What is a C.L.U.E Report?

What’s In a C.L.U.E Report?

The information included in a C.L.U.E. report is the homeowners name and birth date, insurance policy number, dates of losses, types of losses, payments made by the insurance company, a description of the covered property, and the property address. Insurance companies do not report inquires, but they do report cases in which they set up a file for potential claim, formally deny a claim, or pay out on a claim that was made.

Insurance Claims - C.L.U.E. ReportWhen claims are filed against a property, property insurance costs may increase, or coverage could be denied or difficult to obtain. Not only may the cost of insurance increase, but a report with claims filed could also indicate problems with the property, warding off potential buyers. Savvy sellers will obtain a copy of their C.L.U.E. report at the time the property is listed to provide assurance to potential buyers. Potential buyers would be wise to request a copy of the C.L.U.E. report as a contingency with an offer. A C.L.U.E. report is beneficial to the buyer and the seller in a real estate transaction.

When a property has experienced an accumulation of claims, insurance companies could opt out of providing insurance, or may charge higher rates. This consequence affects the buyer of the property, whose over-all monthly housing expenses could be increased, or who may have trouble obtaining homeowners insurance.

You might also like: The Worst (and Best) Home Improvements for Increasing Your Property Value

Homeowners, prior to listing their property for sale, can obtain a free copy of their C.L.U.E. report as mandated by the Fair Credit Reporting Act. By securing a copy of your C.L.U.E. report before selling your house, you have an opportunity to modify any incorrect information, and can also add a note or brief explanation to a specific item or items that will show in future reports. To obtain a copy of your C.L.U.E. report, contact the consumer center at LexisNexis® at 888-312-8076. You can request corrections to your report or to note an explanation by calling 888-497-0011. You can also visit LexisNexis® online at http://www.LexisNexis.com.


You Should Be Scared when Buying New Construction.

You Should Be Scared when Buying New Construction.

Bob and Terri,
just a note of caution as you are contemplating the purchase of a “yet to be constructed home” from a builder. The new construction contracts in our area are very long often 50+ pages, and they are written  in the favor of the builder. Also…The new home rep …no matter how nice…works for the builder…not you.
I am writing this email to you since the contractual process that you went through when you bought your last re-sale home is quite different than the legal process of buying a home that is yet to be built. Below are some of the issues that are different in the process of re-sale vs. pre-built construction.
In order to start construction, you will be required to make a deposit of $25,000 as compared to the $7000-$8000 earnest money deposit you would make in this area when contracting on a $650,000 re-sale home.
 Obviously, you will need to sell your current property in order to move in to the new place. The builder has told you verbally that the property will be ready in 4 months. He will not contractually give you a specific date for settlement as would be the case should you purchase a re-sale home,… so that you cannot be contractually sure that you will have a finished place to move into. If your new place is not ready when he says, you will need to plan for temporary housing and storage of your goods. The builder is not contractually liable for your inconvenience or expense caused by his delay. That is the biggest buyer concern when buying a piece of ground and a floor plan…it is common that these delays can and do go on for months. I will tell you again…there is zero contractual protection for you as a buyer against this possibility.
Steve and Jan Bachman RE/MAX
The scariest part of the new construction contract in Northern Virginia is the afore mentioned clause in the agreement that says that the builders have 18-24 months to deliver the house…(I have yet to have a new home rep point this out to our clients voluntarily). When this contract clause is pointed out by us….verbally the rep will say that the builder will never let that happen… but I have never seen that clause removed.
Here is the key clause in every new home contract around here:
 “Seller will not be liable to Buyer for any damage by reason of delays caused by an Event of Force Majeure or otherwise.  In the event of a delay caused by an Event of Force Majeure, Seller will have the right to: (i) Terminate this Agreement; or (ii) extend the time for Settlement; provided, that if Settlement has not occurred, or cannot occur, (A) within Eighteen (18) months from the Effective Date hereof because of an Event of Force Majeure, or (B) within Twenty-Four (24) months from the Effective Date hereof for any other reason, either Party will have the right to Terminate this Agreement“..
I have never seen a new home rep voluntarily point this out. It is the biggest bone of contention and the largest cause of buyer distress. I totally understand why the builder wants this clause… BUT you my friends are not legally protected from builder delays. All you have is the builder’s verbal, non contractual promises.  This is your biggest concern…everything else is relatively minor..
 Be aware that a small builder may have limited financial resources…and you will not know this. He may be working on the construction of just your property and a couple of others. A small glitch…and he goes under. Happens every day.Jan and Steve Bachman RE/MAX He can create a new LLC or corporation and be back in business under another name in a month. Do your homework in checking their background. Also, delays can be substantial if the builder and county inspectors cannot agree on some items of the plan…I have frequently seen 3 month delays getting county approval…you are not contractually protected from this time delay and only have the builder’s word that he can resolve them.
Be aware, also that when you pick your options like counter-tops, cabinets and appliances… the builder generally reserves the right to substitute ” like kind” if they cannot get what you asked for. They try to get you something you like but again… you cannot void the contract if they substitute your appliances with something you do not like.
I do not want to deter you away from buying a new build if that is what you want…they are GREAT…but you need to be aware of the possible areas of concern that lie ahead. Most builders are terrific and will do their best to make you happy and get the property delivered on time…that is when they get paid.
But …I wanted to make it clear that contractually…the builder has all the protections and you have few… other than his word and reputation.  Jan and I have represented many buyers of new construction and we will be with you to the end of the process to assist and advise… and part of our advice is what I just wrote 🙂
Steve Bachman



