Mark Saves Homes

Home improvement and real estate.

Learning More About Home Insurance

Despite the fact that homeowners are required to have home insurance, they don’t really understand what it means or what it entails. Most of the time people just get home insurance as part of the requirement but they don’t give that much thought to it.

What they fail to realize is that they can get a lot of benefits when it comes to home insurance. There are so many things that they can get out of it. This article would hopefully provide some enlightening information about it.

Why Home Insurance is Important?

For most people their homes are their most important and valuable possessions, therefore, protecting it is a must. That reason alone is enough for any homeowner to get home insurance even if it is not a requirement. It gives them an option to fall back on in case something happens.

Some Damages You Might Face

There are a lot of damages that you would have to face when you own a home. A fire for example could not only damage, but could completely destroy your house and everything within it. It can also be a serious threat to lives.

A residential fire can be the biggest threat to a home and sometimes no matter how much precaution we take, there is always the chance that a fire might happen. Having insurance is probably the best thing that could be done for it.

Fire isn’t the only thing that you have to think about. There are some other threats that you would have to face. Here are some of them:

  • Damage from vandals
  • Landslip or land heave
  • Falling debris
  • Crashing vehicles
  • Damage from animals

Your house can be insured for almost anything, but the important thing is that the insurance company would have to be convinced that your house is not in an unusually risky situation. If they do find out, for example, that your place is likely to get damaged for one reason or another, they might refuse to insure it or charge a higher cost for doing so.

If you have insurance and the damage that happens to your house is covered, then the cost of the repair would be paid for. Even if the damage is complete and the house would have to be rebuilt totally, most insurance would pay for that.

Sometimes if you don’t have a place to stay during the period when your house is being reconstructed then the insurance company would also pay for your accommodations. But that would depend on the insurance company that you got. That is why it is important that you make your pick very carefully.

Home Insurance as a Requirement

We have mentioned earlier that home insurance is sometimes a requirement if you are getting a mortgage then the lender would require that you get a home insurance. If you don’t, then that might affect your loan.

The lender might ask you to pay the full amount immediately or some other costly thing for you.

Homeowner Insurance: Does It Cover Water Damage?

When it comes to water damage, many homeowners are confused because they don’t know what exactly is covered by their insurance and what not. Water can ruin your floors, furniture and walls which will cost a lot of money to repair. You can have other problems too, like mold which can cause serious health issues.

What is covered?

Damages from floods will not be covered by a homeowner’s insurance. If you live in a flood risk area, you’ll need to buy flood insurance. The types of water damage that are covered are not as serious, but they can still be a nuisance if not taken care of.

Homeowner’s insurance is of three types: HO1, HO2 and HO3. HO1 is the cheapest but will not cover certain types of damages, which can include water. HO2 is the average policy, with moderate premiums and deductibles and they cover most of the damage that your house is likely to suffer. HO3 is the most expensive of all three, but it comes with a lot of perks and it covers many situations.

What is covered depends on what policy you have. It is essential to know that water damage is only covered if it’s caused by external factors. For example if the temperature drops and your pipes burst, you will be covered, because it was not your fault. However if a pipe is leaking and you do not repair it, don’t expect the agency to pay for the damage. As long as the water damage was caused by external factors, you will be covered.

Keep in mind that a homeowner’s insurance policy will cover damages done to your interior and basement! Your lawn is not covered against water damage.

Final words and conclusion

It is important to know what your policy covers, so go and read it carefully one more time. You can raise your rates if you call your agent about a damage that is not covered by the policy.

If you live in a high-risk flooding area, it is important to buy flood insurance. You should also have life insurance for when something happens and you lose your life. In many cases, home insurance’s coverage will not be enough to put your family back on track after a flooding disaster!

In conclusion, most house insurance policies will cover water damage caused by external factors. If you have a hard time finding out what is exactly covered, get help from an insurance agent or broker.

The Many Benefits of Cheap Flat Packed Wardrobes

Many people believe that if you spend more than you get more but that isn’t always the case as cheap flat packed wardrobes goes to prove. There are many reasons why getting a cheaper type of wardrobe can actually benefit you and a number of different people who would be extremely interested in such affordable furniture. Here is a list of the best reasons why someone should consider going for flat packed wardrobes.

Firstly we live in a world where many of us need to be careful in how we are spending our cash. Some wardrobes are several hundred pounds but do the same job as one that is less than half the price. When you add together the cost of furnishing a couple of bedrooms, a living room and a dining room the cost can really add up. Getting items such as a flat packed wardrobe can really help to keep the costs down.

