Selling Your Home?

When it comes to the Massachusetts housing market in today’s economy, prices are expected to remain steady and buyer’s are at an advantage. Knowing that, what can you do to make your home more attractive to buyers, and more likely to be sold?

If you want to sell your home for the most amount of money in the shortest amount of time then you need to make sure that it looks great. Massachusetts home buyers have their pick of the litter these days so you have to make sure to get their attention. Make your home look terrific inside and out and do a few little extra things to seal the deal.

Here are ten tips for showing off your home so that it sells.

1. Make sure it looks great from the street. You might be surprised by how many home buyers drive past a place, don’t like what they see from the outside and then never even bother to go in and check it out. You want to prevent that problem by doing a bit of clean-up and landscaping to the front of the home. If it has “curb appeal”, it’s a lot more likely to sell. You don’t have to go out of your way to make the exterior stunning but do make sure it’s neat, pretty and freshly painted.

2. Offer something appealing at the entrance of the home. Regardless of what room or entry way your front door opens into, that space needs to be attractive to immediately capture the interest of a potential buyer. An attractive potted plant, a mirror or other tasteful décor is a nice touch here when showing off your home to buyers.

3.De-clutter. If you’re showing off a home that isn’t going to be entirely empty than make sure that you empty it out as much as possible before you show it.You want to get rid of all clutter, reduce the amount of furniture and general limit what is seen in each room.

4. Fresh paint is a must. A freshly painted home looks cleaner, brighter and ready for move-in. It is best to paint in light, bright, neutral colors. This opens up the space and makes it seem airy.

5. Clean your windows. You would be surprised at the difference clean windows do to make a home much more appealing to someone who may want to live there. Clean, clear windows allow more sunlight in and thus create a more inviting space.

6.Double-check that everything in the home works properly. If a potential new home buyer comes into the home, flips a switch and the light doesn’t go on because the bulb is burned out, you may lose the sale of your home. Go through the house and check that all lights work, all appliances are functioning properly, all doors open and close completely without squeaking, etc. This simple check of the home can go a long way towards increasing the chance of a sale.

7. Highlight the best features of the home. Does your home having amazing light fixtures?Make sure that they are shiny and visible. Does it have wonderful molding? Make sure that accent lights direct attention to these features.

8. What’s that smell? Make sure your home smells fresh and clean. Light a candle before a showing to freshen the room. Cinnamon and vanilla are welcoming scents to try.Get the pets out of the house; maybe take them for a walk in the park. Make sure that you’ve cleaned the carpets and aired out the home before you show it off to any potential buyers.

9. Set the temperature to a comfortable level. You want to make sure that the home is nice and cool if it’s the summer so that the people visiting it feel like they’re getting a respite from the heat outside. And if it’s a perfect day outside then open a window or two and let in that nice breeze. You want to show the people who may decide to live here that this is a comfortable home all year long!

10.De-personalize the space….remove excess family photos, collections, and personal items.  Although you may love your collection of bubble gum memorabilia, or your room dedicated to BC Football – not everyone has the same appreciation and it can be a distraction to potential buyers. Instead, de-personalize the space and this will allow potential buyers to be able to envision living in the space.

Although there will be an investment to get your house in order to sell, the investment is very worthwhile. Considering that price reductions are usually $5,000-$10,000 each time you have to make an adjustment, a $5,000 investment that gets your house sold quickly is smart!

Real estate transactions involve one of the biggest financial investments most people experience in their lifetime. you should not go at alone, Consult a local Real Estate professional, they can help you evaluate the value of your home, market your home and negotiate with potential buyers, plus many more services. 

Have more questions on your homeowners insurance or how to get started on a new policy? Vargas & Vargas Insurance  is committed to helping you find the right coverage that will suit your family’s needs and budget.  Call us today at 877-550-0025.