We have all heard about the high costs imposed on home buyers  ranging from lender points, title insurance and settlement fees. However, if you are selling your house, you should understand you will be hit for some closing costs also.

When a seller signs a listing agreement with a Real Estate Broker, authorizing that person to sell the house, in addition to all the other forms which sellers receive, the seller should be given an estimated settlement statement. This statement will project the bottom line to the seller, based on the listing price. When an offer is later presented to the seller, the settlement statement should be updated, to reflect the actual terms of the proposed contract.

I have analyzed many real estate transactions, and the following charges are generally made to the seller:

Real estate commission: The seller should be informed of the dollar amount to be paid out of settlement for the commission.

Mortgage payoff: Most sellers have at least one mortgage outstanding on the property. Your lender will be able to give you an approximate payoff figure, if you give them a tentative settlement date. Don’t forget to add a daily interest charge until the lender receives the full mortgage payout. You should also inquire whether there will be any prepayment penalty. Some older loans still require the borrower (in this case the seller) to pay a percentage of the loan if it is paid off in full prior to the full expiration of the mortgage term. In some instances, the prepayment penalty can be avoided, or waived by the lender, and you should inquire as to the policy of the particular lending institution.

Points: This is perhaps one of the least understood areas of real estate financing. Sellers often question why they have to pay points to enable the buyer to get their loan. A point is equal to one percent of the loan.

Some loans, such an FHA or VA, put limitations on the amount which the buyer can pay for closing costs. Many buyers who will be obtaining conventional financing also want the seller to pick up some of these settlement charges — including points paid to the lender.

Seller paid points are still deductible for tax purposes by the buyer. Thus, while sellers want to get the most dollars from their house, there are often negotiation advantages if a seller offers to split points with the buyer. Such an arrangement may be the clue to closing the deal.

Termite: Most buyers require that a termite inspection be performed, at the seller’s expense. Normally, the fee for this service runs between $50 to $75. But I have seen too many instances where the seller is “hit” with a sizeable repair bill, due to termites and damage being discovered by the termite company.

If the seller has a current contract with a termite company, that company should be willing to give the required letter for no cost or a nominal charge. Finally, when you make arrangements with the termite company to do their inspection, make sure they understand they will not do any repair work without informing you in advance. Since the seller is paying for these charges, the seller should have the option to shop around for the best price.

Water escrow: In many jurisdictions, water is the only utility that creates a lien on the property. In order for the title attorney to give free and clear title to the buyer, all liens must be paid and satisfied. Thus, it is standard practice for the settlement attorney to escrow some money to cover the final water bill. Usually, the office conducting settlement will make arrangements to obtain a final water reading, pay the bill, and refund the balance of the escrowed funds, if any, to the seller.

