Like many homeowners, I first heard about home warranties when I bought my first house. I was young and overwhelmed with the amount of paperwork involved in getting a mortgage. Owning a house seemed like a huge responsibility. Before I could even take possession of the property, there were inspections, appraisals, negotiations, mortgage applications, and more. Somewhere along the way, my realtor mentioned that I would have a home warranty for the 1st year. She said it would help in case something broke down.
That was it. I didn’t get any other explanation. There may have been a brochure shoved into the giant folder we took home with us on closing day. Maybe the closing attorney mentioned it in passing. I probably even signed my name somewhere! But it was all a blur.
We had a home warranty, and I had no idea what that really meant.
During that first year of homeownership, I never once thought about our home warranty. Nothing broke down, nothing needed to be replaced. A year later my warranty expired. I didn’t even notice.
My experience is typical. Many buyers get a warranty with their house and never make use of it. Because they don’t use it, they don’t renew their policy. A couple of years down the road, when things start to break, that home warranty would have come in handy!
Fast forward several years, and I now own a number of houses. I’ve taken the time to learn about home warranties and how they can help protect my investment and my budget. Does a home warranty make sense for every house and every homeowner? Of course not! But you’ll never know if you don’t look into it.
For me personally, one of my properties has a very high monthly mortgage payment. I bought it at the height of the real estate boom and paid top dollar. I put very little money down because I wanted to “stay liquid.” As a result, I can’t sell it because I still owe more than it’s worth. I’m now renting it out for a very tiny profit. But if something breaks down, I’m upside down on my investment very quickly.
That’s why I decided to get a home warranty from American Home Shield. For a small monthly payment, I have coverage in the event that my furnace, oven, water heater, or another major appliance breaks down.
Last year, the air conditioning stopped working at that property. My tenants were obviously unhappy. I called my home warranty company and they dispatched a repair guy the next day. I paid a $75 service fee plus about $200 for refrigerant (the refrigerant wasn’t covered by my warranty). If I didn’t have a warranty, I would have paid over $1200 out-of-pocket. That would have eaten up my entire profit for the year!
When you’re considering whether or not to buy a home warranty, imagine yourself in this same situation. Your AC goes out in the middle of summer. Your furnace stops heating in the middle of winter. You have to get it repaired. Do you know a reputable repair person? Do you have the cash to pay out-of-pocket? A home warranty helps to control these costs and keep your monthly budget on track. A home warranty on a rental property can be even more helpful.
That’s why I created this website. I’ve personally seen the value of a home warranty in my own life. But I know home warranties can be confusing, so I’m here to help answer your questions.
If you have any questions before you buy a home warranty, click the “Ask a Question” link at the top of this page. I’ll personally answer your question and post it on my site so others can benefit from it.
Have you had a great home warranty experience? Tell me about it in the comments.