DEAR BOB: You had a recent item about increasing homeowner’s insurance deductibles to $2,000 to avoid too many policy claims. However, I discovered that mortgage loan servicers restrict homeowner’s insurance policy deductibles to a maximum 1 percent of the loan balance. That means a $2,000 insurance deductible would be allowed only if the mortgage balance is over $200,000. Just thought you should know – Martha McC.

DEAR MARTHA: Thank you for that valuable information. I’ve always said I have the world’s smartest readers and I greatly appreciate your contributions to this column.

Purchase Bob Bruss reports online.

HOW TO FIND A TOP QUALITY PROPERTY MANAGEMENT FIRM

DEAR BOB: I own about 35 apartments in several free-and-clear buildings. Although my wife and I greatly enjoy the monthly income, we hate managing the tenants and our resident managers. We have tried two different so-called professional property management firms. To put it mildly, they were awful. We fired each one after just a few months. How can we find an honest, reliable property management company to manage our apartments so we can enjoy our semi-retirement? – Jens W.

DEAR JENS: There are many excellent professional property management firms. But discovering them is not easy.

The best method is to ask fellow apartment building owners in your community for recommendations. Another quality indication is a CPM (certified property manager) managing the firm.

If there is a local rental property owner’s association in your area, join and attend their monthly meetings. Ask the association officials and fellow members for names of property management firms they recommend.

TITLE INSURANCE FINALLY PAID OFF

DEAR BOB: Having been an avid reader of your articles for a long time, I know you don’t like title insurance companies and you constantly deride them because they don’t pay any claims. Well, I finally collected on a title insurance policy. When I bought my property about 12 years ago, I didn’t pay much attention to my owner’s title policy. But about a year ago, a neighbor started building on what I thought was part of my property. Long story short, it wasn’t my property although it was insured by my title policy. The title insurer paid me $47,000 for the chunk of my property, which was actually owned by the neighbor. Just thought you should know, title insurers sometimes pay – Marco W.

DEAR MARCO: I have nothing against title insurance companies. But I am amazed you actually received a payment from a title insurance company.

Recently, I received information from the American Land Title Association in Washington, D.C., stating that in the first six months of 2004, title insurers paid 4.27 percent of premiums collected for title claims. The reason it is so low is title insurers spend most of their premium income on researching titles before issuing title policies. Then they don’t make mistakes, such as what occurred in your situation.

The new Robert Bruss special report, “Robert’s Realty Rules: How to Avoid the 10 Worst Home Buyer Mistakes,” is now available for $4 from Robert Bruss, 251 Park Road, Burlingame, CA 94010 or by credit card at 1-800-736-1736 or instant Internet download at www.bobbruss.com. Questions for this column are welcome at either address.

(For more information on Bob Bruss publications, visit his
Real Estate Center
).

***

What’s your opinion? Send your Letter to the Editor to opinion@inman.com.

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