Gearing Up For Winter – 5 Tips To Winterproof Your Home

Well, technically it isn’t winter yet, but like the Starks say – “Winter is coming” and as a homeowner, you better be prepared for it. If you live in a region which sees subzero temperatures and biting winds, your house, and its contents could be in trouble. While snow covered trees and angelic white surroundings may look pretty, the potential damages that cold temperatures can cause to household appliances are no fun. Frozen water in the plumbing, malfunctioning humidifiers and the scariest of them all – broken radiators which means no heat! Many things could go wrong and if that happens in the dead of the winter, you could be in trouble. So before the winter sets in full swing, here’s a checklist of things you must get done.

winter is here

Step 1: Plumbing Check

This step cannot be skipped, more so if your home is 4+ years old. The outdoor pipes face the biggest perils as they can easily have water freeze inside them causing grave damages. Like you learned in school, frozen water expands and this means that the pipe could burst if water has frozen inside it. Needless to stay, a burst pipe is not an ideal thing during Christmas season. Your septic piping may also need your attention. Clogged sewage or burst pipes within the sewage system are nightmares.

To prevent plumbing issues, here are some things that you could do –

  • Leave the water running. Not torrentially, leave the faucets to trickle.
  • Inside the home, keep the heating at a minimum of 550F.
  • Pad or insulate the piping systems outside.

Step 2: HVAC Check

Unless you want to freeze to death, inspecting your HVAC unit or even better, getting a professional to check and run a maintenance routine is highly recommended. We have a dedicated HVAC maintenance checklist which you MUST go through to prevent possible breakdowns. Some things you could do to ensure smooth running of your HVAC unit are –

  • Clean the furnace/boiler.
  • Clear the vents to ensure that dirt and debris are not clogging it.
  • Check external pipes for clogs and snow and clear them out.

Winters require your heating systems to work overtime and sometimes even round the clock. Even if they are in their best shape, here are some signs that could indicate that the system will become faulty soon. Watch for –

  • Varied temperature zones within a room. Cold in one spot, hot in another.
  • Shrieks and other unusual sounds from the vents or the system as such.
  • Sudden fluctuations in the temperature in either direction.

If you see any of these signs, have a professional look at the system right away.

Step 3: Roof Check

Roofs often get the worst of it as they are constantly exposed. Roof tiles may crack or even break if the climate gets that harsh. Such cracks and breaks allow water to seep into your attic and disturb the temperature of your house, or worse, cause further cracks and breaks. It might be a good idea to get your roof inspected. If your roof sustains extensive damages, the repairs could cost you an average of $600.

Some DIY checks you could do are –

  • Look for loose tiles/shingles
  • Check your chimneys for clogs and debris
  • Check attic for leaks and cracks

Step 4: Fireplace Check

Fireplaces were the first heating arrangements that civilized humans used. They are fairly inexpensive to maintain when compared to HVAC units. Before winter sets in, it might be a good idea to give your fireplace a thorough cleaning. The general rule of thumb is that the fireplace must get cleaned once a year, ideally before the winter. A lot of ash and other fuel residue tends to accumulate within the fireplace which could lead it to function badly.

If you use gas, your fireplace will be considerably cleaner. However, there is always the risk of debris or leaves that fell through. Wood fireplaces may need a routine check from a professional.

Step 5: Appliance Warranty

Most American homeowners swear that an appliance warranty plan is the best strategy for budget protection. Any unexpected repair cost will get covered as long as the damage was caused due to normal wear and tear. Of course, for damages caused due to natural hazards or perils, you’ll need a homeowner’s insurance and not a home warranty. While both plans are designed to cover repair and replacement costs, homeowners insurance and home warranty are quite different from each other.

During winter, especially in regions where the temperatures drop really low, the risk of appliances getting damaged rises significantly. So, if you are not a home warranty customer already, you may seriously look into getting one. It could help you save thousands of dollars in the long run.

Happy Housekeeping During Winter!

Maintaining a house in good working order, especially when the climate gets harsh, is no easy feat. Which is why you need to go through our home maintenance checklist and execute the steps in it to ensure that you have a warm and cozy winter. The festive season is just around the corner and nothing spoils our mood more than faulty appliances. Keep your home warranty ready and you’ll have your peace of mind. Have a good winter!






Wondering how to start preparing for that perfect dinner you want to host? But your oven range refuses to listen to you. My cake is not baked the way it should have. Oh no! My turkey caught fire while in the oven. Does this sound like your problem?

All of us at some point of time face problems with these electronics. The oven range parts can malfunction and get irksome at times. There are different styles of ovens, including self-cleaning, convection ovens etc, and the style of your oven will determine how you care for it.

Most commonly noticed problems are the broiler elements, bake elements, thermostats, switches, control boards and knobs. Dealing with these issues is a part and parcel of life, but how to make your life simpler and use your oven range in best possible way. Here are some tips that are sure to help.

Tips to clean your oven:

Tips to clean your ovenMaking your oven range look clean and sparkling was never easy but these simple tips can save your time and give that desired look to your appliance. Maintenance of your appliance is crucial. Follow these guidelines for cleaning without damaging your oven surfaces.

  • Before cleaning any range or oven surface be sure the unit is off and completely cooled. Steam burns can occur if you wipe a hot surface with a wet cloth or sponge.
  • After cooking let your oven range cool down, then wipe grates and burner cap with damp sponge and dry thoroughly. Make a habit of wiping down the exterior surfaces with a damp sponge every time you wipe down the worktops.
  • To avoid damage to the oven use only non-abrasive cleanser than harsh chemicals.
  • If you think the dish you are baking may bubble over or drip then always place a drip pan, it will minimize  the efforts of cleaning it.
  • If you are going to fry something on your cooktop or a dish which might splatter then before cooking spread some aluminum foils on the top and make a hole near the burner and remove it once you are done.
  • Use the right sized pans for burners on the cooktop. Don’t put tiny pots and pans on big burners when you have the option of using a smaller burner for smaller pan.
  • Oven ranges may look simple, but they are complicated appliances therefore do not try to repair them on your own and better seek professional help when required.
  • Remember to replace the drip pans or bowls beneath the grates on a range/stove every two to three years as they undergo lots of wear and tear.

Step by step guide to cleaning your oven range                    cleaning oven

It is always advisable to clean your oven as and when you are done, it helps you to avoid those tough stains. They become a mess if left for longer.

  1. Most oven broiler pans are made of porcelain coated steel. Clean them with a non-abrasive cleanser to avoid damage.
  2. To loosen baked on food particles from your oven, place a bowl of boiling water into the oven and leave it closed for 15-20 minutes the steam will loosen up the particles making it easier to clean.
  3. You can use soapy water or a solution of sodium bicarbonate mixed in water to give a new shine to the burner tops / burner bowls.
  4. To clean the racks of your oven you can just put them into a dishwasher.
  5. If you have a self cleaning oven then nothing like it. But make sure to be extra careful as these have hidden heating elements underneath the oven floor and above the oven ceiling.
  6. If you have not paid enough attention then your oven goes poof !!! There are higher chances of fuse burn out.
  7. Once you have run the self-cleaning cycle, wipe away the ash residue with a damp sponge or a rag.

Home warranty and your oven range

A home warranty is a service contract, normally for one year, which helps protect homeowners against the cost of unexpected covered repairs or replacement on their major appliances that break down due to normal wear and tear. Coverage is for systems and appliances in good working order at the start of the contract. Please note that a manufacturers guarantee and home warranty are totally different.

Home warranty companies cover oven and ranges as the major appliances and it is applicable in case of wear and tear and accidental damages but any damages due to non maintenance of your appliance, the home warranty companies will not cover the charges.  oven with food

After a year of purchase its better to extend your warranty period. An extended warranty is a type of insurance policy that covers your household appliances beyond the manufacturer’s guarantee. If your oven/range breaks down due to a mechanical or electrical failure, the home appliance warranty will pay for repairs or a replacement.

Oven ranges are one of the most common appliances used at homes. Almost 90 percent of household use oven ranges in America. There are even double range oven selling in the market where you can cook two turkeys at a time to make your job even more easier. Replace worn out parts like bulb, knobs, and get your oven serviced once in awhile. Maintain your appliance well to fulfill your love for cooking and baking so that you can host more dinner parties and family gatherings without any distress.




Do you have a trusted appliance lying around your household for the past few years that you don’t want to give away or replace? Yet you are worried that it’s going to crash pretty soon leaving you with no other option other than repairing it or replacing it with a new one? Fret not! This article will shed some light on how to insure your household appliances against potential breakdowns

Let’s begin by comparing Home Warranty from the Homeowner’s insurance policy. The primary difference between the two is that Home Warranty covers repairs and replacements of failed appliances and systems, while the the Homeowner’s Insurance covers damages caused to your home and its content by natural hazards or theft. You can always find a contractor to repair your damaged appliances, but more often than not the costs involved in such scenarios are rather high. The other option that you have is to apply for a Home Warranty plan.

