Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

At Home Living: The Value of Home Warranties

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

At Home Living: The Value of Home Warranties

Article excerpt

For just double or triple the cost of an extended warranty on your new computer from Best Buy, you could get a one-year warranty on your home's--or next home's--appliances, heating and cooling system and more.

Home warranties work much the same way as your extended warranty on your computer from the Big Box store. If something goes wrong, it's replaced or repaired.

Air conditioning goes out on the hottest day in July in Topeka? It's covered if you have that item listed in your warranty--which you probably will, as it is a "big ticket" and important item.

However, you will have to pay a $75 to $100 service fee when the repair person comes to your home. That's according to Lisa Rice, vice president for sales/real estate with American Home Shield (ahs.com), one of the largest home warranty providers in the country.

Rice says a home warranty is like a security blanket around a home.

"The value to the homeowner is that it protects their budget against failures that could occur with their systems and appliances," Rice said. "It's the buyer having that comfort in the first year in their home."

American Home Shield checks out the vendors they send out on calls, according to Rice. She says that can give people new to an area peace of mind that the person coming to their home is bonded and licensed.

Rice says that home warranties are often used to help "sweeten" an existing home sale. She also says some sellers get them to protect the home while it is in the all-important listing stage on the market.

"It can help the listing sell faster," Rice added. Typically, the seller has no upfront cash and the warranty payment comes out at closing, she said.

Rice also noted that existing homeowners could purchase a policy as well.

AHS's plans, according to Rice, are typically for one or two years but can be renewed.

Some consumer organizations and websites caution against purchasing home warranties. …

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