According to a survey by Bankrate.com, 81% of Shreveport homeowners know that a standard homeowners insurance policy doesn't cover flood damage, but a separate survey by the Insurance Information Institute found that only 13% of Shreveport homeowners had a flood insurance policy.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and its National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) identify flooding as the United States’ No. 1 natural hazard.
Princeton Survey Research Associates International surveyed 1,003 U.S. adults, on behalf of Bankrate.com. The telephone survey was fielded from April 4 to 7, 2013. The survey responses were weighted by gender, age, education, race, Hispanic origin, region, and telephone status. Interviews were conducted by landline and cell phone.
Based on a Researchscape assessment of the questionnaire and methodology, this survey is moderately likely to be representative of U.S. consumers in general. The awareness question is a leading question that may overstate actual understanding that flood insurance is not included in homeowners insurance.
In a prepared statement, Michael Barry, spokesman for the Insurance Information Institute, an industry trade group, said "I was very happy that 4 out of 5 survey respondents understood that standard homeowners insurance does not cover flood. This number is a much higher awareness level than we've seen in the past."
FEMA usually classifies properties as either high flood risks or low-to-moderate flood risks. Bankrate.com asked Shreveport homeowners whether or not they know the correct classification for their home and only 51% said they know the correct risk category.
Statistics show that recognizing the need for separate flood insurance does not always lead homeowners to purchase it. An Insurance Information Institute poll last year found that the number of American households with flood insurance actually decreased from 17 percent in 2008 to 13 percent in 2012.
Amy Bach, executive director of United Policyholders, a San Francisco-based non-profit advocacy group for insurance consumers, says some homeowners get lured by history into a false sense of security. "People have this notion that if it hasn't flooded in the past, it's not going to flood," she says. "While I can understand that thinking, I wouldn't trust it anymore because of Sandy and all the talk about climate change. If you live near a body of water, it behooves you not to use the past as your only decision point."
Shreveport homeowners are urged to study their local flood map carefully to make an informed decision. The best place to start? The NFIP's user-friendly consumer site, FloodSmart.gov.
For more information concerning insurance, check out our other articles about Shreveport Insurance to your right under the Shreveport Real Estate Categories.
Shreveport home prices are rising at double digit rates. Inventories are at historic lows. Two out of five applicants for a mortgage don't qualify or are turned down. Yet nearly three quarters of all potential homebuyers say it's a good time to buy a Shreveport home.
While some would argue its always a good time to buy, conditions have turned to favor sellers in most markets across the nation, including Shreveport . Yet even though a slight majority of consumers participating in Fannie Mae's latest monthly National Housing Survey expect prices to rise over the next three months, 71 percent said it's still a good time to buy a Shreveport home.
By contrast, the share of respondents who say now is a good time to sell climbed 4 percentage points in April but still reached only 30 percent, compared to 15 percent at the same time last year. That's not even half as many as those who said it's a good time to buy. The percentage that said it's a good time to buy stayed steady from March.
The share of respondents who say mortgage rates will go up fell 3 percentage points to 43 percent, while those who say they will go down increased slightly to 7 percent.
The share of respondents who said they would buy if they were going to move increased slightly to 65 percent.
“For the first time in the survey’s three-year history, the majority of Americans surveyed now expect home prices to increase,” said Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae. “Crossing the 50 percent threshold marks a significant milestone as most Americans believe a housing recovery is truly occurring throughout the country. Reflecting that increased optimism toward housing, the share of Americans who think it is a good time to sell has doubled during the last year. Many homeowners who have been underwater are gradually returning to positive equity, and selling is now becoming an available and attractive option again.” (Read the complete survey here – PDF.)
Do you agree with the majority of survey respondents who said they think now is a good time to buy a Shreveport home? Your email address will never be displayed on our site for your security and we will never contact you via your email address unless you ask us to. We'd love to hear from you whether you agree or disagree with Fannie Mae's survey results.
A foreclosure backlog could slow the Shreveport housing recovery. All states are not backed up with foreclosures in waiting, some are, some aren't. This backlog, coupled with the continued problem of homeowners being underwater on their mortgage, could mean the housing uptick we've seen over the past year could be confronted with a slowdown.
The Shreveport housing recovery continues to also be hampered by record low inventory of homes on the market for sale. Many sellers are either holding out for higher prices later, or, as mentioned before, are dealing with mortgages that are still underwater because values fell so far during the previous real estate bust.
We have more news and articles as they relate to the Shreveport housing situation at our Shreveport Real Estate News category to your right under the Shreveport Real Estate Categories.
If you're like many people these days, either thinking of buying Shreveport real estate, or refinancing your current mortgage, there's a lot you have to consider before doing either one. But before you get too busy thinking about how you'll spend the money you'll save by refinancing, or what your dream home might look like, stop for a minute and make sure you'll actually qualify for a mortgage by not making these credit score mistakes.
There are dozens of factors that, well, factor into qualifying for a mortgage such as setting your limit, your rate, etc. One of the big indicators of what you'll qualify for is your credit score. This is one of the initial pieces of information a lender will use to determine if they can help you.
Your credit score is a good indicator of what kind of financing you'll be able to get. One way to start off on the wrong foot is to apply for a mortgage without having an idea of where your credit score is on the scoring scale.
Contrary to popular opinion, a soft credit pull – the kind you'd be doing if you were just checking up on your credit yourself – won't negatively impact your credit score.
It's a good rule of thumb to check your credit score on your own about once a year, but you'll want to check it a few months before you apply for a mortgage so you'll have time to build it up or make repairs if it's too low.
Check Your Credit Score
There are a lot of different companies that will generate a credit score for you. Quizzle.com is one very reliable website for checking your credit. It offers free credit reports and scores, helps you to understand what everything means and helps you build your credit.
Once you get your credit score, it's important to understand what that number means for you, and, if it's low, how to boost it. Generally speaking, 580 is the absolute lowest score you can have and still qualify for a mortgage – an FHA mortgage, specifically. Usually, you need at least a 620 to qualify. If you're at 720 or higher, you'll be in a lower mortgage rate bracket because you're thought of as a pretty worth-while risk for the lender. 780 is a great credit score and 850 is about as good as it gets.
If your credit is not so hot, there are a bunch of things you can do to get it up like pay off outstanding debts, make sure to pay all of your bills on time and consolidate debt so it's easier to pay off. Keep in mind, though, that just getting rid of credits cards won't necessarily boost your credit and could actually hurt it.
Closing a card doesn't automatically mean your credit score will go down. If you're thinking about shutting down an account, take a good hard look at your credit utilization first. Carefully evaluating your situation and knowing the numbers is the best way to get rid of unwanted credit cards without having your credit score take a plunge.
We have more mortgage tips and credit score information at our website. Just click the Shreveport Mortgage Info link to your right under the Shreveport Real Estate Categories.