The Home Warranty plan is a contract of service that covers repairs and replacement of appliances and systems in your home. Depending on the kind and extent of coverage you wish to avail, the annual premium for the Home Warranty plan can range anywhere between $ 250 to $ 450. In addition, each time you approach the warranty company for a service, you have to pay a service fee usually called as the deductible. This is around $ 50. You can take a look at the table below if you want to know he systems and appliances that are covered under the Home Warranty Plans.

Home Appliance Warranty Plans

If you have doubts regarding whether or not your appliances need a Home Warranty Plan right now, take a look at the following chart. It tells you what the average lifespan of the common household appliances.

Table2 for Appliance Warranty article

Now lets discuss the most important question.

What kind of plans are available and do I actually need them?

Let me clear the former first. You have two options, you can either avail an extended warranty for each appliance or you can get a Home Warranty which covers all your appliances. Although, getting extended warranty on each appliance is not a wise decision, the best way out is to get a Home Warranty.It is also suggested that if your appliances are not new and over four years old, getting a Home Warranty will turn out to be highly useful. However, if your home and the appliances you own are reasonably new and still covered by the Manufacturers warranty, you may want to consider taking an extended warranty. You can click here for further details and comparisons between the two.

If you are wondering how this works then here’s the answer. The company offering a Home Warranty plans often sign contracts with vendors offering repair services to appliances. Each time you approach your warranty provider with a claim, they  call up these repair facilities which in turn sends a technician to evaluate the condition of your appliance.He shall decide if your appliance needs to be repaired or replaced.Service charges(deductible fee) of the technician shall be paid by you and it is always nominal.

Things to know about appliance protection plans

If you have read so far, then it would mean that you are genuinely interested to know as much as possible about Home Warranty plans. Few hiccups that you may encounter are as follows:

  • Home warranty plans are a way to ensure security and to reduce maintenance costs. They don’t provide blanket coverage nor do they pay for pre-existing issues.
  • All companies do not offer the best customer service. Make sure that the Home warranty company you choose comes with high recommendations.
  • Ensure that you read the contract for Home Warranty thoroughly.This ensures that conflicts do not arise later.
  • Many a times, it is often seen that Home Warranty companies opt for repairs rather than replacement of the damaged appliance. Further, waiting period for this is also considerably long in some cases. Worst of all, claims are sometimes rejected on unclear grounds or by bringing up small clauses from the contract that are often overlooked by the customers.

It is again stressed that you read your contract carefully and have it looked over multiple times , paying immense attention to the monetary factors.

Do I really need Appliance Protection?

Despite the issues that were mentioned, it is advised that you insure your appliances by availing a Home Warranty Plan. Costs incurred during repairs and replacements can be considerably reduced if you have a sound Appliance Protection plan. Also, if you choose to sell your home while the Home Warranty plan is still valid, the value of the property is likely to be higher than when it is sold without a Home Warranty. Most buyers recommend strongly in favor of Home Warranty plans. You are likely to do the same if your choice of  home warranty provider is good.

Here is the summary of benefits you shall have if you avail a Home Warranty Plan

  • Confidence: This is something that can rarely be bought with money. Home Warranty Plans provide you a tension free life. It does so by relieving you from worries about unexpected expenses occurring due to damage of your appliances.
  • Broad coverage: Almost all your appliances and systems are covered by the U.S. Home warranty contract.
  • Affordable prices: The annual premium as well as the deductible you pay are both affordable to an average U.S. citizen.
  • Budget protection: To those of you who just purchased a new home and had to spend quite a lot on one time expenses like drapes, landscaping etc, the first year in your new home is not the ideal time to expect financial drains due to faulty appliances.
  • Lawsuit avoidance: Assuming that you sold your home while it was still covered by the Home Warranty, any appliance that sustains damages will be taken care of by the home warranty company. If the appliance was not covered by a Home Warranty, it may often result in the buyer suing the seller.

May it be reminded again that reading the contract well is of utmost importance. You can get a free estimate on home warranty from top rated companies on our website before you purchase the plan.




Extended warranty sometimes also called as a maintenance or service agreement, is a prolonged warranty given to customers who wish to insure their fairly new devices. They are not always provided by the manufacturer and are usually procured along with or as and when the manufacturer’s warranty expires.

Such extended service agreements are often purchased for gadgets and appliances that don’t come under Home warranty. Eg. laptops, TV, desktop computers. They can be purchased over an existing manufacturer’s warranty so that damages due to accidents are also covered.  They cover repairs and replacements of the insured device for a fixed period of time, which is usually around 2-3 years.

Do I need extended warranty?

If you are wondering whether you need an extended appliance protection plans or not, consider this –

You have a reasonably new device which cost you a lot. It is still covered by it’s manufacturer’s warranty but you are not certain if that will be enough. You fear that accidental damages may occur and you cannot afford to repair or replace the device if it happens. If this is what is going through your head, we recommend that you purchase an extended warranty.

There are quite a few advantages that make you want to consider buying an extended appliance protection plans. Here are a few of them:

  • Extended warranty agrees to repair or replace your appliances if it breaks down after the manufacturer’s warranty expires.
  • They cover most of the electrical and mechanical damages.
  • You may never have to claim anything on your manufacturer’s warranty as the chances of a device failing in the first 12 months of it’s life are low.
  • They are easy to acquire and they give you peace of mind.
  • Almost all major appliances can be covered with an extended warranty.

Although, the advantages may seem great, some experts have the opinion that extended warranty is a waste of money. This is because a decent appliance/gadget manufactured by a reputable company stands very little chance to fail in the first 2 years. It has been noted that retailers make huge profits from extended protection plans as very few consumers claim them.

Also, when it comes to electronic gadgets, it sometimes makes more sense in replacing it with a new one rather than repairing the damaged one. These days you can get a DVD player for around $30, so why then would you spend $20 repairing your damaged DVD player?

Technology is advancing at a very fast pace, unless your device is precious and expensive, we suggest that you think twice and explore a few options before you purchase extended warranty.

You may want to look at the repair rates of the various gadgets in the first 3 years of their lives and then decide if you need to go for an extended protection plan. However, the same cannot be said of Home Warranty, which is always recommended for most homes.

If you feel you don’t need an extended warranty as your appliances are 4+ years old, the best option for you would be a Home Warranty. Find out more about Home Warranty and Home Warranty Companies!

Buying Extended WarrantySource: CBS News

Extended Warranty vs. Home Warranty

extended warranty vs home warranty

Things to keep in mind

While you consider purchasing an extended warranty, ensure that you contemplate on all the points that follow.

  • Contract Terms and Conditions

Make sure that you know how the plan works. Read through the terms and conditions mentioned in both the contract as well as the policy booklet. Understand what damages are covered and what damages are omitted.

  • Term of coverage

All extended warranties do not have the same duration of coverage. The term can vary anywhere between 6 months to 3 years. Be clear on this.

  • Extra charges

Beware of this one. In certain cases you will have to ship your damaged gadget to some other location. If this happens you will have to pay the shipping charges. Not only this, there could be several cases where you will have to spend extra money in addition to the amount you pay for availing the warranty. You can speak to the retailer to clear any doubts you have regarding this.

  • Comparison shopping

A lot of warranty companies are out there that sell extended warranty. Sometimes  it makes sense to consider a few options before you jump into a decision and purchase extended warranty from the retailer. Some companies offer plans that cover a group of devices instead of a single device. These may be much more profitable that purchasing one warranty for a single gadget.

  • Credit card benefits

Before you purchase an extended warranty, check with the bank issuing your credit card to know if you are automatically entitled to an extended warranty if you make a purchase with the card. In certain cases, platinum and gold cards offer this feature to customers.

Getting an extended warranty is not a bad idea. However we urge you to go through everything carefully before you purchase an extended warranty from the retailer. Extended warranties, like we said are only for a single appliance/gadget. While they are not pricey as such, sometimes, for homeowners with ageing appliances find Home Warranty plans more ideal. They are affordable and cover a host of appliances and not just a single one. If you think, an appliance warranty plan is what you need, take a look at the top 10 home warranty companies in the U.S.A. Good luck!




Consider this: it’s a lazy Sunday and you haven’t worked out all week, your stress levels are high. And the doctor says you need to get going and get some physical exercise into your daily routine. You have considered your options – hitting the gym, joining that community swimming pool, going for those morning runs that everyone’s been vouching for – but it hasn’t worked out yet and nothing seems to click. Here’s your answer: start gardening.

