Steps to Take After Closing on a Boston Home

Whether you’re a first-time home buyer or you’ve been through the home buying process before, you may ask yourself: “Ok, closing is over… now what?” The truth is that once all the paperwork is signed, you’ve got your work cut out for you! Here are a few things to add to your “Post Closing To-Do List.”

Store Your Important Documents

When you close on a home, you will be entrusted with many papers regarding your home. When in doubt, don’t throw it out! Keep these papers in a safe place in case you need them in the future. One of the best things that you can do is scan these papers and store them in the cloud, keeping the originals in a safe deposit box.

Put Safety First

Without question, one of the first things you should do when you get the keys to your new place is to change the locks. You never know who holds a copy of the existing locks, so it’s best to start fresh. The cost that you incur will be well worth the peace of mind that it brings to know that copies of your homes keys are floating around the neighborhood, especially given the possibility that previous homeowners could have given out copies to maintenance workers or others. Also make sure that you update the pin number on the existing security system, if you choose to renew the service.

Clean to Your Own Standards

The home is empty, so this may be your only opportunity to do a deep cleaning without having furniture in the way. If you are particular about how things are done you may opt to do the initial cleaning yourself. Otherwise, there are many home cleaning services in the Boston area that would be happy to do a one-time job that will get into every nook and cranny so that you can start with a (literal) clean slate.

Now is also a great time to have a pest control service come to treat your property. Some mortgage lenders will require this as a part of their contract, but it is probably a good idea regardless.

Make Improvements

After everything has been cleaned, you may choose to make some improvements to your new home. The complexity of the improvements that you choose is up to you! You could decide that your home is perfect as-is, or that it simply needs a new coat of paint. Painting is an easy way to give a home a fresh feeling, and to make it feel more like your own space.

There are also more involved projects that you may want to take on, like remodeling the kitchen or adding a pool. It’s your home – the sky is the limit!

Familiarize Yourself with Necessities

When you own a home, there are a few things that you need to be able to locate in a jiffy. One is the water system shutoff. If a pipe ever bursts, you don’t want to have to wonder where to go to stop the water. Also check the breaker box and make sure that everything is well labeled, and that there is a battery-operated light nearby so that you’re ready for a power outage.

Before you move in, have a professional check and perform maintenance on your home’s cooling and heating systems, as well as the electrical outlets and plumbing. You probably already had a professional inspection, but it never hurts to have the first maintenance out of the way so that you can establish a routine.

Now is also a great time to ensure that the home’s smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are working properly. Add a recurring reminder to your calendar to check these detectors twice a year – typically it is recommended that this be done during the Daylight Saving Time clock changes.

Move In!

Once you have done the things outlined above, it’s time to start moving in! This is pretty self-explanatory, just make sure that you’re careful if you or any loved ones does any of the heavy lifting – the last thing you need when trying to set up a new home is an injury. If you’re hiring professional movers, check to make sure that they have the right insurance coverage so that you can’t be held liable if any of their workers are injured on the job. Last but not least, ask your Massachusetts insurance agent about how your possessions will be covered during your move, and how you should file a claim if anything is damaged or broken.

Ensure That You’re Prepared

You never know when trouble will strike, so make sure that you’re ready for anything. Create or practice your family emergency plan. Make sure that all members of your household know where the emergency kit is kept, and how to use everything in it. Also keep a list of emergency contacts where everyone can access it, including the phone number for your favorite local insurance agency.

As a new homeowner, you need to make sure that you have the right insurance protection. This means buying the right amount of coverage, not just the minimum amount required by your lender. To find out what types of coverage you should have for your Boston home, call Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency at 617-298-0655.

