We understand that buying a home can be scary. Not only is it often one of the largest financial commitments made by a person or family, but there are also a lot of variables that can create additional stress for home buyers. One major concern we hear from buyers is concern about things breaking down the road, and the cost involved with that. What if the heat stops working? What if there’s a pipe leak? My toilet won’t flush? An electrical short? Buying a home is like buying a car – eventually something will happen that will need repaired. However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t anything you can do to be prepared.
One of the ways that you can reduce the stress surrounding these concerns and risk of shelling out major cash for home repairs in the future is really pretty simple: Buy a home warranty.
What is a home warranty?
A large percentage of home buyers and home owners aren’t even aware that home warranties exist, let alone what they are. A home warranty is just what it sounds like – a contract between a home owner and warranty company to ensure the systems of the home and provide assistance in the event a home system fails.
What does a home warranty cover?
The items covered by a home warranty vary based on the home warranty company. Some of the typical items covered by a warranty include central air conditioning, heating systems, kitchen appliances, plumbing, electrical system, and roof leaks. Most home warranty companies also offer additional add-on packages for additional appliances, pools, spas, etc.
Occasionally, on larger cost items, the warranty company will place a cap on how much they cover. For example, they may state they cover your heating system up to $2500/year. In this case, if you have a heating repair, the warranty company would cover the first $2500 and you would be responsible for the remainder of the cost.
How does a home warranty work?
When you purchase a home warranty, you’ll be given a contract or warranty number. Keep that number, along with the warranty company’s telephone number, in a safe place. If you have an issue with your home, call the warranty company first. The warranty company will gather your information and then contact a contractor in your area to come assess the situation. The contractor will handle the repair, or let you know if the issue will not be covered by the warranty company for any reason. Typically, the only cost to you is a service call. The service call ranges from $60-100 depending on the warranty company and coverage that you purchase.
Other things to be aware of..
Home warranty coverage typically last for 1 year from the date of purchase, and you can renew it each year.
The initial cost of a home warranty varies based on the warranty company you choose, but ranges from $300-500 typically.
When purchasing a home, it is extremely likely that you’ll be able to have the seller pay for the home warranty on your behalf. Many home sellers offer home warranty’s as part of the sale of their home. However, if the seller is not offering it on their own, it can never hurt to ask. Your real estate agent can include verbiage in your agreement of sale asking the seller to pay for a 1-year home warranty of your choice. This means no up front cost to you for the warranty!
Home warranties are especially valuable when purchasing a home in the winter. During winter months, if you are purchasing a home and obtain a home inspection, many of the systems of the home cannot be tested. Specifically the air conditioning, which can’t be run when the outside temperatures are below a certain point. So you are essentially purchasing a home with no idea if the system works. Having the warranty coverage will significantly reduce your cost should you discover the AC actually does not work come Spring.
When purchasing a home warranty, be sure to read the brochure carefully to make sure you’re completely confident you understand the coverage and terms and conditions of the warranty. If you have any questions regarding the warranty, it’s recommended that you call into the warranty company to get clarification prior to purchasing the warranty.
Home warranties are available to all homeowners, so even if you are not purchasing a home, but would like to consider a home warranty for your current home, that is certainly an option. Whether you’re purchasing a townhome in Hempfield, a single-family in Warwick, or you’re currently living in a condo in Manheim Township, there are home warranty options available for you.