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7 Reasons to Buy Your Next Home in the winter

A lot of people might think spring or summer months are an ideal time for home shopping after all, the weather is usually nice, and you’re more likely to be out and about anyway. For many reasons, buying a home in the winter is far better.

In reality, it could save you a couple of thousand dollars on average compared to other months.

1. Homes are Often Cheaper in the winter

According to data collected by, not everyone’s willing to look at homes in single-digit temperatures. The months of May, June, July, and August make up 40% of existing-home sales, while January and February account for less than 6%.

2. Sellers are Often More Motivated

In many cases, people who are listing homes in the winter are often under time constraints. This could be due to moving before the end of the year for whatever reason.

The end result is a highly motivated seller who wants to close and move on as quickly as possible.

3. Getting an Idea of Future Winters

One of the best reasons to check out a house in the winter is to get a feel for how it’ll hold up for future winters. If there are any problems, you might even be able to get the price reduced so you could repair the property after the sale.

Pay close attention to any drafts, cold spots, leaks, or other issues that are attributed to the colder months.

4. Possible Faster Closings in the winter

Usually, housing markets pick up during the warmer months. This often means that mortgage brokers could get behind in their workload. This results in waiting longer to close on the home.

During the winter, however, the market isn’t nearly as busy. So, mortgage brokers may be able to process your account quicker.

5. Less Competition for Bids

There is a reason why spring and summer months are better for the housing market. Fewer people are willing to move during the coldest months of the year. This means you’ll have less competition when putting in a bid.

The flip side to that, unfortunately, is that not everyone wants to put their home on the market during the winter. This means there are also fewer homes available to choose from.

Still, less competition could save you a bundle when bidding.

6. Possible Tax Benefits

In most areas, you can reap the tax benefits of the entire year of owning a home if you close before December 31st. This could drastically affect your tax returns come April.

Of course, you want to check with your accountant or with the IRS before you can assume to claim the property.

7. A Present to Yourself

Lastly, buying a home in December could be seen as a present to yourself during the holiday season. Moving into a new house is an exhilarating experience that can greatly enhance a positive mental state.

Not to mention throwing housewarming parties for New Year’s eve.

The Winter is Great for Home Buying

In many ways, the winter months are ideal for purchasing a home. Let Vargas & Vargas Insurance help by finding you the best deals to cover your property when it comes time to secure a policy. Contact us today to find out how we can help get you into the new home of your dreams.

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Home Loan Advisor or Lender First: Which Is Better?

Buying a property is an exciting process. Especially when you’re looking for that one perfect place to call home for the foreseeable future. But have you spoken with a home loan advisor? Or, did you immediately contact a lender to figure out what you could afford?

A lot of people will go with the latter as it provides a cap on what to expect. However, doing so might actually limit yourself beyond what is necessary.

What is a Home Loan Advisor?

A home loan advisor’s job is to help you figure out lending solutions based on your financial situation. Typically, the loan advisor works with credit unions and banks while having expertise in the products and services that are offered.

Essentially, they’ll walk you through the entire process from the initial application to the moment you close on a home. This gives you a bit of flexibility while potentially expanding the list of properties available to you.

How Small Credit Changes Can Affect Everything

For most people, it can take weeks if not months to find that perfect home. And if your lender ran a credit check at the beginning, you’re essentially locked at a specific loan amount.

During that time, you could be working on your credit score. Perhaps you made an extra payment towards something that will raise your score to a higher tier.

Unfortunately, this increase won’t be applicable as the lender already approved a specific amount for the loan. Or, it could take a couple of months before the credit score increases from those adjustments.

Speaking with a home loan advisor first can help you figure out the best course of action to take when it comes to your credit score. This includes any positive elements that may be pending.

It could directly affect your interest rates.

Available Down Payment

For the most part, people assume they need at least 20% of the home’s price as a down payment. So, for a house listed at $270,000, you’d need $54,000 upfront. That is if the property doesn’t qualify for things like VA or USDA loans, which often allow for purchases without down payments.

