NHSCA Members Serve and Protect Homeowners When Others Fall Short

National Home Service Contract Association members provide consumers over a billion dollars in benefits annually.

(Lenexa, KS)  Contracts are only as dependable as the providers behind them. The members of the National Home Service Contract Association (NHSCA) stand behind the home service contracts they provide millions of consumers each year. NHSCA member providers are often able to assist those who unfortunately find themselves contracted with a less than “stand-up” provider.

Consumers contracted with members of the NHSCA receive over a billion dollars in benefits every year.

NHSCA members are registered and are easily identified through a NHSCA Company Code number and use of the NHSCA logo. Links to individual websites may be found on the NHSCA website at www.homeservicecontract.org/contact-nhsca-members.  These are providers who adhere to a code of ethics and actively work with state regulators to protect consumer interests.

The home service contract industry has a strong foundation and long history of serving consumers. As with any industry, not all companies grow and flourish. Selecting a NHSCA member company provides the security of knowing that your contract provider will be there when you need them. Using a non-NHSCA member is a risk consumers do not need to take.

Here are a few items to consider when selecting your contract provider:

  • If the price or benefits sound too good to be true –you know it likely will be. Visit the NHSCA website and contact a member in your state to compare price and benefits.
  • Inquire about monthly contracts or a monthly-based renewal of the contract that came with your house.
  • Ask your local REALTOR®. Nobody is more familiar with or understands the industry better. They work with home service contract providers on a daily basis and can offer knowledgeable guidance.

If despite your best efforts, your provider disappears or fails to perform, contact a member of the NHSCA to apply to replace your coverage. Competitive members operate in all states and are ready, willing and above all, able to offer you a service contract plan on your house. Many now offer monthly payment plans.

Home service contracts are optional contracts that provide consumers with a single point of contact for most household appliances and systems. A call to an 800 number dispatches a screened, licensed and qualified local plumber, electrician or technician to your home. This eliminates having to shop-around or price compare at what could be a very stressful time. With one call, consumers receive the service, repair or replacement needed to keep their home running smoothly.

The National Home Service Contract Association (NHSCA) is a non-profit 501(c) (6) industry trade organization of member companies serving home service contract providers and consumer interests throughout the United States. For more great industry and consumer information, visit  http://www.homeservicecontract.org or call 913-871-5600.

#02

Buying Beats Renting in Most of America

We know that buying a home is overall cheaper than renting in most major metros, but now there is evidence that buying a home is a better financial decision than renting for homebuyers who plan to stay in their home for at least two years in half of all U.S. markets. Read more, click here

The National Home Service Contract Association (NHSCA) is a non-profit 501(c) (6) industry trade organization of member companies serving home service contract providers and consumer interests throughout the United States. For more great industry and consumer information, visit  http://www.homeservicecontract.org or call 913-871-5600.

#12

CONSIDER AGE OF APPLIANCES AND SYSTEMS WHEN PURCHASING A HOME

 

Cost of service and repair can be costly according to the National Home Service Contract Association. A home service contract is a good option.

(Lenexa, KS) — There are many items to consider when purchasing an existing home. Many buyers, especially those in the market for their first home, look at the sale price to determine if they can afford to buy. The National Home Service Contract Association, the industry trade organization serving home service contract providers and consumer interests, strong suggests that consumers factor in the cost of maintenance, repair and replacement of major appliances and homes systems when budgeting for a home.  Knowing the “life expectancy” of those systems is key.

Take for example an air conditioning system. Most AC systems have a life expectancy of 10-15 years. If you are considering the purchase of a home that is over 15 years old, with the original system, you could be living on borrowed time. Three years or three months? Who knows? It’s a guessing game, but the only thing that is often certain is that when it does go, it will be at the most inopportune time. Considering that the average cost to replace and install an average air conditioning system is $4,500 – $6,500, doing a little upfront research is a pretty good idea.

