How to Save Money on your Homeowner’s Insurance

When it comes to saving money on homeowners insurance, many of us leave savings on the table, simply, by not being well informed. If you have a good insurance agent, who really cares about you and your insurance needs, he or she will want to make sure you are getting all of the coverage you need and none of the coverage that you don’t need.  Here’s our list of some important facts you may want to be aware of before signing off on your homeowner’s insurance policy:

  1. Shop around: In other words, don’t go with the first guy you talk to! Like most everything else, insurance premiums and rates are negotiable and adjustable.
  1. Multiple Policy Discount: Most agencies offer discounts for clients who have all of their policies with them. Letting one agent handle all of your insurance needs can save you money, so as you are calling around have them give you a quote for everything.
  1. Loyalty Discount: Staying with the same insurance agency can also save you some cash. Ask your prospective agents if they offer this particular discount and, if so, when it kicks in.
  1. Non-smokers Discount: Exactly what it sounds like, if everyone in the household is a non-smoker you may be eligible for extra savings.
  1. Improved Security Systems: Safety is important, and if it can save you money, it’s an added bonus!  Smoke detectors, fire alarms, and burglar alarms are a good idea and even come standard in many homes.
  1. Do not include your land or lot in the price of your premium: In case of disaster, your land will not be destroyed or need to be replaced. So, there is no need to include it in the policy with the cost of the home and contents.
  1. Review your policies annually: Because there is no need to ensure what you don’t own, be sure to go over your needs on a yearly basis.
  1. Keep your credit score high: Your credit comes into play when your premiums are calculated. The higher your score, the less your “risk” is to the insurance company.  That translates into even more savings!

As you can see, saving money on your homeowner’s insurance could be quite simple.  You just need to be vigilant about making sure you are taking advantage of all the discounts and savings for which you may qualify.

How Much do I Need for a Down Payment?

“How much money do I need for a down payment?” is a question asked by every first- time home buyer.  The answer to this question is not as straight forward as one might think.  There are quite a few variables to consider.  However, we can give you some information to help you determine a “ball park figure,” and it all depends on your credit rating, your income, your income to debt ratio, and the type of loan you will be securing.

FHA Loans

FHA loans are mortgages which are insured by the Federal Housing Administration.  The FHA mortgage insurance program is under the management of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD.)  These FHA loans, typically, require at least 3.5% of the amount of the purchase price as a down payment.  Depending on your credit rating, the down payment percentage could go up, requiring a larger amount of up to 20 percent.

VA Loans

The VA loan is offered by the Department of Veteran Affairs, and is for use by military service members and veterans.  Like the FHA loans, these loans are insured by the federal government.  Most of the time, the VA loan requires no down payment at all, allowing the borrower to finance the entire purchase.

USDA/RHS Loans

This loan program is offered and backed by The United States Department of Agriculture, and is specifically for borrowers in rural areas who meet the criteria such as having a steady, but low to moderate, income.  Managed by the Rural Housing Service (RHS,) these loans usually do not require a down payment.

Conventional Loans

Conventional loans are not backed, in any way, by the federal government.  These loans require at least 3% of the purchase price of the property.  Again, depending on your credit rating, the down payment can go up to 20%.  Putting less than 20% down usually requires PMI (Private Mortgage Insurance) to be added to your monthly payments.

Five Things you Didn’t know about Lliving in Palm Beach County

Maybe you are considering a move into Palm Beach County, or maybe you already reside here.  Whether here by chance or choice, Palm Beach County is a great place to live.  Aside from the obvious tropical feel and paradise in your own back yard, PBC has much to offer.  So, here is a list of things you may not even know about Palm Beach County and our top 5 reasons for why living here can’t be beat.

