Tag Archive for: Home Warranty Coverage

Are you a homeowner, seller or maybe even a buyer looking for some additional peace of mind for your investment? If you are, then you possibly should consider adding a home warranty, creating that umbrella for your home. We’ve seen hesitancy surrounding warranty providers in our industry and that’s certainly understandable. There are myths as well as pros when utilizing home warranty companies. It’s important to know what they are before buying a plan. Have a firm awareness of what your needs are so you can make the most of your home warranty.

Below, you’ll find additional insight as well as some tips, if you’re considering making this leap. We spoke with one of our real estate professionals, Florence Avvisato, who spoke of emerging trends to watch for, what factors consumers should have on their radar when choosing a warranty company, not to mention some of the common issues our clients experience.

With financial security becoming of rising concern for many homeowners this year, home warranties are an appealing option to consider. “One trend has been an increase in warranty providers, who are seeking owners who want to ease the risk and have financial security high on their lists,” states Florence Avvisato, REALTOR® with Realty Network Group. These companies are also shifting toward proactive home maintenance programs with numerous choices and varying levels of coverage for property owners to entertain. Another emerging trend in the industry is the increasing use of technology, such as online portals and mobile apps, to streamline the claims process and provide faster service to customers. While this technology has been available before, it’s certainly in wider use now. Having customers’ information in a database helps to engage the proper professionals to the home when they’re needed there sooner than later. Finally, “there has been a shift towards more customizable plans, allowing customers to tailor their coverage to their specific needs and budget,” emphasized Florence. “There’s an expansion of coverage options.” Over the years, there’s been a shift from general coverage to buyer and seller plans to now specific plans focused upon particular systems and appliances in the home. Customers should also be aware of the increasing competition in the home warranty market. As stated above, more warranty providers are entering the market to meet the demand from homeowners, who are starting to recognize the value of coverage lately. More providers in the market has led to more competitive pricing and better (and more specific) coverage options. It’s important for customers to stay informed and compare/contrast different companies to ensure they are getting the best bang for their buck.

When evaluating and choosing a home warranty company, there are several factors that consumers should consider. “At the top of the list, I advise my clients to contact two or more companies,” explains Florence. “They need to put in the time and should research a company’s reputation along with customer reviews to ensure that they have a good track record of providing reliable and efficient services. In this industry, we face scrutiny and praise from our clients too, and this is always an indicator of how we, or in this case, home warranty companies likewise rank and respond to concerns from their customer base.” Consumers should also look at the coverage options and pricing plans offered by the company to determine if they align with their specific needs and budget. It’s not always the case, but some warranty providers have coverage options which can be tailored to unique needs from the owner of the home. It’s important to thoroughly read and understand the fine print of the warranty to avoid any unexpected costs or limitations. “Another crucial factor to consider is the company’s network of contractors and their qualifications, as they will be the ones performing any necessary repairs,” maintains Florence. “If you can attain this list ahead of time, that would be ideal. I believe a company is only as good as the contractors and repair personnel who are coming into your home.” Even though this pursuit is harder to fulfill, consumers should also look into the company’s claim process and customer service to ensure that they will receive prompt and satisfactory assistance when needed. Overall, it’s essential to carefully evaluate all these factors to make an informed decision and choose a reputable and reliable home warranty company.

The biggest beef we hear in our industry with respect to home warranty providers is their inability to operate in an efficient manner whether it’s communication to all parties involved, getting the proper professionals on site or even getting the ball rolling on a filed claim. Issues in delays for service or repairs can dishearten mutual clients of both REALTORS® as well as home warranty suppliers. This can be frustrating for customers who are relying on their warranty to cover unexpected repairs in the home on things they rely upon. “They want to know when they sign up for coverage, they’ll receive good service when a repair of a home appliance or system, which is covered under their plan, fails,” reiterates Florence. “Additionally, some customers may face difficulty in reaching customer service or getting timely responses from the home warranty company. This can lead to further frustration and delays in resolving issues.” Lastly, another common issue is denied claims, where the home warranty company may refuse to cover a certain repair or replacement. This can be due to various reasons, and some of them are legitimate, such as pre-existing conditions or lack of proper maintenance. Again, property owners will want to confirm ahead of time what’s covered and what isn’t under the plan they’re considering. We never want there to be confusion or miscommunication regarding coverage and what’s included in the home warranty plan, causing disappointment and unexpected expenses for our clients. Overall, these issues can make the experience of dealing with home warranty companies a challenging one for sure, but it’s important to rely on your real estate professional, who can guide you throughout this process.