Health benefits and peace of mind from Gardening and home warranty

A chance to not only get some quality time with nature but calm your nerves, work your muscles and burn a few calories as well? Gardening just an hour a day is proven to have far reaching impacts on your life. Especially if your day comprises of concrete jungles, desk jobs and skyrocketing stress levels.

Gardening boosts your metabolism and we have studies to prove it!

Research conducted by the Pennsylvania University of Scranton a decade ago showed clear results in favor of gardening as a way to stay fit. This proves that extended amounts of time spent partaking in light physical exertion is a much more effective way of burning calories than bouts of cardio and gym sessions.     

Another study conducted in Michigan State showed that even a mere ten percent increase in greenery in the immediate environment of an individual resulted in a drastic drop of health issues – from lifestyle illnesses to even depression and mental health. 

Getting Your Hands Dirty

The key to a good workout is duration, not just intensity.

It’s not just about burning calories and toning muscles – a consistent routine of balanced physical activity can have an impact on heart functioning, blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, obesity and its side effects, and even premature death. How does this work? Gardening ranges from low to medium intensity, but the constant monitoring of the garden and the level of involvement is never limited to just a single workout cycle; automatically weaving it into your daily routine and making it a habit!

Squats, weights, cardio and sweating it out, all in one.

With the majority of our daily activities involving the maximum use of our arms – and even that not usually in ways good for our bodies – gardening can incorporate the metered use of muscles like hamstrings without adding undue stress to them. Countering the effects that hours of typing on a keyboard or driving a car can have on your back, shoulder, and neck, getting down on all fours and getting your hands dirty can be therapeutic and stretch every muscle in your body all at once.  

Organic vegetables, herbs, and seasoning, all right at home.

Another perk to introducing gardening into your lifestyle is eating what you grow. Directly linked to better diets, organic production of food right at home or within a community can encourage you to follow a diet with nutrition as a priority and simultaneously assure the quality of produce.

Having a hard time getting your children to eat their spinach and peas? Give gardening a shot, working it into their play time as a fun way to grow their own lunches and dinners – who wouldn’t want to proudly eat a tomato picked right from their own backyard!

Anybody can do it!

Ranging from organic farming in the backyard of your country home to just a few potted herbs on the kitchen windowsill, depending on your space constraints, the time you have to spare and your physical capabilities, you can choose the kind of gardening that suits you best.

One for all and all for one

Living in an apartment building which doesn’t allow you space to garden? Community plots are the answer to the space crunch any urban dweller faces today. A great way to catch up with neighbors and blow off steam, all while tilling, weeding and celebrating the earth, community plots give you a chance to delegate and divide responsibilities as well – saving you the worry of who will tend to your precious daisies, trim the hydrangeas and ward off pests from the squash and melons while you’re out on a business trip.

Sky high stress levels and an increase in lifestyles illness in the past couple of decades is evidence enough for the need to go back to our instincts of nature and nurture, and the benefits of gardening seep into areas besides immediate physical well-being.

Nature, nurture, and responsibility.

An equalizer not bound by any hierarchy, gardening is often used as a form of therapy to boost self-esteem as well as inculcate responsibility and appreciation. Giving our nurture gene a space to grow, just the act of giving back can have a tremendous impact on our stress levels and anxiety. Time spent watching each seed sprout and saplings flourish and flower, gardening is a gentle reminder that we humans are not the center of the universe.

Happy hormones!

What is good for the body is also good for the mind.  Exercise, whatever the intensity may be, has a direct impact on not only adrenaline levels but on levels of serotonin and dopamine as well. Both hormones that play a role in fighting depression, the time spent tending to each root and bud isn’t just uplifting in spirit, it literally translates into happy hormones.

Home Warranty For Gardening Buffs

Be it an apartment, a duplex with a yard all to yourself, community plots or a country house, the joy of having a garden can come with an added expense and hassle of maintaining tools and machinery, worrying about seepage and waterproofing and even the occasional crack or two when it comes to deep-rooted plants and creepers.

Don’t let the stress of maintenance come in the way of your quality time with your garden – let the happy hormones flow and pass on the responsibility of care for the home to home warranty companies.

Giving you a chance to delegate home and domestic appliance maintenance to a professional, home warranty saves you the effort of having to rummage through websites and newspaper advertisements for service agents and repair contractors. Providing full coverage of repair, servicing and replacements costs, Home warranty is all about planning ahead. HomeWarrantyReviews.com brings to you a comprehensive list of companies to choose from – giving you access to pros and cons, detailed reviews, do’s and don’ts when it comes to warranty and insurance and even a free Home Maintenance Calculator to get on the spot estimates.

Finding the right match for your Home Warranty needs is of utmost importance; just like every insurance coverage plan is tailor-made for different budgets, levels of involvement, age and usage intensity, Home Warranty has its own set of criteria. Research is key, and the best place to start with is the Awards and Reviews section of consumer research based sites. From categorized awards ranging from service, top rated and regional service, HomeWarrantyReviews.com uses consumer review rates of credibility, retention, satisfaction, online presence, and consumer issue resolution to judge companies that provide nationwide Home Warranty coverage, offering all-round information to customers. What’s more, the companies are divided according to a region as well, accounting for state law differences and tweaks in the coverage plans in various geographical pockets.

Stress, anxiety and an ever-growing list of errands are a part of everyone’s daily routines, why add home repairs and maintenance to the mix? Give yourself the peace of mind to tend to your herbs, flowers, and ferns without the worry of repercussions, after all, what is the point of canceling out the mental health perks of gardening by worrying about broken lawn mowers?!




Who does not want to own a home? In fact, the sooner, the better! But with the ongoing inflation and increased property prices, buying your own home seems like a far-fetched dream. But owning a home has benefits of its own. From creating a space that defines you to re-doing the interiors without worrying about the landlord. Or be it having privacy, the perks of having your own home are endless.

Tips-to-become-a-homeowner

The increased mortgage interests and the guarantee requirements have also made it difficult to find your own abode. But there are ways can help you earn more, save better and realize your dream sooner than before.

The Way To Dream Home

People love to own a  big home that’s cozy and have ample space for all their belongings. It becomes difficult to carry things from one place to another while staying in a rented apartment. With your own home, you have the luxury to set your dream closet and fill in the place with the most drool-worthy ideas. Buying a home forms a big part of the great American dream and we tell you ways that can help you realize the same.

1.    Climbing-Up The Ladder

We all know that the home of our dreams may take us a little too long to save up for. In such a case, investing in smaller properties and then benefitting on the increased values will not only give you a huge profit but also help you pay a bigger sum as down-payment and hence avail lower mortgage interest rates.

For such a procedure, climbing up the ladder is the way as you cannot expect to buy your dream home right away. Also, there is an added risk of losing money in case the prices drop. So, it is suggested to do your research before investing in such a plan and hire a trusted realtor who genuinely wants to help you achieve your dream.

2.    Accessing The Schemes

There are several schemes available in the market that offers added benefits to first-time buyers. These schemes can be backed by banks or the government. Thus, it is important to stay updated of all the available and upcoming schemes in the real-estate market.

Housing schemes by US department of Housing and Urban development could not only offer you lower interest rates but also have the benefit of being a first-time home buyer by offering perks on the down-payment.

3.    Save-Up

There is no easier way to pave your way to your home than saving up each penny possible. It may require a lot of effort and sacrifice but once you are able to book your own home, it will be all worth it.

Giving up on expensive clothing, dinners and parties could be an effective way to kick-start the savings. Renting a home and investing in a car that actually meets your requirement to save a little more is sensible. Finally, investing in gadgets and other valuables that depreciate in value should be avoided to achieve your goals. Enrolling in a trusted home warranty plan will also help you save on regular expenses like repair & maintenance of home and appliances.

4.    Joint Ownership

Buying a property in collaboration with a friend or a family member and paying off the debt is a good idea to avoid the hike in prices. Buying a home today will shield you from the future increase of pricing. This gives you a sense of deep relief as you know that you handled the loan mortgage terms efficiently. 

However, the terms should be clearly discussed and mentioned in the contract to avoid any future disagreement.

5.    Lease To Own

This is another effective method to own a home early. In this scenario, you rent a place on lease basis from a homeowner until you find yourself capable enough of making the down payment and can finally transfer the ownership to your name. The same can be mentioned in an agreement detailing the terms & conditions of acquiring the home on a future date.

This way, you will be living in your future home right from the beginning and will have flexibility in terms of renovation and changes in the home. Also, home warranty plans can help you save on those extra expenses by covering it for you.

6.    Family Help

The family is always here to help us out no matter what. Therefore, seeking a helping hand from parents or siblings who have saved enough is likely to be the best resort to buying a new home for first-time owners. This will also prevent you from all the added stress and assure you of no hidden terms & conditions.

You can also pay them back as per your understanding and can lend a helping hand with their needs.

