Tips To Grow A Micro-Garden

The intensive cultivation of plants in small living spaces, growing a micro-garden has become an urban phenomenon in the past decade. Using gardening tricks like vertical gardening and hanging planters, you can optimize the space at your disposal to garden away from your worries and reap rich health benefits out of it!

What To Do To Have A Micro-Garden?

  • The best the space can give                                       

Growing a micro-garden is all about the management of space – be it a little strip of soil at the base of your porch or a few feet of a landscaped garden on your terrace.

Creating depth and dimension by using mounds, tiny hills and valleys can add to the surface area, and provide for different plant types at the same time.

Give the carrots and beets a little extra room to grow below the surface, allowing for the daisies to flourish in the shallow end.

How to grow a micro-garden in a urban jungle?

Micro-gardening also requires you to plant in tandem with what the space can handle. Planting broccoli and cauliflower in pots for example, narrows down the yield to one plant per pot, each only giving you crop once. On the other hand, salad leaves, peas, peppers or vegetable creepers can last a whole season and feature at the dining table pretty much every meal.

  • Edible yards

Choosing to landscape your yard, however small, with only grass uses up the nutrients in the soil and requires way too much water to maintain. Hit two birds with one stone – aesthetics and fresh organic produce, and all from your own garden.

It doesn’t have to be all about the produce, and along with chemical-free homegrown vegetables can be great for your health, the lush maroons of beet leaves along with dwarf lemon trees and even cherry tomatoes can make for a beautifully landscaped micro-garden – a decorative landscaping strategy!

  • Bees, birds, and butterflies

For your fruit bearing plants to flourish and the plants – both edible and flowering – to retain their strength and reproducing ability each year, pollination cannot be ignored. Herbs such as rosemary and basil act as great pollinators, as do flowers of plants such as squash and eggplant with their bright shades of yellows and violet calling for attention.    

  • Nutritional needs

Gardening in limited yard spaces, pots and containers confine the availability of soil nutrition to a great extent, making it all the more important to consciously fertilize the soil during the planting process with compost and then keep it up with regular top soil additives.

Making sure that the plant grows to its fullest though the space available is restricted, fertilizers can not only boost the speed of fruit bearing but also keep the plant healthy and pest-free.

Nutrition can be kept at its optimum by using companion planting as well. A technique known often as soil real-estate, planting pairs of creepers and trees with tubers – potatoes under tomatoes, or carrots and onions under herb bushes for example – can not only save space but also allow the soils nutrients to cater to the different needs of different plants, often even replenishing itself.

Where To Do Your Micro-Gardening?

  • Anywhere with a little sun

Not all plants require yards and balconies, in fact, those precious kitchen spices and herbs can grow right at the kitchen window sill, as long as they get a daily dose of sunlight. From thyme and parsley to even ginger and tender garlic and pepper, windows work as just the right bridge between the elements outside and the comfort of your home.

It doesn’t have to be herbs in the kitchen, pretty much any window which is east facing can act as an active decorative space – full with pansies, gardenias, and purple passion, amongst many others.

Look at every space with a new perspective, and you can extend your micro-garden to creepers on the mailbox posts, cacti in broken crockery, lettuce along the walkways and even grapevines on the gate.

Hanging gardens aren’t off the table either – containers hanging on fences and railings or even simple hooked pots from the ceiling can overflow with creepers, maybe even some fruit bearing. The added benefit of hanging gardens, as opposed to those rooted in the soil, are that they can be moved around, making them easy to clean and shift according to season or sun exposure.  

  • Creative Upcycling

The fun of micro-gardening is its perfect balance between creativity and good-old landscaping. Don’t think of it as just a conventional utilization of your green thumbs; you can grow your garden in anything from old tires to broken tanks and fish bowls!

Cracked vessels make great containers as well, especially since the crack acts as a ready drainage system.

Decide which plant to pot according to your container size, a large plant will not grow in a small container and the other way round is just a waste of space. Also provide enough water to your container garden, as containers that have soil in them dry out faster and those nutrients flush out sooner.

  • Grow up!

Everyone’s heard of the famous vertical gardens scaling up walls in Hong Kong and Singapore, but they can just as easily be recreated right at home. With vertical gardens, there is a range of methods that you could employ; from the use of a traditional trellis to a recycled pallet planter or hanging hydroponic window gardens.

Accommodating everything from tomatoes and strawberries to squash and melons, these micro-gardens function just the same way as any others do, as long as the plant isn’t one that has very deep roots.

  • Upside down Planters

We’ve explored possibilities flat on the ground, scaling walls and even creeping up poles and pillars, but we have one last treat for you micro-gardeners – upside down hanging gardens.

Provided you choose plants with a dense root structure and support them well, upside down planters can hold and nourish anything from cherry tomatoes to strawberries and even kale – all with the added fun of seeing your garden head first!

  • Just off the ground

For those of you who have space for soil beds, raising the bed a few inches or even a couple of feet off the ground can greatly help the gardening process. Giving the roots more space, allowing the excess water to drain and letting you restrict the soil to only where you want it, raised soil beds maximize space and minimize effort.

Having the plants a couple of feet off the ground reduces your need to hunch as well, a sure blessing for your spine.

Repairs And Maintenance

Besides the weekly dusting off of topsoil, checking for cracks in the containers and weeds strangling the plants, micro-gardening is too close to your living space for you to not keep an eye on its possible repercussions.

None that can cause serious immediate damage, any micro-gardener must know that a part of the job is to keep a check out for seepage on the walls and possible weight bearing issues related to rooftop gardens and heavy planters.

Not allowing these concerns to come in the way of you keeping your green fingers busy, HomeWarrantyReviews.com acts as a threshold for you to enter the world of Home Warranty. A simple, quick and reliable escape from service and repair related errands and coordination. Home Warranty Reviews ensures peace of mind for you by providing with the vast knowledge base of research, ratings, and free tools so that your home never runs out of home warranty coverage according to your specific needs by calculating what exactly you want!

Just as we have discussed the various aspects of micro-gardening, what to do and what not to do when you garden at home and all tips and tricks on how to get the best out of it, HomeWarrantyReviews.com gives you a chance to explore the world of home warranty from the inside, with tips and tricks of its own. With access to reviews from professionals as well as customers, consumer research based articles give you the best of both worlds – the technical aspects as well as the personal experiences of users and agencies.






HomeWarrantyReviews.com has, for many years now, been the only place online that homeowners could trust for free reviews and ratings of home service contract companies in the U.S.  That is changing, as companies like Yelp offer consumers reviews on a great diversity of different products and services, home warranty included.  In the past we did our best to help our readers with their decisions, making it possible for them to find ratings and reviews from real customers for a wide range of home warranty companies.  But we know that consumers today need more than just reviews.  Readers need to know that the products or services they’re considering are worthwhile and worth the expense.  That’s where our new calculator can help homeowners who are not yet certain they need a home warranty.

Home Warranty Saves You Money!

Use our free tools to calculate your savings at HomeWarrantyReviews.com

Before we start going into the details of how our calculator can help with the decision to buy or not buy a home warranty, let’s look at the home appliance maintenance calculator page for a moment.

The calculator is designed to give the user a fairly accurate estimate of two costs.  One is the cost of a home warranty, and the other is the cost of annual home repairs.  These are only estimates, of course, but they’re based on data that we believe is fairly close to what the average homeowner will incur in annual repair costs versus the average cost of a home warranty and its service call fees.  For a homeowner trying to decide what to do in advance of things around the house breaking, it’s extremely helpful to have a calculator like this.  That’s why we took the time to create it and share it with our readers.

Here’s how it works for the user:

There are three tabs present in the calculator, and each one helps with a different part of the decision a reader may be making about a home warranty purchase.  

The first tab calculates the estimated annual appliance maintenance cost.  It allows the user the option of customizing the cost settings or using the default settings, with regard to the age of the house, the age of certain parts of it which might be covered by the service contract, etc.  These defaults are often perfectly suited to a house, but when they’re not then the customization becomes important.  Changing the defaults to the exact specifications of the user’s own home will produce an even more refined result and give better insight into the estimated cost of a home warranty versus the estimated cost of average out of pocket repairs.

The second tab provides the estimated average home warranty cost.  It is broken down visually in a pie chart, so it’s easier for a reader to gather how much of the cost is service call fees, typically paid to the repair technicians, and how much is the premium paid to the company.

The third tab shows the estimated average home repair costs, the out of pocket costs a user might expect to pay out of his or her own pocket each year for unexpected problems around the house.  Side by side with this estimate is the home warranty cost from the second tab.  Again, there’s a helpful chart which makes it clear which estimated cost is greater.

In addition to the basic items covered on the list of things that influence the price of the home warranty on tab one, there are also appliances that a user can choose to add.  In addition to that, a user of the calculator may also choose to select a zero dollar service call fee on tab one, something that comes in handy when talking with companies that offer their customers this lucrative incentive to buy.

What about users of the calculator who know that their service is more than the $60 factored into these calculations?  That’s a pretty easy problem to fix.  Assume that a typical homeowner will file four service claims per year.  With that assumption, simply multiple the amount over $60 by 4 and add that to the home warranty cost in the second tab.  So, for a homeowner who has an estimated annual cost of $650 for a home service contract, including the service call fees (or deductibles) the math needed for a service call fee of $100 would look like this:

  1. $100-$60=$40
  2. $40×4=$160
  3. $650+$160=$810

By simply adding in the different amount you pay for service call fees a user can make this calculator’s results even more precise than before.  And customizations don’t need to stop there.  A homeowner who knows he or she has more or less than four service calls per year may make those adjustments as well.  The calculator does a lot of the work in estimating average savings with a home warranty.  But any precise detail a user can add in will help in making a more informed decision about whether to buy a home warranty or put money in savings to cover future repairs.

Readers who try out the calculator may want to read more about how much they might save with a home service contract.  To learn more about this, here on HomeWarrantyReviews.com, check out this helpful article about the things that affect a homeowner’s savings from a home warranty.  Combining the information from that article with results from the calculator can really help with what might otherwise be a tough choice.

And the help we can offer our readers does not end there.

Take a look at the comparison banner at the bottom of the calculator.  It’s visible under each tab.  By clicking on it, users can quickly begin to compare companies that provide home service contracts.  To do that, click on the banner, or just click here to compare the top ten home warranty companies.  To fine tune your results, just follow these steps.

  1. Click on the “Filter by State” box, and choose the state your house is located in.
  2. If you would like to compare companies then click the checkbox provided for each company you wish to compare.  As you click these boxes you should see the company logos appearing in a comparison box, with a button marked “Compare” beside those images.  Once you have all the companies you’re interested in selected, then you just click that button to start the comparison process.
  3. If you’d rather just get quotes from one or two companies then you can click on the “Get Quote” button next to the company or companies you’re interested in, or dial the toll-free number assigned to the company or companies that interest you.  There is never a good substitute for talking with a representative from these companies.  Only with their help can you be sure that you’re getting the best home service contract for your house and your budget.

HomeWarrantyReviews.com is proud to offer the home appliance maintenance calculator and the company comparison tools.  And of course, our main mission is to bring our readers first-hand experiences from other consumers who have bought home service contracts and filed claims with specific companies reviewed and rated here on our website.  We invite readers to take advantage of the tremendous amount of information here on our website and make the most informed decisions possible about their home warranty purchases!




