Do you want to find the best home warranty as a first-time buyer?
Perfect, you’re in the right spot. In this guide, you’ll learn:
- What is a home warranty plan for first time home buyers?
- How much does coverage for first time buyers cost?
- Is a home warranty service contract for new home buyers worth it?
- How do warranty contracts for new home market buyers work?
- What are the best home warranty companies and plans for first time home buyers?
- And much more!
Our Top Picks Overview
You’ve spent years building up enough for a down payment and countless hours scanning through real estate listings to find your first home. Eventually, you close on your dream house, move in, and sit down to relax, only to realize that your beautiful new home actually needs quite a few repairs on major appliances and systems.
What's In This Guide?
Unfortunately, home repairs are one of the many realities of owning a house. But, as a first-time buyer, figuring out precisely how much to budget for these annual repairs can be tricky. Even if you have your budget figured out, when you realize that you are now solely responsible for finding an HVAC specialist that can come repair your heating in the middle of a cold winter night, the whole process can seem like an insurmountable challenge.
Thankfully, a quality home warranty policy for first-time buyers can alleviate a lot of the stress you feel as a new homeowner. The trick is getting the right plan for your unique needs.
We know how challenging it can be to find a good home warranty policy. So, we’ve created this guide to finding the best policies for first-time buyers, plus our home warranty reviews of the top-rated options available on the market today.
Top 5 Best Home Warranties For First Time Buyers
What Are Warranties Meant For First Time Home Buyers?
A home warranty for a first-time buyer is a way to protect yourself from unexpected repair bills on your home systems and home appliances. With a warranty plan, you get free or highly-reduced repair service on any covered item, such as your air conditioner or dishwasher.
In exchange for an annual premium and a small service call fee whenever you submit a claim, a home warranty provider will also send a qualified service provider to your home to assess, diagnose, and repair any issues in your appliances or major systems.
So, you can think of a home warranty for a first-time buyer as a way to protect yourself financially from the often substantial costs of homeownership. These plans also come with the added bonus of easy home repairs for greater peace of mind when something malfunctions in your new house.
How Much Will A First Time Buyer Pay For A Home Warranty?
In general, a first-time buyer home warranty costs around $300-$600. However, this cost will vary quite a bit depending on the size of your new home and where the property is located.
The last major factor that determines how much your warranty will cost is the type of plan and the amount of coverage you want. Here are some of your plan options:
Best Home Warranty For First Time Buyer Coverage?
Choice Home Warranty is our top pick for first time buyers. Why? Their plans offer good all-around coverage for both systems and appliances and they won’t deny coverage if you’re buying a home with older items.
Systems Plans Or Appliance Plans
Top home warranty companies will let you choose between policies for either your home systems or your major appliances, also known by some companies as “basic coverage.” These plans are a good option if you just want to protect a specific set of appliances or systems in your new home.
Basic plans are generally your most cost-effective option for all-around coverage of systems and appliances, and cover only your home’s most essential systems and appliances. The actual terms of coverage will vary from plan to plan, but you can usually expect protection for most kitchen appliances, heating, electrical, and plumbing, at a minimum.
Alternatively, if you know that the home seller had just had the major appliances replaced or recently redid the plumbing or electrical system, these plans can be a cost-effective way to get coverage for your first year of homeownership.
Comprehensive Plan/Combo Plan
If you like the coverage that you can get from a basic plan but still want more protection, a comprehensive policy or a “combo plan” might be your best bet. With a comprehensive plan, you get everything found in a company’s basic policy, plus some premium coverage on things like air conditioning, refrigerator, and plumbing stoppages.
Comprehensive plans usually have higher premiums than basic plans, but they are often the best choice for people that want total protection on their home.
Build Your Own Plan
Your last home warranty policy option is a build your own plan. These highly customizable policies are an ideal choice for homeowners that want maximum flexibility over their coverage.
The drawback to this type of plan is that they tend to be more expensive upfront. But, since they give you the freedom to choose precisely how much coverage you need, you may be better protected financially from major repairs down the line.
Optional Coverage Options
Add-on items are perfect for the new homeowner that has unique items in their first home. Not everyone will need pool coverage, but it is nice to know that if you decide to have this backyard luxury, coverage is available.
Is A Warranty Policy Worth It For First Time Buyers?
We get it: After paying your down payment, closing costs, and moving fees, you’re probably looking at the cost of a warranty annual premium and are saying, “Are home warranties worth it?”
We’re happy to say that, yes, home warranties are definitely worth it. Here’s why:
Coverage For Costly Home Repairs
Owning a home is expensive. Not only do you have to pay your mortgage, utilities, and property taxes, but you have to be ready to handle any major repair costs that come your way.
However, these repair bills can quickly eat away at your savings and your monthly income. With a home warranty plan, though, you get financial protection from costly repair bills. This means more money in your pocket for the future.
Quick And Easy Home Service For Repairs
One of the other major benefits of a home warranty is an efficient repair service. Indeed, this is one of the biggest advantages for first time home buyers who may not be familiar with the local service technician options in their area.