7.    Secondary Job

Everyone has a hobby or a favorite job that they excel at. From cooking to playing guitar, it could be anything. Taking up a secondary job can help you cover that extra mile with ease and buy your dream home sooner than expected. Another good thing about this is that you don’t have to learn a new skill and are making extra money with what you already have.

Make Your Dream Come True

It is not easy to save enough to buy a home. Following these simple methods, you can not only save better but also realize your dream of a perfect home. You can also save money by cutting down on regular expenses like repairing appliances which failed unexpectedly by intelligently shopping for a home warranty plan. It may seem to be difficult but once you start researching, you will only discover new methods to save more every day. You will always win given the advent of the internet and it is the super highway of information.




When you imagine of the four seasons, certain images instantly come to mind. For summer, its swimming pools, lawnmowers and barbecue grills. For fall, its turkeys, footballs and pumpkins. Winter is snowmen, stockings and hot chocolate. And spring? How about mop, brushes and buckets? Though the season is a sign of new birth, it’s also the time when most people take the instance to clean up.

Spring

Spring House Maintenance For You!

Once spring has sprung, take some time to give your home a check-up along with its annual spring cleaning. Adding up some home maintenance tips to your schedule can assist your house function more proficiently. Precautionary maintenance is vital to the value of your abode. Keep your place in best shape with usual check-ups to put aside the headache and cost of emergency repairs.

Like many of us, homes require a tune up after the long winter months. Everything right from the roof to the sump pump requires an once-over after the season has taken its toll. For centuries, spring has been the cleaning time of year. In America, the thought of spring cleaning has become a custom for very sensible reasons. The cold and darkness that captured you in your house all winter grow fainter and are substituted longer days and warmer weather.

With much work to do, the job might appear overwhelming. The trick is to get organized. Prepare detailed lists of each set of tasks, possibly divided by room. After that, schedule one at a time, collect your tools, and get to it. Don’t allow the sum threaten you from beginning the parts.

Spring Home Maintenance Checklist

To help you protect your most priceless asset —your home—check with these potential issues and find out how to fix them. To make things easier, download our home maintenance checklist that covers all four seasons.

Foundation, Masonry & Exterior Surfaces

  • Test out chimney for loose, deteriorated or missing mortar. Mend problems.
  • Verify floors, concrete, floors and masonry for cracking, deterioration or jam packed. Repair problems.
  • Check for the patio, deck, porch and railings and external stairs for any damage. Fix now or this summer.
  • Take away debris from downspouts and gutters. Make sure you repair the leaks.
  • Check grading for proper slope away from foundation walls. Build up soil wherever required.
  • Ensure all wood surfaces-particularly at the soil level for peeling paint, dry not and weathering. Fix now or this summer.

Roof

  • Verify for open closures, bald areas or blisters on flat roofs. Get these fixed.
  • Test out flashing around sidewalls and surface projections.
  • Check antenna wires for possible leak sources.
  • Check for any loose, missing or damaged shingles. Have these substituted.
  • Check roof louvers for plugging or damage such as bird nests.
  • Check front and soffits for damage and deterioration.
  • If ice dams were a difficulty last winter, have your garret property ventilated and insulated.

Interior

  • Check crawlspace and basement for leaking water or moisture. Pay attention to all moisture problems.
  • Replace or repair broken windows or torn screens. Substitute broken sash ropes or hold-open devices.
  • Open vents crawl spaces in basements and open vents in crawl space.
  • Check your smoke detector when you alter clocks in advance.
  • Check your home’s cooling system before summer arrives.
  • Take notice of slow drains or back-ups. If required, clean your drain pipes before a really big back-up occurs.
  • Once windows can be opened, do varnishing, interior painting or other projects where smell can be a problem.

Lawn & Landscape

  • Spring is planting time of year, and a big time to clean up the yard from the winter.
  • Plant shrubs, trees, vegetables or flowers.
  • If required, apply pre-emergent weed preventer. Fertilize lawn, if wanted.
  • Plant grass seed in bare patches.
  • Take away left-over fallen leaves, lawn debris and dead plants. Trim bushes that brush against the house.
  • Unless trees are damaged by storm, postpone tree trimming until autumn or winter when it’s better to trim trees.

Consult this comprehensive checklist for undoing winter’s damage to your home. Take care for these issues every year and your home will express thanks to you. Make sure you pay attention to other important things in your life such as reviewing your financial needs this year, ensuring you have adequate insurance coverage, health coverage etc.




Building insurance is a type of insurance most people don’t know enough about. This is the cover that provides for dealing with storm damage, accidents, malicious damage and a range of other things most people understandably prefer not to think about at all if they can help it. Building insurance is a type of “catchall” insurance, which covers damage to buildings which can run into very heavy costs for owners. So how do i insure a building? Read this article to get clear insight about building insurance.

Insure a Building

Buildings and risk management

This is a very versatile type of insurance, and it needs to be. Building damage can include some extremely difficult, capital-intensive issues that owners have to deal with quite regularly. It’s a form of investment protection, very common in commercial properties, to deal with the risks of businesses. If you own several million dollars worth of building, you need to know you’re properly covered.

The fact is that any type of building ownership includes a lot of basic risk management by definition. If you own rental properties, you’ll be well aware of the possibilities of damage from various sources, and the fact that premises really need to be maintained. Damage has to be fixed, and if that damage isn’t adequately covered, it’s money out of pocket upfront, a loss in any terms unless you have a very good homeowners insurance policy.

That’s not good business practice, and it’s exactly what building insurance is designed to deal with. For homeowners, the issues may be different, but the principle is the same. If you’re paying off a mortgage, and the budget is looking a bit fragile, the last thing you need is building damage running into thousands or tens of thousands of dollars. That whole scenario has to be covered, and covered properly.

Building insurance basics

The best approach to building insurance is to take a long hard look at your needs and then start shopping around for insurance that covers your needs. You’ll probably be surprised to hear that online buildings insurance is quite easy to get, complete with upfront quotes and adjustable cover, which can be tailored to your needs. This is the new paperless insurance, bureaucracy-free to the extent that it’s possible to be, and it’s getting a lot of market share because it’s highly efficient for both private and business purposes.

The shopping around needs to include:

  • Clear understanding of policy values. This is critical. Ask questions, and you’ll get straight answers. The insurers need informed customers, particularly about cover values. Sales and quality are now inseparable in this highly competitive industry, so expect good offers and good information.
  • Clear policy operation values: How a policy is operated, including outlay on premiums and policy variations is often critical, particularly to people having property portfolios to manage. Efficiency pays off in time and value, so go for the best you can get in these areas.
  • No “grey areas”. Best practice in insurance includes Product Disclosure Statements, and these statements are comprehensive. Read them.

Buildings insurance is easy to get and easy to manage. Stay in front of the issues, and your cover will do the rest.




Americans buy home warranty to protect themselves from repair and replacement costs of home appliances that fail due to normal wear and tear. Unfortunately a lot of policy holders feel let down by the result after filing a claim with their warranty company. Some people are ignorant that they have the power to dispute the outcome of a claim when one is filed; others are conscious that many customers succeed when they dispute a claim correctly. The procedure involved in disputing a claim can be extensive, but can be worth time investment.

Home Warranty Claims

A home warranty is a service contract that covers systems and items in your home that are usually not covered by homeowner’s insurance. Furnaces and outside air conditioning units, plumbing and electrical systems are items commonly covered under a home warranty protection plan. The homeowner requests a claim with the warranty company when a covered item requires repair. Some home warranty providers repay the homeowner for the cost of the repair while others send a contractor directly to the home for repairs.

Common Causes of Home Warranty Claims Denial

You should look at these factors carefully for any items that you estimated to be covered by the home warranty contract you aim to procure. Make sure you read the contract one more time and understand the reason for denial. In some cases, even courts cannot help you if the claim was denied for a reason clearly stated in the contract.

So what are some of the common reasons for denial of claims on home warranty?

  • Lack of Maintenance – You are supposed to take care of cleaning and maintenance of appliances. HVAC units must be serviced every year and you should keep maintenance records.
  • Code Violations – If any of your appliances violate safety and installation codes, they won’t be covered.
  • Unusual wear and tear – due to reckless usage etc.
  • Improper installation – This is where having a home scrutiny done by a professional is so significant. Paying out a few hundred dollars for this kind of assessment could save you thousands of dollars and years of annoyance. For instance, if the HVAC system was not installed properly, or if the defect existed before the new buyer takes ownership, the claim could be denied. If the seller is reluctant to deal with issues that are found in a home inspection, think two times before you close on that home.
  • Excluded appliances Clause – Not all appliances are covered. Your service contract lists all covered appliances. Make sure you are okay with the coverage.

