Colonial Warranty Files for Bankruptcy Protection in New Jersey

This is a guest post by Kevin Wallach. Author Bio is provided at the bottom of this article.

When HomeWarrantyReviews.com asked me to write an article about Colonial Home Warranty’s recent announcement that it was closing its doors my first thought was what will happen to all their customers? As a marketer and blogger who works in the home service contract space I’ve seen a few companies go out of business and it never worked out well for the customers.

As of March 17th, 2014 the New Jersey headquartered company, Colonial Warranty Group, Inc., closed its doors and filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection from a New Jersey court. But the protection it is seeking from creditors probably doesn’t include all of its customers, those unfortunate souls left holding worthless home service contracts. So I set out to get some answers to the questions I was asking and those the consumers were asking on HomeWarrantyReviews.com.

Colonial Warranty Files for BankruptcySince HomeWarrantyReviews.com specializes in compiling consumer reviews about home warranty companies in the U.S., also referred to as home service contract or residential service contract companies, I started by asking what they had heard directly from their readers. One customer of Colonial Home Warranty who asked to be identified only as Mike M. from Ashburn told a member of the staff at HomeWarrantyReviews.com about his three year contract, signed in 2012, which should have been in effect until February 2016. Colonial had enticed him to pay for all three years upfront in exchange for three free months of service. Mike also shared that leading up to the news of Colonial’s closing the more expensive of his repair claims were already being denied for reasons he did not feel were in keeping with his contract.

Customers React To The News

Mike’s experience was certainly not unique and the customers of Colonial were not just voicing their complaints on HomeWarrantyReviews.com. A search on Google led to a number of consumer websites with complaints from Colonial Home Warranty’s customers. On one such website I read a testimonial from a consumer who purchased a contract from Colonial Home Warranty less than a month before the bankruptcy filing in New Jersey. With that sort of story the obvious question came to my mind. What was Colonial thinking when they sold new contracts so close to their bankruptcy filing? Unfortunately HomeWarrantyReviews.com’s request for comment from the bankruptcy attorney for Colonial went unanswered.

A few readers who wished to remain anonymous purchased three year contracts from Colonial and had received one year or less of the service promised by the company. The testimonials on HomeWarrantyReviews.com’s Colonial Home Warranty page and on other websites tell similar stories. But some customers claim in their online testimonials that they are taking their complaints further than Internet testimonials. Whether or not any customer of Colonial Home Warranty has filed suit against the company or made any type of plea to the bankruptcy court was not clear at the time of publishing this article though. I did request comment or information from the bankruptcy court in New Jersey but was informed that they do not comment on cases or offer legal advice. Their advice to me was to seek guidance from a consumer advocacy group.

A reader who emailed us with her story, Kristi from Texas, tried to reach a company she believed to be the parent company of Colonial Home Warranty called XPD Warranty Group in order to find out if that company was servicing claims from Colonial Home Warranty’s customers. She is not alone in asserting that XPD Warranty Group is a parent company or holding company for Colonial Home Warranty. Her attempts to reach XPD Warranty Group by phone were unsuccessful but she did learn that her state is starting an investigation into the dealings of Colonial Warranty Group, Inc. with residents of Texas. Texas’s entity which regulates what it calls residential service contract companies is called TREC or the Texas Real Estate Commission. Kristi wrote that those she has spoken with at TREC have been very helpful and she recommended other Texas residents with complaints against Colonial Home Warranty contact that office for more information. I contacted TREC to find out about the association between Colonial and XPD. I was able to confirm that XPD Warranty Group is licensed to operate as a provider of residential service contracts within the state of Texas. I was also told that in 2012 Colonial Warranty Group, Inc. entered into a written agreement with the state of Texas to stop selling, renewing and servicing residential service contracts for Texas residents. After that point Colonial was to relinquish control of its contracts with Texas home owners to XPD Warranty Group. Finally I confirmed that TREC is following up on at least a few complaints lodged against XPD Warranty Group by Texas residents relating to issues with contracts originally issued by Colonial Warranty Group.

I also gained some insight into the relationship between Colonial Warranty Group and XPD Warranty Group thanks to another reader of HomeWarrantyReviews.com, Lanny Teague from Sanger Texas. Lanny’s story gave credence to the assertion other readers have recently made that Colonial and XPD are, in fact, working together, if not the same company. Lanny told me about the 13 different contracts which were purchased from Colonial Home Warranty, each contract having a three year coverage term and each one being paid in full upfront. Lanny also informed me that Colonial didn’t handle the claims associated with the contracts. Whenever a claim was filed it had to be addressed to the company acting on behalf of Colonial in Texas, XPD Warranty Group. And when Lanny asked to cancel the contracts covering Texas properties the cancellation was handled through XPD, not Colonial. Sound strange? Well, it gets stranger.

When Lanny requested a refund for the unused years of the 3 year contracts that had been purchased XPD Warranty Group did agree to issue partial refunds amounting to more than half of what had originally been paid per contract. That sounds awfully strange for a company that has allegedly told others that it is not associated with Colonial Warranty Group. For readers interested in the timing of these refunds, these refunds were very recent. The refunds, according to Lanny, were issued on April 10th of this year.

I attempted to reach someone from XPD Warranty Group, Inc. but at the time of publication of this article I had not received any response from that company. If that should change then this article will be updated. Readers are encouraged to check back regularly here and also email [email protected] with any questions they would like posed to the company.

Another reader, Manishee Gupta, told HomeWarrantyReviews.com how he purchased not just one but three separate three year service contracts from Colonial Home Warranty about two years ago. Purchasing multiple home service contracts as in the case of Lanny and Manishee is not as unusual as it may sound. Many owners of investment properties choose to cover those homes with a home service contract in order to make the work of managing rental properties easier. Mr. Gupta told us how his tenants were even able to report problems with covered items in the homes to Colonial.

In theory this can make life simpler for a landlord but only if the company keeps its promise to customers. But now that Colonial is seeking Chapter 7 relief from its debts Mr. Gupta wonders “if there will be any recovery” for customers like himself. The overall sentiment of readers who  have communicated with me and with HomeWarrantyReviews.com is pessimistic though. Most believe that nothing will be done to address the possibility that Colonial acted with criminal intent to defraud consumers, signing multi-year contracts even on the eve of filing bankruptcy.

Why Did Colonial Warranty Group Declare Bankruptcy?

The main concern of the readers who have contacted HomeWarrantyReviews.com is a common one. These are consumers who paid in advance for something they now will not receive. They’re upset and rightfully so. But let’s step back for a moment and ask why this happened. Why did Colonial Home Warranty make what seems like a sudden decision to file for bankruptcy protection? The answer to that question may start with the state of California.

