If you're looking to sell your home — and get top-dollar for it — staging the property can help you do it.
Put simply, staging means preparing the home for a potential buyer — or "setting the stage," if you will. It involves redecorating, rearranging furniture, cleaning and other aesthetic strategies to present the home in the best possible light. The goal is to make the home as appealing as possible to the most potential buyers.
Benefits of Home Staging Home staging comes with many benefits.
For one, it can make it easier for potential buyers to envision themselves in the home. It provides a clean palette of sorts — one without clutter, personal photographs and other items that might turn off a buyer or make it hard to imagine themselves living on the property. According to a study from the National Association of REALTORS© (NAR), 77 percent of buyers say it's easier to visualize a staged property as a future home.
Staging also makes a home look more "move-in ready" — meaning that it doesn't seem to need a lot of work or repair before a new buyer could move in. Seventy-one percent of buyers are looking for a move-in ready home. Staging could help give that impression, which could be a nice advantage for you in successfully selling your home.
Finally, staging a home makes it easier to market. It looks better in listing photos (which can play a big role in today's home-shopping process), and it is also more eye-catching when shared on social media, printed on flyers and displayed in other visual marketing mediums. As a result, staged homes typically sell faster. According to NAR, 62 percent of agents say staging has an impact on a home's time on the market.
Options for Home Staging You have a few options when looking to stage your home. You can choose to do the process yourself (DIY); you can look to your real estate agent for help; or you can bring in a professional staging company to do the work on your behalf. In some cases, you could also do a combination of these options.
Though these pros do come at a fee, they typically do the work for you. They will evaluate your home's current condition, make recommendations on how to improve its overall appeal to potential buyers and marketability, and then put those suggestions into action by rearranging the furniture, bringing in new décor or helping you declutter.
Often, stagers have a large inventory of furniture, décor, artwork and other items they can pull from to help your home look its best. Just be aware that using a stager's inventory may come with an extra fee, so be sure to ask about that.
How Much Does It Cost to Stage a House?
According to the National Association of Realtors, the median cost of home staging is $675.4 These costs vary, though, and depend on several factors, including the size, location and price of the home, the exact type of staging services you're looking for, and whether you need additional furniture, décor or other items in your staging efforts. Some agents recommend spending between 1 to 3 percent of your home's listing price on staging.
If you're staging your home yourself, you'll want to consider the costs of things like:
Consider shopping at thrift stores or second-hand shops for any new décor or furnishings you might need. You might also want to focus your staging efforts on only a few rooms — higher impact areas like the living area, the kitchen and the master bedroom.
Is Home Staging Worth it?
From a financial standpoint, staging can add measurable selling appeal to a home. According to NAR, nearly a third of real estate agents say staging increases the dollar value offered by buyers, in comparison to similar homes, by 1 to 5 percent. Another 21 percent of agents say it increased the dollar value of the home between 6 and 10 percent.
To determine if staging a house is worth it, you'll want to consider a few things, including:
Home staging may increase the likelihood that you'll sell your property and do so quickly, and for top-dollar. If you're on a tight timeline or looking to boost your profits on the sale, home staging can certainly help. It also can be beneficial if your market is particularly competitive for sellers by ensuring your home is memorable, beautiful and stands out from the rest.
If you're ever unsure of whether staging is in your best interest, consider speaking to a local real estate agent. They can help assess your property as well as make recommendations based on the market and preferences of local buyers.
Selling your home is an important life moment. Why not also take it as an opportunity to review your homeowners coverage?
When it comes to choosing a car insurance policy, many of us let premium price drive our decisions. But cutting corners on cost could leave you underinsured and overexposed to the risks of the road.
Fortunately, it’s easy to strike a balance between affordability and adequate coverage when you have the right information. Remember: your insurance representative is a valuable resource. Asking these five questions before you purchase a car policy can help you get the protection you need at a price you decide is right for you.
1. Do I Have All the Coverage I Need?
This first answer to this question will depend on the state where you live. At a minimum, most states require liability insurance, which covers the cost of accident-related injury, death, vehicle damage, property damage and legal fees.
Once the minimum requirements are met, ask your insurance rep to explain and recommend additional coverage options best suited for your individual needs.