How to Dispute Home Warranty Claim Denials

Always be polite and be friendly with customer service professionals. They will go an extra mile if they like you. The first step should always be that you speak to customer service supervisors and their bosses who make the decision. Assuming those steps did not result in a favorable outcome, you can follow these escalation steps:

  • Step 1: Verify your home warranty documents. The definite steps you have to take with the home warranty company to appeal a petition for denial must be listed in the documents.
  • Step 2: Make contract with your home warranty company. Keep a record of all dates and times you talk to a company representative. Obtain the names of every person you speak to. Inquire for the required paperwork to demand a denial of your warranty plan.
  • Step 3: Get the problem re-estimated by a third party. Speak to a local contractor or repairman and get a written estimate for the repair. Have the professional note in writing of what he thinks is the reason of the damage.
  • Step 4: Pursue the warranty company’s appeal process. Some companies want mediation actions be started by and finished by you before the issue can be taken further. Provide any documentation demanded by the company.
  • Step 5: Approach Better Business Bureau (BBB.) Most companies are willing to resolve your issues and close BBB complaints to have a clean record.
  • Step 6: Call your State attorney general’s office. The attorney general’s office normally deals with warranty fraud and service denials.
  • Step 7: File a complaint in small claims court if your claim is small enough. Small claims courts are confined on how much money you can file for a suit. Ensure with the small claims clerk’s office to settle on if your claim falls under the limit.
  • Step 8: Get hold of an attorney for larger claims. Verify with your local bar association to locate an attorney knowledgeable in real estate and denial of service matters. The permissible charge for an attorney differs by area, but usually you will be able to sue the warranty company for the lawyer charges you paid other than your claim.

 




Company: American Home Warranty (AHS)
Reviewed by: Jon, Jacksonville, Florida

As you review the responses contained here remember there are people who have relatively good and bad experiences. No one here should be gripping like our friend from Bowie, MD. Reading your contract, if its like mine is very simple. Getting maintenance if required is a service call to your provider and will cost you no different than a complaint call.

The point here is the point of a contract is to work in good faith. Unfortunately AHS doesn’t work in good faith.

AHS does however work diligently to minimize their costs to increase their profit margin as an INSURANCE company. They are hedging their bet the more difficult it is for you to go through them for repairs the more likely you will be to get a needed repair fixed yourself and forego the hassle of using their CSR’s. This is how any INSURANCE company works.

It is clearly not the fault of a person to believe they have paid for a degree of service as a contract states only to find the fine print states otherwise. This is why we need more fair contract laws. This is not a liberal or conservative point. It is a point that a company needs to be regulated properly and AHS is on a fringe between regulatory agencies. How did our country get in its current financial condition? Poor regulation and advice like that from our friend in MD.

Please use your own best diligence in considering a home warranty (insurance) policy. There are few firms who will do what a homeowner wants, but fewer still who will actually provide quality repair/replacment other than what they can get away with (breaking state and local ordinances on workmanship and unskilled work crews.)

Don’t become a poor service statistic, do your own diligence, call your provider, call back when you get your service call, call the service representative in advance to confirm and describe your service need, call and remind your warranty provider of the service you get and confirm the repair meets your local ordinances (ask an inspector to verify it!).

IF you do these things you’ll at least get complete and sound service. It may be on their schedule, which may not meet your expectation and it may not provide you with the expected solution you want but it will be complete. Miss anyone of these steps and you could find yourself out of pocket for both your warranty fees and additional service fees




10 Things You Must Know About Home Warranty

Home Warranty Insurance provides you with protection against expenses that are incurred due to damage of your household appliances. The appliance warranty company shall either pay for repairs or replace your damaged appliance.

Home Warranty is not an ideal choice for customers who have fairly new equipment in their homes. It is ideal for appliances over four years old.

The Great Stuff

The advantages of Home Warranty are many. Its like an umbrella warranty that covers all the appliances in your home. These are the best aspects of an Appliance Warranty Insurance:

  1. If a major appliance or system breaks down, the Home Warranty company will pay for repairs or in certain cases may even replace the appliance.
  2. You need not go around looking for a technician to repair your damaged appliance. All you have to do is call up your warranty company and pay the deductible amount (usually around $50) and they will send a technician to service the appliance or system
  3. If you wish to sell your home, having a Home Warranty Contract adds value to your property. Buyers are often interested in getting an insured home rather than an uninsured one.
  4. It makes you stress free and you can rest assured that if an appliance breaks down, it will not burn a hole in your pocket.

The Not So Great Stuff

As much as there are benefits, like a coin with two sides, this too has a few limitations.

  1. Each repair will cost something as you have to pay a deductible amount anywhere between $50 – $100 for EACH repair incident. You will have to pay a separate deductible amount for each appliance that was damaged.
  2. The annual premium you pay can range anywhere between $ 500 – $ 1000. So if you are confident that you will not need annual repairs for your appliances, it is better that you hire a contractor for the occasional repairs.
  3. If an appliance part needs to replaced, expect delays. Contractors will have to wait for the company to send new parts in the mail and this delays the repair work.

Drawbacks

Being a top home warranty reviews site, we are aware of common problems faced by customers. Let us take you over a few such issues that you may find difficult to deal with:

  1. Often claim processing moves at a snail’s pace with the company quoting clauses from the contract to deem your claim invalid when the costs involved are quite high. Let this not deter you, there are Insurance companies around who provide impeccable service and ensure that you are well treated.
  2. Pre-existing conditions of your used appliances are not covered. Damages due to wear and tear and lack of maintenance are not covered as well. However, there are companies that do cover above criteria.
  3. Then there is  the fact that Insurance companies always opt for repairs rather than replacing the damaged appliance with a brand new one.

Always make sure that you read the Policy booklet and contract thoroughly so that future conflicts are avoided. Also ensure that the Insurance Company you choose comes highly recommended.

Choosing the right Home Warranty Plan

Choosing the right plan and the right Insurance company is a tough decision to make. The market does provide a lot of choices regarding this as well. If you have decided to proceed with your decision of getting a Home Warranty for yourself, check our reviews section for some insights and ratings. We hope that it will help you choose a plan that suits your needs and your budget. If you are still undecided, do check out our Home Warranty Buyers Guide for further help.




American Home Shield, the nation’s largest home warranty provider, announced that it has launched a new website to help first-time homebuyers. While there are many resources available online, the new website, FirstHomeResources.com aims to be a one-stop shop for consumers ready to buy their first home.

American Home Shield Offer

A recent survey from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) showed that owning a home is a high priority for 51 percent of renters. With this kind of figure, it is apparent that more help is needed for anxious first-time home buyers who will be hungry for thorough information. FirstHomeResources.com is a comprehensive website for home buyers who are scouting for information online.

Speaking on this initiative, Philipp von Holtzendorff-Fehling, Chief Marketing Officer of American Home Shield said “American Home Shield’s mission is to make home ownership easier and this website is just an extension of that mission”.

He said purchasing a home is a complicated and daunting process for first-time homebuyers as it requires significant planning and research efforts. The company has built this website as a free resource to help future homeowners navigate the pitfalls and prepare for the unexpected.

We at HomeWarrantyReviews.com, present a comprehensive review of the new website.

At first glance, the site looks amicable and contains menu bars for easy navigation. Here are the menu choices and a closer look at the features offered.

Planning & Research

This section introduces you to homeownership, its benefits and responsibilities and how owning a home can build equity when compared to renting one. As a first-time homebuyer, it is important that you recognize the nuances of a buyer’s market. Also in limelight are the most vital aspects of buying such as mortgages & creditworthiness, as well as the credit score system, affordability and mortgage plans.

It then moves on to explain the home market and types of homes to look for. “Planning your Search” section provides insights on working with a real estate professional in finding a home. This area stresses the fact that the Internet is the best place to research and gather relevant data.

You can also download a complimentary copy of the “First-time Homebuyer Guide” which contains key tips and checklists to plan your purchase and move.

Making the Purchase

Making a purchase is probably the most crucial juncture in fulfilling the dream of owning a home. This segment covers diverse aspects surrounding the deal. From hiring an inspector to helping you assess the pros and cons of a property, to shopping for mortgage and more, detailed purviews are provided here. This section also covers the value of a home warranty and traditional homeowners insurance along with the benefits of those services. For a homeowner, a home warranty can provide important protection against unexpected expenses when covered major appliances/systems break down due to normal wear and tear.

Settling In

If you have struck a happy deal with the seller and are settling down, refer to this section for links and websites to help homeowners. While many websites listed are primarily the services offered by Service Master, this section also covers some external websites.

Sweepstakes

This area gives an opportunity to enter a drawing to win iTunes gift cards from American Home Shield. Two $50 gift cards and one $500 gift card will be given away each week and an additional $3000 winner will be drawn monthly. The sweepstakes is open now through 10/31/13.