I contacted the regulatory entity that oversees insurance companies selling to residents of California and requested information about any open or resolved legal matters regarding Colonial Warranty Group, Inc. In their reply I learned that on November 8th, 2013 Colonial was ordered by the California Department of Insurance to cease all operations selling and renewing home protection agreements. Colonial, according to the order issued by the California Department of Insurance, had been selling such contracts to California residents without required licensing since not later than January 23rd, 2012. For California residents who did business with Colonial Home Warranty this means that any contracts sold to them by the company were not legally issued. Whether or not this could lead to any recovery of customer fees paid to Colonial I don’t know. But one thing was very clear in the order to Colonial. For every day Colonial did business illegally in California it is liable for $5,000 in fines. If you do the math that total fine liability comes to millions of dollars. Was this the cause of Colonial asking a New Jersey court to protect it from its creditors? The answer to that question should become clearer when Colonial’s Chapter 7 request is handled by the court.

California’s insurance regulator was not the first to take action to stop Colonial Home Warranty from selling home service contracts to its residents. In August 2013 the state of Florida Office of Insurance Regulation ordered the company to cease doing business with Florida residents due to violation of a state law which requires a license in order to sell home warranties. And of course Texas had already told the company to stop selling contracts to its residents prior to issuing the order in 2012.

What Can Colonial Home Warranty Customers Do?

There are two options to  consider:

1. Readers who wish to submit a petition or claim to the court handling the Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceedings for Colonial Warranty Group, Inc. should strongly consider retaining professional legal assistance in order to do so. I asked the appropriate Clerk of Courts for information regarding submitting such petitions or claims and was informed that their office is not in a position to provide comments on pending cases or legal advice. Colonial Warranty Group, Inc.’s Chapter 7 Bankruptcy filing will be handled by Judge Donald H. Steckroth of the New Jersey Bankruptcy Court and is identified as Case number 2:14-bk-15949. A representative of HomeWarrantyReviews.com also tried to reach the attorney for Colonial Warranty Group, Richard Honig of Hellring, Lindeman, Goldstein & Siegal, for comments or information about the bankruptcy case but at the time of this article’s publication had not received a reply.

2. Before issuing business license, many states require such companies to pledge bonds. If you are one of the customers that lost money, you may want to approach your State Insurance Department. If the State has collected pledge bonds, you may recover a portion of your money paid to the company.

Practice Caution While Purchasing A Warranty

While I cannot say that any actions taken by state regulators directly led to the closure of Colonial Home Warranty or the Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing there may still be a lesson for home warranty customers to learn from all of this. Doing business with a company that has operated without proper registration or licensing in your state could be your problem as much as the home warranty company’s problem if they are caught. It is worth your time to be sure that any company you purchase a home service contract from is doing business legally in your state.

If you have been affected by the closure of Colonial Home Warranty or have other experiences with this company you’d like to share please email [email protected] The team at HomeWarrantyReviews.com will be happy to receive your stories as well as helping with any requests for information from readers.

 

Author Bio

Kevin Wallach writes a blog about the home service contract industry in the United States, HomeWarrantyWiz.com, 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 an industry group on Linkedin called “Home Warranty and Home Service Contract Professionals”.

 






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

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

What is freon?

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

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

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

Signs of low freon levels

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

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

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

HVAC Units Need Freon

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

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

Alternate ways to detect low levels of freon

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

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

The final word

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

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




Home protection plans, commonly known as a Home Warranty or appliance protection plan is a service contract that agrees to offer discounted repairs and replacements of your household appliances. It means that if any of your covered appliances breaks, the home warranty company shall provide you with a qualified technician who will repair your device and cover the cost of repair as well.

Home Protection Plans

Ideally, appliance protection plans are best suited for people who have appliances that are fairly used and above 4 years in age, as this is the time where most of the functional issues arise. It is highly recommended that you purchase a home service contract if any of the following are or all are true.

  • Your appliances are over 4 years
  • You don’t have a trusted service vendor
  • You don’t have time for DIY repairs
  • You are a first time homeowner
  • You can’t afford frequent repairs and replacements

If you were to ask if these plans are worth the money, then we would have to admit that there is no straightforward answer to that. There are quite a lot of happy customers out there who swear that purchasing home warranty was the best decision they ever made and yet there are people who think otherwise. It is up to you to decide if you will benefit from a home protection plan.  If you are in need of more guidance, please read the Home warranty buyer’s guide.

This is how a home warranty works

You purchase the appliance protection plan from a home warranty company for a certain amount of coverage. This coverage could be vast and cover almost all the outside and inside appliances or it could be the basic version. If a device covered by the plan fails to operate properly, you simply place a call to your home service contract provider. They will then call up a service vendor with who they have contracted and tell them about your issue. Service vendor then collects your contact information and contacts you to fix an appointment.

He/she then comes to your home to take a look at the damaged gadget. If the repairs needed are minor, they will oftentimes be fixed on the spot. Major repairs and part replacements need approval from the home warranty company. If parts are to be replaced, the home warranty company shall procure them for you and get the appliance fixed. Sometimes, if the technician determines that the device can’t be repaired, depending on your coverage, the home warranty company may replace your device.

Hence, one can say that the benefits of Home warranty are the following:

  • Discounted repairs and replacements of household appliances
  • Qualified and experienced technicians at your doorstep
  • Protection of your budget against expensive repairs
  • Peace of mind
  • Covers all major appliances and systems.
  • Additional coverage can always be purchased
  • Affordable
  • Covers damages resulting from wear and tear

As mentioned before, there still exists a school of thought that home warranty plans are not worth the money. Hence, we must discuss the drawbacks of these plans.

  • Not free of cost. In addition to the annual premium that ranges anywhere between $250 to $1000, you will have to pay a service call fee each time you raise an issue. The amount is typically nominal, around $50
  • Home warranty companies will almost always try to repair and not replace the damaged gadget.
  • Some may feel that there is no flexibility. You usually cannot select a service vendor of your choice and sometimes conflicts may arise on the diagnosis provided by the vendor.
  • Claims can be denied on vague grounds or by stating fine print from the contract.
  • Pre-existing conditions quite often are not covered

Because of these reasons, we suggest that folks who fall under the following categories, don’t purchase a home warranty. This is only a suggestion, if you believe that you shall benefit from a home warranty plan, you should go ahead with it.

  • Your appliances are fairly new and are still covered by the manufacturer’s warranty.
  • You have a trusted repair vendor.
  • You have time and skill for DIY repairs
  • You have money for frequent repairs

You can consider an extended warranty to protect your new devices. You can read about the differences between home warranty and extended warranty to clear your doubts.

If your devices are new, chances are low that they may need repairs often. Also if they are still covered by the manufacturer’s warranty, any damage will be covered by them, provided it is not an excluded case. And all of this is unnecessary if you are a repair vendor yourself!

The bottom-line

Home warranties can be a great way to protect your budget and your appliances. As mentioned before, if you fall into the former category where your devices are old and so on, we highly recommend that you purchase a home warranty. Otherwise, you can do without one.

A lot of unpleasant instances occur due to lack of understanding of the working of the plan. Hence, we urge you to read the policy booklet and the offer document carefully before you make a commitment. These documents are highly significant and have to be studied and preserved carefully.  If you are certain that you want to purchase appliance warranty, please go through our reviews section to choose the best provider out there. Good luck!




