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 September 04, 2017

7 Tips for New Homeowners

New homeowners holding a sign that says, "Our first home"

Buying a home

Buying a new home is exciting. Homeowners face unique legal issues like insurance, homeowner associations, warranties, contractors, mortgages and more. The following tips are designed to help you anticipate problems and handle unexpected events when they occur. If you have questions, contact your LegalShield provider law firm and speak with a real estate lawyer.

1. Insurance – While the terms of your mortgage require you to purchase homeowners insurance to protect against the loss of the property, it’s up to you to make sure you have enough insurance to cover the loss of your possessions. Buying a policy because it is the most affordable may be a recipe for disaster. Make sure your policy covers natural disasters common to where you live. You should also have adequate life insurance to cover the mortgage and other expenses for a partner, spouse or children, should something happen to you. Review all policies regularly to make sure they adequately meet your needs.

2. Important information – Hang on to all of your closing, title and mortgage documents. If a problem arises with the title or you decide to refinance, having those documents will be helpful. Keep important information, such as insurance documents, warranties, deeds and Wills, in a safe location where they will not be lost or destroyed.

3. Homeowner Associations (HOA) – If your neighborhood is governed by an HOA you should read and understand the association’s bylaws. HOA bylaws often restrict modifications you can make to the property and regulate the property’s appearance. You could be fined for failing to adhere to your HOA’s bylaws. Imagine painting the outside of your home only to discover the color doesn’t meet HOA bylaws, having to pay a fine and repaint the home. If you need assistance reviewing HOA bylaws contact your LegalShield provider law firm.

4. Preventative maintenance – If you are transitioning from renting to homeownership you may be used to someone else fixing leaky pipes or other issues. It is vital to take good care of your new home by performing preventative maintenance. Have your heating and air conditioning checked periodically. Don’t overlook seemingly minor problems, like that leaky pipe, because they will inevitably turn into much larger and more expensive problems.

5. Hiring a contractor – Repairs and renovations are an inevitable part of homeownership. When you hire a contractor, avoid taking the lowest bid without considering other important factors. Check the contractor’s references and confirm that he or she is licensed and insured. Ask for a detailed written estimate of the cost and scope of the work before agreeing to anything. Your LegalShield provider law firm can help review a contractor’s agreement before you sign.

6. Home & appliance warranties – Home and appliance warranties are only as good as their fine print. Before signing up for a warranty have your LegalShield provider law firm review the terms carefully for exclusions and hidden costs.

 7. Neighborhood disputes – Disputes between neighbors over property lines, dangerous trees, animals and other disturbances can quickly spiral out of control. Before taking matters into your own hands call your LegalShield provider law firm and discuss your concerns with an attorney who understands the local laws.

Another issue that may arise is when nearby construction causes excessive noise and disturbances for homeowners. Learn more about your rights when it comes to disruptive construction noise in this U.S. News & World Report article with tips from Ben Farrow, an attorney with The Anderson Law Firm, a LegalShield provider law firm.

LegalShield provides access to legal services offered by a network of provider law firms to LegalShield Members through member-based participation. Neither LegalShield nor its officers, employees or sales associates directly or indirectly provide legal services, representation or advice. See a plan contract at legalshield.com for specific state of residence for complete terms, coverage, amounts, and conditions. This is not intended to be legal or medical advice. Please contact a medical professional for medical advice or assistance and an attorney for legal advice or assistance.


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