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0 comments on “Everything you need to know about home warranties”

Everything you need to know about home warranties

You just bought a house, and in the negotiations your Realtor suggested you ask for a home warranty. Now you have one and have no idea what to do with it. What is a home warranty? What does it cover? How does a home warranty work? Is it worth the money? These questions flash through your head as you put the brochure and other paperwork away in a file cabinet. Will ever use the home warranty? Let’s hope not!

If you’re confused about home warranties, how to choose a home warranty, and the other questions above, read on. I cover all of these and more in this article. By the end, you should be able to make an informed decision about whether a home warranty is right for you.

What is a home warranty?

A home warranty is a combination of insurance and service agreement. Think of it like the warranty you might get with your car. It is not a homeowners insurance policy, and it is not short-term insurance if anything breaks in the home right after you buy it. Instead, it is a service agreement between the home warranty company and individual service providers which allows for the replacement of certain items within the home in case they break after buying the property.

The annual “premium” varies depending on the extent of the coverage you purchase. Very basic plans can start as little as $400 for the year and go up from there. Very comprehensive plans that include things like pool repairs can cost more than $1,000 a year. Usually, there’s also a service call. Some home warranties also cap the upper limit that they will cover for a repair.

Photo by Milly Eaton from Pexels

What does a home warranty cover?

Home warranties function like most other warranties so it allows you to get repairs and replacements as long as the warranty is in effect. How much it covers depends on the warranty you purchase. Usually, however, it will cover the major systems and appliances in your home. For example, the water heater breaks a couple of months after you purchase the home. A home warranty might cover that, if it’s included in your coverage.

There are also some repairs they don’t cover, unless specifically stated. Because the home warranty is designed for the major systems of your home, it generally doesn’t cover general repairs or maintenance. For example, it won’t pay for fixing the broken window if a baseball goes through it. Or annual preventive maintenance on your HVAC. These will still be out-of-pocket expenses.

How does a home warranty work?

You moved into your new home a few months back. You come home from a long day at work, and your newish refrigerator is not cold. After salvaging as much food as you can, you pull out the home warranty information and call them. The warranty company calls a service provider they are contracted with. The service provider comes to your home, diagnoses the problem, and fixes your refrigerator. If it’s not able to be fixed, you get a replacement fridge. You’re only out-of-pocket the cost of the service call, usually around $75.

Is a home warranty worth the money?

The beauty of the home warranty is not necessarily in the money it can save you, though that’s a plus, too. One of the big advantages is the instant connection to a local, trusted service provider and the coordination of the service. This is particularly useful if you’re new to town and don’t yet have connections with local repairmen. While you could definitely use a service like Angie’s List or Home Advisor, you’ll still be stuck with the cost of the repair.

It’s difficult to say whether a home warranty is worth the $400+ a year it will cost. Like any insurance, warranty, or service agreement, there will be years when you don’t use it at all. And there might be some years in which you use it a lot. This will be also depend on the coverage of your home warranty.

Which home warranty company is the best?

There are so many! I have personally worked with a few different companies. They all cover basically the same things for the same costs. It’s difficult to say how much they cost annually because cost is based on the size of the home, the location, and whether it’s a condo or single family home. All of these companies have online quote systems to make customizing your quote quick and easy.

Check out my home search site at On there you can search homes, save neighborhoods you’re interested in, save homes you love, see local recommendations and insights, see school info, calculate commute times and much more.

Interested in an easy-to-use, no-obligation mobile search app? Try my KW app. It’s free! And it works all over the US. Download it now!

0 comments on “When is the best time to sell a house?”

When is the best time to sell a house?