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

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

Coverage

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

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

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

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

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

Making a claim

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

Things to keep in mind

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Difference between Home Warranty and Builder’s Warranty

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

Builder’s Warranty

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

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




Okay, so you have decided to start a garden in your home. Congratulations, it is a very good decision indeed. Plants are the backbone of our environment. The more you plant, the better it is. Before you adorn your gardening gloves, soak up some gardening basics that will help you save a lot of time and money if you follow them strictly. Gardening is an activity that requires some serious effort. You can’t simply plant a few saplings one day and then expect it to turn into the Versailles.

Gardening Beginners

Beginners guide to gardening

Here are 10 basic steps any gardening beginners must follow to achieve best results.

Step 1 – Allot time

Ask yourself how much time you can dedicate for your home and garden work each week. If you have sufficient time in your hands, then you can go ahead and start a garden that requires quite a bit of maintenance. It can be a mood-lifter as well. But if you can spare only 2-3 hours a week, look for plants that need very little care. And for the extremely ambitious ones  who have only a few minutes to spare and still wish to start a garden, I suggest that you get yourself some cacti. They will survive even if you to water them just once a month.

Step 2 – Decide where the garden should be

Decide where you will start your garden. Once you do that, evaluate the area well. Determine factors such as sunlight, moisture, soil type, area and location. Or, better, do all the things that are mentioned below.

  • Get the soil checked. You soil could be alkaline or acidic. Sometimes soil may even contain trace amounts of lead. As you know, lead is poisonous. Its not the best thing your kids can play with. Remember to remove all the rocks and lumps you see.
  • Determine the drainage of your soil. Dump some soil in a flower pot and pour water into it. Pay attention and find out if the soil retains water well or if it simply lets the water run through it.
  • Mark the shady and the sunlit areas. If you are planning to start a garden in your yard, find out if any underground pipes or other utilities are present underneath your yard.
  • Try to find out how much rainfall your locality receives in a year. It would be great if you get a lot of rain, it means that you can spend less time watering your plants and more time enjoying your garden while you hold an umbrella.
  • Also decide the location of water sources like taps.

Step 3 – Do some groundwork

Prepare a clean bed. If you are starting with a clean bed, your plants tend to be healthy and less susceptible to pests and other harms. If there is grass and other vegetation, remove them. It is not a very pleasant task but you can’t overlook this step. You can buy pre-fertilized soil these days. If you don’t have sufficient soil, buy some and lay them around your yard.

Step 4 – What type of garden?

You know what they say, as you sow, so you reap? Decide what kind of garden you want. If you need help with this decision, ask yourself the following questions.

  • What do you wish to reap? Flowers? If you want flowers, decide their color combination.
  • Do you want a space where you can relax or do you want a play area for your kids?
  • Do want to grow vegetables in the garden?
  • What plants are suitable for your soil? (I hope you obeyed my instruction and got your soil tested, soil testing is not a DIY task.)

You can even discuss with your family and make a joint decision about what you want your lawn to be turned into.

So, once you scrutinize  all the above steps, you can get down to the actual process of gardening.

Step 5 – Procure the saplings/ seeds

Get the seeds and saplings based your decision about the type of garden you need. Local stores often stock up on these things and so they may not be difficult to find (unless you are looking for the kind of plants you seen in Harry Potter movies.)

Step 6 – Buy some tools

Get the basic gardening tools. You may not need all the tools in the beginning. Just get a spade and a rake. You can buy the rest as and when the need comes up.

Step 7 – Start planting

Plant them! Oh, you have to get flower pots too. You can reuse your old pots if you want. As long as they are not totally dilapidated, they will do just fine. There are no rules when it comes to the time that is ideal for planting seeds, however it is considered best planting them on an overcast day as it yields better results.

Step 8 – Give them a drink!

Once you plant your seeds/saplings, water them immediately. Give them a deep soaking. If water is insufficient during the initial stages of a plant’s life, chances are that they won’t survive long.

Step 10 – Extra nourishment

Deciding on fertilizers and manures can be a difficult task. Since these things often cause more harm than help, it is suggested that you use them in a limited manner. You can avoid them altogether if you want.

Alternatively, you can substitute them with natural compost or your regular kitchen bio-wastes. If at all you decide to use fertilisers, make sure you use them in the fall or autumn season. That’s it. You are done with the planting part.

 

Troubles May Brew

Planting seeds alone doesn’t do the job. There is much more you should know as a budding gardener. You are likely to encounter a few hiccups and troubles soon. Read ahead to know more about them.

Likely hiccup # 1 – Maintenance

Or the excess of it. All plants require quite a bit of maintenance. They can’t survive on their own and will need your attention several times a week. Otherwise they will wither and die. If that happens, you will have to live with the fact that you actually killed a living organism.

Likely hiccup # 2 – Misconceptions

If anyone told you that perennial plants require less maintenance as compared to annual plants, they are wrong. All plants are more or less the same when it comes to metabolism. Don’t believe all the stuff your fellow gardeners tell you. Perform adequate amount of research if you want to take good care of your plants.

Likely hiccup # 3 –  Weeding

I’m sure that this is a familiar word. The happy news is that the more often you tend to your garden, lesser will be the time you need for weeding it out. For those of you who don’t know a thing about weeds, here’s the explanation. Weeds are any kind of unwanted vegetation. You may be thinking “What’s the harm in letting a strange plant grow in my garden along with my other plants”. Let me tell you this, weeds are often parasitic in nature. They quickly absorb nutrients and moisture from the soil, leaving your beloved plants to starve and eventually die. So, remove all strange plants lurking in your garden as soon as you see them.

Likely hiccup # 4 – Deadheading

This is the process of removing your spent blossoms. It ensures that your plants have a longer lifespan. Also, tall plants often need to be staked to avoid flopping.

Almost there!

This pretty much summarizes everything you need to know about gardening as a beginner. It is always wise to have a gardening catalog with you. Also, it would help you immensely if you keep records and journals about your gardening activities. For those of you who are devoted to saving our environment, green landscaping could be an option. It is a healthier, greener and cost-effective approach to gardening.

If you loved the idea of gardening but you do not have the space or time to start one, make do by adding a few indoor plants to your home. Read about some cool guides on how to keep indoor plants!. You can also read about how you can decorate your home with indoor plants.

Whatever methods you choose, starting a garden of your own is an admirable thing to do. So why don’t you start one soon and do your part in saving our environment? Best of luck!

 




Buying your first home is a daunting thought. This article provides a list of things you need to know before purchasing your first home.

First home

So you’ve saved and saved and now you’ve decided to bite the bullet and try to enter the property market. No matter where you are — Sydney, one of the most expensive cities in the world, or the country, looking for a small cottage — laying down most of your savings, and a large amount borrowed from the bank can be daunting. It’s not just the commitment to pay it off for the next 20+ years that can weigh heavily on your mind in the lead up to signing on the dotted line, it’s the added expenses, like land tax, stamp duty and home insurance that all need equal consideration. Then there are other optional expenses such as appliance warranty that come into play later on. Although they are option, a home service contract and its benefits are totally worth the money. You may want to read about how to determine whether a homeowner needs home warranty.

