One of the top things that any homeowner should consider is a home warranty that can help ensure that your house’s appliances and systems stay up to date. A home warranty is not a warranty per se, but a maintenance contract that provides you with access to discounted home repair services.
Many homeowners assume that you can only buy a home warranty at the time you purchase the house. Although you can do so at the time you close a deal with your realtor, it’s also possible to buy one at a later date. Here’s everything you need to know about when and how to obtain a home warranty.
What does a home warranty cover?
A home warranty generally covers everything from your plumbing and electrical systems to your heating and ventilation systems. Many plans also cover major appliances, including your oven, stove, dishwasher, and refrigerator, and allow you the option to purchase additional coverage for your other appliances and installations. Some warranties also cover roofs and pools.
That said, systems or appliances that are already damaged or non-working are generally not covered by a home warranty. Moreover, if you do not maintain your systems or appliances, you may forfeit some of your coverage or be unable to make a claim.
That’s why obtaining a home warranty at the time of purchase isn’t always the best option. If you’re purchasing a house that needs repair or has appliances that need to be replaced, it makes more sense to have the work done, then purchase a warranty.
I have an older home. Should I purchase a home warranty?
Older homes have a lot of charm and are built to last — but their HVAC and electrical systems may not be. Ensure that you get an inspection done before you make an offer, then get any necessary repairs or replacements done before you close. You might also be able to negotiate a lower purchase price so that you have the funds to make the repairs after closing. Remember, you can buy a home warranty any time, but you may get a discount if you get the warranty within 30 days of closing.
It’s important to note that buying a home warranty does not automatically cover issues known prior to the purchase. Getting a home warranty isn’t a catch-all solution to maintenance issues. It’s important to have an inspection done and know all of the house’s needs.
If you’ve already purchased an older house but don’t have a warranty, you might feel there’s no point in getting a home warranty. That’s not necessarily true. However, it’s worth purchasing a home warranty to protect your investment. If you’ve just upgraded your appliances or gotten a new roof, it’s a great time to get a home warranty.
Remember, homes of any age are eligible for a home warranty, whether they’re 10 years old or 100!
I’m buying a new construction home. Should I look into home warranty?
New construction homes are likely to come with a builder’s warranty. This protection plan usually come with brand new houses to protect the new installations. That said, nothing lasts forever, and builder’s warranties are often for a limited time period. You typically get a discount if you purchase a home warranty within 30 days of closing.
Obtain an extended home warranty after closing to ensure that you have peace of mind for years to come.
How do you obtain a home warranty?
How you get a home warranty varies by the situation. Sometimes, the seller will offer a home warranty along with the property that’s for sale. Buyers can have confidence knowing that the appliances and systems have already been vetted and will be protected.
Often, the buyer can roll the purchase of a home warranty into the real estate transaction, or sometimes gain a discount if they are purchasing the home warranty within 30 days of closing on the home. Real estate agents sometimes offer a home warranty as a gift with purchase for home buyers. On occasion, the title company will obtain the warranty along with the home’s sale contract.
However, any homeowner can purchase a home warranty at any point and apply it to a house of any age. If the homeowner did not obtain a warranty at the time that they bought the house, they can still get one, no matter how long they have owned the house. Even if the house is older, a home warranty can be an excellent choice. As long as the systems are in good working order, a warranty can apply to help protect the homeowner as those systems and appliances inevitably age.
In conclusion, it’s never too late to purchase a home warranty. However, you should not think of it as a panacea for your home’s problems. Keeping up on maintenance is crucial to being able to use your warranty.
You should make sure that you obtain an inspection before purchasing a home. This may identify problems that will then not be covered by the home warranty. However, the warranty will cover emerging problems down the line. That’s why it’s important to get the inspect so that you know which systems and appliances need repair or replacement.
If you’ve already purchased the home, it’s not too late to get a home warranty. This is especially true if you just had upgrades or major repairs done. Remember, both new and old systems will need repair or replacement at some point!
A home warranty is not only an investment in your peace of mind. It’s also a way to help keep your ultimate investment — your home — protected for years to come.