Home Warranties Aren’t Free – Neither Are Repairs

Fort Myers Florida Plumbing RepairAs a real estate agent I am about to close out my second decade in this career.  I’ve been through a few “cycles” of the real estate market.  Our most recent cycle has sent entry level buyers of homes in Bonita Springs north to Fort Myers, Florida where there are more affordable homes available and typically much older homes.

A recent home purchaser had an unexpected surprise of a plumbing leak a few weeks after closing. Of course, the event was posted on Facebook where all the armchair attorneys showed up to discus all of the possible scenarios even though the “advisors” had no first hand knowledge of the transaction or access to the purchase agreement used by the buyer and seller to convey the property.

One of the comments resonated with me because, well, when something goes wrong … not matter what the blame goes to the last man standing, the Realtor®. Here’s part of the comment:

… also if you did not purchase "as is" the realtor should reimburse you.

Thank you, ma'am, for your thoughtful legal advise but if the real estate agents were responsible for every repair of a home after it closed, no matter how significant, there would be no reason why we would do this job. Home buyers get home inspections prior to purchase. Even when a home is purchased with known issues other issues can actually develop.  It’s the joy of home ownership.  Homes are always in need of constant repair.  That’s what home owners do. Especially to a home built in 1970. 

Other armchair attorneys piped in stating that “the sellers should have provided a home warranty” and “you should have gotten a home warranty” and “your real estate agent should have bought you a home warranty”. None of these people passing out free legal advise were present while the negotiation of the property purchase took place. They have no first hand knowledge of the other major repairs that had to be negotiated with the divorced couple who owned the home and did not want, nor were they able to pay for a single thing. The real estate agents had actually forfeited a portion of their commission in an effort to get the property closed.

Further, the buyers of the home barely scraped by to close sale on they property.  They didn’t have the excess funds to buy a home warranty so comprehensive that it covered plumbing, too.  Warranties are not inexpensive (several hundred to over one thousand dollars) PLUS there are substantial deductibles for each service call, usually around $150 per service call, to get a tech on site.

Long story short, this 1970’s home was going to be remodeled room by room and the buyers had a surprise pipe leak in a wall.  It just happened … Murphy’s Law.  Being a first time home buyer with little excess funds for cushion has potential pitfalls of unexpected repairs.  It just does. It’s not going to be the last surprise, either.