 

Detecting Dangerous Carbon Monoxide Leaks in Your Building

We all know it’s important to have fire alarms installed in your
business premises, and having such safety measures could even help lower the
cost of your business insurance premiums. But have you considered adding carbon
monoxide detectors to your Massachusetts business premises? Carbon monoxide is
a colorless, odorless, tasteless, non-irritating poisonous gas. It can be
difficult to detect, and exposure may cause damage to the heart or brain, or
even death. It is important to take steps to prevent carbon monoxide leaks in
your building.

Carbon monoxide leaks can happen if fuel-burning appliances such as
furnaces, ranges, water heaters, and
gas and kerosene room heaters
malfunction. Engine-powered equipment such as portable generators can also leak
carbon monoxide. Mild symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headache,
nausea and blurred vision. Worse symptoms may include confusion, rapid heart
rate and unconsciousness.

Ways to prevent such leaks include having regular checks done on your
fuel-burning appliances, making sure your fresh air intake vents are
unobstructed and checking for signs of a carbon monoxide leak. Signs include
high indoor humidity, or soot collecting near vents. Should you suspect your
building has a carbon monoxide leak, you may need to open windows, shut off any
appliances, and evacuate the building. If you do install carbon monoxide
detectors or other features that improve building safety or security, it might
be a good idea to talk to your insurance agent in Massachusetts to see if the
changes will impact your coverage or the premiums you pay.

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Do I Need Commercial Auto Insurance?

 

Do I Need Commercial Auto Insurance?

Do you own your own business? Do you use a vehicle, or vehicles for business purposes? Do you have employees on the road using vehicles for business? Whether you provide company vehicles for your employees, or they use their own vehicle for business purposes, commercial auto insurance is a must. Massachusetts Commercial Auto Insurance provides coverage for cars, trucks and vans used by you or your employees for business purposes. 

Massachusetts Commercial Auto Insurance covers many of the same things as a Massachusetts Personal Auto policy including liability, collision, medical costs, uninsured motorists and comprehensive coverage.  However, it is specifically for vehicles used for your business. Every company has different guidelines for business use coverage on a personal auto policy. Discuss your situation with your Vargas & Vargas agent to determine your business’ commercial vehicle insurance needs.

Here are some important questions that will determine your coverage needs:

How many vehicles and drivers will need to be covered?

Coverage for commercial vehicle insurance is based on the number of vehicles and drivers to be insured. Depending on the number of vehicles and drivers involved, fleet insurance can often be less expensive than per vehicle policies.
 

Does your business require special coverages and considerations?

Certain businesses must adhere to federal and state regulatory standards in the operations of their vehicles. For example, if your business will be hauling cargo interstate, there are specific Department of Transportation requirements for insurance that must be met. You will need to make sure you and your insurance professional have a thorough understanding of those requirements. Also, if you will be delivering or hauling for others or using other’s equipment such as leased trailers or rental equipment, you will need hired or non-owned vehicle coverage.

Ways to Lower Premium Costs

Like your Personal Auto Insurance policy, there are certain factors that contribute to determining premiums for a Massachusetts Commercial Auto Insurance policy. 

Business Location – the location of the vehicles determines premiums for theft.

Driver Records – hire only qualified drivers with safe driving records.

Choice of Vehicle – sports cars have higher premiums than five-star safety rated mid-sized sedans.

Safety and Anti-Theft Devices – alarms, GPS tracking, air bags, seat belts, and other such devices can significantly lower premiums

Deductibles- can your business afford part of the risk and maintain a high deductible? If so, your premiums will be lower.

Seasonal Businesses – Don’t cancel your insurance each year if you have a seasonal business. If you do, your stored vehicles won’t be protected. It’s better to maintain a comprehensive only policy that will provide basic protection against incidents like vandalism, theft, falling tree branches, and hail during the off-season. Also, if you drop your insurance completely, you might pay significantly more to get a new policy because most insurance companies want to see proof of continuous coverage.