In reality, though, that down payment could be much lower depending on your financial status and the type of loan. A home loan advisor can examine your situation and find alternatives when it comes to how much you need as a down payment.

This means you might have a bit more flexibility when it comes to the amount of money you’ll need if you’re offer is accepted on a property.

Speak with a Home Loan Advisor Today

While you could still buy your house without assistance from a home loan advisor, you may have paid more than what was necessary upfront. Not to mention undercutting what you may have qualified for, in the first place.

At Vargas & Vargas Insurance, we work with the best of the best of qualified professionals to cover various home-buying needs. Contact us today so we can get you in touch with a home loan advisor that will have your best interest at heart.

It could save you an incredible amount of stress while buying your home.

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6 Ways Insurance Agents Can Help When Buying a Home

Buying a home is an exciting time in anyone’s life. However, it can also be stressful as you want the best deal possible while finding that “perfect” house. Have you thought about how an insurance agent can help you find the home of your dreams?

Being a Local Expert

Whether you’re a local yourself or moving into a new city, insurance agents are experts in their geographic location. This means they can help by making recommendations while knowing the ins and outs of the locale.

These insights can include everything from school districts to lifestyle happenings and safety. Being part of the local community gives agents a great perspective of the area including specific neighborhoods.

Accurate Cost of Home Insurance Coverages

A local insurance agent will have the ability to provide an accurate estimation of homeowner’s coverage. Thanks to their familiarity with the locale and market values, you’ll get a better idea of how much you’ll spend in addition to your mortgage.

Things like safety features, square footage, and neighborhood can affect your monthly premiums. Contacting a local insurance agent when buying a home takes a lot of guesswork out of the equation.

Better Understanding of Coverage Types

Working in the local area, insurance agents have a better grasp of the types of coverage you might need. For instance, does the location of your prospective new home have an issue with flooding?

This can also benefit you in the other direction as an agent can help save you money by not requiring coverage types. For example, it’s unlikely you’ll need earthquake coverage if the area hasn’t experienced one in a century or two.

Understanding Previous Claims

One of the more profound aspects to using a local insurance agent is his or her understanding of previous claims. What are the most prominent issues for the area in which you’re looking?

This can help you spot all kinds of warning signs before you decide to put a bid on that new home. What if the neighborhood has a long history of flood damage?

Home Inspection Reviews

Home inspections are a crucial step when it comes to buying a home. These determine the safety of the structure and what may need to be addressed soon.

Your local insurance agent can take a look at this inspection and use it as a guide into what issues might impact your rates. Things like electrical wiring, foundation cracks, mold detection, or roof damage can cost you quite a bit. In fact, depending on the extent of the damage, the seller might not be able to sell the home until those issues are fixed.

Capacity to Save Money when Buying a Home

Not only can a local insurance agent help you save money by avoiding certain homes, but you might also get discounts on premiums. Some insurers will discount rates if the home has:

  • smoke alarms
  • sprinkler systems
  • security systems
  • carbon monoxide sensors
  • energy-efficient appliances
  • or other disaster-prevention elements

Local Insurance Agents are a Treasure Trove of Information

Never underestimate the value of your local insurance agent. He or she will have a deeper understanding of many aspects you might not consider.

Let Vargas & Vargas Insurance assist in making one of the biggest decisions of your life. Contact us today and we’ll do what we can to make sure you find that perfect home with the affordable coverage you’ll need.

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Homeowners Insurance Facts

If you own and home or condominium with an outstanding mortgage, you are required to carry homeowner insurance.  But, if you are thinking of purchasing one, you should know what insurance policies cover and don’t cover you for.

Some Loses are not a Part of Home Insurance

If you plan to purchase home insurance, you need to know that standard policies don’t cover earthquakes or floods. In these cases, you may need to add the coverage to your home or condominium policy or purchase separate policies that offer you coverage for these perils.

Some Dog breeds can make it Challenging to Purchase Comprehensive Insurance

All homeowner’s policies give you coverage if your dog bites someone. This way, the liability portion of your insurance saves you from financial ruin. But some insurance providers refuse to offer coverage to homeowners who have dogs with different breeds like Rottweiler and bulls. Therefore, you may have to dig a bit deeper to find the right insurance policy that will also cover you for dog bites.

