One of the scary things about making the leap from property renter to property owner is the idea of maintenance and upkeep. You’re no mechanic or repairman. You don’t know a socket wrench from a sheep ranch. And calling repairmen—how do you know you’re not going to get ripped off because of your lack of knowledge? One solution is the home warranty. These are often offered as part of the buyer’s incentive package when you are buying a home.
What a home warranty is not: It’s not a blanket insurance policy against anything ever going wrong in your home. It’s not a permanent warranty. It does have exclusions. Before you purchase or accept a warranty, it’s good to know what the warranty is, what it covers, what it doesn’t and how it works.
How does it work? Most home warranties are very similar. You’ll want to read your warranty thoroughly and mark anything you don’t understand to have explained to you. But in general:
If a home system or appliance breaks down or stops working, you call the home warranty company.
Your home warranty company will call a service provider it has a business arrangement with.
The service provider will call you to make an appointment.
The service provider will fix the problem. If an appliance or system is malfunctioning and can’t be repaired, depending on your contract coverage, your home warranty company will pay to replace and install the appliance.
You will pay a small trade service fee (usually less than $100).
What If the service provider doesn’t fix something to your satisfaction or says that the problem is your fault and isn’t covered by your warranty? Call your real estate agent. Your real estate agent should seek resolution for you.
What’s not covered? Check your specific policy, but in general:
Outdoor items such as sprinklers
garage door openers
Spas and pools, unless specific coverage requested
What can cause denial of a claim?
Unusual wear and tear
General coverage includes:
Inside plumbing stoppages
Range and oven
Your responsibility is to read thoroughly and understand your warranty before you agree to the terms. Be sure to clear up anything you don’t understand before you sign anything.
In Utah we have a variety of Home Warranty Companies to choose from. Seek recommendations from people who have used them before and had success with the company you choose. Online ratings are also helpful in choosing the company that's right for you. In a transaction, usually whomever is paying for the Home Warranty chooses the company. It could be either the buyer or the seller. You can even purchase one on your existing home.
Here are links to a few northern Utah Home Warranty companies for your convenience:
Make sure you know the ins and outs of the policy. Pay for any additional coverage you may want, like the hot water heater or a/c. Ask if you can extend the coverage beyond 1 year.
The average Home Warranty will cost you between $350-$450 dollars, they all have add-ons. When you're the seller it gives you coverage and peace of mind knowing that you have provided extra insurance to the buyer for a year, for things that may happen in an older home but aren't foreseeable. As a buyer, you get to have the comfort of a safety net for repairs on the home you just purchased, knowing that you won't be in the house for a month and have to come out of pocket for a large unforeseen repair.
After all, who can put a price tag on peace of mind?