You can protect yourself from many of these budget busters by purchasing a home service contract form a member of the NHSCA.

The following is a list of averages for many of the appliances and electronic systems in your home based on the most recent research from The National Association of Home Builders:

  • gas ranges – 15 years
  • dryers and refrigerators – 13 years
  • washers – 10 years
  • compactors – 6 years
  • dishwashers – 9 years
  • microwave ovens – 9 years
  • HVAC – 15-20 years
  • furnaces – 15-20 years
  • tankless water heaters – 20 years
  • electric or gas water heater  – 10 years
  • heat pumps -16 years
  • air conditioning – 10 to 15years
  • garage doors – 10 to 15 years

Home service contracts provide service, repair or even replacement on a home’s major systems and appliances. At an average range of $350 – $550 for a year, these contracts typically cover items such as heating systems, interior plumbing, electrical systems, water heaters, dishwashers, and garbage disposals. Other items such as pools, spas and septic tanks may be added at an additional fee. As always, we suggest you consult with your real estate agent for guidance.

The National Home Service Contract Association (NHSCA) is a non-profit 501(c) (6) industry trade organization of member companies serving home service contract providers and consumer interests throughout the United States. For more great industry and consumer information, visit  http://www.homeservicecontract.org or call 913-871-5600.

#03

 

 

Tips on Winterizing Your Home

 

Take a few minutes to read and make sure you have properly winterized your home.

The NHSCA contributed to a terrific article on SheKnows.com 
Read the entire (original and unedited) SheKnows.com by Rolla Bahsous online here.

winterizing-your-home

How to get your home ready for the cold season
If you’ve already pulled out your winter coat and put snow tires on your car, there’s still one thing you’re missing before the cold weather hits. Most people completely overlook the few simple steps needed to winterize a house. It’s important to remember that while home service contracts generally provide service, repair or replacement for the major built-in appliances and systems in your home – such as dishwashers, electrical and plumbing systems, heating ventilation and air conditioning systems  – regular maintenance is still very important.

  1. Self-check your heater and HVAC

Turn the heat on and be sure that all the rooms in your home are getting enough heat through the vents. Check and change your HVAC (furnace) air  filters.  “Many of us think of changing our furnace filters just once or twice a year, yet experts say we should replace them every month during the heating season,” says Andrea Woroch, a consumer and money-saving expert.

  1. Schedule a professional furnace maintenance visit.

A furnace tune-up not only includes cleaning that keeps your furnace running efficiently, but it also catches small problems before they turn into big problems that can not only cause inconvenience and discomfort. An annual maintenance contract from a local, trusted HVAC company is also a great idea. They will not repair or replace broken units like a home service contract, but they go a long way to keeping your home running happy and healthy.

  1. Check batteries and update your fire and CO detectors.

Check and replace all batteries as needed. Don’t forget a good quality carbon monoxide detector in your bedroom and near your gas heater and/or gas water heater.  Even a small problem can lead to gas leaking into your home or dangerous carbon monoxide levels. Carbon monoxide (CO) is a deadly, colorless, odorless, poisonous gas. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, on average, about 170 people in the United States die every year from CO produced by non-automotive consumer products. Be mindful, many  detectors typically need to be replaced every five to seven years. 

  1. Get the fireplace ready

If you have a fireplace, be sure it’s ready by ensuring the chimney is clean. If you have burned a few cords of wood, having a professional chimney sweep is mandatory. If you don’t have a fireplace but wish to have the cozy ambience, check out some faux fireplace units at your local décor store. Some of these fireplaces are designed to emit heat in addition to the “fire” display.

  1. Check your gutters

Letting leaves pile up in the gutter can cause big problems any time of year, and in cold weather especially. The NHSCA says, “During winter months, leaves can potentially cause melting ice and snow to backup into your attic, and even your basement. Be sure to pay particular attention to gutters that have branches directly over them. Not all trees shed their leaves at the same time so you may need to check the gutters in both the fall and early winter.”

