Charleston is an old city. We do not have a great deal of new construction in the area. Of course you can find it, but there are more resales than there are new homes offered in the market.
Some sellers decide to offer a home warranty as a carrot for buyers. They use this as a tool to provide peace of mind and to give them an edge over their competition. When we see this being offered, it also makes us question the condition of the house. Just little red flags that we picked up over time that make us perk up our antennas and look really closely at what’s being offered. Maybe I shouldn’t have said it like offering a home warranty was something to be afraid of, because it certainly isn’t. It is just through our experience that we have to be on the lookout for all aspects of an offering in order to protect our buyer clients.
Home warranties are offered by third party companies who, for a fee, will provide coverage if an item breaks. The largest company that we’ve seen that has had the most success in our market is called American Home Shield. They have been a great company to work with, and in many cases we have seen them replace dishwashers, hot water heaters and even HVAC systems.
In some cases, sellers like to try and avoid fixing items by using an already pre-negotiated home warranty as a crutch. We do not recommend this. There is no guarantee that an item will be covered by warranty. The good news about our company is that in most cases, if the listing is a Carolina One listing, then they already have a free home warranty coverage as part of the listing package. This is a great way to take care of issues that arise, that do not cost the buyer or seller anything.
Well, let me back up. There is a small cost. There is generally a service fee that they charge to come out and evaluate. It runs between 70 and $100. The advice we are trained to give is that if you have a warranty make sure to not have a contractor look at it first and make any changes. If you do so, it may void the warranty item. So first things first, when there is a problem simply pick up the phone and dial the number they provide. They will send out a service person and hopefully take care of any issues that may arise at a small fee. And sure, no one really likes to hear small fee… But if you pay $75 and get a new air-conditioning out of the deal, then it was certainly well worth negotiating with the seller for the home warranty.
We will remind you when the time comes but a warranty might be something worth asking for.