336 Gifford St.
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Contact Calfee Insurance Agency. Authorized Progressive Agency located on Cape Cod.
336 Gifford St.
Contact Calfee Insurance Agency. Authorized Progressive Agency located on Cape Cod.
336 Gifford St.
Battle of the spouses. Thinking about remodeling your current home? Read on for a few tips.
Your spouse comes home to find you gutting the bathroom. Do they react by throwing a few choice words your way or do they give you a hug for finally moving forward with the remodel you’ve been talking about for the last three years?
If you’re a fan of sleeping in the bedroom and not on the couch, you probably get the hug, because there’s no way you’d embark upon a major remodel without talking to your partner first. And while this is definitely a wise move from a relationship preservation standpoint, knowing what your significant other wants before you get started is critical to the success of any major project. Perhaps that’s why 80% of homeowners we surveyed make the smart move to include their partner in the decision-making process. Problem is, couples often have different ideas of what’s important in a remodel, especially when it comes to major projects. So, what’s the key to reaching a common goal? Compromise.
A Bathroom for Both of You
He wants an integrated sound system, a car wash shower, and a walled-off toilet space. You want a huge soaker tub, plenty of natural light, and dual sinks. If money is no big deal, there’s no reason you both can’t get what you want. However, it probably is, which means you’ll need to drop a few items from your wish list. The good news is that both of you can still get the bathroom you’ve been dreaming of. To get the relaxing space you want while satisfying his efficiency requirements, go with the dual sinks, separate toilet space, soaker tub and shower. It might not be as extravagant but it will be a bathroom you’ll both be happy with.
Basements are tough, especially when everyone has their own idea of how it should best be used. Talk to any guy and they’ll tell you a bar, game room, and home theater are high on their wish lists. Women, on the other hand, tend to be a bit more pragmatic with their priorities. For them, it’s all about optimizing the space for multiple uses, with extra bedrooms, plenty of storage, and expansive family rooms being the most popular choices. And while it is possible to incorporate all of the above into your basement, to maximize your space and budget you’ll need to pick the features that deliver the most value and utility. For this reason, we recommend going with a multi-purpose family room (wet bar included if you have the space), an extra bedroom (that can do double duty as a home office), and an additional bathroom.
While you and your partner might not completely agree on what the perfect bathroom or basement looks like, most couples are able to reach a consensus when it comes to remodeling their bedroom. They want a relaxing room with plenty of space, plenty of storage, and an en-suite bathroom. The differences come when it’s time to decorate. Since style is so subjective, the key to arriving at a look you can both be happy with is for each of you to make a list of design elements and color options. Usually, this means picking out paint you can both be happy with. Go through the list together and identify the styles you share. Put those at the top of the list. If you’re able to reach a consensus, perfect! If not, go through your wish list and talk about what’s essential and what’s not.
Part of the fun of a remodel is sitting down with your partner to daydream about what the finished product will look like. No, you probably won’t see eye to eye at first. But with a little give and take, you’ll find that your remodel will satisfy both of your wants (and maybe even some of your needs, too).
Contact us for a FREE, no obligation quote. Meet with a local agent, or click the link for an easy online quote. Calfee Insurance is proudly partnered with Progressive Insurance to provide you with even further savings!
Post winter storm reminders for clients with secondary homes.
As the area begins to clean up and eventually return to normal after the recent storms, individuals with secondary homes in the storm-effected area are reminded do the following:
PROTECT YOUR FAMILY, PROTECT YOUR HOME!
Significant snow events, such as the one New England encountered earlier this week, can often result in dangerous and destructive ice dams. Ice damming occurs when water from melting snow runs down the surface of a roof and re-freezes. As it re-freezes, ice builds up and begins to “dam” the subsequent run-off. Roof shingles are designed to shed water, not handle pooled water. Some of the pooled water finds its way under shingles and can refreeze, lifting the shingles from the roof deck and creating an avenue for the water to enter. This scenario is caused by warm air in the attic space, heating the undersurface of the roof deck and melting the snow. The run-off makes its way down the roof and eventually comes in contact with the deck over the eaves, which is not exposed to the heat from the attic. This is where the ice generally begins to form.
Here are some ways to prevent ice dams from forming this winter:
may damage the shingles) and again, always be mindful of the location of all
o If you are uncomfortable, or believe the situation is unsafe, consider hiring a
licensed and insured contractor to complete the work.
