In the aftermath of the recent winter storms in Texas, the Austin American-Statesman reports many are finding out their home warranties might not fix what broke during the storms. There is little that can be done once you have purchased a warranty. The time to ask questions is before you buy one.
Warranties in Texas are treated as an insurance product, as they should be. This is true whether it is a home warranty, a motor vehicle warranty, a builder's warranty, or other. Texas requires any product sold as a "warranty" to be issued by a Texas Department of Insurance licensed issuer - but this mandate is often ignored.
There is no standard set of express warranties required by homebuilders or repair companies in Texas. Even if the warranty is issued by a legitimate, licensed company - what is written in the agreement is largely up to that company. There are some important things to know before you buy a home or purchase a home warranty. skill labor workers into your home.
Demand to see the actual warranty contract. Many companies will offer an abbreviated pamphlet or document with a bullet point version of what you get with your warranty. These are often mere specimens of the actual contract and often designed to sell the sizzle without providing the fine print of what's NOT included or covered. Many of these documents clearly state they are not binding. It should be a serious red flag if a builder claims they cannot give you the actual warranty contract until you sign something.
Make certain you know what and where dispute resolutions will occur. We have seen contracts for homes built or repairs performed entirely in Texas which required the resolution to be in some distant state with severe limitations upon the recover. This is ridiculous and should not be tolerated.
Know who is issuing the warranty. If the builder is the warrantor, it is important to know the wealth of that builder. Many builders form one entity for each home they build. When the home is completed and sold, there is nothing left in that entity. This is often done to protect the builder as it acts as a barrier and buffer to the builder honoring its warranties or other promises. This is a very serious problem which can linger for years. If the warrantor is an entity other than the builder, find out everything you can about the warrantor who may have a horrible track record that even the builder is not aware of.
CONTACT US to schedule a confidential review of your circumstances when considering the purchase of a new warranty. In your every building and repair adventure, we wish you success.
About your authors:
John Lione serves as The Fowler Law Firm PC Section Chief Real Estate and Construction. He was one of the first class of attorneys certified by the State Bar of Texas in Commercial Real Estate Law in 1984 – making him one of the three most tenured Commercial Real Estate Specialists. He finds real estate litigation and transactional work equally gratifying and regularly practices both. John was recently designated as a specialist by the State Bar of Texas Board in Property Owner Association Law. At last count, only 49 licensed attorneys in Texas have received this designation.
Laura Fowler is the Managing Shareholder of The Fowler Law Firm PC. She is a regular speaker to real estate and business groups and an instructor licensed to teach continuing education courses required by the Texas Real Estate Commission.
About The Fowler Law Firm PC: Attorneys with The Fowler Law Firm PC proudly donate their talents and resources to many area charities and teach courses in Continuing Education Click HERE for more information. Follow our charitable adventures on our Facebook or LinkedIn pages.