Every time I get to a point where I think I have heard or seen everything, I am proven otherwise.
Recently I had a tenant that no longer wanted the hired pool company to service the pool where he lived. He didn't like the fact that they would stop by between 9-4 and instead wanted a 30 minute window. When dealing with big pool companies this is a tough request because they have so many pools they need to service daily on their route. If they have one or more delays it could cause a ripple effect which is why the give such a huge window.
I explained this answer to the tenants and then they offered a separate solution. They would like permission to maintain their own pool in exchange for the cost of monthly pool chemicals (usually 20-30 bucks max). After speaking with the owner we agreed to this but under the condition that they send us a copy of receipts monthly for our records.
After 5 months not receiving any receipts from the tenants, one of the tenants called our office and asked us where their money was. We again explained that we never received any receipts from them, and therefore, we never mailed them any reimbursement checks. Her response was that they lost all the receipts and we should just take their word for it. Obviously in this business we cannot do that because it is irresponsible for our clients.
A few days later I received a phone call from the other tenant saying that the he had the receipts and would send them over. 5 days later I finally received the receipts. The funny thing was that each of these receipts had a similar mark on them from the printing process. As I took a closer look they are were the same receipts with exactly the same info on them. The only difference was that it looked like someone just erased the days and wrote a new date in it.
This is where my detective skills came in. I immediately called the pool store and questioned them about the invoices. They asked that I send the copies over to them for review. When I called to get the result….SURPRISE.... they were indeed the same receipt that had just been altered by someone. They also said that the chemicals listed on the receipts should clear up the dirtiest pool in the world and that if one person was using these on a monthly basis it would be “scary”.
I called the tenants to report my findings in the most sensitive way possible. They vehemently denied everything I was saying and just kept saying that they wanted their money. I explained that after consulting the owner we would only pay for part of each bill. Only then did the tenant reveal the truth. The tenant finally admitted that basically he felt that I should give him the exact amount we paid the previous pool company which is why he altered the chemical bills. According to his bills I would be paying him $5 more per month than I was paying the professional company.
Needless to say, we declined to pay for anything more and insisted that a professional company be put back on schedule to service his pool.
I know this does not reflect every tenant, but it is a funny story of how people try to take advantage anytime you give them a chance. In this business your guard always has to be up, and it is a good idea to go through each bill you get with a fine tooth combs. Sometimes it may just be an innocent mistake, but other times it could be a similar situation to this where people have nothing but bad intentions..
In my opinion not every home needs a home warranty.
For example, if your home is brand new then you probably get a builders warranty for at least the first year. If you purchase a resale home then it may make sense in cases to look into purchasing a home warranty. Some Realtors and clients swear by home warranties. I tend to lean in the other direction.
In my line of work I have often seen the warranty company either not cover everything that they said they would or make you jump through so many hoops that it is not worth it. An example of this is a client owned a home built in 1959. From about 1994 she started using a home warranty. Every year she renewed this until she finally sold the home in 2009. During that span of time she had two big ticket claims. One was for an a.c. unit and the other was for a furnace.
Most people reading this are probably thinking "she got her monies worth then". At first glance I would think the same thing, but upon taking a closer look at the numbers below you can see what a bad deal she got.
15 years at an average of $400 per year equals $6000. Even $6000 over a long period of time would be ok, but then comes all the other issues. This a.c. was clearly at the end of it's life in 2004, yet they still refused to replace the unit. It took 11 more service calls at $55 a piece before they finally agreed to install a new unit. This added up to $550 on top of all the time and frustration wasted trying to get them to do what they promised in their initial contract. When it got replaced they installed a smaller unit based on square footage only and didn't take anything else into account. To top that off they made the client pay for the crane. This cost the client over $1000. By the end it cost my client spent around $8000 for coverage that I could have paid $4000 for.
I would only recommend getting a home warranty in a few occasions. The first is if you don't have the money to cover a major expense like an air conditioner or heater. The second is when your buy a resale home and the seller is willing to add that in as part of the purchase contract at no cost to the buyer. The reality is that you can find more reliable vendors through friends or networks like Angie's List!
Of course, this is just my opinion on the topic. If you have any examples (good or bad) that you would like to share I would love to hear them!
Realtor, Property Manager, New Blogger