A home warranty is a type of service contract that provides coverage for repairs or replacements of major systems and appliances in a home. It typically covers items such as heating and cooling systems, electrical systems, plumbing, water heaters, and kitchen appliances.
Home warranties are purchased by homeowners to protect against unexpected expenses for repairs or replacements that may occur due to normal wear and tear. When a covered item breaks down, the homeowner can contact the home warranty company, which will send a qualified technician to diagnose and repair the issue. If the item cannot be repaired, the home warranty company will typically replace it with a similar model.
It is important to note that home warranties are not the same as homeowners’ insurance. Homeowners insurance covers damage to the structure of the home and personal belongings due to unexpected events such as fires, storms, or theft. Home warranties, on the other hand, cover the repair or replacement of items due to normal wear and tear.
What’s generally included in a home warranty?
The items that are typically included in a home warranty can vary depending on the specific plan and provider, but they generally cover major systems and appliances in a home that are subject to normal wear and tear. Some of the most common items included in a home warranty are:
Heating and Cooling Systems – This typically includes coverage for furnaces, heat pumps, air conditioning units, and ductwork.
Electrical Systems – Issues with your home’s electrical system can be expensive and dangerous. Having these covered makes sure that your home stays safe. This includes coverage for the main electrical panel and wiring throughout the home.
Plumbing Systems – Just like electrical repairs, plumbing issues often require a professional and can cause major problems if not fixed right away. Having these things covered by a home warranty will cut repair costs and includes coverage for the water heater, pipes, and drains.
Kitchen Appliances – This includes coverage for the refrigerator, oven, dishwasher, and built-in microwave.
Laundry Appliances – This includes coverage for the washer and dryer.
Garage Door Opener – This includes coverage for the garage door opener and related components.
It’s important to note that while these items are typically included, each home warranty plan is different, so it’s important to read the details of the plan to understand what is and is not covered. Additionally, there may be optional add-ons available for specific items or systems that are not covered under the basic plan.
There are many people who are thinking about listing their homes, but they need to make sure they get as much money for their homes as possible. This could mean making a few upgrades and repairs around the home. There are some situations where it might be possible to DIY these projects, but there are other situations where it is better to call a professional, or CAP. When should homeowners take which path? Learn more below.
Painting And Light Work Could Be DIY
First, anything that is simple or easy around the home needs to be a DIY project. For example, if there are a few spots that need to be touched up with a fresh coat of paint, then this could probably be a DIY project. If there are easy plumbing fixes around the house, such as swapping out a toilet flapper, this could probably be a DIY project as well. It might even be easy to swap out some handles or drawer pulls. Ultimately, everyone has a different comfort level, but these are a few examples of easy DIY projects around the home.
CAP For Issues Of Safety, Time, And Money
There are larger projects that should require a professional. For example, anything that has to do with the electrical system needs to be handled by a professional. It is possible for someone to shock or electrocute themselves, which is something that needs to be avoided. Furthermore, any major carpentry projects need to be handled by someone with the right tools and training. Finally, if there is a major leak in the home somewhere, then this is something that requires the attention of a trained plumbing professional. If these projects go wrong, they can go very wrong, so they need to be fixed correctly on the first attempt.
Cosmetic Is DIY, Structural Is CAP
In the end, everyone has their own comfort level, but a great rule of thumb is that anything cosmetic should be DIY, well anything structural should be CAP. Remember that everyone has to put safety first. When in doubt, call a professional for help. That way, everyone can maximize the value of their home when they go to list it.
There’s almost a guarantee that at some point in the future you’re going to face an emergency. Like most things in life, that emergency is going to require money to solve. You can’t assume that you’ll have the funds to face the emergency when it happens. You can’t even assume that you’ll have enough on your credit cards to pay for it. The only safe way to plan is to have an emergency fund.
What Is An Emergency Fund?
An emergency fund is a reserve of cash set aside for emergencies only. It’s not a savings account, because you’re not saving up for anything in particular like a new sofa or a dining set. It’s strictly money on hand to be used in an emergency.
What Constitutes An Emergency
As a homeowner, you could face any number of emergencies regarding your property. An emergency is something unexpected and urgent. In other words, you couldn’t foresee it happening, yet it needs to be taken care of right away. Examples of homeownership emergencies are:
- Basement floods and needs to be drained and contents cleaned
- Tree falls on roof, and you can’t wait for insurance check
- Furnace dies in the middle of winter
- Central air system dies and there’s a high deductible on your insurance policy
- Water tank gives out a week before your big family holiday
How To Manage an Emergency Fund
The key thing about an emergency fund is that it needs to be instantly accessible. Instantly accessible means you should only have to use your debit card or write a check to use it. You shouldn’t have to sell stock or transfer money out of your retirement IRA. It should also be kept separate from other funds, so it doesn’t get confused with the Christmas gift fund or the college fund.
Why Have An Emergency Fund?
Emergencies shouldn’t cause catastrophic damage to your finances. With consistent, small saving habits, you can build up an emergency fund so you can easily and readily take care of maintaining and repairing your home. This is part of good homeownership. When you have an emergency fund, you know that you can always keep your home in tip-top shape.