These commonly include collision, comprehensive, uninsured and underinsurance motorist protection (UM/UIM). Your rep should also explain how each will affect your premium and “out-of-pocket” expenses after an accident.
If you have a lot of personal assets to protect, you may also want to discuss excess liability insurance with your insurance rep. This is a separate, personal liability policy that can kick in to cover costs where your car (or homeowners) insurance leaves off.
2. Am I Getting All the Discounts and Savings I Can?
The cost of insurance partly depends on the coverages, deductibles and policy limits you choose. It is also based on your “risk rating” — a calculation used to determine the likelihood that you will be making a claim in the future. Factors such as the age, gender, driving record, insurance score and garaging location of the vehicles on your policy will largely determine the price of your premium.
While there is not much wiggle room to affect your risk rating and its effect on the price of your policy premium, there are many discounts designed to help lower premiums.
Savings are commonly found in safe driver, continuous insurance, multi-policy, multi-car and good student discounts for those who qualify. Additional discounts may be available if you are insuring a new or hybrid/electric car, or own a home. How and when you pay can affect your premium, too. Your insurance company may offer discounts if you pay in full, by electronic funds transfer (EFT) or by payroll deduction, as well as if you pay on time.
Ask your insurance rep to ensure you are getting all the discounts for which you are eligible.
3. What Is Covered if My Car Is in an Accident or Gets Damaged?
It is a popular misconception that car insurance will automatically cover the replacement or repair of your car, as well as towing or rental car fees, after an accident. The reality is, without the right coverages, you may not have these benefits.
Liability insurance typically pays for damage to another driver’s vehicle or someone else’s property if you cause an accident, and is the minimum coverage required in most states. To cover repair and replacement of your own car, you will need collision coverage for accident-related damage and comprehensive coverage for non-accident incidents, such as theft, vandalism, hitting an animal or storm damage.
Be sure to ask your insurance rep whether optional coverages like roadside assistance and
rental reimbursement are right for you.
Another important coverage to discuss with your rep is uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance, which can help pay for damages and medical expenses if you get hit by a driver who has no insurance or inadequate coverage.
If you have a lease or loan on your car, ask your insurance rep about gap insurance, too. This coverage may pay the difference between what your car is worth and what you still owe on it if your car is totaled.
4. What is Covered if My Car Is in an Accident and Someone Is Injured or Dies?
Protecting drivers, passengers and pedestrians who are injured — or worse — in an accident is a top priority. That’s why bodily injury liability insurance is the most important auto coverage a driver can have, covering accident-related expenses such as hospital and medical bills, lost wages, rehabilitation and legal fees.
While bodily injury liability insurance is a requirement in most states, the minimum level of coverage may not offer adequate protection. Discuss policy limits with your insurance rep before purchasing car insurance. Remember: you will be personally responsible to cover any costs above this limit.
Ask your insurance rep to help you determine your need for additional coverage options and protections, too. Depending on where you live, these can include:
5. What Costs Will I Need to Cover “Out-of-Pocket” if I Am in an Accident?
How much you will pay out-of-pocket for accident-related expenses depends on your policy limits, coverages and deductibles, as well as the specific circumstances of the incident.
If you did not cause the accident, the driver who did — and his or her insurance company — is typically responsible to pay for any resulting damages or injury. However, if the at-fault driver has no insurance or is underinsured, you may be left holding the bill. Ask your insurance rep what you can do to ensure your policy will protect you in this situation, such as adding collision or uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.
If you are at fault for an accident, your insurance typically provides coverage for repairs, medical, legal and other related expenses up to your policy limits once you pay your deductibles. For example, let’s say your car is damaged in a covered accident you caused, you have collision coverage with a policy limit of up to $10,000 and your deductible is $2,000.
If the cost to repair your car is $1,500, you will pay the entire $1,500 since it is less than your deductible. If the cost to repair your car is $8,000, you will pay your deductible of $2,000 and your insurer will pay the remaining $6,000. If the cost to repair your car is $12,000, you will pay $4,000 (your deductible, plus the $2,000 above your policy limit) and your insurer will pay $8,000.
