From Crain's Chicago:
Chicago-area home prices grew in May at the fastest pace in nearly two years,
according to a closely watched index.
region's single family home prices were up 3.7% in May from a year earlier, according to the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller
Indices. It was the largest year-over-year increase in Chicago prices since an increase of 4.2% in July 2014.
May's figure improved on the 3.1% growth reported for April,
which was the first time in several months that Chicago-area home prices had been up more than 2 percent year-over-year.
Even so, Chicago's home prices grew at a slower pace than the
nation's. Home prices were up 5 percent nationwide in May, the index showed.
In several cities - including San Diego, San Francisco, New York and Washington - home-price increases
have slowed, the report said.
as other cities slow has moved it up the list of the 20 cities in terms of home-price growth. Chicago was at the bottom of
the list in 2015 and most of 2016.
biggest home price increases were in West Coast cities Portland (12.5%) and Seattle (10.7%).
From USA Today:
When Courtney St. Gemme-Chandler and her husband
bought an older home in Aurora, CO, in 2012, they assumed it would need some minor TLC. But their elation at the closing table
soon turned to frustration when the house started falling apart - and repair costs began piling up.
after they moved in, a pipe burst under the concrete in the basement. That was followed by a broken dishwasher, a non-functioning
electrical panel and faulty electrical wiring. Luckily, the couple's real estate agent had purchased them a home warranty
for a closing gift.
None of these problems had come up during the home inspection. The home
warranty, as it turned out, was a forutitous gift that saved them $2,000 on repair costs.
homeowner's insurance protects your home against unforeseen circumstances, a home warranty, which costs an average of $550
per year, is a convenience program that covers the normal wear and tear on the major mechanical and electrical systems in
a house, says Art Chartrand, counsel and administrator of the Nation Home Service Contract Association.
Your home's heating, ventilating and air-conditioning systems, the water heater, sump pump and kitchen stove
are some of the items covered by a home warranty.
Home warranties are nothing new, but
more real estate agents have recommmended them in recent years as the housing market has been flooded with foreclosuresand
short sales - properties that were often neglected or poorly maintained.
home warranty is like an insurance policy that protects you after the home sale, but you have to pay close attention to what
is and what isn't covered," says Tony Martinez, a real estate agent with RE/MAX North San Antonio. "Do your homeowrk
and research companies online, and make sure you document all of your communications with the warranty company and the service
technicians they hire on your behalf."
Read the Fine Print
Consumers sometimes make the erroneous assumption that a home warranty covers the structural defects or insurable
incidents, normally included in homeowner's insurance coverage, such as damage from natural disasters, burglary or fires,
Chartrand says. Some also mistaknely believe that the policies function as emergency home service contract, meaning the problem
will be diagnosed and fixed within hours, which isn't the case.
When you file a claim,
your home warranty company chooses a local contractor that's been vetted and sends a worker out to diagnose your problem for
a set service fee, which you're responsible for paying. If the contractor doesn't find an issue or you can disagree with the
findings you can ask the warranty company to send a different contractor out to give a second opinion, Chartrand says.
Getting a claim approved comes down to understanding what your policy does and does not cover. Most home warranties
expire after a set time period and don't cover every little thing in your home - think leaky faucets or peeling paint. That
puts the onus on you to read your Contract and ask questions, says Katherine Hutt, national spokeswoman for the Better Business
You might opt for a certain level of coverage based on your home's size, condition
and age. Beware of scammers who might offer a half-price warranty, and then disappear when you try to file a claim, Chartrand
says. Consumers should be cautious of such offers and research home warranty providers before choosing one.
Negotiate Repairs in the Home Inspection
A home inspection
won't uncover every major problem, but it can lay the groundwork for getting the most from your home warranty. While Martinez
recommends home warranties for his buyers, he also advises them to negotiate major repairs during the home inspection and
ensure regular maintenance of their home's systems and appliances. Some home warranty companies, for example, won't cover
an air-conditioning unit that hasn't been serviced within a certain time frame; that's an item worth negotiating with the
Seller before closing.