Tips and “Tricks” for Handing Out Halloween Candy

There’s no doubt about it – Halloween is right around the corner. No doubt you’ve noticed the huge displays of decorations, costumes, and candy in your favorite stores. If you’re planning to get in the spooky spirit and pass out candy to trick-or-treaters this year, here are some tips to make sure that you are one of the ‘cool houses’ on the block:

  • Let trick-or-treaters know that they should come to your home for candy on Halloween night. This should be done by decorating your home (it doesn’t have to be extravagant) and by leaving the porch light on.
  • Kids love when they are recognized, so do yourself a favor and brush up on this year’s most popular costumes, including Marvel and DC superheroes, Disney princesses, and more.
  • Only give out candy that is sealed in its original packaging. While it is a nice thought to give kids homemade treats, most parents won’t allow their kids to eat these kinds of treats from strangers.
  • Your trick-or-treaters will be looking for sugar, so don’t disappoint by handing out pencils (or worse – toothbrushes). If you want to give something like a pencil or small toy, do so alongside a piece of candy.
  • If you don’t want to be bothered by your doorbell all night long (and you don’t mind missing all the cute costumes), you may choose to put out a small bowl of candy. It’s best to put out less and refill often so that latecomers aren’t disappointed by an empty bowl.

Before the big day, make sure that your home is ready for any ‘trick’ with the right Massachusetts home insurance policy from Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency. One quick call to 617-298-0655 will help you ensure that no ghouls, goblins, or poltergeists get the best of you this Halloween.

Create a Family Emergency Plan

Hurricane season is in full swing here in New England – are you prepared? One of the best ways to make sure that you and your family are ready in case of an emergency is with a family emergency plan. If you don’t have one, here are some things that you should think about and decide:

  • Designate one out-of-town family member or friend that each person in your family can contact if there is an emergency. This person will be in charge of making sure that everyone is safe and act as a liaison between family members if needed.
  • Every person in the family should know the out-of-town contact’s phone number, as well as one phone number for each member of the family. “It’s in my phone” doesn’t count – these numbers should be memorized so that they can be accessed from anywhere.
  • Designate two meeting places in case of an emergency. One should be local – somewhere within a few miles of your home. The other should be further away in case of a more widespread disaster. Also make sure family members know the location of the closest shelter in the area.
  • All family members should know the locations of family emergency kits – including those in the home and in vehicles. Make sure everyone knows what is in the kits and how each item should be used.

Make sure that you are doubly prepared by keeping the Vargas and Vargas Insurance numbers among your emergency contacts. By having our office number (617-298-0655) and our after-hours line (617-322-5289) with your other numbers, you will be sure that you are able to get a claim going right away on your home, auto, or flood insurance policy if you need to do so.

The ‘ABC’s of Boating Safety

Summer is finally here, and that can only mean one thing – it’s the perfect time to take your boat out and enjoy the water. So, grab a friend or family member and hit the deck! But first, make sure that you brush up on your boating safety with these quick ‘ABC’s of Boating Safety:

  • A – Avoid Alcohol: It is important that the person operating the boat is not impaired. Leave your alcohol ashore, especially since the effects of alcohol are exaggerated by sun exposure.
  • B – Be Prepared: You should always do two things to prepare for a boating trip in case of an emergency – make sure that someone on land knows your plans, and communicate your emergency plan to everyone on board.
  • C – Common Sense is Key: When you’re boating, make sure that you listen to your gut instincts. Don’t overload the boat with passengers (or gear), cut your trip short if you start to sense that a storm is brewing, and always carry the right safety equipment when you go out on the water.

Make sure that you share these safety tips with your friends and family as you prepare to take a trip out onto the water. And remember, if you want to talk to an insurance professional about the best way to protect your watercraft, call Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency at 617-298-0655, text 617-409-0329, or email us. We can get you a quick and hassle-free quote for Massachusetts boat insurance so that you can spend less time on the phone and more time out on the water!

Preparing to Sell Your Home

If you’re thinking of leaving the Boston area, or if you’re just upgrading to a new home, you need to get your home ready for market. With the help of a top notch real estate professional, you can have your home ready to show off to potential buyers in no time. To start preparing a little early, use the following Realtor-approved tips:

  • Curb appeal is crucial – make sure that your lawn is manicured, and touch up paint if necessary. Outdoor furniture and windows should be clean, and shrubbery and flowers should be pruned.
  • You want to make sure that your home feels spacious, so put away clutter. If you’re planning on moving, you can start packing away anything that you won’t need in the near future so that your home feels roomier.
  • Are there any repairs that will need to be done before your home sells? Get a start on those now – some sellers won’t like the idea of buying a home that needs repairs. For an idea of what needs to be done, ask for the help of a licensed home inspector.
  • When buyers tour your home, they will need to be able to envision living there. Help this process by depersonalizing the space – remove family photos, toys, and pet items from view.