If you’re preparing to take the big step, have a look at five ‘must-knows’ before getting started.

Time
One of the biggest things people don’t realise when buying their first home, is time plays a big factor in the whole process. From deciding to buy, to getting your keys, to making your final mortgage payment, buying a house is a big investment time.

The first instance where time plays a role is finding a house — not always as easy as you think. The amount of properties on the market at any one tie depends on the time of the year. And even if the property market is strong, and there is a lot to choose from, finding something you’re happy with, and can afford, can take months.

After finding your home, and choosing a bank, settlement — the period after signing the contract, and waiting for keys — is a long stretch. Before and during this period, be prepared to run to the bank a lot,to the agent, to your solicitor and back again.

Your bank loan
This is one of the biggest concerns for most people — borrowing hundreds of thousands and committing to repayments for the foreseeable future. Rest assured, you have some control. Ensure you don’t just go with your bank because you’ve always banked with them, see several bank managers and get several quotes before committing. Ask not just for the interest rate, but the comparison rate, which includes additional fees and is a more realistic Idea of what you’ll be paying.

Your solicitor
When buying a home, you need a solicitor. Buying seems like an easy thing to do, but behind the scenes, there are a lot of actions, searches and checks that need to be performed before you can settle — your solicitor takes care of this for you. The best idea, if you haven’t used a good solicitor before, is to use someone recommended by a friend — then you know you can likely trust them, their advice, and their commitment to your purchase. Ask them as many questions as possible, and determine how much their services will likely cost before getting started.

Property Inspection
Importantly, before agreeing to exchange contracts, have a full building and pest inspection (or a strata report search) conducted on your property. While a property may look good upon inspection, it’s difficult to know any faults of ongoing problems without having a professional look at it first. While this is an additional cost, it could save you a fortune in repairs later, or worst case, paying for a property that can’t be lived in.

Other costs
Don’t be fooled into thinking that paying your deposit, the balance of rates, bank and solicitor fees and building inspection are the last of the costs. Beyond this, you will need home and contents insurance, often mortgage insurance, stamp duty and other fees associated with your loan. Remember to save more than just the deposit to get over the line, and work out completely what you expect to pay before you decide to purchase.




Personalizing a space and its aesthetics to suit your style and needs is what renovation is all about, but it’s not all about how it looks. We all know what a task it is just to get your home repainted, from covering up all the furniture and appliances to pretty much having to move out till the task is complete. That’s where the mission of preparing yourself for a home renovation comes in – from the planning of layout and budgets to the actual wrapping up of the house and constant supervision. When it comes to renovating a kitchen, planning is all the more important, as it is impossible to use the space while the contractor is at work.

Kitchen Renovation and Preparedness

It can seem very daunting and not knowing where to begin is a major setback when it comes to such projects. If you take too long, there is even the fear of losing interest altogether. Taking stock of property, estimating costs, schedules and research are all a part of the process, making sure you don’t compromise during the renovation and yet don’t land up overshooting budgets. Below are a few points that will help you out to kick start and keep control of the renovation.

1. Draw Out A Plan For The Essentials

Keep your plans and layouts realistic, the budget strict and make sure you set aside a margin for unexpected costs – there is no way of avoiding surprises completely! A few absolute essentials – cabinets, stovetops, sink, and chimney – usually take up a larger percentage of the estimate, so if you plan on changing or adding any of these, do it first.

2. Research For A Perfect Renovation

Keep some time to go through interior and architecture magazines and blogs online to get some inspiration and keep an archive of things you might want to get back to or must remember. Phone applications like Wunderlist, Evernote and Google Keep act as great digital notebooks, and Pocket for Android/ Apple /PC allows you to save websites and blogs offline to get back to later. Instead of printouts and sticky notes, the digital era gives you an easy way out, especially since they can be synced between computers and phones with just an ID.  It might seem like a lot of work, but it is always helpful to have a picture of that you want, especially when talking to the contractor.

3. Assess The Level Of Work

At this point, there would be two ways to go about it – either to follow the existing blueprint or to alter architectural elements and start afresh. The latter is more lucrative but keep in mind that it is also pricey and more time consuming. The benefit of it is that it will allow you a lot of flexibility in terms of wiring and even plumbing a few areas.

It’s time you also took stalk of decisions regarding your appliances; their age, condition, and efficiency primarily. This is a good stage in the process to call in an inspector from a Home Warranty company to assess which appliances of yours are keepers and what the company can offer you in terms of their coverage, claims, and conditions.

4. Professional Assistance For Renovation

The first step is going to take up quite some time, especially when it is about budgeting.  The fact of the matters remains that you will need a professional sooner or later, and it is best to give yourself that liberty of taking help when you need; from hiring an inspector for technical decisions to getting a little design assistance during your showroom visits.

Pick what suits you best and chalk out a tentative budget. A professional at this point can be very resourceful and would also help you keep grounded in all the small decisions that you need to take. If you plan on undertaking a more comprehensive route which involves architectural changes, getting an engineer to inspect the space is a must.

5. Finishes, Fixtures, And Style

It’s time now for big decisions! It is important to keep things functional but that shouldn’t stop you from having a bit of decorative fun.

Major aesthetic decisions you have to narrow down and sign off on:

  1. The style, build and exterior finish of cabinets.
  2. What material you want to use for countertops.
  3. Positions of electrical appliances, niches, and division of space.
  4. Sink placement and accessories.
  5. Lighting.
  6. Material and finish of your backsplash, anything from tiles and glass to simple glazes and stone.
  7. Relooking at the flooring, maybe even in just parts.
  8. Ventilation and windows, chimneys and airways.   

6. Estimates From The Contractor

Before you sign off with a contractor, make sure you get more than one estimate. Outside of the budget, make sure you relate with him and his team – you will be spending quite a bit of time with them, especially when you supervise the finishing touches.

7. Set Yourself A Temporary Place

Once the hiring, picking of designs, signing contracts are done, it is time for you to pack up and let the renovation begin. Have the contractor help you set up an alternate space; it makes the entire process a lot less daunting.

8. Let The Fun Begin

We’d love to say that it is time now to relax but now is when the real work begins. Though the contractor and professionals will do the heavy lifting, as a homeowner, it important that you are involved and kept in the loop every step of the way.

Warranty And Insurance

Be it an extensive renovation or just a few replacements and tweaks, having an insurance in place during the construction process as well as a warranty for appliances and wiring systems is highly recommended.

Not only are you covered in case of accidents, there is also a certain degree of guarantee that the alterations being made are going to hold for years to come, without constant repair.

And what better way to research than HomeWarrantyReviews.Com? With comprehensive reviews, ratings of all the states in the US and with a greater focus on home warranty companies operating in major cities, you can be certain of the level of work you can expect from a home warranty company. At the end, all you have to go is compare policies and pricing by getting free quotes from many home warranty companies operating in your ZIP code!




