Like many of his colleagues around the country, Richard Grimes, president and CEO of RealtySouth, is beginning to see a little modulation in the volume and pace of home sales throughout Birmingham, Alabama, where his Berkshire Hathaway affiliate is based.
With inventory still constricted to record lows across the communities his company serves—and interest rates on the rise—Grimes notes that sales are down nearly 10% year-over-year. And while the company set sales records in 2020 and 2021, the firm is on pace to meet (or exceed) its 2019 numbers.
Committed to supporting each and every client throughout the home-buying and -selling journey and once the transaction has closed, Grimes, along with his team of 750 agents, has been educating clients on the importance of home warranties for the past decade.
“Home warranties, like those offered by American Home Shield, help reduce the risk for the buyer who often purchases a home that was previously lived in,” adds Grimes. “There are used appliances and systems, and an AHS home warranty can provide coverage for them.”
Grimes wants every client to be advised on home warranties, as they’re a healthy part of the home transaction.
“Not only does it help protect all parties, but it also provides the seller an added level of comfort because covered issues won’t come back on them,” says Grimes.
Better yet, the home warranty can also help protect the reputation of his agents.
“The buyer hires an expert for a home inspection, but they still look at us if something goes awry,” explains Grimes. “By having a home warranty in place, the agent helps guide them on where to go and who to call when they experience a covered failure on an appliance or system.”
When meeting with sellers, RealtySouth agents like to remind them that it’s always smart to consider a home warranty when they’re passing their home on to another family.
Regarding the current market, Grimes says that pre-pandemic dynamics were different, as it was common practice for a high percentage of sellers to provide a home warranty as a benefit to make their house more attractive to prospective buyers.
“With no contingencies and fewer inspections, a buyer in a heated market can help protect themselves,” he says. “There’s more risk taken in a heated market, and unless a home warranty is purchased, buyers have little or no hedge against that risk if a covered system or appliance breakdown occurs.”
A common topic of conversation at weekly sales meetings, Grimes explains that no matter the market, it’s always better for your clients to have a home warranty and not need it than to need it and not have it.
“A home warranty is just smart, and we want each agent to help educate their client about that,” says Grimes, who holds the firm’s relationship with AHS in high regard.
“We consistently train new and seasoned agents on a variety of different subjects to ensure that they’re experts in their field, and a part of that training centers around the value of a home warranty,” concludes Grimes.
For more information, visit www.ahs.com/realestate.
John Voket is a contributing editor to RISMedia.