To keep monthly premiums low, drivers often opt for higher deductibles and lower policy limits. But if you can’t pay your deductible or accident-related expenses above and beyond your policy limits, you may find yourself in financial crisis. Before purchasing any policy, have your insurance rep go over all the scenarios with you. Work together to create a policy that balances your individual needs with a premium, deductible and policy limit you can afford.
Owning a home can mean dealing with the unexpected – from a tree falling on your roof to a pipe bursting in your bathroom. Because you likely can’t prevent all unwanted surprises, knowing what to expect if you have a homeowner’s claim can help give you some peace of mind.
While insurance carriers can handle claims in different ways, here are some basic steps in the process.
If Your Home Has Been Damaged:
Beginning the Claim Process:
We are an insurance company that cares. We help you get the coverage that meets your needs to help protect the things that are important to you, so you don’t have to worry.
Relocating After a Loss:
Resolving a Claim:
Protect your home the way it protects you by choosing the property insurance coverage that meets your needs.
From your standard policies to the types of insurance you forgot about, here’s what you should know about coverage.
When most people hear the word “insurance,” they first think of the standard trio of home, life and auto coverage (and for good reason — those policies are important).
But many people would benefit from additional protection provided by policies they may not even know exist.
Here’s a refresher on the basics as well as a few commonly overlooked policies to consider.
It’s up to you to choose the policy and limits that meet your needs, but it’s best to insure your home for at least 100% of its estimated replacement cost — the cost of repairing or replacing your home to restore it to its original condition. Estimated replacement cost is different from market value or purchase price.
If you select a homeowners policy amount lower than the estimated replacement cost, certain coverages may be unavailable to you. Periodically review your policy and limits with your agent and notify your agent of any changes or additions to your home.
Car insurance Auto insurance
is required in almost every state to operate a vehicle — but the cost can vary widely. This is partially determined by your vehicle type, your age as well as your car’s and the coverage level you select, but it can also be affected by other factors. People who live in densely populated areas — noted for higher occurrences of crashes and theft — will likely pay more for auto insurance than those who live in rural areas, where crashes and theft are less prevalent.
Homeowners policies typically exclude flood coverage. Adding coverage may be worth looking into, no matter where you live. According to FloodSmart.gov, more than 20% of all flood claims happen in moderate- to low-risk areas. Agents enrolled in the federal government’s NFIP Direct Program are able to write and service flood insurance policies for qualifying homes directly through that program.
Personal articles policy While home policies typically cover many items inside the house, a personal articles policy provides even broader protection. This can include coverage for items ranging from jewelry and fine art, to cameras, musical instruments and sports equipment. In most cases, a personal articles policy has no deductible and will cover the full replacement cost of your items anywhere in the world.
So if you’re on vacation and someone runs over your expensive skis or snowboard with their SUV, this is the policy you need.
Off-road vehicle insurance
Insuring your car is one thing. Insuring an off-road vehicle — such as a snowmobile, golf cart or ATV — is another. An off-road vehicle policy can cover you in case of bodily injury or property damage as well as damage to the vehicle itself due to accident, theft, fire, vandalism and other losses — even when in storage.
Most people protect their family from the prospect of lost income in the event of their own death through a variety of life insurance. But disability is another important consideration. If you’re unable to work due to sickness or injury, disability insurance can provide protection to help you pay your mortgage, rent, car loans and other regular living expenses. Short-term disability insurance provides funds to help you meet monthly obligations in the case of a temporary illness or injury, while long-term disability policies help replace lost income in case you become permanently disabled.
Just because you don’t own a home doesn’t mean you don’t have a home that needs protecting. And yet, well under half of tenants have one of these insurance policies. Renters insurance (sometimes called “apartment insurance”) covers personal property such as electronics, furniture and clothing from loss due to factors such as fire, water damage, theft or vandalism. Renters insurance even covers your stuff when it’s not in your apartment. If your laptop is stolen from your vehicle or your bike is stolen while you’re at work, for example, these losses are likely covered.
If you need to file a claim, a case manager will work directly with your credit card companies, credit bureaus, creditors and other financial institutions for up to a full year after a covered incident to restore your identity. The coverage also covers up to $25,000 in reimbursements for necessary and reasonable expenses incurred to restore your identity — including credit reports, notarization and attorney’s fees.