In general, if your vehicle is used more than three times a month for business purposes it is considered a commercial vehicle. This does not include driving the vehicle to and from work, but actually using the vehicle for your business such as visiting clients in your city or making a trip to another city, or driving to a job site or carrying equipment or people for your business. If the use of your vehicle falls under this category, it is well worth the effort of getting the proper type of Massachusetts Auto Insurance  so that you will receive the protection you need, when you need it.

Learn more about your Commercial Auto Insurance options and secure a Massachusetts Commerical Auto quote so you can make an informed decision. Vargas & Vargas Insurance  is a certified flood insurance agency and is committed to helping you find the right coverage to suit your needs and budget.  Call us today at 877-550-0025.

 

 

Earning a Degree in Debt

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These days, a diploma is not all graduates receive to remind them of their hard work and accomplishments. As they walk off the stage and into the real world, piles of student loans and debt serve as their unwelcome welcome mat.

As a recent NPR article states, student debt has begun to impact their lives more than just financially. Now, the amount of graduates’ debt may be a make-it-or-break-it factor in relationships and social lives.

So, how can graduates manage their debt instead of having their debt manage them?

Get organized. It’s a simple idea but is the best first step to staying on top of payments. American Student Assistance is a valuable and free resource, offering student loan organizational charts, budget templates, e-mail payment reminders and more.

Negotiate income-based payment options. Students who qualify for this option have debt that is high relative to their earnings. It caps their required monthly payments at an affordable amount based on their income and family size.

For more information about income-based payment options, visit Federal Student Aid. To determine eligibility, fill out the repayment calculator.

Consider deferments and forbearance. Deferments and forbearances are temporary halts to a loan and may prevent students from defaulting on payments. However, interest may still accrue on some loans during this time. Therefore, it is important to understand fully what the terms mean.

Seek advice from a loan servicer. A loan servicer is a company that collects loans and responds to customer service inquiries. Loans are automatically assigned to these companies. Students can access information about their specific loan servicer by visiting the National Student Loan Data System.

Vargas & Vargas Insurance cares about helping communities. For more information about how they can keep you and your family safe and protected at a price you can afford, call them today at 877-550-0025.

Keep Fire Extinguishers Working and Accessible

Fire extinguishers are required by law in most commercial buildings, and so may be considered essential by your Massachusetts business insurance company too. You may never need to use a fire extinguisher at your place of business, but should an emergency arise, a working fire extinguisher could save much of your business property and possibly the lives of your employees.

Fire extinguishers at businesses are intended to prevent small, manageable fires from becoming large dangerous ones. Many fire extinguishers use dry chemical powder, pressurized water or wet chemicals to put out fires. Carbon dioxides extinguishers may be used on electrical fires as they do not leave a residue that could damage electrical equipment. However, they should not be used in small confined spaces as they may drain the oxygen out of the room.

You should make sure employees know where the fire extinguishers are located in your building, and they need to be trained on how to correctly operate one. Your fire extinguishers need to be inspected on a monthly basis to make sure they are in good condition.

Should a fire break out at your place of business, and you are not sure it is small enough to be handled by a fire extinguisher, it may be best to pull the fire alarm and evacuate the building. Once everyone is evacuated, you may want to contact your local fire department and shortly afterwards, your Massachusetts business insurance agent.  

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Do you need rental car insurance?

 

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When renting a car, many people opt out of purchasing rental car insurance. While it is true that personal auto insurance policies still keep you protected when driving a rental car,that protection may not cover all expenses.

What does personal auto insurance cover?

  • Personal injuries
  • Property damages
  • Collision damages (if your policy has collision insurance)

This coverage applies to any type of car you choose to rent.However, as with your own vehicle, you still are responsible for any deductibles on your policy when driving the rental car.

What does personal auto insurance NOT cover?

  • Rental company’s lost income

If the car you rented is getting repaired after an accident,you could be charged for the company’s “loss of use” on the vehicle during that time. The company may also charge you for lost rental insurance income, which could be hundreds of dollars more.

