Home Warranty As A Buyer Incentive

What’s it like right now out there for home sellers?  Well, for one thing, despite the wild gyrations of the stock market over the last several months, houses are still being sold.  Not only are houses selling but many regions are showing signs of solid home value increases as inventory hits a bottleneck.  This is the good news.  The not-so-good news is that parts of the western U.S. are not enjoying the rising sales prices.  As homes in those parts of the country stay on the market longer, sellers find themselves in competition with other home sellers.  And that leads to knocking prices down or making other costly concessions to close a sale.  If that sounds like your situation then what can you do?  What can any seller do when a house doesn’t sell as quickly as desired?  The answer to that question is many things.  But one thing in particular is relatively inexpensive and easy to accomplish.  That one thing is buying a home warranty.

Home Warranty

Home warranties have not exactly been praised in recent years, so it might seem unlikely that anybody will see these contracts as a big plus.  But that’s a widely adopted misconception and one that deserves some closer inspection.

I asked the founder of the home warranty industry, American Home Shield, to help me understand why their customers involved in real estate sales are choosing to cover their listing periods and buyers’ first years of ownership with a seller provided home service contracts.

Lisa Rice, National Vice President, Real Estate Sales at American Home Shield answered the call for information with some details that real estate professionals and home sellers may want to consider when deciding whether or not to buy a home service contract.

What types of home warranties are available to home sellers right now?

American Home Shield offers different levels of coverage for homeowners in any number of situations. Sellers can offer any of our AHS packages to the buyer at closing – Shield Essential, Shield Plus or Shield Complete.  Shield Essential, for instance, provides comprehensive coverage to a seller on their “essential” systems that could fail during the listing period.  Further, a seller’s portion of coverage is paid at “closing” – so there is no up-front out-of-pocket expense to the seller.

What is the average cost of these contracts?

Our prices vary based on the part of the country you are in, but in some parts of the country, you can get our basic Shield Essential plan for less than $2 a day. The Shield Essential plans cover major appliances and home system components.

Do these contracts typically help homes to sell faster?  If so then can you cite any statistics?

According to a 2013 real estate study conducted by NRT, we found that homes with an AHS Home Protection Plan sold an average of about 11 days faster and about $2,300 more than those without a home warranty — that’s over three times the average price of the plan itself.  Also, in many states where multiple offer situations are a reality, buyers might choose to provide sellers coverage during the contract escrow period to make their purchase offer more attractive. This is a tremendous benefit for the seller.

Can you say what percentage of these contracts result in paid claims?

An American Home Shield customer uses their plan an average of two times per year. We accept and pay more service requests than any other home warranty company in the nation. In the past three years, we have serviced about 93 percent of claims. That’s added up to $1.7 billion over the last 5 years and $3 billion in the last ten years.

Lisa’s feedback helped greatly.  Even as someone working on the marketing side of the home service contract industry I still need to understand why the industry keeps growing its customer base, despite so many consumer advocates and other critics lambasting home warranties as a waste of cash.  But there were still questions that I have seen and heard from homeowners not familiar with the home warranty.  And a few of those are important to air out, in my opinion.

Isn’t home warranty something that overlaps with homeowner’s insurance?

Absolutely not.  But this is still a good point to address.  It’s a common misconception among a large percentage of homeowners in the U.S.  Truth is, your homeowner’s insurance mostly covers the unforeseeable things that happen TO your house.  Home warranty covers the things that happen in your house that is expected, even guaranteed to eventually occur.  Your insurance is a wager of sorts between you and the company issuing the coverage, their bet being that you’ll pay a lot more in than you ever get out in claims.  Home warranty pays for things that are much, much more likely to happen to almost any coverage purchaser, things like dishwashers wearing out and refrigerators needing replacement.  This is where the common complaints about home warranty are most easily linked to the nature of the service promised to customers.  Homeowner’s insurance is typically far more expensive to maintain per year than a home warranty would be for the same house.  Why?  Well, the main reason seems to be the price that customers are willing to pay.  People just don’t want to spend as much on home warranties, it would seem, as they do their insurance.  But by looking for the absolute cheapest home warranty you are practically inviting problems down the road.  Like insurance, the home warranty can’t operate profitably for the company unless more money comes in premiums than goes out in claims.  Homeowners would do well to keep in mind both the differences between homeowner’s insurance and home warranty and the dynamic at work inside the companies.  Sometimes you really do get what you pay for!

How can I find the top home warranty companies?

This one is easy.  HomeWarrantyReviews.com is the best place to narrow down the options that a homeowner has for home warranty coverage, no question about it.  You won’t find a website that has been around longer than this one, when it comes to providing unbiased consumer feedback about home warranty companies.

How do I know if I’m the right customer for a home warranty?

This is the best and first question a homeowner can ask, in my opinion, when considering a home warranty.

Do you need one?  Do you not need one?  Is it better to put money in savings or have a credit card with a good sized credit line on standby for emergencies?  Is it better to buy the home warranty?

Answering these questions can be as arbitrary as a coin toss for some people, simply due to all the uncertainty involved.  Though a newer appliance is less likely to break and may be covered under a manufacturer’s warranty, there is also the matter of how time consuming finding a qualified, reputable contractor can be.  And if you’re an investor with multiple rental properties, that time you spend calling around to find a good contractor may be greatly multiplied.

To help you with this decision, I would suggest you read this article here on HomeWarrantyReviews.com, with helpful tips about deciding whether a home warranty is something you need or not.

Author Bio

Kevin Wallach writes about the home service contract industry and works in a marketing capacity within the home warranty industry.  He has followed the industry for five years and has worked just as long to help bring customers and companies together through Internet marketing.  He also is the administrator of the Home Warranty and Service Contract industry group on Linkedin.

 






Been having trouble with your heating/cooling unit of late? Think freon is the culprit behind it? Let’s find out!

HVAC freon levels are a common area of doubt among homeowners. For those of you who don’t know a thing about freon, here are some pointers.

What is freon?

Freon is the common name for a class of chemicals that usually include aerosol propellants, organic solvents or refrigerants. freon1 Most of them are compounds of chlorofluorocarbons, which are derivatives of methane and ethane. Most common form of freon is R-22.

Before we tell you how to find out if your HVAC needs freon, lets discuss what issues could happen due to low levels of freon.
Issues caused due to insufficient freon levels

Freon, is essentially a heat transfer fluid. So it absorbs heat from your home and transfers it to the outside air, thereby cooling the air down. Hence, the primary issue happening due to low freon level is prolonged cooling period or lack of cool air inspite of the thermostat being set to “cool”.

Signs of low freon levels

Freon is not something that gets “used up”, it gets circulated. So the only reason why freon levels fall would be that your HVAC unit has a leak.

Here are some common signs that indicate insufficient freon in HVAC units:

  • House takes a long time to cool
  • Water pools on the floor near your furnace due to condensation
  • Ducts/ vents blow very little air or hot air
  • Ice buildup on the copper lines running from A/C to indoor coil
  • Excess electricity consumption resulting in high bills

HVAC Units Need Freon

Ice Buildup on Copper Lines. Image Courtesy:inspectapedia.com

If your HVAC unit is exhibiting any of the above signs, we strongly recommend that you call a technician right away to take a look at the unit. If you have a home warranty, inform the warranty provider immediately.

Alternate ways to detect low levels of freon

freon4
In cases where the physical signs are not telling enough, electronic devices called “sniffers” can be used. Such devices sound an alert when the probe discovers a leak in the unit.

Yet another method is to inject a fluorescent dye into the unit. The dye then circulates through the system and flows out in case there is a leak. The unit is then illuminated in UV light which will reveal where the dye has pooled if a leak is indeed present.

The final word

As we said before, call for immediate help if you notice something amiss with your HVAC units. If the problem is indeed with freon, you may have a lot more in hand than just an uncomfortable home.

