Should I keep/extend my Home Warranty Service?

My favorite answer – Yes, No, Maybe

Yes – a home warranty service is another insurance policy on your home. If something breaks getting it repaired/replaced for a fixed cost is a ‘good thing’ . Not having an unexpected bill for getting your garage door fixed, AC repaired, hot water heater replaced… and it is nice to know you have someone to call when something quits on you.

No – You have a new home, just built and all of the appliances are warranted from the manufacturer, the house is still covered by the builders warranty.  Everything in the home is still covered, so no need to get an additional plan.   If this is you… a good idea is to contact the AC manufacturer to see if you can extend the purchase warranty.

Maybe – Your house is not brand new, but you realize the appliances/AC is older but you are going to upgrade and remodel.  If you are looking to put in a larger AC unit than is the minimum size requirement, or upgrade your appliances, then maybe getting/renewing your home warranty isn’t the best option.

So should you get/renew/keep your home warranty service… yes, no, maybe

Foreclosures and Cash for Clean Up

One of the challenges with purchasing a foreclosure property, is the cost of clean up.  Many of the properties, are a great value, they are priced right, and are selling.  The challenge is once you have the property, where are you getting the cash to do the repairs and clean up required.

Cat pee on carpet in foreclosure home

Cat pee on carpet in foreclosure home

Most of the banks are keeping the power on, with the breakers off to the main part of the house, that way they don’t get hit with a high electric bill.  Then with power to the pool, and landscaping, green pools are not as common an occurrence and tons of dead plants are not in need of replacement in most cases.

But what about the damages and condition of the interior of the home.  Broken floor tile (that can’t be matched any more), grimy carpet that has to be replaced, holes in the walls in need of repair, missing door knobs, do it yourself repairs that are possibly not up to code and safety standards and who knows what else.

Sure elbow grease and a bucket of paint are cheap and go along way.  What about the other issues?

During your inspection period, consider brining in tradesmen who can give you estimates of repair.  Know what the costs are going to be before you get into a home and situation that is over your head.  The bottom line may be greater than you want to handle.

Inspections and the “as is” addendum

There are lots of homes out there being sold “as is’.  With all of the foreclosures, short sales, and vacant homes where there is either no one, or no money to put into repairs, the houses are requiring an “as is” addendum added to the purchase contract.  One of the first questions I get is “Do we get to do any inspections?” YES.  The “as is” addendum is letting the buyer know up front that the seller is not in a position to do any repairs.  So what you find in your inspection process allows for you to consider moving forward or canceling the contract. 

Lots of those vacant homes have no power on as we are looking thru them.  Where carrying a flashlight was a safety item in my car, now it is a standard home showing addition.  I feel like one of those CSI’s wandering thru the crime scene, my eyes following the beam of light looking for clues. I digress…  The concern in homes without power on is also inspections.  “How do we inspect with no power?”  Great question.  Once we are in contract, we get he power turned in.  Many times the power is on, just turned off at the breakers, and the water is turned off at the house.  Gas is another issue.  It is almost always off.  There must be someone present when the gas is turned on, so the Gas Man can check for leaks, and get the pilot lites all lit correctly.

Because of these issues,  we (my mom ,my partner and  I) suggest doing a 15 day inspection  rather than the standard 10 days.  This gives us time to get the power, water and gas on.(can take a couple of days)  And gives you time to fully inspect.  The normal process is to have the home inspector and termite people come out, usually the same time,  Then if the home inspector finds anything requiring a more detailed look, there is enough time to get other trade specialist in to determine condition and cost of repair.  The home inspector only identifies issues needing care or maintenance not cost of repair.  Allowing for you the buyer to make the most informed choice about your new home as possible.