Home Insurance Factors for the Financially Savvy

According to ValuePenguin, in the year 2018, the average cost of homeowners insurance nationwide across the U.S. is $1,083. There are of course many factors that can affect this figure, some of which being due to location of the house which as a homeowner, you may have a degree of choice in, while some other factors could be down to you making a smart financial decision.

Whether you are a first time house buyer, at the beginning of your journey, or an established home owner, there are considerations to make and constant research that can be done in order to remain a financially savvy homeowner. Home insurance is an unavoidable necessity but if you are eager to put the work in, it is possible to lower payment for premiums and enjoy better protection for the money that must be spent.

Starting the home buying process

For some, the luxury of choosing exactly where in the nation you buy is not realistic as ties to family and work are a priority. However, it is useful to be aware that the state you choose to live in will have an impact on the home insurance policy. Unsurprisingly, states such as Florida and Texas are notably more expensive than the national average due to their susceptibility to natural disasters, such as tropical storms and tornadoes. At the other end of the spectrum, the states with comparatively cheaper home insurance are mainly located in the North West part of the country, since they are considered low risk in terms of hazardous natural events.

The material the house frame is built from can be another factor that may affect the cost of the home insurance. For example, traditional, period framing materials such as log or wood tend to cost more than more modern brick or masonry framing. This is likely due to the fact that wood carries greater risks of damage such as from fire, rot or termites.

Being efficient with policies

A key money saving tip revolves around research. Firstly, it pays to shop around. In a survey undertaken by Bankrate into home insurance quotes around different U.S. cities, it found that on average, the most expensive charged 34% more than the least expensive insurer. While this was the average, the gulf between insurers in some areas was exceptionally vast, such as in Wichita, Kansas, where the difference between the highest insurance quote and lowest was 188%.

Another financially efficient tip for reducing your home insurance policy is to bundle your insurances. This means having insurance products through the same provider, such as grouping your auto and homeowners insurance into the same policy. It can often be a money saving option to buy through one carrier instead of having a variety of individual policies since the carrier may offer a discount for combining policies through them.

Finding ways to save on your home insurance is not an impossible, or even that difficult a task. It does however, take time and patience to research the options available to you that fit in with your circumstances. Weighing up your priorities may also be a factor, depending on what stage of the home owning journey you are at. Ultimately, the time you put into shopping around and the organizational efforts you make will pay off.

Contact The Shevins today for a consultation on anything
Calabasas and Hidden Hills real estate.

January 2018 Market Report for Calabasas and Hidden Hills

Calabasas January 2018

Average list price compared to average sold price of properties sold each month


Number of properties currently listed for sale by price range


Number of properties sold each month


Average number of days it takes to sell a property



Hidden Hills January 2018

Average list price compared to average sold price of properties sold each month


Number of properties currently listed for sale by price range


Number of properties sold each month


Average number of days it takes to sell a property


Contact The Shevins today for a consultation on anything
Calabasas and Hidden Hills real estate.

2018 Luxury Home Design Trends

It can be tough to stay up-to-date on the latest and greatest home decor and design trends. That’s why, we’ve compiled this list of the four top interior design trends that you’ll notice in 2018. By being aware of these trends, you can figure out which home improvement projects you’d like to tackle this upcoming year.

Contemporary Floor Plans

Contemporary floor plans, which were all the rave in the 1960s, are sure to make a comeback in 2018. These floor plans feature clean lines, open spaces, and large windows that bring in plenty of natural light.

If you opt for this type of floor plan, you’ll find it easy to keep an eye on your children and entertain guests. In addition, you’ll enjoy a wonderful view of your outdoor landscape and the ability to create a connection between the inside and outside of your home.

Short-Term Rental Ready Homes

Thanks to Airbnb, VRBO, and other online marketplaces, you can rent out a room in your home or your entire home for a short period of time to people from across the country and world. 2018 will be the year that people take advantage of this trend and share their luxurious environments with others.

If you’re interested in renting out a room or your entire home, you should focus on transforming your space from personal to guest friendly. You can do so by removing personal items and adding a quality mattress topper, extra blankets and pillows, blackout drapes, a fan, air freshener and anything else that will allow your guests to feel comfortable and pampered.

White Flooring

Although it may be difficult to maintain, you’ll find white flooring everywhere in 2018. If you’re looking to brighten up your home, you should consider adding white tiles to your bathrooms and kitchen and white wood flooring to your family room, living room, and bedrooms. Since white flooring looks great with every color combination, you won’t have to change the colors in your home if you decide to follow this trend.

Geometric Patterns

In 2018, homeowners who are hoping to give their home a modern, yet vintage vibe will go for geometric patterns. If you’d like to try this trend out, you can find some wallpaper, throw pillows, or a rug with these types of patterns. In the event you love it and are ready commit, you should invest in a geometric kitchen backsplash or tiled floor.

Black and White Rooms

Vintage style rooms that were designed in solely black and white have been popular for quite some time and will likely be seen in 2018. If you’re searching for a timeless trend to follow, creating a black and white room is the way to go.

