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Should You Compare Quotes from Various Agents for Home Insurance?

Don’t be fooled by funny commercials and catchy slogans; insurance is quite complicated.  Varying levels of coverage, locations and other factors make insurance policies very different from one provider to the next.  That is why it is so important to compare various quotes from different insurance agents.

Wild Changes for Multiple Locations

Check out these findings from Bankrate for multiple quotes for various locations

Comparing Insurance Policies

City, State

Number of Quotes

Variation in Highest and Lowest Quote (in %)

Chicago, IL



Indianapolis, IN



Grand Rapids, Mich.



Columbus, Ohio



Racine, Wis.






Bankrate used the websites of popular insurance providers to get quotes for various cities.  The parameters for the quotes were as follows:

  • Single family home
  • Full replacement policy
  • Value of home $250,000
  • Liability policy of $300,000
  • A deductible of $500
  • Medical coverage of $1,000 for each person

As you can see from the chart in Racine, WI the 3 quotes for the same property varied by 37%.  For higher priced areas such as Chicago, IL the quotes differed by as much as 121%.

What Causes the Differences?

photo credit: via photopin cc

Every year the insurance department from each state will approve a set of rates which is based upon the actual losses in the state from prior years as well as anticipated claims for the upcoming year.  Each insurance company uses a team of actuaries to look at historical data to come up with a reasonable expectation of insurance claims for the upcoming year and compares that with the company’s financial ability to pay the claims.

Each insurance company has their own standards and guidelines for assigning rates.  One company may place a higher weight on the costs to build in a particular neighborhood while a second insurance company would place more emphasis on the rate of crime and possibility for a natural disaster.  This is one reason why it is so important to thoroughly investigate a new neighborhood and understand the area’s history before buying a home.

Rash of Disasters Take Their Toll

The disasters from that past few years all over the country have resulted in higher insurance in multiple areas.  Tornadoes in Missouri, flooding in Tennessee and hurricanes along the northeast have left a wake of millions of dollars of damaged buildings, automobiles and personal belongings.

All of these events, and many similar disasters, have driven up the cost of homeowner’s insurance. Along with these natural problems there is also the issue of higher costs to build a home after it is totaled and the decreased investment returns that insurance companies have experienced with the sluggish economy.

Before getting a policy with an insurance agent make sure all of your bases are covered.  You will obviously need a policy that will take care of your home and your mortgage loan if the property is completely destroyed.  You also need to take an inventory of your belongings to make sure they are protected in the case of burglary, fire or other event.  Some people have collections of valuable items such as art, jewelry and firearms.  Losing these items can be disastrous, especially if the insurance policy is not adequate for the loss.

Verona, Wisconsin Homes for Sale

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Welcome-to-Wisconsin-300x225.jpg?width=300The Wisconsin housing statistics are in for March of 2014. Here is an excerpt from what the Wisconsin Realtors® Association (WRA) had to say:

Home sales dropped for the third straight month in Wisconsin as the frigid temperatures and hefty snowfall continued into March, according to the latest analysis of housing market activity released by the Wisconsin REALTORS® Association (WRA). Compared to March 2013, home sales declined 11.3 percent in March 2014, which contributed to a weak first quarter. First-quarter sales fell 8.5 percent compared to the first quarter of 2013. However, the median price of existing homes rose a modest 1.9 percent to $136,500 over the period between March 2013 and March 2014. Median prices were up 4.2 percent for the first quarter relative to the same quarter last year.

Even with spring officially arriving in the middle of March, the spring selling season has been slow to gather steam,” said Steve Lane, chairman of the WRA board of directors. “We are hopeful that the spring thaw will jump-start the selling season that traditionally gains momentum in the second quarter,” Lane said. Still, Lane noted that the first quarter sales remain above their levels of two years ago — a year that had a relatively mild winter by comparison.

Below are the number of Home Sales and Median House Prices for the state of Wisconsin, Rock County, and Dane County. These stats include Janesville and Madison. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions pertaining to these figures. As you probably have heard, home sales & prices have been increasing over the past few years. This month again showed a decrease of home sales statewide, but an increase in home prices. Dane County's prices increased around 4% in March, year over year, while Rock County's median home price stayed nearly the same. Rock County did show an increase in home sales though, in contrast with the rest of the state.

Thinking of purchasing a home before prices or rates rise any further?! I'd be happy to show you any homes currently listed for sale. Feel free to visit Home Listings in Rock County to search for current Rock County properties or visit Home Listings in Dane County for homes in Dane County Wisconsin.