Ideally, conduct annual or half-yearly tune ups to make sure that the system is in proper working order. Such maintenance routines check the system for possible leaks and malfunctions.




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

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

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

Home Appliance Warranty Plans

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

Table2 for Appliance Warranty article

Now lets discuss the most important question.

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

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

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

Things to know about appliance protection plans

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

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

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

Do I really need Appliance Protection?

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

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

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

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




When it comes to appliance warranty protection plans, the choices are plenty. Should you buy a comprehensive home warranty or extended warranty at the point of sale? While home warranty is like an umbrella insurance that covers all major home appliances, extended warranty is purchased for each appliance separately.

extended warranty

Home warranties will charge annual premium and deductibles per repair incident but they can be purchased anytime during the life-cycle of the product. Extended warranties will charge up front fees, but no deductible per incident and these protection plans are generally sold during the initial stages of product’s use, although there are exceptions.

Generally, home warranties cover all used appliances, but extended warranties cover new items only. Recently, Warranty Week ran an article that questioned whether there is an overlap between the two. They interviewed several executives from home warranty and extended warranty companies. The general consensus appears to be that, there is some overlap, however two types of warranties serve different purposes.

Mike Frosch, president of The Warranty Group, North America, said “Home warranties are great, when you’re buying or selling a house and want to cover used appliances immediately. Service contracts are great, when you’re shopping for new appliances and want to extend the manufacturer’s warranty for additional years. So in a sense, the coverage may overlap, but the offers don’t really compete. When you buy a home warranty, for the sake of argument let’s say it’s $450. It’s a one-year coverage on used equipment. It’s providing some coverage on some amount of appliances, but it’s really about heating, air conditioning, plumbing and electric”

In our view, they do overlap if you are talking about big ticket appliances, but there is no need to buy both. If you are buying a new appliance, chances of it failing in the first 3-5 years is far less assuming you have researched the product before buying. So, there is no real need for extended warranties.

However, if homeowners still want peace of mind coverage, then they should simply go with home warranty as it covers all appliances in your home not just one specific product. The home warranty costs are higher than the extended warranty, however it covers far more items and you have a single point of contact for all repair needs.

Extended warranty companies argue that they provide better service and offer more economic protection plans. The argument is compelling on the surface, but keep in mind home warranties are useful where there is frequent need for repair such as old appliances.

We wonder what would be the service level if extended warranty companies offer maintenance service of 10-15 years old appliances such as heaters and air conditioners. The repair needs are much higher and their profit margins are much lower. Generally extended warranties are bought for new electronics items and repair incidents are much lower. For this reason, we think it is a wise decision not to buy extended warranty at point of purchase.




Gardening tips for BeginnersGardening is a pleasurable activity! Starting a new garden is truly thrilling but before you go for it, first decide where the garden should be and what you want to grow. Setting up ahead for your garden is very important as it will save time and money.

The price of everything is going up these days and you are likely for some ways to save money. A vegetable garden is a great start in doing that. A United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) study recommends that one tomato seed can grow as much as $50 worth of tomatoes!

Planning Your New Garden

plan a garden designIf your path of option to savings is a vegetable garden and you are new to gardening or have little experience, then you have come to the correct place. When you are just getting started, gardening can be scary. How do you even know where to start? Here are some basic tips that can make vegetable gardening more fun, more productive and certainly help you produce fresh veggies, fruits and herbs.

If you are all set to think about a vegetable garden, keep in mind this—it’s better to be proud of a small garden than to be bothered by a big one!

One of the frequent errors for beginners is planting too much too soon and way more than anybody could eat or want. Unless you want to have zucchini taking up residence in your attic, plan carefully. Start small. To know more about this check out Home And Garden guide.

Questions to think when planning your garden

  1. What are your needs for your home? Is your goal growing herb, chooks, fruit trees, a kitchen garden, a flower garden, a meditation or relaxation place or a kid’s place area?
  2. How many hours every week could you expend on your garden? It’s a good idea to create a garden that can be looked after in your available time.
  3. Do you know where there’s sunlight in the garden? Try to get about 6 hours of sunlight each day.
  4. Where’s the water tap positioned? Ensure it is close to your garden to make it easy to access water.
  5. If you are growing a kitchen, what fresh foods do you like? It is always a good idea to make a list.

The answers to these queries will help you with your garden planning and it’s important to know these things before you start digging in.

What to Consider as You Grow

  • Dream BIG! Take in everything that your family would like to have and mark it on your plan.
  • Start small and work in a way that you can, keeping in mind how many hours can be devoted to your garden.
  • Always reflect on the environment and make sustainable choices. Lessen the use of chemicals and non-organic fertilizers. Attempt growing organically—it’s the best for you and Mother Earth.
  • Set sensible goals. Once you have simple plan of how your garden would be and what you’d love to grow, you can begin creating your beautiful garden. That’s when the fun begins!

Gardening Ideas for Beginners

Beginning gardeners can take the chance to learn about gardening and different plants to raise. When you get pleasure from your first harvest, you will feel a sense of delight knowing that the plants you lovingly cared for produced so well. Whether you pick flower gardening or a vegetable garden, you can perfect your gardening methods year after year and get even better outcomes.

1. Learn About Plant Types

Identify the plant typeIdentify which types of plants do well in your area. Planting perennials and annuals in the same garden generate flowers during most of the year. To learn about the plants that will flourish in your area, visit local nurseries and home-improvement stores that sell them. Many of them have gardeners to assist you make the right alternatives.

2. Gardening Tools

The best tool a beginner gardener can purchase is a pair of garden gloves. This will protect your hands with painful blisters caused from the friction of the garden tool handles against your skin. Other tools you will require are a rake, hoe, shovel, hose, clippers and sprinkler. In case you are planning to have a large garden, think about a tiller or a tractor. If you don’t want to procure one, rent one or hire someone to cultivate your garden.

3. Plan Your Garden

Sketch your garden before trying to actually start it. An experienced gardener or your local nursery can help you, or do study online to help you get started. Knowing which plants or flowers attract butterflies and bees may be useful. Keep in mind that tall plants block the sun from smaller plants until they are tactically placed. Inquire about beneficial insects and herbs as a means of pest control in the garden. Know which area of your property is best suited for the types of plants you want.

4. PreparationPreparing soil

Careful preparation of soil is essential for a healthy garden. Take out all rocks from the area with a rake, and decide which nutrients are needed. Prior to planting, remove weeds and grass and fertilize with chemical fertilizer or manure. Have pine straw, wood chips or hay bales ready for mulching. Once you have ended preparing the soil, it’s planting time.

5. Planting

Don’t jump in too fast; begin with a few varieties of vegetables or flowers. Pick healthy looking plants with no traces of disease. The plants will be labeled with directions regarding water & light requirements, planting depth—follow the instructions closely. Don’t plant ahead of time in the spring to lessen the chances of losing your garden to snow or frost. Consider the size requirements of your plants.

6. WateringGarden watering

Water your garden properly. Normally, you must water the plants daily the first week, every other day for the second week, and at least once a week after that, enabling a strong toot system to be established. Be cautious not to over water.

Lastly, begin small start with plants that are easy to grow. This way you will avoid situations where the joy of your new hobby is substituted by frustration. Most prominently, relax! There will be successes and failures, but half the fun of gardening is learning as you grow!




These days, when people hardly have time to even talk with neighbors, cleaning the house has become a rarer activity. Yet, cleaning your home is a task that just cannot be ignored. The first rule of personal hygiene – keep yourself and your surroundings clean. Otherwise, germs may take up residence on you and in your home.

For those of you short on time and money for hiring a maid, this article would be the perfect cheat sheet to make sure that your home remains clean and well, disease free. If you think this article is too big, take a look at our quick home cleaning cheat sheet.