Flat packed wardrobes are a great way to furnish bedrooms that you don’t use very often. This could be a spare bedroom where you just want a wardrobe that will give you space to store those items that are out of season like that winter coat during the summer months. It can also be used to furnish a spare bedroom where whoever is staying only wants something to hand their clothes in and really isn’t worried about how much it cost or how long it lasts you. Cheap wardrobe or the most expensive wardrobe available will mean nothing to them.

Another of the great benefits to flat packed wardrobes is the number of designs available. You can get a cheaper variety in both oak and pine giving you a choice of wood each giving a slightly different look. You can even get designs that come in white MDF wood which will give you room a completely different look but a nice clean fresh one. You can get full hanging units or those with internal shelves and even some with extra drawers below. They come in a number of different sizes from single right through to triple. In fact for every design of pre assembled deluxe wardrobe there is a flat packed equivalent.

So why are flat packed wardrobes still OK to buy? Very simply because they are flat a packed they cost less to produce. The factory has not spent time putting the unit together and time saved is money saved. This reduced cost is passed on to the customer so in many cases the only down side is that you need to be able to build it yourself. I never found this a problem because the instructions are much like Lego instructions I would use as a kid. They are quite simple and with an extra pair of hands it doesn’t take long but it will save you money.

So you can see that there is definitely a place for the cheaper flat packed type wardrobe. There is always someone who needs storage who has a tight budget and there are always circumstances where you don’t need to buy the very best unit available. Hopefully having read this article you will be able to see the many benefits of the low cost wardrobe.

30-Year Vs 15-Year Mortgage

According to, the current 30-year fixed mortgage rate is 3.64% compared to a 15-year fixed mortgage of 2.88%. Even though the borrower pays less interest in 15 years, it comprises of significantly higher monthly payments, thereby discouraging commitment from many borrowers who cannot afford that.

Let’s look at the numbers. Let’s assume a couple buys a house for $200,000.

  • The monthly payments over a 30-year term would be $913. The total interest paid by the borrower would be $128,964 and the total amount paid over the life of the loan would be $328,964.
  • The monthly payments over a 15-year term would be $1370. The borrower would pay $46,537 in interest and the total amount paid over the life of the loan would be $246,537.
  • The monthly payments are lowered by $457 per month on a 30-year mortgage but it costs $82,427 more in interest over the life of the loan.

The flexibility of making extra principal payments on a 30-year mortgage gives the option to pay it off early and to gain big savings on the interest.

Let’s explore the option of paying off the 30-year mortgage in 15 years.

  • The monthly payment in this case would be $1444. The borrower would pay $59,839 in interest, and the total amount paid over the life of the loan would be $259,839. The borrower can revert back to the lower monthly payment of $913 in times of financial hardship.

Factors to decide 30-year Vs 15-year mortgage


The difference between the 30-year and 15-year mortgages is $457. If one can comfortably make this payment for 15 years, then they must choose that option otherwise the flexibility of making the extra payment as and when you can would make the 30-year mortgage a better option.

Alternate Financial Goals

In general, it is a good practice to contribute monthly to your savings account and to max out the retirement accounts. If a 15-year mortgage doesn’t allow doing that, then it may not be a good option. Another factor to consider is the retirement period. If it is more than two decades away, one is in a position to undertake the volatility of more aggressive investments rather than paying off the mortgage early.

Emergency Savings

Due to unexpected expenses or job loss, it is critical to have a sizeable savings account to mitigate the risks. If one doesn’t have that, it is better to choose the 30-year mortgage and continue to build your savings.

Risk Tolerance

One has to decide if it is more important for them to own their home quicker and have the peace of mind or if they’d rather invest the extra income elsewhere to get much higher returns.

Tax Break

With a 30-year mortgage, one can save more on taxes per year but they pay significantly more interest over the life of the loan as compared to a 15-year mortgage.

Therefore, if one can afford higher monthly payments, can contribute to retirement and savings accounts, and has significant savings funds, a 15-year term is a much better option to own the home in less time. But, if one is lacking any of the above mentioned conditions, or has an appetite for debt and risk, the money saved every month with a 30-year term can be invested elsewhere to gain higher returns.

Growing A Vertical Garden

When I started my vertical garden, it was a small affair, just a few herbs like basil, mint and Rosemary. Then I added cherry tomatoes, sweet peppers and burpless cucumbers and my garden has now expanded to plants on Shepard hooks and on hooks attached to the fences. Additionally, I started adding some decorations like stake type art, one of which has a solar light included!