One of the questions I’m asked most frequently resembles some variation of “when is the best time to sell my house?” The real estate industry puts out lots of answers, and if you follow any Realtors or real estate blogs for more than a year, you’ll quickly come to one conclusion: any time is a good time to sell. A quick look back at the blogs I follow revealed these headlines:

  • “7 Reasons to List Your Home for Sale This Holiday Season” (November 2018)
  • “4 Reasons to Sell Your House This Winter” (December 2018)
  • “The Best Time to List Your House? TODAY!” (January 2019)
  • “Thinking of Selling Your House? This is a Perfect Time!” (February 2019)
  • “2 Reports That Say Now is a Great Time to Sell” (March 2019)
  • “Now is the Perfect Time to Sell Your House” (July 2019)
  • “Existing Home Sales Point to a Good Time to Sell” (August 2019)

We Realtors make a living helping you consumers buy or sell homes so it’s not necessarily surprising that real estate blogs can find a good reason to sell pretty much any time of year. After all, it would be crazy to say, “Nah, now’s not a good time. You should wait.”

When someone asks me what the best of time of year to sell a house is, I have one question in reply. “What are you hoping to accomplish by selling your home?” The answer to this question will determine the answer to the previous one.

Statistically, of course, the housing market strengthens during some months more than others. And it’s those months when it is generally best to sell. For instance, during the summer when families hope to move into better school districts. On the flip side, November and December are generally slower times. People simply don’t want to pack and move during the holidays. Unless they have to.

Why do homeowners sell?

Homeowners choose to sell a home for all kinds of reasons. Broadly-speaking, though, we can divide home sellers into two categories – those who HAVE to sell and those who WANT to sell.

Homeowners HAVE to sell for many reasons, including:

  • death of a family member
  • divorce
  • job relocation
  • loss of a job making payments difficult

Those who WANT to sell do so also for many reason, including:

  • upsizing (move-up buyers)
  • downsizing
  • looking for a better lifestyle
  • moving closer to family
  • better schools
  • liquidating part of an investment portfolio

If you HAVE to sell, any time is a good time to sell your home. If you don’t have to sell, you might want to take a few things into consideration, such as buyer activity, what interest rates are doing, the political environment, and any local factors – good or bad – which might affect the value of the property.

The National Association of Realtors, through data collected over years and decades, shows us that the busiest time of year for home sellers to list their homes are January and May/June. If sellers are considering selling in November or December, they often choose to wait until after the holidays. We typically see a mass influx of new listings in January. In May/June, people are selling with the intention to make a move during the summer. There is also more buyer activity in the summer.

More buyers = more eyeballs on your home. It also means more competition in the form of other homes hitting the market. Statistics from our own MLS for Pinellas County show the same trend. The graph below shows that active listings increase the most in January though in some years May or June have seen a large increase as well.

Why Sell During a Slow Time

There are several good reasons to sell during a slower period, like during the holidays. While many home sellers will wait until a more favorable time of year, that might not be the best choice, especially if the home you’re selling isn’t your primary home (and you won’t have to convince the fam to pack and move during the holidays!)

1. Less competition among homes for sale

Would you rather be one of 6,000 homes for sale? Or one of 6,500? The first, clearly.

2. More serious buyers

We know people don’t like to move during the holidays. The buyers who are looking to buy during the holidays HAVE to buy. Maybe they’re relocating. Maybe they’ve been looking since September and keep missing out on homes due to multiple offers. Maybe they want to be in their new home before the holidays to be able to enjoy them. Whatever the reason, buyers looking during a slow time are generally serious buyers.

3. Closings happen more quickly

If there are less closings, they can happen faster. Appraisers and home inspectors can get to the appraisal or inspection faster. Title companies can get their work done faster. Lenders can approve buyers faster. We have three listings under contract right now that will go contract to closing, with financing, in less than 30 days. Typically, lenders prefer if we give them 35-45 days to close.

Photo by PhotoMIX Ltd. from Pexels


The best time to sell a house is when it works best for your life and schedule. That said, we know there are certain times of the year when buyers are actively searching more than others. And there are times of the year when a large increase in home listings creates greater competition. A good Realtor will be able to help guide you through the various factors that will go into your individual home sale.

Check out my home search site at On there you can search homes, save neighborhoods you’re interested in, save homes you love, see local recommendations and insights, see school info, calculate commute times and much more.

Interested in an easy-to-use, no-obligation mobile search app? Try my KW app. It’s free! And it works all over the US. Download it now!