Polices Can Cover Plane Crashes

Of course, there are chances of a plane falling from the sky onto your house, but some insurance companies still offer you coverage for this. They even offer you a plan for several things that can fall from the sky, including the tree.

Food Spoilage Coverage

A power outage can occur due to several problems. When your fridge is not working, your stored food may get spoiled in a few hours. Some insurance policies offer food spoilage coverage, this kind of coverage will pay you for your spoiled food.

Volcano Damage Plans

It might surprise you, but there are home insurances that cover volcanic damage. If you live near volcanic mountains, this plan is beneficial for you. Even if the volcanoes have been dormant for centuries, it still has some risks. Well, it’s better to save yourself than feel sorry.

Birds Damages and Vermin

Any damages caused by birds, Racoons, or squirrels making their way into your attic are not part of standard homeowner’s insurance plans. Whether wild birds have made a nest on your roof or have damaged your windows, you have to make repairs and replacements all by yourself. The best way to prevent further damage is to call animals experts like Clancy Bros Pest Control who can help you get rid of these creatures.

The Bottom Line

These homeowners insurance facts may have encouraged you to read the policies and plans carefully to get the coverage you are looking for. You can also read our blog on Home insurance terms you need to know..

At Vargas & Vargas Insurance, we offer top-rated insurance services that will help you keep your business safe during the winter season. All our clients enjoy customized insurance coverage to match their unique needs as we offer affordable prices. So contact us today for a free quote.

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Why You Should Avoid Private Mortgage Insurance

couple moving to a new home and researching how to avoid private mortgage insurance

Private mortgage insurance (PMI) is an extra type of insurance your mortgage company may require you to pay for if you are unable to provide the full down payment the mortgage company requires. That minimum is typically around 20 percent of the total value of the home. Unlike a good home insurance policy, private mortgage insurance is not an ideal option for many new homeowners. It results in significant wasted money and includes few benefits. 

Private Mortgage Insurance Is Expensive

Suppose your reason for considering private mortgage insurance is being unable to afford a 20 percent down payment on your new home. In that case, the last thing you want to deal with is an extra type of costly insurance. This will significantly increase the overall cost of your home over time. Most private mortgage insurance costs between 0.5% and 1% of the total value of your home. This can average $1,000 or more per year. 

Depending on where you live, this average can rise well over $3,000 per year. This is in addition to your regular homeowners insurance. 

It’s Difficult to Cancel

Private mortgage insurance also tends to be more difficult to get out of than other types of insurance. You are technically only supposed to need to pay for private mortgage insurance until your total equity reaches the 20 percent that you might have otherwise paid as a full down payment on your new home. But  some contracts require payment for a specified period of time. This can happen even if that time is longer than you need to meet your 20 percent obligation. 

Contracts may also require a formal letter, appraisal of your home, or other documentation to have your cancellation approved. This can take months to complete. It might also require you to pay for your private mortgage insurance for longer than you would otherwise need to. 

Private Mortgage Insurance Is Not Deductible

As of 2017, private mortgage insurance is no longer tax-deductible, which means you will lose more money to taxes. 

At Vargas and Vargas, we work for you and not your insurance company. So contact us today to learn more about how we can help you avoid purchasing private mortgage insurance and explore options you may have for handling your homeowners insurance needs at the best possible cost. Also, visit our blog to learn more about getting the most out of your homeowners insurance

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10 Things to Do Before Moving: Your Moving Checklist

family moving into a new home

Moving is stressful, and you may end up forgetting something in the process of moving. So here is a quick moving checklist to ensure that you take care of everything in your home as you move.

1. Prepare for Your Move Early

The first thing you have to do is prepare early for your move.  No matter the time of the year, getting a reputable mover can be hard. Early preparation will help you get through the weeks with less stress. 

