Should I get a Home Warranty on the house? This is a question I get from most clients. Depending on whether I am representing a seller or a buyer, is how I respond.
Should Sellers Offer a Home Warranty in the Listing?
I like to bring this up during the signing of a listing agreement while sitting with the owners, but usually they bring it up before I get the chance. Home owners can expect to pay between $400 and $500 for a full warranty. Most companies base their pricing on the whether the property is detached or a townhouse. You will also pay additional for multiple HAVC systems, septic/well plumbing, washer / dryer, etc. Assuming the buyers didn’t include a home warranty within their accepted sales contract, I like to keep a Home Warranty as a negotiation tool to use after the potential buyers do their home inspections. For example if the buyers are nervous about the life expectancy of the home’s appliances or CAC but they came up in working condition during the inspection, this is a good way to ensure that in the event something were to happen with in the first year, they are protected. Buyers have the option to extend the warranty after the first year, but do so out of pocket.
Should a Buyer Ask for a Home Warranty in their Offer?
Typically, I answer yes! For the same reason as above, its added protection paid for by the sellers for the first year. But there are always exceptions. When a buyer is making an offer on a Short Sale or Foreclosure the answer is always NO. Why? It has been my experience that when banks are negotiating their short sale properties, there is never room for added costs. Most short sales and foreclosures are sold AS-IS. I make sure the buyer is protected with the addendum that allows an inspection. The process is called “As-Is with the right to terminate”. This is allows my buyer(s) to have all the inspections they want within an allotted timeframe. Once completed, if they feel like there are more repairs than anticipated, they can terminate the contract with no questions asked.
When else do I not suggest including it from the beginning? If the offer is already low without much room for an increase, it’s hard to ask for more from the sellers and can be argued easily. Sometimes sellers take low offers very personal. Asking for a home warranty ends up being salt in the wound. Now, if after the home inspection, I may suggest asking for a home warranty in lieu of repairs, especially if the results on the inspection are mostly on the working appliances.
Which Home Warranty Do I Suggest?
I have always had good results with American Home Shield (AHS). Clients have always reported to me that they had good response time and friendly contractors have come to their aid. But I just recently came across a Home Warranty Reviews in Maryland. I was happy to see that American Home Shield was ranked #2 with over all rates, customer service, and customer reviews. #1 was a company called Sensible Home Warranty. Their plans average less expensive and a lower deductible than AHS. I plan on contacting the Top 5 Home Warranty Companies for more information to be sure using the best suited.
How do Home Warranties Work?
The key to a warranty plan is to ALWAYS call the warranty company when something breaks or needs repair. The common complaint from policy holders is that the company wouldn’t reimburse them for get the repairs done on their own. You have to call the warranty company and they will send someone out. Each company has preferred contractors/service companies that they have built relationships with. With most warranty companies there will be a deductible, like any “insurance” type product. The deductibles are usually from $50 to $100 each time a service is performed. The nice feature is that most agree that if it can’t be fixed, it will be replaced. A new water heater is certainly more than $100!
Sellers – don’t kill a deal over a $500 warranty.
Buyers – ask for one from the start on “regular” home sales. DON’T on a short sale or foreclosure; perhaps purchase one on your own.