Top 4 Tips To Cleaning Your Rooftop

Tired of seeing your roof green, stained and covered in leaves or in snow? Of all the home maintenance, spring cleaning, repairs and errands a homeowner is fated to, roof cleaning can be one of the most tiresome. Doing a balancing act on the shingles with a broom, a blower and a hose, scrubbing off algae and making sure you don’t have rats and raccoons – it’s not a particularly fun way to spend your Sunday mornings. Unfortunately, keeping your roof clean, damage free and well fitted is of utmost importance, especially when it comes to increasing the life of the tiles and shingles and preventing seepage.

Top tips to clean your roof

Aesthetics of a clean and shiny roof aside, roofs made of asphalt, wood, tiles or shingles all need to be kept dry and clean if you want them to last a good twenty years or so – and it is recommended to replace them altogether every few decades.

Dangerous Or Just An Eyesore?

For starters, one of the primary issues are algae, moss and other parasitic growths. Being exposed to the elements constantly, it is inevitable that the existence of air and water are more than enough to cause things to grow on your roof. Adding to that, limestone fillings and wood beams act as perfect hosts for mold.

Slowly eating into your fillers, wood and drains, the strength of your roof itself is at risk, not to mention the gaps that will appear and cause leaks and seepage issues for the inside of your home as well.

Identifying The Problem

There are three primary growths possible on the surface of roof – algae, moss and lichen.

If you have noticed streaks and stains of black on your roof, then algae is the issue you have to tackle. Reproducing rapidly as long as they get moisture and sun, they tend to fasten themselves to the shingles and feed on limestone, undoing the secured shingles from their place.

A growth that actually stems from the algae itself, lichen is light green and fundamentally a fungal growth. Though it doesn’t hold much water, it does eat away at the top layer of the shingle with time because of its acidic nature.

Last we have moss, a much darker green and dense in appearance. Moss and lichen are much stronger than algae and aren’t easily washed off, the former holding water and soil within its structure that may create an environment for even larger weeds to grow on the shingle surface.

How To Fix It

Roof cleaning can be done in one of three ways.

You can choose to go the complete replacement way – which can be expensive and sometimes unnecessary all together. Even if you have the money, know that replacement is not a permanent solution and the shingles will need maintaining whether they are old or new.

Next, you can hire a professional cleaning agency. Pros – it’s easy, safety is not an issue as they know what they are doing, and technical expertise will help get rid of the problem for an extended period of time, if not permanently. Cons – of course, it is more expensive than doing it yourself and if you don’t check up on how they clean, it is possible that you are being charged for more, or the cleaning is being done with chemicals which will later harm other parts of the house and garden.  

Lastly (and yes, we will tell you everything you need to know on how to do it!) you can choose to clean it yourself. Depending on how handy you are with basic tools, cleaning supplies and a little manual labor, DIY roof cleaning is really that extensive of a task, and it can easily be tackled on a free Sunday morning.

Dos & Don’ts Of DIY Roof Cleaning

Tip 1: The Right Time

Not humid and yet not too hot and sunny, pick the right day to climb up and scrub your roof clean. Humidity or a slight drizzle can make the roof slippery and unmanageable, simultaneously washing off the cleaning agent before it can work its magic. On the other hand, a hot and sunny afternoon can make the solution dry too fast, again not allowing it to act.

Tip 2: Safety Before All Else

If you haven’t done it before, you should know that walking around on a sloped shingled surface can be an art in itself. Before you worry about the right cleaning agent and scrub to use, make sure you have a sturdy ladder and preferably someone to keep watch, non-slip boots with a good grip and maybe even knee pads.

Cover up to save yourself from unnecessary scrapes, cuts and insect bites, especially since the chances of rusted metal nails and clasps are rather high.

Tip 3: A Quick Sweep

Use a simple broom to clean off the leaves and large debris that has collected on the flat areas and in the drainage points of the roof, letting you get a better look at what’s underneath. Don’t try using a rake or any sharp implement as that can damage the shingles, and make sure to sweep in the same direction that the shingles are laid, so as to make sure you don’t land up raising them in the process.

Next, get on work-gloves and clear off the drains, running water through them if necessary.

Tip 4: Choosing The Right Cleaning Solution

This will require a little bit of research, a knowledge of what material your roof is made of and filled in with, and what is causing the damage.

Not wanting to do this every few weeks and have the product at least last a year, it is a good idea to invest in a product that handles algae, moss, weather wear and tear, and damage because of the elements. Additionally, you can choose to coat your shingles or use zinc strips.

If the product sounds too good to be true, then it probably is – cleaning solutions and sprays that claim to solve all your roof damage problems with one swift coat for example are not an option. Pick a solution that is environmentally friendly and doesn’t cause long term harm to the hard wood beams or plants in your garden.

Another way to go is make your own, saving you money and allowing you to control exactly what is going into the cleaning process. One recipe is a mixture of heavy duty bleach (not the one that is for domestic use, but instead the one that you’ll find in a hardware or pool store), dish soap to thicken the bleach and act as a cleaning agent, and hot water to bind it all together. Use a simple garden spray tank to hose the roof with the solution, and wait for it to dry onto the shingles completely. Once dry, then hose it off with just water to make sure all the chemical is washed off.

Not All At Once

You’ll have to be there in person for the entire process, and besides the fact that the roof is sloped and shingled, you are now adding a soapy solution to the mix – a recipe for disaster if you don’t do it right!

Make sure you do one section of the roof at a time, allowing it to dry, be hosed off and dry again before you move to the next section, giving you dry ground to stand on as you move.

The Last Step

Once you’re done, zinc strips can help keep the shingles clean and sparkly for extended amounts of time – some may even say forever! Cost efficient and not too difficult to install, zinc strips fitted to the top of your roof cause metal ions to flow down the surface of the shingles when it rains, killing the lichen and algae and keeping the roof damage free.

More Than Just Cleaning

DIY tips and tricks, maintenance dos and don’ts, and even hiring professionals are all well and good, but even so the bother of service and repair looms over our heads.