With a warranty plan, you simply need to submit a claim to your policy provider. Then, the company will send a qualified repair specialist to your home, saving you the time and hassle of having to find your own service provider.
Protects Your Real Estate Investment
Purchasing your first home is a major investment, so it’s important that you protect your assets as much as possible. To ensure that your home continues to grow in value over the years, you need to be ready to pay for regular repairs and maintenance costs on your house.
These repair costs can quickly eat away at your budget, though, particularly if you just spent a significant portion of your savings on a down payment as a first time home buyer. So, with a warranty plan, you can get financial assistance with these much needed repairs and upgrades. Over time, this repair coverage will help you gain a better return on your investment if you choose to sell it in the future.
Covers What Homeowners Insurance Won’t
If you’re a first-time buyer, you might be wondering why you need a home warranty plan when you already have to buy a home insurance policy. While these two coverage options sound similar, though, they’re not at all the same thing.
Homeowners insurance covers you financially if there is any damage to your home as a result of a fire, earthquake, flood, or natural disaster, as per the terms of your contract. A home insurance policy, though, will not offer any monetary assistance if you need to replace your air conditioning or ductwork.
In these situations, you’ll have to pay out of pocket for home repairs, unless you have a warranty plan. Home warranties are designed to protect you from repair costs on issues with appliances and systems that happen as a result of regular wear and tear.
Simply put, your warranty covers what your insurance policy won’t, giving you complete protection from any future issues in your home.
How Do Home Warranties For First Time Buyers Work (Are They Unique)?
For the most part, the home warranty plans you can get as a first-time buyer are available to any buyer, seller, or existing homeowner. Here’s how a home warranty works to help you with home repairs:
Step 1: Find Your Dream Home
The first step in this process is to find your dream home. Since warranty plans vary in cost based on your home location and size, it’s impossible to buy a policy before you know what home you want.
Once you’ve made an offer, you can start asking warranty companies for a free quote to get an idea of how much your plan will cost.
Step 2: Get A Home Inspection
After you make an offer, your mortgage lender will almost certainly require that you get a home inspection before closing. Even though this isn’t technically required by most warranty companies, it’s always a good idea because it can find any pre-existing conditions that may not be covered under your plan.
If you do find any pre-existing issues with the home that wouldn’t be covered under your plan, it’s best to talk with the seller and deal with them before closing. That way, you can be confident that any issues that crop up are covered under your policy.
Step 3: Choose A Warranty Plan
Now that you are close to closing on your first home, to decide on your warranty plan officially.. Regardless of the type of plan you choose, be sure to completely read through the contract and terms/conditions, so you’re aware of any conditions on your coverage.
Step 4: Submit A Claim
Once you have your home warranty plan in place to protect your home, you can go ahead and submit a claim whenever you need a repair on an appliance or system. Most top-rated companies have a 24/7 call center in place to help process your claims, and many others will also have an online claims portal to help you get the service you need.
Step 5: Pay A Service Fee
When you submit a claim under your home warranty protection plan, you’ll pay a small service fee. This fee varies from plan to plan but is usually between $60-$120.
In general, this fee is paid just once per repair claim, and you can think of it as similar to a copay at your doctor’s office.
Step 6: Get Great Home Repair Service
Finally, as soon as your claim is processed, your home warranty service will send a qualified repair technician to get your house back in working condition.
The local contractor will assess, diagnose, and repair any issues in your home. Your warranty provider will then cover the cost of the service up to the value listed on your contract.
Looking for more tips for first time home buyers? Check out this video from real estate experts on everything you might run into during your home journey.
Top Home Warranties For First Time Buyers Reviewed:
You have a lot of options when it comes to home warranty plans for your first house, so it’s understandable if you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed. To help you get the coverage you need, here are our reviews of the best home warranties on the market today:
1. Choice Home Warranty
Choice Home Warranty tops our list as our number one choice for a first time home buyer warranty. We like the company’s plans because they offer affordable annual premiums, so they are great for first time home buyers that want to keep upfront expenses to a minimum without sacrificing quality.
However, all of Choice Home Warranty’s plans offer good all-around coverage for both systems and appliances. They have a basic plan, which covers the following:
- Plumbing and stoppages
- Hot water heater and whirlpool bathtubs
- HVAC system (heating and cooling) and ductwork
- Dishwasher and garbage disposal
- Oven, range, cooktop, stove, and built-in microwave
Additionally, for first-time buyers that want even more protection, Choice Home Warranty’s Total Plan also protects your refrigerator as well as your clothes washer and dryer.
One of the best parts about Choice Home Warranty is that they won’t deny you coverage just because you have older appliances or systems. This makes them a particularly attractive choice for first-time buyers that are excited to buy a slightly older home that’s full of character and charm.
The company also has a great call center that’s ready to help you file and process a claim whenever you have repair issues in your home. Their low service fee also helps to keep more money in your pocket whenever you need to call for a repair.