Usually, appliances last for several years, mainly when they are properly maintained. Adequate maintenance actually brings down faulty function incidents considerably. When household appliances no longer work, you have two alternatives. You could either substitute it or repair it. In order to make the right decision, many points have to be kept in mind. Firstly, make sure your commercial appliance’s age and warranty period. If the particular warranty period continues, your repair could fee you nothing, or much less than what you suppose to pay otherwise.

The Cost of Appliance Repair – Are they worth Repairing?

Average appliance repair costs

Assuming that the warranty period is over and consequently repair shall be pricey, then you certainly must consider a few points. You must begin with obtaining estimates and quotes from no less than four different service providers. If the cost is about 50% of the cost of a new appliance then it is worth getting the repair done. If not, it would make more sense to just upgrade to a newer model. An amazingly old kitchen appliance may give you the situation of hard-to-find spare parts. Your repair guy might have a tough time discovering suitable appliance parts and he could charge extra for that too.

Getting original parts to be substituted by spare alternatives is not a very good idea. There are high chances of making more troubles than answers. Even if it does not prove to be a fix, you will face stumbling blocks later on. Throw away your appliance and get yourself a new one instead. New models from reputable warranty companies tend to be more energy-efficient and reasonable. By employing environmentally friendly commercial appliances in your business, you will also be promoting goodwill and sales among your patrons. It also transforms to lower energy expenses and more savings. The extra cost will surely be justified over the years.

How Much Does Replacing or Repairing an Appliance Cost?

Commercial appliance repair service is normally billed for on hourly basis. Average hourly rates for the first half an hour could vary between $50- $70. After that, for any subsequent moment block the rates will be a few dollars less per half hour. On average, if you are a regular customer of a company, you can anticipate to pay 10$-20$ per hour for time slots from your technician. Lower rates are charged if your appliance is delivered to the provider shop and the technician did not have to go onsite for the repair. Sometimes based on the complexity of the job, the rate will vary. This will usually adjust in benefit of the client as then, the duration of time taken for repair is not of importance. The person will not be anxious about being charged too much.

When calling your repair services call center or offices, bear in mind that ‘overtime calls, i.e. the calls taken after business hours, on holidays, and on weekends, will naturally cost you extra. In fact, charges might even be as much as 25% over. Thus, take thin in account. If the repair is not an emergency, calling for an urgent ‘overtime repair’ is not a very smart idea.

A Pre-Owned Home Warranty Can Protect You From Costly Repairs

If you are most consumers, you would not even consider buying a new or pre-owned car without some type of warranty. So why would you purchase a home without similar protection? Well, the simple answer is the majority of people just don’t know that home warranties exist. But as home sales are rising, buyers are negotiating for the best possible deals and sellers are seeking for advantages to make their home more pleasing. As a result, home warranties are rapidly becoming part of home sale transactions on both sides.

What is a Home Warranty

Get Covered!

A typical pre-owned home warranty is a service agreement provided to the sellers and/or buyers all through the sale of a home that protects the home’s essential mechanical systems and appliances. Usually, home warranties protect sellers and new homeowners from repair and/or replacement costs that are not covered by their homeowners’ insurance. While specific coverage differs, some of the most common items covered are the water heater, HVAC system, plumbing and electrical system.

Cost to Repair Appliances 2012

According to Homewyse, in 2012 the average cost to Repair Appliances varies from $184.63 to $242.40 per each appliance.

Your cost depends on material costs and local labor, level of preparation, finishes quality and job complexity.

Cost to Repair Appliances – General Information

The cost estimate includes:

  • Costs to material delivery and service provider transportation to and from the job site
  • Costs to set up the worksite for Appliance Repair, together with costs to project existing finishes, components and materials
  • Costs for site cleaning and debris removal once work is complete
  • Costs for machinery or tools to complete the Appliance Repair
  • Costs for tools or machinery used to complete the Appliance Repair

The cost estimate does not include:

  • Cost to modify or add present electrical, plumbing or HVAC systems
  • General contractor charge fees for directing and managing the Appliance Repair. You would expect 12.3% to 19% to the total cost if a general contractor supervises the project

Appliance Maintenance

The following list comprises major work tasks commonly performed during Appliance Maintenance.
Make use of this list to know the timing and sequence of different steps in the Appliance Maintenance project.

Example:

The table mentioned below is provided by Homewyse which is a vendor neutral, comprehensive online reference for the home. It is published by competent home design and construction professionals who seek to produce a “level playing field” for trade professionals and consumers. By relevant professional knowledge and expert insight which is easily accessible to the average homeowner, Homewyse facilitates effective decision making in all matters related to home.

Task Service Provider Duration Do-it-yourself difficulty Target Cost 
Install Electric Cooktop Appliance Service and Repair Technician 1 d Level 2 – Challenging $513 – $932
Install Gas Cooktop Appliance Service and Repair Technician 1 d Level 2 – Challenging $583 – $1,062
Install Trash Compactor Appliance Service and Repair Technician 1 d Level 2 – Challenging $520 – $949
Install Range Appliance Service and Repair Technician 1 d Level 2 – Challenging $895 – $1,643
Install Vent Hood Appliance Service and Repair Technician 1 d Level 2 – Challenging $445 – $811
Install Washing Machine Appliance Service and Repair Technician 1 d Level 3 – Complex, Difficult $695 – $1,273
Replace Washing Machine Appliance Service and Repair Technician 1 d Level 2 – Challenging $695 – $1,273
Install Refrigerator Appliance Service and Repair Technician 1 d Level 2 – Challenging $70 – $117
Install Dishwasher Plumber 1 d Level 3 – Complex, Difficult $488 – $886
Repair Appliances Appliance Service and Repair Technician 1 d Level 3 – Complex, Difficult $70 – $117
Repair Dishwasher Appliance Service and Repair Technician 1 d Level 3 – Complex, Difficult $70 – $117
Repair Dryer Appliance Service and Repair Technician 1 d Level 3 – Complex, Difficult $70 – $117
Repair Refrigerator Appliance Service and Repair Technician 1 d Level 3 – Complex, Difficult $70 – $117
Replace Built-In Refrigerator Appliance Service and Repair Technician 1 d Level 2 – Challenging $1,820 – $3,354
Replace Trash Compactor Appliance Service and Repair Technician 1 d Level 2 – Challenging $520 – $949
Install Waste Disposal Plumber 1 d Level 2 – Challenging $105 – $175
Install Ice Maker Plumber 1 d Level 2 – Challenging $230 – $407
Install Dishwasher Plumber 1 d Level 3 – Complex, Difficult $488 – $886
Install Garbage Disposal Plumber 1 d Level 3 – Complex, Difficult $250 – $444



Builder’s warranty is a written statement by the builder assuring that the house was completed as per a stipulated set of standards. This provides a form of protection to buyer from latent defects.

This form of warranty is also called a Limited warranty and is issued by the builder on their work. This is done either within the sales contract or as a separate document. The period of duration of such contracts are usually between one to ten years.

Coverage

A Typical Builder’s warranty covers only the material and workmanship issues of various components relating to a new building. This includes

  • Windows
  • HVAC units
  • Plumbing and electrical systems
  • Stolen construction materials are also covered in some plans.

As mentioned before, the duration is largely dependent on the component. For example, material and workmanship issues are covered for a year. This would include paint, drywall, siding and stucco, door and trim etc. HVAC, plumbing and electrical units are usually covered for two years. Major structural defects like a roof that may collapse or any other structural damage that pose danger to the residents are covered for a period of up to ten years.

These warranties do not cover the cost incurred by the owners as a direct consequence of material and workmanship issues. Eg, staying away or moving out temporarily while a repair is being conducted. They also DO NOT cover the following:

  • Household appliances.
  • Components that are still covered by the Manufacturer’s warranty.
  • Minor cracks in tiles, bricks or drywall.
  • Damages sustained as a result of your own abuse, outsider or people whom you hired to work on the property.
  • Deterioration of materials used in construction within an expected level.

Making a claim

If you wish to make a claim for your repair, first and foremost, refer to your warranty contract to ensure that the damage is indeed a covered one. If so, place a request to the builder informing them about the damage and requesting for a repair. It is recommended that you place this request in writing even if the company has a telephonic submission method. Ask for receipts and keep records of all correspondence. These records will help you if a dispute arises.

Things to keep in mind

The builder’s warranty cannot replace the Homeowner’s Insurance or Home Appliance Warranty. All three are very different and have their own unique features.

For your own safety, it is suggested that you ask the following questions about your warranty.

  1. What is not covered?
  2. Name some of your previous projects so that you can speak with some owners
  3. What is the extent of your liability?
  4. What do I do if I have a claim or dispute?

The laws related to enforcing these warranties vary in each state. Therefore it will be a wise step to check with your State’s attorney general’s office or contractor licensing board to ensure that your builder follows all the laws as required by the state law.

Make sure that the contract is thoroughly studied and preserved. Experts say that the longer the contract, lesser the benefits. Such long contracts indicate inefficient builders who use vague clauses to narrow down the possibility of you succeeding in filing a claim. Shorter the contract, better the builder.

You may be asked to sign a “Warranty document” at the time of closing the sales. This is often a way to impose more rules on you and thereby narrow down your chances of making a claim on your warranty. If you have already agreed to sign such a document on your sales contract, you can’t do much about it. But if you have not consented to any such thing, you can and you should refuse signing this.

Towards the end of the duration of your contract, get your home inspected by a professional home inspector. This will help you make the best out of your warranty.

Difference between Home Warranty and Builder’s Warranty

We stated earlier that the builder’s warranty cannot be used to replace a home warranty.  Although both these plans cover home and it’s components, they are poles apart on certain matters.

Builder’s Warranty

You can also read about Differences between Homeowner’s insurance and Home Warranty.

The builder’s warranty is always a good way to ensure that you won’t have to pay for any repairs caused due to faulty or badly constructed structures. Always remember to clear all questions you have prior to signing the contract. Once signed, preserve the contract and other documents carefully. Should you ever feel that the service you received is not up to your expectation, spread the word. You can visit websites like ours to read about warranties and other topics related to owning a home. Cheers!




Home renovation, remodeling, and home improvement, in general, are times that are full of excitement. You get to plan and source all the materials and surface finishes you always wanted, you get to upgrade appliances and alter layouts to best suit your needs – but the process of home renovation can be taxing.

Survival Guide of Home Renovation for All Homebuyers

Days and sometimes months of work go into refurbishing and refitting your house, and this duration can be extremely tiring. The home renovation is unavoidable, but the stress certainly is avoidable. Follow these simple tips that will help you breeze through the home renovation:

1.                Move Out if Necessary

If you are renovating your house entirely, you’re left with no option other than moving out. It’s best to move to a nearby location so your daily routine and conveyance are not affected. This way you also have the liberty of having a look into the home renovation for supervision when you feel like. If it’s a part renovation or a smaller fix, you could still stay at home, but ensure that the area being renovated is cordoned off with plastic sheets to keep the dust away.

2.                Protect and Preserve

If you intend on preserving portions of the house, ensure that it is well protected from damage. Keep aside rugs, drapes, and the likes in vacuum-sealed plastic packaging to keep them away from dust. Hardware fittings should be removed and preserved if you intend on reusing them post home renovation. Designate a space which will be out of bounds, and use this as storage space for all the features you wish to retain.

Sealing off doorways with plastic is a good way to keep dust from traveling from room to room. It is also a good idea to mask tiles and flooring when bathrooms are being renovated, to avoid chips and cracks.