We’ve compiled a list of things that you can do to ease the task of cleaning your home. This includes tips and tricks that you may never have come across. So don your cleaning gloves and let’s begin!

Kitchen Cleaning Hacks

1. Cabinet Cleaning 

Home Cleaning HacksMost kitchen cabinets accumulate gunk, usually around the handles or the inside corners. Thankfully, they’re not difficult to get rid off.

Here’s what you need to do – mix baking soda and any vegetable oil. The consistency of this mixture should be like that of toothpaste. Use an old toothbrush and scrub away around the handles and corners of cabinets. You’ll have clean surfaces in no time

 

2. Cleaning The Sponges

Everyone has cleaning sponges in their kitchens. Without these soft friends, cleaning would be very difficult indeed. However, over time, they become ragged and home to a host of microbes and germs. If the condition is so bad that they are tearing in pieces, discard them. If they are still in a single piece, sanitize them before you use them again.

To sanitize kitchen sponges, sprinkle a few drops of water (lemon juice, if you have it) and microwave them on high heat for two(2) minutes. This should fry any germs in them leaving the sponges clean and bacteria-free.

3. Cleaning The Garbage Disposal

DrainGet an ice tray. Mix water and vinegar in the ratio 1:8. Chop up a lemon into tiny pieces. Pour the water-vinegar mixture into the ice cube tray and drop one piece of lemon into each square. Freeze this mixture.

Once frozen, drop the ice cubes into the garbage disposal and run it for several seconds (leave the faucet running). Make sure all the ice is ground. This is an easy hack to not only dislodge debris stuck between the blades but also to sharpen and deodorize the device.

4. Stove Burner Cleaning Hack

Stove-BurnerThis is an object that accumulates huge amounts of grime and grease and cleaning them is a task we often dread. Scrubbing them may be time-consuming, so here’s a no scrub routine to clean grime and grease from stove burners.

You’ll need basic ammonia and a zip-lock bag. Take around half a cup or less of ammonia and drop it into the zip-lock bag. Drop in the stove burner as well and seal the plastic zip-lock bag. The idea is not to soak the burner in ammonia, but to let it just sit in the ammonia fumes overnight. Ideally, leave the zip-lock outside, just in case it develops a leak and you don’t want your house smelling of NH3. You should be able to clean the grime off smoothly with a cloth. No scrubbing needed!

 

5. Cleaning The Blendershutterstock_84133486

Yes, there’s a hack for this one too. No, cleaning it in the sink with the help of a scrub won’t help much. Blenders are difficult to clean because there are many jutting edges which could cut your fingers if you try to scrub around them.

Here’s what you need to do. Add a few drops of dish-washing liquid to a cup or so of warm water. Pour it into the blender and turn the blender on. Pour the soap water out and repeat with clean water. Once this is done, you can clean the outsides and then give the whole jar a final rinse.

Bathroom Cleaning Hacks

6. Cleaning The Shower Head

Yet another beautiful, no-scrub hack to clear out hard water stains from the shower heads and other steel surfaces. You will need a leak proof plastic bag, rubber bands, distilled white vinegar and water. Pour the vinegar into the plastic bag and tie it around the shower-head with the help of rubber bands. Leave it overnight or at least for a few hours, rinse with plain water in the morning. All hard water stains will be magically removed.

For other steel surfaces, dip a cloth into the distilled vinegar or spray some on them. Rinse with plain water after a few hours.

7. Cleaning Grout From The ShowerCleaning Tile

Grout is generally a kind of filling used between spaces while laying tiles or similar structures. Over time, they often turn dark and become an eyesore, especially against light colored walls/tiles. To remove them, there is a very effective, homemade grout cleaner that works wonders.

You will need a scrub brush or an old toothbrush, baking soda and some bleach. Combine ¼ cup bleach with a ¾ cup of baking soda until it forms a paste. Apply this on affected areas and let it sit for a few minutes. Bleach usually does the job, however, scrubbing it will yield maximum results. Do remember to wear your protective gloves when handling chemicals like bleach.

8. The Bathtub Drain

Bathtub drains accumulate a lot of grime and debris and the most common culprit behind a clogged drain is (ewww) human hair. For clearing a clogged bathtub drain, you’ll need a screwdriver, skinny pliers, paper towels, vinegar and baking soda.

Remove the drain plug and pull out the insert with the screwdriver. You should see some really disgusting gooey debris there. Use paper towels to wipe around the area and then use skinny pliers to pick up the gooey mess. The gross part is now over. Finally, pour a cup or so of baking soda and then vinegar over it until the mixture bubbles up. Leave this for around 15 mins and then rinse with tap water. Put back the plug, and you’re done!

9. Cleaning Mold From The Shower

voegenschrobbenwebMold is a kind of fungus that happily grows in any region that is continually damp. Bathrooms are ideal for mold colonies. These fungi are not only unpleasant to look at but they are also high-risk allergens. Cleaning them is thankfully simpler than you think.

Get some straight bleach and cotton balls, the kind you use for cosmetic purposes. Soak a piece of coil in the bleach and place it over the mold-affected areas. Leave this overnight. Using skinny pliers or tweezers, pick up the coil pieces and discard them. Rinse the area with water. You’ll be happy to see that mold growth would be considerably reduced. Keep in mind that bleach is a harsh chemical and it must never be handled without appropriate safety measures.

10. No Scrub Tub Cleaner

Yeah, this one made a lot of people happy. Scrubbing a tub could be back breaking task for some people which is why this one is a big hit! All you need is dish soap and vinegar. Mix the two in 1:1 ratio and spray it generously all over your tub. Leave this on for an hour or two, wipe away with a soft cloth and rinse with water.

These days, cleaning grade vinegar has become available in department stores. The acetic acid content in cleaning grade vinegar is higher than the food grade version. This means the cleaning effect is improved.

 

General Indoor Cleaning

11. Carpet Cleaning 

Carpets take a lot of beating from the folks in the house and so it’s quite common that they end up with difficult stains and a lot of offensive particulate material. While dust can be easily removed with the help of suction, stains require additional tools.

Baking soda, liquid detergent, vinegar and warm water are the only things you will need. As step 1, drop baking soda/cornstarch on the stains. Let it sit for half an hour and then use a vacuum cleaner to remove it. Once that is done, mix liquid detergent, one spoon of vinegar with warm water. Using a sponge, wipe the stain with the detergent solution. Using a different dry sponge, absorb the vinegar-detergent solution out of the carpet. Your stain would’ve faded considerably!

12. Easy Mattress Cleaning

Dust that accumulates in the mattress can cause some serious allergic reactions in some people. It is generally advised that regularly used mattresses must be cleaned at least once in a few months.

To clean your mattress without breaking your back, you’ll need a few drops of your favorite essential oil, baking soda and your trusted vacuum cleaner. Open a can of baking soda and add a few drops of essential oil. Replace the lid and shake the container so that the oil and the soda mixes well. Sprinkle this all over your mattress and let it remain for an hour or so. Vacuum the entire mattress making sure that all traces of baking soda are removed. This is very effective in removing dust mites and other harmful microbes.

 

13. Cleaning A Microfiber Couch

Microfiber couches are one of the most comfortable couches ever. However, they become dirty quite easily and kids just love to create art masterpieces on them. Cleaning them may seem difficult and you may even consider replacing them. But do try this simple fix before you discard your lovely couch.

You’ll need rubbing alcohol, a sponge, a sprayer and a scrubbing brush. Pour the rubbing alcohol into the sprayer and spray it all over the stain till it saturates. The alcohol will evaporate quite quickly so spray continuously. Using your sponge, scrub vigorously till the stain starts to visibly reduce. Once you are done scrubbing, leave it to dry. Use your brush to ruffle the couch back once the alcohol has dried. We strongly recommend that you use a pair of gloves while handling the scrubbing alcohol and try not to drink it :).

