Do You Have A Trouble-Free Home?
I was thinking about how many of the seemingly peripheral parts of the home buying and selling process people tend to short change. Is it to save a buck when so many of them (bucks) seem like they are going away, or are they just lost in the shuffle when there are so many things to do to get the transaction closed?
In my last blog I mentioned flood insurance, and how big a gamble it can be to “save” a few hundred dollars by skipping that. What got me wondering again was reading about Home Warranties (aka Residential Service Contracts), and how valuable they can be, but how they might be under-utilized, again, maybe to save a buck? Well, I can tell you from experience that they are worth the cost whether the buyer or seller is footing the bill: As our southeast Texas spring heated up a few weeks ago and the temperatures started rising, we switched to A/C, only to find that it was not getting cooler in the house. THEN I realized that the old condenser unit outside was oddly quiet. Quiet, as in silent -- like DEAD – kaput – expired – yes, it was an “ex-condenser”.
When we bought this house we included a Home Warranty in the deal and have maintained it with annual renewals, so they got the call to come see what the story was. Two years ago I called on another DOA issue with the same unit, and the $60 service charge got us a new compressor in the old unit, which would otherwise have cost us several hundred dollars. As before, they sent us a tech from a local A/C company just 2 miles from here. The diagnosis was that the compressor was still good, but essentially everything else had cratered. The options were, just pay the service charge, which had gone up to $75, and they would patch up the old unit, or we could get a new high-efficiency Energy Star unit (15 SEER) with a full manufacturer’s warranty at a discount of $550, the cost of the patch up that the warranty company would otherwise pay. We opted for the latter rather than face this scenario again, as well as to save on electricity from now on.
The moral to the story is, we managed to save the cost of the warranty by NOT paying for expensive repairs. We have had water heater fixes in our previous home under warranty too. Just like gambling on maybe not needing flood insurance, gambling on home mechanical systems staying trouble-free and not having a Home Warranty (which is actually another form of insurance coverage) could very well cost you quite a bit of money out of pocket. And I probably don’t have to remind you, there is NEVER a good time to face an unexpected bill for hundreds or thousands of dollars.
My suggestion is that everyone buying a home be sure to get covered, and sellers, you can enhance the value of your property by offering to pay for the first year of coverage for your buyers. Home Warranty coverage is NOT a budget buster when it is in the budget, needless to say. (Uh oh, an English teacher of mine told me that if it is “needless to say, don’t say it”! Oh well, this isn’t the first writing rule I’ve broken – or the last.) There are several substantial national firms offering Home Warranties, so you can shop around, see what they cover or don’t cover and what their service charges are. Generally you can get basic coverage for the main mechanical systems, and add for appliances and other big-ticket items if you want. AND, if you own a home and don’t have a Home Warranty or let it lapse, you can get one any time.
So, do any of you have similar stories to share? Anyone never face an expensive repair bill on a home system? Anyone not have a home warranty and never wished they did? Anyone gamble and WIN? (If so, can we go to Vegas together?)
JIM AT THE TOPJim Pedicord RE / MAX Top Realty
713-773-3700 x 2537 Office
2911 S. Sam Houston Pkwy. E. Houston, TX 77047
Authored by Jim Pedicord