We hear this question often, so we thought we'd pull together some expert insights for property owners in Seattle!
However, when asking, "Should I get a home warranty for my rental property?" the answer is not always straightforward.
Is buying a home warranty to handle property maintenance worth it? It can depend. Let's take a look at why you should (or shouldn't) invest in a home warranty for your rental properties.
Do You Have New Construction Rentals?
When dealing with new construction rentals, the warranty that comes with the home for the first year can be vital. This warranty often covers unexpected costs if anything breaks, providing peace of mind for property owners.
These warranties can also help you avoid unexpected costs for a newly-constructed investment property that can help improve your ROI. However, once the new-home warranty expires after the first year, the question arises again: Is buying another home warranty worth it?
In many cases, purchasing an additional warranty may not be the best decision for your budget or for quality repairs to the property.
When Choosing a Warranty, Read the Fine Print
If you're considering a warranty for a property, it's crucial to read the fine print when considering a home warranty. While many warranties cover repairs, they don't cover everything, leading to potential pitfalls.
This distinction can often leave property owners perplexed or dissatisfied with the services provided under the warranty.
What Warranties Typically Cover
What can you expect for warranty coverage? In most cases, home warranty companies cover a few basic things:
Electric and HVAC systems are usually included under most warranties. This covers breakdowns and malfunctions within the electrical wiring, outlets, switches, and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems.
If any of these essential systems fail, the warranty will generally cover the cost of repair or replacement.
Basic appliances like the dishwasher, garbage disposal, and oven are typically included. This coverage ensures that if these appliances fail to perform their intended functions, the warranty provider will cover the costs of repairs or replacements.
Having a company covering repairs for these elements helps maintain the functionality and comfort of the living space without extra financial burden.
What Warranties Don't Often Cover
Aside from these basics, a home warranty company won't cover many crucial aspects of a rental property. These omissions typically include:
Roofing: Warranties usually exclude roofing repairs or replacements. This means if there are leaks, damaged shingles, or structural problems with the roof, the property owner must bear the costs.
Structures: This includes the property's foundation and other integral structural elements. Problems with the foundation or structural integrity can be expensive to fix, and not having these covered by a warranty can be a significant drawback.
Certain Appliances: Some essential appliances like the washer and dryer are often not included in standard warranty packages. If they break down or need replacement, the cost falls to the property owner.
Sprinkler Systems: Outdoor systems like sprinklers are usually excluded from warranty coverage. Any malfunctions or necessary replacements must be handled separately, adding to property maintenance expenses.
Windows or Doors: Any issues with windows or doors, such as cracks, drafts, or failure to close properly, are not typically covered. These might seem like minor issues, but they can impact energy efficiency and security, leading to potential extra costs.
Understanding these details is essential for property owners to avoid unexpected surprises. Many owners invest in a home warranty expecting complete peace of mind — but without carefully examining the terms, they might find themselves facing unexpected repair costs.
Thoroughly understanding what is included and excluded in a warranty can make the difference between a wise investment and a costly mistake.
Warranty Companies Have Additional Requirements
In addition to knowing what warranties cover and don't cover, many warranty companies have specific requirements that can be cumbersome.
For example, they might insist that you use their repair services. Anything outside of their "scope" costs additional money outside of the service fee. So, if you have a preferred vendor you use for plumbing or roofing, there's a good chance you can't use them under the property's warranty.
It can also take time to schedule appointments with the few vendors they offer, causing delays in necessary repairs. This inconvenience can affect tenant satisfaction and may be costly to property owners in the long run.
The Cost-Benefit Analysis of Warranties
Warranties can become costly, especially when you pay for something that doesn't apply to many areas of the property.
Most experienced property managers in Seattle will recommend that it's more financially prudent to save the money you would spend on a warranty in a maintenance fund to handle issues as they arise.
This approach can provide more flexibility and control over the repairs and maintenance process, aligning better with the individual needs of your property.
What's Better than a Home Warranty? A Property Manager!
So, if the question is still, "Should I get a home warranty for my rental property?" the answer might be to consider a property manager instead. The right Seattle property manager has professionals available to take care of any home maintenance or repair.
They also keep up with routine maintenance to help avoid expensive repairs, creating a more efficient and cost-effective solution.
Choose a Seattle Property Management Company to Maintain Rentals
Should property owners get a home warranty for a rental property? Is it worth it? The answer depends on various factors, including the type of property, the coverage needed, and the specific circumstances of the property owner.
Real Property Associates can assist you in determining the best approach for your rental properties. We also offer professional maintenance services that help owners reduce costs and keep rental properties in excellent condition. Whether it's investing in a warranty or saving funds for maintenance, having a reliable property management partner can make all the difference.
Our expert team is well-versed in the complexities of property management, and we know when a home warranty might be a valuable addition or when other options are more suitable.
If you're not sure if you should invest in a warranty for your rental property, reach out to our team! We can help you run the numbers and make the best decision for your tenants, the condition of your investment properties, and your long-term financial goals.