Do You Need a Home Warranty?

Wrench

Many home owners struggle with the decision of purchasing a home warranty plan. You’re probably already paying a mortgage, and likely utilities too. So it’s understandable if adding another monthly payment is unappealing. But investing in the safety of your home with a home warranty could make a huge difference in your family’s financial security and peace of mind.

Consider your appliances
When considering a home warranty, it’s important to first think about your systems and appliances. How long has your washing machine been washing and your air conditioner cooling? You may be surprised that decades of use aren’t necessarily required before a breakdown occurs. According to the Huffington Post, 25 percent of front-loading washing machines and 20 percent of dishwashers break within three to four years.

While home insurance will typically cover appliances in the case of theft, fire or other disasters, they will not cover problems caused by normal wear from use over time. If your appliances are several years old or get a lot of use, a warranty could be a critical investment.

Consider your finances
While new appliances are less likely to break down or have problems, you can’t predict just when you’ll run into problems. So whether your home and systems are old or new, it’s important to consider your finances. While a monthly fee may be unappealing, did you know that the San Francisco Chronicle reported that in 2013 the cost of a new gas furnace was anywhere from $1,700 to $12,500? Or that Consumer Reports magazine reported in 2010 that tests showed that top-loading washing machines that cost less than $500 don’t wash well? That means you’ll be looking at a bill of more than $500 to replace your model if it breaks. If you’re at a financial position where you can’t afford that kind of lump sum payment, you might want to give a warranty some serious thought. Chicago Now reported that if one of these major repairs would break the bank, you should probably consider purchasing a home warranty.

Consider HMS
When it comes to home warranties, you want to work with a company that you can trust. With a plan from HMS, you’ll know up front just what your warranty does and does not cover. They can help you choose an affordable plan that will protect your family and your home from problems and failures with your major systems and appliances.

Brought to you by HMS Home Warranty.  HMS is an industry leader with over 30 years of creating success for clients and providing peace of mind for customers.  To learn more click www.hmsnational.com.

HVAC: The ins and outs of this home warranty coverage

Air Conditioning Repair
Are you prepared the next time you need to repair or replace the heating, ventilation or air conditioning in your home? The average cost of an air conditioning unit repair is $320 – with some repairs costing as much as $900. The replacement of entire HVAC systems can can cost an average of $3k-5k.

With a home warranty, however, homeowners can offset many of the costs of HVAC repair and replacement. HVAC is an expensive part of the home. When homeowners tackle this project, they aren’t just paying for the replacement or repaired unit alone – they are paying for the labor as well.

While a standard home warranty covers many expenses associated with homeownership, there remain certain HVAC-related components that could be uncovered.

These include:

  • Permit to install a new unit
  • Connections between outdoor HVAC components and indoor ones

For complete protection, homeowners should purchase the Premier Upgrade Package. PUP extends basic home warranty coverage to include additional HVAC elements, so the homeowner will be less likely to encounter non-covered charges when repairing or replacing their HVAC units.

From malfunctioning pumps to high electric bills, blown fuses and leaks, the complicated HVAC systems we’ve come to rely on can lead to serious headaches for homeowners. With an HMS Home Warranty and additional PUP coverage, though, HVAC repairs and replacements won’t break the bank.

If you need more information about home warranties, contact Sibcy Cline Home Services. They can put you in touch with the local contact for HMS Home Warranty.

Brought to you by our preferred Partner, HMS Home Warranty.  HMS is an industry leader with over 30 years of creating success for clients and providing peace of mind for customers. 

Which Homes Are Covered – And Which Ones Aren’t – Under an HMS Home Warranty?

Construction tools
There were nearly 5 million homes sold in the U.S. in 2014, according to the National Association of Realtors. That’s a lot of homebuyers, all getting settled in their new homes, figuring out what they love and what needs to be replaced – and, most importantly, planning out their future expenses and new household budget.