Next to the so important health insurance each individual should have, there stands as second in line the home insurance. For homeowners, the home insurance is a specifically well tailored preventive measure any damages should happen to their property. The most important fact before you settle for one certain type of home insurance policy, is to ask yourself which kind of insurance do you actually need.

Home insurance

For example, if you live in a high risk area where floods happen quite often, then you should take an extra option for flood insurance. Certainly because your property lies in a high risk area, the flood insurance for your home is an extra option, it will not be included in the policy, and it will cost more. It is you, who should decide whether you need it or not. Bear in mind that it is not only the physical property which needs protection, but also your personal belongings (i.e. jewelry), and don’t forget about personal liability issues. Find the quickest way to get insurance quotes compared online.

The market offers you plenty of choices, and that is why it is so hard to make a choice. Settle your priorities first, see how much you can afford to pay for the insurance premiums and which are those aspects which definitely need insurance coverage. You have to watch out for the advertisements which offer too high discounts, but little or not effective coverage for you. The points where you can save when buying a home insurance is basically if you apply for one online (can bring you up to 15% savings), there are also certain new buyer discounts, plus if you make no claims for a number of years since you have the insurance, that could lower the price of your insurance with as much as 50% in some cases.

Some of the main coverage factors within a home insurance policy should contain:

  • Buildings cover
  • Contents cover / Contents lost or even damaged when moving
  • Theft from garages
  • Lost/damaged business equipment
  • Alternative accommodation for the insured when needed
  • Food in the freezer / money in the house

Certainly the amounts to which the above mentioned situations are covered for, differs from one insurer to the other, but these should be contained in a standard home insurance plan. As for the extra options you may choose, these are plenty, and each homeowner chooses according to his needs and best interest. On the extra options list you may settle for Accidental Damage, which simply means protection for accidental damage of your stereo equipment for example. Then, the personal possessions cover is yet another extra option, which compensates you for loss of money or credit cards up to a certain coverage

limit, or accidental damage loss or theft of personal items. The family and legal protection extra option will offer coverage for almost any legal costs up to a certain amount, disputes revolving around employment issues, or property and inheritance related ones. Plus, the home emergency option will offer a helping hand in case your door lock breaks, your electrical heating fails, so that you don’t have to worry about the incurring costs a professional would charge for an emergency repair to your home. Check and discus with your family all the available options pertaining to home insurance in general, and settle for the one which is the most affordable and efficient regarding your personal needs.




Since you searched for this online, it is possibly true that you are frustrated beyond possible limits, because your Insurance Company, that you hired to make your life easier, is in fact annoying you. Let’s not waste time, this article explains the strategy that you must adopt in the event that your Insurance company acts tough on your claim.

Let’s take you over the essentials first. The points that follow must be adhered to , otherwise you stand a chance to lose the fight against the Insurance company.

General guidelines

Pursue Insurance Claims

 1. Information

Gather all the information you can regarding your damaged device eg Manufacturer’s name,  model no, batch no, claim center’s details, basically anything that is required. You should have them ready before you call up the Insurance Company. Keep the info that you gathered in the same place, this is will make accessing them easier. Keep your policy booklet and contract ready as well.

2. Maintain Call logs

Once you have gathered all the required information, call the Insurance company. It is suggested that you don’t place your call on Mondays as it is the busiest day of the week. You should keep records of the following:

  • All communication with your Insurance company must be noted down precisely. Details about the following are most significant.
  • Time, date and duration of the call.
  • Name, ID and call center location of the representative you spoke to.
  • Name of the supervisor to whom your call was transferred.
  • Details about the content of your communication.

3. Be nice and pay attention

Remember that being rude is not going to reap any rewards. The Representative on the other end of the line is possibly more frustrated than you are as they have to deal with annoyed customers like you all day.

  • Greet the Representative back, make sure that you have gotten his name and other details right.
  • Politely explain your grievance, ask for their help, give them details that are required.
  • Tell them why you think your claim should be processed.
  • Always keep in mind that your fight is with the Company and the representative has nothing to do with it.

If you follow the above two rules, you might get a positive response from the Insurance company soon. But there are cases where even good manners and genuine claims fall on deaf ears. If you are experiencing something like that, read on.

They still won’t listen- What to do ?

Call them up at a later time:  This may help if the representative you talked to is a kind fellow. Or they may decide to help you just so that you stop annoying them with constant calls. Give it a try.

Speak with a supervisor:  We are not sure how much this would help, but it is still worth a try.

Threaten them: Yes, you read that right. You probably had thought about it already. First, tell them that you had been a loyal customer and that you will be disappointed if your issue is not resolved. If that does not work, threaten them by telling them that you will terminate your contract if your grievances are not solved immediately. When you do this, they will ask you why you want to terminate your contract. Proceed on telling them how your constant pleas and calls were ignored.

Threaten them some more: It might be helpful if you threaten them by saying that you will tarnish their reputation by bad mouthing them. Declare that you are going to publicise the details of how you were treated and you can even tell them that you will announce the same through various social media.

BBB: The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is one such institution that mediates between the customers and the businesses to resolve issues. Place a complaint with them . The BBB is not a government run organization, however they are advocates of integrity and ethics. They do keep records of all the complaints. No institution wishes to be in the bad list of the BBB.

Attorney General’s office: If you genuinely feel that you are being victimized, you can complain to the Attorney General’s office. They will conduct enquiries and try to resolve the issue. If you do not wish to do this, then simply threaten the Insurance Company by telling them that you will complain to the Attorney General’s office.

Last resort: The lawsuit threat. This should not be used unless your case is that compelling. Most biggies in the Insurance field have their positions covered legally and you may lose unless you have a strong case against them.




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

Contractor looking for job

Why Work With A Home Warranty Company?

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

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

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

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

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

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

How To Work With A Home Warranty Company?

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

Some of these leading Home Warranty Companies include,

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

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

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


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

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

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

What To Remember Before Becoming A Service Contractor?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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For homeowners who have aging homes, a home warranty plan is often the best bet for budget protection against unexpected repair expenses. Such plans also have the added advantage of eliminating the hassles of having to find a repair technician for your broken appliance. It is undeniable that home warranty plans have many benefits which are probably why a good percentage of American homeowners purchase them. That said, the market today is filling up with appliance warranty companies and several types of plans which leave an average homeowner confused about whether they are using the right plan. That is the question this article aims to address.

Features Of A Good Home Warranty Plan

A home warranty plan is only as good as the company selling it. Hence, the first question to ask would be this – is your home warranty sold by a reputable warranty provider? If yes, half your worries should be put to rest. For a home warranty plan to benefit you the most, here are two important features that you must look for –

  1. Pricing: Most appliance warranty plans are affordably priced. This means that it would not be too difficult to find one that suits your budget. However, what you must look for is whether you are getting adequate coverage and quality of service for the premium you pay. Also, the deductible charged per visit should not be very high.