While your family may have health, dental or vision insurance, those policies don’t extend to your four-legged family members. Pet insurance lessens your financial burden when it comes to medical care for your pet and often includes tests, surgeries and the treatment of breed-specific conditions. That can mean fewer tough decisions and more time spent with your furry best friend.
No, this isn’t insurance to cover your collection of antique parasols. Rather, a personal liability umbrella policy provides protection in case you experience a major insurance claim or lawsuit. While underlying insurance policies such as home and auto do provide some protection, an umbrella policy can cover claims and judgments above the standard limits of those other policies — typically at a very reasonable price. Personal liability insurance also may cover against certain claims (such as defamation of character, libel and slander) that are typically not covered by other policies.
The next time you need to renew your insurance policies, consider taking these steps to make sure you have the proper coverage for your property.
Most often, people purchase a homeowners insurance or renter’s insurance policy when they first move out and into their new home. And it ends there. Over time, as they make renovations, purchase new items or replace existing appliances, they don’t review their policies to ensure they are properly covered. This, unfortunately, can lead to a gap in their coverage.
What steps should I take to review my homeowners insurance?
The next time you need to renew your insurance policies, consider taking these steps to help you get the most out of them.
Carefully review the limitations on coverage and exclusions on all your policies and make your agent is aware of any significant changes in your life. Some items in your home might qualify for extra protection. For example, you may need more protection for jewelry and firearms.
Business in the home coverage can protect furniture and equipment used for business purposes. Talk to your agent to make sure you're not overlooking important add-ons to your policy as well as sharing any significant changes in your life. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions about your home insurance coverages.
Homeowners insurance can protect you from the unexpected. If your home is damaged, your belongings are stolen or someone gets injured on your property, it can help cover repairs or replacement, temporary housing, medical bills, legal fees and more.
A homeowners policy is recommended for anyone who owns a home or condo, and may even be required by your mortgage lender. In certain areas, you may need separate policies or coverage to help protect your home and personal belongings against damage due to floods, earthquakes, windstorms or hail.
Most policies have 3 key elements:
the premium which is how much you pay for coverage, deductibles which are how much you’re responsible for out-of-pocket in the event of a covered Claim, and limits which are the most your insurance will pay for a covered claim.
Home insurance is coverage you hope to never have to use, but if the unexpected happens, it can help you restore your life back to normal.
If you're in the market for a new car, online car buying might seem like a hassle-free (and haggle-free) way to put those wheels in your driveway.
But the reality is that buying a car online is much more complicated than purchasing a new TV, a toaster or some other consumer product via the internet.
However, it's certainly a good idea to do research when you’re contemplating a major purchase such as a vehicle, and the internet can be a good first step in the process even if you plan to complete a car purchase in person. Having explored your options online, you can head to the dealership equipped with information on features and prices.
If you like the convenience of buying a car online, here's some recommendations on how you can get your next ride entirely (or mostly) via the internet.
How Does Buying a Car Online Work?
The process of buying a car online varies depending on whether you want to buy a new or used car. State laws make it more difficult to buy a new car entirely online, though you can use the internet to do research and complete at least part of the vehicle buying process.
Buying a New Car Online Buying a new car online isn’t as simple as other online purchases we’ve grown accustomed to making. Because state vehicle franchise laws generally prohibit manufacturers from selling cars directly to consumers, you can’t simply visit a manufacturer’s website, choose the make, model, color and features you want, and then click "buy" to have your dream car delivered to your door. Instead, you typically must go through a licensed auto dealer to purchase a new car.
The good news is that most dealerships have an internet sales department to make it easy for consumers to go through most of the buying process online. You may be able to shop a dealer website to find the car you want, negotiate price via phone, email or text message and possibly even get the car delivered to your home.
Another way to harness the power of the internet to buy a new car is through a car buying service. You may have access to a car buying service through an alumni organization, your employer, a warehouse club store or even your auto insurer. Car buying services allow you to go online to type in information about your desired vehicle, then they search for the car, negotiate price with dealerships, and possibly even arrange to get the vehicle delivered to you. However, before you use a car buying service, first inquire with the service to find out exactly how it works. Some services provide your name and contact information to dealers, which can take you out of the driver's seat in the buying process.