3.                Brief Your Home Renovation Team

Sit down with your architect, consultants, and contractor and brief them on how soon you want the home renovation to be done, and give them details of your vision. It’s always best when the entire team works as one unit with a shared vision. Be available to answer any and all queries that your team might have. Conduct regular site visits – this way you not only have a clear image of how the work is progressing but also gives your team the confidence that you are as involved in the project as they are. Remember that best outcome are always a result of great collaborations.

4.                Stash Aside for the Unexpected

As helpful as planning is, you can never plan too much. Unforeseen circumstances always pop up and can be quite a surprise not just physically but also financially. Maintain a contingency fund and keep that cash aside just to combat these surprises. Keep a minimum of ten percent of the total cost of home renovation as a buffer amount – if the money isn’t completely spent on contingencies, you are left with it as a bonus after the renovation.

5.                Stay on Track

Plan your home renovation well before it actually begins, and keep your team aware of the plan. Once the work has begun, try not to change the plan as much as possible. Having a clear vision with minimum amendments not only guarantees a clean and smooth flow of work but also reduces stress. Planning always prevents chaos.

6.                Keep Everyone Prepared

Keeping everyone at home prepared for the renovation is a wise thing to do. Keep your spouse and children in the loop. This way they will be aware of what work is happening and surely have their own inputs to give!

7.                Have a Plan B

While planning, know exactly what the scope of home renovation is and what is possible on site. That said, you must be prepared and equipped with as many options as are available. If during the fit out, there is a hold up at any point, be prepared to switch to the secondary option and avoid wasting time.

8.                Manage Waste

Renovation and remodeling is an intensive process. Do not be surprised by the piles of waste that will continually form throughout the entire process. Plan with your contractor the logistics of waste management and ensure that the work site is cleaned regularly and remains as rubbish free as possible. Outline a plan for waste removal and see if regular hauling of waste can be arranged.

9.                Keep the Show Running

Plan for daily life. Do not allow the remodeling to hamper your daily routine and prevent you from going about your day to day affairs. Plan beforehand for how you will manage the schedule change and inconveniences of the home renovation. Keep track of the extent to which it will it overlap with your daily schedule, and what you can do to not get completely lost in the process.

Try as far as possible to keep your kitchen and washrooms running, assuming that you are getting the renovation done while you are living in the house. Kitchen renovation can be one of the most taxing processes, considering it is essential to keep it in pristine and hygienic condition both before and after.

Home Warranty as an Integral Part of Home Renovation

A part of the renovation process must be to assure that your home is not only free of old flaws but safe and secure from new ones. Once the process of repair and renovation is complete, there is very little chance that you will want to spend more money and time in fixing damages in the near future.

Here is where researching your Home Warranty becomes extremely relevant. A way to outsource maintenance and repair costs as well as the actual task of keeping home appliances and systems up and running, Home Warranty policies take charge of all damage due to daily wear and tear. In fact, most companies provide you with repairmen and expert mechanics as well, cutting your involvement down as much as possible when it comes to both sudden need of funds and time spent in finding the right skill.




Who wouldn’t want a private swimming pool? If you have one, you sure are lucky! That said, pool maintenance is a task that does require some serious work. In this article, we will give you some really cool tips to keep your pool crystal clear and squeaky clean.

Swimming Pool Maintenance

Tips To Clean Your Swimming Pool

 

Any pool cleaning veteran would swear on his life that a balanced pH and clean water are the very foundations of a good swimming pool. The general rule is that swimming pools require a basic maintenance routine every week and an extensive one if any of the following mishaps occur-

  • Torrential rains, temperature variations
  • Presence of slimy, unclear water
  • Any activity involving many swimmers in the pool
  • Foul odor emanating from the pool

For those of you who don’t have much time on your hands, we recommend that you consider buying a home warranty. In case a major damage happens, you will be able to save a load of cash if you have an active warranty on your pool. For more information, do look into the coverage of a home warranty plan. Next, we’re going to give you a step-by-step guide on what must be done to keep your pool clean. This is a monthly routine, so you don’t have to worry about doing this every week.

STEP 1 – Clean The Debris

Before you get into the main steps of pool cleaning, skim the debris and any other particulate material floating in the pool. Some materials would float while some get settled at the bottom of the pool. Your first step is to get them all out. Start with scrubbing the walls of the pool and the floor too. Ensure that you use pool manufacturer recommended cleaners and vacuums.

STEP 2 – Chemical Balance

If the pH is incorrect, anybody who takes a dip in the pool could come out with skin rashes. Apart from this, an incorrect pH may also corrode the pool equipment. The parameters that decide a well-balanced pool are the alkalinity and calcium hardness levels. Many pool balancers are available in the market, you just need to follow the instructions given on the pack to get it done.

STEP 3 – Adding Chlorine

Known for its disinfectant properties, Chlorine is a chemical which most people are familiar with. It has a strong smell which is often associated with pools and well, hospitals. True to its nature, chlorine acts as a disinfectant in pools. It keeps away bacteria and other potentially harmful microbes, rendering the water safe and pathogen free. There are many ways in which you can chlorinate your pool. Some of the common ones are-

  • Chlorine tabs
  • Liquid chlorine
  • Chlorine granules

These are available in most department stores and they come with easy-to-follow instructions.

STEP 4 – Algaecide

Algae are notorious because if left unchecked, one tiny colony can become an infestation in no time. These microscopic plants are best avoided by using algaecides appropriately. Algaecides are chemical mixtures designed to keep growth of algae in check. Add them to the pool weekly, and that should keep things in control. If you already have an algae invasion, then get products designed to quickly wipe out algae. But please do keep in mind that adding such a chemical would leave your pool unusable for a few days.

The Final Word

Pool maintenance is a task that can be mastered with practice. It only requires following a set of steps precisely. That said, we cannot stress enough on the importance of protecting yourself while you are cleaning your pool. Ensure that you wear gloves and protective clothing while using chemicals and tools. We also advise you to strictly follow all the instructions given with the cleaning chemicals. Any mistake may damage your health as well as the health of those who dive into the pool.

We also have a host of other articles on maintenance of various household appliances and general home cleaning and maintenance. We recommend that you go through them so that you can become a star homeowner who invites the envy of the neighbors. Good luck and happy housekeeping!




If you have been planning to buy a house or you have already bought a house, realizing the importance of homeowners insurance is very important. Make sure you have adequate coverage. Studies reveal that approximately 20% of the Americans have cut back on their insurance costs to meet their other monthly financial obligations.

Home Insurance Premium

However, insurance coverage is one thing that should never be compromised upon. Your home insurance should be such that it should not only give you adequate coverage but it should also do justice to the amount you shell out as premium. And your premium should be within your reach. It is only when you find it difficult to make payments for the premium that the insurance policy appears to be a financial burden to you.

The ideal way to find the best quote for homeowners insurance  is to shop around. You can compare quotes online or talk to insurance carriers personally. There are many insurance carriers that offer different plans to meet the requirements of the consumers. You can try out these and after evaluating the pros and cons of the plan, should you buy your  insurance policy.

It is very important that you are not underinsured. If you save some cash now by staying underinsured, you may have to shell out just the double in case of a financial emergency or an unforeseen event.

Ways to cut down homeowners insurance costs

Instead of buying inadequate coverage for your homeowners insurance policy, there are many things you can do to cut down expenses related to your insurance policy in a reasonable manner. Given below are few measures you can take to reduce insurance costs.

  • Do not insure the land, insure your home – The land that is attached to your house isn’t prone to theft, fire or windstorms. So, don’t waste money by insuring the land too. Insure your house and its belongings instead.
  • Enhance safety and security measures – You can install safety devices such as safety alarms and burglar alarm to enhance the safety and security of your house. It reduces the insurance cost to a great extent. And you may also avail discounts up to 20%.
  • Review your policy once a year – You want to get adequate coverage. So, if you review or check your home insurance policy every year, you will be able to make the necessary changes and adjustments as needed.
  • Stick to a single insurer – If you have been with one insurance carrier for several years, your insurance carrier may extend special discount to you. Studies reveal that several insurance carriers offer approximately 5% discount to consumers who have been with the same insurance carrier for a period of 3 years or more. And if you have managed to continue with the same insurance carrier for a period of 6 years, you can as well be given a discount of 10%.
  • Make electronic payments – It has been observed that there are many insurance carriers that charge approximately USD$5 for sending payments by mail. The best way to make your insurance payment is to have your premium deducted directly from your account. So, try to make payments electronically.
  • Review your credit rating – Maintain a good credit rating and make sure you keep track of the same. Often insurance carriers allow you to enjoy better rates if you have a good credit rating,

So, when you have the above measures to keep your insurance cost down, it is not necessary to reduce the coverage to save costs.




Recently, there was an interesting review posted at AHS warranty discussions page about dealing with insurance claims. The legal option suggested by the reviewer might be useful to some homeowners, who have difficulties dealing with home warranty insurance claims.

Insurance Claims

It is not practical and cost effective to take legal route to pursue your insurance claims and you may want to read How to pursue insurance claims article before you go that path. However, if you are fighting an insurance claim on a big ticket item, and you have exhausted all other options, this is definitely an effective strategy. Author of this post himself was an attorney and he effectively used the legal threat to beat the home warranty company.

Here is the excerpt:

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American Home Shield – how to beat home warranty companies at their own game

I have discovered how aggrieved homeowners can turn the tables on home warranty companies and beat them at their own game. Please share this with everyone you know.

I’m an attorney and after having a problem with my home warranty company, American Home Shield, I decided to investigate whether other homeowners had experienced the same or a similar problem. What I found were web sites devoted to consumer complaints on which numerous homeowners had recounted incidents of fraud, deception, and rip-offs by their home warranty company. I also found a blog written by a former American Home Shield employee and another written by a former plumber for a home warranty company. Both recounted situations that would not pass the “smell test” in a court of law.

I also investigated lawsuits that had been filed against American Home Shield in Georgia, which is where I live. I found about 15 cases. The majority of cases had been filed in small claims court. As I reviewed the cases, I discovered that none of the cases had been litigated. In every instance, the case had been settled to the Plaintiff’s satisfaction although the details of each settlement were not part of the case file. With the knowledge that all cases had been settled to the homeowners’ satisfaction, I realized that American Home Shield would settle with an aggrieved homeowner before allowing a case to go to trial. My conclusion is that the only thing aggrieved homeowners need to do to beat home warranty companies at their own game is to file suit. The last thing American Home Shield wants to do is litigate a homeowner’s claim and the reasons are obvious to me.

The most obvious reason American Home Shield would not want to litigate a claim is that in most instances, the cost to American Home Shield to settle a claim would be less than the cost to litigate. The average amount of a claim in the cases I found was $3,800.00. Two were for less than $1,000.00 and only one was for more than $10,000.00. I’m sure far more than the 15 homeowners who have filed lawsuits in Georgia have had their claims denied. American Home Shield wins when a claim is denied and the homeowner does not sue, which is exactly what American Home Shield is counting on homeowners not doing.

Another reason American Home Shield does not want to litigate is because the company does not want to have to defend its craftily drafted contract or its questionable business practices, which is exactly what it would have to do if a case went to trial. American Home Shield also does not want such information to become public knowledge, which is also likely to happen. Additionally, a judge or a jury would also be hard pressed to return a verdict favorable to a company that engages in questionable business practices.

