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RISMEDIA, June 30, 2011—Even with home sales and prices continuing to fall nationwide, millions of Americans will still navigate the process of buying and selling homes this summer, and for many, the sheer volume of details and decisions can be overwhelming. With so much to consider when buying or selling a home, it can be challenging to investigate even routine aspects of the process, such as the value of home warranties.

Lelia Chapman, vice president of field sales for one of the nation’s oldest and largest home warranty providers, American Home Shield, says that a reliable home warranty can help provide an important measure of confidence for the buyer and help set a seller’s home apart from the competition.

Still, even with advantages to both parties, many buyers and sellers remain uninformed about the purpose and benefits of home warranties, which cover the repair or replacement of many home-system components and appliances. Home warranties—which are available for single-family homes, condominiums, townhouses, vacation homes and multi-unit properties—address key consumer needs, typically covering the cost of replacing or repairing such things as heating and air conditioning components, dishwashers, water heaters, ovens, garbage disposals, and more.

Such items are not usually covered by homeowners insurance and can be very costly to repair or replace if not covered by a home warranty. Replacing the dishwasher alone can be more costly than an annual home warranty payment; the cost for a one-year home warranty from American Home Shield begins around $300.

“When a system or appliance breaks down unexpectedly, it can be very inconvenient and stressful to homeowners—not to mention potentially devastating to a household budget,” says Chapman.

While many of the home’s system components and appliances are covered as part of a standard home warranty, if home buyers wish for more household items to be covered, they should determine whether their home warranty provider offers an add-on package. American Home Shield offers plans allowing consumers to customize their home warranty to cover specific components and appliances, including ceiling fans, garage door openers, swimming pools and more.

Advantages for both buyers and sellers
Whether the home warranty is provided by the seller of the home or purchased by the buyer after the sale, there are numerous advantages to both parties.

“Home warranties are appealing to buyers because they cover appliances and system components that a new homeowner has no familiarity with,” says Chapman. Sellers benefit from offering a home warranty because it sets the home apart from the rest of the competition in today’s saturated market, often leading to faster sales at better prices.”

Get the plan that’s right for you
While home warranties are a popular addition to the home buying and selling process, they may be purchased at any time. Chapman encourages consumers to do their research before choosing a plan or provider, as costs, coverage levels, customer service and other factors vary. American Home Shield’s website offers homeowners an interactive experience where they can review a range of options and custom-design plans based on the cost and coverage level that is right for them.

“In today’s economy, home warranties make sense more than ever,” says Chapman. “Not only are they a great tool to help you sell your home, but they’re something you definitely want to insist on when buying one.”

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