When you buy a home in Oklahoma, the Uniform Contract of Real Estate gives buyers the opportunity to request a Residential Service Agreement (home warranty) with their home. According to Wikipedia, a home warranty is defined as a service contract that covers the repair and replacement costs of home appliances.The warranty generally covers equipment and appliances such as dishwashers, plumbing systems, electrical systems etc. that fail due to normal wear and tear. Coverage varies significantly across warranty companies. Home warranty contracts do not cover all home repairs.
There are several companies that provide home warranty coverage. Popular choices include American Home Shield and Old Republic Home Warranty. The prices and plans vary with most being around 400 bucks. Our contract gives a few choices on how the warranty is paid for. It can be paid for by the buyer, the seller, or split between the two. The warranty is effective for one year beginning the day of closing. After that, the new homeowner will have the opportunity to renew annually if they like for an additional fee.
Here’s how it a home warranty works. If something like your dishwasher is not working properly, you contact the home warranty company instead of a repairman. The home warranty company then has one of the service companies on their list of preferred providers call you to arrange service. If the necessary repair is covered by the warranty, you pay a pre-determined fee (usually about 60 bucks depending on the plan you choose) instead of the repair cost.
Some people find home warranties to be a value while others do not. The choice was up to you when writing an offer to buy a home. If it would be a financial burden to wake up one day and find that the stove did not work, you might benefit from coverage. If you anticipate being able to cover that type of unforeseen expense, it’s probably not a value.
My personal experience has been mixed. I have had a warranty on my home in the past. Over the course of five years I used the warranty for service calls on appliances, plumbing and air conditioner issues several times. I found that often it took longer to get someone out and fix the problem than if I had called the tech directly. Ultimately, after a dispute over coverage, I cancelled our warranty.
Before you find yourself sitting at a table writing an offer to buy a home, do a bit of research on home warranties. That way when the question of whether or not you want to request a warranty comes up, you’ll know how you want to answer.