About AHS

American Home Shield is a subsidiary of The ServiceMaster Company and is the industry leader in the home warranty industry. Founded in 1971, AHS services more than 1.3 million customers across 49 states in the US. The Memphis-based company employs approximately 1,800 employees and has a national contractor network made up of over 10,000 independent home-service contractors.

About ServiceMaster

With a global network of more than 7,300 company-owned, franchise and licensed locations, Memphis-based ServiceMaster is one of the world’s largest residential service networks. The company’s high-profile brands are Terminix, TruGreen, American Home Shield, ServiceMaster Clean, Merry Maids, Furniture Medic and AmeriSpec.

Disclaimer: The information provided here is to educate homeowners with the latest industry updates. We are not advising for or against any of the above companies.




Most homeowners are quite concerned about maintaining their household appliances in good working condition. Any homeowner worth his salt will admit that it is no easy task. Hence it calls for some expertise in the form of appliance maintenance plans. What confuses homeowners is the fact that there are so many appliance maintenance plans out there and they end up wondering which ones to sign up for!

Here’s an article that’ll help you decide what plans you need to buy to ensure smooth running of your household appliances, while going easy on the pocket too.

HVAC Maintenance Plan

Plumber at Work

There are quite a few things you need to consider before you decide whether or not you need an appliance maintenance plan.

  1. Age of your appliances: If your appliances are 4+ yrs old, you may need a maintenance plan.
  2. Availability of a trusted contractor: If you don’t have a contractor you can rely upon, it is highly recommended that you purchase a home protection plan.
  3. Sufficient funds for frequent repairs and replacements: Repairs and replacements are expensive to get done. Makes more sense to buy protections plans, right?
  4. Time and skill for DIY repairs: Unless you are a contractor yourself, it is advised that you seek professional help in case an appliance crashes.

In short, folks who have old appliances, lack DIY repair skills and sufficient money and do not have a trusted contractor should purchase some form of protection for their household appliances.

What plan do I purchase?

Let’s make this easier for you. An HVAC maintenance plan covers only heating, ventilation and cooling units. A basic home warranty plan covers all the major systems and appliances in the home which includes HVAC units and other appliances too. In simple terms, the coverage is often more for home warranty contracts.

Let’s take a look at some of the common advantages

  1. Budget protection
  2. Service from qualified and skilled professionals
  3. Increases value of property at the time of sale
  4. Peace of mind.

Now let’s take a look at the advantages separately

Advantage of HVAC maintenance plans:

  • Often includes annual/ half-yearly maintenance routines.
  • Discount on labor and parts
  • May help lower electricity bills

Advantages of Home Warranty plans:

  • Wider coverage. Protects more than just HVAC units. Coverage can be extended as per homeowner’s wish
  • Covers damage that occurs due to regular wear and tear and sometimes even due to lack of maintenance. This does not apply to HVAC maintenance plans.
  • Affordable and transferrable
  • Increases the value of property at the time of sale

Who needs an HVAC maintenance plan?

  • Homeowners who have no time for repairing and maintaining their HVAC units themselves
  • People who don’t have the budget to carry out regular maintenance routines
  • People whose other appliances and systems are reasonably new and well-maintained
  • Folks who require budget protection

The U.S Dept. of Energy advises having your HVAC systems checked at least twice a year. This could be expensive for some.

Who needs a Home Warranty?

Homeowners whose homes are aged should definitely think about purchasing a home warranty plan. It covers more than just your HVAC units. Ideally, following are the types of homeowners who need a home service contract:

  • Homeowners whose homes and the components in it are 4+ yrs old
  • People who lack time and skill for DIY repairs
  • People who lack sufficient funds for costly repairs and replacement services
  • Folks who are first time homeowners

Still undecided?

Although most home warranty plans include coverage for HVAC units, the services are not as extensive as provided by an HVAC plan built specifically with heating and cooling needs in mind. If you feel that you are okay with basic coverage, then it would make more sense to go for a home warranty as your other appliances get protection too. Another option (safer one) is to buy a home warranty plan that covers on general household appliances and electrical systems and then to top it up with an HVAC plan. It may cost a little more than just a single plan, but it will be useful in the long run.

Yet another vital thing to do is to get your HVAC appliances get checked by a professional at least once a year. Regular maintenance checks are often helpful in diagnosing problems at an early state. Hence, no matter what the age or the make is, annual maintenance checks are a must for every HVAC appliance/system.

You can also read about Home Maintenance Tips on our website. We host several articles that explain the maintenance regimes for various household appliances and systems.

Remember, no matter how much thought you give into deciding a plan, if you don’t take the same effort for picking a reputable company, it may disappoint you. Always, we repeat, always select a trusted warranty provider and do sufficient research before you sign the contract. You can visit websites like ours, HomeWarrantyReviews.com, to see reviews and ratings about various warranty providers. Our website provide readers with reviews from genuine customers who are more than willing to share their experiences with others.




The Illinois department of insurance issued a warning earlier this year to its residents to avoid a Florida based home warranty company Arkidus Home Protection, Inc. Arkidus had been unlawfully advertising home warranty services via the internet to residents of Illinois and in many cases there were documented incidents of these consumers who purchased a warranty not receiving the services promised to them.

The company and its owner, Reinaldo “Ray” Berges has previously been served with a cease and desist order by the Illinois Department of insurance, but continued offering service coverage for household appliances and major system components. The company had its headquarters in Miami though more recent reports suggest that office has been closed for many months.        Arkidus Home Protection

The company has not been granted any certificate of authority to sell insurance or home warranties to the consumers in the state of Illinois, thus the cease and desist order from that state was issued.  This unfortunately may not help recover the money lost by the Illinois consumers who purchased home warranties, also referred to as residential service contracts or home service contracts.

According to the Better Business Bureau (BBB), The consumers have launched over 245 complaints against the company in last three years. BBB indicates in its report that Arkidus conducted its business through a website, www.theahp.net.

BBB is a non- profit organization more than a 100 years old functioning in U.S and Canada. It collects and provides free business reliability reviews on over 4 million businesses. The BBB plays the role of an intermediary between businesses and consumers. Though it is not mandatory for any firm to get accreditation from BBB such accreditation is sought by some companies in order to build faith in their business.  Arkidus is not accredited by BBB and thus the amount of involvement BBB may have had with Arkidus’s customers would have been limited to collecting and documenting complaints and then reporting complaints to the company.  For further recourse consumers who have complaints against Arkidus would likely need legal representation or assistance from consumer protection entities.

According to publicly available information Illinois’s Department of insurance has also received many complaints from customers of Arkidus who allege they have been tricked by that company and were unable to obtain reimbursements for their claims or their canceled contracts.

The complaints from consumers are also publicly available on various websites.  One such complaint posted online was from Jose. E who is a resident of Florida.  In his post he said, “This Company is a scam. I started service with them in May, and they will not honor their policy. I keep getting calls from companies that were dispatched by them. I needed a plumber and an electrician, and both have been harassing me with the remainder of their bill, even though I paid my deductible. Do not purchase anything from this company, they are frauds.”

Arkidus appears to have ceased doing business but for a time the company was successful persuading customers to pay long term contract fees, in some cases for terms of two years or more. These customers spent thousands of dollars in some cases, all of which they now face losing forever.  If significant legal action isn’t taken against the owner of the company it is unlikely that consumers will receive any reimbursement and this whole story will end sadly.  Hence we warn our readers to be cautious about choosing home warranty companies with very little business history, no matter how positive the early reviews of the company may be.

Tips to prevent you from becoming a victim of similar home warranty and insurance scams

  • Reading about incidents like the ones surrounding Arkidus Home Protection’s brief business in the home warranty space may leave you wondering if there is a way to avoid becoming a victim. Here are some things you can keep in mind when choosing an insurance company or home warranty company.
  • When shopping for home warranty or insurance make sure any company you consider doing business with is properly registered and if licensing or bonding is required by your state be certain those things are in order as well.
  • Check a company’s background, reviews and the companies’ customer complaint records which can found on the company’s local Better Business Bureau website.
  • Never purchase financial products such as home warranties or insurance policies from a company which solicits your business at your door without doing the same homework you would with any other company.  Impulse purchases from hard-sales-tactics sales people are very often regretted by the consumers making them.
  • When dealing with sales people face to face try to develop an eye for details, study the business cards and other documents and verifying that the business address furnished is authentic and not just a P.O. Box, short term single office rental or other temporary type of mailing address.  Though legitimate and not alone a sign of trouble, short term addresses and discreet addresses may be a warning sign that you won’t be able to track anybody down when you run into trouble with the product you bought.
  • Always demand a contract for the services provided, claims and reimbursement, and other provisions and then study the fine print carefully before signing the document or making a purchase.
  • Always ask for a bill or invoice and never pay by cash.  Using a check or a credit card can sometimes help you when you seek reimbursement after not receiving what was promised to you by the merchant.