While smaller issues such as algae and lichen can be handled right at home, rooftop damage can be a painstaking thing to deal with. From termite infestation to seepage and material damage, one way to make sure you are secure when it comes to such repair costs is Home Warranty.

Functioning much like insurance but with a much wider range of coverage –appliances in your home as well as the structure of the building itself – Home Warranty takes responsibility for all your repair needs.

Get your own estimate using the Home Maintenance Calculator on the HomeWarrantyReviews.com website and get an approximation of how much your home will cost you in repairs, just by feeding in a few simple details. Giving you a comparison between the cost of Home Warranty and that of maintaining it yourself, warranty keeps you prepared for unexpected servicing costs and keeps you covered when it comes to tasks you cannot always do yourself.






Freon is not as common a word in the American lexicon as it used to be.  And that is greatly due to the phase out of the product that started decades ago. That common household name was once the main chemical component in central heating and cooling systems, but that started to gradually change in 1987 when the U.S. government decided to gradually get rid of the ozone damaging chemical. That chemical, technically referred to as r-22, is only a handful of years away from the end of its U.S. phase out timeline.

What does this mean for you as a homeowner?

Your home’s air conditioner, when it’s working the way it should, does not need added coolant.  But like most machines, the ideal condition and the real world condition of the average central heating and cooling system differ.

Cost of Freon

 

People who have recently discovered leaks in their older HVAC systems will already be aware that it’s getting more expensive to recharge the coolant. As less r-22 is available to technicians and homeowners the costs will probably continue to increase. Here’s what I learned about this trend and what we all may expect in the future.

Some U.S. homeowners are immune to the problem of rising Freon costs. Newer homes, particularly ones built after 2010, typically have HVAC systems that use newer coolants, ones that will be around for a long time and are produced and distributed in greater quantities. But those of us with the older systems face a dilemma. Do we upgrade to a newer HVAC system, a decision that involves lots of out of pocket costs, or do we continue to accept the rising expense of recharging the coolant in leaking systems that regularly require a refill?

How do I decide whether to convert my existing HVAC system to run with the new coolant type, replace the system entirely or just leave things alone?

After researching this myself I concluded that the most cost effective choice is to leave the existing system in place at least until 2020, but that is only true if the system is running well and not leaking coolant. I also believe that a system that requires some component repair or replacement but does not leak is cheaper to keep than replace. I found that to be true after looking at the prices of replacement parts. Long after r-22 is no longer made there will still be new parts manufactured for the older systems. Those parts will not contain any coolant though.  That is the most important thing to consider when making your own decision. At what point is it more expensive and time consuming to find a technician or coolant source still carrying the old coolant type? That will likely vary from one area of the U.S. to another. But keep in mind that some of that coolant will still be available in the form of reclaimed product, taken out of systems and reused, for years to come.

What if the system is leaking heavily or near to failing?

If your HVAC system is in poor condition then you may be better off trying to find a way to afford the cost of replacing the entire system. I arrived at that conclusion after examining the costs of replacing individual components of an older system. And here is the real problem with continuing to fix that old system. The newer coolant type, r410a, does not work with older systems. Trying to convert a system from r-22 to r410a is highly impractical. The system pressure is higher for r410a, the lubricant type is different and overall it’s a throwing good money after bad to even attempt a conversion for most homeowners.

So what is best for someone on a tight budget whose HVAC system is leaking and doesn’t appear to have much time left before things start breaking?

Anyone in this situation who plans to keep the house for more than a few years should think seriously about financing options. Some local utility companies and some HVAC installers offer financing options. And in some instances the monthly payments may be very reasonable. On the other hand a homeowner who does not intend to keep the house much longer can’t look at such a hefty cost as a good idea unless the new HVAC system will result in an equal or greater boost in the sales price of the house.

There’s another thing to consider in all of this. If your system is leaking heavily then it’s not just costing money to recharge. It’s also releasing a chemical into the air in your house and ultimately into the atmosphere.  And there is a good reason that the chemical was marked for phasing out in the first place. It certainly isn’t helping the environment to have it being released into the air from lots of older homes. For some homeowners that, coupled with the greater efficiency of newer HVAC systems from an energy use standpoint, is enough to make the cost of the new system acceptable.




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

The Cost of Appliance Repair – Are they worth Repairing?

Average appliance repair costs

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

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

How Much Does Replacing or Repairing an Appliance Cost?

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

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

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

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

What is a Home Warranty

Get Covered!

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

Cost to Repair Appliances 2012

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

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

Cost to Repair Appliances – General Information

The cost estimate includes:

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

The cost estimate does not include:

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

Appliance Maintenance

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

Example:

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

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



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

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

Do I need extended warranty?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Buying Extended WarrantySource: CBS News

Extended Warranty vs. Home Warranty

extended warranty vs home warranty

Things to keep in mind

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

  • Contract Terms and Conditions

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

  • Term of coverage

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

  • Extra charges

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

  • Comparison shopping

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

  • Credit card benefits

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

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




Moved into a new home recently? Congrats! We hope the new home brings you loads of happiness. While you might not have started enjoying your new home yet, we’re sure you’ll settle in quickly. Now, this brings us to the topic at hand – what are the most vital elements for a functional kitchen?

Kitchen Appliances

 

If you are a first-time homeowner, things may seem too much to handle, but believe us, by the end of this article, you’ll know exactly what you’ll need for your kitchen.

Before we begin, let us make it clear that we are going to provide you with a list of things that will make your kitchen “functional” and not completely equipped. Only the most essential things will be described in this list. So, if you are a budding chef, this may not be the list you want ;).

So, in no particular order, here goes-

1.  Stove/Induction Cooker

The very idea of having a kitchen is that you can cook your food, which is hard to achieve without a stove or an induction cook-top. Of late, people have been favoring induction cook-tops owing to their many, many advantages. Primarily because they come in compact sizes, generate less heat and do not require gas to function. It also has the added advantage that it is portable. That said, there are still folks who believe that a stove with a fire in it is essential for four walls to become a home.