• Use a melting agent like calcium chloride, which is one of the most common agents
used. For added effectiveness, we suggest placing it in a nylon stocking, which allows for the agent to remain in place for a longer period of time and to be released gradually, extending the melting process.
Source: Arbella Insurance
As the temperature continues to drop, the pipes in your home and your insureds home are at risk of damage from freezing conditions. Low temperatures can cause your water pipes to freeze, and in some cases burst. Being prepared and informed may help you to avoid the messy and often expensive issue of frozen pipes. The following tips can help you safeguard your home:
Be Safe and Stay Warm!
Work smarter — not harder — when on the hunt for your new home.
Finally taking the home purchase plunge? Congratulations! Now that you’re in the game, it’s time to get informed and make educated decisions. The process is filled with industry-specific terms, vendors, and a glut of information — ugh.
You may be wondering where to begin. With this arsenal of tools in your corner, you’ll sail smoothly through the process — starting from a sound first step — and right into your perfect home.
The first thing you should be doing, if you haven't already done so...
First things first, get comfortable with the process and your rights. HUD.gov, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s website, has several resources for people thinking about buying a home, including information about predatory lending and your rights as a borrower. Don’t worry if these concepts are foreign; soon enough they will become part of your vocabulary.
“I’m currently searching for my first home, and after receiving so much ‘great advice’ from well-meaning friends, I decided to educate myself,” says Kathleen Anderson, a prospective homebuyer in Seattle, WA. “Now that I have some industry knowledge and information, I feel so much more in control of the process.”
Pro tip: A comprehensive glossary of terms can be your new best friend. “Addenda,” “earnest money,” “inspection reports,” “escrow” — oh my! Taking the time to educate yourself will make you feel more comfortable throughout the process.
Calculate the cash
There’s no doubt about it, buying a house is a serious financial commitment. Understanding your purchasing power upfront is essential to a smooth process.
There’s nothing worse than locating your dream kitchen in a $300,000 home and then finding out that your maximum purchase price is $225,000 — a total bummer. Avoid this heartbreak by using Trulia’s mortgage affordability calculator and start your search off on the right foot.
Pro tip: If, after you’ve calculated the numbers, your down payment is a bit on the low side, get yourself back on track with these tips and tricks.
Remember, location is everything
Yes, the home itself is important; its size, layout, and design are all integral to daily life. But also its location is critical — is there a park down the street? Can I walk to get a coffee in the morning? Is the street busy during rush hour?
Your future home is part of a community, and learning its characteristics before you buy is mission critical. Trulia offers a detail-rich map you can search based on a property’s location in relation to hundreds of amenities. (Try it out; you can thank me later.)
Pro tip: Thinking of buying in NYC? Perfect. Try out Revaluate, an app that gives you firsthand accounts of what it’s really like to live in any apartment, co-op, or condo in Manhattan. Hidden issues, potential problems, and all the goodness each building offers.
Pay attention to safety
And nearly last but not least, let’s talk about safety: to get the lowdown on all the activities in a specific neighborhood, use this interactive map as a one-stop shop. Learn all the particulars of your target neighborhood and put your mind at ease before you sign on the dotted line.
Pro tip: It’s also a good idea to evaluate the safety of your prospective home as well, especially if you are a solo buyer. Use these tips as a guideline and rest assured you will feel safe and sound.
Make your plan
Do yourself a favor and bookmark these sites for quick reference. Start by educating yourself and using the calculator to establish the maximum purchase price of your home. Then use the online tools to evaluate the contenders based on proximity to critical amenities and your ideal community characteristics.
A smart approach to evaluating homes will make the process smoother and help ensure you will be sitting pretty in your new home well before the end of the year.
Here's what you should know about staying safe in a winter storm:
Before the Storm
Before the worst of the storm hits, stock up on rock salt, snow shovels and other snow removal equipment to help remove snow and melt ice on walkways. Putting sand down can help improve traction.
If you have a fireplace or wood-burning stove, grab some extra wood or other heating fuel, as you could be stuck in your home for a few days without power.
It's also a good idea to stock up on food, water and medications. Check your stockpiles of essentials like batteries, toilet paper and pet food and test flashlights, battery-powered radios and other tools that might be needed if the power goes out.
While you’re at it, dig out all the old blankets, quilts and sheets you have piled away in case you lose heat.