Home warranty plans provide a fantastic strategy to offset the costs of repairs and replacements of major systems and appliances. However, not all homes are eligible for coverage by home warranties:

  1. Seller Home Warranty – Available for the duration of a listing, until the property is sold.
  2. Buyer Conversion Warranty – Once the property is sold, Seller Home Warranties convert to a Buyer Home Warranty for one year from the day of closing..
  3. Buyer Direct Warranty – Purchased by a homebuyer upon closing.
  4. New Home Warranty – Purchased by homeowner upon completion of new construction.
  5. Open Direct Warranty – Purchased by homeowner not buying or selling the property.

Which properties are eligible for coverage?
It helps to know these five types of home warranties to understand which homes are covered under each agreement.

Typically single-family residential homes are eligible for coverage under each type of home warranty. Commercial properties and single-family homes with certain home-based businesses, including day cares, group homes and fraternity houses, are not eligible. One exception is any property housing persons with mental and physical disabilities.

The following are examples of properties that are not eligible for coverage under the HMS Home Warranty plan:

  • Non-owner-occupied multi-family units
  • Homes listed in a historical register
  • Mobile homes built more than 10 years prior to the effective date of the home warranty
  • Multi-family homes under the New Home Warranty
  • Tenant-occupied units under the Seller Home Warranty

In any owner-occupied multi-family residence, any claims in tenant-occupied units are the responsibility of the owner.

The systems and appliances in the home all have a typical life span which seems to get shorter year after year. Home warranties provide homeowners with the ability to better manage the household budget and prepare for the unexpected expenses when breakdowns occur.

Brought to you by our preferred Partner, HMS Home Warranty.  HMS is an industry leader with over 30 years of creating success for clients and providing peace of mind for customers. To learn more click www.hmsnational.com.

Fall Home Maintenance Tips

Leaves
Fall is here, and that means winter is right around the corner. And with winter comes bad weather, driving rain and mounds of snow – all of which can do a number on any property.

That is, unless homeowners take some proactive steps right now, during the fall. The few months leading up to winter are the perfect time to tackle home maintenance, before the weather starts to get in the way.

With this in mind, here are five easy-to-do fall home maintenance tips:

  1. Check out the heating systems
    Naturally, the heating system is one of the most important components of a home during the winter. This is why it is especially crucial to inspect heating units as well as the chimney and fireplace during the fall. Regarding the latter, a certified chimney sweep is a must. It takes a trained eye to identify any problems here, plus a professional service provider can offer cleaning services if necessary.
  2. Revamp the caulk
    Caulking makes for an airtight seal around all windows and doors. During the spring and summer, caulk can start to wear down and break apart. That means cold air will get in during the winter and hot air will escape. Each fall, homeowners should check caulking and add new caulk to windows and doors where needed. Caulking is fairly easy to do, and compared to other maintenance tasks it’s fairly inexpensive.
  3. Check the insulation
    Checking insulation will have a major effect on heating and cooling during the winter. The goal is to have the insulation thick enough to keep hot air inside, as well as level all the way across the attic. Any uneven spots will let heat escape. If this happens, a home could end up with ice dams – which occur when a roof is too hot in the middle, melting the snow, only to have it refreeze down near the gutters. Quality insulation can prevent this from happening.
  4. Upgrade the driveway
    The fall is also the perfect time to seal the driveway. Any minor cracks, bumps or damage can get a lot worse over the harsh winter. Sealing the driveway will protect the asphalt from the elements and keep it looking great into the spring. Best of all, the cost of a sealer is much less than repairs to a damaged driveway.
  5. Trim the trees
    Beautiful, massive trees can certainly be an attractive feature of any yard. But during the winter, these same trees can become a hazard. Snow and ice will weigh down branches, which can tear down trees onto the yard, driveway or home itself. This is why it is a good idea to trim back trees. Homeowners should make sure all limbs are at least 10 feet back from the home, or remove risky trees altogether.

Need assistance with your home maintenance? Contact Sibcy Cline Home Services.

Brought to you by our preferred Partner, HMS Home Warranty. HMS is an industry leader with over 30 years of creating success for clients and providing peace of mind for customers. To learn more, go to www.hmsnational.com.

When is Refinancing a Home a Smart Choice?

PiggyBank
When is refinancing the right choice for borrowers? Many homeowners are enticed by lower residential financing rates – 3.75 percent for the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage as of March 5, according to Freddie Mac – and refinancing in search of more favorable terms can certainly feel appealing.