Release charges: When the seller obtained mortgage financing, it usually was in the form of a deed of trust. This is similar to a mortgage, but the property is deeded “in trust” to independent trustees who are authorized to sell the property if a default occurs. When the mortgage is paid in full, the trustees are entitled to a nominal “trustee’s fee” and there is a small governmental charge to record the trustee’s release. These items are always withheld at settlement and deducted from the seller’s funds.

Other government charges: Many jurisdictions impose a tax on the transfer of real estate. Some call it a “Grantor’s tax”, which others call it a “Recordation and Transfer” tax. Unless your state law mandates who is to pay this fee, it is a negotiable item which should be on the bargaining table when seller and potential buyer are hammering out the terms of the purchase and sale.

Settlement charge: Some settlement offices will impose a nominal charge on the seller for “settlement services.”

Many sellers are often surprised when they learn, for the first time at the settlement office, that they will not be getting as much from the sale of their house as they had anticipated.

And don’t forget to (1) cancel your home insurance policy as soon as you get the sales proceeds, and (2) if you are making automatic mortgage payments, cancel that also. Too many clients have called me over the years telling me they were so excited to sell their house that they forgot to cancel their payments.

Written by Benny L. Kass



The animals that live in the house across the street bark incessantly. The people two doors down play their music so loud you now know all the lyrics to every Kendrick Lamar song ever written. And something, presumably a dog (you hope) keeps leaving presents on your lawn. Annoyances like these can make it unpleasant to live in your neighborhood. And, they can quickly escalate, becoming dangerous or even in need of legal intervention.

So how do you know how to handle a nuisance neighbor, and what should you do when the situation gets out of control? Knowing who you’re dealing with is step one.

Annoying but (probably) not dangerous

The situation: Your neighbor is a busybody, always in everyone’s business and clearly enjoys spreading it around. The animosity she creates is making it hard to enjoy social outings in the neighborhood.

The strategy: Have a talk with her. Perhaps the simple act of honest discourse is enough to get her to curtail her behavior. After all, no one wants a “Desperate Housewives” scenario.

CBS NewsMultiple people may need to be in on this act to get the point across that her behavior won’t be tolerated. As a worst case scenario, disinviting her from social events may be necessary. Uncomfortable, but necessary.

Could go off the rails if provoked

The situation: Your neighbor complains about EVERYTHING. The way your kids’ friends park on the street in front of your house. Your dog that barks exactly one time a day, for a 30-second period, when the mail is delivered. Even the way your trashcan faces on trash pickup day.

And it’s not just you. He’s been terrorizing the neighborhood since the day he moved in, and everyone’s too scared to confront him.

The solution: Kill him with kindness – but only if it seems safe. Could be the neighbor is a lonely man who doesn’t know how to reach out and is channeling his sadness/lack of social interaction in a negative manner. Taking over some cookies, bringing in his newspaper, or offering to water his flowers might be the icebreaker you need to start breaking down those walls.

But, being able to judge a situation is key to knowing how to handle it. If you’re not sure if your neighbor is just sad and lonely or if he’s going to turn into a psychopath and burn your bunny, you probably want to keep your distance.

You should definitely watch your back

The situation: There has been a rash of vandalism in the neighborhood, with cars being keyed and landscaping being ruined. Or perhaps you’ve experienced hostile behavior from a neighbor yelling profanity at you or your kids.

The solution: There are some situations that can’t be resolved any other way but getting the police involved. If you feel unsafe or if anybody is being threatened, don’t be afraid to get the police involved. It could be that the scare is enough to alleviate the situation.

Involving the police could also be necessary if a neighbor is breaking the law.

“When only one person or a small number of people are disturbed by a nuisance, it is a private nuisance,” said the Chicago Tribune. “Examples include a noisy neighbor, a barking dog, a trash-filled vacant lot and trespassers attracted to a vacant building. If a state or federal law or a local ordinance is being violated, the police or other officials should be notified to abate the nuisance.”