The final reason American Home Shield does not want to litigate is because a lawsuit actually places American Home Shield in a precarious situation. American Home Shield would have a difficult time defending any claim by a homeowner because the company has no first hand knowledge about the claim; it would need the testimony of the service contractor who, for its own reasons, may be less than eager to testify. The only knowledge American Home Shield has is what the company has been told by the service contractor. And any testimony from American Home Shield about what it was told by the service contractor is hearsay and not admissible in court.

To defend a claim, American Home Shield would need to subpoena the service contractor who actually made the diagnosis to testify about the claim. If the homeowner has done his/her homework, he/she would subpoena witnesses who could dispute the witnesses for American Home Shield. The homeowner should subpoena one or more service companies who had been called either for a second opinion or to make the actual repairs to dispute the testimony of the American Home Shield service contractor. The homeowner might also consider locating one or more other aggrieved homeowners to testify about their problem with American Home Shield. Another good witnesses for the homeowner to subpoena would be a former service contractor for the home warranty company or a former employee of a service contractor.

Since American Home Shield has at least three significant reasons why it does not want to litigate, the best and easiest way an aggrieved homeowner can beat American Home Shield at their own game (and most likely any other home warranty company) is to file suit. The one thing for an aggrieved homeowner to keep in mind is that if he/she does not sue, the home warranty company will win. But if he/she sues, the homeowner will most likely win. And that is how an aggrieved homeowner can beat American Home Shield at their own game.

My advice to aggrieved homeowners is not to stress over a denied claim, the denial of a situation as an emergency, repeated “band-aid repairs,” or a delay in authorization or in the repair of an item. I would also advise a homeowner not to waste time arguing with American Home Shield but to set a reasonable deadline for the appropriate action. Upon expiration of the deadline without receiving satisfaction from American Home Shield, the homeowner should then proceed as if they did not have a home warranty and then sue American Home Shield for reimbursement. The homeowner should also remember to document every action or inaction by both himself/herself and American Home Shield. Although the disadvantage to the homeowner is initially having to pay for the repairs, the advantage is that the homeowner can choose the service contractor and the brands and quality of products. I won’t guarantee all aggrieved homeowners will prevail every time but I have good reason to believe most aggrieved homeowners will prevail the majority of time.

For aggrieved homeowners whose claims were denied at sometime in the past, you may still be able to sue for reimbursement. To make that determination, the homeowner needs to research the statute of limitation for suing on a contract in their state. In any event, a homeowner should be safe filing suit for a claim that was denied during the past twelve (12) months.

Within the next six months, instead of reading homeowner’s stories about being scammed and ripped off by their home warranty company, I want to read stories about how homeowners turned the tables and beat their home warranty company at their own game.
If anyone has any questions, I can be contacted at [email protected]

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May 20, 2014: A fast growing home service contract company, Sensible Home Warranty has announced that the company has closed down its operations once and for all. The company, reported to have its main office in New York made the declaration through their website announcing that they were shuttering their services.

“To our loyal customers and dear friends:
It is with great regret that we must notify you that Sensible Home Warranty has shuttered its operations. We wish you all the best of luck and thank you for your years of support.” – read the announcement on the official website of the veteran warranty company.

Growing discontent among customers

For the past several months, customers of Sensible Home Warranty have been reporting instances of displeasure and dissatisfaction with the services they received from the company. Despite the fact that the company has been functioning for more than a half decade, Sensible Home Warranty failed to build a sustainable business.

According to customers, the company repeatedly failed to process claims and provide adequate service. The latest reviews about the company revealed that the company frequently denied claims on vague grounds. It is worth noting that the company had mostly positive reviews in its early years. It is not clear what caused the downfall.

Sensible Home Warranty

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) shows that over 1811 complaints were filed against them during the last 3 years of which 1037 complaints were filed during the last three months. Furthermore, it was revealed that the company had been banned in three states.

Following the announcement of their closing, customers of Sensible Home Warranty have expressed shock and betrayal through various review sites and social media. One irate customer expressed her disappointment and stated that she felt cheated as she had purchased a long term plan from the company. The customer had been trying to contact the company regarding a claim for several weeks when the announcement of the company’s closing came through.

Did Sensible Home Warranty deserve this Fate?

Despite some bad PR around, the company did have a loyal base of satisfied customers who vehemently said that their services were exceptional. Some even expressed their sadness at the news of them closing down. This makes us want to believe that in spite of what the reviews on the internet say about such companies, home warranty is one industry were misunderstandings are common leading to an unpleasant interaction between the companies and their customers. Like many, a company which succumbed to infamy, Sensible too may have been judged badly.

As customers all over the nation reel in shock from the news, the company has requested that customers direct inquiries to [email protected] until further announcements are made. The company has been unavailable for a statement.

UPDATE June 26, 2014: ABC News covered a news story on this topic. According to them, you can collect refunds from the State Dept. of Insurance if you are in Arizona. Other states may or may not have such a provision.

 

What Choices Consumers Have Now?

It is not easy to recover your losses since home warranty companies are loosely regulated. Here are your choices:

  1. Make Sure You Have Adequate Coverage – First and foremost, it is important to make sure your appliances and HVAC units are protected. Since you no longer have the coverage, you should find a reputable home warranty company on our site, request a quote and then buy a home protection plan. Make sure you are covered from day one, by showing them proof of coverage from the now defunct company.
  2. Recover Your Losses – Contact your State Insurance Department and find out if they can recover your costs from the company. Some States do require companies to put down deposits, so if you are lucky, you will be paid from those reserves. The other option you can pursue is to hire a lawyer and go after this company’s assets while the company is still going through the bankruptcy process.

UPDATE 09/26/14:

Here’s an update on this news. The Nevada Division of Insurance is trying to reach out to customers of Sensible Home Warranty in Nevada who have unpaid claims against the company. All customers who fall into this category are requested to file a Proof of Claim form to the organization on or before 26 March, 2014. The Commissioner for Insurance will be evaluating the forms received for granting approval. The Division does not guarantee that a fixed percentage of claims will be paid, they have also stated that the funds available for the program are limited.

For more information, check the Nevada DOI press release.

 




Can a Contractor benefit from the Home Warranty Companies? There may be universal consensus on the subject which is why this article is dedicated to show how work can be extracted and also examine the full scope of benefits a Contractor can draw from a Home Warranty Company.

Contractor looking for job

Why Work With A Home Warranty Company?

The better the reviews for a Home Warranty Company (New York, Virginia, Texas, California, etc.), the better your chances of earning and saving more at the same time. What makes it so attractive is the almost nullification of advertising costs for the contractor. All companies that work along with Contractors offer free referrals to Contractors, to all their home warranty customers.

In order to make the most of the significant market that exists, it is never enough to know the technical know-hows of how to repair electronic appliances but you should also be ready to expend a part of your revenue into marketing your brand.

Another reason it is beneficial to work with a Home Warranty company would be because it guarantees continuous work, and you are less prone to be out of work on a not-so-profitable season. With increasing work calls from the Home Warranty Company, the more chances you have at expanding your brand, either by hiring new technicians or buying new work-enhancing technology. With this sort of reliability, you could be fixing an AC and heater at any time of the year.

This can also prove beneficial to the Home Warranty company too as the contractors provide good reviews of the companies they are working with, increasing their chances of contacting them again or even spread goodwill by word of mouth.

When you decide to take on this relationship with a Home Warranty Company, it is also important for a Contractor to remember that he/she must be efficient in receiving calls from customers, who are directed from the Home Warranty company itself. Customer service is the lifeline on which the success of Contractor business can rely on, especially in the case where you are working with a Home Warranty Company where all your customers are directed from the contact number you provide the company.

Joining bigger Home Warranty Companies can give you a form of exclusivity if one outperforms all the contractors a company has hired. This will allow you to appear at the top of their list of contractors, especially if they provide reviews’ section.

How To Work With A Home Warranty Company?

Almost all leading Home Warranty Companies offer online applications which you can fill up in your leisure time and submit with all the relevant information typed in.

Some of these leading Home Warranty Companies include,

  1. American Home Shield
  2. Select Home Warranty
  3. Home Warranty Of America
  4. Choice Home Warranty
  5. One Guard Home Warranties  

The customer reviews’ section within our own website can also be found for some of the top rated Home Warranty Companies like American Home Shield, The Home Service Club, Secure Home Warranty, America’s Preferred Home Warranty-APHW, Select Home Warranty and First American Home Warranty (also picked as 2017’s Editor’s Choice, a brand new category introduced this year).

However, all contractors are requested to review the home warranty companies they’ve worked with on an exclusively dedicated space called the Vendor’s Area. Here, one can dish out all the good and bad experiences one’s had by taking up the jobs given by the home warranty companies.


Some of the benefits to the contractor by working with a Home Warranty Company like above, in addition to the ones already mentioned, would be:

  1. Phone claim approvals
  2. Detailed information of their employers / the company
  3. Administrative support
  4. Online invoice
  5. Ability to review payment history
  6. Cancel or resolve service fee
  7. General management of claims online

Renowned Home Warranty Companies also help their contractors in times of need, which include an experienced support team and a high limit on calls. Companies like Home Warranty of America also helps Contractors claim costs.

What To Remember Before Becoming A Service Contractor?

Before filling up your application form to become a Service Contractor, it is a necessary step to license your contractorship. Every Home Warranty Company expects the Service Contractor they are about to work with are certified contractors with a license and hence you are required to fill up your license ID in the application form.

Also you are required to fill in your Auto Insurance Policy Number, and your General Liability Insurance Policy Number (optional). Insurance Policies are in your own interest, hence even if some of them are optional we recommend you create one if absent.

Diversifying your skills can also be very beneficial before applying for a Contractorship with a Home Warranty Company. As you fill up your application, you are asked of your specialization and hence learning new skills can help you strike off more blanks, increasing your popularity among the reviews and consequently help increase your revenue.

Consistent work can be guaranteed when you are able to juggle with different kinds of repairs be it plumbing, garbage disposal, weed/lawn mowing, ceiling fans, gas fireplace or septic system. These numbers can go up to a hundred so a little bit of extra skill can only put you so much ahead of the rest of the contractors.

If you are looking to expand your presence in contractorship, applying to work with a Home Warranty Company is the best as it can get. You can save and earn more at the same time, a chance usually deprived for those working outside of these companies. There are many ways you can utilize such an opportunity, more so as there are numerous Home Warranty Companies and your chances at getting in at any one of them aren’t nearly dim. Go ahead and fill your applications now!

Our portal also lets you access some of the most sophisticated lists of best home warranty companies, ranked on a various different criterion. This is, in addition to the Complaint Resolution Program (CRP) and Home Maintenance Calculator. Be sure to check them out!

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Home is where thy heart is, and there is no greater pleasure than coming back to the place where you belong. But a leaky tap or a broken air conditioner can ruin it all. Buying a home is a huge investment and maintaining it is  equally taxing. Appliance breakdown or plumbing issues not only burn a hole in your pocket but also ruins your peace of mind. Home warranty can be the tool that can make your life hassle free.

What Is a Home Warranty Plan?

Home warranty is a service contract that promises to repair or replace damaged appliances and systems, provided it meets the terms and conditions of the deal.

Guide To Home Warranty

A warranty differs from a general homeowner’s insurance policy in that it covers repairs and replacements of faulty appliances or systems whereas homeowner’s insurance covers your home and its contents from uncertain events  such as loss, theft, and destruction. Home warranty is different from a manufacturer’s warranty as well.

Should You Buy A Home Warranty?