Give it some thought and depending on the amount of cooking you plan to do, select which type of and what sized stove/induction cook-top you want.

2. Refrigerator

Can’t do without this one either. Nobody can guarantee that you’ll finish all the food you cook. So unless you are heartless enough to simply throw the excess food away, we recommend that you get a refrigerator. Besides, you’ll need a fridge to store some of your groceries, milk, vegetables, fruits and other basic edibles, as most of them decay quickly unless kept chilled.

Thankfully, refrigerators come in all sizes and power ratings. This means that there are plenty of options available in the market to suit your budget and your refrigeration needs.

3. Microwave Oven

Well, you’ll need to heat up all that food you refrigerated, right? Third on this list is the microwave oven which can also multitask as a cooking, baking and grilling appliance should you choose to buy a high-end model. Microwave ovens became a really popular by the 1980’s and in no time became a household staple.

Microwave ovens too come in various sizes and features making it easy for you to pick the one that suits your needs. Mind you, if you get an oven, you may need to buy some special microwave safe containers too.

4. Water Purifier

Unless you plan to boil liters and liters of water using up copious amounts of gas/electricity, investing in a good water purifier may not be a bad idea. It is strongly advised that you don’t skimp on your water purifier because the quality of water you drink largely decides how healthy you will be. Besides, boiling water may not remove harmful chemicals that could potentially damage your kidneys.

5. Blender/Food Processor

Food processors and blenders help save you tons of cash on canned purees and pastes. Besides, nothing matches the flavor provided by freshly ground purees and pastes. If you think you don’t want to buy an expensive food processor right away, opt for a counter-top mixer instead. The high-end mixers often come with features like a chopper, grinder etc that would help you save time in cooking but could be a little expensive.

Don’t Just Buy Them, Maintain Them!

Keeping any appliance in good working order requires regular, if not frequent, maintenance checks and cleaning. We have a host of articles on how to keep your household appliances well conditioned. We recommend that you begin with a checklist for maintaining your refrigerator. You could also look into our article on the list of appliances that makes a homeowner’s life easier.

 




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.

 




Your home is the center of your everyday life and possibly your most valued asset. When your home is destroyed or damaged, you want your claim sorted out by an insurance company that realizes this simple fact. A right homeowners’ insurance company best meets your needs and provides you with the most valuable blend of quality service, custom-made coverage, and fair pricing in policies.

Am I Required To Have Home Insurance If I Own A Home?

Depending on where you live – an apartment, house, or condominium – the right home insurance plan can give you peace of mind along with the money you need to replace or repair your home and/or stuff. Home insurance policies vary by the type of coverage you choose, the losses covered and the type of residence you own. You pick a policy that is best for you, whether it’s an all-inclusive policy that covers losses such as smoke, fire, falling objects, and theft of personal property, or whether it’s a policy that covers specified losses.

New age policies for American Homeowner

Your home insurance plan is made up of the precise options you select. The amount you pay for your policy depends on what coverage you buy, how much you want to cover, and where you set your limits. There are many types of homeowners policies available when once you decide to be a homeowner or not. The most significant part of homeowners insurance is the level of coverage. Avoid paying for more than you require. Below are the most common levels of coverage.

  •  HO-1 & HO-2 – Broad policy that guards against 16 perils that are stated in the policy
  •  HO-3 – Covers the structure against all perils except those specifically excluded by the policy
  •  HO-4 – If you rent or lease your home, you need a renters policy to cover your personal property and liability
  • HO-5 – Premium policy that guards newer, well-maintained homes; it covers against all perils except those specifically excluded by the policy
  •  HO-6 – Insurance for co-ops/condominiums, which includes liability coverage, personal property coverage, and coverage of improvements to the owner’s unit
  • HO-7 – Similar to an HO-3 policy, but for mobile homes
  •  HO-8 – Policy particularly for older homes, with similar coverage to an HO-2 policy. However, it only covers actual cash value. In Florida, many insurers are offering this policy

Comprehending Your Policy

As insurance policies come in many shapes and sizes, the same is true for insurance companies and agents, who can charge different rates for the same coverage. Bigger insurers are not always better and small don’t essentially have the best customer service. So, it’s always good to shop around for the top deals and ask the precise questions in an attempt to know what you are really receiving.

Prior to signing on the dotted line, you should understand that not all homeowners policies are the same. This is always one of the most common misinterpretations about insurance. According to a survey, more than a third of the homeowners said they did not have or didn’t identify if they had adequate homeowners insurance coverage. In 2005, after Hurricane Katrina affected the city of New Orleans, and again in 2012, when Superstorm Sandy damaged numerous communities in New York and New Jersey, thousands of worried survivors got a rude shock when they found their standard homeowners’ policies did not cover flood damage.

Additional Insurance And Endorsements

Many catastrophic events are not covered in the basic homeowner’s policy, but they are still insurable and require additional levels of insurance. In some cases, homeowners need entirely different policies, which are usually several times costlier than the typical homeowners’ premium. Some homes are situated in high-risk areas such as flood, hurricanes and earthquake zones, which make buying additional insurance a top priority for these homeowners. Instead of the usual $250 to $1,000 deductible under basic coverage, you have to shell out 1 to 5% of your home’s insured value (up to 10% in Florida).

Hurricane season is an old threat for many residents living along the southeastern coast of the U.S. Hurricane Matthew, which made arrival on Oct 8, 2016, left an expected $6 billion worth of property loss in its devastation across states such as Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, and Virginia. If you live in a region that is prone to hurricanes, you must have certain emergency plans in place. Homeowners in hurricane-prone areas need to act fast to file damage claims with their insurance firms. For instance, if your home is insured for $200,000 and your plan has a 3% deductible for hurricanes, you will have to expend $6,000 out-of-pocket on a storm-related claim.

