Warranties for Appliances

blueheronMarch 11, 2009

My sister's house is for sale and she is considering buying a warranty to cover the appliances and systems in case something happened to them while the house is for sale. The appliances are 13-14 years old.

Is this a good idea? I think they cost about $450.

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Huh? What could happen to them that hasn't already happened? That really seems to be bending over backward so far as to be in need of traction afterward :-)! It's not really clear from your note though if the appliances are to be part of the deal, but potential buyers will know (see) how old they are and shouldn't expect your sister to be providing new ones after all. If one should break down before a closing date (once the deal is official), then pay a serviceman to fix it - it has to cost less than $450.oo!

    Bookmark   March 11, 2009 at 10:47PM
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Those warranties are really insurance policies. Some are not worth the paper they are written on. Tell her to be careful.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2009 at 8:03AM
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I can't think of the last time we bought a warranty on any large purchase. They just aren't worth the money. More than likely the buyers will see how old the appliances/systems are and deduct monies off from the selling price. NancyLouise

    Bookmark   March 12, 2009 at 12:27PM
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I would expect that the $450 warranty covers the seller during the time the home is for sale, as well as the buyer of the house for one year after the close of escrow.

The buyer will probably want the warranty, and it's only a few dollars more to also cover the seller while the home is on the market -- one less potential headache for your sister while she deals with the stress of living through showings.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2009 at 1:52PM
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It could be an additional marketing tool and benefit for the buyer. Here, we have a home warranty program that covers the seller during the listing period and the buyer for 14 months after closing.
Check with your agent what might work best for your market and property.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2009 at 2:10PM
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The only thing is if one breaks she will have to pay the deductible (usually $50) and then she'll likely just get some money towards a new one.

A home warranty might put buyers mind at ease though and likely they will ask the seller to pay for that anyways.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2009 at 2:34PM
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My experience is they aren't worth the paper they are written on, a experienced buyer is going to know that.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2009 at 2:43PM
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It's not really for the buyer - it's to protect my sister and her husband in case an appliance needs to be replaced before the house is sold.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2009 at 10:54PM
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Even so, they will have to prove (via documentation)that the appliance was properly maintained, as the warranty companies usually wiggle out by saying that the problem was caused by poor maintenence which exempts them from paying the claim.

In addition, you have to accept whom they send for repairs...and often there is a wait that is longer than average. And, if you think the repair person is an idiot, you can't choose someone on your own.

It is very hard to collect on these things...and chances are slim to none that they would replace an appliance or system with a new one.

I know someone whose furnace heat exchanger cracked; the tech sent by the warranty company said it was not cracked. Some HE cracks are not all that easy to see. They hired their own HVAC tech who said it was...bottom line, the warranty compnay refused to cover the cost of a new furnace.

They then went after the seller, claiming they bought the house because of the warranty, which turned out to be worthless to them; they are still waiting the outcome.

Tell her to check the fine print VERY carefully..because if something does malfunction, she may wind up with the cost of the warranty on top of the cost of repair or replacement anyway.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2009 at 6:56PM
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14 year old appliances are a detriment to a sale. Even a home warranty would not make that an attractive situation. If your sister has limited funds, go on Craig's List to find newer STAINLESS appliances. That will be one less thing for a buyer to take a price reduction about. You can usually find a whole set of newer appliances for the price of the warranty. Especially now with this economy. Many people are practically giving things away to raise cash.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2009 at 10:15AM
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My daughter and son-in-law bought their first house last November. It was owned by the bank. The real estate agent selling the house (or maybe it was my daughter's agent?) bought the warranty that covered appliances or systems breaking during the first year.

I wasn't much impressed by this, because as others pointed out, the warranty companies usually try to get out of paying. And DH and I bought them all new appliances as a gift, so there wasn't that much left for the warranty to cover anyway.

BUT - last month their heater got a crack in the heat exchanger. Within a couple of days the warranty company agreed to pay for a new heater, and it's installation. DD and D-SIL ended up having to pay a few hundred dollars for some "non-standard" county-imposed installation requirement, but basically they got a $3K+ heater for about $300, so it really worked out in their favor.
It did take some extra time to get the heater ordered and installed, during which time they continued staying with me and DH, but that was partially their fault for not communicating as well as they could've with the warranty company.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2009 at 12:17PM
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Thanks, all, for the info. She has decided not to buy the warranty. I think, on the whole, they're a ripoff.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2009 at 6:36PM
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"Thanks, all, for the info. She has decided not to buy the warranty. I think, on the whole, they're a ripoff."

I think that statement is foolish without reading the contract and disclosing the facts of what the contract says.
Please show a copy of the contract for us to make an educated decision.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2009 at 11:19PM
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I assume what she's talking about is not a warranty for the individual appliances, but a home warranty, which are common in some areas. Our house came with one (a practice our realtor's office had as a "gift.") We did indeed use it for a cracked pipe that required drilling out a concrete slab---even if we had paid for the warranty, we would have come out ahead as the bids for the work were ~$1200. Like any warranty, they're a waste of money if you don't end up needing them---but you can only know that in retrospect, as with all insurance. We had no problems with the particular company that issued ours and the contractor they sent was fine (nothing special, but got the job done).

We didn't find it worthwhile to renew the warranty since by that time we knew the house and its systems (and the cost went up after Year 1) but it was definitely nice to have for that first year as first-time owners, since we felt vaguely protected against any catastrophes. That said, we certainly weren't looking for it when we were shopping (had no idea such a thing even existed!) so I'm not sure how much it would help for selling.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2009 at 9:47PM
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You often see a house listing with a "home warranty" -- it might be considered a plus for the buyer. Sometimes the buyer asks for one during negotiation -- it's an easy thing for the seller to give one to help get the house sold.
My realtor suggested one when I was selling -- I imagine that the realtor gets some small kickback in one way or other from the warranty company.

My daughter bought a house with one & spent a lot of time dealing with a bad water heater. I think that the warranty company picks the plumber -- it was a hassle with multiple attempts to fix it & finally getting a new water heater (warranty company's choice).
So It's part of the game. If it makes the buyer happy, go for a warranty.
Good luck

    Bookmark   March 21, 2009 at 2:38PM
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