Are Home Warranties in Massachusetts Worth the Paper They are Printed On?

Real Estate Agent with The Buyers' Counsel

House with lock and chainAre Home Warranties in Massachusetts Worth the Paper They are Printed On? 

Many homeowners in Massachusetts have never used a home warranty.  And, some have never even heard of them.  

During the real estate boom it was fairly common for a home warranty in Massachsetts to be included as part of a home purchase.  Brokers often used them as listing tools as part of their listing presentation.  Now, with home sales down and agents needing to cut costs the inclusion of a home warranty as part of the sale has become less prevalent. 

What is a Home Warranty?  

Not to be confused with a builder's warranty, a home warranty is a service contract that is typically purchased for existing homes. For an annual fee, which ranges from $300 to $600, a typical warranty will cover major mechanical systems and appliances, air conditioning, plumbing and electrical items. 

Items of Coverage  

A basic plan will usually cover: 

  • Heating systems
  • Water heaters
  • Plumbing systems
  • Garbage disposals
  • Dishwashers
  • Ovens
  • Ceiling fans
  • Ductwork 

Upgraded coverage can be added for air conditioners, pools, spas and sometimes even roofs for an additional fee. 

How Do Home Warranties Work?  

When something breaks, the homeowner calls the warranty company and they send out a local contractor to diagnose the problem. You then pay the contractor a flat fee, typically $50 to $100 for the service call and the warranty company covers the cost of the repair or replacement. 

Is the Purchase of a Home Warranty a Good Idea?  

If you are buying an existing home, particularly an older one, a home warranty in Massachusetts can provide you with convenience when you are in need of service.  When you need a repair you won't have to think about who to contact.  However, it is important to be selective in your choice of companies. 

  • Choose a company that has a long track record and a good reputation.
  • Check the contract thoroughly to make sure that you are getting the coverage you are expecting.
  • If the home warranty is being included and is being paid for by a real estate agent make sure that the premium has been paid in full for the entire year.

A home warranty can provide you with a certain peace of mind, particularly for that first year of ownership.  Just make sure that you have read all of the fine print to know exactly what you are getting.


"Are Home Warranties in Massachusetts Worth the Paper They are Printed On?"

This post was written by 

Claudette Millette, Broker, Owner, The Buyers' Counsel - (508) 881-6230

An Exclusive Buyer Brokerage serving the Greater Metrowest area

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Comments (12)

Liz Lockhart
Riverbend Realty, Cape Girardeau, MO - Cape Girardeau, MO
GRI, Cape Girardeau Real Estate

And don't forget to file the paperwork for the home warranty in a place where you can find it, if you need it!

Dec 29, 2010 04:07 PM
Pat Tasker
Shorewest Realtors - Germantown, WI
Your Milwaukee Metro Area Agent (WI)

I totally LOVE home warranties, but only if they are through my favorite company: Home Security of America....they rock and THEY PAY CLAIMS!!

Dec 29, 2010 04:07 PM
Maureen Fukumoto
Help-U-Sell Realty Pro - Mililani, HI

I always reccommend them to my buyers.  I most often use American Home Shield and they have repaired and even replaced appliances for my clients.

Dec 29, 2010 08:40 PM
Deanne Olivas
eXp Realty - Gilbert, AZ
Your Home Matters

I agree a Home Warranty is important. I have many buyers purchasing lender owned homes that are less than 10 years old and I always recommend a  home warranty because there is no Seller Property Disclosure and there certainly could be hidden issues. No two Home Warranty Companies are alike so finding the one with the best coverage and customer service is important.

Dec 29, 2010 11:16 PM
Kristen Correa, Broker
Kristen Correa Real Estate & Reedy Creek Realty Services - Keller, TX
I love coffee & real estate. I am out of coffee!

WORTH IT. But with most warranty companies, it's only worth the paper it's on with the optional upgrade, in my pro opinion. I really value the warranty companies who send out the 2nd or 3rd opinion guys when they don't get it right the 1st time, following through all the way, and those companies who keep in touch with the agent who referred them the business, letting us know when claims are made and claims are PAID! Love that. Plus, my E&O insurance said ALWAYS RECOMMEND IT! So I do...

Dec 30, 2010 01:12 AM
Claudette Millette
The Buyers' Counsel - Ashland, MA
Buyer, Broker - Metrowest Mass


As with any policy you need to keep a file that you can put your hands on when you need it.


That's a good recommendation.


I agree with that suggestion.


American Home Shield has been around for awhile.


These companies do differ so it is a good idea to check them out thoroughly.



Dec 30, 2010 01:14 AM
Claudette Millette
The Buyers' Counsel - Ashland, MA
Buyer, Broker - Metrowest Mass


Part of my buyer presentation is information and recommendations on home warranty companies.  Buyers need to know about them and then make the decision for themselves.


Dec 30, 2010 01:25 AM
Mel Ahrens, MBA, Kelly Right Real Estate
Kelly Right Real Estate - Hood River, OR
Customized Choices for your Real Estate Needs

It depends.  We personally have had poor experiences with American Home Shield when we purchased our current home. Our perception was they were sales oriented not fix the problem/solve the claim solution driven. 


Dec 30, 2010 02:31 AM
Claudette Millette
The Buyers' Counsel - Ashland, MA
Buyer, Broker - Metrowest Mass


That is disappointing to hear about you experience with American Home Shield. It's good of you to let people know about it, however.  If you would like to leave more details about what actually happened, please feel free to leave another comment. 


Dec 30, 2010 02:36 AM
Christine Smith
Buyers Brokers Only LLC - - Canton, MA
Exclusive Buyer Agent & Attorney, Canton, MA

You are right Claudette - many MA homeowners have never used one or heard of one.  Some of the homes that were purchased by my clients this past year came with a home warranty provided by the listing agent.  Although I know that some are trying to cut costs, with the amount of inventory on the market it can also be something that helps one home stand out from another.

Dec 30, 2010 04:19 AM


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