Tapping data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Forest Service and FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program, the real estate research firm compiled a list of the cities around the country with the lowest risk of being flooded, rocked by earthquakes, battered by hurricanes, struck with tornadoes or burned by wildfires.
Another benefit these safer cities enjoy: They tend to be affordable compared to locales in places like California, Florida and Hawaii where natural disasters are more common. There are reasons why, say, a house in Honolulu is pricey — impeccable weather, breathtaking views, exciting urban nightlife — but that won’t help when the earth starts shaking.
In fact, when a natural disaster occurs, homeowners are almost twice as likely to default on their mortgage in high-risk areas than in more sheltered regions, according to mortgage research provider CoreLogic.
Check out these North East and Mid-Western cities that topped the list, including our wonderful hometown and our basketball-loving neighbor in the East!
10. Warren-Troy-Farmington Hills, Michigan
9. Denver, Colorado
8. Chicago, Illinois
7. Allentown, Pennsylvania
6. Dayton, Ohio
5. Bethesda-Rockville-Frederick, Maryland
4. Buffalo, New York
3. Akron, Ohio
2. Cleveland, Ohio
1. Syracuse, New York
Ordinarily, a serious buyer would pay to have a home formally inspected. The goal is to uncover any potential problems before signing on the dotted line, while there’s still time to negotiate.
But sometimes, sellers will have their homes inspected before they even put them on the market. Here are three reasons why a pre-inspection may be a good idea.
1. It shows your home is ‘an open book’
A pre-inspection is a goodwill gesture. It demonstrates a willingness to go beyond what’s expected, and that sets you apart from other sellers. You’re sending a signal that your house is an “open book,” and that you’re being upfront about the property. All of this can give potential buyers peace of mind and confidence.
2. It can save you money in the long run
A pre-inspection gives you, the seller, a heads-up if there are problems that a potential buyer will likely want repaired. Once you know what’s wrong, you can have those issues fixed before you list. The cleaner and more problem-free you can make your home, the faster it’s likely to sell.
Because a pre-inspection lets buyers know what they’re getting from the beginning, they can factor any needed repairs into an offer. And by disclosing all known issues upfront, you’re protecting yourself against claims the buyer might make later — which sometimes result in lawsuits.
On the other hand, let’s say you don’t have a pre-inspection. During escrow, the buyer’s inspector discovers problems you didn’t know about. You can be sure the buyer will try to negotiate a lower price, which will cost you money and can delay the sale. The buyer might even cancel the contract.
3. It can highlight your home’s assets
Assuming you’re not trying to sell a fixer-upper, a pre-inspection can shine a spotlight on your home’s selling points, such as any electrical upgrades you might have had made.
When not to have a pre-inspection
If you’re trying to offload a fixer-upper that would give even the Munsters reason for concern, there’s no point in paying for a pre-inspection. But if you’ve maintained your home and want to sell it as quickly, and as profitably, as possible, a pre-inspection is almost always a good idea.
Check out these great events. For the rest of the summer calendar, check out our website!
August 23-24: Lewiston Jazz Festival, Center Street, Lewiston
August 23-25: Buffalo Irish Festival, Canalside, Buffalo
August 23: The Allman Brothers with Steve Winwood, Darien Lake Performing Arts Center
August 24-25: Elmwood Festival of the Arts, Elmwood Ave between Lafayette and West Ferry, Buffalo
August 24: Goo Goo Dolls with Matt Nathanson, Darien Lake Performing Arts Center
A home warranty is a kind of insurance against defects or malfunctions that might occur in the home after the sale. Your real estate agent can advise you about the kinds of home warranties available in your area, including what they cover and what they cost. You can also look for home warranty companies online or in the real estate section of your local paper.
Typically, home warranties protect buyers (or homeowners) for such items as:
Repair costs of built-in appliances
Plumbing, electrical, and heating and cooling systems
Some sellers include a home warranty as part of the sale — and if not, you might be wise to ask for one. Sometimes buyers and sellers split the cost since it offers peace of mind to both parties. Be sure to educate yourself as to what a warranty in your area covers and what it costs.
Some warranties exclude appliances from coverage. Some warranties also specifically exclude swimming pools and spas, or else require an additional fee to cover them.
Warranty policy example
How one warranty policy describes what is covered and what isn’t:
KITCHEN REFRIGERATOR/SUB ZERO UNIT
Covered: All parts and components that affect the operation of the unit
Not covered: Ice-makers (except where noted, subject to all other agreement limitations), crushers, dispensers and related equipment, internal shell, racks, shelves, food spoilage, independent freezers (except where noted, subject to all other agreement limitations)
MICROWAVE OVEN (BUILT-IN)
Covered: All parts and components
Not covered: Interior lining, door glass, shelves, rotisseries, meat probes, portable countertop units, lights
GARAGE DOOR OPENER
Covered: Motor, wiring, switches, receiver unit
Not covered: Garage doors, remote transmitters, track drive, sensors
Covered: Outlets, switches, junction boxes, breakers, main panel, sub panels
Not covered: Power failure/surge, D.C. components, low voltage, and accessories. All intercoms, fixtures, inadequate wiring capacity, cable wiring, fiber optic, access to wiring
What to look for
Whether the seller buys the warranty or you purchase your own, read it carefully. If what you read is not satisfactory, choose a different policy or a different company. Make sure the policy spells out:
The term of the warranty (usually one year, but there may be an option to extend).
The names of the persons being protected by the warranty.
If the warranty is being transferred (from the seller to you), clear specifics of how that transfer will take effect.
A precise explanation of how to file a claim.
A clear description of what is covered — what is included, what is excluded, any limitations on personal property coverage; any deductibles or other fees besides the cost of the policy itself.
A clear explanation of who will make repairs (Does the warranty company have its own repair people? Does it have a designated service company? Or will you be reimbursed for the cost of having repairs done?).
Check out some of these great events happening around WNY this weekend. Remember to check out our website for a full calendar of summer events!
8/16: Buffalo Bills vs. Minnesota Vikings, Ralph Wilson Stadium
8/16: Rik Emmett, Labbatt Blue Canal Concert Series, Lockport
8/17: Scottish Festival & Highland Games, Buffalo Niagara Heritage Village, Amherst