And remember, when you do sell your home, talk to your Vargas and Vargas Insurance agent about how to cancel or transfer your existing Massachusetts home insurance policy. We are happy to answer any and all of your questions, and we will work hard to make the home insurance process as easy as possible for you and your family.

The Top 3 Summer Insurance Claims

Here at Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency, we want to make sure that your valuables stay safe. That’s why we are constantly offering blogs with safety tips for our customers. And if something does go wrong, our top of the line insurance policies will help you get back to normal quickly. If you’re interested, here is a short list of some of the most common insurance claims that we see in the summer time:

  • Car Accidents – Sure, these accidents happen all year round, but in the summer more people are on the road, whether they’re going to enjoy a day at the park or going on a road trip. This increased traffic leads to an increase in auto insurance claims.
  • BBQ Fires – When the weather warms up, so do the grills! Barbequing is a great way to get family and friends together to enjoy the outdoors, but can be a hazard if the proper safety procedures aren’t followed.
  • Burglaries and Break-ins – Summer is a great time to go on vacation. Unfortunately, burglars know this, and that’s why crimes like these are more common in June, July, and August. Prevent a break-in by following these safety tips. You should also check to make sure that your home insurance is ready for a claim – just in case.

For more information on how to avoid claims like the ones listed above, make sure that you check our blogs regularly. And if you’re interested in getting a Massachusetts insurance quote, just call 617-298-0655 to speak to one of our friendly and knowledgeable agents.

The Best Ways to Treat a Sunburn

Sometimes, no matter how hard you try to practice safe sun, you end up with a sunburn. If that’s the case, here are some tips for you on how you can deal with this annoying and painful issue:

  • As soon as you notice yourself getting burned, go indoors to prevent the issue from getting worse.
  • To help cool off the burned skin, take a cool shower or bath or use a cool compress.
  • You will be more prone to dehydration while you have a sunburn. Make up for this by drinking extra fluids.
  • Soothe skin with a moisturizer that contains aloe. Hydrocortisone cream can also be used if you are in particular discomfort.
  • Swelling and discomfort can also be treated with aspirin or ibuprofen.
  • If your skin begins to blister, avoid the temptation to pop them – they are there to help the body prevent infection. Instead, let them heal naturally and call you physician if symptoms get worse.
  • If you go outside while your sunburn is healing, take extra precaution to protect the more vulnerable burned skin.

Remember, though, that (as the saying goes) an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. While treating a sunburn is possible, it’s better not to get one in the first place – so make sure that you continue to practice safe sun techniques throughout the summer months.

The same is true with your insurance policies: insurance from Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency will help you prevent mishaps from turning into full-blown disasters. Call 617-298-0655 today to make sure that your insurance portfolio is ready in case you end up needing your coverage in the future.

Summer Grill Safety Tips

No summer is complete without at least one cookout. Whether you’re attending one or hosting your own, make sure to brush up on your grill safety so that you can keep your family and friends safe. Here are a few things that you should know before you attend your first cookout:

  • The grill should be placed in a safe location – at least ten feet from any structures or trees.
  • Make sure all grilling tools are within reach before heating up.
  • Speaking of grilling equipment, make sure that there is always a spray bottle of water within arm’s reach in case of a flare-up.
  • If kids are present, the grill should be supervised by an adult at all times, and a “No kids” perimeter should be set up around the grill. For small kids, create a physical “Do not cross” line with some jump ropes or pool noodles.
  • Practice food safety techniques by thoroughly washing anything that comes in contact with raw meat, and not leaving meat at room (or outdoor) temperatures for extended periods.
  • As always, have a first aid kit handy in case there is an accident that requires medical care. If someone gets seriously injured, douse the grill immediately and get them the proper medical attention.

When you begin preparing to host your first cookout of the summer, first call Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency at 617-298-0655 to have an experienced Massachusetts insurance agent check over your home insurance policy. You never know when an accident will occur, so be ready for anything with our superior protection.