If your appliances and systems are no longer under the manufacturer’s warranty or you just want the added peace of mind, then yes a home warranty could save you money in the long run and cover the maintenance that your home insurance does not.

What is covered?

In home warranty, coverage depends on the value of purchase. In this case, the more the merrier. The coverage groups the appliances into different categories. The following are usually covered in a first-tier or second-tier plan offered by home warranty companies. For a complete list, check what is covered in a home service contract article.

Major appliances

These generally include appliances such as an oven, refrigerator, dishwasher, garbage disposal, microwave, washing machine, clothes dryer and ceiling fans.

Heating and cooling systems

These usually include furnaces, air conditioners, heat pumps and ductwork. However, portable air conditioners and heaters are not always covered.

Plumbing

It includes indoor pipes and drains, faucets, swimming pools and hot tubs.

Electrical systems

Covers electrical panels, wiring, garage door openers and door bells.

Are you a homeowner? a home buyer? a seller? or a real estate professional? It does not matter which end of the deal you are at. Home warranty is bound to benefit all.

Homeowner And Buyer Benefits

A perfect home protected by a home warranty is like a cherry on the icing. It provides peace of mind to the homeowner who otherwise might not be able to meet unexpected repair bills when one has already invested a lot on a house. The benefits of a home warranty plan include:                                                                                                           benefits

  • Cash flow protection on unexpected repair and replacement of appliances.
  • One call and a nominal fee, the issue is sorted.
  • No need to screen and follow up with contractors and other professionals.
  • Most major systems and appliances are covered under the standard plan.
  • Provides ongoing home protection, renewable year after year.

Seller Benefits

A property with a home warranty can generate greater demand. Homes listed with a home warranty are more attractive to potential buyers, and tend to sell faster and often fetch a good price. The benefits of a home warranty for a seller are:-

  • Appliance protection plan as an incentive to attract buyers.
  • Minimal cost premium not paid until closing.
  • Budget/cash flow protection on unexpected repairs.
  • Reduced after sale worries. This means, if a breakdown happens after closing the deal, buyers will call the warranty company not the seller.

Real Estate Professionals Benefits

A home warranty is a very important aspect of the real estate transaction providing many benefits during the marketing period, while the home is under contract and after the close of sale:-

  • Homes with home warranties tend to sell faster and closer to the asking price – minimizing marketing efforts.
  • Reduced after sale hassles – when a buyer experiences a breakdown, they call the warranty company, not the agent.
  • Satisfied clients will generate increased repeat/referral business.

How Do I Select A Home Warranty Plan?

A number of different companies offer home warranty plans. Regardless of who pays for the policy, the buyers should review the coverage from various companies and select the one which suits the best. Read the fine print carefully to spot coverage limitations and exclusions. Be sure to get a home warranty plan that covers “pre-existing conditions” which were not known to the sellers or their agent. Pre-existing defects that were known are excluded from coverage.

Possible Exclusions In A Home Warranty Plan

home warranty exclusions

A home warranty can cover almost all your household appliances and systems, as long as you are prepared to pay for a high level of coverage. Warranties generally do not cover things such as permit fees or hauling fees, nor cosmetic structures that are part of your appliances that can easily be replaced, such as: oven rotisseries, broiling and baking attachments, refrigerator shelves and bins and water filtering devices. Here is a list of possible exclusions which you need to be careful about.

 Structural Problems

Warranties do not cover any structural problems in your home, such as a crack in the basement wall or a leaky roof.

Pre-existing Problems

Even for the things that are covered, a home warranty company will not usually agree to repair or replace appliances or systems that had pre-existing problems at the time when you obtained the warranty.

Lack of Maintenance

The company may not be willing to repair items that were improperly maintained or installed or that violate building codes.

Hidden charges

Take note of any extra fees. Some home warranty contracts charge extra fees in addition to the deductible, including service fees and missed appointment fees.

Limited number of claims

Improper previous repairs, pre-existing problems and more are excluded from coverage. Also, some companies may limit the number of claims you can file.

The pain of finding a repair person or replacing your appliances can be avoided with a home warranty plan. It can free you from the financial burden of expensive repairs and replacements. But, we provide you reviews on companies by many homeowners, homebuyers and real estate professionals. This will aid your efforts to choose the right company suiting your needs. Want to receive quotes from a list of companies? Just provide your zip code and address and the job is done! This means no waste of time in signing up.

Like any other insurance, home warranty is also bound by clauses, therefore read the fine print and make yourself aware about the hidden clauses to make best use of the deal.




Home Warranty Hidden CostsWhen is the homeowner supposed to buy home warranty? A home warranty is not a plan that can be purchased and used for the life of a home, but it is a warranty coverage for home appliances. It is procured before the sale of a home and acts as insurance for the new homeowner. Selling a home can be much easier if there is a home warranty drawn in. Shopping for a new home is a pricey endeavor.

People accept loans to purchase real estate, not wanting or expecting to spend extra on repairs for systems, appliances and things such as roofing. These hidden costs usually leave new homeowners in complex positions. A home warranty protects the new homeowner against these unexpected problems. Sometimes issues with different household features such as appliances come up in the closing days of a real estate contract. This can make a closing tricky and cost the original owner large sums of money they had not intended on spending. These issues might also convince the potential buyer to pull out of the deal, resulting in a failed transaction. The seller must then perform the necessary repairs before putting their home back on the market. A home warranty can only be implemented to working appliances and systems. The age of the item is not taken into consideration as long as it is in working order.

Prior to Purchase

Retailers, installers and manufacturers may provide separate warranties, each of which covers a different part of the home. Inquire for copies to take home and contrast against other packages from other retailers. Ensure that you get a copy of the complete warranty, not only a summary brochure. Glance at the combined terms of all the warranties that cover a home. All new homes must have a warranty but old or used homes may not, or may have a limited warranty. Be cautious of homes sold with no warranty – there may be several hidden problems with the home.

What is and not covered before purchasing any home warranty

  • How long does the warranty last? For existing homes, warranties last about a year after which you can renew them. For newly built homes sold by the builder, the warranty provided by the builder can last for as long as 10 years, but incorporates shorter coverage terms for certain systems and materials. For instance, the doors, trim and drywall may be covered for the few years of the warranty term, while major damage or structural defects to load bearing portions of home are covered for quite a few years longer, as long as it meets the severity of defect stated by the warranty coverage. Again, make sure to read the fine print.
  • What is covered and what is barred? Warranties usually disclaim responsibility for consumer abuse, normal wear and tear, neglect of maintenance, and site preparation. Many exclude “cosmetic” items and some exclude important items such as wall cracks and leaky faucets, and doors and windows. Used homes typically have extremely limited warranties. To learn more, check out What is not Covered by Home Warranty article
  • What can cancel the warranty? Sometimes moving or selling the home together with improper site preparation can void the warranty. Does the home need regular maintenance to keep the warranty in force? If yes, what kind of maintenance?
  • Are appliances covered by a separate warranty? Whom do you contact for service? Who performs the warranty work? How does the retailer, manufacturer, and installer split job? Whom do you contact first? It is recommended to purchase directly from a manufacturer, but it is not possible in all states due to licensing laws.
  • Be wary of “extended warranties.” These are often little more than high-priced insurance products issued by 3rd party companies. Terms of the extended warranties may be dissimilar than the original warranty, so assess them as closely. If you are financing the extended warranty, then interest costs should be considered as one of the factors.
  • Arbitration Clauses: These contract terms restricting your right to take legal action are more common in manufactured homes than conventional buildings. You must ask whether any of manufacturers, retailers or the finance companies uses mandatory arbitration clauses in their contracts. What does it cost file a claim? Will they sell you the home warranty without the clause, or with the clause changed to your satisfaction? Request to see the argument while shopping.
  • Quality of Service: Check whether the retailer has references from previous customers. Verify with more than one, possibly people who have been in their homes long enough to endure the excellence of warranty service. You can also check the history of the manufacturer, retailer and installer. Many states want retailers to be licensed.

After the Purchase of Home Warranty

  • For new homes sold by builders, store all documents pertaining to the sale of your home, in addition to any correspondence with the retailer, manufacturers and state or federal agencies. Evaluate the homeowner’s guidelines and other information found in the homeowner’s manual that your retailer gives you upon receiving your new home. This manual is needed by the Federal law. There must be facts on how to deal with warranty issues, as well as maintenance necessities that may need to be pursued to keep your warranty valid.
  • Maintain credentials of maintenance performed on the home.

Small Print Clauses and Hidden Costs of Home Warranty

  • Waiting period – normally 30 days from the date of purchase of home warranty
  • Claim denials are very common and some of the reasons include negligence and lack of maintenance of appliances. For HVAC units are you supposed to get the annual maintenance performed by a professional. Make sure you keep maintenance records.
  • Trade/Service Call Fee – You are required to pay service call fee per repair incident. The amount is anywhere between 50 to 100 dollars.
  • Repair Over Replacement. Even if an appliance is faltering very often, the service providers tend to repair it rather than replace it as it will cost them less. Due to this tendency of service providers, you have to face the same problem repeatedly, without having much control over it as you are tied down by spending in the plan.
  • Max Limit – Some companies will set the ceiling on maximum amount on repair expenses they incur. Make sure you understand these limitations.
  • As you near the end of your warranty period, cautiously examine the home for signs of problems.

As a consumer, identify what is and is not covered before purchasing any home warranty. Ensure the details are clarified in any contract before you sign it.

None of these aspects should deter a buyer from purchasing a warranty that meets his or her needs but it takes a fair amount of due meticulousness to identify all the hidden costs in buying a home regardless of whether it is new or used.




New York Attorney General has sued National Home Protection home warranty company and its principals over an alleged warranty scheme that defrauded consumers in New York and other states out of hundreds of thousands of dollars. The AG froze all of National Home Protection’s assets, so customers who got ripped off, can hopefully at least get back some money.

The company has been shut down for the time being and banned from selling again in New York until their problems are settled and they register with the State Insurance Department. If you signed up for a home warranty through National Home Protection, file a complaint with the Attorney General’s office.

The New York attorney general says a New York City-based home warranty company cheated customers in at least 32 states out of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Their home warranty plans promise to repair or replace household appliances and systems if they break. Pending court action, the company can’t sell any more out of New York.

Consumers with complaints against National Home Protection are urged to contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Frauds hotline at 800-771-7755. New York consumers may also contact their local regional office. Contact information about the Attorney General’s regional offices can be found online at www.oag.state.ny.us.




Home warranty is a service contract that offers discounted repairs and replacements for your household appliances. If you have an appliance protection plan, and if one of your covered appliances breaks down, the home warranty company will repair it for you at a very nominal price.

Home Warranty Plan

In general, such plans are considered a wise purchase for those

  • Who have fairly old appliances, ie 4+ years.
  • Have no time for DIY repairs.
  • No budget for expensive repairs and replacements.
  • Do not have a trusted contractor.
  • Is a first time home owner.

If any of the above mentioned conditions are true, it will be a good idea to purchase an appliance protection plan. Folks who fall into any one of the categories stated above stand a high chance of encountering frequent damages leaving their pocket empty.

Several types of appliance protection plans are available in the market today. Most of them differ with the extent of coverage. Most of the first tier or basic plans cover only major systems and appliances in your home. This usually excludes outdoor appliances and systems and second sets of devices. Eg spa and pool units, sprinklers are common things excluded from coverage. Also second air conditioning unit, second cooler etc are also omitted. However, the best part about these plans are that their coverage can always be extended. Accordingly the annual premium you pay will be higher.