If you suspect you are dealing with the wrong people already or believe you too have been scammed do not delay making a formal report to the appropriate agency or agencies.  Both at the state and national level in the U.S. there are free and fast ways to make your voice heard when you feel you’ve been misled by a business or been the victim of a scam.  The important thing is to act quickly and not give up if you feel your complaint is being documented but not being acted upon.




2-10 Home Buyers Warranty is in the process of launching Green Advantage Warranty as part of protection assurance programs for new and upcoming green building initiatives.

Green Advantage Warranty

The 2-10 home appliance warranty company offers Green Advantage Warranty to builders who meet eco-friendly standards. Builders need to build homes that fulfill the requisites of Energy Star, National Green Building Standard (NGBS), or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards.

Green Advantage Warranty includes repairs and replacement of Energy Star certified products and appliances. Coverage includes the replacement of green labeled items, engineered wood products, sustainably harvest lumber, low or no emission finishes and recycled products with accordance of applicable national certification standard.

Scott Cromie, Chairman and Chief Executive officer states that “With one in four homes now certified by green building standards, it is clear that home buyers want a more eco-friendly home, and that offering warranty protection that targets these values offers builders a clear competitive edge,” and also reports “Our new Green Advantage Warranty represents 2-10 Home Buyers’s Warranty commitment to greener business practices, and celebrates the home builders and home buyers who want a greener home and lifestyle. We’re proud to offer a product that meets these standards, while continuing to provide the same leading, trusted protection our company stands behind.”

Builders interested in participating are encouraged to call 877.777.1344 for more information. You can register to 2-10 HBW Green Advantage Warranty, just by adding up a minimal additional fee over the existing standard rate. It is as simple as checking a box next to the certification standard on 2-10 HBW’s Home Enrollment Application.

Green Advantage Warranty is an added policy to the company’s existing home warranty package, including one, two and ten years of coverage offering for new construction home builders. Company’s 10 years warranty covers structural warranty defect. Under the policy of 1-2-10 warranty one year of surety coverage of workmanship and materials. Two years of warranty also covers on systems.

About the company

2-10 Home Buyers Warranty® is in market for more than 30 years, now the company has offered customers and their homeowners the most comprehensive warranty program available. Whether you’re building, selling or buying a home, 2-10 Home Buyers Warranty offers a complete line of warranty, service contracts and risk management products. Since 1980, 2-10 Home Buyers Warranty has provided warranties and service contracts for more than 5.5 million new and pre-owned homes.




HVAC Maintenance Checklist

 

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HVAC appliances are one of the most vital components in a home. Naturally, unexpected crashes and breakdowns of HVAC units disrupt a peaceful living. And once they crash, boy! They are really expensive to repair (or replace).

Any homeowner, in his right sense would therefore make sure that the heating, cooling and ventilation units are well taken care of and maintained. For all of you who are wondering how to extend the life of your HVAC appliances, this checklist is just the right thing for you!

Monthly maintenance routine

Yes, all HVAC appliances will do well if you give them some basic cleaning every month. Ensure that you do the following two steps at least once a month.

  • Check thermostat settings
  • Clean out the vents, replace filters, and keep it dust free as much as possible

Annual maintenance routine

The U.S. Dept. of energy advises homeowners to carry out a maintenance routine at least twice a year. This ensures that the power consumption is optimized and hazards are avoided. Here are the steps that you should carry out yearly to ensure healthy running of your HVAC appliances/ systems.

  • Hire a professional inspector to perform checks on your HVAC units
  • Hire a professional to clear the air ducts
  • Re check and tighten all electrical connections
  • Check refrigerant levels
  • Use suitable lubricants to lubricate moving parts
  • Clean the area around HVAC units and ensure that it always remains dry

If you think that these tasks are difficult and that your warranty plan will save you, here’s some incentive for you to get going in the right direction.

Home Warranty Companies usually DO NOT cover damages caused due to lack of  maintenance. Which means that if your system stops working and the technician diagnosis says that the damage was caused due to lack of maintenance, your claim may be denied.

If that is not compelling enough, here are some more things that will happen if you are careless about HVAC maintenance

  • Excess power consumption. Man! those electric bills are going to shock you (literally)
  • Unclean machinery heats up abnormally, this leads to fire hazards.
  • If vents are clogged with debris or other particulate matter, efficiency of the system drops
  • If you don’t monitor your gas/ fuel connections, health issues and fire hazards may happen

Appliances and systems in our home and around us help us lead a happy and easy life. So it is only fair that we do for them at least a fraction of what they do for us. Take good care of your appliances, don’t use them roughly and above all, purchase a home warranty plan to protect your budget against unexpected appliance crashes.

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If you’re on the lookout for a home or if you are planning to sell a property, chances are you may have hired a real estate agent. Such agents are the godsend when it comes to real estate transactions as they can help you get really good deals. That said, they can also be a pain in the neck if they are not competent enough. So the question is, is your real estate agent good enough to get you that dream deal? Let’s find out.

Qualities Of A Good Real Estate Agent

When you hire someone to help you buy or sell a property, keep in mind that the money involved is not little by any means. You may want to look for the following qualities in a potential agent.

  • Commendable experience in the field
  • Good knowledge of the locality you are interested in
  • Well organized and the kind who pays attention to detail
  • Hardworking and honest
  • Tech-savvy
  • Has a good network to rely on

Although there is no foolproof way to find out if a potential agent has these qualities, the best approach would be to interview multiple agents and pick the one who reflects most of the above qualities.

Analyzing Your Real Estate Agent

 Real Estate Agent

If you have already hired an agent, here are few things you could check to decide whether your agent needs to be replaced or not.

1. He/She is a part-time agent

You’re not ok with a part-time doctor to treat your illness, then why-oh-why would you let a part-time agent handle your real estate transactions? Most part-time agents are off their game and may fail to get you the best deal.

If the one you have right now is indeed a part-time agent, you may want to consider replacing him/her.

2. Charges very low commission

The typical commission charged by agents for buying/selling a house is 6%-7%, which is equally split by the buyer and the seller. Most agents refuse to sell for a commission lower than that. So if your agent agrees to a lower commission, be cautious. This does not mean that the commission is not a negotiable sum. It’s just that most good real estate agents disagree to go below the typical norm.

3. Lack of or difficulty in communication

If your agent doesn’t return your calls or messages within two days or is, in general, a very difficult person to get through, it could be a bad sign. Competent agents are always on top of their game so they would never keep a client waiting.

4. No, or negligible experience

This is especially true in the case of part-time agents. One way to check for experience is to ask for references. If the references span over many years, well and good or you can directly ask your agent to give you details about how many deals he has closed.

5. No online presence

It wouldn’t have been a bad thing 10 years back, but today, not making use of resources available online to market/sell properties is a bad call. This should be one of the signs that your agent needs to be replaced.

The Final Word  

Like in any profession, there are good ones and there are bad ones. But in this particular case, picking a bad real estate agent can cost you heavily so you may want to interview many agents before you make your final pick. If you are a seller, you should look into some ways to get your home sold faster. And if you are a buyer, you should also be aware of what to look for when you buy a new home.

Hope you enjoyed reading this. Cheers!

 




An offshoot of Home Warranty, Structural Warranty is a legal agreement between the builder of the home and you – the owner. Structural Warranty functions basically in the case of new homes, wherein the builder assures that the home he has built will have no structural defects for a period of ten years after its construction. His claim is covered by the company which offers him warranty coverage for the building, at times additionally including workmanship and internal systems.

Top tips for Structural Warranty for Newly constructed homes

The system functions just like Insurance, but covers defects which may occur due to age and wear and tear, not natural disasters or unforeseen circumstances. Like the Home Warranty covers the items in a home – its appliances, wiring and plumbing systems, interiors etc. – Structural Warranty covers elements like the foundation, girders and beams, roofing, and flooring.

What is Structural Warranty?

Before the purchase of a home, it is advised for either the new owner, seller or realtor to purchase Home Warranty, in order to establish a relationship of trust and confidence in both parties involved. Just as a Home Warranty leaves the new owner knowing that his home and all that is in it is secure for at least a year after its purchase, Structural Warranty establishes the same sense of security in the buyer of a new home straight from a builder.

It is rather simple – all structural defects are now to be fixed by the company that the Warranty has been purchased from or by the builder offering the warranty himself, and as long as the terms and conditions are met, neither the builder nor the new owner is liable.

Is Structural Warranty Necessary for me as a Buyer?

We see before our eyes appliances, electrical systems and plumbing leaks occur every once in awhile – but most of the time structural damage is noticeable only after it is too late. Given that large parts of the US are known to have soil that expands with seasonal changes, statistics show that more than 25% of all buildings in the country experience some kind of structural damage during the first decade of their life, almost 10% of this being major and often irreversible.

