Girlfriend advice, real estate advice for friendsThere’s nothing to match curling up with a good book when there’s a repair job to be done around the house.  ~Joe Ryan

Any ‘disaster’ in my house happens when my husband is out of town. The tree went down and took out power for three days – he was in Texas. The water heater quit working, driving through Indiana. The furnace died, laying on the beach in Florida.

What did I rely on? My girlfriends! Thankfully my girlfriends have taken me in, have fed me, have been there for me.

We’ve got a great girlfriend who’s there for us when it comes to ‘home stuff.’ Girlfriend Guru and Real Estate Expert CATHY PERRY reminds us that there are ways to get through major appliance breakdowns.

The weather just turned chilly, and one of my two 18-year-old furnaces has pooped out on us. That was not much of a surprise, as one of our air conditioning units did the same thing in August, fortunately waiting until after the most extreme temperatures to decide it needed a break. And the control panel on my seven-year-old fridge also appears to have bitten the dust.

What to do, what to do? I am blessed with an extraordinarily handy husband, but the HVAC is just a little bit out of his reach to fix. Thankfully, we planned ahead and purchased a home warranty last spring. I was pretty convinced that the A/C wouldn’t make it unscathed through another hot St. Louis summer, and guessed that the furnace might not either, since they are all original to the house. I didn’t suspect the sump pump would go, but apparently it had already lived several times longer than originally expected, so that was the first thing covered under our plan.

A home warranty is valuable for both sellers and buyers, as well as those of us who have been in our homes for awhile. It covers things under the acronym PEACH, with the owner paying the cost of the service call, typically $60 – $75, and the warranty company paying the rest.Cathy Perry Home Warranty advice for girlfriends

P – plumbing
E – electrical
A – appliances
C – cooling
H – heating

There can be variations between warranty companies and the coverage selected in terms of things that are included and excluded within PEACH, so it’s a good idea to read the fine print in the contract and ask questions of the provider for anything you’re unsure of. Costs vary by location; here in the Midwest they fall around $400 – $475 for a standard plan.

If you are thinking of selling a home, consider offering a Home Warranty. If some of your mechanicals are functional but getting a bit dated, buyers have great peace of mind knowing they wouldn’t immediately need to shell out for a new furnace after moving in. And sellers can be covered, too, for the time their home is on the market, with a year’s coverage still provided to the buyer after closing.

If the sellers are not offering a Warranty, buyers can still request one as part of the contract terms, or purchase one on their own. The cost of a warranty is far less than that of replacing the air conditioner, furnace, or water heater.

And for homeowners not involved in a real estate transaction, plan ahead! The warranty company will have an initial waiting period, so don’t wait until the furnace breaks to purchase a warranty and make an immediate service call. Questions? Call your real estate agent for a warranty company recommendation, or Google home warranty plans.

Girlfriendology home repair quoteCATHY PERRY, our real estate guru, knows that buying or selling a home involves a lot more than looking at homes on the internet or putting a “for sale” sign in the yard.  With a background as a wealth management executive and an interior design entrepreneur, Cathy brings it all together into a concierge model of real estate services designed to give her clients the highest level of service and expertise. You can find Cathy at her blog or her website.

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