So what is a home warranty and do you need one?
In Washington State, when a home is sold there is an option to purchase a home warranty. There are many companies that provide a home warranty and it is up to the buyer to research which warranty makes the most sense. Basically, the home warranty costs around $500 and covers certain things in the home for 1 year after purchase. Things that can be covered are: water heaters, appliances, garage door openers, plumbing, electrical systems, garbage disposals, heat pumps, AC, ductwork, doorbells and much more. And YES you need one. I always say better safe than sorry.
My house is old, is it still covered?
You bet! There are sometimes restrictions on square footage like 5,000 Sqft or less.
Who pays for it?
The buyer, seller, or realtor can purchase the home warranty. Remember in the transaction EVERYTHING is negotiable. If you are purchasing and want the seller to pay, when you write up your offer, make sure that your broker includes that you want a home warranty paid for by the sellers. You do not need to specify what company in the offer. You can write “buyer’s choice” and research on your own. Sometimes, a seller will list a home with the warranty included! The escrow company will take this out at closing, super easy!!!
If I am selling my house how can a home warranty help?
When you list your home for sale, your broker can assist you in getting a home warranty in place for the duration of the sale.You have a few options here.You can order a home warranty just to cover the home during the listing period. You will not need to pay for this option!! Or you can can pay for it at closing through escrow. This can be great marketing tool, to make an older home more appealing to your buyers.
How does it work?
Once the plan is purchased, if something that is covered fails, the home owner calls the home warranty company who will send out a licensed and bonded contractor.The contractor will repair or replace the item. The only cost to the home owner is the service fee, usually around $60.00.
What if I bought a home already?
Most companies typically require that you purchase the warranty within at least 6 months from the closing of your home. So, if the sale was recent, you may still have time.
What happens after the first year is over?
Some companies allow you to renew!!
Okay, but do I really need one?
Its up to you! I think it helps give peace of mind to the buyer. Home ownership is great, but it can be overwhelming and costs can add up. And we all know that you can plan as much as you like, but that the unexpected can and will occur. In November of 2015 I represented the buyers in a purchase. A week after moving in, they needed to have the HVAC system looked at which resulted in a circuit panel being replaced. Then just month ago, they noticed that the washer was leaking, and put in a service call. Most realtors should have a basic understanding of the home warranty and can assist you in making an informed decision. If your realtor does not know, then please shoot me an email if you need help.
I hope you all find this helpful!