14. Removing Pet Hair 

downloadHaving a pet is a wonderful feeling indeed.  If you have a furry friend, be warned that their fur has been known to cause a lot of diseases, including the very dangerous Toxoplasmosis. It would be a good idea to rid your house of their fur once in a while to avoid pathogens of various kinds.

Damp rubber works wonders for removing pet hair. You’ll simply need to dampen your rubber gloves and give the furniture and other surfaces a good scrubbing. For getting cat/dog fur off carpets, use a squeegee and wipe the fur away.

 

15. Cleaning tiny toys

Toys left unused accumulate a lot of dust and the idea of washing them all individually might seem time-consuming. If you want to wash them all together in one go, here’s something you can try.

Grab a small laundry bag and dump all the small toys into it. Hold them under the sink and run the faucet. The tiny holes in the laundry bag will allow water to come in and drain taking all the dust away.

 

A Word Of Advice

While you may not be able to do all of these at once, try going one section at a time – bathrooms, followed by the kitchen and so on. Remember – Safety first. Do not forget to use rubber gloves or overalls when necessary. Once you are done, put the chemicals away in a safe place where your kids cannot reach them. We also have a great guide on 10 ways to organize your home efficiently. You should read that too!

Home maintenance is no easy task. Keeping a home running does require some amount of effort. That said, there are some things that you just cannot prevent. Appliance breakdowns are a fine example. We strongly recommend that you purchase a home warranty to protect your budget and your appliances.

That’s all for now, do try out these hacks and let us know what you think. Don’t hesitate to ask us any questions, we’ll be more than happy to help. Thanks for reading, cheers!

 




Life throws many unforeseen things at all of us. As we can’t stop these things from happening, we can choose to give our lives a bit of protection. Insurance is meant to grant us some measure of financial protection, when a disaster occurs. There is plethora of insurance options available and it is suggested by many financial experts to have these insurance policies in place. Yet, with so many choices, it can be difficult to decide what kind of insurance you need to get.

Life Insurance Policy

Buying the right insurance is always decided based on your specific situation. There are however, four insurances that are suggested by most financial experts namely life, health, auto and long-term disability. Each of these covers up a definite feature of your life and is vital to your financial future.

Do I Really Need Life Insurance, and if So How Much?

The greatest aspect in having life insurance is providing for those who depart. This is really important when your family is dependent on your salary. Experts recommend that life insurance policy should cover “ten times your yearly income”. This amount would give a sufficient amount of money to cover funeral expenses, existing expenses and provide your family a financial cushion which will assist them re-group after your demise.

When estimating the amount of life insurance coverage you want, keep in mind to factor in not only funeral expenses, but also mortgage payments and living expenses such as credit cards, taxes, loans, child care and future college costs.

Life insurance is something that will be required by everybody at some point. Unless you work in the insurance industry or are familiar to somebody that does, what do you really know about the life insurance types that are accessible to you? The answer to that question probably is ‘not a lot’, and why you be supposed to?

Types of Life Insurance

Many of us think that there is a common life policy for insurance that everybody procures but this is actually not the case and there is a variety of life insurance that can be bought. Each of the types has its own precise features and benefits that may be of concern to the consumers.

Below is the brief explanation as to what these different kinds of life insurance are in order that you can be familiar with the difference between them.

Life insurance comes in several sizes and shapes, but they generally fall into two categories namely Term Life Insurance and Permanent Life Insurance.

 

Term Life Insurance Policy

This is the most affordable life insurance and coverage in this type is bought for a definite price for a specific period of time. After the demise of the insured, the recipient will receive the death benefit. It makes the death benefit longer only for a definite period and if the insured doesn’t die within the term of the policy, he gets nothing in return.

This kind of life insurance makes logic if you have monetary needs that will reduce over time, such as a child’s tuition or a home mortgage.

Types of Term Life Insurance

  1. Guaranteed Level Term Life Insurance: This is the most common type and is well-liked for the reason of the very low cost and long term coverage it provides. These kinds of life insurance policies have premiums that are intended to remain level for a period of 5, 10, 15, 20, 25 or even 30 years.
  2. Return of Premium Term Life Insurance: This is a type of life insurance policy that gives a definite refund of the life insurance premiums when the term period expires, assuming the insured is still living. This policy is a bit more expensive but the premiums are planned to remain level. Significantly less expensive than permanent types of life insurance, this life insurance policy still may give cash surrender values if the insured doesn’t die. Return of premium term life insurance policies can be availed in 15, 20 or 30 year terms.
  3. Annually Renewable Term Life Insurance: This type of term life insurance policy has growing premiums. The premiums rise each year to reveal the possibility of your death in any given year.  Annually Renewable Term Life Insurance is not popular and is only procured when the coverage is required for one year or less which happens most frequently in business deals.

 

Permanent Life Insurance Policy

Permanent life insurance by definition is a policy that provides lifelong protection. The policy never ends as long as the premiums are paid. In addition, this type of policy provides a savings element that builds cash value over a long period of time.

Types of Permanent Life Insurance

  • Whole Life Insurance:  This is a type of permanent life insurance which is intended to provide coverage for an individual’s whole life rather than a specified term. It is apt to needs that do not decrease over time such as paying estate settlement taxes and costs. Usually, the life insurance rate for this policy remains unchanged throughout the life of the insured. For the early years of life insurance policy, premiums are much higher and these life insurance policies build up cash values which can be accessed by the by the owner of the policy through surrenders or policy loans.
  • Universal Life Insurance: This policy is different from whole life insurance in the fact that this type itemizes and distinguishes the protection element, cash values and the expense element. By sorting out the three elements, the insurance company can put up more flexibility into the life insurance policy which permits the policy owner to amend the face amount or the premium in response to changing circumstances and needs.
  • To age 100 level guaranteed life insurance: This type offers an assured level premium to age 100. In addition, it also provides guaranteed level death benefit to age 100. Most frequently, it is carried out within a Universal Life policy, with an additional feature known as a “no lapse rider”. Some of these plans also incorporate an “extension of maturity” feature, which provides that if the policy owner lives to age 100, having paid “no lapse” premium each year, the complete face amount of coverage will carry on an assured basis at no charge thereafter.
  • Survivorship or 2nd-to-die life insurance: A survivorship policy is a type of coverage that is usually provided either as whole life or universal and pays a death benefit at the later death of generally a husband and wife. It is widely accepted among wealthy individuals since the mid 1980’s as a method of discounting their expected future estate tax liabilities which can take away an amount to over half of family’s entire net worth!A “2nd-to-die” life insurance policy permits the insurance firm to delay the payment of the death benefit until the second insured’s demise, thus creating the necessary dollars to pay the taxes just when they are required! This type of coverage is extensively used as it is less expensive than individual permanent life insurance coverage on either partner.

Once you know the type of protection applicable to you and would like to procure, you can get online rates for the policy you wish. With the help of online life insurance quotes, you are able to examine and compare insurance quotes from various insurance companies.




Claim denial is an incident in which a home warranty company rejects a customer’s request for repair service. Sometimes customer claims are legit and fully entitled to receive services stated as per the contract. Claim denials are considered to be a major reason behind spats between service contract companies and the customer.

While some claims are denied for genuine reasons, some customers argue that companies deny claims on vague grounds often stating fine print from the contract. Yet, there are also cases where the companies were falsely accused of unfair claim denial solely because the customer failed to understand the terms mentioned in the home service contract.

What we need to understand is that not all companies deny claims unfairly because doing so will severely damage their reputation. So unless there is a valid reason, reputable companies will not deny a customer’s claims randomly.

Let’s take a look at some common reasons for claim denials

1. Appliance is not covered

This is often the most common reason for denying a claim. Most service contracts only cover a fixed set of appliances and not everything in your house. If your home service contract provider gives you this reason, go check your contract and make sure that the appliance is indeed not covered. In case you find that it is a covered item, place further calls to the company and let them know that the as per the contract, the item is covered.