  • The vehicle’s replacement cost (if in an accident or stolen)

Your personal auto insurance agency determines a car’s worth based on its actual cash value in Massachusetts. However, the rental company has the right to determine its own amount for replacement cost, regardless of the specific model’s actual worth.

In a recent Boston Globe article, reporter Peter Demarco  tackled credit cards providing coverage for a rented automobile, make sure you contact the credit card company prior to renting your automobile.

While it can be beneficial to purchase rental car insurance,be sure you fully understand all of the options and costs prior to doing so. Yelp.com provides a list of trustworthy rental car companies near you.Additionally, contact your local insurance company with any questions regarding your own policy and whether rental car insurance will be right for you.

As always, Vargas & Vargas Insurance is committed to keeping Massachusetts’ families and businesses stay safe and protected. For questions regarding Home, Auto, life insurance policies and more, call their friendly agents today at877-550-0025.

The Beautiful Ivy Growing up the Walls of Your Home May Be Destructive

English ivy was brought to North America by European settlers for ornamental purposes. According to the Washington Native Plant Society, English ivy has no natural predators or pests to keep it in check. Allowing the plant to grow on your trees and up the walls of your home, although pretty to look at, may be destructive to your home and property. Your Massachusetts homeowners insurance may not cover damage from ivy; therefore it may be best to keep the ivy away from your home and trees.

English ivy growing on your house may provide cover for insects and small animals allowing them to invade your home. It may creep under wood boards and siding loosening it and allowing moisture to infiltrate. This can result in warping, splitting and leaks. Ivy growing on brick walls and chimneys may cause mildew, rot and deterioration.

When growing on trees, ivy may add weight to limbs and reduce air flow around the trunk, eventually choking the trees out. It may cause the trees to succumb to wind stress and disease, and may also strangle them around their base reducing the flow of nutrients from the ground up into the limbs.

You may want to talk to your agent to find out the kinds of damages your Massachusetts homeowners insurance covers, and as lovely as ivy may be, you may want to try to keep it isolated in one particular area of your yard instead of letting it take over your property.*

Berry Delicious!

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Our country’s independence isn’t the only thing to celebrate this month. As of 1999, July officially is National Blueberry Month, according to the Department of Agriculture. So, what makes one of the few fruits native to North America so special?

Grown in 35 states, the U.S. produces 95% of the world’s blueberries. Additionally, North America sells over 200 million pounds of the fruit each year. They have been used in soups, stews and more for centuries. The Native Americans also believed blueberries could help relax women in childbirth, cure coughs and increase a person’s longevity!

Blueberries’ health benefits continue to be recognized today. According to The New England Journal of Medicine, eating blueberries can prevent infections. The berries are loaded with antioxidants, which can reduce the chances of getting cancer and heart disease. For a complete list of blueberries’ health benefits, check out the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council.

In addition to being very nutritious, blueberries also are delicious! To celebrate National Blueberry Month, Vargas & Vargas Insurance is hosting a blueberry muffin contest July 18. Dedicated to helping their community, all proceeds will be donated to a local Boston foundation.

For more information about the event and how Vargas & Vargas Insurance is committed to the community and keeping you safe and protected, please visit http://on.fb.me/P32bhv or call one of their friendly agents today at 877-550-0025.   

   

Is My Jewelry Covered Under My MA Home Policy?

Getting a homeowners insurance policy is something that all responsible Massachusetts homeowners need to do. If you’re like most people out there, your home is going to be the most expensive asset that you own, and you’ll need to take measures to protect what you have invested in it. But did you know that most homeowner policies only cover lost or stolen items up to $1,000? That is why it is important to add a rider of scheduled personal property added to your Massachusetts homeowner’s policy.  

In the insurance world, a rider is a name for additional coverage that is not included in your standard homeowner’s insurance coverage. If your valuable items are not added to a rider then you will only receive the cash value from your insurance company, as opposed to full replacement value of those items. Scheduled personal property coverage should be added to your homeowners or renters insurance if you have any relatively valuable items in your home such as wedding rings, bracelets, watches, precious stones, cameras, silverware, fine art, antique books, extensive collections, golf equipment, power tools and electronics.

