FOX43 Finds Out: Making sure your warranties are valid

When you buy or sell a home, you may assume everything in that home is now yours, including the warranties for those things.

That may not be the case.

FOX43 Finds Out How You Can Protect Yourself.

Heather Barnhart says the pool at her Elizabeth Township, Lancaster County home used to be her "happy place" and was a big reason she bought the house.

"I walked outside and I saw the pool and I was in love with that house and that was that," Barnhart said.

Now though, she says it`s a problem.

Recently, she started to notice more cracks in the concrete, the water in the pool level was uneven and the filters weren`t working.

She knew she got a warranty for the pool at closing.

So, she called the pool company and was told the warranty was only for the original home owner.

She said, "You assume when you buy a house, like the shed is covered, the whole property, the furnace, the whole property is covered, so why wouldn't that be a part of the coverage?"

When she read over the warrany, there it was.

"It was presented like it was our warranty as well. So not 'oh jeez, we might not be covered' kind of thing," said Barnhart.

Barnhart says she couldn`t believe the warranty as no longer valid.

"It's only 4 years old, second ownership should have nothing to do with a 4 year old pool that has a lifetime structural warranty."

She says she got so much paperwork at closing that she just assumed the warranty would just transfer over into her name.

A Lawyer's Point of View

Scott Cooper, an attorney for Schmidt Kramer says that`s pretty common.

"You almost can't anticipate the warranty not being transferable. I'm 51 years old and I've never thought to ask 'is the warranty transferable?"

Even though it`s there in black and white that the warranty is only for the original pool owner, the lawyer says Barnhart and other people can still go the legal route.

"Still pursue the warranty and sue for the warranty to enforce it. Make an argument that it's against public policy that you're selling a warranty that can't be transferable because really any warranty should be able to be transferable because you paid for that. It really goes with the product, it doesn't go with the person," said Cooper.

Ask Your Realtor Questions

Real estate agent Adam McCallister, co-owner of McCallsiter & Myers says people should use this story as a warning to make sure they read everything, especially when buying a home.

"Furnaces, air conditioning units, roofs, anything that can potentially have a warranty, ask what kind of warranty is on it and that it can be transferred into their name," he said.

His number one tip is to make sure everything is in writing.

He also says people should think of getting inspections beyond a Home Inspection.

For instance, he says if there's a pool, get a pool company to come and do an inspection there.

If there's a fire place, have a different company come and look at that.

You can also use all of the results from those inspections as part of your negotiating.

"You don't buy a home everyday. We do. So by all means ask us. If there's something you don't understand, please say something."

Which now Barnhart says is a tough lesson to learn.

"Know your warranties when you're buying your house. Don't get too excited about something or overwhelmed. Buying a house is a huge process, but know what you have a warranty and what you don't have a warranty with."

Pool Company Gives Its Point of View

FOX43 Finds Out did reach out to Crystal Pools, the company with the warranty that won`t be transferred to Barnhart.

We were told the company is a family owned business that has been around for 55 years and it's not their business practice to transfer the warranty.

Instead, crystal pools suggests people should get a pool inspection before buying a home.

An employee there says that costs about $150.

If you have a story you want Jackie to look into, FOX43  wants to find out.  Send a message on Facebook or shoot me an email at FOX43FindsOut@FOX43.com.

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