  2. Coverage: Appliance warranties sometimes come in several categories – basic coverage, kitchen appliance plans, HVAC plans, outdoor appliances plan etc. Most basic plans are designed to include major systems and appliances in your household. Ideally, a good warranty plan will provide maximum coverage with very little exclusions.

If you are only contemplating about getting a home warranty for yourself, we recommend that you read our ultimate home warranty guide before you proceed.

Is Your Current Home Warranty Plan Good Enough?

If you are worried that you are using the wrong appliance warranty plan, you are probably right. While there is no fixed way of finding an answer to this question, customers agree that Internet research might help. A better way would be to make use of a feature available on HomeWarrantyReviews.com to compare your plan with others available in your locality.

For those unaware of this feature, here’s a description. HomeWarrantyReviews.com offers a ‘Free Quote’ tool to help new customers find a good company in their neighborhood and get estimates from them. The user simply needs to enter the zip code of his residence into the field provided and the website will run a search to come up with free quotes from companies that conduct business in the zip code provided.

This feature also offers the opportunity for existing home warranty customers to compare premium prices with others available in their area.

How To Use The Free Quote Tool To Find New Company?

Best-Home-Warranty-Plans

Like we said before, you simply need to provide your zip code. HomeWarrantyReviews.com has partnered with another service website called HomeWarrantyLeads.com to help customers find the best appliance warranty company in their region. When you enter your zip code and other relevant information, your details and requirements are communicated to companies in your region via HomeWarrantyLeads. The companies that do conduct business in your region will contact you with a price estimate and other details. This saves you the hassle of having to contact all listed companies to dig for details. Companies in your region will contact you via email or phone and give you the description of their plans and products.

This has been quite a popular feature on HomeWarrantyReviews.com for some time now. Potential and existing customers find this very useful to keep themselves informed about new and improved home warranty plans available in the market by just providing their details. No more chasing companies for quotes!

Your Personal Information Is Safe With Us

This is an uncommon question but if you still worry about the protection of your personal information given to us, here’s what we have to say. It is safe. Period. We only communicate your details to legitimate and reputable companies in your neighborhood so that companies can contact you to discuss their products. We do not sell or share your personal information with any source that may compromise your safety and security.

Hence, if you are someone who wants to know more about appliance warranty providers in your region, we urge you to try our free quote tool. And even if you are not looking for a change of company, we’d still recommend that you try our tool. So that you are better informed to make intelligent buying decisions in the future.




Home warranty coupons and deals:
02/17/14 Update

As of now, many of these coupons have expired. However you can still get a price quote for home warranty on our website. This will be a free quote and there is no obligation to buy

10/11/08 Update

Choice Home Warranty is offering 25% discount on premium and $15 off of service call fee. Use the code “HOLIDAY25” here – http://choicehomewarranty.com/quote-start.php

Coupon expires on 12/26/2008

Check out our reviews section for Choice home warranty reviews

11/18/08 Update

Choice Home Warranty is offering 15% discount on premium and $15 off of service call fee. Use the code “15OFF” here – http://choicehomewarranty.com/quote-start.php
Check out our reviews section for Choice home warranty reviews

10/17/08 Update :

We found this discount deal on deal catcher forums – National Home Protection is offering 20% off, and $50 Gift card

Sign up for a new home warranty and get 20% off your monthly bill, $45 service calls (usually $60) & a free $50 Home Depot Gift card. Offer expires 10/31.

Use Promotional Code SAVE20 Check out our reviews section for National Home Protection home warranty reviews




Nation’s largest home warranty provider and a business unit of ServiceMaster Global Holdings Inc., American Home Shield(AHS) has announced that they have acquired OneGuard Home Warranties as part of their strategic expansion. This step seems to open up new prospects for ServiceMaster while also hugely increasing their footprint in the highly competitive states of Texas, Arizona, and Nevada. The acquisition, which happened in late June, is a momentous step in the growth of both companies.

OneGuard-Home-Warranties-joins-hands-with-American Home SHield

The Vice President for mergers and acquisitions for ServiceMaster has stated that this is an important step in their strategy for organic growth. He has also stated that is one of the many commercial and residential acquisitions that ServiceMaster has made this year. This is ServiceMaster’s first acquisition after AHS acquired Wisconsin-based HSA Home Warranty in 2014.

The CEOs of both companies have expressed their excitement about this recent development and have opined that both companies have common goals, high standards and are equally driven to provide high-quality services to their customers.

President of AHS, Tim Haynes has said that OneGuard was a company that came across as driven and possessing a wide range of products. He also stated that the company has been enjoying a unique position in the marketplace and is a company that has shown much promise.

Financial details of the acquisition or the terms of the transaction remain undisclosed and are hence, unavailable right now. OneGuard, previously known as ServiceOne, reportedly has a revenue of around $30 million and a three-year growth rate of 92%

Despite the acquisition, OneGuard will continue to retain their brand identity and the leadership team will also remain untouched. Product offerings are also expected to remain the same. The company, headquartered in Phoenix, currently employs around 125 employees with most of them working at their headquarters and service centers in Phoenix. A team from AHS and ServiceMaster each is expected to relocate to Peabody Place Downtown.

About OneGuard

Established in 1990, OneGuard is a Phoenix-based company which caters to wide range of homeowner needs. The company is a two-time winner of the prestigious Angie’s 2015 & 2014 Service award. OneGuard has also appeared on the Inc. 5000 list of America’s fastest-growing private companies and has also been described as one of the best places to work for.

The company has a wide range of services to offer to their customers which include home maintenance and home warranty plans. OneGuard has serviced a total of over 50,000 customers so far in the states of Arizona and Texas. They also have a claims approval rate of 95%.

About American Home Shield (AHS)

American Home Shield is a business unit of ServiceMaster Global Holdings and is responsible for founding the home warranty industry in 1971. Along with its subsidiaries, AHS services close to 50 million customers across all states of the U.S. The company employees over 1,800 people and has a contractor network with over 11,000 contractors and 45,000 technicians. AHS continues to remain an industry leader to this date.

The company has many home warranty products and home service/maintenance plans to offer. AHS has a nationwide footprint, with all 50 states being covered. Winner of many industry awards, the company is said to be one of the leading providers of home service contracts in the country.

About ServiceMaster Holdings

Founded in 1929 and incorporated in 1947, ServiceMaster was initially founded as a moth-proofing company. It quickly expanded to provide a variety of residential and commercial services. And today, after 85 years, the company has become a network of several high-quality franchise-based companies like Terminix, Merry Maids, and AHS.
After being acquired by a group of equity sponsors in 2007, the company shifted base to Tennessee and is currently headquartered in Memphis. The company began publicly trading in 2014.