  1. Check your windows

To keep warmth inside your home, inspect all windows and make sure there aren’t any cracks where heat may escape. It might be wise to cover all your windows facing North with a plastic sheet. You can find these at your local hardware store and the cost far outweighs the heating saving you’ll gain by covering your windows. Pella Corporation, the leading manufacturer and designer of windows, doors, blinds and shades for homes and commercial buildings, also recommends clearing windowsills of dirt and debris since pre-winter window cleaning is one task most homeowners overlook: “Debris like sand, dirt or leaves can get caught in windowsills and moving parts of windows or doors. Clean these areas with a dry paintbrush to create a tighter seal and enhance window and door performance.”

  1. Check the outside of your house

If you haven’t eyeballed your home’s exterior in a few months or more, now’s the perfect time to reassess at the start of a new season. Before that first snowfall, Pella Corporation recommends repairing or replacing damaged exterior surfaces that could expose your home’s interior to the outside elements. Pella Corporation advises, “Cracked or deteriorated wood on the roof or near the foundation is typically associated with water penetration and may allow moisture or cold air to leak into your home. Look closely for signs of moisture leakage and replace damaged wood. Consult a professional to help correct any roof or drainage problems around your home.”

  1. Remove leaves around your outside HVAC unit.

The HVAC unit is likely your home’s largest operating system. The compressor part of your air conditioner is located on the exterior of your home and can become inefficient with debris and leaves blocking it. You can even use a wet dry vacuum or your hands to remove the debris from the bottom for manual cleaning. Wear gloves if using your hands for manual cleaning and turn off your main breaker first – just to be safe.

  1. Turn off exterior faucets

This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s also one of the easiest home winterizing tips to overlook — because it’s so simple. According to the NHSCA, “Un-drained water in pipes can freeze, which will cause pipes to burst as the ice expands.” The NHSCA recommends, “Start by disconnecting all garden hoses and draining the water that remains in faucets. If you don’t have frost-proof faucets (homes more than 10 to 15 years old typically do not), turn off the shut-off valve inside your home.

  1. Install a programmable thermostat

To keep home temperatures regulated and energy costs to a minimum, we recommend installing a programmable thermostat to lower temperatures when the house is empty and warm it up again in the morning. We have used and love the internet controlled NEST brand which retails for about $199.00. However cheaper models are available that work fine. Woroch says, “You can pick one up for as little as $20 and save an average of 10 percent a year on your heating and cooling bill. Since some of these are expensive, look for deals to save money on programmable thermostats and other home energy products.”

The National Home Service Contract Association (NHSCA) is a non-profit 501(c) (6) industry trade organization of member companies serving home service contract providers and consumer interests throughout the United States. For more great industry and consumer information, visit  http://www.homeservicecontract.org or call 913871-5600.

 #10a

                                                            

Even in a Seller’s Market, the Value of a Home Service Contract Remains Strong

 

Lenexa, KS – When sales in the residential real estate market grow, often resulting in a shift towards a sellers’ market in many areas, no one should forget the basic economics of selling or owning a home. The National Home Service Contract Association reminds home buyers that the true cost of home ownership extends well beyond the sale price.

A home service contract provides needed peace of mind and budget protection at a time when they need it most, during the first year of home ownership. They also protect the seller and the seller’s agent from an unhappy and frustrated buyer who encounters a significant repair right after closing.

Home service contracts generally provide service, repair or replacement for items such as dishwashers, ovens, disposers, electrical and plumbing systems and most importantly, heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems (HVAC), which may become inoperable due to normal wear and use. Coverage does not include preexisting conditions. At an average cost of $400 – $550 a year and service calls ranging from $50-$100, a home service contract can easily pay for itself with just one use, and is one reason they are highly recommended by real estate brokers for both the seller and buyer of a home.

