All About Pest Damage And Home Insurance

When pests come into your home, there’s no creepier feeling that you may have as a homeowner. You may turn to your house insurance for assistance if the problem gets really bad. Let’s say that termites have taken over your home and gotten into your walls or foundation. Maybe mice have gotten into the walls of your home, or a squirrel has caused some major issues in the attic. Whatever the problem is, you want to remedy it quickly. It might be an expensive fix no matter what, but it has to be remedied for you to continue to live comfortably in your home. 

The Truth About Homeowners Insurance


Unfortunately, homeowners insurance doesn’t cover pest infestations. It doesn’t matter if the termites have literally eaten you out of house and home, the insurance companies consider pests to be an avoidable problem. Even though you may wonder how bugs can be considered “avoidable,” it’s simple. The insurance company believes that regular maintenance and checking of your property can help to prevent bug infestations. This is why it’s so important to take care of your property and not neglect it. 

Collateral Damage

There are a few exceptions to the rule. If your ceiling caves in and it was caused by some of the pest damage, your insurance may cover the cost of the repairs to the ceiling. They may not cover the materials that are needed to repair the ceiling itself. Insurance claims can be tricky, so you’ll need to ask a lot of questions if these problems do occur for you.

What Homeowners Insurance Covers

There’s nothing more frustrating than paying an insurance premium to find out that it doesn’t actually cover anything that you need at a certain point and time. As a general rule, homeowners insurance policies cover things that are considered accidental. This would include natural disasters like hurricanes, hailstorms, or high winds. If a tree falls on your home due to a windstorm, there was really no way of preventing that from happening. Your insurance would cover this. Damage that happens over an extended period, like that of a pest infestation or an aging home generally is not covered by house insurance. 

Separate Policies

Some insurance companies do offer separate policies to cover damage from certain types of pests like termites. There are several varieties of insects that cause damage to wood structures, so these policies may be more general stating that they provide “wood destroying insect” coverage. If you live in an area that’s prone to termites, there’s a few options available to you including something called “termite bonds.”

Your best course of action as a homeowner is prevention. Keep up with regular maintenance around your home and inspect your home regularly for any problems that you may find.

How Your Credit Score Can Get You a Better Mortgage Rate

Everyone knows that their credit score will affect the mortgage they qualify for and the interest rate they receive. The details of how exactly those numbers are arrived at, however, are a bit hazy for the average prospective homeowner.

This confusion is due to a number of reasons. Chief among them is the fact that your average person isn’t well-versed in credit terminology or the variables that go into determining their credit scores.

In this article, I’m going to break down credit scores and credit bureaus, then discuss how each of them affects the mortgage rate you could receive. Then, we’ll talk about some ways you can boost your score to qualify for a better rate.

Anatomy of a credit score

Credit scores are determined by five main variables. In order of importance, they are:

  • 35%: your payment history on loans, bills, credit cards, etc.

  • 30%: your total debt amount for all of your accounts

  • 15%: length of your credit history (how long you’ve had open accounts for loans, credit cards, etc.)

  • 10%: types of credit you have used (auto loan, student loan, credit card… diversity of loans matters)

  • 10%: recent credit inquiries (such as taking out new loans or opening new credit cards)

To have a “good” (over 700) or “excellent” (over 750) credit score, you’ll need to focus on each of these factors. For most people, paying their bills on time over a long enough timeline is enough to get them into the excellent range.

But things happen in life. People forget to pay an important bill, they have financial emergencies, or they have to take out a loan for an unforeseeable expense.

The credit bureaus

So, who are the people that determine your credit score?

There are three main credit bureaus: Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. Lenders will look at reports from all three bureaus to determine your rate. Due to the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003, consumers are able to receive a free copy of their credit report from each bureau once per year.

Since then, companies like Credit Karma have made credit reports even more accessible. Users are able to check in on their credit as often as they want free of charge.

Since much of your credit score is out of your hands, at least in the short-term, what can you do to help boost your score over the next few months to increase your chances of getting a good interest rate on your loan? Two things.

Credit and mortgages

So, just how much of an impact does your credit score have on your mortgage rate? Having an excellent score can give you a full percentage point lower on your monthly interest rate.

One percent doesn’t seem like much, but over the period of a 30-year loan that can amount to tens of thousands of dollars that you could have saved if you had a better credit score. As you can imagine, having an extra $2,000 per year can be quite helpful to a new homeowner.

So, what can you do to boost your score?

Make corrections

Since you have access to free credit reports be sure to go through your detailed report a few months before you plan to apply for a mortgage. Report any harmful errors to help you increase your score.

Don’t apply for new credit

The period from now until you apply for a mortgage is an important one. If you make new credit inquiries (i.e., open up new credit cards, take out new loans, etc.), your score will temporarily decrease. Wait until after you sign on your mortgage to take out other loans.

Revamp Your Unfinished Basement

Believe it or not, your unfinished basement can make or break your home in the eyes of a prospective homebuyer. And ultimately, your basement may dictate whether a homebuyer makes an offer or considers other residences.