- Good comprehensive coverage options for first-time homeowners that don’t want to sacrifice quality
- Low service call fees and affordable premiums
- Coverage for any home system or appliance, regardless of age
- No option to customize or build your own plan
2. American Home Shield
American Home Shield is a popular choice among first-time buyers because they offer three standard plan options that fit a wide range of different protection needs. With their standard plans, you can choose to protect your systems or appliances. Alternatively, you can choose a combo plan that includes all the covered items protected under both the appliance and systems policies.
The appliance and systems plans are a solid option for first-time buyers that want some protection on their new home but aren’t quite ready to commit to the cost of a full combo plan. They’re also a good option for budget-conscious buyers of homes that recently underwent major renovations or just got all new appliances.
For even more flexible coverage on your first home, American Home Shield also offers to Build Your Own Plan. Another great feature of American Home Shield’s plans is the ability to choose your own service fee.
With these plans, first-time buyers can decide if they want to pay a little more upfront for their annual premium in exchange for a lower service fee in the future. Or, if a lower annual premium is the main priority, buyers can opt for a slightly higher service call fee whenever they need a repair.
- Three great standard plan options for first-time buyers
- Ability to choose your own service call fee
- Can build your own plan or choose from optional add-ons for maximum coverage flexibility
- Combo and build your own plans have slightly higher premiums than the industry average
3. Select Home Warranty
Select Home Warranty’s plan options provide first time buyers with a good mix of affordability and coverage flexibility. They have three basic plan options to suit a variety of different needs.
The company’s bronze plan covers appliances and offers protection for the following:
- Garbage disposal and dishwasher
- Built-in microwave, oven, and stove
- Clothes washer and dryer
Alternatively, first-time buyers that want to protect their new home’s systems can opt for the gold plan, which has the following covered items:
- Plumbing system
- Electrical system
- Air conditioning and heating system
Finally, Select Home Warranty has a platinum plan that provides coverage for everything in both the gold and bronze plans as well as:
- ceiling fans and exhaust fans
- plumbing stoppages
In addition to this nice selection of different plan options, Select Home Warranty allows homeowners to choose their own repair technician.
While first-time buyers might not be overly familiar with the home repair process, with the ability to choose your own repair technician with Select Home Warranty, homeowners can choose providers based on recommendations and referrals for local contractors from their friends and families.
- Ability to choose your own repair technician
- Good selection of different plan options allows for coverage flexibility
- Premium costs are slightly higher than average for comprehensive plans
4. Total Home Protection
Total Home Protection offers home warranty plans for first-time buyers on a budget that also want comprehensive repair coverage. The company’s gold plan offers protection for the following appliances and systems:
- Ductwork and exhaust/ceiling fans
- Water heater and interior sump pump
- Garage door opener
- Electrical system
- Dishwasher and built-in microwave
- Whirlpool bathtubs
- Garbage disposal and trash compactor
- Oven, stove, range, and cooktop
- Plumbing system and stoppages
For even more protection, first-time buyers can consider Total Home Protection’s platinum plan, which covers the following:
- clothes washer and dryer
- heating and air conditioning system
To make the home buying process even smoother for first-time buyers, the company also has a nice list of different add-on items for added coverage for things like pools and spas.
For first time buyers, one of the main benefits of a Total Home Warranty Plan is their low annual premiums and affordable service fees. This makes them a good choice for new homeowners that don’t want to spend a lot out of pocket for good coverage.
The company also offers emergency repair service, giving first time buyers the peace of mind they need should something break during the weekend or in the middle of the night.
- Emergency repair service makes getting quick repairs easier for first-time homeowners
- Affordable premiums and lower service fees help first-time buyers save money
- Both plan options cover systems and appliances
- Coverage availability is limited in certain states
5. First American Home Warranty
First American Home Warranty offers some of our favorite first-time buyer home warranties because their plans have low premium costs and reasonable service fees. The company’s basic plan protects most of your major appliances, including:
- Garbage disposal and trash compactor
- Clothes washer and dryer
- Oven, cooktop, and built-in microwave
Alternatively, first-time buyers that want even more protection on their new home can choose the premier plan, which covers everything in the basic policy, plus:
- Heating system
- Electrical system
- Plumbing system
- Central vacuum system
First American Home Warranty also has a small list of different optional coverage items that new homeowners can choose from to customize their plan better.
However, where First American Home Warranty’s plans really shine for first-time buyers is in their great protection upgrade options for new homeowners. When you buy a home, depending on your location, you can supplement your First American Home Warranty plan with fantastic upgrades, such as financial protection for new building permits and code upgrades. This makes the company’s plan a particularly good choice for first time home buyers that are new to the real estate process.
- Protection upgrade options available for first-time buyers
- Reasonable premiums and service fees for quality protection plans.
- Coverage for air conditioning units is add-on only
Final Thoughts On Home Warranties For First Time Buyers
Buying your first home is stressful enough without having to worry about the cost of home repairs. A home warranty can help you stay on top of regular home maintenance without wiping away your savings.
Plus, for first time buyers, home warranties make it easier to find reputable service providers when something breaks or malfunctions in your new house. So, warranty plans are a must-have for anyone that’s about to purchase their first home.