Buying a Used Car Online It is much easier to buy a used car online. Online car buying websites allow you to shop online, pick out the car of your choice and then get it delivered to your door for a fee.
These services may offer features designed to mitigate the risk of online car buying, such as pre-purchase inspections and the ability to return a car within a certain period of time after purchase.
Pros and Cons of Buying Cars Online There are advantages and disadvantages to buying a new or used car mostly or entirely online. The main advantages of online car buying are:
However, online car shopping has its downsides, too. Here are some disadvantages of online car buying that you may want to consider:
Tips: How to Buy a Car Online If you're considering buying a car online, here are some suggestions to increase your chances of having a good experience:
Online car buying may sound quick and easy, but it may require even more legwork to increase the chances you'll be happy with your new car down the road.
To find the right auto insurance for your new car, check out Travelers car insurance products, including our new car replacement coverage.
Buying renters insurance to protect your stuff may seem like an unnecessary expense, until you experience a theft or fire in your rented home or apartment and lose some of your most treasured possessions forever.
Whether you're a longtime renter or starting out in your first place, renters insurance policies provide important benefits and coverage. If a fire or similar incident destroyed your home and you didn't have renters coverage, it would be up to you to replace everything you own.
Plus, if someone claimed you caused an injury or property damage, without adequate insurance protection, you could be at risk for an expensive lawsuit and paying that person for his or her damages.
As you consider whether to buy renters insurance, here are four things you need to know:
1. Renters Insurance Provides Off-Premises
Coverage Renters insurance does more than cover the cost of lost or damaged possessions in your home.
There is coverage if your bicycle is stolen from a bike rack at the park, or if your laptop is taken from your car while you're at the supermarket.
2. You Can Be Compensated if You're Forced to Relocate Most renters policies provide additional living expenses coverage if your home becomes uninhabitable due to an event such as vandalism, theft, fire or water damage from home utilities.1 This benefit usually includes the cost of living expenses, up to your policy limits.
This coverage typically is limited to 30 to 50 percent of your insured personal property. For example, if your belongings were insured for $100,000, the limit on additional living expenses would be $30,000 to $50,000, as outlined in your policy.
3. A Home Inventory Can Determine How Much Coverage You Need Before you decide how much coverage you need, it's important to know how much it would cost to replace your possessions. You can calculate replacement costs by conducting a home inventory and checking with your insurance representative to make certain you're fully covered.
4. You Can Reduce Your Renters Insurance Costs There are a variety of ways to reduce the cost of renters insurance. An option is to select a higher policy deductible, the amount you must pay before your insurance coverage takes effect. Increasing a deductible from $250 to $500 could create an annual savings of up to 15 percent.
You also may want to consider buying all your insurance policies from one carrier. For example, when you bundle your auto and renters policies, you receive additional savings.
The spring season calls for refreshing and maintaining your most lived-in spaces, including your home and car.
Taking care of basic maintenance tasks can also help you avoid dealing with expensive repairs in the future.
In other words, now is the perfect time to make sure your property is in tiptop shape. Here are six essential car and home tasks to have on your radar.
First, check your vehicle's service schedule. That way, you'll know when and how often your car needs certain repairs, including:
Do you want to avoid expensive home repairs in the future? Here's what the experts suggest.
Your dashboard is filled with icons and alerts that can tell you when your vehicle needs attention. Some of these notifications are more serious than others, but it’s a good idea to know what they all mean.
But your dashboard isn’t the only way to tell if something is wrong. Sometimes you need to rely on your senses, which is why it’s also important to listen to the sounds your vehicle makes.
Have you noticed any clunking, grinding or high-pitched squealing lately? Here’s what some of these odd noises might mean.
Ask Your Mechanic
These warning noises may help you diagnose the problem, but this list is by no means comprehensive. If you hear something unusual, always ask a trusted mechanic as soon as possible. Ignoring a strange sound can mean more expensive repairs down the road.
Have questions about your coverage? Reach out anytime.