Now might be the right time to sell your Wisconsin home. Feel free to take a look at our cutting edge Rock Realty Marketing Plan! If you would like some insight into how much your home is currently worth, I would be happy to provide you with a free comparative market analysis. This is a report that gives a close estimate to what your home might sell for in your current local Wisconsin real estate market. Click below:

What's My Wisconsin Home Worth?

Has your home value fallen below what you currently owe? Have you experienced a hardship like divorce or job loss? A short sale may be right for your situation. Visit our page on Wisconsin Short Sales for more information.

Housing Statistics for the State of Wisconsin:

March 2014
Home Sales: 4,588
Median Home Price: $136,700

March 2013
Home Sales: 5,160
Median Home Price: $134,000

Housing Statistics for Dane County, WI:

March 2014
Home Sales: 490
Median Home Price: $203,000

March 2013
Home Sales: 534
Median Home Price: $195,000

Housing Statistics for Rock County, WI:

March 2014
Home Sales: 149
Median Home Price: $102,900

March 2013
Home Sales: 133
Median Home Price: $103,000

View my report from last month. Wisconsin February 2014 Housing Statistics

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SPS Short Sale Department Issues on Closing

Help!we signed loan docs by SS approval deadline on Mar 28th,but it was too late to fund Funds are in Escrow.Now SPS is refusing to let us record; want to start over with new BPO, when we have the buyers licensed APPRAISAL.

US Bank is investor:they approved the sale will get exactly the same $$ as previously approved.But SPS won't give an updated approval letter so we can record.Help? Ombudsman service never answers

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Spousal and Child Support?

Have not did a short sale with Spousal or Child support Judgment.

I have a property that has 3 liens and  2 judgments.

1st is with Wells Fargo 

2nd is with Shell Point (ELC)

3rd is a Lien with no loan "Milton M Wright"

Support Judgment shows no amount, seller thinks it is about $30,000 

Judgment for EDD.

Will the 1st take care of the Support lien or will this kill the deal?

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Hello Superstars,In your experience will Chase allow a closing cost credit to the buyerin a short sale?My attorney's office has a Short Sale Negotiator who handled the communications with Chase. I didn't see the entry in the HUD that was submitted and I was told it was denied.The buyer is going FHA loan.What are your thoughts?
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The Right Way to Investigate Your New Neighborhood


The house looks perfect and it has all the features you need.  The location is convenient for your needs and there really is nothing standing in the way of buying this particular property.  STOP.  Don’t buy the house until you do one thing; investigate your new potential neighbors.  Here are some tips for finding out the not so obvious facts.

Make Multiple Visits at Multiple Times

One of the best things you can do before buying the home is to visit the home are various times and various days.  The appearance of the neighborhood at 11:00 am on a Wednesday will likely be different from the appearance on a Thursday night.  Look for neighbors that are in the yard, on the street and how busy the roads are.  Are any of the neighbors engaged in any loud activities such as parties, electric tool use or other annoying sounds?  Take your time and make sure to visit the home on the weekend as well.

Chat Up Your Potential Neighbors

The people that will be your neighbors have the information you need.  However, it can be a challenge to get them to talk.  During your visits look for people out in the yard engaged in various activities.  Start a pleasant conversation and ask them about their opinion of the area and the neighborhood.  Ask a few open ended questions and give them a chance to talk.  Make sure to ask if there are any troublesome neighbors to look out for or any problems in the area such as sink-holes, poorly built homes or sewer issues.

Use the Internet

Various websites like Google and Bing offer maps and street views of nearly every known address.  Type in the address and look around.  It is likely that the pictures are at least a few months old if not a few years.  The home could look exactly like it does now or there could be some major changes.  Take time to look at the home you intend to buy as well as the adjoining properties.  You may discover something that raises a red flag and causes you to consider a different property.

Check Police Records

There are some websites and even smart phone apps that provide detailed police records for neighborhoods.  These sites will usually list things such as robberies, vehicle thefts, and violent crime. Some neighbors on one street may not be aware of crime that is frequently occurring one or two streets over.

See if anyone is Blogging

Sometimes there will be a blog or even a small community newspaper published for the area that you are considering.  If you can find the blog or recent paper take some time to review the information.  Local events, improvements in the neighborhoods and other items will likely give you enough detail to see if this is the right area for you.

Some of these steps may take a bit of time to complete and may seem awkward at first.  However, considering the large investment that comes with owning a home it really makes sense to spend some time researching your new neighborhood and ensure that it will be as nice as your new home.

Middleton, WI Homes for Sale
Waunakee, WI Homes for Sale
Beloit, WI Homes for Sale
Milton, WI Homes for Sale

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