Home Warranty Claim Denials2. Appliance is not maintained properly

No home service contract covers an appliance that has become damaged due to lack of maintenance. Regular wear and tear is not caused due to insufficient maintenance. It is the result of prolonged, proper usage. It is the homeowner’s duty to carry out regular maintenance routines, especially for HVAC appliances. However, if you believe that the damage is not caused due to insufficient maintenance, tell the company that you need to get a second opinion from a different contractor.

3. The damage is pre-existing

Home service contract providers often tell the customer that the damage was one that existed even before the contract was signed and hence it will not be covered. There’s hardly anything you can do about such a denial. However, you can avoid chances for such disputes by making sure that you get a home inspection done prior to signing the contract. That way the home inspector’s report will clearly state about what appliance has what damage. If it is not in the report and if the item is covered, you may be entitled to a repair service.

4. Unusual wear and tear

Wear and tear due to regular usage and wear and tear due to rough handling and careless usage can be distinguished quite easily. If the damage was caused due to the latter kind of wear and tear, your claim stands a chance to be denied. In this scenario too, you can ask for a another contractor to get a second opinion if you disagree on the diagnosis.

5. Code Violations and improper installation

If the appliance was not properly installed and if it violates the codes laid down for safe use and installation, chances are high that your claim may be denied.

What should a customer do when claims are denied?

It goes without saying that the policy booklet, the contract and the inspection report, if any, must be preserved carefully. The moment you realise that your claim has been denied, go through your contract and policy document to make sure that the claim is denied purely based on the terms in the contract. If you have a home inspection report go through that too. If you feel that your claim has been unjustly denied, you can call the home service contract company again and press the issue.

You can also visit review websites and post a review about your experience. HomeWarrantyReviews.com has a feature called the Complaint Resolution Program (CRP) which is a platform for companies and their customers to resolve their issues. The customer merely needs to report his negative experience with HomeWarrantyReviews.com, following this, he will be asked if wants to take part is CRP. If he/she chooses to participate in it, the company will be notified about his/her grievance and will be given 30 days to respond/ sort it out. If the company fails to respond or resolve the issue, the customer’s negative review becomes public. Some review websites allows their users to resolve the issues with the contract provider by communicating with them through a specific platform. The advantage of this system is that if the home service provider fails to resolve the issue for the customer or fail to respond within a time frame, the review becomes public, thereby affecting the rating and reputation of the company. Most companies do not want that.

Whatever the reason could be, we request customers to make things clear before they react to a claim denial. It could be that the company is not at fault here and because of a misunderstanding, their name gets tarnished. Most of the unpleasant scenarios can be avoided if the company you pick is reputable. Hence we cannot stress enough on the importance of picking the right company, a good home service contract provider will always put the interests of the customer first. Remember, good communication is often the solution to the biggest of problems.




Today’s topic:  Customer Service Success Through an Efficient Contractor Network in Home Warranty Industry

LOGO (1)

With thanks to the following participants:

Gwen Gallagher, President, Old Republic Home Protection

Dave Quandt, Vice President of Field Operations, American Home Shield

HomeWarrantyReviews.com is proud to offer the first in our new series of home warranty industry round table discussions.  In this first issue, we hear from two of the top companies in the industry regarding how each of their organizations meets the growing demands from their customers for high quality, timely service from repair contractors.

We asked each company the following three questions.  Their answers bring into greater focus how a very large home service contract provider deals with the challenges of a shrinking labor market while at the same time seeing its customer base increase and the demands of those customers increase as well.

HWR logos

1. Companies in the home warranty industry rely greatly on contractor networks. How does your company approach the job of ensuring quality customer service through a network of contractors?

Gwen:  Old Republic Home Protection sets high customer service standards for our Independent Network Service Providers… and it begins even before allowing them to join our network. Coaching service providers and establishing our service expectations begins with the first contact and continues throughout their tenure in our network.

As a standard, Old Republic Home Protection requires Service Providers to:

(1)  Provide timely and professional service

(2)  Be licensed in the trades they service

(3)  Carry General Liability Insurance

(4)  Charge fair and reasonable rates for parts and labor

(5)  Maintain the requirements on an on-going basis

HWR Industry round table

Prior to signing up, Service Providers receive our Contractor Guide, detailing our operations procedures, service processes, and service expectations. Calls throughout the sign-up process reconfirm our service expectations. We then follow-up each month to reinforce our guidelines, expectations, and commitment to our Plan Holders.

Customer feedback is paramount to the process. We respond quickly and appropriately when our Plan Holders, either through random surveys or interactions with our staff, indicate a potential service issue. We have a team of specialists dedicated to following up on customer feedback, rewarding service providers for excellent performance, coaching them when needed, and removing them from our network when they cannot meet our service expectations.

Dave: We hold our contractors to very high standards of performance and accountability. Last year we reviewed more than 3,500 applications from contractors that wanted to join the American Home Shield network.

Once a contractor joins, that contractor’s service quality is monitored on 15 different performance metrics, including quality and cost factors. Some of the tools we use include:

  •         Monthly quality of service report through customer surveys and comments
  •         Monthly work plan to monitor performance
  •         Monthly contractor scoring on quality and cost metrics

2. Is your company taking any steps to prepare for the forecast shortages of specialty trade workers, such as electricians, in the U.S. in coming years?

Gwen:  We work hard to establish a strong reputation with service providers. We reward service providers who perform well by giving them additional work, filling in the gaps when their retail business might be slow. We pay them quickly and fairly for services rendered and we treat them as part of our team. As such, service providers prefer to work with us and we’ve yet to experience shortages.

Even in regions where there might be shortages from a retail perspective, we seek out experienced tradesmen—those who’ve worked under the guidance of more seasoned professionals for some time—who are starting their own businesses. They find that working with Old Republic Home Protection is a great way to build their client base through word-of-mouth referrals and repeat business from satisfied customers.

We closely monitor every region, ensuring we have sufficient service providers to meet our customers’ needs. We focus recruiting efforts on those areas and trades that dip below our established thresholds. Recruiting can come internally through our team of service provider procurement specialists or externally through referrals from our nationwide sales staff and real estate professionals.

Dave: The biggest shortages we have seen are in the appliance and plumbing trades. We are recruiting in traditional ways, and are even expanding our contractor recruiting efforts using social media and advertising and engagement with trade schools. Getting connected with trade organizations will also help us find and recruit contractors in these areas.

Also, because we’re a business unit of ServiceMaster, we can approach thousands of franchise owners regarding available contractor services.

3. Summers and winters are bringing more extreme high and low temperatures each year. How does your company cope with surges in claims due to weather related strains on systems?

Gwen:  Meeting high demands begins with service provider procurement. Based on years of experience and data analysis, we are able to closely predict our service demands by region as the season’s change. We anticipate surges and plan ahead as opposed to reacting when they occur.

In those parts of the country that have weather extremes, we procure more service providers than meets the typical demand. As spikes occur, the higher number of service providers is most often sufficient to meet our needs.

In extreme weather surges, when spikes in demand are at their peak, we put the needs of our customers first. If our network service providers become overwhelmed, we’re quick to offer approval for Plan Holders to use their own service providers from outside our network. This process helps ensure fast and efficient resolution of the customer’s service issue.

Dave: We are strong advocates of customer education and engagement and share a lot of information and tutorials about the importance of regular maintenance on our Home Matters blog and YouTube channel. We also send out pre-season e-mail notifications to our customers about starting furnaces or A/C units early to ensure they catch any issues before temperatures change.

Because we have more than 1.5 million customers—and receive more than 3 million service requests each year—we have a lot of data around weather forecasts that helps us anticipate peaks in the heating or cooling seasons. With this data, we work with our contractors to plan for capacity in different geographic regions and make sure they are able to prepare from a staffing standpoint to handle the volume.

