From Dennis and Jane Guertin | Guertin Family Realty | (952) 442-1300 |
Everyone knows that it only takes one $5 part to fail in order for a house to experience extensive damage, especially when it comes to plumbing. Here are some quick and easy checks you can perform to make sure nothing like that happens in your home.
By the way, if you or anyone you know has a real estate need, please contact us today. We'll always provide first-class service!
Dennis and Jane Guertin
(952) 442-1300 Direct

3 Simple Ways to Protect Your Home
from Water Damage

The following steps done once or twice a year can go a long way towards avoiding an insurance claim and saving thousands of dollars in home repairs.

1. Check for worn hoses on sinks, toilets, and appliances.

Plastic water lines on washing machines, toilets, sinks, dishwashers, and refrigerators tend to become brittle with age, and even "burst-proof" steel braided hoses can fail. If one of these breaks, the result can be a room that is flooded within minutes. (If you're away from home at the time, the damage could be very substantial.)

Warning signs:

- Bulges, cracks or brittleness in hoses.
- Rust or moisture on connecting pieces.
- Frayed sections on steel braided hoses.

Experts recommend:

- Replace all plastic hoses with steel braided hose, which is less likely to fail.
- If you stick with plastic, make sure it is "reinforced" plastic.
- Check all hoses at least once a year, and replace plastic hoses every 5 years regardless of appearance.

Typical cost: $50 to $300 to buy new hoses and/or hire a contractor to replace them. (Many homeowners replace hoses themselves.)

2. Check for leaky fittings and valves on water supply lines.

Warning signs:

- Moisture or droplets on fittings.
- Valves that need to be forced to turn, or that don't seem to tighten completely.

Experts recommend:

- Replace traditional water shutoff valves with quarter turn ball valves.

Replacing these valves might sound like overkill, but if you read advice from veteran landlords and contractors you'll see that they recommend it for every homeowner because the quarter turn ball valves are so much less prone to failure.

This is a one-time upgrade that can pay for itself many times over in terms of damage prevented and peace of mind. Ball valves cost just slightly more than traditional valves, are easy for plumbers to install, and they hold up well over time because their interior parts are typically made of plastic and stainless steel.

Typical cost: $70 to $300 to buy new valves and/or hire a contractor to install them.

Tip: SharkBite push-to-connect fittings make it much easier for homeowners to replace these valves on their own, according to Jeff Patterson of .

3. Check toilet bases and bolts for signs of leaking.

A leak at the toilet base or at the bolts that connect the tank to the bowl can be very hard to notice until water damage has already occurred. This is especially important if you file a home insurance claim, because if the condition developed over a long period of time the insurance company could contest the claim by saying that it occurred because of lack of proper maintenance.

Warning signs:

- Corrosion or signs of moisture at the bolts.
- Wet or spongy floor around the toilet base.

Experts recommend:

- Test for toilet leaks using dye if you think you may have an interior leak but are having trouble finding the source.

Typical cost: $15 to $250, depending on whether or not parts need to be replaced and/or you hire a plumber for installation.

Tip: There's a helpful article showing exactly where the bolts are located and how to replace them at the Acme How To website. The DIY Network provides a good explanation of how to solve common problems.

Going away on vacation? Stay on your insurance company's good side.

1) Turn off the water supply (ideally, by using your newly-installed quarter turn ball valves. :) Insurance companies may be less likely to cover a water damage claim if you don't do this, especially if you are gone for more than 30 days.

2) Check your policy to see if your house is considered "unoccupied" if you leave for more than 30 or 60 days. If so, this could change the terms of your coverage.

3) Some insurance companies consider a home unoccupied even if you have a house-sitter. Again, check your policy so that you are aware of anything that could lower your coverage.

Selling and Buying Update:
FIRPTA Can Be Extremely Costly to Home Buyers - But What Is It?

FIRPTA is the Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act. When someone who is considered a non-resident alien for U.S. tax purposes sells a property for over $300,000 in the United States, FIRPTA requires that the buyer withhold 10% of the amount realized from the sale (usually the sales price) and pay it to the IRS. This can be done through the closing agent; however, the IRS ultimately holds the buyer, not the closing agent, responsible for determining whether or not the seller is a non-resident alien and making sure the seller's tax is withheld and paid. Buyers can actually be held liable after closing for unpaid FIRPTA tax.

With a growing number of foreign real estate investors in the U.S., FIRPTA is becoming a bigger issue for buyers. (It applies to foreign business entities as well.)

Tip: If a foreign seller will not make enough gain on the sale to withhold 10%, they should apply for a withholding exemption early during the transaction.

(What the lawyers make us say: The information in this newsletter is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Please always consult a qualified expert before making decisions based on this content. Nothing in this article is meant to be taken as expert legal or financial advice.)

Recent Market Highlights
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- U.S. home prices rose 4.4 percent year-to-year in May, according to a recent S&P/Case-Shiller report . They rose 6.5 percent year-to-year in June, according to CoreLogic, a data and analytics company.

- The national average 30-year fixed mortgage rate is in the low 4-percent range.

The May Pending Home Sales Index rose 8.2 percent year-to-year, according to the National Association of Realtors ®.
Contact Us for Market Information
Are you curious about your home's current market value, or do you have a question about home buying? Just reply to this email, or call us at 952-442-1300.
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Last Minute Travel
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The Lighter Side

A bird of paradise is no respecter of persons, as Sir David Attenborough found out while trying to narrate this nature documentary. Watch this amazing bird steal the show with an elaborate tail-flouncing and squawking routine.

Click here or on the image to watch the video.

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Have a great day,

Dennis and Jane Guertin
Broker/Owner, REALTOR®, CRS, SFR, CBR, e-PRO, GRI
Guertin Family Realty

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Guertin Family Realty | 71 Point Drive | Waconia | MN | 55387