How Does the Plan Work?

If an appliance crashes while the warranty plan is still valid, all you have to do is to inform the company about the damage. Once you give them all the necessary details, they will call up a service vendor with whom they maintain business ties. The vendor then contacts you to fix an appointment and on the agreed time he arrives to take a look at your appliance. If the damage is minor, the technician will fix it right away.

However, major damages or part replacements may need approval from the home service contract company. Any parts that require replacement will be procured for you by the company.

Advantages of a Home Warranty Plan

  • It offers some amount of protection for your budget.
  • It is the closest thing you can find to peace of mind.
  • You get the service of experienced and qualified technicians.
  • You don’t have to look for a service vendor, they will be sent to your doorstep.
  • Flexible coverage. You can purchase as little or as extensive coverage as you need.
  • Affordable. Most plans have annual premiums that range anywhere between $250 to $600.

Disadvantages

  • It is not a free of cost arrangement. In addition to the annual premium, you will also be paying a service call fee each time you raise an issue. The fee is nominal, usually around $50.
  • You cannot raise multiple issues in a single claim.
  • Claims are sometimes rejected based on vague and unclear grounds and often stating fine print from the contract which customers usually overlook.
  • Conflicts may arise on the diagnosis given by the technician.
  • The home warranty company will always try to repair and not replace your damaged appliance.

Final word

Home Warranty plans are a great way to insure your household appliances if they are old or aging. However, people often tend to confuse this with homeowner’s insurance, which is quite a big mistake. Homeowner’s insurance can never be replaced with a home service contract or vice versa. Though they both offer protection for your appliances, their grounds for placing a claim are totally different.

May it be reminded again that the policy booklet and contracts are vital documents and should be studied and preserved carefully. If you have decided to go ahead with a home warranty, check out Top Home Warranty Companies listed on our site.




Are there scams in the home warranty industry?

When you look at the words most often used in emotional complaints about home warranty companies you may find that “scam” is a very common term. But if you look very closely at the home warranty industry it’s hard to find evidence of a scam rooted in the established home warranty companies.

Home Warranty Scams

Though homeowners are not always happy with the speed or manner of the response to their claims it takes more than just complaints to make a true scam. So are there no scams in the home warranty industry? My personal opinion is that there are plenty of scams and if you look back you’ll find plenty more in the past. Does that make the home warranty industry unique? I definitely don’t believe so. Auto insurance, health insurance, home building, government, religion – you name it, there have been scandals and grounds to throw words like scam around. A home warranty is not unique in that it has unhappy customers. Show me an industry without unhappy customers and I’ll be the first to change careers. But like I mentioned before, home warranty customers have been victimized and are probably being victimized even today.

Spotting the scams and the companies that are not operating with the best interests of their customers in mind is the very first priority. This is where homeowners and legitimate home warranty companies can work together. Real estate agents, home repair contractors, home inspectors, and many other professional and customer advocacy groups can also help to point out the signs that home warranty companies are not doing what is right for their customers.

How do you spot home warranty companies that may be scamming customers?

How can homeowners identify home warranty companies that are likely to be scams or just not be doing what is right in terms of their commitments to customers? There are a few basic approaches to getting a good read on a home warranty company and all of them involve some time spent doing homework. What this comes down to really is customers taking their time and not making impulse purchases of home warranty contracts. And during that period of finding out about a home warranty company here are some things homeowners would be wise to look out for:

  • Is the home warranty company well established? This one is important. Many home warranty companies that fail to take care of their commitments due to greed or negligent management practices still cannot be labeled scams. But like the companies that are intentionally misleading customers, the ones that do a bad job with customer service or mismanage the company’s assets tend to wind up being fly-by-night companies. If a company hasn’t been around long then homeowners should be extra cautious.
  • Are people you know talking about the company? If you ask everyone you know about a home warranty company and nobody can tell you a thing about them then, again extra caution is wise. Keep in mind that hearing about other people you know signing up for a home warranty doesn’t necessarily mean a company will be good to deal with as a customer. Until you file a claim you don’t really know what you’ve gotten yourself into.
  • Do your state government’s insurance regulatory authorities or other public offices know anything about the home warranty company? Some states have rules for home warranty companies while others do not. If you live in a state that has no regulations, licensing requirements, or other rules for home warranty companies then you should tread very carefully. If you choose a home warranty company that fails to deliver on its promises your state may have little or no recourse available for you. If your state licenses or otherwise sets limits on home warranty companies don’t sign or buy anything until you know where the home warranty company stands with your state’s regulatory entity. And ask about complaints. Some officials can tell you if there have been complaints filed with their office or other offices against the home warranty company you are inquiring about.
  • Find out more about the company in terms of physical location and ownership. As mentioned earlier in this article, there are sometimes signals that a home warranty company isn’t legitimate. The harder it is to find out about the ownership and location of a company the more cautious a homeowner should be about doing business with it.

What sorts of home warranty scams should you watch out for?

It’s difficult to predict what sort of stunt criminals will pull tomorrow but in terms of what scams I’ve heard of up to now, here are a few. The names may be funny but the financial losses and wasted time on the parts of the jilted customers are nothing to smile about.

“The Emperor’s New Clothes”

This one involves a company that isn’t a company at all. It has none of the financial depth that is required to cover the costs of handling repairs and replacements when home warranty customers file claims. In fact, these companies rarely have a real office and follow the same pattern almost every time. They deny all the claims they can, approve the ones they can’t but then don’t pay anyone for the work performed, and then when frustrated customers cancel they promise refunds which they also fail to pay.

“The Ponzi Scheme”

These companies oftentimes pay their contractors and approve returns but do so in such a way as to gradually put the company further and further behind on various debts. While they do this they use positive customer reviews to attract more customers and also spend a great deal on advertising in some cases. By the time they become fat with customers and reach their peak they’ve already bankrupted the company through poor management. The customers who are holding new home warranty contracts the day the company finally sneaks out its back doors and turns off the phones are the ones who get hit the hardest. Sometimes this type of scam leaves a long-term trail of customers who don’t find out their contract is worthless until they attempt to contact their home warranty company’s customer service center. This grab-the-cash-and-dash routine has burned many, many homeowners over the years.

“The Disguise”

Some people who found bad home warranty companies get away with their misdeeds or only receive a slap on the hand that holds the checkbook. They then go on to start other home warranty companies using new company names and sometimes using different people as the officers or owners of the company. By disguising themselves they evade the public scrutiny that would otherwise stop their scams cold. Homeowners caught up in the web of these characters can count on denied claims, shoddy work, unpaid contractors pursuing the homeowner for debts the home warranty company owes payment for, and many other unpleasant circumstances.

What can homeowners do if they suspect they are dealing with a fraud that is posing as a home warranty company?

For the sake of other consumers, friends, and the home warranty industry where companies work diligently to satisfy their customers, any homeowner who feels that a claim was handled unfairly or that there are signs of misconduct on the part of their home warranty company should not remain silent. All too often home warranty companies give the overall industry a bad name with their poor handling of claims, contractor relations, or other important areas of their businesses. And in the case of true scams, more often than not, the people behind the scams only get away with what they do because it takes so long for anyone in a position to stop them from realizing what is happening. As consumers realize their options to use government offices, social media, and word of mouth to sound the alarm about bad home warranty companies it will become more and more difficult for new scams to find victims.


This is a guest article written by Kevin Wallach. As owner and writer at CompareHomeWarrantyQuotes.com  Kevin spend a great deal of time collecting information to help his readers better understand home warranty plans. Though home warranty is not the most popular topic online, it does mean a lot to homeowners who need help with questions about it.




Ever wondered what is the difference between home warranty and homeowners insurance ? Are they not same? Let’s find answers for these questions.

While home warranty and home insurance products may come across as same, they are totally different. The coverage, cost, terms and conditions vary greatly. Home insurance is compulsory in some cases whereas home warranty is a recommended choice.

Difference Between Home Insurance And Home Warranty

difference between home warranty and homeowners insurance

Home warranty offers protection for your major appliances, as well as plumbing and electrical units. It covers the cost of repairing or replacing major household appliances in case they break down, provided they meet the terms and conditions of the home service contract.

Home insurance covers your home in the event of damage due to natural calamity or man-made disasters and offers you liability protection from lawsuits in case of a third party involvement. If your neighbor came visiting you and accidentally fell and got injured and decides to sue you, then home insurance will take care of the claims. Home insurance is mandatory if you have a mortgage on your home.

What Does A Home Warranty Contract Cover?

Items covered by a home warranty may vary by company and plan, but typically includes the following items:

  • Heating, ventilation and air conditioning system (HVAC)
  • Electrical system
  • Plumbing system
  • Water heater
  • Kitchen appliances such as refrigerator, stove/oven/range, built-in dishwasher, built-in microwave, garbage disposal, built-in trash compactor
  • Clothes washer and dryer
  • Garage door opener
  • Coverage for pools, spas, well pumps and other items may be available for an additional fee.

Benefits Of Home Warranty Coverage

To The Homeowner

  • Placing a claim and getting your appliance repaired is lot more easier.
  • Helps save up huge costs.
  • You can get repaired as many appliances you want provided they are covered.

To The Seller

  • Home may sell faster and at a higher price.
  • Protection from after-sale legal disputes.
  • Increases marketability of home.

To The Buyer

  • Warranty coverage on major systems and built-in appliances.
  • Protects your cash flow.
  • Access to network of qualified service technicians at your fingertips.

Home Insurance

In case of an uncertain event like fire, theft, vandalism, or certain natural disasters, the cost of damages are covered. It also covers your personal items and gives you liability protection. Liability insurance will protect you from lawsuits in the event that someone is injured on your property. Home insurance will only insure your personal items in case they are stolen or ruined in a disaster. Repairs and replacements due to wear and tear are not covered.

What Does A Home Insurance Policy Cover?

The insurance policy varies depending on your state of residence and type of policy, but generally it will cover the following.

  • Structure and contents of the house.
  • Personal property such as indoor and outdoor furniture, clothes and home electronics such as computer, TV, stereo, etc.
  • Jewelry may be covered up to a certain value, or itemized for its full value, or excluded entirely.
  • Living expenses if your home is uninhabitable as a result of a natural disaster.
  • Events like theft, vandalism, fire, windstorm, lightning, hail, falling objects such as a tree.
  • Liability claims such as someone got hurt while in your property and decided to sue you. The policy will take care of it.

Benefits Of Home Insurance

Home is the most prized and cherished possession any individual can have and nobody anticipates damages to this, therefore a home insurance provides you the following benefits when you cover your home.

  • Covers accidental damages to your interiors and exteriors as well.
  • Easy to renew all you have to do is pay the premium on time.
  • Processions are covered regardless of new or old.
  • Assures you peace of mind and gives you a feeling of safety and security.
  • Pays for loss and minor damages like broken glass of a window.

Cost/Pricing For Both

A standard warranty runs $300 to $500 for a year of protection, which covers the cost of repairing or replacing a home’s major systems and appliances. Home sellers typically pick up the tab for the first year of coverage. Extended coverage plans for pools, spas and washers and dryers can be purchased at an extra cost.

Insurance cost varies from state to state and depends on the extent of coverage and the location of the property but a standard insurance can cost any homeowners insurance is between $300 and $1,000.

How To Choose A Home Warranty?

When you are planning to buy a home warranty, make sure that you do some research. Check our home warranty reviews section that provides pricing, comparison, quotes and consumer reviews of all major companies. When you are getting price quotes, inquire to look over a sample policy. Bear in mind to understand the entire policy, together with the fine print.