An unfinished basement represents an opportunity for home sellers around the country. And those who devote the necessary time and resources to improve the quality of their homes’ unfinished basements could reap the rewards of a fast sale.

So what does it take to revitalize an unfinished basement? Here are three basement improvement tips that every home seller needs to know about:

1. Use floor mats.

Your basement’s concrete floor likely remains cold and unattractive. Fortunately, foam mats can help you add a splash of color and improve your basement floor’s appearance instantly.

Foam mats come in a variety of shapes and colors, ensuring you’ll be able to find mats that fit your basement floor beautifully. Plus, these mats can help you showcase the true value of your unfinished basement to prospective homebuyers.

Whether homebuyers want to use an unfinished basement as a workout area, a den or a workspace, you can leverage floor mats to create an awe-inspiring setting that helps transform a bland basement into an exceptional one.

2. Install storage.

Want to show off the massive amount of space available in your home’s unfinished basement? Installing shelves and using storage units to your advantage enables you to highlight how an unfinished basement can serve as a great storage area.

From storing sports gear to tools and everything in between, your basement can serve as a one-of-a-kind storage space that enables you to keep excess items out of sight. And with the right storage units in place, you’ll have no trouble showing prospective homebuyers what it’s like to stay organized and maximize the space available in your unfinished basement.

3. Stop the moisture.

Notice a wet, damp smell that lingers across your basement? Moisture likely is the culprit behind this odor. However, you can eliminate moisture and the associated smell by picking up a dehumidifier.

With a dehumidifier, you will be able to eliminate moisture without delay. And in the event of moisture that causes leaks and puddles in your basement, you may need to consider weatherproofing your basement to keep moisture at bay consistently.

When it comes to your unfinished basement, you’ll want to do everything you can to ensure it serves as an asset – not a liability. But those who are committed to improving the quality of an unfinished basement can take the right steps to minimize moisture and its associated odor.

Remember, your unfinished basement is an important part of your home. And even though your basement may be one of the final areas a prospective homebuyer examines, you’ll want to make this space as attractive as possible.

Enhance the quality of an unfinished basement to ensure this space can help you boost your home’s attractiveness to prospective homebuyers. By doing so, you may be able to increase your residence’s value and generate interest in your home from a wide range of homebuyers.

Make Optimal Use of Your Basement Storage Areas



Although basements can be extremely useful, in terms of providing storage space and work area, many homeowners don’t take full advantage of it.

Sooner or later, the following statement applies to nearly everone: Unless an organizing system is put into place — preferably within the first year of moving in — your basement will begin to take on the appearance of a junk repository!

When your belongings are haphazardly heaped together, it not only becomes difficult to find things you want and need, but items you’ve cast aside gradually occupy more and more of your valuable space.

The ideal scenario — from a storage standpoint — is to buy a house that already comes with built-in shelving and cabinets in the basement. A feature that’s almost as good is when the previous owner took the time to set up (and leave for you) enough metal shelving in the basement to meet your storage needs. Although metal shelving doesn’t have a lot of eye appeal, it is extremely sturdy and functional.

Cost Effective Solutions

If aesthetics and functionality are what you’re looking for, consider these ideas: 1) picking up bargains on shelving, cabinets, and other cheap furniture at garage sales. 2) hiring a reasonably priced carpenter to custom-build some nice shelving and cabinets in your basement.

Of course, if you happen to be handy with a hammer and saw, yourself, then building your own storage shelves might be a satisfying (and money saving) weekend project. However, if your carpentry skills are a bit on the “marginal” side, it would probably be worth it to find a reasonably priced and competent craftsman! Asking friends, relatives, and neighbors for recommendations can often yield the name of the perfect — and often affordable — person for the job.

Basement Organizing Tips

Once your shelving is in place, you might want to purchase some inexpensive bins, baskets, or boxes to neatly store you belongings, seasonal supplies, and items you’re not exactly sure what to do with. Labeling all containers will improve efficiency and help you avoid frustration down the road.

Designating a section of your basement for hand-me-downs, future garage sale items, and/or charitable donations will make it easier to categorize and move things out when the time comes. Another aspect of keeping your basement organized and free of clutter is to consider throwing away items that are obsolete, irreparably broken, damaged, or incomplete. While “one man’s junk is another man’s treasure”, some things are simply of no value to anyone! For items that fall into that category, the choice usually boils down to one of three options: restore it, recycle it, or have it professionally disposed of.

A well organized basement can potentially be a good place to store things you want to save, protect, and keep in good condition for future use. Preserving anything that’s delicate, valuable, or easily damaged requires a lot of safeguards, including — but not limited to — keeping them adequately covered, sometimes in airtight containers, and maintaining a dry, climate-controlled environment. Relatively humidity should be carefully monitored and, in most cases, maintained between 30% and 50%. When moisture in the air approaches 60%, mold and mildew tend to thrive.