Our contractor relations teams also keep a close watch on customer saturation by Zip code to ensure we have adequate contractor coverage. If the demand is more than our capacity we immediately start recruitment of additional contractors to fill the gap.

HomeWarrantyReviews.com wishes to thank the participants in this first round table discussion.  For more information about the representatives from the two companies please scroll down.  If your company would like to participate in future round table discussions please click here for more information.

About the Participants of the Home Warranty Industry:

Gwen Gallagher is the president of Old Republic Home Protection (ORHP). For more than 35 years, she has held multiple positions within the company from customer service to financial reporting, becoming president in 1994. Gwen lends her vast experience and industry knowledge to charting the strategic direction of the organization, ensuring production and profit while maintaining its vision of “People Helping People.”

Dave Quandt is the vice president of field operations—and oversees contractor relations—for American Home Shield, the nation’s largest home warranty company. With more than 11,000 contractors in its network, American Home Shield has one of the largest home warranty contractor networks in the country.

Note from HomeWarrantyReviews.com to readers:  Would you like your company to be featured in upcoming round table articles?  Please contact us here.

 




Not every home needs home warranty coverage. So, as a homeowner, you should get appliance warranty plans if only it makes financial and practical sense.

Home Warranty is a appliance repair contract which takes care of repairs of electrical, plumbing and appliances inside the home. You will pay an annual premium (in the range of $300 to $500) in advance for repair or servicing of most important appliances in your home.Do I need Home Warranty?

If you don’t have a plan in place and wondering what would it cost, get an estimate on home warranty for your house.

If you are an existing homeowner, appliance warranty simply provides peace of mind. It protects your pocket from expensive repairs. If something breaks down, you will place a call to the service provider and they will repair or replace the system within a reasonable timeframe.

If your house is more than 5 years old, you are likely to encounter many repair issues. So, it is a good idea to have home warranty insurance unless you have time and money at your disposal and you like fixing things around.

Imagine your air conditioner or heating unit breaks down and you need to replace the old unit. It may cost anywhere from $6,000 to $14,000 to replace. If you have warranty contract, it would be the service provider’s responsibility to replace the unit.

For a lot of people purchasing a home for the first time, the issue of home warranty arises before completing the transaction. Is this type of protection plan truly necessary?

Benefits of Home Warranty Insurance

Benefits of Home Warranty

The new home buyers have fears when procuring a home and fairly so. They do not want to come across a major repair bill soon after purchasing their new home. In order to ease these fears, real estate agents at times offer home warranty insurance to help close the deal. Most of the times they may have the seller pay this or they might even shell out it themselves. The average price for this is $300-$500 a year.

So now you can be sure, it will be purchased at the lowest costs for one year. After all, this is just a concession to help you relax with your worries and close on the house. So in your mind, if it’s FREE then go ahead and take them up on the contract. Or, you can decide the provider and see if they will employ the company you suggest.

Now, you should keep a few things in mind.

First of all, you get what you shell out. Second, most of the home warranty firms are not reputable. Many among them have a record of complaints and displeased clients. So be careful while choosing a reputable company as it requires exhaustive research.

How Does a Home Warranty Protection Plan Work?

If any of your appliances such as garbage disposal, washing machine or heating and cooling systems malfunction or break down, all you have to do is call up the home warranty company which will arrange a technician to come by your home to fix the problem. Most companies have a service call fee that is called as a deductible and will normally charge you about $60 to $100. There are a handful of home warranty companies that offer zero ($0) deductible as well.

Should I Purchase Home Warranty?

Purchase home warranty if any one of the following is true:

  1. You have appliances that are getting old
  2. Your house is more than 5 years old
  3. You do not have time and patience to get the repair done yourself
  4. You do not have a trusted contractor and you do not want to go through the pain of cold calling contractors from Yellow Pages, screening them, getting quotes, and checking their work.
  5. You do not have cash cushion to handle costly repairs
  6. You are buying a home for the first time.

If you are are a first time home buyer, you should definitely get some kind of coverage. New home owners are generally short of money, so the risk of having to pay for a pricey HVAC repair is just too much for them to manage. Having to mend or restore a heating and cooling system could cost thousands of dollars.

So, What Should You Know about Home Warranty?

Top reasons to buy Home Warranty

Firstly you must know precisely what is covered and broad this coverage is.

The short list of coverage is:

  • Inside Electrical System
  • Appliances
  • Heating and Air Conditioning
  • Interior Plumbing not including the Fixtures

How much does it cost ?

Price depends on the type of coverage and also on the city you live in. If you would like to know how much would it cost to get a service contract, choose one of the Top Rated Home Warranty Companies and request a price estimate.

Your work will be to find out how much coverage you have and for how long. You must comprehend that there are various levels of coverage. In some cases they may cover the furnace but not the air conditioning outside. You have to ask and need to understand.

Before you buy, you need to be acquainted with the reputation of the company. You can check home warranty reviews on our site and shortlist few good companies. Almost all of the companies will have some complaints, but you should look how many they have and are they determined.

One thing about this type of protection plan is that the warranty companies are interested in repairing, rather than replacing your appliance in most cases. In most cases, they will service the units only if the fault is due to regular wear and tear conditions. If the units are poorly maintained, then they may not repair. One more thing you need to be cautious for is “pre-existing defects or deficiencies” since these are not covered. You will discover that almost all home warranty companies won’t allow the policy to take effect unless you have stayed in the house for at least 30 days.

The good thing about having home warranty insurance is that it can give you calmness since you are likely stretched out on the budget anyway. The final thing you want is to have an appliance or a furnace go away in the first year after moving in.

The Bottom Line

For older homes, it is a “no-brainer” choice. But before buying a home service contract, homeowners should study the fine print in the home warranty contract and cautiously think whether the warranty is going to pay off. Home sellers who want to provide a warranty to buyers and homeowners/buyers who would feel more relaxed having a home warranty should also carefully investigate to find a reputable home warranty company that will in fact pay for genuine repairs when they are desirable.




As a landlord, legal responsibility is a bigger issue for you. You need to guard yourself against the losses that can potentially crop up to your properties and in general financial health. What if your occupant is hurt on the rental possessions? You want to be sure that if you are prosecuted, you have the adequate insurance to lend you a hand.

Insurance Landlord needs

As a landlord, you should guard your income stream and that’s your rental income. If the structure is adequately spoiled then it is not possible for the renter to dwell in your property, so you require a protection to your rental income so as to meet your obligations, together with the mortgage on the property, if any. This is where you have to reflect carefully on what your exact needs are and purchase the right coverage.

Take heart! While it may sound scary, insurers have previously designed policies for the landlord’s requirements. Always remember that there will be a dissimilarity in these policies, so you will have to verify the fine print and choose the one that suits your situation. By shopping around, you will get a better idea of what is obtainable in coverage and at what price.

Essential Insurance for Landlords

There are some forms of insurance you can take to make your life simpler and less of a burden. Here is a list of essential insurances that a landlord must have:

Get a Home Warranty

Landlords most likely take issue with this one, as it appears to take money out of their pockets-especially those with the ability to do repair work themselves. However, you can draw a better class of tenant if they recognize that there’s a warranty in place. (i.e., they won’t have to hunt you down and request you to come by to make repairs). Besides, it will free you up to truly manage your belongings as an owner rather than just a handyman. To end with, a home warranty policy will pay for itself with one or two repairs.

To get an estimate of home warranty costs for your rental properties, visit our home warranty price quote section

Landlord House Insurance

If you possess a home then you likely know the significance of ensuring that it is properly protected. Having the correct insurance for your property is a good step towards making sure that you have the guard you require. Landlord house insurance is essential for anyone who possesses a home. The key to home insurance policies is ensuring that you receive the best price for your insurance.