Another advantage of home warranty policy is that it is transferable. That means when you sell the house the warranty would be passed to the new owner. This has proved to be a well-liked feature amongst home buyers as homes having home warranties are selling at increased prices and in much shorter times. This in itself could make it sensible to get a home warranty policy.

How To Make A Claim?

When a covered appliance breaks down you need to contact your warranty company. A warranty company already has business ties with different service vendors. They will in turn contact a service repairman to come to your home and repair the appliance. The repairman will fix the item or recommend replacing it. The service repairman will bill your warranty company directly, but you have to pay a service charge when the repair person visits your home.

How To Choose Home Insurance?

With any kind of insurance, it is always a good idea to shop around and evaluate benefits and prices as most insurance companies will provide you a policy discount. Ensure you read the policy before writing a check and ask any queries that you have in mind.

So, the conclusion is that home warranty and insurance are complementary to each other. You can choose to protect everything you own, provided you can afford to. Keep in mind that these insurance products do cost a bit more, but compared to the benefits they provide and the peace of mind you get, it seems like a very small amount. Insure your home as well as buy a home warranty all within your budget.

 




Claim Denial Reasons Found this useful? Share this with your friends and family, hit the share button and help someone out. Cheers!

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Claim denials are often said to be the most annoying experience for home warranty customers. Although most cases happen due to misunderstandings, we do agree that some companies do deny claims on vague grounds for their profit. But a reputable company would never do that. Let’s take a look at this infographic. It explains the common reasons behind home warranty claim denials and how a customer can verify if the grounds for denial are genuine or not. As shown in the infographic, the most common reasons for claim denial are:
  • Improper maintenance
  • Item not included in coverage
  • Improper installation
  • Damage resulted due to natural hazards
  • Damage resulted from crimes

Some of the above mentioned cases can be avoided, while some cannot be. In situations where the company says that the home warranty claim cannot be processed because the item is not covered or that the damage is due to improper maintenance, refer to your contract. If they say that the damage was pre-existing, there is hardly a way out unless you had a home inspection performed prior to purchasing the contract. Likewise for damages due to crimes and natural hazards, one needs a home insurance and not a home warranty. Which is one reason why you cannot replace a home appliance warranty with a home insurance or vice versa.

How to Minimize Your Chances for Claim Denials?

So now the question is, how do we avoid such incidents of claim denial? Simple, pick a great company. Like the infographic tells us, you have to do rigorous research before picking a warranty provider. This website could be a starting point for that. We have reviews of tens of thousands of customers which can help you choose a reputable company. Once that is done, review the contract or policy document thoroughly. Once you feel that the company is good and that the contract is drawn up pretty decently, you may proceed with the purchase.

How to Dispute Unfairly Denied Claims?

In spite of all the research that you did and picking a good company, if you still find that your claims are being denied unjustly, you can dispute the claim. This basically means to go behind them until they set things right and make amends. It’s quite easy, follow the steps mentioned in the last section. Keep in mind that companies won’t give up that easy, so you make have to make multiple calls to convey your point. While disputing claims, keep the following in mind:

  • Always be polite while speaking to the representative
  • Gather all the information required before making the call
  • If you are sure that your claims are being denied unfairly, inform the company that you will complain about them to concerned authorities like State Insurance Boards and small claims court.
  • You can also share your experience through review websites like HomeWarrantyReviews.com and through various social media pages.

Chances are high that the company will come around and accept you claim.




In the past year, over 32 real estate agents have helped consumers with more than 13 residential home sales in Houston, Texas. The oil slump can’t hold back Houston’s top realtors as the Houston’s housing market is performing extremely well. Sales have ranged in price from $99,000 to $697,500. Now, homes are available for a variety of price ranges – from about $300,000 near downtown to around $2 million in the best neighborhoods along the city’s Energy Corridor.

Best-Realtors-and-agents-of-Houston

Below is the list of Houston’s leading realtors based on their gross sales volume in dollar amounts, the number of transactions and the average price of homes sold-

Paige Martin

Houston-Realtor

A Houston-area native, Paige is a proficient and successful partner in any residential real estate transaction. Armed with an in-depth knowledge of Houston real estate market, her skills have marked her as one of the most preferred agents in Houston. With a customer-focused approach, Paige is dedicated to providing brilliant service. After graduation from Baylor University, Paige started her career as a marketing consultant, developing individually-tailored marketing techniques for her customers. She now employs those cutting-edge skills to aid her customers to buy and sell their homes with the least amount of stress. She monitors clients through every aspect of learning about Houston, relocating to Houston and ensuring hassle-free real estate transaction.

Paige Martin, a Broker Associate with Keller Williams Realty and owner of HoustonProperties.com is ranked as one of the top residential real estate agents across the world. Her website HoustonProperties.com features more than 1,200 pages of Houston real estate information on over 40,000 properties for sale in addition to a large number of resources for home sellers. Paige has successfully sold over $250million of homes and is listed among the Top 25 Residential Realtors in Houston for the second consecutive year in terms of individual gross sales and transactions. She has also been featured on TV and in several publications including:

  • The Wall Street Journal
  • Fortune Magazine, Reuters
  • Fox News in the Morning
  • Money Magazine
  • Houston Business Journal
  • The Houston Chronicle
  • Downtown Houston Magazine
  • Texas Monthly Magazine

Paige has been a consistent top producing agent and has won over 198 awards since 2003 for excellence in customer satisfaction. Her recent awards include:

  • 2016: One of the Top 25 Residential Realtors in Houston, Houston Business Journal
  • 2016: Five Star Realtor, Featured in Texas Monthly
  • 2016: One of America’s Best Real Estate Agents, RealTrends.com
  • 2015 Q3: #9 Individual Agent, Keller Williams, Worldwide (of 125,000 agents)
  • 2015: #2 Individual Agent, Keller Williams, Texas
  • 2015: #1 Individual Agent, Keller Williams, Southwest Texas (Houston, Woodlands, Katy, San Antonio)
  • 2015: #1 Individual Agent, Keller Williams, Houston
  • 2015: #1 Individual Agent, Keller Williams Memorial
  • 2015: One of America’s Best Real Estate Agents, RealTrends.com
  • 2015: One of the Top 25 Residential Realtors in Houston, Houston Business Journal
  • 2015: Five Star Realtor, Featured in Texas Monthly Magazine
  • 2014: One of America’s Best Real Estate Agents, RealTrends.com
  • 2014: One of the Top 40 Real Estate Agents in Houston, Houston Chronicle
  • 2014: #1 Ranked Individual Agent, Keller Williams Memorial
  • 2014: Five Star Realtor, Featured in Texas Monthly Magazine
  • 2013: Top 50 Houston Realtors by the Houston Chronicle
  • 2013: #1 Ranked Individual Agent, Keller Williams Memorial
  • 2013: Five Star Realtor, Featured in Texas Monthly Magazine
  • 2012: #1 Ranked Individual Agent, Keller Williams Memorial
  • 2012: Top 5 Ranked Individual Agent in the Houston Area with Keller Williams
  • 2011: #1 Ranked Individual Agent, Keller Williams Memorial
  • 2011: Top 10 Ranked Individual Agent in the Houston Area with Keller Williams
  • 2010: #1 Ranked Individual Agent in the Keller Williams Memorial Office
  • 2010: Top 10 Ranked Individual Agent in the Houston Area with Keller Williams

James Krueger

Houston-RealtorWhether you are buying or selling a home, James Krueger can help you win at real estate! He is the owner of Kruger Real Estate which was founded on a corporate philosophy of devoted commitment to quality service. Upon graduating from Texas A&M University as an All-American archer and economics major, Kruger worked as a business analyst for Reliant and then a consultant for an executive compensation firm. He believes that excellent real estate service begins with personalization – with one agent who listens, learns your goals and helps you accomplish them. Krueger Real Estate agents are backed by a team that keeps you informed through every step of the home buying or selling process while giving you unmatched customer service. As a former litigation, Kruger understands legal contracts and also knows how to value a property to get you the best possible deal.

Krueger Real Estate mainly serves the Greater Houston Area and surrounding areas including Katy, Cypress, Sugar Land, The Woodlands, Spring, and Tomball. Krueger is pioneering an exclusive model to improve agent retention and client satisfaction. Unlike many traditional brokerage firms, Krueger Real Estate pays attention to duties that a realtor at other brokerages is responsible for. It provides a distinct advantage in maximizing the exposure of their listing through online, print, and social media outlets. The local experts assure you of professional photographs, proficient staging and presentation guidance, an online marketing blitz campaign and thorough listing descriptions that will make your home noticeable from the rest. “If I can create an amazing place to work, I can attract super high-quality agents who attract high-quality clients,” said Krueger, broker and owner of Krueger Real Estate.

Krueger Real Estate employs a client relation management system to keep an eye on its clients and has a call center that tries to answer all new client queries within 3 minutes. Krueger’s client focused approach seems to be working and has helped him grow his company. In 2013, Krueger started with 8 agents who made $27 million in home sales and the following year he grew his company to 15 agents who brokered $46 million in home transactions. In 2015, with 45 agents, Krueger’s firm collectively made $65 million in closed and pending sales. Krueger aims to crack $100 million in sales in 2016 and has a dream to grow his company to 250 agents, expand to the four major Texas markets and break the $1 billion home sales mark by 2020.

“I always wanted a fun, cool place to work, so when I started my company, I wanted to make it an enjoyable place to work,” Krueger said. “A company isn’t anything without the people you have on board.”

Krueger has been named the Top Producer by the Houston Association of Realtors for 2012 and 2013. He is a certified negotiation expert (CNE) and has the following Professional Real Estate Memberships:

  • Accredited Buyer Representative (ABR®)
  • Short Sales and Foreclosure Resource (SFR®)

Lance Loken

Realtor-Houston

Founder of The Loken Group, Lance Loken strives to be the excellent real estate service provider in all 9 countries in the Greater Houston Area. The group is backed by a team of specialists out of the Keller Williams Realty Signature office who serves real estate buyers, sellers, and investors to make your home buying and selling experience pleasant. By employing the newest technologies, business tactics, and market research, the agents are able to list your home strategically and effectively. Most importantly, the agents listen and find solutions that are tailored to you.

Prior to entering real estate, Loken worked as a C-Level executive for firms like The Wood Group Renewable Energy Service, Francesca’s Collections Inc., and C.D. Johnson Companies which helped him shape the way he approaches real estate. “My goal is to always be your real estate SOLUTION – whether that means helping you buy, sell, invest or rent,” Loken said. Loken is an Accredited Luxury Home Specialist (ALHS) and a Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist (CLHMS).

From paperwork to marketing, The Loken Group stand by you in every step of the way, replying to your questions and offering exceptional customer service. They were recently named:

  • #3 out of all Real Estate Teams in Houston (Ranked by Number of 2014 Closed Transactions – 662 by the “Houston Business Journal”)
  • #20 out of all Real Estate Teams in The United States (Teams by Transaction Sides in 2014 – 658 – by REAL TRENDS (“Wall Street Journal”))
  • #3 in all Keller Williams agents worldwide (based on units closed in 2015)
  • #1 Best Place to Work in Houston (Medium Companies, 2015, “Houston Business Journal”)
  • #79 (Teams by Sales Volume in 2014 – $137.3 mil) in America by REAL TRENDS (Wall Street Journal)
  • #303 in the Inc. 5000 List of America’s Fastest-Growing Companies

The team of specialists at The Loken Group manages clients in all price ranges. Their luxury division is backed by proficient luxury experts who help clients in more than $650,000 price range.