There are many ‘unexpected’ expenses that add to the cost of home ownership – especially during the first year according to national data and the NHSCA.  Jeff Powell, President of First American Home Protections says “We all love those ‘do it yourself’ television shows but the reality is that there are many home repair or replacement projects that occur in that first year which can, and should, only be done by a skilled professional. The true cost of owning a home includes items such as maintenance and repair. The average cost for those items in the first year of home ownership is roughly 1% to 2% of the purchase price. That can really cause a burden to homeowners who have just made what is likely the biggest purchase of their life. That is where a home service contract can really protect a homeowner’s bank account and provide peace of mind.”

The national median existing single-family home price for the first quarter of 2016 was $234,000. That translates to potential maintenance and repair bills ranging from $2340 to $4680 and higher. That figure is for maintenance and repair alone, and doesn’t even include items such as a major system replacement, insurance, property taxes, utilities, lawn care, pest control, or the purchase of new items such as furniture. 

“Even in a sellers’ market, home sellers still can set their home apart from the rest by providing such coverage,” Powell said. “And home buyers still need and want to safeguard their budget. Why leave anything to chance when it’s a win-win for all parties involved?”

The National Home Service Contract Association (NHSCA) is a non-profit 501(c) (6) industry trade organization of member companies serving home service contract providers and consumer interests throughout the United States. For more great industry, media and consumer information, visit  http://www.homeservicecontract.org or call 913-871-5600.

#04a

Popular Mechanics – How to Get the Most From Your Home Warranty

While written in April 2013, this advice from PM is pretty much timeless.

Suppose someone is considering buying a home…READ MORE

The National Home Service Contract Association (NHSCA) is a non-profit 501(c) (6) industry trade organization of member companies serving home service contract providers and consumer interests throughout the United States. For more great industry, media  and consumer information, visit  http://www.homeservicecontract.org or call 913-871-5600.

#13

 

Tips on Spring Home Prep

Just like winterizing, NHSCA says adding home appliances to cleaning list in spring just as important.

Lenexa, KS – The experts with the National Home Service Contract Association advise that cleaning and inspecting major appliances should be at the top of every homeowner’s spring cleaning checklist.

“Organizing closets and cleaning windows certainly are typical spring cleaning tasks but smart homeowners who really want to keep repair bills down and efficiency up, add the major appliances in their homes to their spring cleaning ritual,” says Jeff Powell, President of First American Home Protection.

The experts at the NHSCA suggest a few important spring-cleaning tasks:

Air Conditioning

  • Check your air filters. Replacing every 30 – 60 days is highly recommended.
  • Keep the outdoor compressor unit free of debris. Trim shrubs and plants to ensure proper air flow and circulation.
  • Spraying off the outdoor coil is a great idea but make sure all electricity and breakers turned off first.
  • Better idea? Schedule a professional HVAC expert to do a maintenance visit.

Washing Machine

Whites looking a little dingy? It may not be your detergent, but the machine itself.

  • Inspect cold and hot water supply hoses for cracks and deterioration.
  • Look for signs of water or oil leakage.
  • Check to make sure the machine is level, and adjust it if needed, by turning the legs clockwise to lower them or counter-clockwise to raise them.
  • Your washer over 12 years old? Time to upgrade.

Dryer

  • For gas and electric dryers, check and tighten supply connections.
  • Be sure to clean the lint trap after every load. According to the United States Fire Administration, every year clothes dryer fires account for over $100 million in losses. Check to see if the dryer is level; if it’s not, the drum may vibrate and damage the unit. To adjust the level, turn the legs clockwise to lower them or counter-clockwise to raise them.
  • Clean the vent pipe to outdoor or replace. These vents really clog up after a few years and not only can start fires, they kill the efficiency of your dryer.
  • Is the dryer over 12 years old? Time to go shopping

Water Heater

The last thing anyone wants to do is step into an ice-cold shower.