Some Popular Endorsements And Extra Policies Include:

  •  Guaranteed Replacement Cost Coverage – A policy that pays to reconstruct your home completely, even if the cost is above your policy limits. You can expect to pay $400 to $1,000 more in premiums each year for this endorsement
  • Inflation Guard – A policy that automatically raises your dwelling coverage limit yearly in proportion to inflation, so that your limits are at least 80% of its value. Incremental premium increases in relation to the limit are often charged when the policy is renewed
  • Personal Umbrella Liability Insurance – A policy that broadly covers assets. It increases your liability coverage above the limits available in any of your “basic” policies, comprising auto, boat, and homeowners insurance. Umbrella coverage can extend to other excluded coverages, such as the invasion of privacy, false arrest, and slander, which can kick in once your primary coverage is exhausted. Premiums for this coverage begin at around $150 to $300 per year for $1 million in coverage, an additional $75 for $2 million, and $50 extra per year for each additional $1 million in coverage
  • Scheduled Personal Property – A policy that covers high-value objects such as stamps, jewelry, coins, antiques, guns, computers, furs, and other items that could go beyond the limits of your homeowner’s policy

Creating Your Home Inventory

When you buy a homeowners insurance policy, one of the must have insurance policies, you must prepare the latest home inventory to speed up a claim settlement if you ever need to make one. A complete home inventory, help your insurance company verify the property easier, which in turn makes settling your claim easy. Additionally, you can validate losses for your income tax return with the latest home inventory without any hassles.

For many homeowners, insurance is something to be thought of again, i.e., until the worst occurs. Homeowners who wait until they experience a loss before assessing their own policies do not get the full value – may be little value – out of their incalculable premium payments.

Homeowners insurance is a monetary agreement, but it should also be treated as a living entity to be cherished over time. By reading your policy wisely, shopping around for the suitable agent, comprehending your coverage limits, and create an updated property inventory.




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

Insurance Claims

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

Here is the excerpt:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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American Home Shield is one of the most widely acclaimed and also the biggest player in the home warranty industry. With over 40 years of experience in caring for its patrons, AHS has established itself as a leading home protection plan company. While the company is highly reputable, there have been cases where lawsuits were filed against the company and some of them have resulted in AHS agreeing for settlements. One such lawsuit against American Home Shield resulted in a settlement, even though the company did not admit any illegal behavior or liability in the settlement.

Did AHS Really Violate RESPA Act?

During the settlement of two lawsuits against AHS in which the company was accused of paying kickbacks to real estate brokers to promote their service plans, the company was allegedly trying to protect the brokers and agents from any legal responsibilities.

On that subject, American Home Shield, the nation’s largest provider of home warranties, has stated that the payments they made to real estate brokers to market its products, did not violate the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, or RESPA.

The company admitted to no wrongdoing but has currently agreed to pay up to $26 million to determine allegations that the payments violated RESPA.

AHS put an optimistic spin on the settlement and released brokers and agents involved from any form of liability. This supported the company’s position as its current broker compensation program; ProConnect is in accordance with RESPA guidelines and regulations.

About 500,000 homebuyers and sellers who procured warranties between May 27, 2008, and March 4, 2011, may be qualified to collect an average of $52 each under the terms of the settlement.

 

Edleson Class Action Suit

Edleson v. American Home Shield filed a lawsuit in California Superior Court in San Diego in July 2007. The California court declined a proposed settlement of Edleson v. American Home Shield, which would have formed a review desk for homeowners to resubmit earlier denied claims.

The court hearing the Edleson case expressed concern that AHS would have the right to readjudicate claims, and the consumers included in the settlement would be giving up “possible” and “realistic” rights in exchange for the hope that a defendant that has supposedly not acted on good faith” before”, would do so.

After the proposed Edleson settlement was declined, American Home Shield reached tentative settlement in Faught v. American Home Shield, which also called for a review desk for consumers to resubmit claims.

The proposed Faught settlement was opposed by 24 homeowners and by the Texas Attorney General’s Office.

Faught Class Action Suit

The settlement was the outcome of a class-action lawsuit filed by Laura and Steven Faught against AHS in support of people in the US who procured or were issued a home service contract from AHS on July 24, 2001 throughout October 19, 2009. As part of the agreement, AHS decided to set up a review desk to reflect on claims from settlement class members whose claims were declined during the class period.

The Faught lawsuit suspected that American Home Shield engaged in a pattern and practice of failing to accomplish its contractual responsibilities to its customers. This includes declining to provide repair and replacement services to which its customers were entitled and also inappropriately denying claims in the first year of a customer’s home service contracts for “lack of maintenance” (from the Notice of Class Action and Settlement; faughtclassaction.com).

In spite of entering into a settlement, AHS has denied any misconduct or any legal responsibility. However even this claim no of wrongdoing has not prevented a different lawsuit against them. This lawsuit also alleges that American Home Shield was unsuccessful in paying for its customers’ claims.

Guadet Lawsuit

The complaint, filed by Brigette and William Guadet, on June 23, 2011 according to The Louisiana Record (June 30, 2011) alleges AHS of denying claims made by class members under grounds of “lack of maintenance, pre-existing condition, or failure to clean, in spite of not examining the appliances when policies are issued.”
In addition to this, the lawsuit alleges that AHS denies claims because of negligible uncleanness, even if external factors were the cause of the appliance’s breakdown. Plaintiffs allege that contractors were given an additional benefit for declining legal claims. The lawsuit claims violation of agreement and fake misrepresentation. Plaintiffs seek damages in excess of $75,000.
In the meantime, consumers of other home warranty companies have filed lawsuits of their own or may be looking into possible lawsuits, suspecting that their claims were denied improperly.

Abney Class Action Suit

The 2008 Abney v. American Home Shield lawsuit alleged that the company violated the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act through its compensation of real estate brokers with regard to the sale and marketing of home warranties.

American Home Shield strongly denied the allegations made in the lawsuit and chose to resolve the suit due to the potential costs in defending the case. Details on the resolution of this case are available at www.abneyclassaction.com.