  1. No State Taxes: This first one is actually true for the entire state of Florida, but it’s too important to leave off the list! Only seven states in the country can make this claim, and Florida is one of them.  So, instead of parting with your hard earned money by paying state income taxes, you can put more in savings for a rainy day!
  1. World Class Shopping and Dining: It’s no secret; Palm Beach County has some of the best shopping and dining in the world!  One of the many reasons the area is such an attraction for tourists, any time of day or night, you can find a place for scrumptious food and drinks!  Every type of cuisine you can imagine, from all over the world, can be found right here in Palm Beach County.   And, the shopping is “to die for!”  You would need weeks, maybe even months, to make the rounds to all of the fashionable boutiques and big name chain stores alike.
  1. Cultural Diversity and Arts: In Palm Beach County alone, there are over 300 arts and cultural organizations!  For a comprehensive list, you can visit palmbeachculture.com. They offer a digital guide to help you get to know and explore these organizations.  From the Ann Norton Sculpture Garden to the Yesteryear Village, there will be places you never knew existed and can’t wait to visit
  1. Palm Beach County Schools: Out of over 70 districts in the state of Florida, Palm Beach County School District makes the top 15 list for best schools.  With over 150 languages spoken throughout the district, the schools are diverse and serve the children of the community with a love for education.  Serving over 37,000 Exceptional Student Education (ESE) students, Palm Beach County Schools has special programs in each school to serve these students and over 9,000 gifted students are in special programs in the district as well.
  1. Palm Beach International Airport: Our list would not be complete without the ease and convenience of an international airport nearby.  But Palm Beach International Airport is not just an ordinary airport.  Serving over 6 million passengers yearly, the airport houses everything from a putting green to a luxury day spa. Traveling with your “furry friend?” More good news; PBI offers fenced and shaded luxury pet relief areas for your four legged kiddo to run and play before or after a long flight!

There is much to learn about Palm Beach County and all that life here has to offer.  So, if you’re thinking of moving here for the awesome year round weather and the beautiful beaches, you are in for a pleasant surprise.  We agree, our location and weather couldn’t be more perfect.  But, Palm Beach County has so much more to give than just that!

Frozen in Time – Brand New 1950’s Home Never Lived in!

So, what does a 1950’s home that was never occupied look like?  You would think the home would be infested and dilapidated.  Not in the case of the Chicago home purchased by furniture designer, Nathan Chandler in 2010; at least not the kitchen.  Sure, it needed a little dusting off and polishing, but what appeared underneath years of gathered dirt and grime was a perfectly pristine 1950’s kitchen.

4354252429_8c91530e88_z 4354253387_d8edd1d1bd_z From the small and intricate mosaic tiles on the floor, to the “Mad Men style” light fixtures on the kitchen ceiling, this home was meant to be lived in and enjoyed.  The retro pink GE appliances still had their original manuals taped to them, as if just waiting for their new owner to remove them and bring them to life for the first time.  The blonde wood cabinets which encased the popular pink equipment was trimmed in the latest knobs and topped with the matching pink Formica countertops and was, without a doubt, the dream of every 1950’s housewife.  Easy to imagine, picture her in a feminine ruffled apron, busily working to prepare dinner for her family for the first time in her new kitchen.  Her friends, jealous of the pink GE refrigerator that was built into the top shelf of the cabinetry, stop by to welcome her to the neighborhood just for the chance to get a glimpse at the latest designs.

But it was not to be.  For some, it’s a shame that this house was not preserved, and completely restored to its original glory, when it was discovered a little over six years ago, but the buyer had other plans for the home.  So, the kitchen and appliances have been auctioned off, and the home is forced to move on into the future without its original content.

4354994260_151724da5e_z 4355000410_ee9a839db6_zStill fantasizing, wouldn’t you just love to take a home like this and completely furnish it with appropriate time period items?  Every room could be designed straight from the magazine pages of a 1956 issue of Better Homes & Gardens.  Well, one can only dream.  In the meantime, enjoy these pictures of the kitchen  that was uncovered when the home was purchased in 2010.

Stephanie Schwartz “Nathan Chandler’s 1956 time capsule kitchen sold in Chicago” Newsday.com. Photos are property of the original poster and are being used for informational purposes, they are not property of The Jackie Ellis Real Estate Network or any of it’s affiliates.

Jackie Ellis has been awarded 10 Best Real Estate Professionals for Client Satisfaction 2016

10BestAwardThe American Institute of Real Estate Professionals, also known as the AIOREP, has recognized the extraordinary performance of Palm Beach County’s Real Estate Professional, and our own, Jackie EllisJackie has been awarded with the exclusive honor of being named as one of the 10 Best Real Estate Professionals in Florida for Client Satisfaction.

Qualifying for the exclusive list is not an easy task, though Jackie is able to make it appear so.  In order to be honored with the prestigious award, each real estate agent must pass the rigorous selection process which includes a formal nomination and the achievement of the highest possible degree of professional development along with the best reputation for client satisfaction.

The “10 Best” list is extended only to the select few agents who have managed to combine the success of reaching the top level in their profession with the accomplishment of maintaining the highest level of customer satisfaction.

If you have any experience with Jackie Ellis or any of her team members, you are well aware of the fact that they pride themselves on client satisfaction.  Making their clients THE top priority has made the Jackie Ellis Team the “go to” team for any and all real estate needs in the Palm Beach County area.  Congratulations, Jackie, on receiving this prestigious and well deserved recognition!