  • Drain and flush sediment from tank to prevent rust or failure.
  • Check pressure-relief valve once a year to make sure this crucial safety device is not clogged.
  • To prevent accidental scalding and burns in homes with young children, be sure that your heater is set below 120° F.
  • Make sure no flammables (or anything)  stored or stacked near or that could fall around heater.

Many home service contract providers also offer a menu of optional items such as pool and spa equipment, well pumps and freestanding refrigerators, for an additional fee. Contracts are typically annual and renewable. Members of the NHSCA effectuate the actual diagnosis, repair or replacement through a network of independent contractors.

The National Home Service Contract Association (NHSCA) is a non-profit 501(c) (6) industry trade organization of member companies serving home service contract providers and consumer interests throughout the United States. For more great industry and consumer information, visit  http://www.homeservicecontract.org or call 913-871-5600.

#10b

 

CONSUMERS URGED TO RESEARCH SERVICE PROVIDERS AND REPORT SUSPECTED FRAUD

Check on potential providers at homeservicecontract.org

Lenexa, KS —The National Home Service Contract Association (NHSCA) is cautioning consumers to research service contract providers before signing on the dotted line to be assured they are registered and fully compliant with state laws. The easiest and quickest way is to be sure you are dealing with a registered member of the NHSCA.

 “Members of the NHSCA adhere to a strict Code of Ethics which promotes sound and ethical business practices,” said Jeff Powell of longtime NHSCA member, First American Home Protection.  “They are reputable, licensed home service contract providers in good standing. Unfortunately, there are other providers out there that don’t meet our quality standards and even operate illegally.”

Home service contracts, (often referred to as home warranties), generally provide service, repair or replacement for items such as dishwashers, ovens, disposers, electrical and plumbing systems and most importantly, heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems (HVAC) which become inoperable due to normal wear and use.  Home service contracts also have limitations. Paying particular attention to the contract’s terms and conditions can also help avoid confusion when a service call is needed.

Home service contract companies are regulated in all states. In about 25 states, specific laws require prior registration or license from the state prior to transacting business. In other states, providers are regulated by the state attorney general’s office.

Consumers should consider the following items to be “red flags” that necessitate further research:

  • Lack of a physical address on company web site. A post office box is fine, but if no address is it could be a sign that the company is trying circumvent state regulations
  • Advertising prices and services at large discounts that are far beyond industry norms
  • Lack of an NHSCA Company Code that designates NHSCA registration as a trusted and qualified service provider.

 “The NHSCA works with state and federal regulators to not only combat fraud, but assists in ensuring that all providers are, at a minimum, compliant with their laws, “ Powell said. “Realtors may also be an excellent resource, however if you do suspect fraud, be sure to visit the NHSCA website or contact your local regulator, to report it immediately.”

To confirm NHSCA company codes and report suspected fraud, just visit www.homeservicecontract.org.
The National Home Service Contract Association (NHSCA) is a non-profit 501(c) (6) industry trade organization of member companies serving home service contract providers and consumer interests throughout the United States. For more great industry, media and consumer information, visit  http://www.homeservicecontract.org or call 913-871-5600.

#15

COLD TEMPS NOT OPTIMAL FOR HVAC TESTING

 

National Home Service Contract Association cautions home buyers about limitations on HVAC testing in colder temperatures

Lenexa, KS – The National Home Service Contract Association is cautions consumers purchasing an existing home in the winter that colder temps make it difficult to determine the proper function of residential air conditioning units.

HVAC professionals generally caution that anytime the mercury falls below 65 degrees Fahrenheit, a home inspection report can only verify that a unit will turn on, but cannot verify it actually cools without high risk of severely damaging the compressor.  In winter, the coldest spot in a refrigeration circuit is in the compressor crankcase, located outside the home. Because refrigerant naturally migrates to the coldest spot in the unit, if the system is tested, the refrigerant may travel into the compressor, causing damage.