The Bottom Line
According to D. Frank Davis, a lead attorney for consumers in both the Abney and Faught cases, the Faught settlements is more favorable to all the class members in a lot of important ways.

Under Faught, individuals whose rejected claim incurred in the first year of their contract and involved a heating or air conditioning unit are likely to have their claim paid on reconsideration because of specific language in the settlement about the standards to be used by the review desk. All the other claims resubmitted are also likely to be paid this time because of the negotiated penalty provisions.




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.




Is the increasing price of home warranty and insurance your concern?

You may be wondering why appliance warranty costs are always on the rise. We know that it is a huge financial strain to keep your expenses within your budget. It therefore comes as no big surprise that the yearly increase in your annual premium or just the cost of procuring a home service contract makes you want to scream.

Naturally, you begin to wonder if it is a good idea to drop home warranty. My dear friend, that may not be a very wise move. With the prices of everything around you skyrocketing, what makes you think that the prices for appliance repairs would drop? Labor charges, material charges and every other charge on the surface of Earth has gone up.

This means that if your appliances stop working, you will be paying quite a huge sum of money to get it repaired. And in another two years, the price may vary significantly. Now, if you had an appliance warranty, you wouldn’t have to pay so much. We suggest that you keep your warranty.

Now we can’t alter the prices for you, that would be difficult (read impossible). But we can explain why the prices have gone up over the years. Before that, let’s tell you what an appliance warranty does.

How A Home Warranty Works

Home service contracts are usually bought for a specific period of time during which expenses incurred for repairing your household devices will be covered. As long as the damage occurs for a covered device in the designated time frame, your only expense will be a nominal service call fee while the expenses for the repairs will be paid by the warranty company.

Why Prices Rise

So, with prices of materials and labor rising each year, is it not natural that the annual premium rises along with it? Yet another significant reason for annual price hike goes like this. As each year passes, your house becomes older and so do the appliances in it. Which means that the chances of them breaking down are also increasing.  So you see, the risk of malfunctions and system damages increase with each passing year. Hence to keep up with things, the warranty companies often hike the rates by a certain percentage. Also, if you make a claim, the annual premium may hike by a small margin in the next year.

We don’t have precise numbers from the appliance warranty industry, but we can get you a glimpse into the hikes in the homeowner’s insurance industry. The figures are often comparable.

Let’s take a look at the places where there is highest hike after a claim is made

Rising Costs of Home Warranty

Now let’s take a look at the places that have lowest hike following a claim.

state with lowest premium

Source – insurancequotes.com

The reasons for these differences are many. The labor and material costs vary from one region to another and contribute to the premium.  The state regulatory requirements can also add to increase in costs.

The average increase in annual premium varies from company to company and therefore you can get price quotes for home warranty companies and compare. Most companies determine the annual premiums based on your location and the age of your house. Sometimes it is also dependent on the number of service requests they take each year.

How to keep your premium low?

  • Make fewer claims. For smaller claims, get the repair done out of your pocket.
  • Get your appliances inspected regularly; especially the heating and cooling appliances should be professionally inspected once every year. This will improve the life expectancy and reduce repair needs. Remember, issues caused due to lack of maintenance are not covered.
  • Do comparison shopping if the premium is excessively high. But make sure you stay with a reliable home warranty company

Numbers from the Industry

The appliance warranty providers industry has exhibited a decent growth over the last few years. The industry revenue is expected to increase at annual rate of 0.4% to $1.8 billion. Their profit stands at $197.4 million with wages amounting up to $176.1million. Over the years, a few providers were acquired or merged by/with their peers.

In the next five years, the industry is expected to show an annual growth rate of 1.8% to become a $2.0 billion industry. It is believed that the recovery of the housing market, home sales and homeownership rates will increase. This in turn may lead to an increased demand for appliance warranty. Also, as the economy improves, incomes and consumer confidences are expected to rise leading to an increased spending on home appliances and other fixtures.

The final word

We certainly hope that you found this article helpful!  We have presented a true description of the industry and its working in the most honest way possible.

Yet we have to say that inspite of all the costs, a home service contract is indeed a very wise purchase if any of the following are true. You can also read our Guide to Home Warranty buyers for further assistance.

As a quick advice, if any of the following are true, it is recommended that you purchase appliance warranty.

  • Your house is over 4 years old.
  • You don’t have time for DIY repairs.
  • You don’t wish to pay up for frequent and expensive repairs.
  • You don’t have a trusted contractor.

Keep in mind that the policy booklet and the contract documents are vital documents. They have to be studied and preserved very carefully to avoid future conflicts and annoyances.




HomeWarrantyReviews.com stands by its commitment to help users buy home warranties intelligently. And here’s some breaking news that we believe we’re the first to report on Delta Home Protect-

The Arizona Department of Insurance has received one or more complaints from Arizona consumers regarding Delta Home Protect. Thus, the Department of Insurance is investigating the matter.

Delta Home Protect (DHP) is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. The company claims to be licensed in 45 states in the USA. Furthermore, the company claims to offer its service programs providing timely and professional assistance to its customers in the time of need and that they work diligently with numerous licensed and certified contractors to ensure peace of mind as they understand the importance of customer satisfaction.

delta home protect not licensed in arizona

However, HomeWarrantyReviews.Com has an insider scoop from the Arizona Department of Insurance which strongly advises all of the consumers of the state of Arizona to exercise extreme caution while doing any financial transactions related to home warranties with DHP.

HomeWarrantyReviews.Com encourages our readers to report any solicitation from an unlicensed home service contract company to the regulatory agency covering such contracts in their respective states. Being proactive will not only help our readers avoid disreputable companies but also help state’s regulators catch unlicensed companies faster. Doing this will help other homeowners, home buyers, realtors, and service repairman by bringing greater awareness about such pressing issues like unlicensed home service contract companies.