Maintaining everything in the home is one of the major concerns homeowners have to deal with. Every homeowner worth his salt will tell you that the primary expenses incurred in the process of home maintenance are due to appliance and system faults.
Home Maintenance Plans

Having said that, we’re sure that everyone has heard of Appliance / Home maintenance plans or simply put, home warranty plans. Such plans are contracts that agree to provide you with discounted repairs and replacement services for household appliances and systems. Do keep in mind that such plans are for ageing appliances that have suffered quite a bit of wear and tear over the years. Appliance warranties only cover damages that are due to age, wear and tear.

Home Warranty – How Does it Work?

The working of such plans are quite simple. You purchase the warranty from a home service provider for a specific duration. During the coverage period, if your appliances / systems breaks down, you only need to  call the your warranty provider. They will send a technician to fix your faulty item at just a nominal service charge fee. The actual cost of repairs will be borne by the company.

Hence, in many ways, a warranty is a wise way to protect your budget from unexpected expenses. To know more about home service contracts, read things to know about home warranty. You’ll find that helpful.

Cost of Home Maintenance Plans

Now, coming to the actual problem that this article addresses, cost of home maintenance plans. In general such appliance warranties are affordable and reasonably priced. Most companies offer a specific set of plans from which you can choose, based on your requirements.

The annual premiums for a home service contract ranges between $200 – $ 600, for a home under 5,000 sq.ft. When you purchase a plan, you will be provided with a policy booklet that explicitly specifies all the items that will be covered. You will also be provided with information about various other terms and conditions. Like we said before, home service contracts do not cover damages due to anything other than age and regular use. For faults due to crime, hazards and other perils, you may want to check the difference between home insurance and home warranty.

In addition to the annual premium, you may also have to pay a nominal fee as the deductible each time you raise an issue. Deductibles usually cost between $50 – $100. There are some companies that offer zero deductible appliance protection plans

Like we discussed before, different providers charge different amounts for their plans. Following are the facts that decide the cost of home warranty.

  • Extent of coverage
  • Type of plan
  • Additional benefits/ services
  • Size of the house
  • Age of the house

If you want to purchase a home warranty plan, we suggest that you get your home inspected first. While some companies offer this service prior to the contract being signed, some companies do not. A home inspection reveals a lot of potential problems that your house may face and the inspector may even recommend a plan to make the best out of home warranty.

Bottom Line

If you are still unsure about home warranty, we suggest that you go through our web site and read some informative articles that may help you solve some confusion. That said, we still think that a home warranty is a clever way to protect your appliances and save cash in the process. Cheers!




Adding to a long list of home warranty companies which have entered the home service contract space only to quickly exit, Stanley Warranty announced recently that the company is immediately terminating its services.  Visitors to Stanley’s website see this message:

Stanley Warranty

The company’s closing may come as little surprise to those who are aware of last year’s announcement of an investigation into the new company’s business practices.  In June 2015 New Jersey’s Division of Consumer Affairs announced that it had filed a complaint against Stanley Warranty, LLC, alleging that the company had committed acts contrary to its contractual commitments to its customers.  Among the state’s specific complaints against the company were alleged offenses that specifically involved Stanley’s home service contract customers.  Stanley also operated a business unit which provided consumers with extended service agreements for motor vehicles, commonly called auto warranties.

Here’s a quick analysis that we can provide to readers seeking more information about Stanley Warranty’s abrupt closure and the precedences set by other companies that pulled this same move in recent years. Come back to HomeWarrantyReviews.com for updates as we learn more about the fallout from Stanley Warranty’s announcement.

This Isn’t The First Time That A Home Warranty Company Has Gone Belly Up

Like Sensible Home Warranty did in 2014 when it closed shop, Stanley provided no apparent warning to their customers that pre-paid services would not be provided, though at this time it’s still unclear to HomeWarrantyReviews.com whether the company contacted customers via telephone or postal mail prior to closing its doors.  It’s also not known yet whether Stanley’s failure to uphold its commitment to any pre-paid customers will compound the company’s problems with New Jersey’s consumer agency.

Another company in the home warranty space that closed its doors in 2014, Colonial Home Warranty, sought bankruptcy protection.  Through bankruptcy, the company appears to have been able to escape financial responsibility for unfulfilled service contracts and repair bills from their contractors.  Whether or not Stanley Warranty will seek similar protection is not clear at this time.

The Signs Were All Over The Place That Stanley Warranty Was Trouble

Reviews for Stanley Warranty, also known as Stanley Safe Club, here on HomeWarrantyReviews.com are almost entirely negative.  The reviews reflect an apparent trend of the company not honoring its promises to customers or contractors who performed repairs on its behalf.  Many of the worst reviews mention repair contractors pursuing payments from the homeowners after Stanley Warranty failed to fulfill its duty to make those payments in a timely manner.

On its Better Business Bureau page, Stanley Warranty already had an F rating prior to the announcement of its cessation of services to its customers.  On Yelp, a recent review includes a comment about a refund check from the company to the customer, who had canceled services ahead of the expiration of the contract period, being denied due to insufficient funds.  That review was created in December of 2015, leading to the obvious question whether or not Stanley was insolvent well before it closed its doors in 2016.  Interestingly, reading past reviews on Yelp leads you to at least one claim in 2014 that Stanley Warranty had announced on its company website that it was closing.  And no matter how far back in time a reader travels on Yelp, the story seems to be consistently poor, one unhappy customer after another.

Perhaps the most insulting element of this story is that Stanley Warranty sold its service contracts with a promise of zero service fees.  Anyone familiar with the home service contract industry knows that most companies charge a fee, paid by the customer to the service provider, at the time of a service call.  For a company to offer competitive rates with no service fees is a pretty compelling deal for consumers.  And many of the consumers lured in by that deal are now left with every required repair being paid entirely out of their own pockets, despite having paid well in advance for home service contracts from this company.

What Happens Next May Not Be Good For Stanley Warranty’s Pre-Paid Customers

The home warranty industry has a history of companies like Stanley Warranty popping in and out of the space and taking loads of customers’ money out the door when the companies fold or burning up the money received from customers through mismanagement and unhedged risks.  Consumers who have been buying home warranties for years probably recognize some of the company names, ones like Arkidus, Sensible Home Warranty, Colonial Home Warranty, and  Certified Warranties Corporation.  All of these companies have something in common.  They sold home service contracts right up until the day they shut the office lights off and locked the doors.  

This may be the single biggest black eye that the home warranty industry has received in the last decade, and it just keeps happening.  As if companies being able to enter an industry that is so much like insurance, often undetected by the state agencies that regulate their industry, improperly funded, and perhaps even criminally intent on defrauding their customers is not enough, the end result of the companies is consumers left with financial losses sometimes amounting to thousands of dollars in service contract fees paid in advance.  All too often the regulators in the states where the customers live are powerless to retrieve those customers’ funds, and even when bankruptcy courts are involved the individual consumer is usually out of luck when liquidated assets are divided up among registered claimants.

In a nutshell, the chance of Stanley Warranty’s customers seeing refunds is very, very slim.  It’s quite likely that this story will end the same way it did for customers of Sensible Home Warranty in 2014 when that company disappeared overnight.  But that should not stop consumers willing to do whatever they can to seek justice.  Readers who wish to pursue legal action should immediately seek advice from an attorney, preferably one with experience with defunct service contract companies.

