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More Than Just Real Estate News
What Is a Home Warranty and Should You Get One?
As you know, home insurance protects you from loss and liability. It is designed to protect you against bigger losses such as fire, damage from water leaks, etc.
But what about smaller stuff like appliances, HVAC, and plumbing? The costs of most issues like this will be at or below the deductible, so your homeowner’s insurance won’t do you any good. (And… if you file too many claims with your carrier, you run the risk of either your rates increasing, or losing your coverage altogether). This need has led to the growth of the home warranty industry.
Home warranties offer you a way to protect your appliances and home systems from costly repairs and replacements. Home warranties typically come in the form of renewable annual service contracts. There are two main types of home warranties: Systems plans and appliance plans.
Systems plans cover things like HVAC, water heaters, smoke detectors, pools, plumbing, and electrical. Appliance plans cover your fridge, oven, dishwasher, washer and dryer, and other appliances. Most plans combine elements of both, with a basic plan and a variety of options that can be added ala carte.
Why Consider a Home Warranty?
It’s a way to give yourself peace of mind about getting stuck with an expensive repair or replacement job. With a warranty, you don’t have to hunt around for a contractor, and the problem will get solved fast, while saving you a huge bill.
You can also get a home warranty plan as you get closer to selling your home. And you can package the warranty as part of the sale, so the new owner will inherit it for their first few months in the home.
If you own a rental property, you can buy home warranties for that properties, so that if there’s a problem, the warranty technician will take care of it.
Home warranties are most valuable for homes with older appliances and systems that are more prone to breakdown and wear and tear. Brand new homes with all new stuff are less likely to get as much value. But even there, the peace of mind you’ll have about dealing with any problems is worth considering.
How Does It Work?
If a covered appliance or system breaks down or needs attention, you just file a claim, and your warranty provider will send out a qualified technician. They will assess the problem and then do whatever repair or replacement work is needed. Your only obligation is to pay a service fee, typically around $70-$90.
What Is the Cost?
Annual costs range from the low $300s to over $1000 per year based on the number of items and systems you want to cover, and on the terms you select. There may be price caps on how much of a certain system might be covered. For example, if your plan comes with a $3000 price cap on HVAC system work, and you need to replace your air conditioner for $4000, then you’d have to pay the extra $1000.
Again, your only other cost is the service fee.
How to Choose a Home Warranty Company
The best course of action is to just search online for companies that serve your area. Look up the ones you are considering on sites like the Better Business Bureau, and read reviews there and on other sites. Some of the more well-known and reputable companies include American Home Shield, First American Home Warranty, Liberty Home Guard, Select Home Warranty, AFC Home Club, Cinch Home Services, and 2-10 Home Buyers Warranty.
If you need more help with selecting a company and/or plan, feel free to reach out to me at 206-779-9808.
Are Hugs Dangerous?
One child who came to Childhaven a few years ago thought so. Even at just one year of age, Micah would recoil any time someone offered him a hug, as if the person was about to hit him.
As you might imagine, his mom was a little rough with him at home. She yelled a lot. So, Micah was scared of the world. He didn’t smile or laugh. The only ways he could communicate were yelling and crying.
He would push, hit, and try to bite other kids. “He was the bull in our china shop,” one teacher said, and he was always on the defensive.
Micah’s hard edges made it hard for him to get along with classmates. They mostly steered clear of him. When he’d hit someone, his teachers would take Micah aside and say, “Let’s check with your friend and see if he’s OK.”
Eventually, the Childhaven staff slowly got through to Micah with their calm and consistent responses to his aggression. He began gravitating toward groups, sitting down and listening at circle time. He finally started resting at naptime. That was a huge win, because it meant he felt safe.
By the time he left Childhaven, Micah wasn’t afraid of hugs anymore. He would give them as
warmly as he’d receive them.
It’s amazing to see a child go from reacting to hugs as if they are a threat, to warmly giving and receiving them. Think about what changes that represents in the child’s brain and in his emotional health. At such a young age, the direction of Micah’s life got completely transformed.
It’s stories like this that make me wish we could give each and every one of these kids and the Childhaven staff a big hug every day.
Our next best option for support is to make sure that Childhaven is financially alive and well. That’s why we give a substantial portion of our income to Childhaven. I hope you can join me at my table at the Childhaven Gala in October.
Our donations to date for Childhaven!
Your business and referrals help
the kids at Childhaven
Through all of COVID-19 the Childhaven staff continues to care for every child, delivering counseling, developmental therapy, wrap-around
supports, home learning, meals, family meetings, and much more. Every referral you send our way helps the kids at Childhaven, because we donate a substantial portion of our income from every home sale to this amazing organization. If you know anyone considering buying or selling, you have three options:
1. Send an email with your referral’s name, phone and email to email@example.com
2. Call me direct or pass on my number - 206.779.9808
3. Go to our website at Weisbarth.com/refer
Seller’s Clear Pathway to Success
How is a seller to know what to think during this murky period of real estate?
On one hand, inventory is down, which means buyers have fewer choices. That means it should be easier to sell. But on the other hand, higher interest rates and other uncertainties seem to make buyers pickier and to resist getting into huge bidding wars.
The result is, even with our lower inventory, new listings and sales remain sluggish. While median prices have meandered down in July, it remains to be seen whether this is a trend, or just the normal market fluctuation, affected by the higher interest rates, vacation time, etc.
The good news is, if you want to sell, there is a pathway that leads to a great outcome.
From the summer of 2022 through March of 2023 – about nine months – sellers in Seattle and King County sold their homes for less than their asking prices, sometimes by as much as 5% less.
In our area, with median home prices in the $800k+ range, 5% can be $40,000 – that’s a LOT of money!
But then, starting in March of this year, sellers received at least their asking price. You can see this trend in the graph, where the line was below 100% for months, but is now consistently holding steady right on or above the asking price.
What does all this mean?
First, the market has stabilized. That is a big deal.
Second, despite it being a strong sellers’ market, the fundamentals of marketing are still important. Things such as preparing and presenting your home in an appealing way, pricing the home correctly, understanding the buyers’ psychology, knowing where and how to reach the buyers, deal negotiations, etc. All these matter a lot. None of these steps can be skipped, and the buyers cannot be taken for granted.
And when done correctly, the home will sell fast and for full price.
If you know anyone who is looking to buy or sell, please refer them to us by phone, email or fill out a form on our website. Our team will make sure that they are educated and prepared correctly, with absolutely no obligation. And remember that your business and referrals help the kids at Childhaven.