Not Just Peace of Mind
The most obvious reason to buy a home warranty?
To avoid an unexpected, budget-busting home repair — or several of them.
That’s especially attractive for notoriously cash-poor, first-time home Buyers — and the homeowners who want to sell to them (in lieu of replacing aging-but-still-working appliances and HVAC, smart Sellers often include a home warranty with the sale).
Group Rates/Volume Discounts
However, there are two other reasons for homeowners to consider a home warranty:
Unlike veteran Realtors, who often work with plumbers, electricians, etc. (or can buttonhole their colleagues for referrals), the average homeowner may not have such relationships.
Unfortunately, the worst time to find a reliable contractor is after the hot water heater springs a leak, the oven starts spewing smoke, etc.
By contrast, homeowners who have warranty coverage typically call a 1-800 number, which connects them to the appropriate professional.
Two. Pre-negotiated costs/group discounts.
Home warranty companies not only have access to contractors, they often negotiate better rates due to group discounts.
Think of it like a hospital charging an uninsured patient $5 (or $50!) for an aspirin vs. 50¢ for those covered by a group plan.
While the insurers benefit from any contractor discounts, consumers indirectly enjoy the savings in the form of lower premiums.
Getting Past Inspection
If all those pluses weren’t enough, experienced agents know that warranties play yet another useful role: they help Buyers and Sellers get past potential inspection issues.
That’s true because, once a capital item is determined to be in working order — “pre-existing conditions” are routinely excluded by insurers — the Buyer doesn’t have to (overly) fret it will fail on their watch (I promise you: live in a home long enough, and everything will).
Instead of asking for, say, half of the cost of a new furnace, Buyers are typically satisfied by a warranty insulating them from risk.
No doubt that’s why, starting about five years ago, the standard Minnesota Purchase Agreement added a paragraph** discussing Home Protection/Warranty Plans.
The section includes a clause requiring the parties to say whether the sale includes such a policy or not, and — if affirmative — providing key terms such as the insurer, maximum premium amount, coverage features, and who pays.
**As opposed to “Opt in” and “Opt out” clauses, the MLS provision includes both choices. Call it, “Opt . . .”