Owning a home is a big commitment that takes time and money. Most homeowners choose to save money and hassle wherever they can, whether it involves turning repairs into DIY projects or shopping around for better deals. Buying a home warranty may sound like yet another financial commitment because it involves paying monthly or yearly premiums, but it could possibly save you thousands of dollars in the long run. The wisdom of buying a home warranty goes without saying, so the real question is: when can you buy a home warranty? Is it better to purchase a home warranty when you’re buying a home, or can you make that commitment when you’re selling a home as well?
Read on to learn the best time to buy a home warranty, including the factors that can influence your decision.
When can you buy a home warranty?
Before discussing when you can buy a home warranty, it’s necessary to talk about who can buy one.
- The seller. The inclusion of a home warranty is often considered to be a desirable selling point, which gives the seller a bit of leverage since it instills confidence and a feeling of goodwill in the buyer.
- The buyer. After buying a home, the new homeowner wants to have as much of a financial safety net under them as possible. They can buy the warranty on their own, through a provider, or through a real estate transaction – and likely get a discount as well.
- The current homeowner. A warranty can be bought at any time for a house of any age, no matter how long you’ve lived in the house.
- The real estate agent. Real estate agents often buy home warranties, whether it’s as a gift for the new owner or to provide protection for the seller while the home is on the market. This latter option is commonly referred to as “listing coverage.”
- The title company. A company that holds the title of a home often uses the funds from the sale to buy a home warranty.
It’s possible to buy a home warranty at any time, but there are certain situations – such as when you’re buying or selling a home – in which purchasing a home warranty can act as leverage working in your favor. That said, there are also some factors that may influence the decision to buy a home warranty. These can include:
- The age of the home. If the home in question is older, buying a home warranty may not seem like a good idea. However, it can still be a smart investment – the older the home, the more likely its systems and appliances will need repairs or replacement.
- The condition of the appliances and home systems. Strictly speaking, you get more bang for your buck if what’s covered by the warranty is older and more likely to need repairs sooner than newer assets would.
- The cost of the warranty. The cost of the warranty differs according to where the home is located, what plan you choose, whether you add any extras to the plan, and how many service calls you make.
Buying a home warranty when buying a home
When you’re buying a home, making repairs to your home systems and appliances might be the last thing on your mind. After all, you’re likely too busy looking forward to the next chapter in your life to be worrying about what will happen if something in your home suddenly needs repairs. Nevertheless, purchasing a home warranty when buying a home is a smart choice. While you can certainly choose to buy the warranty on your own after closing on your new place, you can also have it included in the closing process.
First, ask the real estate agent if there’s already a home warranty in place. If there is, you won’t need to do anything further since the home you’re buying is already covered. If there isn’t a warranty in place, you can negotiate with the seller to have it included as a condition of the sale. In this case, it becomes the responsibility of the seller to buy the home warranty, which then transfers to you after the sale.
Buying a home warranty when selling a home
When you’re selling a home, having a home warranty in place can sweeten the pot for potential buyers. There are several benefits to adding a home warranty to your sale:
- It offers added incentive. Would-be buyers like the idea of having a safety net in place when buying a home. The last thing they want is to be burdened with unexpected expenses in their newly purchased home.
- It gives peace of mind. A newer home might not need a home warranty, but an older home would. For buyers interested in older homes, a home warranty provides the added peace of mind that financial protection gives.
- It generates buyer interest. Including a home warranty as part of your listing can generate extra interest and sell your home faster.
- It provides reliable technicians. Home warranty providers only use reputable technicians for their repair jobs. There’s little risk of shoddy workmanship or con artistry.
- It provides coverage for bringing a home up to code. Premium home warranties offer coverage for repairs that need to be brought up to current building codes, above the straightforward cost of the repair.
- It saves money. Repairs to home systems and appliances can be costly. While a home warranty comes with monthly or yearly premiums and some service fees, the cost is nowhere near that of a repair or replacement. Home warranties can save you thousands of dollars a year.
Considering all the potential benefits of buying a home warranty, it’s a smart choice to add it to your listing to boost your chances of a quick turnaround.
Purchasing a home warranty for an existing home
The beauty of buying a home warranty is while there may be certain benefits to buying one under certain circumstances, you aren’t limited to those circumstances. As a homeowner, seller, real estate agent, or owner of a title company, you can buy a home warranty whenever you want.
For those with newer homes, the prospect of financing repairs to its components might not loom large in their minds, assuming that the new homes also have new systems and appliances. The people who benefit the most from buying a home warranty are those who own an older home with older parts. It’s preferable to get set up with a home warranty at the point of purchasing the home, but it’s still a good idea to get one at any time for your current home. Aging homes have aging systems and appliances, and at some point, they’ll need to be repaired or perhaps replaced.
What a home warranty does and doesn’t cover
Before you sign anything, you should know exactly what home warranties do and do not cover. Here are some of the more commonly covered items:
- A/C units
- Garbage disposals
- Trash compactors
- Ceiling fans
- Laundry machines
- Smoke detectors
- Water heaters
- Built-in microwaves
- Pools and hot tubs
- Sprinkler systems
- Faucet repairs
- Ice makers
- Central vacuums
- Well pumps
- Combo ceiling fans
- Outdoor plumbing fixtures
- Septic systems
- Wine coolers
- Home entertainment systems
- Stand-alone freezers
The waiting period
Typically, home warranties don’t take effect right away. Home warranty providers use a waiting period to weed out people who wish to take advantage of their policy by waiting until they know an appliance or system needs replacing before buying coverage – which they cancel after the claim has gone through. As a result, there’s typically a 30-day waiting period between when you purchase the warranty and when it takes effect.
Whether you are buying or selling a home or you simply wish to create a safety net for your current home, setting up a home warranty is a solid choice. First, assess your situation. How old is your home? When was the last time your household systems and appliances were replaced or even serviced? A comprehensive home warranty might just be a good fit for you. When can you buy a home warranty? The answer is simple: you can buy a home warranty at any time, whether you’re buying a home, selling a home, or just want a safety net for the home you’re in.