However, there is a cost to refinancing, and therefore it’s important to refinance when it makes the most sense for homeowners’ current financial situations and long-term plans.

Here is when refinancing can be a smart choice for borrowers:

  1. With an FHA loan
    The Housing Finance Policy Center at the Urban Institute recently looked at Federal Housing Administration loans to see if a drop in insurance premiums could result in cost savings. The answer for many is yes.

Even though the new annual Mortgage Insurance Premium has dropped from 1.35 percent to 0.85 percent, according to the Urban Institute, FHA borrowers can still save money by refinancing. When looking at millions of FHA loans, the researchers found that refinancing could amount to a 0.75 drop in yearly mortgage costs per borrower. While not all borrowers have an FHA loan, of course, homeowners in this scenario could benefit from refinancing today.

  1. When they don’t plan to move
    Another time when refinancing makes sense is if the homeowner doesn’t plan on moving for a long time. Since refinancing alters the terms and interest rate, the most savings are found over time. Moving right after refinancing typically prevents the borrower from recouping their refinancing expenses. However homeowners that intend to stay put can benefit from this strategy.
  2. If they have an adjustable rate
    Adjustable-rate mortgages can attract a wide range of buyers due to the lower beginning rate. However, adjustable rate mortgages could end up costing more in the long run due to the unpredictability of the floating rate.

When fixed-rates are low, borrowers can benefit greatly from refinancing from an ARM to an FRM. Once again, it is important that the homeowner intends to live in that home for some time. If they do, getting away from an adjustable rate can really add up the savings.

  1. Once they have equity
    Homeowners that purchase homes with less than 20 percent down often end up with private mortgage insurance and consequently, a slightly more expensive monthly mortgage bill. These borrowers may be right for a refinance. Once they have 20 percent equity, they can refinance and set new terms – without PMI, potentially saving them a decent chunk of change each month.

Overall, borrowers shouldn’t refinance simply because the 15- or 30-year FRM dropped again. They should analyze their own individual scenario and weigh the cost of refinancing against the cost of holding a higher rate mortgage, while keeping their long term plans in mind. What works for one person may not work for another, but looking at the big picture – and making the right calculations – can highlight when refinancing is a smart decision.

Questions about refinancing your home? Contact Sibcy Cline Mortgage Services.

Brought to you by our preferred Partner, HMS Home Warranty.  HMS is an industry leader with over 30 years of creating success for clients and providing peace of mind for customers.  To learn more click www.hmsnational.com

Time to Change the Air Filters and Other House-Maintenance Reminders

Furnace filter
Many homeowners use the bi-annual time change as a reminder to change the batteries in their smoke alarms. The following are three more home maintenance items that you may want to add to a twice-yearly ritual.

Changing air filters
Every few months, the air filter in a home’s heating system needs to be cleaned or replaced, depending on its type. Failure to do this can result in a less efficient heating system, overworked fans and a significant decrease in air quality. Filters are readily available in your local home improvement stores, and perhaps even in the home cleaning aisle of your local supermarket.

Cleaning dryer ducts
While anyone who has done his or her own laundry knows that a dryer’s filter screen needs to be cleaned between loads, even experienced homeowners don’t know that it is important to regularly clean out the vent to the outside of the home. Over time, bits of lint that aren’t caught by the lint trap will coat the inside of the dryer vent. If left like this, the dryer will work less efficiently, but more importantly, there is a significant risk of fire.

Draining the water heater
Over time, water heaters accumulate sediment toward the bottom of the tank. This sediment can decrease a home’s hot water quality and diminish the heater’s ability to work efficiently. This sediment removed through yearly draining and cleaning, but many homeowners neglect this vital task. Draining the water heater on a consistent schedule will provide better water quality, lower energy bills and a longer lifespan for the appliance.

Remembering to take care of these items will significantly help improve the efficiency and the longest possible useful life of these devices.

HMS Home Warranty is an industry leader with over 30 years of creating success for clients and providing peace of mind for customers. To learn more click www.hmsnational.com.