The Home Warranty Will Cover That

I think I’ve said it before. In fact, I know I have, “houses are easy, people are complicated.”

Houses have rules, don’t argue and are not emotionally attached to themselves. If something breaks, leaks, smokes or doesn’t operate, the house won’t try to convince you that it’s no big deal, that it has always done that and it’s not a problem, or that it had never done it before the home inspector touched it.

People on the other hand…

No, I will not leave that ancient and leaking water heater out of my home inspection report so that you can defraud the home warranty company for a new one.

“The home warranty will cover that.” This statement is a contradiction in tenses. The home warranty that is not yet purchased will in the near future cover the costs to repair or replace the old heater, dishwasher, water heater, etc., that is now, and was previously, nonfunctional, damaged or even dangerous.

Fraud is not fraud if everybody does it, right? With the frequency and fervor that I hear real estate agents say, “The home warranty will cover that,” one would almost assume that it’s standard practice.  And ya know, it is.

What else in life can we buy a warranty for after the fact? How nice would it be: the car dies, the refrigerator quits, the computer with all your family photos and financials flashes the “blue screen of death?” Just run out and buy that extended warranty that you declined when you first bought the item, pretend it just happened, pay a small deductible and voila.

How about a retro-active life insurance policy?

I try to imagine the scam fully played out, the new home owner walking over to the controls of the heater he already knows doesn’t work, home warranty pamphlet in hand, and trying to act surprised when nothing happens after turning up the thermostat.

It just doesn’t work for me. And what really doesn’t work for me are real estate agents who act surprised and even indignant when I refuse to play along. No, I will not leave that ancient and leaking water heater out of my home inspection report so that you can defraud the home warranty company for a new one.

“What’s the harm,” you might ask, for redundancy’s sake I’ll skip the obvious compromises in professional integrity. If the home inspector should decide to play along and omit from, or even minimize conditions in his report so that the new home owner, under the guidance of their real-estate-agent-come-outlaw, can get a freebee from the home warranty company, and the home warranty company refuses, guess who can be stuck buying the new water heater? That’s right, the home inspector.

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