It isn’t always about how reputable the builder is, in fact, the more reliable the builder the higher the chances are of them investing in warranty for the homes they have built. Years after a deal is signed, sealed and delivered, a matter like soil expansion that is out of the hands of both the parties can spring up, making Structural Warranty the only way to guard against massive expenditure out of your own pocket in the future. Studies show that the warranty is most often claimed 4 to 7 years after a home is built to completion.

The Builder’s Perspective

Settling Terms of the Deal

The chances of an individual investing a sum as large as the cost of a home in anything else in his or her lifetime is very slim, making this purchase one that could develop complications if not done right. Builder’s offering Structural Warranty for the home they have built can not only assure the buyer of their expertise but also give them a legal document to go back to in case frivolous lawsuits or complaints are lodged. Like in the case of any two-way agreement, responsibilities, terms, and conditions are clearly outlined.

A Middleman

If a third party company is used to establish a warranty, then any complaints, disputes or discussions will be handled by them – until the point of reconciliation. This saves time and discomfort for both parties involved, especially the builder.

Value of the Home

If you happen to be a builder with larger holdings or varied properties and houses, then the value of each building is sure to increase if Structural Warranty is added to the mix. Use it as a marketing strategy, one that is true to every word and will help you build lasting relationships with your clients.

How Structural Warranty Works

Structural Warranty functions according to the guidelines of the Housing and Urban Development department of the US, which stipulates particular criteria within which a company must cover damages. Larger builders may choose to provide their own Structural Warranty schemes to the buyer, while builders without a department to handle such claims or smaller building agencies may choose to use third-party warranty companies. Even more so than Home Warranty claims and structures, Structural Warranty coverage and insurance backing vary drastically from builder to builder and company to company. If you happen to be a part of the decision making of who to choose, make sure you do your research and pick a coverage that is extensive and appropriate to your home.

What Structural Warranty Covers

If you go through a Structural Warranty contract or guide, you will notice one important point – the extremely specific and near legal language used to describe what that particular company or builder covers. Structural Warranty owes this specificity to regulations set by the Housing and Urban Development Department of the US, as well as to the builders’ need to protect themselves from futile claims and lawsuits.

Due to each Structural Warranty being unique (much like Home Warranties state-wise laws), we will get into what the warranty covers in general. Know that this isn’t ironclad, and you have to cross check the terms and conditions with your builder.

As a whole, third-party companies offer two kinds of warranty, one which accounts for any damage to the structure of the building from the moment the deal is closed between the builder and buyer. The second stipulates that the company will only begin to cover damage to the home 3 to 4 years post the sale, implying that any structural damage before then is up to the builder to fix.
Each company usually has a base plan and other additional perks that you can choose to opt for.

The basic coverage usually covers the following:

  • Beams, Pillars, and Columns
  • Girders and Lintels
  • Foundation of the home
  • Masonry arches
  • Roof beams, and framing systems
  • Flooring
  • Walls and partitions that bear the load and contribute to the building’s structural validity.

The last of these, load bearing partitions, are often accompanied by the additional coverage of non-load bearing partitions. These claims are almost purely cosmetic, and certain Structural Warranty companies do assure the fixing of these, keeping in mind the original material integrity of the home.

Integral to any warranty and insurance difference, Structural Warranty doesn’t cover any damage due to natural disaster, accidents or unforeseen circumstances; anything that is covered under insurance, basically.

Lastly, any structures added to the original home – an extension, outhouse and detached garage space for examples – would not be covered. If the need is felt, the builder could then purchase a separate Structural Home Improvement Warranty.

The Cost

Individual state laws in the US tackle Structural Warranty in different ways, making the cost different in each state as well. On an average, if the basic warranty is purchased, then it shouldn’t cost more than 1% of the purchase cost of the home. In most states which are positioned in low-risk areas (minimal soil expansion, etc.), the price is only about half a percent of the home’s price, whereas in high-risk zones the price can go up to 1.5% to 2%.

When looked at it in terms of a median example, while Structural Warranty would cost anywhere between $500 and $1500 for ten years, the repair in case of structural damage could be between $50,000 and $100,000; Structural Warranty being about one percent of the estimated repair budget.

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If you are shopping for a home warranty, also called a home service contract, and you live in Florida then you probably know you have lots of options. But how do i find the best home warranty companies in Florida? What are the top rated companies in this state? These are valid questions. Let’s get down to answering them.

Florida is often called the sunshine state, and this is justified by the weather there. Orlando, one of the most popular vacation destinations in the U.S., typically still sees high temperatures near 80 degrees Fahrenheit in November, according to weather website, Intellicast.com. Warm climates like that can really push air conditioning systems to the limit of the systems’ optimal performance standards.

Home Warranty Companies in Florida

Running the A/C year round results in much greater wear and tear and more frequent maintenance requirements. What does this have to do with choosing a home warranty company? Well, if your home is located in one of the warmer parts of Florida then your air conditioner may be one of the most expensive pieces of equipment covered by your service contract. So it’s important to choose the company that offers you the best coverage for that system.

HomeWarrantyReviews.com ranks companies based on user feedback. And that’s important because it means you’re getting honest evaluations rather than biased ones based on how much the home warranty company pays to the reviewer. In the state of Florida here is the list of top companies based on the current standings on the website at the time this article was written (September 2015).

  1. American Home Shield
  2. The Home Service Club
  3. 2-10 Home Buyers Warranty
  4. HSA Home Warranty
  5. Select Home Warranty
  6. Home Warranty of America

Chances are you’ve considered some of these companies during your search for a home warranty company. As top companies in the home warranty industry these are names that you’ll see in many states and regions in the country. But yours isn’t just any state. If it was it wouldn’t be a magnet for retirees, beach goers and vacationers of all ages, would it? As a Florida homeowner you need to know that the company you choose will come through for you when the temperature inside your home is equal to the temp outside. Let’s focus on air conditioning for a moment.

1. American Home Shield (AHS)

AHS has loads of positive feedback in their recent reviews, but two in particular stand out. During the month of September two customers rated AHS five stars for air conditioner repairs. One customer remarked that when AHS found that all of its contractors were booked to help other customers the company told the homeowner to call any local contractor who could do the work on short notice. That sort of customer service could possibly mean the difference between your air conditioner being fixed quickly or waiting days for a qualified technician to be available.

2. The Home Service Club (HSC)

HSC also has some very positive review comments and ratings from consumers who specifically mentioned the air conditioner as the reason for the service call. In one review the homeowner remarked that the repair to the air conditioner would have cost a fortune if not for the service contract from HSC. While this may seem like anecdotal feedback, it’s important to note that not all companies reviewed on HomeWarrantyReviews.com have positive feedback from customers who had problems with air conditioning systems.

3. 2-10 Home Buyers Warranty

This company has some very positive reviews from customers whose air conditioners were serviced recently. Not one of the recent air conditioning related reviews had less than five star ratings.

4. HSA Home Warranty

In recent reviews for HSA Home Warranty there are three extremely positive reviews involving air conditioning system repairs. The customers not only were happy with the repairs but also with the speed with which the repair technicians were sent out by the home warranty company. With air conditioning being so important, the time it takes to get a technician to the home is one of the most important aspects of home warranty services.

5. Select Home Warranty

Out of six recent reviews which specifically mention the air conditioner being the reason for the service call, five of those are extremely positive. The one dissatisfied customer was upset due to a problem with the expiration and renewal period of the home warranty.

6. Home Warranty of America

HWA has six recent reviews that involved air conditioning. While it’s possible that even more of the reviews involve air conditioner issues, we will focus on these six. Five of the six reviews were highly positive, all earning the maximum number of stars from the reviewers. The one unhappy customer was a landlord who felt the technician sent by HWA did not make the correct judgement regarding the problem with the air conditioning system problem.

Are you starting to see a trend?

It’s not coincidence that these first three companies have overall high ratings from customers in your state and in other states. And though the companies deserve credit for the satisfied customers it’s important to note that the contractors they work with are also a big part of those good customer experiences. That leads us to the next point to consider. What type of contractor coverage do these companies have in your area?

If you live in a densely populated part of Florida then chances are any of these top rated companies will have sufficient contractor coverage to cover any repair needs that arise in your home. But if you live in a more rural part of Florida you’ll want to keep in mind that each contractor network is different. Be sure to ask about the local contractor coverage when you speak with a company about a home warranty price and coverage quote. And also be sure to ask if the company will allow you to choose your own contractor in the event the company’s network contractors are unavailable to help you or don’t have the right skill set to fix whatever is broken.

The good news is you live in a state with lots of great companies to offer you a home warranty. The bad news is you may have a hard time choosing a company due to all the options available. If that should happen then be sure to come back here to read the most current reviews for each company you are considering.