The NHSCA urges buyers purchasing an existing home to hire a qualified and experienced home inspector, pay special attention to the testing of their HVAC unit and request the seller provide a home service contract as part of the real estate transaction to help insulate them from costly repair or replacement costs of for undetected problems in future months.

To offer reassurance that the system is operating properly, real estate agents representing the buyer will generally ask the seller to sign a form stating the date of the last time the air conditioning system was fully functioning. However, if a home has been on the market for an extended period of time, this statement may not provide accurate information on the current condition of the unit.

“If a house has been sitting empty and an undetected leak has slowly depleted the refrigerant, the new owner will have no idea until they turn the air conditioning on in the summer,” says Art Chartrand Executive Director of the NHSCA. “At that point, a service call to get the refrigerant level back up and the unit running will likely cost in excess of the cost of an annual home service contract on the entire home. “  One also need to understand that low levels freon would indicate a leak in the line that will continue to deplete refrigerant until it is located and fixed. That translates into more repair dollars for the homeowner.

The NHSCA also notes that in the past some homeowners have opted for a temporary fix by simply having refrigerant added to their systems to keep them operational. However, the dramatic increase in the cost of refrigerant in recent years can make this approach as costly as a repair. Freon is currently scheduled by the EPA to be unavailable after 2020 due to its adverse environmental concerns.

Home service contracts generally provide service, repair or replacement for items such as dishwashers, ovens, disposers, electrical and plumbing systems – and most importantly, heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems (HVAC), but do not cover pre-existing conditions. Paying particular attention to the contract’s terms and conditions can help avoid confusion when a service call is needed.

The National Home Service Contract Association (NHSCA) is a non-profit 501(c) (6) industry trade organization of member companies serving home service contract providers and consumer interests throughout the United States. For more great industry, media and consumer information, visit  http://www.homeservicecontract.org or call 913-871-5600.

#10c

           

 

HOMEOWNERS ENCOURAGED TO OPTIMIZE BENEFITS OF HOME SERVICE CONTRACTS

Seller-Purchased Contracts Offer Convenience and Benefit for New Homeowners

(Lenexa, KS)  Home sales  can get hot and can slow down in quickly changing markets these days, but a home service contract always makes sense for sellers and buyers. Homeowners should get the most of them.

Home sellers very often  purchase home service contracts on behalf of the buyer as an added incentive.  They also may receive protection during the listing period and fewer issues after the sale.  To receive the maximum benefit and convenience of these contracts, the National Association Home Service Contract Association offers the following guidance.

Review the home service contract to be sure that you understand all terms and conditions.Home service contracts generally provide service, repair or replacement for items such as dishwashers, ovens, disposers, electrical and plumbing systems – and most importantly, heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems (HVAC).

Maintain all appliances and household systems to keep them in good, efficient operating order. You will benefit from uninterrupted service and as well as potential energy savings.

Request optional coverage be included if you feel you may need coverage on items not typically specified under the standard coverage. If the home you are purchasing includes features such as a swimming pool, septic tank or spa, advise your agent to request this optional coverage.

Keep a copy of your contract easily accessible and post the providers toll-free service number in a visible location like the refrigerator door.

Call your contract provider at the first sign of trouble. Do not call a repair contractor directly.One of the benefits of your home service contract is that your provider works with a network of prequalified and licensed contractors in your area. If a breakdown poses an actual risk to your health or safety (such as lack of water or heat in freezing temperatures) most providers will work to expedite emergency repairs.

Follow up with your provider if for some reason you are not satisfied with the service provided. They will work with you to resolve your concern.

Be aware of when your contract expires. For your convenience, many companies will provide automatic renewal of your contract. If you did not wish to renew, contact your provider right away to exercise your cancellation rights.

 

The National Home Service Contract Association (NHSCA) is a non-profit 501(c) (6) industry trade organization of member companies serving home service contract providers and consumer interests throughout the United States. For more great industry, media and consumer information, visit  http://www.homeservicecontract.org or call 913-871-5600.

#25