Advantages

There are several advantages that a home warranty can provide to a seller. First, a home warranty affords added peace of mind to potential buyers, as it assures them that major appliances and systems in the house are protected. This can make the home more appealing and increase its market value. What a home warranty cost a seller? On the surface, home warranty benefits for sellers are typically at lower cost, because of various limitations in coverage. Yet coverage is an affordable alternative for homeowners, who are looking for their home to stand out from the field of competition. A one-year policy for single-family properties is roughly $500-$600, but varies from company to company, and could include additional add-ons at the request of the homeowner. Usually, sellers have the ability to be covered while their home is listed, even if it’s for a limited time for minimal cost. Often the coverage will include a period of time while the home is on the market, but in a sense, the clock doesn’t start ticking until the buyer settles on the home. The homebuyer and seller can always negotiate prior to entering into an agreement, but if the listing was marketed as including a warranty for the buyer, the cost of the policy would usually be deducted from seller proceeds on the sale of their home. Though there is a cost to the seller, it generally isn’t an upfront cost, which is appealing to many who deploy this tactic. Additionally, as implied above, a warranty can act as a selling point, giving the seller a competitive edge in a crowded real estate market. It can demonstrate that the seller is confident in the condition of the home and is willing to stand behind it. Of course, in a seller’s market, warranties are seldom employed, because there’s less incentive to stand out from other listings when buyer activity is high. Yet, in these instances, home warranties can still play an active role. They give sellers more negotiating power and should anything break before the closing, there’s an added protection in place. By investing in a home warranty, the seller can avoid potential disputes or costly repairs that may arise during the transaction, ensuring a smoother ride for both parties. Overall, purchasing a warranty can be a smart move for sellers (albeit, it’s not for every situation) , providing an extra layer of protection and enhancing the attractiveness of their property.

Common Misconceptions

Here are a few myths about home warranties. One misconception is that a home warranty is the same as homeowners insurance. While both can provide protection for your home, they cover different things. Homeowners insurance typically covers damage from natural disasters, fire, theft and liability, while a home warranty covers the repair or replacement of major systems and appliances due to normal wear and tear. There’s a big distinction there, and one that should be made. Next, some have the idea that the cost of basic warranty coverage can be quite expensive, but most enrollment for a year is only a few hundred dollars depending on the square footage and location of the home. Always do your homework, check with various providers and get quotes in order to keep costs reasonably low. Another myth is that home warranties are unnecessary. Some homeowners may believe that their new appliances or systems won’t have issues, so they view the warranty as wasted money. However, even new items can develop unexpected problems (they’re called lemons), and a home warranty can provide peace of mind and financial protection. Furthermore, if you’re improperly using or not caring for your home’s systems or appliances, a warranty won’t do you much good. Homeowners are personally responsible for properly maintaining their systems and appliances. Any intentional damage caused to a system or appliance will not be covered. Any neglect shown to a home’s system or appliance will also meet the same fate. Additionally, some people wrongly assume that all repairs and replacements will be fully covered by a home warranty. It’s essential to understand the terms and conditions of your warranty, as there are often limitations, deductibles and exclusions. Finally, there is a misconception that home warranties are only valuable for older homes. While it’s true that older homes are more prone to issues with systems and appliances, a home warranty can benefit homes of any age. It’s important to separate fact from fiction when considering a warranty to ensure you make an informed decision.

Maximize Your Home Warranty

In order to get the most out of a home warranty you have to understand the coverage and limitations before making any claims. This includes knowing what is covered, the dollar limits, and any deductibles or service fees. This is a critical step and the reason we suggest that you understand your terms and conditions well. If a repair person needs to come to the property, you should have an understanding of what repairs are covered and an idea of what questions to ask the service technician. Obviously, you’ll also want to be on site when the repair tech arrives. Keep in mind that maintaining regular and proper maintenance of the home’s systems and appliances can increase the chances of a successful claim. Moreover, it’s important to keep documentation of any repairs or maintenance done on the covered items. Finally, homeowners should familiarize themselves with the claims process and promptly report any issues as soon as they arise. Being proactive and responsive when dealing with repairs can ensure a smooth and efficient resolution. If an appliance fails, best practice is to contact the warranty company directly and right away. Normally, it isn’t best to send for your own repair person, at least without first reporting it to your warranty provider. While you may be able to hire your own contractor or technician, and it doesn’t hurt to ask, often you’ll need to rely on the services of a repair person endorsed by the warranty provider. By maximizing knowledge and taking necessary steps at the appropriate times, homeowners can make the most of their home warranty and enjoy the benefits it provides.

For more information about home warranty coverage and to find a warranty that’s right for you and your home, click here.