The whole point of starting this type of garden was that my Shorkie, Brandy, is very destructive and I still wanted something pretty to look at besides the gray fence. So, my first thought was “why not plant something we can use”? Hence the herbs and veggies. That wasn’t enough however, we were still looking at the ugly gray fence, so a few weeks later, we added the flowers and decorations. I still plan to add more to the fence when the temps start going down a bit. Hey, it’s hot in Texas right now!

My inspiration was a beautiful pin I saw on Pinterest and not only were there plants all along the fence, the fence itself was painted like a flower garden! Very inspirational and so much talent needed I’m sure. The first challenge I faced when starting to put plants on the fence was how to hang them without the weight pulling on the fence. First I came up with over-the-door hooks to hang from the support board from the neighbors side. That ended up being where I hung other decorations like a tiny birdhouse and a pretty sun. You see, I would have had to find half baskets and I’m on a budget here.

Ultimately, we ended up getting strong decorative metal hooks that my husband was kind enough to install on the support posts of the fence. They proved quite strong and now I have a plant hanging from each one, three in all. There are other ways to hang more plants at one time, like a long box held by brackets or maybe even half baskets that would hang flush with the fence. Truth is, the weather got hot and I decided to wait to add more because I’ve created enough I have to water already!

We have managed to harvest a few cherry tomatoes and a sweet pepper plus I use the basil for many things. The mint comes in handy as well if you like to make infused waters for instance. Also, it’s wonderful to have pretty flowers, lights and decorations to look at now all out of my puppy’s reach!

Beyond the Brand: An Informational Guide to Picking the Right Washer and Dryer

There are a number of things to consider when making a purchase for your laundry room. All the information I’ll give you comes from my experience as an appliance salesman and goes beyond the brand and manufacturer. Selling appliances I have come to learn a lot of simple, useful and relatively unknown information about washing machines and dryers. You will be able to tell what washer is right for you, just by learning some basic knowledge about the types of machines that are available in the market today.

When it comes to doing laundry you have a few options with washing machines: front load, top load or even a laundry center. Dryers are all front load units; the only difference is in the door, motor, and the features offered. Household washers and dryers are measured in cubic feet. The range for washing machines is about 3.0 – 5.5 cubic feet, the average being around 3.7 cu ft. For dryers the range is 6.0 – 9.0 cubic feet, 7.0 cu ft being the average. The amount of laundry that you do is the main factor when choosing the size you want. Bare in mind that the larger the capacity the more it will cost.

Top load washing machines come in two styles: conventional and high-efficiency. Most conventional washing machines have an agitator which is a post in the middle of the basket that aids in the washing process by adding more turnover to the clothes. These models have a display with dials and knobs and are usually lower in price. High-efficiency models are usually large capacity units with no agitator offering more features like steam, deep water wash, and soil level options. The complaint I have heard the most with top load washers is that they don’t get the clothes as clean as a front load unit, however with the newest features on recent models the washers have got much better at cleaning the clothes.

Front load washing machines and dryers are perfect for a small laundry room, because they are stack-able. The clothes are constantly turning over in the water therefore they do tend to give a better clean. From my experience they seem to have more problems and are slightly higher in initial price, but also offer many features and are high-efficiency units, meaning they use less water and energy. The biggest complaint I have heard from customers is that the rubber lip on the door gets water in it and creates mildew that becomes difficult to clean and leaves the clothes smelling like mildew, however with proper maintenance this can be avoided.

When it comes to picking out the perfect dryer the options are not as diverse. All dryers have a door on the front and either have a motor with a belt and pulley or a direct drive motor which is usually more reliable because the motor is directly connected to the tub, and there are fewer parts that wear down and ultimately break. Direct drive is also available on washing machines with the same benefits. The most appreciated features on dryers are the steam and sanitize cycles, offering a quick clean for nontraditional items and also fast wrinkle removal. Simply put the more features the more costly it will be.

Laundry Centers have both a washer and dryer and have separate drums like stack-able front loads but the washer is a top load with the dryer directly above it. They are connected at the back and are a perfect fit for a very tight space. However the large capacity is sacrificed. All of the models I have come across have agitators in the washer and are not high-efficiency. These units tend to be very good if you don’t do a lot of laundry and usually cost less than buying a separate washer and a dryer.

