How to Hire an Insurance Agent, Find a Good Home Insurance Policy and Save Money

This week we wanted to explore some ideas on how owners and managers of property could keep fixed costs down, looking into operations is a good way to put more money back into your property. But first, lets look at some important developments this week.

Freddie Mac Freddie Mac today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®) in which the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 6.15 percent with an average 0.5 point for the week ending May 10, 2007, down slightly from last week when it averaged 6.16 percent. Last year at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 6.58 percent.

The 15-year FRM this week averaged 5.87 percent with an average 0.5 point, unchanged from last week when it averaged 5.87 percent. A year ago, the 15-year FRM averaged 6.17 percent.

MSNBC Gloomy outlook from top U.S. homebuilders. “Twenty months into this housing downturn, we continue to face difficult conditions in most of our markets,” Toll’s chief executive officer, Robert Toll, said in a statement."
Subprime mortgages had helped drive the housing market from 2005 through last year. As the housing market reached a crescendo, home loans became more accessible for people with poor credit.

As defaults rose, lenders started pulling back on the easy money. A survey of bank loan officers by the Federal Reserve showed that the net percentage of banks tightening standards for mortgage loans jumped to 16.4 percent in the firblog nest quarter from 1.9 percent at the end of 2006.
According to Celia Chen, director of housing economics at Moody’s, the housing correction is expected to last until the end of 2008, with prices falling by 3.6 percent this year and 2.9 percent next year. The market peaked in mid-2005.

NPR New Census figures show that the percentage of vacant homes has risen to its highest level in four decades. Marketplace 's Steve Tripoli talks with Madeleine Brand about how this could affect housing prices. NOTE: It takes quite a while for a property to go from default to sale. Much of the oversupply that will enter the market is in front of us. The mitigating factor is that neither the banks want to handle property nor does the Fed want to create a housing crash. This would threaten the banking system, cause loan parameters to tighten and slow the economy. We have two blog articles on foreclosures and the help available, scroll down to get names and numbers of some of the programs available

Bloomberg TV The oversupply of vacant homes is beginning to affect the rental market. it rose to 61% and this is according to Real Estate companies. the increase is due to record amount of homeowners who can't sell condominiums and houses. nationwide, 2.8% for houses for sale were unoccupied. the highest since back in 1956.

Housing Tracker This is a blog that tracks Both home asking prices and inventory are tracked for about 55 city real estate markets. We note that of the 55 cities tracked inventory has increased in 35 cities. The highest inventory increase wer Atlant folloed by Cincinnati and then San Jose. Only Atlanta experienced a price drop. Keep in mind these are list prices, the sales priceis not reflected in these numbers. But clearly, it shows that markets are uneven and that there are uptrends within the major slowing or down trends. We think this is good news and points to the diversity of markets, always a good thing.

How to Hire an Home Insurance Agent, a Good Home Insurance Company and Save Money Too!

Home insurance is a fixed cost and better property looks to lower your bills. Here's how you can judge a good company and compare prices and find a good agent to represent you. All the while saving money! Your Property Path has done some research into how to choose a good insurance company and a good agent.

How to Find a Good Agent

Be sure you have choices There are two kinds of agents. A captive agent will only represent one company. All his solutions to your problem will be solved by recommendations from his company. Since No company has a product line that is the best in every area you use an agent or agency that can represent a variety of companies. You are likely to find better price and product with more choice

Your Property Path has developed a simple procedure that will help you find the best product mix at a good price.

Interview a few agents and ask some basic questions.

1. How long have you been in this business
2. Can you represent many companies
3. How do you get paid
4. Has your license ever been suspended

The Your Property Path Procedure

1. Insurance premiums can vary greatly. Use the Shop Rates quote button on to get Insurance Agents to compete for your business. When agents compete for your business you win! Then follow this process to assure you are getting a good price with a strong home insurance company that you can trust.

2. Use the response list of insurance company's from your competitive quotes at to begin to find your best price and strongest company available.

3. Verify agent or Brokers license. The License Registry is an affiliate of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). All complaints, suspensions arbitrations and other issues are here. Be sure to get your agents Insurance license number, it is often on business cards or letterhead

a. National Insurance Producer Registry (NIPR)

b. National Association of Insurance Commissioners in Your State. Go to the state web map to find information about your agent.

4. Check for Consumer Complaints. Your Insurance Company is as good as its ability and its willingness to pay. Don't find out about how your Insurance Company does business after you need it to perform. Check for Insurance Company Complaints

a. National Association of Insurance Commissioners and research the number and type of consumer complaints outstanding against a company.

b. Check your local Better Business Bureau They have an area where you can check out an organization. Too many complaints and you should go elsewhere, even if you like the agent.

5. Check the Company's Financial Ratings. Your Insurance Companies ability to pay is everything. Shop wisely and you will be better protected if disaster strikes.

When you use the comparison shopping tool at You can get four to six competitive bids from agents working for different companies in a matter of minutes at no cost to you. Comparison shop the offers and let agents really compete for your business. Shop for good rates and strong financial s and then check the company's business practices.

How to Find a Good Insurance Company

The financial score. All insurance policy's are a promise to pay based on the assets of the insurance company. Thats why a good financial rating is so important.

AAA: This is the highest rating given and the company's ability to pay is very strong.
AA: Standard and Poors tells us the difference between AAA and AA is slight
A: The company is subject to economic swings, perhaps it carries high debt or has made some riskier insurance bets. The company ability to meet obligations is still strong
BBB: This rating is reserved for "adequate". The company is more likely to run into difficulty during hard times.

Its easy to see that the financial ratings of a companies ability to pay under some circumstances could translate into a longer time before you see a check or really narrow definitions applied to problems you have. Stay with the higher ratings.
Compare similar coverage using a AAA company (likely the most expensive) against AA and single A company.

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