Ann Franklin’s Home Buying Tips

PNW neighborhood

Much like our summer weather, Western Washington’s real estate market is hot — something agent Ann Franklin knows all too well. The first house she and her fiancé put an offer on went to someone who put down 50% and waived the inspection. She’s lost track of how many places she’s toured this year!

Ann Franklin with plants
Ann loves growing plants and can’t wait to expand her collection in a new space.

Ann and her fiancé, Harry, hope to land in a condo with space for hosting friends and growing lots of plants.

If you’re thinking about buying a new primary or secondary home, here are some home-buying tips from Ann you’ll want to keep in mind:

Age of the home’s systems.

One of the first thing to look for in a potential home is the age of the main “systems”:

  • Roof
  • Plumbing
  • Electrical
  • Heating

Older homes are filled with charm, but they can pose insurance challenges. More than ever, insurance companies are concerned about how recently the main home systems have been updated. If you’re looking at an older home, know that most of our companies require older homes to have updated wiring, plumbing, heating, and a roof that’s less than 25 years old.

Quality and location of the responding fire department.

Homes that are located near permanently staffed fire departments usually cost less to insure. Ann also recommends installing protective devices in your home, like fire extinguishers and smoke detectors, to help maximize the discounts on your insurance policy.

If the property is located in an HOA or a condo association.

Living in a homeowners association can have pros and cons. From an insurance standpoint, if anybody is injured on the association’s property—like a sidewalk or playground—the association and its homeowners can be held liable.

If you move into a condo or homeowners association, Ann recommends adding “loss assessment” coverage to your policy. This protects you for only a few dollars a year.

Risk of flooding.

Your homeowners policy does not cover flood damage, which can be costly and time-consuming to repair. Recently, our clients have experienced flooding in areas that have never flooded in the past. That’s why we recommend flood insurance for most of our clients.

A flooded home
Flood repairs can be time-consuming and costly.

Although all Pacific Northwest homeowners have a flooding risk, mortgage companies require flood insurance on homes in high-risk areas. Our agency has private flood insurance options in addition to the national flood insurance program.

Flood insurance rates vary by location and can provide a huge value for a relatively low investment. Many of our clients pay between $400 and $500 per year. This protection can be the difference between recovery and financial collapse after a flood event.

Contact us to find out about a home’s flood risk so you can help factor it into your budget before you make an offer.

House hunting can be stressful, but we’re here to help make the home insurance part go smoothly! If you’re making an offer on a primary or secondary home, contact us to talk about possible insurance implications and to look at your options. Good luck!

Travelers Insurance Open House

Choosing a home is one of life’s biggest decisions. One of our insurance company partners, Travelers Insurance, offers a free tool to help you see beyond the paint and staging and get valuable information on your potential new home. If you’d like to run a free report, visit

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McClain Insurance Services
10410 19th Ave SE
Everett, WA 98208
(425) 379-9200
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