In this regard, it is good to skim through our list of home warranty companies which are out of business already. We maintain this list of closed companies in order to help our readers avoid being conned by companies that do not follow the rules. We welcome your feedback, including questions. Readers who need help will be contacted if an email address is provided or addressed here on the site in a comment if no email address is given.




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

Home Warranty Plan

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

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

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

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

How Does the Plan Work?

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

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

Advantages of a Home Warranty Plan

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

Disadvantages

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

Final word

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

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




Are there scams in the home warranty industry?

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

Home Warranty Scams

Though 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.

 




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

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

Difference Between Home Insurance And Home Warranty

difference between home warranty and homeowners insurance

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

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

What Does A Home Warranty Contract Cover?

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

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

Benefits Of Home Warranty Coverage

To The Homeowner

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

To The Seller

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

To The Buyer

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

Home Insurance

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

What Does A Home Insurance Policy Cover?

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

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

Benefits Of Home Insurance

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

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

Cost/Pricing For Both

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

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

How To Choose A Home Warranty?

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

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

How To Make A Claim?

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

How To Choose Home Insurance?

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

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

 




HVAC Maintenance Checklist

 

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

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

Monthly maintenance routine

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

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

Annual maintenance routine

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Hagerstown, Maryland is one of the prime cities in Western Maryland. The Hagerstown-Martinsburg urban area is home to almost 270,000 residents, while the Hagerstown suburban area has over 40,000 people and about 30,000 jobs. Currently, there are approximately 500 homes for sale in Hagerstown at a median listing pricing of nearly $180,000.

Washington-Best-Realtors & properties for sale

The top-rated realtors in Hagerstown are well aware of properties, neighborhoods, and newest for sale listings in the city. The experts can provide you with updated information about home buying and selling trends in Hagerstown. Below is the list of top 5 real estate professionals based on their recent activity, years of experience, and total sales volumes in dollars.

Tina Long

Best-Realtor-in-Washington-DC

Tina is a Realtor with Exit Preferred Realty and licensed in Pennsylvania and Maryland. With an experience of more than three decades, she specializes in short-sale, consulting, and buyer’s agent. She is a proud Member of Pen Mar Regional Association of Realtors, Member of Metropolitan Regional Information System, Member of Realtors Association of York and Adams County, and Member of National Association of Realtors. Tina is an accredited short sales and foreclosure resource (SFR) as she knows how to help sellers maneuver the intricacies of short sales as well as help buyers pursue short sale and foreclosure opportunities. Tina understands that buying or selling a home is one of the most significant things you do in life and she assists in making the experience as smooth and successful as possible. Her extensive experience and expertise in the Hagerstown, Chambersburg, Fayetteville, Greencastle, Mercersburg, and Waynesboro real estate market benefit her customers in their buying and selling process.

If you want to buy a home, Tina and her team can help you find the home of your dreams by patiently listening to your needs. She works untiringly to find the right home so that no one has to compromise when it comes to such a huge purchase and decision! Besides, her real estate knowledge ensures that you get the best price possible for your property. Her strategic marketing program makes sure the right people view your home. Whether you are seeking Homes for Sale or Mortgage information, Tina and team are always available for service by phone, email, or appointments. Experienced in all facets of real estate, Tina enjoys spending time with her children and grandchildren, gardening, riding horses, and taking a hike.

“So if you or someone you know is looking to Buy or Sell a home give me a call. Thinking Real Estate! Think Tina Long!”

Joan McLernon

Top-rated-realtor

Joan possesses more than 33 years of experience in the real estate industry spanning across Residential and Commercial Development in the Washington D.C. Cosmopolitan Area, Property Management, and Certified Buyer and Seller Representation in the Western Maryland and South Central Pennsylvania neighborhoods. A consistent multi-million producer, she can assist first-time buyers and people scaling up or down with their home size or moving to a new area. Joan is skilled in all facets of real estate including but not limited to equestrian or farm properties, urban, suburban or rural homes, historic properties, primary or second homes, and Country Properties. Currently a part of the management team at Coldwell Banker Innovations, she operates mainly in Hagerstown, Boonsboro, Braddock Heights, Clear Spring, Funkstown, Sharpsburg, Chambersburg, Mercersburg, Greencastle, Waynesboro, Knoxville, Fairplay, Saint James and more. Joan believes that experience and understanding are priceless when purchasing or selling a home and hence she provides the right guidance to attain your real estate goal.

An alumna of the University of Buffalo, Joan is constantly acknowledged as one the area’s leading real estate professionals. She has served as President of PenMar Regional Association of Realtors providing guidance for the local membership to boost their abilities and opportunities to prosper through cooperation, participation, promotion of professional integrity and moral standards, and providing educational opportunities to further their careers. She is also engaged in teaching the Introduction to Real Estate licensing course at Hagerstown Community College. Joan has steadily maintained a multi-million dollar award winning sales position in the top 10% each year. She has won the following awards:

  • 2007 Realtor of the Year, PenMar Regional Association of Realtors
  • Rookie Realtor of the Year, O’Conor Piper & Flynn

Call, email or text JOAN anytime with real estate queries you may have.

Mike Baldwin

Top-class-realtor-for-sale

Mike has spent more than two decades working in the real estate industry serving the needs of both the residential and commercial market. He is a resident of the Frederick and Washington County neighborhood and displays an amazing sense of leadership and integrity in everything he does. Mike received his Bachelor of Science from the University of Maryland University College and operates mainly in areas such as Hagerstown, Adamstown, Saint James, Brunswick, Boonsboro, Middletown, Smithsburg, Keedysville, Ijamsville, Williamsport, Maugansville, New Market, Point Of Rocks, Thurmont, Cascade, Cavetown and more. After spending his initial 17 years with Mackintosh Realtors, a local independent firm in Maryland, Mike established Atlantic Real Estate in January 2013 and since then is building a business model that incorporates the customary services expected from a real estate brokerage firm while combining state-of-the-art technology and advanced ideas. Atlantic Real Estate manages all aspects of real estate including property management, buyer & seller representation, real estate investor strategies & planning, professional marketing & sales, consulting & advisory services, land development, and new home sales & marketing. He established Atlantic Home Construction in 2015 after renovating & remodeling investment properties for many years. The company builds custom new homes and remodels existing homes for resale.

