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Amity Insurance: Be aware of red flags when purchasing a first home

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QUINCY, MA ISSUED May 23, 2011….With the economy beginning to turn a more positive corner many first time home buyers are now in the market for perhaps the largest purchase of their life time. While it's often easy to become "starry-eyed" when someone finds the house of their dreams, a nightmare may be lurking beneath that perfect exterior and fabulous floor plan. But by taking a non-biased look at a number of common problem areas, potential pitfalls can be avoided, according to Amity Insurance Agency, Inc., the region's leading full service agency.

Foundations are one of the most expensive repairs facing a homeowner; therefore it should rank first on the list of areas to check. Look for cracks in the stone or concrete basement walls, brick fireplace wall, around windows and doors and also along the outside brick veneer. These fissures could be the first signs of a structurally unsound foundation and should be further inspected by a professional prior to purchasing the house.

If a house has HVAC, ask about the system's age and operation. Look for any poorly connected vents and watch and listen as the unit runs. Even minor issues with a system's functionality can reduce the energy efficiency of a house and increase electric bills. Be aware that a total replacement can cost several thousand dollars in upfront expense.

Houses built in or prior to the 1930s may still have knob-and-tube electrical wiring; this can be a problem if it has been tampered with – for example, as a result of attic insulation being blown in atop wiring. Such tampering can create dangerous fire hazards. Furthermore, most insurers don't consider this type of electrical system safe and may either charge higher premiums or decline coverage entirely. Keep in mind that rewiring an entire house will be a multi-thousand dollar expense.

Homes that have sustained water damage or have leak issues will result in numerous expensive repairs and potentially dangerous health issues, such as mold. Look for signs of past leaks, including brown or white stains along the basement, main level and upper level walls; mold growth under sinks; and horizontal stains along any bare floors.

Never make an offer on a house without having a home inspection conducted…and always get a second opinion if a home inspector files an inconclusive report.

About Amity Insurance

Amity Insurance Agency, Inc. is a full-service agency dedicated to meeting business, professional and personal insurance needs. The agency specializes in legal malpractice insurance, commercial and habitational real estate insurance, hospitality industry insurance and charter school insurance. The firm, since 1996, has been the recipient of the “Best Products and Service” Award from The Massachusetts Lawyer’s Weekly. In addition to commercial real estate, charter school and hospitality divisions that supplement general business and personal lines units, Amity Insurance Agency carries a complete line of professional liability coverage. The agency is endorsed by the Massachusetts Academy of Trial Attorneys for all insurance products as well as the Women’s Bar Association for professional liability insurance. Amity Insurance is licensed in most states. The agency has offices at 500 Victory Road, North Quincy 02171. For information on products or services, please visit or call (800) 940-4010 to schedule a free analysis of insurance needs.



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