2. Choose a Mover

Unless you want to self-move, you should look for a professional mover.  Look for reliable and experienced movers. If any of your friends and family have used a mover before, you can ask if they can recommend one. 

3. Pack All Your Items Boxes

Start putting the items you use less often in a box. This can include books, Christmas decorations, croquet sets, and seasonal articles.

4. Clean the Rugs and Draperies

Make sure you clean your rugs and draperies before moving to your new home. They will be returned wrapped. Don’t take them out of the wrap until you reach your new location.

5. Get a Written Appraisal of Your Antique Items

Make sure you note the prices of all your appraised items, such as antiques. These items need additional insurance from the moving company.

6. Book the Moving Elevator

If you’re moving to an upper floor, make sure you book an elevator. By doing so, you’ll reduce the hassle for the people living in that apartment. It’s also advisable to confirm the parking for a moving truck and get permission early.

7. Switch Utilities

Have the utilities in your old home disconnected the day after you move. You should also make sure that you cancel your home internet, phone, newspaper service, and even local club memberships.

8. Contact Your Insurance Company

You’ll also have to change your insurance when moving. So get in touch with your insurance company to transfer your policies.

9. Request for Time Off of Work

If you are moving out on a weekday, then you need to take time off work. If you can’t get time off, you can arrange with your friends or family to meet with the moving company.

10. Address Minor Home Repairs

Once you find time, you should do minor home repairs before you move out. This is especially important if you’re selling your home.

At Vargas & Vargas Insurance, we’re here to help as you move to your next home. We provide customized insurance coverage to meet your specific needs and budget, and we are also always available to answer all your questions about insurance. Our team will work for you and not the insurance company. Contact us today as part of your moving checklist.

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The First-Time Homebuyer’s Quick Guide to Finding Insurance

If you are purchasing your first home through a home loan, you will need to show proof of home insurance to your lenders before they can finalize the loan.

First-time homebuyers moving into their home

Since lenders do hold a lien on your property until you finish paying off your loan, having clients under home insurance is in their best interest. This can help protect the equity they have in your home in case of damages, such as electrical hazards.

While you might not always need to have insurance if you are paying your home through an unsecured line of credit or with cash, it pays to invest in it. Home insurance helps keep your home protected. When shopping for insurance, comparing prices and policies makes it easy to pick an insurance policy that covers your home optimally and is affordable enough.

Here are some insights on finding home insurance:

1. Pay Attention to the Limits

Home insurance coverage is divided into categories. Typically, any personal belongings you own will be covered under Coverage C of your insurance (personal property), and it pays to ensure that the limit will be enough to cater for what you own. However, some items, such as jewelry, will fall under a category containing a sub-limit, which tends to be set by your insurance company. If the sub-limit isn’t enough for such valuables, you have to add a rider for protection.

On the other hand, coverage E (liability) will protect your liability in case someone gets injured by accident in your property. When picking insurance, ensure that the liability limit awarded is enough to cover all your assets. Since most insurance policies set their liability limits at half a million dollars, you should consider buying umbrella insurance for extra coverage if this limit will not be enough for your property.

2. Understand Your Deductibles

Deductibles in insurance are the amount of cash you will pay out of pocket to cover any damages. When setting your deductible, choose a figure that is right into your budget. Unlike car insurance that fixes the deductible to a specific amount, home insurance deductibles might vary.

Some policies wills set your deductible at a percentage of your dwelling coverage. Others tend to have a split deductible system, whereby most claims will work under a set dollar deductible amount, while some claims (such as wind damage and other perils) may work under a percentage.

Also, some carriers might include a wind and storm deductible — or a named storm deductible — as a percentage of your dwelling coverage. To save on insurance costs, you can always increase your deductible. But it might be wise to save an amount equal to the deductible in a savings account for a rainy day.

3. Beware Of Exclusions

In some states, insurance agencies might exclude certain things from your policy. Under most policies, landslides, mudflows, and even earthquakes might be excluded. Flooding, in particular, isn’t always covered. For instance, in Massachusetts, earthquakes and floods are excluded. Even though you do not live in an earthquake or flood-prone area, it might be wise to purchase the extra coverage to eliminate the financial risks.  If you think you need coverage for an excluded peril, talk to your agency about purchasing the ad hoc coverage.