Alfonso Parodi

Realtor-Houston

Alfonso Parodi obtained a Business Administration degree with a Minor in Marketing from University of Lima, Peru. Thereafter, he moved to Houston and lived there for 9 years where he had the opportunity to attain extensive experience and training in Sales including residential lending, real estate, retail, networking, recruiting, marketing and primarily customer service. Parodi is competitive and goal-oriented with a passion for delivering outstanding customer service. In just 3 years, Parodi has become a top agent at Realty Associates in Houston which is home to more than 1800 agents.

Alfonso founded Team Parodi in 2013 whose focus is to bring the best group of agents together with a support team of award winning interior designers, experienced inspectors, proficient photographers and all other experts to help customers buy and sell their homes in areas such as Cypress, Houston, Humble, Katy, Tomball and more. Team Parodi at Real Associates is proud of each purchase or sale that aids clients to attain their dream home!

The technology savvy agents employ the cutting-edge tools and programs to give their clients an advantage in the fast moving and super competitive market for a successful transaction. Currently, Team Parodi is backed by 6 key members and will be adding more agents to be better prepared for a very busy future market. Whether buying or selling a home, Team Prodi is ready to be your trusted resource.

Owing to his excellent communication skills and expertise, Parodi is selected and recommended time and again by his clients. He has been awarded in the top 1% Buyer Agents among 25,000 agents and also:

  • recognized by Houston Association of Realtors in 2012, 2013 and 2014
  • awarded the esteemed 20 Rising Stars under Age 40 by Next Generation of Realtors (Houston Association of Realtors)
  • named 2015 Top 250 Latino Agents in the US by NAHREP

With professional accomplishments in both experience and education, Parodi maintains the Certified Residential Specialist (CRS) Designee. Presently, less than 3% of 1 million agents carry this designation. Besides, he has the following Professional Real Estate Memberships:

  • Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR®)
  • Graduate Realtor Institute (GRI®)
  • Short Sales and Foreclosure Resource (SFR®)
  • Texas Realtors Leadership Program (TRLP)

Angela Pipes

Realtor-Houston

Angela Pipes is a Licensed Real Estate Agent at Redfin Corporation with 17+ years in the Houston Real Estate market representing both sellers and buyers. She is passionate about the relationship with her clients which helps her adapt to their needs and receive referrals. Whether you are a first-time buyer or an accomplished seller, Pipes would guide you through the entire process. A member of the Houston Association of REALTORS, Pipes has established a reputation for being proficient in handling land sales, new construction, investment properties and resales including historic homes in the Heights, Montrose and other neighborhoods such as Katy, Memorial, Spring Branch, Clear Lake, and Galveston.

Pipes mainly works in the urban communities of Houston and keeps abreast of real estate developments and attending community events. She is an advocate for those interested in building better practices, smart growth and energy efficiency. Pipes works closely with her clients to make sure every sale closes without a hitch. She is always accessible, prompt, and thorough with her clients’ requests and her quick response time with emails is appreciated as well.

Angela Pipes has been qualified as a Top Production REALTOR based on 2016 second quarter listing side number of MLS sales transactions of the Houston Association of REALTORS. This certification is given to those who aim to maintain the highest ethical standards and whose production ranks among the highest number transactions within HAR’s 25,000 brokers and agents. As a Certified Negotiation Expert (CNE) and Accredited Luxury Homes Specialist (ALHS), Pipes has proven to be a valuable asset to Redfin and to her clients.




Just the decision to take the task of building a home into your own hands can be daunting, keep aside the fact that liabilities are now yours alone to deal with. The joy of being there every step of the way and having a say in every brick, beam, and wall comes with a lot of responsibility. The smallest of injuries on site to a worker, accidental falls, natural disasters and other unforeseen circumstances can put your budget off by thousands of dollars.

Time is a factor as well, having the plan pushed back by weeks, if not months; time and money that you cannot get back. Such accidents are what makes it prudent for you to invest in structural insurance, warranty and legal coverage for all the essentials.

What is Structural Insurance?

Structural insurance functions within the parameters of Builders Insurance and Site Insurance, covering claims regarding the foundation and architectural framework of the building, as well as the integrity of the site it is built on.

Structural Insurance & Home Warranty

As the percentage of self-built homes increase in the US, numerous companies now offer a comprehensive list of structural insurance for homes built without the assistance of building agencies.

If narrowed down to just structural claims, structural insurance covers the claim of any structural defects in a home for a fixed number of years after it is built. Often certain companies have a secondary set of rules, pertaining to the fact that the claim will only kick in 7 to 10 years after the house is completed.

That being said, structural insurance usually comes hand in hand with site and builders insurance as well, both essential and usually synonymous with structural insurance.

Site Insurance

Site insurance is offered to builders as well as individuals who have purchased land and intend to construct. It not only covers any natural disaster-related damage – fire, storm, flood – to the land, but also the temporary structures on it. The coverage puts aside a certain sum to take care of any unforeseen circumstances that may cause huts, caravans, tools and the building under construction itself to be partially or wholly damaged.

Certain insurance companies not only take care of the monetary side of things but also offer services to clean, repair and bring back the space to its former state.

Builder’s Insurance

In recent times, Builder’s Insurance has become a must for self-built structures, especially since it establishes a sense of trust between the homeowner and the bank or builder who is offering monetary assistance.

Builder’s insurance acts as the umbrella under which site and structural insurance fall, but often companies do cater to individual needs by offering them separately. These insurance policies even accommodate for theft of tools and valuables from the site, but usually, put a limit of the claim. That being said, it is important to pick appropriate coverage plans and not under or over-insure your property.

Allowing delays and pushbacks, any building or structural insurance for individuals who are constructing on their own extend to 18 months, as opposed to the usual 12-month coverage given for builders.

Why Insurance During Construction is Essential

Building a home isn’t only about the structure and integrity. Along each step of the way, you have to be aware of not only accidents and loss that are beyond your control, but also any harm that the process may cause to workers, the public and adjacent private and public property.

Structural Warranty for self built homes

As a homeowner, you are liable if any of your workers are injured during the course of construction, or even if they fall ill due to toxic substance exposure while they worked for you.

Even a trespasser walking into property can have a legal claim if he or she is injured due to any improper construction methods.

Damage to surrounding property can be another reason you are faced with a very large bill for compensation. Everything from a falling tree branch to heavy machinery vibrations that may cause harm to adjacent structures can be seen as cause for a lawsuit. Most often, such damage is seen to happen during the time when your foundation is being set, causing worry about underground water sources and support extending below the ground of other buildings in the area.

Home and Structural Warranty

Besides structural and builder’s insurance, warranty extends the coverage, claims, and care for years after the home is built – taking care of issues and damage that insurance does not address. While insurance deals with unforeseen circumstances and matters that were out of your control, Home Warranty offers solace when you need to deal with maintenance, repair, and replacement due to general wear and tear.

Usually put in place for a period of ten years, Structural Warranty covers defects in the foundation, load-bearing walls, beams, pillars and sometimes even wiring and plumbing systems. Not only does it keep you worry free, it also assures that any negligence on the part of the contractor is covered for without conflict.

 




Here’s an article to give you a clue about the best home warranty companies in Utah. The state that is defined by vast expanses of deserts and the Wasatch mountain ranges. Utah needs no further introduction. Its capital city, Salt City Lake, attracts many swimmers to its buoyant waters.

Best Home Warranty Companies In Utah

Utah – Best Appliance Warranty Provider

 

If you are a resident of this beautiful state or if you are planning to move to this state, then glancing at a list of the finest home warranty companies operating there is a must! This is what we intend to provide you through this article.

As you may know, we rate companies on the basis of user feedback received from actual customers. So in the order of ratings, here is a list of top warranty providers in Utah –

  1. American Home Shield
  2. The Home Service Club
  3. Select Home Warranty
  4. Landmark Home Warranty
  5. HSA Home Warranty

Let’s take a look at each company in more detail, shall we?

1. American Home Shield

Also called as AHS, American Home Shield is one of the most popular home warranty providers in America. They are also the founders of the home warranty industry which means that there are few companies out there that have more experience than AHS. Over the years, they’ve developed plans and products which cater to the needs of buyers, sellers, homeowners and real estate agents alike.

The company offers a wide range of plans suited for most homeowners. All plans are reasonably priced and the annual premiums often range between $249 – $500+ and the deductible per service visit ranges between $65 – $125. The fact that the company is not just backed by experience but also by immensely positive user feedback, makes it one of the top competitors in Utah and the rest of America.

2. The Home Service Club

Considered as an innovator and people friendly company, The Home Service Club (HSC) is yet another popular choice among Utah residents for their home warranty needs. They serve 48 states across the country and have been in business for a very long time. HSC claims that the constant surveys and feedback they collect from customers helps them improve their products and services for the better.

Standard plans offered by HSC are designed to cover major household appliances and systems and are priced competitively. Customers are also free to customize their plans and add items from a list of pre-selected add-ons, enabling them to extend coverage as per their wish. Plans are priced around $400 on average and the deductibles are charged between $65 – $125.

3. Select Home Warranty

With plans designed to prevent any homeowner from losing hair over unexpected repair and replacement costs, Select Home Warranty (SHW), has been a strong player in the home warranty scene of Utah for quite a bit of time. SHW also has a nationwide footprint so their services are not limited for Utah alone. All warranty products offered by SHW are highly praised by their customers and this has led to them being a popular choice among Utah residents.

SHW offers three main plans to their customers each based on different levels of coverage. Annual premiums range between $299 – $499 and all plans have a deductible of $45. Like most other companies on the list, SHW too has a round the clock customer service facility and also an online claims submission feature. All of this along with many, many positive reviews makes SHW a strong choice for home warranty products in Utah.

4. Landmark Home Warranty

Landmark Home Warranty (LHW) is a company which has services in the states of Utah, Arizona, Idaho, Oregon and Texas. Customers have often praised their services to be extremely user friendly. The primary goal of LHW is to provide exceptionally good services to all its customers.

LHW has 4 main plans to offer to their customers, each priced differently and having different levels of coverage. All plans come at a service call fee of $65 charged for each service visit. LHW also offers support to real estate agents to help with their clients. Apart from home warranty services, LHW offers re-keying and heater tune-up services too. The strong feedback from customers and their compelling plans makes Landmark a very sound choice for your home warranty needs.

5. HSA Home Warranty

HSA is a company with over 30 years experience in the home warranty industry. Headquartered in Wisconsin, HSA has quite an extensive coverage across USA. The company has claimed that their primary focus is on nothing other than providing great services to their customers. This is a company that has a wide range of products to offer. From agent programs, E&O insurance policies to live tools like seminars, HSA has more than home warranty plans to sell.

HSA’s primary product, home warranty plan comes in two variants, where the primary difference lies in the extend of coverage offered. Annual premiums range between $589 – $619 and the deductibles are charged between $75 – $100. HSA also has an online claims facility in addition to the 24/7 customer service wing which takes complaints no matter what time it is.

Do Your Research

What we have provided you is a list of companies based on user reviews on our site. We urge our readers to go through some of the reviews and even take a list of Award Winning Home Warranty Companies. It is advisable that you do some extensive research on our website before making a choice.

Should you have any concerns, feel free to holler at us. Cheers!