New Doesn’t Always Mean Perfect
Avoiding repairs and maintenance is a major reason for buying new homes. The buyers expect perfection, but very few new construction homes escape all problems in the first year. It can take a year of living in a new home and experiencing all of the seasonal changes to put the home and its systems to the full test. With the help of your real estate agent, make sure to check sales contract to see if the builder’s warranty was included.
What is Builder’s Warranty ?
Some new home warranties are supported by the builder, while others provide a third-party warranty that continues coverage even if the builder goes out of business before the warranty period expires. The warranty should set forth responsibility for repairs and exact procedures to follow in case the buyer finds a covered defect. The homeowner should follow warranty procedures to the letter. For example, hiring outside contractors to do repairs on covered items could cancel the benefit of the warranty.
What’s Covered Under Typical Builder’s Warranty
A typical 1/2/10 builder’s warranty covers materials and workmanship for one (1) year, systems like plumbing and HVAC for two (2) years, and major structural defects for up to ten (10) years.
A builder’s warranty will typically exclude:
- Damage due to the abuse, misuse, neglect, or failure to maintain adequate ventilation and humidity levels in the home, or failure by the homeowners’ association to provide maintenance.
- Natural wear and tear and deterioration of construction materials within expected range, including warpage or shrinkage within industry standards due to weather conditions or soil movement or settling.
- Damage caused by outsiders, natural events, or “acts of God”.
- Damage caused by people hired to work on the property.
- Housing costs and expenses if the owner must move out during repairs.
- Consumer products, such as a refrigerator and dishwasher, which have manufacturer warranties.
Consumer product warranties should be transferred to the homeowner.
The initial home purchase contract should contain the builders’ warranty. A request for the buyer to sign a separate warranty document at closing, unless agreed to during the initial contract phase, may signal an attempt by the builder to narrow the scope of the warranty.
A good real estate agent will admonish buyer-clients not to go on autopilot after closing and assume that everything is problem-free. Sometimes even a small defect can be a symptom of a bigger problem. For example: a few cracked floor tiles could signal upheaval in the underlying slab.
An agent will provide a valuable service to you by sending a reminder to do a walk-through and schedule an independent home inspection about 4–6 weeks before the warranty period ends. If the inspection turns up problems, the inspector’s report provides expert substantiation of the defect.
Make sure your New Construction Contract of Purchase is contingent on the review of the Builders’ Warranty. If you are ready to start looking for your new construction home, please give me a call or text at (571) 455-0178 or email me at: email@example.com
AUTHOR: Natasha Lingle is a full time real estate agent serving Vienna VA and Northern Virginia communities. She is an Accredited Buyer Representative (ABR) and Certified New–Home Construction Buyer Representative. If you are planning to buy a finished new construction home or would like to build fully custom home, you can rely on her knowledge. As your new home buyer agent, she will guide you through the steps and processes of purchase, construction, and customization. In addition, she will:
• explain characteristics of new homes and highlight the differences between custom and spec constructions;
• evaluate pros and cons of purchasing a new home versus an existing home;
• help you understand new-home construction sales contract;
• and explain such nuances as “builder’s warranty”.