Real estate agent selling a home

Ask a Real Estate Agent: Are Home Warranties Worth it?

Though homeowners can always purchase a home warranty plan for themselves at any time, securing coverage sooner rather than later has become standard procedure among buyers and sellers during the home-selling process. For both parties, it ensures any appliance or system issues that might arise while the property is on the market won’t cost anything extra out-of-pocket.

Listed homes with home warranty coverage in place sell an average of 11 days faster and for at least $2,300 more than those without. This is largely because buyers feel more confident in their purchase decision when they know there aren’t any expensive unknown repairs waiting around the corner. We consulted Brandelyn Jones, a top-rated RealtorⓇ based in Goodyear, Arizona, who says approximately 90% of the clients she represents opt for home warranty coverage before closing.

Q: In your professional opinion, is a home warranty worth it for the average homeowner?

A:“I definitely think so. In fact, I purchased a home warranty for my own son when he bought his home, but he ultimately decided not to renew it after the first year,” Brandelyn said. “Of course, three months after his coverage ended, he had what he thought was a simple toilet clog. Within two hours, a team of service professionals were excavating the floor of his home office because there was something in one of the pipelines underneath the house. Had he held onto his home warranty, all of that would’ve been covered.”

Q: Beyond single-family homes, are home warranties a smart investment for condo owners?

A: “I think it will really depend because most condominiums have HOAs with blanket insurance policies,” she said. There’s often this misconception among condos owners, however, that their HOA will automatically assume responsibility for all repairs in and around the unit, which just isn’t the case. Most HOAs will cover exterior features like the roof, but not interior items — so what happens when your dishwasher leaks?”

“I’m of the old ‘better safe than sorry’ mindset,” Brandelyn said.  “If I have to pay, say $500 per year just for some peace of mind, then it’s worth it. These days there’s very little that you can repair in your home for much less than $500.”

Q: What are some of the most common maintenance issues homeowners experience when purchasing an older home? And for newer construction?

A: “I see a lot of roofing issues. And part of the problem we have here in Arizona specifically is that roofs are often not covered,” she said. “So I think a lot of the home warranty companies get a bad rap — if homeowners don’t get a great experience just because something isn’t covered, they’ll rip providers to shreds. It’s important that people take a really close look at their policy before signing up.” 

“As for other issues, leaking toilets are fairly common too. I just had a client who bought an older home in May and two days after move-in, they needed to connect with their home warranty provider for plumbing help. Garage doors and water heaters can be problematic as well.”

Q: Where do home warranties typically come into play in a real estate transaction? Is it something you recommend for sellers?

A: “For my listings, as an added benefit for any of my clients who are selling their home, as soon as the home hits the market, I make sure they’re protected with specialty seller’s coverage. It’s no cost to them either,” she said. “Once the seller or buyer chooses to move forward with the coverage post-sale, they’ll sometimes get some leniency with pre-existing conditions because they took initiative to cover the home ahead of time.”

“I really encourage all of my sellers to move forward with the coverage at the close of escrow. If they do, the listing coverage usually only costs around $65. This is something I cover for them. If they decide not to move forward with it, I, as their agent, am not charged a penny by the provider.”

Q: Are home warranties beneficial to buyers too?

A: “I still like to encourage all of my clients who are buying a home to consider home warranty coverage, but I’m very honest with them, of course. I never make recommendations for specific companies,” Brandelyn said. “Instead, I’ll usually provide a broad list of a few reputable companies. I also strongly advise — especially given the situation we’re in now with inflated trade and labor prices — that they prioritize a home warranty company that’ll let them choose their own licensed contractor.” 

Q: How often do buyers and sellers opt for home warranty coverage?

A: “Fairly often. I’m going to say about 90% end up signing up for home warranty coverage during the buying or selling process.”

Q: Is there a specific type of homeowner that you think home warranties are an especially good fit for?

A: “I definitely think first-time homeowners are a great candidate for home warranties,” she said. Seniors and older homeowners should consider home warranties as well. We have such a large population of homeowners that are 55 and older in Arizona, and they definitely don’t need to be dealing with home maintenance issues on their own.”

“HVAC systems, for example, are a necessity out here and are not something the average homeowner should address alone when something stops working. Even with coverage, homeowners need to be really careful because many assume that so long as they have a plan in place and their unit breaks down, that it’s a guaranteed replacement — and it likely won’t be,” she added. “Typically, they’ll part it out and only fix the specific component that isn’t working. I think instances like these are where most of the pushback against home warranty companies come from.”

“Other things might not be eligible for coverage at all. Refrigerant, for example, isn’t covered by most home warranty plans. You’ll have to purchase a rider for that.”

About the Ask an Expert Series

House Method’s Ask an Expert series directly connects our readers with the expert insight of certified home service professionals around the United States. Our research team led one-on-one interviews with each subject matter expert that appears on our site and asked them topical questions about the value of a home warranty as it relates to their field of work. Though all answers featured in this article include direct quotes, we’ve also integrated contextual information, relevant research findings, and verified resources to supplement each excerpt further.

For more information about our research and vetting process in the home warranty category, visit our full rating and review methodology.

Best Overall

  • 4.9 out of 5 stars
  • Superior cost-to-coverage ratio
  • Emergency servicing available
Most Cost-Effective

  • 4.8 out of 5 stars
  • Lowest service fee
  • Free roof leak coverage
Most Customizable

  • 4.7 out of 5 stars
  • 50+ years in business
  • Pick-your-own service fee

Looking for more information on home warranty companies? Check out some of our other expert reviews to get all the details you need. Remember, each of these companies gives a free quote.

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