run into property issues when buying an older home.
- Renegotiate with the seller to fix the specific issue before closing, in order to get updated reports showing the correction.
- Find an insurance carrier that does their own inspection after closing. The buyer would get the issue fixed immediately after closing, and before the insurance inspection is conducted.
- Find an insurance carrier to accept the deficiency. This can mean you can get a lower rated company, reduce the coverage, or pay a higher insurance premium. Once the items are fixed you should be able to switch to a preferred insurance policy.
Make Sure You work with a Knowledgeable Insurance Agent
Often home buyers are concerned with getting the best buyers agent, mortgage broker, or home inspector, but often overlook the competency of their insurance agent.
I talked to an insurance agent last week and asked what financial rating of the insurance company, he did not know the answer and stated, “I normally quote this company all the time to my clients, and have not had any complaints.” I knew right then, this insurance agent was not knowledgeable. Only hire an insurance agent that understands all the pitfalls. You owe it to yourself not to have a mediocre insurance agent when dealing with the complexity of buying an older home.
Make sure that you hire a home buying expert when buying your next Central Florida Home. Buyers Broker of Florida can help homebuyers navigate the complexity of real estate transactions. Call us, you will be glad you did 407-539-1053.