Appliance And Home Repair Bills
Homeownership is a great feeling. You finally have a place to call your own, no more landlords calling to tell you that you can?t put a table on your patio or can’t have guests over.
To make the most of your new property, familiarize yourself with it. Learn where the circuit breaker box and water shut off valve are, for instance. Knowing what a home warranty covers will help provide some peace of mind on repairs.
- Ask for a discount
Purchasing major appliances — such as an air conditioner, washing machine, dryer, dishwasher or refrigerator — is a big expense. But if you shop smart, you can get the best possible prices on quality machines that last a long time.
When shopping for appliances, keep in mind add-on costs like delivery and installation. Ask salespeople about those charges, and don’t be afraid to haggle. In fact, a recent survey by Consumer Reports showed that two-thirds of people who successfully haggled got a lower price on their purchase.
Haggling may feel awkward at traditional retailers that still operate on a commissioned sales model, but experts say it’s worth trying. In addition, many stores offer price-matching, and sales reps often know of coupons or upcoming promotions that aren’t advertised. And don’t be afraid to shop around for floor samples or merchandise with minor damage, which are frequently marked down as the store prepares to take in new inventory.
- Ask for a credit report
Before purchasing an appliance, check your credit report to determine where you stand. You may be able to qualify for in-house financing or a personal loan that offers a low interest rate and lower monthly payment than your credit card. Many of these options also require a minimum purchase amount, so make sure that the item you plan to buy is within that dollar limit. Some stores offer a rent-to-own option that allows you to lease an appliance and then pay for it over time, typically with a monthly or biweekly payment. These programs usually don’t require a credit check, making them more accessible for bad-credit borrowers. However, the payments on these agreements can be steep. They also often include additional fees and charges, like service fees or early termination fees.
- Ask for a warranty
A warranty gives you peace of mind that if something goes wrong with an appliance, you have someone to call. It also bolsters your negotiating power because manufacturers have a reasonable expectation that their products will work for years. Plus, many major appliances have implied warranties (thanks to Internet reviews and consumer-driven demand) or are subject to state laws that say a product must
work well for at least four years.
Typically, new home systems and appliances come with a manufacturer?s warranty that can be extended for a fee. A home warranty works similar to that, except it provides more of an umbrella of protection to cover multiple items and can even be used for older units that are too old for the manufacturer?s warranty to apply. Many retailers sell these warranties, and some credit cards provide additional coverage based on the type of purchase. Compare the offerings, cost and customer reviews of several companies before choosing one.
- Ask for a service contract
If you’re concerned about the possibility of an unexpected repair bill, a service contract might seem like a good idea. However, it’s important to study the contract and determine how much risk you can accept. Consider whether a company’s reputation is solid and that it will still be around when you need it. If you’re unsure, ask your local Better Business Bureau or consumer protection office to see if complaints have been filed against the company. In addition, diligent record-keeping can help ensure your warranty claim isn’t denied.
If you can afford to self-insure your repairs, consider skipping the service contract and setting aside money in a savings account specifically for home repairs. This way you can avoid the high cost of a service contract and still have peace of mind.