On January 4th, 2017, the State of Virginia ruled that Title Company Home Warranties are no longer able to be provided to buyers at closing in return for business. If you don’t know this practice it goes like this: In many areas of the country, including the Northern Virginia, Washington DC, and Maryland areas, Title Companies have offered “FREE Home Warranties” for buyers who close business with them. Essentially, it was a marketing tactic by the Title Company to “induce” business. I have said for a very long time this is not a valid practice and should not be allowed. I wrote this blog back in April 2016 saying this exact thing and explaining how the Title Company Home Warranty isn’t really free. Someone does pay for it. Here is the ruling for you to check out for yourself.
I would say at least 3 -4 times a month I get this call or email from a Realtor: “Wade…we really want to use Stewart Title on this transaction, but this other Title Company says that if we go with them, they will give my buyer a free home warranty at closing. Can you guys do that?” That is when I have to drop the news, that the Title Company Home Warranty isn’t really free. Ever hear the phrase…”no such thing as a free lunch?” Think along those lines. You might be thinking that this doesn’t happen in your area of country, and you are probably right. It does happen in the Northern Virginia/Washington DC area…all the time. There are several things about this marketing tactic to “earn business” that needs to be explained. Not only to real estate agents, but also the buyers and sellers on the transaction. It affects them as well.