Below is a list of ways by which you can decrease the rate of your insurance policy.

  • Security System– If you set up a right security system that can sense fires or thieves, then you can find a reduced rate on your insurance policy.
  • Increase Deductible– You can ensure to pay a lower amount for your insurance plan by increasing your deductible payment. The deductible is the payment that you are required to pay once you make a claim on your insurance plan. Make sure that you find a good deductible rate for yourself.
  • Remove Potential Hazards– If you stay in an area that is bounded by trees then likely you have a high risk of a fire occurring. By clearing the trees you may be able to save money on the insurance. Based on the circumstances you may have to shell out a higher premium for your contents house insurance.
  • Find the Right Lender– The best way to save money on your landlord house insurance is to gaze around. Start a search online and hunt for different companies that provide reasonable insurance for your home. You can obtain free online quotes for house insurance from different companies but make sure that you get comprehensive quotes for your insurance. Get the details of the coverage and don’t be fooled by any company as the offer really low prices because they normally have high deductibles and bad coverage.

Landlords Contents Insurance

Many landlords believe that they do not require any insurance for the contents in their buildings. They hold the impression that these contents are taken care of by the building insurance they procured. However, that is not the actual case. To get the contents covered, they will have to spend extra in landlords’ contents insurance. Some landlords even feel that the contents will be covered by any insurance policy the tenant holds. But the actual fact is that the policies bought by the tenants will only cover possessions of the tenants and not that of the landlord.

If the landlords truly worry about the contents for which they put in a huge amount of money, they must procure landlords contents insurance. In this way, they can expect to get some reimbursement for the items in case they are damaged. Having no insurance for these items will leave them totally destructed if they face any incident causing damages.

Umbrella Insurance Policy

It’s called “umbrella insurance as it is intended to give liability protection beyond when the liability on other policies has been exhausted. Depending on the insurance company, you can obtain an umbrella policy with an extra one to five million in liability protection.

Umbrella Insurance gives an added layer of liability coverage. It’s isn’t just for rich and famous. Whether it’s an incident on your policy or a serious auto accident concerning costly medical bills, you can find yourself liable for damages that exceed the limits on your homeowners, auto or boat policies. A pricey judgment is the last thing you want to be anxious about.

Landlords habitually handle different types of policies, but one of the most significant and frequently unnoticed types of insurance is the umbrella insurance policy.

Consider these factors if you are not sure if you would benefit from procuring umbrella insurance or not.

  • Rentals– Though you carry an independent fire policy for each home, umbrella insurance can help you protect in case your tenant or tenant’s guest are injured on a rental property.
  • Vacant land-Your vacant land can be used by neighborhood children to play. If one is hurt it could result in an expensive lawsuit. In such situation, umbrella insurance can offer additional coverage.

Taking no notice of these insurance policies is not recommended anytime. The consequence of such ignorance could lead to serious losses that will be hard to recover. On the contrary, landlords are strongly suggested to make an investment in such policies that will save them a lot of money in case of any accidents.




In what looks to be a paradigm game changer, American Home Shield (AHS) announced its plan to acquire HSA home warranty.

HSA Home Warranty
AHS is a business unit of The ServiceMaster Company, one of the world’s largest residential and commercial service networks. HSA is a leading home service contract company offering comprehensive appliance protection plans operating in the industry for nearly three decades.

The acquisition deal was announced on November 8, 2013 and was expected to conclude in 30 to 60 days. This merger will not only create a colossal force but can also craft healthy competition in the $2 billion home service contract industry in U.S.

“We believe HSA uniquely complements our business and will help accelerate our pace of growth in strategic markets,” said Mark Barry, president of American Home Shield. He continued – “Like us, HSA Home Warranty is known for providing reliable, quality service to its customers, and for building strong relationships in the real estate community. We look forward to positioning both companies to deliver even more value to homeowners across the country as a result of this acquisition.”

Upon completion of the deal, HSA is expected to operate as an independent brand under the aegis of AHS. Bob Lehmann, president and founder of HSA Home Warranty, will report to Mark Barry and continue to lead the company from its headquarters in Madison, WI.

On this momentous announcement, Bob says “The HSA team has built a strong legacy in this industry, and I’m excited about the opportunities we believe this acquisition will bring to our business, our customers, and our real estate clients. I am proud of where we are today, and we are delivering on our commitment to position our company for continued growth.”

About American Home Shield
American Home Shield is the pioneer in the industry, servicing more than 1.3 million customers across 49 states. In addition to its core focus on home protection plans, the company also issues and administers preventive maintenance contracts on major home systems and appliances in 48 states across the country. The Memphis-based company operates three customer service centers, employs approximately 1,600 employees and has a national contractor network made up of more than 10,000 independent home-service contractors, which includes more than 40,000 technicians.

About HSA Home Warranty
HSA provides comprehensive, affordable appliance protection plans and Errors and Omissions insurance. Since 1984, real estate professionals, homeowners and service contractors have partnered with HSA for coverage on home appliances and systems.

Both the companies –  HSA and AHS Home Warranty are profiled on our website.




When you compare “promise contracts”, such as home warranties, you must first comprehend exactly what is being assured. You can then evaluate attributes. Fraction of the research should also be aimed at comparing customer’s ratings of the companies that offer the warranties.

Comparing home warranty companies facilitates you to find the policy that suits your budget and needs. A home warranty is an individual policy you can procure to provide coverage for your home’s important appliances and systems. The precise prices and coverage obtainable to you varies by each home warranty company functioning in your area, so comparing the exact rates and services from each company is a significant step when picking a policy for your home.

When buying a home warranty, you are not only giving capital to the supplier, you are also giving your belief that they are going to cover you when you need it most. That’s why it’s so imperative to verify into a company’s history, see how they function and what they ought to offer, plus learn how they entertain their customers. It’s worth exploring before you purchase.

Six Steps to Choose a Home Appliance Warranty

  1. Determine the Coverage: Jot down the kind of coverage you need. Include exact items you want to be covered. Electrical systems and plumbing are typically covered under a basic home warranty, but you have to shell out for coverage for some other main appliances such as spa or garage door opener.
  2. Shortlist companies:  Visit Compare Home Warranties section to make a list of companies that you like. You can also check with your friends and family members or with a local real estate agent for a list of suggested home warranty providers.
  3. Research Providers and Pricing: Note down the pricing and ratings info for each company. You can also get price estimate of appliance warranty policy in the same section. Visit the official website of each warranty company if you desire.  Jot down the overall annual price for your preferred policy from each company.
  4. Talk to Companies: Contact home warranty company and inquire more about pricing information and a quote if the information isn’t available online or to verify data you received online. Ask how much fee they charge for a service call, and make a note of prices for each company next to policy price information you already listed. Ask about the typical wait times for a technician to know if there will be someone available promptly to help you when you need it. Also inquire if emergency and 24-hour service is available. Observe how they handle their customers.
  5. Read the Fine Print: Evaluate policy and service fee prices as well as service terms offered in the contract. Don’t assume anything. Pre-existing conditions are generally not covered. Few companies also require you to get maintenance & inspection done on HVAC units by a professional every year. But some  companies add lots of fine print clauses so as to exclude coverage on many things. This is the MOST important step among all.
  6. Customer Service: Finally, remember to check the customer service of the company you choose. When you call to inquire, observe how they treat you. Are they well mannered and kind or intolerant and impolite? Do you have to waste a lot of time on hold before getting through to speak to someone? Realize what their hours so you can make out whether there be someone accessible to help you when you call for it. Also, discover who the company employs for repairs. Ensure it’s a company individual you are happy with, and that they are near enough that they will be able to facilitate your repairs in a timely manner.

This video will help you compare home warranty companies.