Sometimes, a neighbor’s antics affect more than your daily enjoyment of your home. If money or land are involved, things can get beyond testy. If keeping things calm and out of the hands of professionals isn’t working, it may be time to take legal action.

“Consider having the property surveyed, which should resolve any questions about property lines. (And a survey could nip the problem in the bud, since the person who wants something to happen usually pays, said Emily Doskow, an attorney in Berkeley, California, and the editor of Neighbor Law: Fences, Trees, Boundaries & Noise on CNN. “The cost can vary anywhere from $300 to $1,500, depending on where you live and how complicated the survey is.”

Be aware that there are several defenses that could derail your plight (knowing about the private nuisance when you moved to the neighborhood or tolerating it over a period of time are a few of them). Your attorney should be able to advise you of whether or not you have a legitimate case.

Written by Jaymi Naciri



Scientists have written about the negative mental, emotional, and potentially physical, effects of clutter on our lives. They can include an inability to focus and process information. Clutter also usually results in disorganization that often proves costly both in terms of time and money. One common example is being late for work as the result of hunting for car keys finally discovered beneath the stack of old newspapers you’ve been meaning to throw out. Beginning the day with the panic and frustration of locating misplaced items can mean less energy for things that really matter.


The ancient Chinese art of feng shui recognizes the importance of organization in creating a harmonious home atmosphere favorable to calm and creativity. Some practitioners even believe that organizing different directional spaces within your home can serve to attract specific benefits. Art and science agree that clutter and disorganization contribute to anxiety and a sense of unease, which over time, can lead to disease. Clutter is also often a symptom of hoarding, which has recently become classified as a potentially unhealthy disorder.


They say that one person’s trash is another person’s treasure, but when it comes to our possessions, it can often be hard to tell the difference. We keep so many things based not on their usefulness, but on the memories we attach to them. Maybe you haven’t worn that fuchsia gown in the back of your closet since you were a bridesmaid at a wedding five years ago, but that wedding was where you met your own special someone. That old set of golf clubs collecting cobwebs in the corner of the garage hasn’t seen daylight since you got that new set for Christmas three years ago, but you hit your first hole in one with it.


Yard sales are a great way to de-clutter, provide yourself with a little extra cash, interact with neighbors to strengthen community ties, and feel good about knowing that someone else is enjoying or making good use of items that have been sitting around collecting dust. Someone else is likely to fall as deeply in love with that one-of-a-kind candy dish or wall hanging as you once did, and you’ll also be helping the planet. Every item that’s recycled saves the natural resources used to produce them as well as reducing the size of the world’s landfills.


For those things that we simply can’t bear to part with, like those precious handprints your child made back in kindergarten or that T-shirt from your first concert that are taking up vital living space, one solution is a backyard storage unit. They are now available in various shapes and sizes to accommodate just about any type of space. A treasured trip down memory lane can literally remain as close as your own backyard.


There are as many ways for storing items that are important but seldom used, like bicycle tire repair kits and assorted nails and screws, as there are people. Many people enjoy the creative challenge of finding inexpensive solutions to organizing clutter, like utilizing a little spray paint to color-code and decorate old coffee tins for storage. Others take advantage of the newest technology, like remote controlled overhead platform systems. Another good example of a simple way that technology can help reduce clutter is the ability to scan and digitize old photos, which can then be stored on space-saving flash drives and enjoyed more frequently.


Whether your personal decluttering process is an exercise in creativity or a ruthlessly efficient time-saving strategy, de-cluttering is a wonderful way of periodically re-examining your priorities. Life is a constant process of rearranging our lives to be in accordance with our deepest held beliefs and those things, and people, who are ultimately most important to us.
That’s why it comes as no surprise that when it comes to decluttering, less is more. Less clutter means less disorganization, which means less stress and frustration. While lessening the negative, decluttering increases life’s positives with more time, space money, energy, safety and freedom. While you’re enjoying a sense of accomplishment after decluttering your living space, you can use some of that extra time to make a list of enjoyable ways to spend the rest of it.


Written by Philip P.