You have a home office. If you have a home office that includes a great deal of equipment or furniture, you should consider a rider.

You have a substantial investment in jewelry. Sometimes, your coverage may have a limit on what it will pay out for jewelry. Whether it’s an engagement ring, an expensive watch, or a family heirloom, if you have jewelry valued at more than a couple thousand dollars, you’ll want to talk to your Massachusetts homeowner’s insurance agent about a jewelry rider.

You own art, antiques or collectibles. Usually, there is a limit to the coverage on these items that is somewhere between 50 and 75 percent of the value of the homeowners policy. If you’ve got a valuable collection of baseball cards or the first issue of Spider Man, however, you may want to consider a rider. The same goes for fine art or other collectibles.

No one can ever anticipate when they’re going to have a loss, but when that loss does occur, you want to make sure your homeowners insurance is up to date. If you’re unsure about whether you need certain riders or endorsements, call us today at 877.550.0025. Vargas & Vargas Insurance  is committed to helping you find the right coverage for your needs.

2012 Massachusetts Low Number License Plate Lottery

RMV Lottery Offers Customers a Chance at Coveted Low Number License Plates


Now accepting lottery applications for September drawing

BOSTON — The Massachusetts Department of Transportation
(MassDOT) today announced that the Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV)
Division is now accepting applications for the 2012 Low Number License
Plate Lottery.

“The Registry expects to receive thousands of applications for this
year’s annual lottery,” said Registrar of Motor Vehicles Rachel
Kaprielian. “The passion for low number plates we see from our customers
and lottery entrants makes this a fun tradition.”

Applicants in this year’s drawing will be vying for 124 of the most
sought after Massachusetts license plates, including plate numbers 73,
295, 449, 493, 7755, and 1Z.

“Registrar Kaprielian works tirelessly to remind customers of the
transactions available at the RMV’s online branch,” said MassDOT
Secretary and CEO Richard A. Davey. “I encourage customers to take this
opportunity to log onto the website, learn about the transactions that
can be performed online and to complete a lottery application.”


For Immediate Release: 06/18/2012
CONTACT: MassDOT Press Office
(617) 973-8472

RMV Lottery Offers Customers a Chance at Coveted Low Number License Plates


Now accepting lottery applications for September drawing

BOSTON — The Massachusetts Department of Transportation
(MassDOT) today announced that the Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV)
Division is now accepting applications for the 2012 Low Number License
Plate Lottery.

“The Registry expects to receive thousands of applications for this
year’s annual lottery,” said Registrar of Motor Vehicles Rachel
Kaprielian. “The passion for low number plates we see from our customers
and lottery entrants makes this a fun tradition.”

Applicants in this year’s drawing will be vying for 124 of the most
sought after Massachusetts license plates, including plate numbers 73,
295, 449, 493, 7755, and 1Z.

“Registrar Kaprielian works tirelessly to remind customers of the
transactions available at the RMV’s online branch,” said MassDOT
Secretary and CEO Richard A. Davey. “I encourage customers to take this
opportunity to log onto the website, learn about the transactions that
can be performed online and to complete a lottery application.”

In addition to the application being available at mass.gov/RMV, customers may visit any branch to obtain an application. All entries must be mailed and postmarked by August 13, 2012.

The date, time and location of the September drawing will be
announced on the Registry’s website. It will occur prior to September
15, 2012.

For transportation news and updates visit MassDOT at their website: mass.gov/massdot, blog: mass.gov/blog/transportation, or follow MassDOT on twitter.

Only one entry per applicant. Postcard entries will not be
accepted. Winners who do not register their vehicle with their winning
lottery plate by December 31, 2012 will automatically forfeit their
plate. All forfeited plates will be offered to a list of 25 alternate
winners who will be chosen at the drawing.