If you have time it’s a good idea to make a “Family Communication Plan.” This will ensure that the members of your family can get a hold of one another if you're separated when disaster strikes.
What You Should Know
You can sign up in advance to receive notifications from local emergency services and the National Weather Service. FEMA, the American Red Cross and other organizations have free apps that can provide up-to-date information about shelters, first aid and recovery assistance.
During the Storm
When the storm hits, with wind and snow whirling outside, it’s best to stay indoors and keep warm.
If you have to go out, walk carefully through snow and on icy sidewalks. Avoid getting your clothes wet, as soggy clothing loses all of its insulating power.
Be very careful when shoveling snow. Overexertion can bring on a heart attack, which is a major cause of death in the winter months. To stay safe while shoveling take breaks, push snow instead of lifting it and lift lighter loads.
It’s also important to check frequently for signs of frostbite and hypothermia.
Frostbite is when the skin and body tissue just beneath it freezes. Symptoms of frostbite include loss of feeling and a whitish pale appearance in extremities, such as fingers, toes, earlobes and the tip of the nose. Make sure to cover the exposed skin — but avoid rubbing it — and seek medical help immediately.
Hypothermia occurs when your body reaches a dangerously low temperature. Symptoms include an uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness, and exhaustion. If you think someone has hypothermia, take his temperature. If it’s below 95 degrees, get medical help immediately. While you’re waiting for help, get the victim to a warm location and remove any wet clothing he’s wearing. Warm the center of his body first by wrapping him in blankets and if he’s conscious give him warm, nonalcoholic beverages.
Don't forget Fido! Pets should be brought inside when the temperatures drop.
Drive only when you must and avoid traveling alone in case you become stranded. Inform others of your schedule — including your destination, route and when you expect to arrive — and travel only on main roads where others will see you if you get in an accident.
Back at home, conserve fuel by keeping your residence cooler than normal and temporarily closing off heat to some rooms. Use blankets and additional layers to keep warm. If you’re using kerosene heaters, make sure that you’ve got plenty of ventilation so that toxic fumes don’t build up and refuel kerosene heaters outside. It's also a good idea to make sure you have a working carbon monoxide detector. Never use a stove or outside cooking equipment like grills or propane heaters indoors.
If the pipes freeze, remove any insulation and wrap them in rags. Then open up all the faucets and pour hot water on the pipes, starting where they’re most exposed.
After the Storm
Once the storm has passed, grab a sled and enjoy the newfound winter wonderland before it melts away into muddy slush! Be sure to protect yourself from frostbite and hypothermia by wearing several layers of warm, loosefitting clothing.
If your home lost power or heat in the storm and it still hasn’t returned, or if you don’t have the supplies you need to stay warm in your home overnight, you may want to stay in a public shelter. You can figure out where the nearest one is by texting “SHELTER” plus your ZIP code to 43362 (4FEMA). Make sure to dress warmly on your way to the shelter and bring anything you might need that night.
After all is said and done, assess how your supplies and family plan worked. If you think they could have been improved in any way, learn from your experience, and plan ahead for the next big one.
#Blizzard2015 #StormJuno #CapeCodWinterStorm
In June 2013 the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) published a new map of Flood Zones for areas around the country. The new map reflected better data about the effects of waves, storms, and other flooding events. Many homes close to coastal areas and rivers were affected: their projected risk to flooding was increased.
Here are some answers to frequently asked questions:
Q. What relief, if any, will property-owners have if they are re-mapped up into a higher risk zone than they were in before?
A1. If re-mapped up from an AE to a VE flood zone: Affected property owners should be sure that they are “grandfathered” into the AE risk zone.
A2. If re-mapped up from an X zone (low to moderate risk, “not in a flood zone”) into a Special Flood
Hazard Area (AE or VE): Affected property owners may be able to take advantage of the FEMA Extended Preferred Risk policy that took effect on Jan. 1, 2011, and thereafter be “grandfathered” (locked into the lower risk rate that you were previously in). Besides offering cost savings during the first two years after the new maps become effective, it is our understanding that the Preferred Risk Policy extension offers the simplest route into grandfathering. See questions on the Preferred Risk Policy Extension, also on Grandfathering,
below. And see the FEMA Extended Preferred Risk Policy – Jan 2011 letter from FEMA, which details some limitations to eligibility for the Preferred Risk Policy, also a PRP Community Factsheet, dated November 2012, distributed to us by Congressman Keating’s office. If not eligible for the new extended Preferred Risk policy, you may still be able to be grandfathered under the regular FEMA grandfathering rules to lock into the lower risk rate for which you previously qualified.