The future is not set in stone. It can be very easy for a disaster to destroy your most prized investment: your home. Home insurance ensures that you can protect your investments. If you want to buy home insurance or get insights on how to save on insurance, feel free to contact us.

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Invite Your Neighbors to The Party

Do you know the old advice about throwing a party when you’re the new kid in town?  Yes, it’s housewarming time and you’re so happy and you invite all your friends over to celebrate.  But you don’t want to annoy your new neighbors, do you?  It’s no good getting on the bad side of your neighbors when you’re the newbie on the street/floor.

The old advice about just such a moment is to invite those very same neighbors! That’s right, don’t just invite your friends, invite the neighbors, the people who aren’t your friends.  (Hopefully some day they will be, but that’s another story altogether)

The idea behind this wisdom is that, if your party gets a little loud, your neighbors can’t possibly complain to you by banging on your door, or, worse, by calling the police.  How can they complain about your party when you invited them in the first place?  They could easily have accepted your invitation, and could just as easily be enjoying themselves with all the other revelers and getting to know you, their new neighbor too.

Take that advice a step further when you’re going to get some serious construction or landscaping work done on your home. Invite the neighbors, in a manner of speaking.  

Let’s say you hired a tree company to come in and remove several large trees.  You know the crew is going to arrive early in the morning.  And you know it’s going to get loud out there very quickly, between chainsaws, falling trees, workers yelling, and, oh, the wood chipper blasting!

Why leave it to chance that your neighbors are going to be annoyed by this early morning noise?  Let them know in advance about the work, either with a notecard you leave on their door, or a nice letter in the mail, or by knocking on the door, and introducing yourself.  You might even invite them to stop by for a cup of coffee to watch the trees come down!

There’s a lot to be said about tranquility in your neighborhood, and this is a great way to promote that, and make some new friends in the process.  So, when you’re getting major repair work or landscaping work done at your house, invite the neighbors!

When was the last time you reviewed your insurance portfolio. Please schedule a call with us to discuss your policies.

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Back to School: Finance 101 – Your Children Money

It’s never too early to talk to your children about money and finances.

Specifically, when was the last time you reviewed your life insurance? 
Life insurance is the safest and most secure way to protect your family and dependents against financial ruin should the family breadwinners die.

Helping Your Children Reach Their Dreams

When was the last time you spoke to your children about money?
About financial planning?

Many families believe that talking about money is taboo. However, if children are raised to fear certain discussions, they may not have the confidence to think and focus clearly on fundamentals to achieve their dreams when the time comes for them to make responsible financial decisions.

Whole life insurance can help give your children a financial head start.
It provides a guaranteed amount of life insurance that also accumulates cash value.

Securing life insurance on your children is a sound strategy to kick start the financial planning your children will appreciate as they enter adulthood. Entering adulthood means having to make tough financial decisions. It’s a right of passage in its own right.

As adults, your children could have the benefit of accessing their policy’s cash value for any reason, including but not limited to:

  • College tuition and expenses
  • Funding a wedding
  • A down payment on a house
  • Starting a business

Never Too Young to Start

Life insurance premiums are based on a number of factors, including a person’s age and health. Premiums are generally lower for children because they are young and healthy. This is one of the basic reasons why this makes sense to help your children structure their own life insurance portfolio.

A Gift They Can’t Outgrow

Children outgrow clothes, toys and other gifts. A whole life policy is different. You can give your children a fully-funded life insurance policy that will provide:

  • Permanent life insurance to one day protect their families.
  • Cash value that can be used to help fund life’s big events.
  • The option to increase their protection as their families grow.

Remember, if you are afraid to discuss money, that will transcend to your children’s belief system too. Give them the gift of financial freedom by way of planning and knowledge.

If you would like to discuss a comprehensive insurance review and any advice that pertains to your kids financial future, please call Jack Carrigg at 617-298-0655 ext 104 or email Jack at

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