Whether you decide on a contemporary floor plan, set your home up for Airbnb, swap your current flooring for white flooring, add some geometric patterns to your space, design a room in black and white, you can give your home a fresh new look in 2018.

Contact The Shevins today for a consultation on anything
Calabasas and Hidden Hills real estate.

How to Choose a Listing Agent

With so many listing agents out there, it can be difficult to determine which one is right for you. By interviewing various listing agents in your area, you can find out who will go the extra mile with the sale of your home and who won’t. Here is a list of questions you should consider asking any listing agent you interview:

How much can you sell my home for?

If you’ve found that two listing agents state they can sell your home for $400,000 and a third one states $500,000, the third one is likely exaggerating in order to attract you. Opt for a listing agent who is realistic about sales price.

How much real estate did you sell last year?

Previous performance often indicates future results. That’s why, you should find out how much real estate each listing agent you interview sold last year. Refrain from hiring anyone who was not successful in the past.

What are your marketing strategies?

You’ll find that some listing agents put a great deal of time and energy into marketing homes while others make no or minimal effort to do so. By asking listing agents how they will market your home, you’ll get a better feel for how many eyes may get in front of it.

How do you track online listing activity?

Since your home will likely receive three times more traffic the first week it’s listed, you should select an agent that can track online activity and give you an update on the performance of your home. You could then use this information to alter your listing if necessary.

What is your method for following up with open house attendees?

Many listing agents arrange open houses to market homes. Ask the listing agents you interview whether they have a specific method for following up with open house attendees. They should be able to keep track of serious open house leads and collect valuable feedback about your home.

Do you have a specialty?

While some listing agents focus on starter homes and condos, others sell luxury homes. Try to figure out the specialty of each listing agent you interview so that you know whether their experience is valuable for your particular situation.

Do you consider yourself readily available?

If your listing agent is only available on certain days of the week because of another job or commitment, your home may not sell in a timely fashion. Ask listing agents about their availability and avoid hiring anyone who seems overly busy and won’t be able to be there for you when you need them.

What is your commission rate?

In most cases, the commission rate will be about 6% and split with the buyer’s agent. You may come across listing agents that offer to negotiate their commission. While it may be tempting to choose them, keep in mind you’re paying for a professional service and you should choose someone based on their experience and quality of work rather than their reduced commission rate.

Asking these questions to multiple listing agents will help you get the greatest possible return on your investment and locate the most qualified buyer.

Contact The Shevins today for a consultation on anything
Calabasas and Hidden Hills real estate.

2018 Planned Rate Hikes and How Home Buying Will Be Affected

Interest rates can affect many aspects of your financial life and are driven by the monetary policy decisions of the Federal Reserve. Major banks use these monetary policy decisions when borrowing or lending funds.

The Federal Reserve agreed to raise its key interest rate of 1.25% to 1.5%., the third increase in this rate in 2017. The raised rate will push up rates for credit cards, adjustable-rate mortgages and home equity lines of credit. Its effect on fixed-rate mortgages will not be as pronounced.

Mortgages typically come with 15 to 30 year terms which is far longer than short-term borrowing affected by the federal funds rate. Therefore, mortgage rates which have been below 4 percent for the majority of 2017 are not as sensitive to the incremental rate increases.

How the Interest Rate Increase Will Affect Individuals Seeking a New Mortgage and Homeowners With An Adjustable Rate

The individuals that are most vulnerable to this rate increase are those who are seeking a new mortgage or already have one with an adjustable rate. If you have an adjustable rate mortgage, the rising interest rates may affect your rate when your introductory period ends.

You may want to consider refinancing your adjustable rate mortgage to a fixed-rate one without extending the term of it. Opting for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage may also decrease the total amount you pay in interest.

In addition, if you’re considering buying a home through a new mortgage, you should expect an interest rate for a 30-year mortgage to rise to about 4.40 percent, up from the current 3.95 percent rate.

How the Interest Rate Increase Will Affect Homeowners With a 30-Year Mortgage

In the event you already have a 30 year mortgage, the increased interest rates will not affect your monthly payments. This may make it tempting for you to stay in your current home and keep the interest rate you locked in rather than selling your home and applying for a mortgage with a higher interest rate.

How the Interest Rate Increase Will Affect Homeowners With a Home Equity Line of Credit

If you have a home equity line of credit, your rates will likely increase, meaning your payments will increase as well. It’s important to understand that even if your payments do rise, this is because the Fed believes there has been improvement in the economy and there will be more economic growth in the future. You may find that you get a raise at work or find a higher paying job.

How the Interest Rate Increase Will Affect Rental Property Owners

If you own rental properties, the rate increase may help you out because more people will be tempted to rent rather than buy a home. Increases in occupancy and rental rates can increase the value of your real estate.

By doing whatever you can to keep your interest payments low and paying off your debt as soon as possible, you can ensure that increased interest rates have a less drastic effect on your mortgage and financial situation.

Contact The Shevins today for a consultation on anything
Calabasas and Hidden Hills real estate.