0 comments on “About Me”

About Me

Hey, there! I appreciate you wanting to learn more about me – as a real estate professional, a neighbor, and a person. I’ve posted my “official” bio below. Briefly, though, here some highlights of my life.

  • Obtained real estate license in 2003
  • Mom of one son
  • Florida native
  • Animal lover
  • Plant mom
  • Writing and reading aficionado
  • Kayak paddler
  • Amateur photographer

Now, here’s the official bio you’ll find on all my sites. If you want to know more about me, scoot down below the bio and the photo. I’ve posted 25 Get-to-Know-Me Questions.

“Cristina has been a licensed real estate consultant since 2003. Her experience and knowledge spans many demographics and types of markets. She is equally comfortable working with first time buyers, investors, or luxury clients, and has experience working in sellers markets, buyers markets, and normal markets. In 2009, Cris moved to the Tampa Bay area and has never felt more at home. She lives in a quaint home walking distance to downtown Dunedin. She enjoys the many festivals and fairs in Dunedin as well as the proximity to the water and Gulf of Mexico. During her down time, you can find Cris out kayaking, riding her bike on the Pinellas Trail, trying one of the new restaurants the Bay Area offers, or photographing the many beautiful places around Tampa.”

I took my son to the Florida Association of Realtors convention in August. He enjoyed parts of it, but this wasn’t one of those parts!

25 Get-to-Know-Me Questions

1. What is my middle name? Caridad. It’s Hispanic and means “charity”.

2. What was my favorite subject in school? In high school, my senior year, my favorite subject(s) were my electives. I front-loaded my high school experience so I had five electives in my senior year, and my favorite classes were photography, drafting, and drama. In college, I enjoyed both my economics and my marketing classes.

3. What is my favorite drink? Hands down, water. I love that stuff. And tea, particularly Earl Grey.

On a cold Florida winter day, the Princess likes soft blankies and I like my hot tea.

4. What is your favorite song at the moment? That really depends on my mood. If my brain is frazzled, I reach for something zen, like bamboo flutes. If I’m feeling energetic, however, I might listen to rock, alternative rock, or EDM. The only thing I really don’t listen to is country.

5. What is your favorite food? Salad. I love salad and eat it daily for lunch, sometimes for dinner or breakfast, too. Arugula, spinach, tomato, cucumber, radish, and some kind of protein with olive oil and salt for a dressing.

My favorite kind of salad. I added flowers from our native “weed”, Bidens alba.

6. What is the last thing you bought? Groceries yesterday at lunch time. Flank steak for dinner last night, soup to go with my salad for lunch, and bacon for breakfast today.

7. Favorite book of all time? I have a very old copy of Oliver Wendell Holmes’ book of poetry. That one is probably my favorite because it’s so old and poetry is a favorite of mine.

8. Favorite color? Yellow.

9. Do you have any pets? Of course! Right now we have a dog and a cat. The dog, Hitch, we found running on the side of I-75 about 13 years ago. He’s some kind of terrier mix. He once loved to terrorize squirrels, birds, and lizards in the back yard. Now he just likes to sleep. I figure he’s earned it. The cat, Crystal, showed up on our doorstep in 2014. She thinks she should have her own IG channel. We often call her “Princess” because she acts like one so often.

10. Favorite holiday? Halloween and Christmas. I love to decorate for both, and I love to find the perfect gift to give to people.

11. Have you been out of the country? If so, how many times and where? I have been and enjoy it every time. I’ve been to Canada, Jamaica, Cozumel, Grand Cayman, the Bahamas, Ireland, England, Haiti, Honduras, and Belize. I think that’s it.

12. How many siblings do you have? I have a younger brother.

13. Can you cook? I can, and I love to cook. I even love to cook for many people!

14. Why did you pursue a career in real estate? Initially, it was a way to get out of waiting tables and bartending. I never intended it to be a full time career because I never considered myself a very good salesperson. Over the years, however, it’s something I kept coming back to. Eventually I realized three things:

  1. If you do it right, you’re a real estate consultant or advisor, not a salesperson. It’s a relationship business, not a sales business.
  2. I’m good at it.
  3. I really do enjoy it.

