Does A First Time Buyer Need A Home Warranty

is-home-warranty-worth-itWhen you’re buying your first home, you’ll want everything to be as perfect as it can be. A home warranty can bring you peace of mind that repairs will be easier if something does go wrong. This is especially true if you are not the handy, DIY type. There are a few things you should consider when thinking about a home warranty.

Do Some Research

The first thing that you should remember is that you will still need homeowners insurance to cover you if your property were to become damaged by fire, flood or storms. A home warranty will ensure that the warranty company will make simple repairs to your home at a discounted rate. Some companies may also cover you for repairs or replacements that you may need for your appliances such as a washing machine or fridge. Different companies will offer different services and the prices will vary so it pays to shop around to find a plan that has everything that you need for the right price.

What Does It Cost?

It will usually cost no more than a few hundred dollars to take out a home warranty and this is usually a cost that is paid up front. Some companies will also offer an option where you can pay in installments. The actual cost of the warranty will depend on the services that you include in your policy. The age and size of your home do not matter as much to the cost of the policy as you think it might. The main determination of cost will be the things that you want included in your policy.

Service calls are not usually included in the price that you will pay for your premium and so there will be an additional cost if someone does need to be called out to your home. So if for instance you notice that all of a sudden you don’t have hot water in your house, don’t simply call to make a warranty claim unless you actually checked to make sure your water heater pilot light was still lit. Now, if it’s something more serious like a major water heater leak, the service call is usually worth it. The actual cost will be determined by the severity of the problem, how many people are needed to fix it and the length of time the repairs will take. Any fee that does need to be paid will be considerably cheaper than if you did not have a warranty in place.

Pros Of A Home Warranty

  • If your home is more than five years old then you can expect that repairs will become more frequent and a home warranty has the potential to save you a lot of money.
  • You have peace of mind that any repair you do need can be made at a discounted rate.

Cons Of A Home Warranty

  • You may face a dispute about a claim that you have made if the home has not been properly maintained by a previous occupant.
  • If you do not need to make a claim then you will have been paying premiums for no reason.

Before you sign the contract for a warranty make sure that you are completely satisfied that you will be able to make a claim if you need to. In some cases you may be able to negotiate with the seller that they will pay for the warranty for the first year, especially if they are keen to make a quick sale.

Seasonal Storage Tips for Garage Tools

seasonal-garage-storageThe garage may not be the central location of your home, but it’s much more than just the place the car gets parked. For many people, the garage is where most home projects take place and where the tools for those projects are stored. If you’ve ever set out on the epic quest of finding the right kind of drill bit or the right size wrench then it may be time to reorganize your tools and garage. Storing tools properly can do more than just save time, it can also extend the life of your tools.

Cold Weather Prep

Spring cleaning is pretty common across the nation, but its sister season, fall cleaning, can do just as much good. In late fall before storing away lawn tools, take the time to clean them up. Whip away grass, dirt and any other debris that could be stuck on them. This will keep metal from rusting and make pulling them back out next year a breeze. I like to also sharpen the lawn mower blade at this time along with any pruning shears. You’ll be amazed how dull a blade is after a season’s worth of mowing. sharpen-mower-bladeIt takes about 15 minutes total to take the lawnmower blade off, sharpen using a bench grinder, and put it back on. Spend the time to actually do some research and read some bench grinder reviews if you’re looking to get one. I’ve found too many of the cheap brands don’t last more than a year. Stick with a major brand such as DeWalt or Porter Cable.

Organize with Shelving and Hooks

Shelves and hooks make a perfect addition to any garage storage plan. Many handheld gardening tools, such as shears and watering cans, can end up piled in the corner. By adding shelves or hooks you can keep creepy crawlers from making a home among the handles and you’ll have an easier time of keeping them dry. While it’s a fantastic goal to always keep your shelves organized throughout the year, the reality is that you’ll need to do a major reorganization at least once a year.