What’s A Nice Homeowner To Do?

If there’s any worthwhile piece of advice we can give to our readers who are shopping for a home warranty company it’s this:

Do your homework!  Despite it not always being easy to do, consumers must research companies in the home service contract space before making a purchase.  Here’s an example of the kind of detailed reporting available to consumers trying to evaluate the financial health of companies selling home service contracts in the United States.  That article by Warranty Week is an excellent resource.  Keep in mind that if the home warranty company you choose is using its sales to finance its claims then you can probably count on two things happening.  One, the company will do whatever it can to avoid paying your claims.  Two, the company will eventually get into hot water and close up quickly in order to try to avoid the owners bearing personal responsibility for the actions of the company.

Be safe out there.  And if you are a Stanley Warranty customer who would like to share information with other readers in the same boat as you then please share your story in the comments section below.




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.

 




Here’s a funny pictorial story that gives a peek into how does a Home Warranty work. Mr.Fox here is our friend who purchased a home service contract. His beloved washing machine crashed one day while the contract was still valid.

How Does a Home Warranty Work

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Now, back to the story.

Mr. Fox had an appliance warranty, so he did not have to

  • Look for a technician
  • Pay for repairs
  • Carry the device to a service center
  • Do the repairs himself

Mr. Fox simply called the home warranty company who in turn called up a service contractor with whom they maintain business ties. The warranty company sent a technician to Mr. Fox’s home to take a look at the appliance. The tech fixed the issue right there as it was a minor problem. You see, if the problem was big and if parts needed to be replaced, the tech would have had to wait for the approval of the warranty company before doing it.

Once the problem was fixed, the tech collected the service call fee and departed his way. Mr. Fox lived happily ever after resting assured that if his appliances crashed, he would always have his home warranty company to rely on!

The end




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

Best-Realtors-and-agents-of-Houston

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

Paige Martin

Houston-Realtor

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

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

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

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

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

James Krueger

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lance Loken

Realtor-Houston

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

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

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

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

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

Alfonso Parodi

Realtor-Houston

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Angela Pipes

Realtor-Houston

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

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

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




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

Top tips for Structural Warranty for Newly constructed homes

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

What is Structural Warranty?

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

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

Is Structural Warranty Necessary for me as a Buyer?

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

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

The Builder’s Perspective

Settling Terms of the Deal

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

A Middleman

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

Value of the Home

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

How Structural Warranty Works

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

What Structural Warranty Covers

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

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

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

The basic coverage usually covers the following:

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

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

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

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

The Cost

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

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




Texas is the second largest state in America, regarding the number of people living in it. That means a great number of households that need protection and maintenance. Also, statistics concerning the trends of population evolution are pointing towards growth in the future. Soon, new residences will have to be built to accommodate the growing no. of people. In a state with so many homes, a Home Warranty should be a must. Anything can go wrong and get broken, leaving you with the inability of doing your everyday tasks. Yes, there are companies that take care of these matters, but considering the high number of households that might need their assistance, you may have to wait for a while. As an advice to homeowners, here are five of the most reliable Home Warranty companies in Texas, as of June 2015.

1. The Home Service Club

The most important appliances in your home, in case they malfunction and regardless of their age, will be repaired and handled by the Home Service Club. And in case your appliance cannot be repaired, their solution also foresees a replacement of the malfunctioning device. The company has an extensive network of sub-contractors, meaning that interventions at the client’s house will be done in a short time frame. Customer service is available around the clock, in any day of the week, so you can call them any time you need assistance. Besides phone calling, any customer can access their website in case they need any of the services they provide.

The company is getting great reviews from former clients. They appreciated the short period of solving the matter and the professionalism of technicians. Customers expressed their contentment and stated that company is reliable and trustworthy.

They have two available plans for their services. The Standard plan, which cover some of the most significant appliances and systems within a home. And the Comprehensive plan, which includes almost anything needed in a house, regarding devices and household appliances.

Home Warranty Companies in Texas

2. American Home Shield

A large number of technicians and contractors who compose the American Home Shield team, are ready all the time to take care of any systems or appliances that might get broken in your home. They have built quite a reputation in their extended activity in this branch, earning thousands of satisfied customers, who got their appliances running in the shortest notice.

Customers are happy with the services received from the company, pointing out promptitude, respect and well-trained technicians on the field. Most of them did not wait longer than 24 hours to get their appliances working again, which is extremely important for every homeowner.

Regarding their plans, the company has quite a diversity. The most preferred by clients is the Combo plan, destined to take care of the majority of appliances and systems a house may have, at a very low price. They also offer a customizable Build Your Own Plan, which allows the homeowner to designate his priorities. Shield-Essential takes care of the devices that are most costly to buy and repair. Shield-Plus works the same way as the previous plan, but having a few extras. And Shield-Complete that gathers all the benefits of both of the previous plans, plus a couple of other advantages.

3. Complete Appliance Protection

As the company claims, everything that comes with an outer metal case and gets plugged in, will be covered by their services. They also have a customer service available regardless of day or hours, and there are no fees for calling in each time you have a problem.

Reviews show that customers appreciate the company, some of them using their services for more than 10 years. They appreciate the availability of the customer service, the professionalism with which their issues are treated and the quality of the services.

The Complete Appliance Protection has four plans to offer to their clients. They have the Kitchen and Laundry plan and the Heating and Cooking plan, which both state what their cover in their names. They also have the Full House and Full House Plus plans, with extended covering regarding the type of appliances.

4. Landmark Home Warranty

The services offered by this company regard both homeowners and real estate agents as well. They can take care of any appliance or system that refuses to work properly. Besides the traditional customer service, a client can also visit their website to find out information about plans, services or to become a member. There will also be a call fee of $65, regardless of the plan you chose.

Customers seem to be impressed by the services they receive. They appreciate the high quality of the repairs, fast solving of the matter and reliability at each call for a problem. Being there for the customers and offering the best support is the success recipe for this company.

The company offers four types of plans. Standard, Premier Plus, Value and Deluxe, each having specific coverage and price. From all these, Deluxe is the plan that offers the most coverage and solves most of your issues regarding appliances.

5. Select Home Warranty

Repairs or replacements should never be a worry with the services provided by this company. It doesn’t matter what type of home you have or what appliance gets broken, as long as the terms mentioned in the contract are met, Select Home Warranty will repair it for you. Their network of technicians and contractors is rather large so that they can be at your place in no time.

Customers are quite happy with the services and promptitude, claiming their issues were solved in a relatively short period. Also, they mentioned that the quality of the services is also reliable. Still, there were some customers wishing for some more coverage in the company’s plans.

They have three types of plans available. Bronze Care, Gold Care and Platinum Care, and each plan has a specified coverage and a payment plan. If you wish to get maximum coverage, then you will have to opt for the Platinum care. Also, do remember that there is a service call fee for all customers, regardless of the plan.

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