In 2016, Mike established Atlantic Companies, recognizing the void between the real estate and building industries. Atlantic Companies is comprised of a real estate division (Atlantic Real Estate) and a construction division (Atlantic Home Construction) along with other ventures. This allows both divisions to work together providing superior quality and long-term value, forward-thinking ideas, and honest customer care.

Mike’s commitment to work responsibilities sets him apart from the rest and has helped him achieve the following:

  • Owner/Broker/Realtor® – Atlantic Real Estate
  • Accredited Certified Residential Specialist, CRS®
  • Accredited Seniors Real Estate Specialist®, SRES®
  • Accredited Graduate REALTOR® Institute, GRI®
  • Member of National Association of Realtors, NAR®
  • Member of Maryland Association of Realtors, MAR®
  • Member of Frederick County Association of Realtors, FCAR®
  • Member of PenMar Association of Realtors®
  • Licensed in Maryland & South Carolina

In addition, Mike has earned the following:

  • Acquired Associate Broker status obtained by only 1% of Realtors nationwide
  • Achieved sales consistently exceeding personal and company goals
  • Consistent top-producing agent in Maryland
  • Winner of numerous real estate awards: “1996 Rookie of the Year” and “Frederick County Hall of Fame”
  • Represent several local builders with marketing, sales, and planning
  • Consistent Top Realtor in Frederick and Washington County
  • Manager/Team Leader to include sales associate(s) and assistant(s)
  • Platinum Award
  • Platinum Team Award
  • Round Table Award
  • Gold Club Member
  • Silver Club Member

Karen Horejs

Real-Estate=Proffesional-in-Washington-DC

A licensed agent with Keller Williams Premier Realty, Karen serves neighborhoods such as Hagerstown, Clear Spring, Chambersburg, Fort Loudon, McConnellsburg, Mercersburg, Orrstown, Williamsport, Boonsboro, Shippensburg, Waynesboro and more. Whether working with a first-time buyer or a seasoned homeowner, she believes in striving for excellence. Her specialties include short-sale, investors, senior real estate consumers, residential, distressed homeowners, luxury homes, listing agent, and relocation. After graduating from Mercyhurst College, Karen spent 25 years as a registered nurse in Erie, PA. When her husband relocated to the Cumberland Valley around 17 years ago, her 5 children were very young. Her passion for bringing the best to a community led her to get involved with the local Boy Scouts of America. She held numerous leadership positions such as Cubmaster and leading district training events. Later she also became a board member of the Mason-Dixon Council as Vice President of Cub Scout Program. Karen is a recipient of the Silver Beaver Award which is the highest Council award and her 4 sons have earned their Eagle Scout award. Her daughter is the pharmacist at the local Greencastle CVS and one of her sons is a pilot for the United States Coast Guard.

Karen’s expert skills along with hard working attitude and interest in marketing led her to pursue a career in real estate in 2004. In her very first year of service, she was awarded PenMar’s Rookie of the Year. Since then, she has continued to be a top volume producer. “Helping people with one of the biggest decisions of their life is such an honor. Being their advocate and making their move as easy as possible are my goals. People look to us for guidance with life changes and this is a responsibility that we cannot take lightly. I BELIEVE that Realtors who base their practice on the latest guidelines and marketing principles are “doing their best” for their clients and their client outcomes are then optimized.” Karen helps the first-time buyers by making them understand the assets and liabilities of a property. She believes that preparing the home for selling and staging the house are critical when buyers are so selective. Premium virtual tours are her specialty.

Finding Keller Williams, the second largest Real Estate Company in the US has been impeccable for Karen’s wish to be the best. Working at Keller Williams has offered her the following:

  • Top of the line marketing for her clients
  • State-of-the-art technology
  • An environment where agents collaborate and synergize and most importantly a culture of giving back through KW Cares

Karen has earned the following designations and certifications:

  • Accredited Buyers Representative (ABR)
  • Certified Residential Specialist (CRS)
  • NAR’s e-PRO
  • Graduate, Realtor Institute (GRI)
  • Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES)
  • Certified Distressed Property Expert (CDPE)
  • Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist (CLHMS)

“My mission is to always “DO MY BEST” in providing professional real estate services to you the buyer or seller!”

Kari Shank

Realtors-REMAX-in-Washington-DC

Kari Shank is a full-time realtor with RE/MAX Achievers and licensed in Maryland, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania. She is keen in making your real estate transactions as seamless as possible. She is a permanent resident of Washington County, MD and also has great exposure to the Washington and Baltimore areas. Kari loves working with both buyers and sellers and always takes a tailored approach to the business. Besides, she works as a buyer’s agent emailing you with new listings, setting up custom home searches, negotiating deals, and setting up custom home searches on your behalf! She has a proven track record selling real estate and is available to you seven days a week to answer any of your concerns. Kari has a long list of clientele as she carefully listens to understand the goals and guides them through the complete process of selling their property from listing to sale.

With nearly 11 years of distinguished service, Kari has won the following awards:

  • REMAX Platinum Club Award 2014 & 2015
  • 100% Club Award 2013
  • REMAX Top Listing Agent
  • REMAX Top Sales Agent
  • Presidents Club Award
  • Executives Club Award

Kari is mainly active in neighborhoods such as Hagerstown, Middletown, Smithsburg, New Market, Falling Waters, Boonsboro, Adamstown, Chambersburg, Shepherdstown, Brunswick, Clear Spring, Fairplay, Frederick, Keedysville, Maugansville, Myersville, Sharpsburg, Williamsport, Greencastle, Waynesboro, and Martinsburg. Her skills include sellers, buyers, first-time buyers, relocation, condos/townhomes, short sales, foreclosures, investment properties, and new construction. She is very active in the real estate community serving on the PenMar REALTOR® Association’s YPN Group and as a presenter at the Hagerstown Home Store. As a certified distressed property expert (CDPE), Kari is proficient in effective short sale negotiations. “If you must sell and the current value of your home is no longer enough to satisfy your mortgage a short sale can be a wonderful opportunity to avoid foreclosure. I have worked on many of these sales and would be glad to help you consider your options.” An alumna of University of Maryland College Park, Kari is interested in historic properties, music, photography, traveling, animal rights, and vegetarianism.

