Saturday, April 29, 2017

Homeowners Insurance: Rodents

While showing a home today to a client we looked out on to the back deck and there we saw a few small furry rodents that appear to be squatting on the premises.  There was a nice opening in the deck and who knows what fun stuff they have gathered in their retreat.

I decided to look at my homeowners insurance policy and see what it covers if I perchance have a few rodents begin to take up residence somewhere in my home.

One rodent you don't want to mess with are raccoons.  They not only will cause mass mahem in your chicken coop, but I've seen the destruction they can cause by climbing up a tree near the home and then on to the roof and claw their way through the roof and into the attic, for a nice comfy insulation retreat.

My homeowner's insurance policy has in the "Exceptions and Limitations" section, no coverage for loss arising out of the Gradual or Sudden Loss due to birds, vermin, insects, rodents, skunks, raccoons or domestic animals.  You may want to check your insurance as well.  Looks like I am better off spending the time and money to get rid of the rodents before they cause any damage to my home. I was told that insurance would pay if the rodent infestation occurred after for example a structural failure of the roof and before I am able to repair the roof, a family of raccoons moves in, then insurance would pay to have them removed.  However, I cannot find such a clause in my policy. Better check your policy.  I need to find out if my insurance excludes any damage done by a moose, just in case this guy comes back again.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Top 3 Renovations to Make on Your Vacation Rental Property

You may wonder what the return is for the cost of any renovations that you make on a vacation rental property.  Vacation rental properties in the Wasatch Back are often sought after for skiers and snowboarders from November to April and for Family Reunions between May-September.  Between the skis, boots, poles and snowboards as well as gaggles of children, what renovations should you make on your vacation property.

From my experience with clients who own rental properties and speaking with marketing companies such as All Seasons Resort Lodging (talk to Jason Renfro for the Park City area) here are the top 3 renovations that I suggest you consider for your vacation rental:

1.  If you have a driveway and anticipate renters driving to the property, versus being shuttled, a heated driveway is awesome.  The cost may be prohibitive after newly purchasing a property, but if there is any way you are able to install a system, it is great to know your driveway is clear of snow.  It may also reduce liability risks.

2.  After skiing, there is nothing better than to relax in a hot tub.  If you don't have room for a hot tub, a jacuzzi heated bathtub is a great option and some may prefer this for the privacy and also for cleanliness.

3.  The Wasatch Back has such awesome views, a deck with outdoor deck heaters is almost a must. Get some nice deck furniture that will hold up in the snow and then add the necessary patio heaters so your renters may enjoy the sunset and the city lights or night skiing lights.

That was all Winter ideas, so let's throw in three more ideas for Summer time renters:
1.  Let's start with the deck.  A nice deck is also a big asset for summer renters that want to enjoy the mountain and valley views as the hot days of summer cool off.

2.  Bike ceiling hooks or storage areas in the garage.  The Wasatch Back is a great place for mountain bike riding or road bikes - check out Utah's own Fezzari Bikes.

3.  A nice grill.  People will probably grill outside during the Winter, but during the Summer it is a must.  If you are not able to connect the grill directly to a gas line, make sure you keep a propane tank full and on reserve.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Park City Pays for Bonanza Flats

Bonanza Flat, an area of approximately 1,300 acres at the top of Guardsman's Pass located mostly in Wasatch County, up Snake Creek Canyon and above the Park City area was recently purchased by Park City and other groups for $38 million.

Park City residents approved a bond last year for $25 million towards the purchase of this land. The remaining $13 million came from various avenues and partnerships, for a total purchase price of $38,000,000.00.  Someone said during this process, it is nice to have this land under control to preserve it from development, though the people that have recreated on the land probably had no idea it was privately owned.


I love open space and though I haven't been to Bonanza Flats yet, I look forward to checking it out. I'm grateful to the residents of Park City who approved the bond to pay for the bulk of the purchase. Along that line, Park City knows how to acquire and care for open space.

Park City's first approved bond, and for that matter the first bond in the state of Utah, for the purchase of green, open space occurred with the passage of a $10 million bond to purchase 20 acres in 1998. Since then Park City working with various private land holders, citizen community groups, conservation groups, etc. has continued to acquire land for open space.

I look forward to helping many clients purchase and sell property in Summit as well as Wasatch counties where we all enjoy the benefits of open space.

See you on the mountain tops!!
Brian Olsen
Wallsburg World Realtor
Coldwell Banker

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Home Inspection - Visual Inspection & Readily Accessible Inspection

I always recommend to my clients to pay for a home inspection after they have negotiated an agreed upon price and are under contract to purchase a home and during the Due Diligence period.

Something that home buyers need to realize is that home inspectors are limited in many ways in their ability to find potential problems with any given home.  It comes down to the inspectors visual inspections and readily accessible inspections.

Inspectors that I recommend have the disclaimer somewhere in their contract or inspection report that says something to the effect that their work is limited to a visual or readily accessible inspection of the home.  An inspector may pull out the "readily accessible" filter on a furnace and inspect it as well as turn the furnace up or down to check if the thermostat is functioning and the system if providing  heated air or cooled air. However, they will not unscrew or disconnect furnace panels and pursue additional investigation of such things as the ignition control, blower capacity, or relay switch.

A client who purchased a home and had a thorough inspection completed had no way of knowing that the columns supporting the deck which were encased in concrete and stone were rotted away, until a few years later when the deck started sagging.

As with all documents when purchasing a home, read what you are signing.  Also make sure you have a good realtor that will educate you on what a home inspection is and is not.  I still always recommend a home inspection, just understand that there is a lot on a home that is not visually seen nor readily accessible.

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