A3. If you believe that your structure is not in a flood zone, you always have the option of requesting a review by FEMA, through the LOMA (Letter of Map Amendment) application process.
Q. For properties that are re-mapped up, will there be major consequences?
A. Yes. For structures that are re-mapped up from the X zone into a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA--AE & VE zones), flood insurance will now be required by banks or other holders of federally regulated or insured mortgages. Flood insurance is federally mandated for all structures that are located in an AE or VE flood zone. The higher the risk rate (AE is higher than X; VE is higher than AE), the higher the premium. For structures mapped up from AE into VE, premiums will jump to a higher level.
How will the new FEMA Flood Zone Mape affect my Cape Cod Home?
Q. If I do not currently have flood insurance, and am re-mapped up from X to AE or VE, but I have no federally regulated or insured mortgage and do not anticipate ever getting or wanting a federally regulated or insured mortgage or reverse mortgage, will I be forced to get flood insurance even if
I do not want to?
A. No, to the best of our knowledge, under those circumstances no one will force you to get flood insurance. If you have no mortgage, and do not anticipate ever wanting to get a mortgage, including a reverse mortgage, and do not want to be able to sell the house as locked in to the lower risk rate, then you can decide freely whether or not to get flood insurance. You can decide for yourself the level of flooding risk you can tolerate. You will want to consider this decision carefully, because the window of availability of the extended Preferred Risk policy, and the grandfathering that follows it, is limited. If you change your mind in the future, it will probably be too late.
Q. I am not in an AE or VE flood hazard zone, but I want to get flood insurance because I am worried about possible water damage not covered under my homeowners policy; or because I am near enough to a flood hazard zone that I worry about a catastrophic flood that could spill over the
lines drawn on the map. Can I get flood insurance? What would it cost?
A. Yes, absolutely, you can get flood insurance, and you may be able to get it at the much lower Preferred Risk Rate. The maximum coverage, $250,000 for the structure and a smaller ceiling for its contents, costs less than $400/year under the Preferred Risk rate. Coverage for lesser amounts costs somewhat less.
Q. What if my structure is re-mapped up and I do nothing?
A. You may wind up having to pay for flood insurance at the higher risk rate, even though you would have been entitled to a reduced rate if you had taken action in a timely way.
Q. How can I know for certain that I will be grandfathered?
A. Keep a copy of any paperwork you have regarding your flood zone risk rate, including any flood insurance policies. If you are able to take advantage of the Preferred Risk rate, you will notice, when your Preferred Risk period comes to an end and your policy comes up for renewal, that the difference between the new higher risk rate, and the old lower risk rate shown on your old paperwork, will show that you have been re-mapped into a higher risk zone. That is all that is required to show that you should be grandfathered. It is our understanding that you will NOT receive a notice stating that you will be grandfathered. You will want to get confirmation of some sort that you will be/are being grandfathered, probably from your insurance agent.
Q. Does grandfathering end when I sell or convey my property?
A. No. The grandfathering runs with the property. As long as federal flood insurance is kept continually in place on the structure, with no break in coverage, the grandfathered lower risk rate remains intact. You can sell or convey the property with the lower risk rate.
Q. Is my grandfathered lower risk rate jeopardized if I change insurance carriers?
A. No. The grandfathering runs with the property. So long as you keep federal flood insurance continually in place on the structure, with no break in coverage, the grandfathered lower risk rate remains intact.
Q. My insurance agent has never heard of grandfathering of flood insurance risk rates. What should I do?
A. Ask them if they participate in the FEMA Write Your Own Program (WYO). If not, check with other insurance agencies to find one that does participate in the FEMA WYO Program.
According to a survey published in the Journal of Financial Planning, many homeowners have vastly misguided views of what their homeowners insurance actually covers. According to this survey conducted by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, "One third of homeowners believe flood damage will be covered by their standard policy. Over half think their policy covers them in the event of a water line break. Thirty-five percent say they will be compensated for an earthquake, and a slightly lesser proportion thinks mold is covered."
In actuality, the typical perils (causes of property destruction) that are typically not covered are:
Cape Cod Home Insurance
We offer very competitive rates for home insurance on Cape Cod, MA.