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By Kayla O’Brien

RISMEDIA, May 13, 2008-What is it that today’s home buyers and sellers want most? Is it convenience? A smooth transaction? A home that fits their budget? With all the talk about today’s market, it’s no wonder that smart Realtors have concluded the obvious-consumers want it all. And why shouldn’t they have it? These same smart Realtors have teamed up with HSA Home Warranty, understanding that there is a place for both convenience and security in every aspect of homeownership.

Over the past few years, the idea of offering home warranties to consumers has been igniting its way through the real estate industry. We are no longer in a culture where homeowners choose to make their own home repairs, so busy homeowners are looking for qualified professionals to do the work for them without having to work to find them. And what better source for a recommendation than their Realtor’s trusted partner, HSA?

“We are looking to lend convenience to homeownership,” says Gary Lombardo, senior vice president of sales and marketing. “Most of the attention has been focused on budget and risk management protection, but today we’re continuing to evolve into being able to provide a convenient service by making one phone call, without having to worry if a vendor is reputable.”

As more and more Realtors offer home warranties to buyers, awareness is spreading, helping to cement the importance of home warranties as a necessity to any real estate transaction. Couple that with consumer education and more comprehensive product offerings, and it’s clear that HSA is proving that former misconceptions about home warranties are a thing of the past. Today, HSA realizes that for the importance of customer retention and satisfaction, not only should most claims be approved, but all homes-both old and new-should be entitled to the same sense of security.

“There are still limits, but a lot have been removed with new options for expansive coverage,” says Micheal Herman, senior vice president of operations. “Today, there’s a greater chance claims will be approved and, therefore, clients will recognize the value [of home warranties] and assist in higher customer retention and referrals.”

It’s a known fact that homeowners average two system failures every year. HSA works to meet consumers’ needs, but the company also recognizes what Realtors want-repeat business. As more of their clients have claims serviced, the priceless value home warranties provide is proven by the confidence and convenience the clients experience.

“Given the difficult time many of our real estate partners are experiencing, any tool that can help make a home more marketable and a homeowner more confident in their purchase is a welcomed one,” says Lombardo. “With so many stresses on homeowners in terms of meeting their budgets and payments, home warranties help protect their budgets.”

Add on the convenience of an easy-to-use website, where consumers can make claims or renew or review contracts online, and the home warranty leaves little room for disapproval. What’s more, after a homeowner makes a claim-whether online or by phone-a notification is sent to the agent who offered the warranty, even years after partnering with HSA.

“The agent can reconnect with the client after we inform them a claim was made and look like a hero to the homeowner, as the person who recommended the home warranty to begin with,” says Herman.

For those agents looking for added security and risk management, many find that home warranties are the solution. Providing home warranties for clients prevents them from coming back looking to blame someone when a problem arises.

“If there’s not a warranty on the home and something goes wrong, they’re going to say ‘you need to take care of this for me,'” says Herman. “It’s easier for agents to say that we have a home warranty on your home and we can help you with this. It keeps commission dollars in their pocket rather than spending their time dealing with a leaky pipe in someone’s basement two months after the house closed.”

HSA also proves that by just offering a home warranty, an agent is put in a better position, even if a home buyer or seller refuses the warranty.

To further spread the word about the acceptance of home warranties, HSA’s sales strategy is focused on a higher retention rate. To do this successfully, HSA fosters close relationships within the real estate industry. Two years ago, the company launched its Master Agent Program, establishing partnerships with individual top-producing agents. These professionals then reinforce the value that a warranty brings to every transaction.

“The greatest communication of our message is by leading Realtors,” says Lombardo. “Whether it’s by referral or continuing to provide home warranties, we have a different value proposition centered around the role that a home warranty can play in a real estate agent and homeowner’s lives.”

Moving forward, home warranty renewal and retention will ideally continue to trend up each month as the importance of home warranties spreads through the industry. Along with new marketing campaigns and vendor alliances, customer satisfaction will add to a greater sense of confidence in the industry.

“We’re seeing that confidence grow, but only right now in a certain subset of the overall real estate community,” says Lombardo. “We still think there’s a greater opportunity for continued growth. Realtors will see that they can trust us with their clients, and fit nicely with their reputation.”

“There’s a push throughout the whole home warranty industry to raise awareness and bridge the gap with consumers,” says Herman. “We want real estate agents to know that we understand their challenges and are looking to create greater value for them and their clients with our home warranty.”

For more information, visit www.onlinehsa.com.

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