“Just tell me what you are looking for and I will search all of my sources and provide you with a convenient report of all the properties that you may be interested in complete with photographs of the properties and detailed neighborhood information.” Kari guarantees to advertise through multiple sources, competitive commission rates, and guides you through your next move! Call her today for more information on the current market.

For Sale : Take Away

It is not surprising that homeowners often wonder whether home warranty is more cost-effective than the actual repair expenses. Top home warranty review, rating, and comparison website, HomeWarrantyReviews.com has introduced Home Maintenance Calculator to better make an informed decision in purchasing a home warranty. There is also a widget code for all the realtors out there to use it on their websites and blog posts. This is a nice to have feature and sends out the right signal for all of the potential customers coming your way! (<iframe src=”https://www.homewarrantyreviews.com/home-maintenance-widget”></iframe>)




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

Top tips for Structural Warranty for Newly constructed homes

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

What is Structural Warranty?

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

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

Is Structural Warranty Necessary for me as a Buyer?

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

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

The Builder’s Perspective

Settling Terms of the Deal

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

A Middleman

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

Value of the Home

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

How Structural Warranty Works

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

What Structural Warranty Covers

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

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

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

The basic coverage usually covers the following:

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

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

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

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

The Cost

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

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

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If you are a homeowner in Ohio, this is an article that can’t miss! Your home is probably the biggest investment in your life and you know it takes time and money to keep it running well. We’re sure that you would’ve considered a home warranty plan to save yourself hundreds of dollars in repairs and replacements. But are you sure you know about the best companies in your locality? This is why you need to know about the best home warranty companies in Ohio.

Home Warranty Companies In Ohio

Best Appliance Warranties In Ohio

 

Being the 10th most densely populated state in the country, Ohio does have numerous players in the home warranty sector. Yet, some companies have managed to outshine others with exceptional services and great products. You may already be knowing that our website ranks companies based on feedback collected from actual customers. We have also used these reviews to come up with the best home warranty companies in the country. So, based on said reviews, here are the companies that top the list of best appliance warranty providers in Ohio-

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

We’d like to provide you some more details about the companies in this list. HomeWarrantyReviews.com has a detailed page for every company listed with us and we also have a statewise list of companies. So if you have friends and family in other states, do tell them to pay us a visit for getting their home warranty needs to be addressed.

1. American Home Shield (AHS)

American Home Shield (AHS) is a company that laid the foundation of the home warranty industry, Since its inception in 1971, American Home Shield has always been a popular choice among American homeowners. AHS has a nationwide footprint with even some parts of Canada being included in their coverage.

Being one of the first companies to sell warranty products, their experience is close to unmatched. All AHS home warranty plans are designed to cover major appliances and systems at reasonable prices. A typical AHS warranty plan would cost somewhere between $249 – $500+ and the deductible per service visit would cost somewhere between $75 – $125. The company maintains a massive contractor network of over 11,000 skilled and licensed technicians who are selected after a careful screening process. AHS, like most of the top players, maintains around the clock customer service facility and also runs an online claims submission program. Backed by strong reviews, this is one company that totally deserves to be on top of this list.

2. The Home Service Club

Home Service Club or HSC, is a company who considers themselves innovators in the field of home warranty. HSC’s primary focus has always been on providing the best possible service to their customers. The company’s coverage spans 48 states across the country. HSC believes that the frequent surveys and customer feedback programs they conduct are the reason why they are able to stay on top of their game.

HSC’s plans do not mandate a home inspection, neither do they place a restriction on the age of the appliances. A standard plan from HSC will cost around $400 and the deductible per service visit is charged between $65 – $125.

3. Select Home Warranty

Yet another company with huge popularity in Ohio is Select Home Warranty (SHW). Select has a vast national network of contractors and is also a company with a commendable tenure in the home warranty industry. Headquartered in New Jersey, this company covers anything from rental properties and condos to mobile homes.

For homeowners in Ohio, SHW provides three types of home warranty plans each varying in the level of coverage. On an average, SHW’s plans are priced between $299 – $599 and most plans have a service call fee of $60. This is yet another company that does not place a restriction on the age of appliances, neither do they mandate a home inspection.

4. HSA Home Warranty

HSA is a company with close to 30 years experience in the home warranty industry and they also have immensely positive reviews from their customers. Headquartered in Wisconsin, HSA believes that their success is attributed to the problem-solving capabilities and the commitment of their team.

Their primary product, the appliance warranty plan, comes in two variants for Ohio homeowners and they cost between $589 – $619 and their deductible cost ranges between $75 – $100. Customers are also given the option to extend coverage by adding items from a pre-selected list of add-ons.

5. Choice Home Warranty

Choice Home Warranty (CHW) is a company known for providing comprehensive warranty plans to their customers. The company claims that they can cater to the needs of homeowners, real estate agents, buyers and sellers.

CHW offers transferable home warranties to homeowners, buyers and sellers alike. Standard plans are priced between $370 – $450 and the average deductible charge is $60. CHW has a 24/7 customer service facility and also an online claims facility through which customers can manage and track the progress of their claims.

Before You Buy A Home Warranty

While we have indeed provided you with a list of some of the best companies, we recommend that you conduct ample amount of research before you zero in on a choice. Our website would be an excellent place to find out insights about home warranty companies across the country. We suggest that you go through user reviews and go through our statewise list of companies before you decide. We hope you found this useful and don’t hesitate to contact us in case you have a query. Cheers!