Make Your Homes for Sale Offer Contingent Upon a CLUE Report
In most state’s, you purchase title insurance to ensure you are not also buying the responsibility for earlier liens against the property. In a finite few states, you pay to have an abstract search to do the same. The one thing most buyers of homes for sale never think of or do is to check the insurance claims history of potential homes for sale. This could be a crucial mistake.
Insurance companies share information with each other. They use the Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange (CLUE), which is a huge database of information. CLUE holds the dates, type of loss, and amount paid on claims to previous owners of your potential homes for sale for the past five years. Information contained in CLUE could very well mean higher homeowners insurance premiums or no coverage at all for particular homes for sale.
For example, previous homes for sale water damage claims are red lights for insurers, because such problems eventually may lead to expensive claims of toxic mold. In California, alone, there have been substantial toxic mold claims over the past ten years. Some fairly new homes had to be completely demolished — very costly to those insurers. Historically, insurance companies have found that toxic mold damage is generally caused by previous water damage that was not adequately repaired. Therefore, when insurers see a previous water damage claim, they are apt to not decline coverage or cancel your policy within the first 60 days grace period for the insurer — even though the claims happened before you owned the homes for sale.
Water damage is only one of many damage claims insurers look for when underwriting your potential homes for sale. They will evaluate all of the homes for sale claims history to determine if the potential homes for sale is a disaster just waiting to happen.
Since current homeowners have a motive to present their homes for sale as perfect, it will not do much good to directly ask them about previous claims. Also, they may not know the history of the homes for sale before they purchased it. Unfortunately, only a homeowner may order a report from CLUE, called the Home Seller’s Disclosure Report. An insurer will not order information from CLUE until you sign an insurance contract and it goes into underwriting, which you cannot do until you have signed a purchase contract for the homes for sale. You can, however, have your realtor put a contingency clause in any homes for sale offer you make that stipulates the sale may be cancelled if a negative CLUE report is received.
If you are a seller of a homes for sale, getting a CLUE report before putting the property on the market is a good idea. As in any report, errors can be made (just think about all of the errors people find in their credit reports). Ordering a report early means you can catch any errors and get them corrected. A CLUE report can be ordered from ChoiceTrust.com, which also tells you how to correct report errors. Also, locate all of the receipts for repairs from all insurance claims you made, proving to the buyer’s insurer that the problems no longer exist. For previous claims such as water damage, you may even pay for a pre-inspection to ensure the problem was adequately repaired and no future claim will result.
Finally, buyers should begin shopping for homeowners insurance immediately after signing the purchase contract. Not only is it required to be in place at closing by homes for sale lenders, but also there always is the chance you may be rejected by the first chosen insurer and will need time to find another insurer.
So, discuss with your realtor a contingency clause in any offer you make for a homes for sale before he/she begins showing you homes, and plan to begin looking for an insurer immediately after signing the purchase contract.
About the Author: John Harris is an expert researcher and writer on real estate topics such as economics, credit improvement tips, home selling advice and home buying preparations. For more on San Diego Homes for Sale visit www.twtrealestate.com