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Home Warranties- What are they really?

home warranty fundWhether you own a home or are looking to buy a home, you have the option of purchasing a home warranty. There are many companies to choose from with an array of options and prices. The majority of people who deal with home warranties are REALTORS® and buyers when they dealing in a purchase agreement. Whether you are purchasing a home or currently own one, it is a great idea to get familiar with a home warranty product and make sure to purchase the one that will cover your needs the most.

Many people just let their REALTOR® choose a company they know and go with it when it comes to home warranties. While it is not a bad idea to get suggestions from your REALTOR® during this portion of the sale, it is smart to get a couple companies from them and then choose one based on your personal needs. There are many different companies with a range of pricing and coverage. I have complied some tips to

1. What is a home warranty?

A home warranty is not really like other warranties. When you have a warranty on your washer, dryer, car, etc. if something fails on the unit the company will replace it at no charge. Home warranty companies are different in that they charge a minimal trip fee $50-$70 for a company to come out to the property and look at the warranted unit. This fee has to be paid at the time the technician comes to the house (usually in a form of a check). Once the unit is diagnosed the technician will fix it as long as the warranty covers the broken part.

2. What do home warranties cover?

All warranties typically cover AC units, water heater, piping, plumbing/stoppages, electrical, garage door openers, dishwashers, range/oven/cooktops, built in microwave ovens, garbage disposals, etc. Each company differs on specifics of what they cover and their maximums. This is where it becomes smart for the buyer to read into the contracts a bit. Buyers need to educate themselves on what they are covered for and what they are not. It is easy to find the contracts on the internet or ask your REALTOR® for a copy (they should have one).

Optional coverage will include things like: swimming pools, washer/dryers, refrigerators, well pumps, etc. Again make sure to read what the company is going to cover under the contract. If you are worried about a certain unit make sure the company you are choosing will give you the best coverage on that specific unit. This optional coverage comes at an extra cost so make sure you are getting the best  bang for your buck!

3. Is there a waiting period for coverage?

If you are purchasing the home from a seller there is no waiting period for the warranty to begin. The warranty will begin the day you close. However, I would make sure to get the AC unit cleaned and serviced on your repair request if it is suggested in the inspection to make sure there is no questions about it being a pre-existing condition if something breaks in the first month of ownership. (Same goes for any other unit if something arises in the inspection).

If you are purchasing the warranty as a current owner, some companies do have a waiting period of 30 days and some do not. If you make a claim early on in the contract they will make sure to check that it was not a pre-existing condition, so make sure all units are working when you sign up. They will not fix a problem that arouse before the contract was finalized.

4. Should I get a home warranty for a new home build?

Typically home warranties are built into your contract with a new home build. The builder should have warranties on everything that came with the home. If you have to purchase a washer, dryer or refrigerator you will want to make sure you have your own warranty on those or get one if you are wanting one. Other than that the build will cover the major things for a couple years. *Make sure to know when all your warranties on your units run out however because then you may want to purchase another home warranty.

5. How long do home warranties last?

Home warranties are typically for 1 year coverage. There are some companies that will cover a 13 month period if you are purchasing the home. Then when the year is up you can choose to renew or not. So make sure to keep up with you records and that if you are going to renew you do so before your contract period ends. (Because we all know the AC will go out the day after it expires, ha)

When writing a contract it is smart to have an idea of which company you may want to go with so that you can ask for the right amount in the offer. You can always ask you Real Estate professional for help as well! It is always recommended that you purchase a home warranty when buying a home to at least cover you for your first year of home ownership in the property. Purchasing a home warranty on a home you currently own can offset some major and unforeseen repairs in the future. You may or may not use the warranty but for $300-$400 a year (standard) it may be worth some peace of mind. If you have any other questions regarding home warranties please feel free to email Kristen or call us at (210) 954-1797.

 

Some Home Warranty Contracts/Companies Include:

Fidelity Home Warranty

Landmark Home Warrranty

BPG Home Warranty

First American Home Buyers Protection

 

Have a favorite home warranty company you have used? Or one that you did not have a good experience with? Comment below and share with others who may be interested in purchasing.

 

 

 

 

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