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 home owners 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. 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 home owners 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 home owners 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 home work. 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 home owners 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 home owners 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 home owner 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 is 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 home owners 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. Home owners caught up in the web of these characters can count on denied claims, shoddy work, unpaid contractors pursuing the home owner for debts the home warranty company owes payment for, and many other unpleasant circumstances.

 

What can home owners 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 home owner 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 to realize 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 HomeWarrantyWiz.com Kevin spends 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 home owners who need help with questions about it.

 




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

Green Advantage Warranty

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

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

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

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

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

About the company

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




This infographic depicts the most basic definition of what a Home Warranty is all about. Although the title says that it is for dummies, we’re sure that even people with average/ above average intelligence can keep up!

Now, an appliance warranty is a form of protection your purchase for your household appliances and systems. It is a contract that offers to provide you discounted repair and replacement services should your device sustain any damages.

Home Warranty Dummies

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Coverage

As you can see in the infographic, all major systems and appliances are covered. Now that would include refrigerator, built in ovens and microwaves, washer/ dryer, HVAC units and major systems like plumbing and electrical units. Additional coverage can always be purchased, so you can rest assured that all your devices can be protected!

How Does Home Warranty Plan Work?

This is how it works. When your covered device gets damaged, you simply place a call to the warranty company explaining your situation. If the damage is not an excluded one, your claim will be taken up. The warranty company then sends a technician to your home to fix the damage.

Claims

Let’s discuss the claims part. Like we said, when you notice a damage, all you need to do is inform the warranty company about it. Did you notice that title saying “Common reasons for claim denials”? Yes it is true. Although this does not happen often, it is still noticed that companies often deny claims. The grounds for claim denial varies from company to company and can be understood only after you go through their policy booklet.

However, common reasons for denial are as follows

  • Insufficient maintenance
  • Improper installation
  • Code violations
  • Unusual wear and tear

Don’t worry too much about it. If you choose a reputable company, chances are low that your claims will be unjustly denied.

Premium and Deductible

Moving on, let’s discuss the premiums and deductibles involved. As the image says, the annual premium for most basic warranty plans are somewhere in the range of $250- $500. This can vary depending on the extent of coverage. Larger the coverage, higher the premium.

Each time you raise an issue, you will be expected to pay a deductible/ service call fee (it’s nominal, around $50). The happy news is that there are some companies offering plans at zero deductible.

So there! That’s what the infographic is all about. Isn’t it an awesome image? Cheers!




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.




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

Top tips for Structural Warranty for Newly constructed homes

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

What is Structural Warranty?

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

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

Is Structural Warranty Necessary for me as a Buyer?

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

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

The Builder’s Perspective

Settling Terms of the Deal

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

A Middleman

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

Value of the Home

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

How Structural Warranty Works

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

What Structural Warranty Covers

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

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

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

The basic coverage usually covers the following:

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

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

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

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

The Cost

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

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

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Home warranties, or home service contracts as they’re more correctly called in Washington and elsewhere in the nation, covers the costs of some repairs that are needed around a house each year.  These repairs are often small things, but even small costs add up.  And then there’s the time taken away from work and family life to deal with the arrangements for the repairs.  So the point of a home service contract is to help save time and money when things around the house stop working properly.  But there’s a catch to the whole thing.  That catch is the quality and availability of professional contractors to do the work required.  

Most established home warranty companies have huge networks of home repair contractors, ones they regularly check for customer satisfaction and overall quality of work.  So customers of big home service contract companies can typically count on there being an abundance of good repair contractors in their areas.  But this does vary when you consider small towns, states with highly rural populations, or crowded metro areas with more customers per square mile than in suburban or rural areas.  With all this under consideration, it pays for home warranty buyers to understand which companies are the top ones in their local areas.  In short, it pays to understand the market for qualified contractors before buying a home warranty.

How to know which is the best home warranty company in Wahington?

Top Home Warranty Companies In The State Of Washington!

Today we will cover the state of Washington.  What’s the home warranty market like for people living in the state of Washington?  That’s today’s topic in our top companies series!

Residents of the state of Washington live close to the heart of the U.S. home warranty industry.  The western part of the country is home to some of the largest and oldest home warranty companies.  And the homeowners out west are typically more knowledgeable about using home warranties too.  Between the savvy consumers and the abundance of choices, there is a thriving market for these service contracts for homeowners.

Among the most popular companies in Washington are ones you’ll find in our top ten companies list.  But there are also companies such as Fidelity National Home Warranty which fall outside of HomeWarrantyReviews.com’s top ten companies, by our website’s users’ ratings.  According to Google, one of the most searched companies in the home warranty space among search engine users in Washington is Fidelity National Home Warranty.  And though search volume is not an indication of sales volume it’s still worth noting that we don’t necessarily capture all the data needed to say for sure which companies are selling the most home warranties in individual states.  So as you read on, please keep in mind that these top companies are a reflection of what you’ll find in our website’s users’ reviews and company ratings.

American Home Shield

According to HomeWarrantyReviews.com’s statistics, ratings and reviews accumulated for many years now, homeowners in the state of Washington overwhelmingly prefer American Home Shield.  We reached out to the company for comment after discovering this to be the case.

Mike Clear, VP of Operations at AHS weighed in on what he believes is behind American Home Shield’s success in Washington.

“Homeowners in Washington expect and deserve outstanding service and value. At American Home Shield, our employees and network of local service contractors proudly provide both, each and every day. When things break down, we solve problems, plain and simple. This means being there when you need us most; making sure you have convenient access to technicians who have the expertise to diagnose and repair covered items; and protecting your budget against unexpected repair costs. We founded the home warranty industry 45 years ago, and no one pays more in servicing claims or protects more customers than American Home Shield.”
AHS is by far the largest company in the industry today.  So in some ways it makes sense to see them on nearly every top companies list we publish here on HomeWarrantyReviews.com.  But there’s something to keep in mind when you consider that the company that’s the biggest also has the most customers.  And that something is customer satisfaction.  Though no company keeps every customer happy all the time, AHS has done an extraordinarily good job pleasing its customers who post reviews here on our website.  So whether you’re in Washington or elsewhere in the U.S., American Home Shield is one you should probably include in your list when comparing home warranty companies.

2-10 Home Buyers Warranty

Based in Colorado, 2-10 Home Buyers Warranty has been serving American homeowners for almost four decades.  Like American Home Shield, 2-10 is one of the top companies in the industry in terms of longevity and number of customers.  In addition to providing home service contracts, 2-10 also sells home warranties in the true legal sense, meaning the contract covers defects in the builder’s work or materials.

As one of the original companies in the home warranty industry, 2-10 has a presence across the U.S. and an expansive network of professionals serving its customer’s repair needs.

Home Warranty of America

As part of the Direct Energy family of companies, Home Warranty of America brings its home service contract offering to the western U.S. via its network of regional sales representatives.  HWA assists real estate professionals and homeowners with many different scenarios in which coverage of home repairs are important.  This includes periods in which a house is listed for sale or has just been purchased, as well as longer periods of time in which an owner of a home would want to offset the costs of repairs due to an unexpected system or appliance breakdowns.

We reached out to them for a comment about their service to Washington residents, and Monica O’Neill, HWA Product Manager, had this to say.

Home Warranty of America has experienced tremendous growth in recent years and we are very grateful for our loyal customers. We truly enjoy providing reliable solutions and being a home warranty partner to real estate agents and homeowners across the great State of Washington.”

Customers of Home Warranty of America have the security of working with a home service contract provider backed by a big parent company, well known in the energy space.  And financial stability is one of two of the most important things to look for in a home warranty provider.

That wraps up our short list of top companies in the state of Washington.  Come back here soon for new articles about companies providing home service contracts in other parts of the country.

Readers in Washington, if you have a company you’d like to give a shout out to, please do so in the comments below!  If you represent a home warranty company doing good things in Washington, please feel free to mention your company in the comments below as well.