So, I stuck with it and have had the opportunity to work in many roles in the industry which, I think, broadens my experience in ways many other Realtors don’t have.

15. How do you make yourself a priority? I’m still figuring that out! I go to the gym every day at lunch time, meditate almost every night, and pretty much allow myself to not feel pressured to do “something” if I’m tired.

16. What are your hobbies or favorite “other” things to do? So many. So little time! I love photography and take my DSLR camera with me a lot so I can take photos if the mood or subject strikes. Kayaking is one of my favorite activities, especially alone in the morning or evening because the water tends to be calm, and it’s so serene. I’m a big fan of travel and writing and have combined the two into my travel blog, Wander Florida, where I recount our travel experiences around Florida.

17. Favorite thing about your childhood? Looking back… all of it! We lived on a boat that my parents built. Only for a couple of years, but it’s an experience that probably kick-started my love of travel and learning while I travel. We “cruised” up and down the East Coast of the US for 9 months or so, were homeschooled, and were able to have living lessons. We learned about Civil War stuff while in South Carolina, about Ponce de Leon and the first settlement in the US while in St. Augustine, about science by witnessing it first hand, about English and writing by writing and exploring our own personal stories wherever we were. It was an amazing way to learn.

18. Favorite life quote? My soul purpose is serving love.

19. What is your Big Why? I have a couple of them. The first is to travel more. I want to travel to out-of-the-way places and experience those cultures deeply. I’m not interested in the type of travel where you hit 10 countries in 14 days and only see the major tourist attractions. The second is that I’d like to make enough money to be able to give away the majority of it. I want to be able to start a fund or foundation that assists single mothers who have left a difficult marriage to purchase their first home, perhaps through down payment assistance or something similar. I also want to give to animal sanctuaries and rescues.

20. Which is more important: what you say or how you say it? I learned recently that different people “hear” words differently. What I mean by that is that about half of people “hear” the emotion behind the words you speak so for them how you say something is most important. The other people “hear” the words you speak so for them what you say is most important. Therefore, both are important. It’s imperative we learn to read other people to be able to communicate with them in the most effective manner.

21. Do you live to work or work to live? One of the things we say at Keller Williams Realty a lot is “the purpose of business is to fund the perfect life”. So, I work to live. Despite the evil rap that money gets, the reality is that money is really good for all the good things it can do. Work enables us to have more money which means we can fund the perfect life and do more good in the world.

22. Are you religious? If so, what religion? I was raised Catholic; however, I consider myself spiritual, not religious. I’ve read a lot about many different religions, including some of their religious texts and find myself drawn to different aspects of all of them. At the core, however, I believe all religions are born of a need to find answers, acceptance, and love. Whether that is internally or externally very much depends on the religion. For myself, I prefer to find it internally which is more in line with gnostic Christianity, Buddhism, and other such religions, and I believe the world is my church. There is beauty everywhere, if we just allow ourselves to pause long enough to experience it.

23. What was the last thing you did that was really worth remembering? There’s something every day. Yesterday at lunch, several of us in the office sat at a large table in the middle of the office. We ended up having an impromptu mastermind around finances, investing, and the like. It’s worth remembering because we’re an office who, at the heart, is all about sharing ideas and knowledge. And this was the perfect example of that. It’s really wonderful to be able to exchange and explore the many different experiences of some of the top Realtors in the area. It makes us stronger as an office, stronger as individual Realtors, and stronger as work family and friends.

24. When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? I wanted to ride and train horses professionally. And I did for about 9 years.

My horse, Petey, and I warming up for a class in Wellington around 1992-1993.

25. Who is your celebrity crush? I have two right now – David Tennant and Chris Pratt.

Check out my home search site at On there you can search homes, save neighborhoods you’re interested in, save homes you love, see local recommendations and insights, see school info, calculate commute times and much more.

Interested in an easy-to-use, no-obligation mobile search app? Try my KW app. It’s free! And it works all over the US. Download it now!

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