Store the Grill

Grilling out is a big summer past time and there are few things better, but the grill needs to be properly stored away during the colder months when it’s not being used. Give the grill a good cleaning and scrap out any gunk or grease that may be left behind. If your grill uses propane then remove the tank and store it in a safe area. Cover the grill with a tarp or blanket and put it somewhere out of the way in the garage. While custom fit fabric grill covers may look great when new, I’ve found they deteriorate too quickly during the freezing month and prefer to use a good old tarp.

Car Tools

IF you’re a car person, there’s a good chance you keep all kinds of car tools in your garage. What better place? These tools should be available year round. If you don’t already have a tool chest go ahead and get one. You can also set up a spot just for your car tools. That way they’ll be separated from seasonal tools and won’t get lost in the jumble. Since things like floor jacks probably won’t get much use during the winter, it’s a good idea to remove the handle and store the jack somewhere out of the way, like under your workbench.

Top 10 Garage Tools for the First Time Home Owner

tools-homeownerChanging from being a rent paying tenant to a new home owner means that you can no longer call a landlord to fix problems. At some point, you will need to do minor repairs and maintenance yourself. Here are 10 essential tools that should be a part of your starting toolbox.

  1. Screwdrivers. Screwdrivers come in two types, a flathead or a Phillips head. From around $4 you can buy a 4 in 1 screwdriver that has different sized flathead and Phillips head pieces.
  2. Hammer. You simply cannot have a toolbox worthy of the name if there is no hammer in it. You can buy a basic one for around $5 to a maximum of $200 for a curved handle model complete with a lithium-head.
  3. Cordless Drill. This is another power tool that is an essential piece of DIY kit. Once you own one of these you will never want to be without one. The beauty of a battery powered drill is that you can take it anywhere in your home or garden. Proceed vary from $20 up to $300. Spend a bit more and get a lithium-ion powered drill.
  4. Ladder. At some point sooner rather than later you’re going to have to use a ladder. There are so many different tasks in a house that require you climbing up and down a ladder to get done. Depending on their size and the material they are made from, figure spending between $50-$100 for a good 6-foot ladder.
  5. Tape Measure. A 25 foot tape measure can cost as little as $3. The modest cost can be recuperated by measuring the width and height of furniture and only buying items that fit in gaps.
  6. Level. Whether you are putting up shelves, hanging pictures, or putting up a TV bracket, you can use a level to make things are straight. Most levels are 4 foot long with the basic type starting at $10 and the most expensive LCD display ones costing $175.
  7. Set of Pliers. Get hold of a 5 set of pliers. With pliers you can do just about anything to wires. A $11 five piece set will give you all sorts of options around nails, screws, and wiring.
  8. Circular Saw. To put it simply, if you make your own shelves or anything or similar you are going to need one. If you have lots of things to cut through or up then hand saws are simply too slow. The least expensive 7.25 inch saw starts at $40 while the best 12 inch model will cost $900. A corded 10″ model is the sweet spot in terms of value.
  9. Stud Finder. These are really useful when it comes to hanging up art. A basic stud finder starts at $3.50 while the best digital ones will set you back $80.
  10. Air Compressor. A small portable compressor will pay for itself quickly even if you only use it to inflate tires or kids toys. Once you start other projects such as trimming windows or putting together garden boxes, you’ll wonder how you ever made it without one. A small Central Pneumatic pancake model will only set you back about $60 but better quality brands will be $150+. It’s a good budget compressor and Central Pneumatic air compressor parts are cheap and easy to find.

harbor-freight-tools

Other Tips

  • Make use of any tool sharing scheme or co op tool bartering programs in your area.
  • If you have a Harbor Freight Tools store nearby, they are a gold mine for putting together a decent set of tools for cheap.
  • Try to buy at bargain prices by going around yard sales and visiting thrift shops.
  • If you know people that have too many tools ask if you can have some.