Home warranty to cover expenses?

8 Replies

I had a co-worker who would get a home warranty like American Home Shield etc and put hose on each of his rentals.  If anything broke or there was any issue he instructed the tenant to call the warranty company to come out and fix the problem IF it was covered and the tenant paid to visit fee (in contract).

Has anyone done this and I'm curious of any and all Pros & Cons

Thanks

Hey Drew, This is a long post but I'm hoping it is thoroughly informative for you!

I actually have a property right now that is under American Home Shield (AHS). I'm currently out of state so I find it very convenient for me to be able to put the service request in online immediately after my tenant reports an issue, and they arrange for a reputable local company that they have a contract with to come out and assess the issue. Following that if any repairs are covered under the warranty, it is covered in it's entirety. 

For example: My fridge breaks and my tenant calls me up and lets me know. I place a service request online, AHS emails me details and the company that is going to send someone out. That company will then contact you directly to set up an appointment. 

One thing to note, as an "absentee" owner such as myself, I call up AHS after the appointment has been made but before the servicing takes place, and I pay upfront a $100 "service fee" with credit card. That way the tenant doesn't have to deal with it, just has to be at the house when they arrive. The person taking care of the issue will call you up and discuss any further repairs. This service fee is due for every service call you set up.

Pros: Relatively easy to use online service request, pay upfront and tenant gets it taken care of. If you have relatively expensive appliances that would be very detrimental to cover the cost of yourself if it were to break, this is a good plan for you. For a mere $100 the problem can be fixed in it's entirety, including replacing an entire appliance! They cover major issues with plumbing and electrical too.

Cons: Cost to cover major things in your household is about $635 per year. I would say if your home are relatively expensive, it is worth it to go with AHS because if an expensive fridge (or any other item) breaks it's replaced in that $100 service fee and you end up saving a ton of money. My unit is not that upscale so in 2-3 years if only 1-2 problems occurs then it really doesn't pay for itself. Right now I use it for the convenience and peace of mind of having that service available while I'm not near by. 

My suggestion, and something I have been seriously thinking about now is perhaps start with AHS and save money as you go for future incidences that require fixing. The beauty of AHS is they tell you exactly what company they're going to use to deal with whatever problem you have. Collect the names/numbers of the companies they send out and keep it for your own future reference. Eventually you probably will have enough money saved that you wont need AHS and can manage to just call up these companies yourself and take care of it. 

One issue I find a little frustrating is they'll occasionally call me during a service request and tell me certain things are not covered, and they'll ask for an additional amount to repair the entire thing (though it isn't usually some ridiculously high amount, maybe another $100-$200 depending on the problem). This doesn't happen all the time but it can be annoying. Be careful to read through the plan policies and see what is covered and what isn't so that you know exactly what you're getting for your money. 

As a side note, the appliances covered, unless damage is the fault of the tenant, it is usually covered by the landlord. I'm surprised your co-worker has them pay for the service calls. 

I hope this is helpful, please feel free to reach out with additional questions. 

Home warranties are a waste of money most of the time. 

@Chirag Parikh   thank you for your response!  It is always helpful to hear from another's experience.  I know of a few people who have the tenant cover the first $150-$250 of any incident.  Some use the Life Styles Unlimited contracts which has that included into the contract.  Not sure if its a good thing or bad but figured w a Home Warranty it might prove to be a good thing.  Average $50 per month and is like a Property Manager for the maintenance side of things, as I own a few properties and currently self manage.  

On one of my rentals the seller paid for a home warranty when I purchased the place and during the remodel we found termites and it was $216 out the door instead of $1500 which was a pleasant surprise considering the circumstances.

@Bryan N.     Have you dealt with home warranties to cover your rentals?

Thanks again for the post!

Drew

Drew NA Thanks for the information Drew! I might implement a $150-$250 policy with my next tenants. I save about $50 a month to cover my home warranty every year so yes I agree with that. 

The most major appliance it has saved me from was a new water heater. It ended up being around $220 as well because they covered the parts and labor for the main job but the water heater required some soldering and pipe rearrangement which was not covered. All in all i thought it was helpful. 

Glad to hear it helped you too. 

Chirag

I am also using this strategy on my former primary home in Michigan. It's a class B+ area with high quality white collar tenants, so no need to pay for a property management company. I wouldn't recommend using in lower class properties. Each visit is $75 that my tenant pays. Only issue I've had so far is the first plumbing company was horrible to work with, so I asked AHS for another plumber and he was fantastic. $50/mo vs. $100-150 prop mgmt. That's a tough one.

Drew NA 

Home warranty companies are in the business to make profit and not lose money.  My closing company gives me a home warranty, but I never renew it.  I once had a warranty on my personal home.  A while ago I replaced my ac unit.  I paid for it.  If I had maintained a warranty all those years it would have cost me twice as much.  I can understand the lure of the warranty.  Some people luck out.  Most do not....

@Bryan N.  

Do you self manage all your properties? If so, how do you currently handle maintenance issues?

@Carlos O.  

I do self manage.  Maintenace issues are handled by me.  When an issue is reported I check it out after work.  If I can fix it I do.  If I can't, then I let the tenants know I'll be calling a contractor to fix it.  

Free eBook from BiggerPockets!

Ultimate Beginner's Guide Book Cover

Join BiggerPockets and get The Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Real Estate Investing for FREE - read by more than 100,000 people - AND get exclusive real estate investing tips, tricks and techniques delivered straight to your inbox twice weekly!

  • Actionable advice for getting started,
  • Discover the 10 Most Lucrative Real Estate Niches,
  • Learn how to get started with or without money,
  • Explore Real-Life Strategies for Building Wealth,
  • And a LOT more.

Lock We hate spam just as much as you

Join the Largest Real Estate Investing Community

Basic membership is free, forever.