August 2017 – When purchasing a property, many buyers request a home warranty. They are fearful of the unexpected repairs that may come up as soon as they become owners, especially on high ticket items such as an air conditioning unit. Their concerns are valid. And a home warranty may very well prove useful when that dishwasher suddenly leaks all over the kitchen floor or there’s no cool air coming out of the vents when the thermostat says it’s cooling. However, there are pro’s and con’s as with everything when deciding to purchase a home warranty or extend one.
The pros of a home warranty are supposed to be to offset the full cost of a non-working or malfunctioning item inside the house, most commonly appliances, air conditioning and heating units and basic plumbing and electrical items inside the house. Pool and spa pumps and motors may also be added under covered items. The homeowner pays a yearly premium and a deductible per incident and expects most items to be covered within those costs. While a good portion of repairs are covered, many also come with a premium, bringing us to the cons.
Depending on the home warranty company, some will have added costs for air conditioning repairs and appliance parts, such adding freon, changing a compressor or replacing a hot water heater. Some may not cover certain parts at all. A poor repair by a prior vendor may also result in the home warranty not covering the expenses of a specific repair. This leaves many homeownerâ€™s frazzled as they expected those more expensive repairs to be covered, after all, that is why they purchased a home warranty. Additionally, home warranties are bound by different time frames for repairs, allowing for extended periods of time for habitability issues to be remedied. This can pose an inconvenience to a homeowner and infringe on landlord / tenant laws. It is thus important to read the fine print of the home warranty contract to see exactly what will be covered, what won’t be and what will come at an additional cost.
Steve is the founder of Nicklin Property Management & Investments, Inc. His experience in property management and as a real estate broker exceeds 30 years.