Morgan: While helpful, home warranty only goes so far

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Of an estimated 21,000 existing houses in the city limits of Maricopa, nearly 8,000 of them are at least 15 years old.

At that age, a home’s systems begin to wear down. Some sellers, even in this market, may offer home warranties to put a buyer’s mind at ease and offset some of these future costs. But there are coverage limits.

Take for example, a home’s heating and air conditioning system. After 15 years, an HVAC system is nearing the end of its life. While almost all warranties include HVAC repairs or replacement, they usually don’t cover everything.

This is especially noticeable with older units using R-22 refrigerant, which can no longer be produced. If the compressor for the condenser unit needs to be replaced, the new system will come with R-410A refrigerant. This requires the other half of the system in the attic to also be replaced so that it is compatible. Since the portion in the attic was working properly, the warranty company may call it an “upgrade,” and the $3,000-$4,000 needed to replace the other half may have to come out of your pocket.

Consider your roof. While it’s unlikely you will have to replace all the concrete tiles on your roof, the felt paper underneath degrades over time. After 15 or 20 years of sitting in the hot Arizona sun, your roof may leak during Monsoon storms. Most warranty contracts have little or no coverage for roof leaks, and the cost to remove all your tiles, replace the felt, and re-install the same tiles could cost between $8,000 and $12,000, depending on the size of the house.

It’s also helpful to remember that most warranties don’t cover repairs to the physical structure of your home, such as interior or exterior walls, extensive plumbing and electrical repairs. And along those same lines, deck or pool repairs. New plaster for a pool averages $7,000-$8,000, with a higher cost for a Pebble-Tec interior.

New homes come with a builder’s warranty, so you won’t need to worry about most large-ticket items for a while. But if you have a home that’s 15 years or older, it might be a good idea to keep an emergency fund on hand so you can make repairs as needed. A home warranty plan could come in handy to help close the sale of your home, or if you’ve just bought the home and some items got past the home inspection. Every company has different coverage options and limits, so be sure to read the fine print carefully.

Dayv Morgan is a Maricopa Realtor and owner of HomeSmart Success.

This sponsored content was first published in the May edition of InMaricopa magazine.