Home warranties work differently for owner-occupied properties than they do for rental properties. As a homeowner who lives in the house, the relationship is strictly between you and the home warranty company. When the vendor comes out, it’s your property, so you can take control of the situation, and you’ll probably find the whole problem easy to resolve. The process will probably move quickly.
When it comes to rental property, for some reason, the process seems to really slow down. There are a lot more parties involved, including the management company, the warranty company, the property owner, the tenant and then any vendors that the work is sourced out to. The priority seems to change quite a bit when the warranty company is servicing a rental home, and in 30 years of doing business, we have not yet found a warranty company that serves rental properties well. They might be out there, but we have not worked with them yet.
Most management companies that you come across will tell you the same thing. If you do decide to use a home warranty company, make sure there are some specific questions answered in your contract. Find out:
- How quickly the service call will be managed
- How quickly the problem will be resolved
- What kind of communication will be conducted with the property management company and the tenant
The communication element is especially important. Often, vendors who work with property management companies know not to discuss a lot of things with the tenants. They know to discuss them with the management company instead.
Cost has a big impact on why so many people choose to buy warranties. Yes, you save money when you have a home warranty and need to use it. However, if the air conditioning goes out in the middle of the summer and it takes the warranty company two to three weeks to fix it, the tenant will get upset and want to move. Stop and think about what that can cost you, and you’ll realize that saving money isn’t just about having a warranty in place. You want to balance the cost of a warranty with the cost of having an unhappy tenant desperate to leave your property. Keeping a property occupied saves you money too.
If you have any questions about home warranties, please contact us at Property Services of Atlanta, and we would be happy to share more information with you.