An Insight Into Garden Furniture Sets

Garden furniture sets are a type of furniture specifically designed for outdoor use. They are typically made of weather resistant materials which do not rust. Many people’s perception of outdoor furniture is simply that of a patio set consisting of a table and chairs and quite frequently a parasol which provides shade from the sun or shelter from rain. The range today, however, is enormous and garden furniture has been adapted to suit all space sizes from large garden spaces to patios to conservatories and foldable tables and chairs are ideal for balconies. Today you can choose from tables, chairs, sofas, arm chairs, loungers, weather proof cushions, parasols and gazebos which now come with UV protection. Usage of garden sets is enhanced by the addition of a patio heater which allows people to sit outside at night or in cold weather.

A garden is often referred to as an outdoor living room so you need to choose outdoor furniture sets wisely so that they enhance and make a statement in your garden without of course dominating it. It is important therefore to take the size of your garden and the space into which you will be putting the furniture into account. How many people will it have to accommodate? Will there be room to move freely when it is in place? Is it for entertaining or simply relaxing in the sun? Perhaps it may simply be for garden decoration? Is it for outdoor dining? The garden furniture you purchase will therefore be influenced by all these factors plus of course price.

The type of material you choose for your outdoor furniture is generally determined on how durable and weather resistant it is plus of course your own personal preference and as mentioned earlier price. It is not practical to constantly have to move garden furniture into a designated storage area or into a conservatory so furniture that is durable, weather resistant and requires minimum maintenance will give you a better return on your money at the end of the day. Garden furniture sets made of rattan are quite popular as it is maintenance free, practical and UV durable so it won’t fade over time. Neither does it rust or warp consequently is ideal for outdoor use. Garden furniture made from metal are strong and solid as we all know and by definition quite durable. Those made of aluminium are lightweight and do not rust. Those made from wood are generally quite attractive, easy to clean and maintain and resilient. Garden furniture made of plastic today comes in all shapes and sizes and can bring a touch of colour and indeed style to your garden. If on a tight budget then plastic can be quite suitable.

Prior to purchasing your dream garden furniture check everything out. Will it fit in the space allocated by you? Are you satisfied with the comfort of the chairs or sofas? Is the height of the chairs chosen compatible with the table height? Are the cushions weatherproof? Should you consider purchasing covers for your garden furniture set or are you confident in your ability to keep it in good shape year round? Talk with the supplier or store and get all the necessary maintenance information at time of purchasing.

Reasons Why a Well-Maintained Garden Is So Important

A sense of beauty and joy fills your heart when you are surrounded by greenery. But we should appreciate a garden’s maintenance in the same way we appreciate its beauty. Nowadays, gardens are not only restricted to residences but also found in offices. It is significant to maintain gardens regularly because an unkempt one can makes the property look dull and unwelcoming. If you cannot make time to manage your garden area, you can hire landscape design services. Now, let us go through the reasons why garden maintenance has become so important today.

Why do you require maintaining your garden area?

Whether it is your office or home, if you have garden, you require maintaining it properly. We have compiled a few reasons that signify the importance of the upkeep job.

Live amid nature

If you have your own well-kept green area, you have the privilege to live in the middle of nature. Plus, such a space can always serve as a perfect destination to sip your morning or evening cup of tea or coffee. (Whichever drink suits you.) Furthermore, you can always use the space for organizing formal parties or impromptu get-together.

Add beauty

If the green area has beautiful flowers and leaves that glisten, your space will become more appealing. A well-kept green area will only add charm to your property.

Create freshness

Greenery-if maintained well-will always add to the overall freshness of an area. Greenery helps in creating a type of freshness that can soothe your senses and rejuvenate them.

Grow fruits and veggies

Now, that is what we can call “killing two birds with one stone.” Beg your pardon if the idiom sounds a bit ghastly, but it holds water in the current situation. A well-maintained garden area can support the growth of fruits and vegetables, i.e., you can eat organic, healthy, homegrown fruits or veggies daily. So, having such an area not only helps you see beautiful nature but also lets you eat healthful fruits and veggies.

Do not let your garden get infested with worms and pests

It is a no-brainer; if you do not maintain your garden, it will soon become a home for pests and other insects. And if your green area has, sadly, run to seed, you have to check the area for snakes and other dangerous rodents as well.

If you have a garden area, you can avail each of these benefits. But for experiencing these benefits, you can either find some time every day to maintain you garden or hire a landscape design NYC service provider who will do the chore for you. We can rightly say that it is essential to do the task if you do not want your green area to serve as a blot on the landscape.

Condo Insurance Basics

In the insurance world, you will find a great number of different policy types. You could get coverage for just about anything you want to do in life, and one of those options includes homeowner plans. You may not own a house, but you may purchase a condominium and believe it or not, you’ll still want to get a policy to protect yourself from a variety of issues that could arise. Some find this option to be somewhat interesting because it’s almost like renting an apartment, but you’re going to own it. A condo is a great investment option if you’re not in the market to buy a “house” that is a stand alone property. With that in mind, make sure that you understand a few condo insurance basics to ensure that you’re financially well situated for the future.

The very first thing that you’ll want to look into is what you want to insure. There are blanket policies that can give you peace of mind in case anything happens, but that will be somewhat limited in scope. If you don’t have a great deal of valuables that you’re trying to insure this may be the perfect option for you. Often times this will suffice in regards to getting a general list going forward as to what you can claim if something goes wrong.

For those that want a more extensive policy, there are premium options that will require a little bit of effort on your part. These options require you to create an asset list to cover and will be compared and contrasted in order to figure out what the cost of the coverage will in fact be. This is one of the more arduous of options for some because in case of a disaster or robbery, certain items can be taken and difficult to replace. Putting monetary value on items in the home can be hard, but it is definitely a good idea when looking through your condo insurance options.

One thing to remember when dealing with any sort of insurance plan is to look into a variety of different options and companies. Do not assume that you’re stuck with only one type of coverage, as there are many different policies that can protect you from a chaotic issue that could arise. Whether it’s a natural disaster or an accident in the home, you’ll want to make sure that you are compensated for the damages and losses that might come to fruition.

When looking for insurance companies that offer condo coverage it’s best to take your time balancing out a list of pros and cons. The price and covered options should allow you to make an educated decision moving forward. It’s best to shop multiple condo insurance carriers or you may end up paying more money than you need to. Much like homeowners need to worry about their home, condominium buyers need to worry about their medical, personal property, and liability risk exposures.

The Easiest Way To Get The Best Home Owners Insurance Rate

If you are looking to purchase homeowners you’re undoubtedly trying to find the cheapest price you can with a major provider. However you might think you do not have time to shop around to find the best rate, or even that reasonably-priced home insurance does not exist.

The reality is you can find low priced insurance plans. And you can do it in the comfort and privacy of your home by going on line and going to an insurance comparison site.

Is It Possible To Shop On the Internet For Homeowners Insurance?

If you have spent a lot of time on the Internet you’ve in all probability bought products through Amazon or possibly any of the other online shops, but how about insurance?

Yes, you actually can shop online for home insurance, saving yourself the effort of making multiple telephone calls along with multiple visits to your local insurance agencies.

Best of all, shopping online to get insurance coverage is quick, simple, and completely free, plus you will get access to more A-rated companies than you will at your local agency.

So How Does Online Insurance Shopping Work?

Once you visit an insurance comparison site you will be asked to fill out a questionnaire with information about your house and your insurance coverage needs. These will be the very same kinds of questions an insurance agent would ask you, including:

– When was your house built and what’s the square footage?

– Where’s the closest fire hydrant and how far is the closest fire station?

– What is the total amount of protection you need plus how much of a deductible do you want?

– What security features are there in your home, like deadbolts, smoke alarms, fire extinguishers, and security systems?

Once you fill in the questionnaire and submit it, you will start receiving quotes coming from numerous insurance carriers which you can review, make any modifications you want, and then choose the plan with the very best price that fits your needs.

To get an even cheaper quote, include all of the discounts that you are entitled to. Some of the best discounts to add are…

– A discount for bundling your home insurance plus your automobile insurance with the same company

– A discount for having fire extinguishers as well as smoke alarm systems

– A discount for having deadbolts, window locks, as well as a security alarm inside your home

– A discount in the event that you are a senior

– A non-smoker’s discount if nobody at your residence smokes

In addition to comparing quotes and obtaining discounts, one of the best ways to save money on your insurance coverage is to raise your deductible, the total amount you pay out before your insurance provider will cover your claim.

To determine your deductible, figure out just how much you can afford to pay in case you need to file a claim. For example, if you can afford to pay out $1,000 towards a claim and you raise your deductible from $500 to $1,000, you can save up to 25% on your insurance monthly bill.

My Story

I am a former agent therefore I was certain I had a low-priced policy, but to be sure I decided to compare rates using a comparison website. After spending only a couple of minutes at the site, entering my information, then spending a few more minutes comparing the quotes I received by email, I came across a plan that saved me $640 a year!

I cannot think of a simpler and easier way to find a cheap price with a top-rated insurance provider.

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