Warranties for Newly Built Homes

Posted by Donny Mak on Wednesday, September 18th, 2013 at 1:00am.

Warranties for Newly Built Homes
Warranties for Newly Built Homes

By: Alan Aptheker
It is more than likely that the most expensive purchase you will ever make is your new home.  Buyers of new construction have that home warranty top-of-mind when considering a new home, and it’s a good idea to pay attention, read the fine print. In fact, if you’re buying a new home, it’s a good idea to look beyond just what that home warranty covers.
You should go into the process knowing how you would make a claim, and what’s the resolution process in the unlikely event of a dispute? All home warranties are not created equal. Many are backed by the builder; others are purchased by the builder from an outside independent company that assumes responsibility for claims. Some homeowners like to purchase supplemental coverage for even greater piece of mind.  If you’re getting a Federal Housing Authority (FHA) or Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) loan, you are in fact required to purchase a third-party warranty as a way to protect buyers of newly built homes.
The coverage period will vary depending on the size, complexity and components in the home. Workmanship and materials on most components are covered for one year. Also,   most warranties on new construction cover siding and stucco, doors and trim, and drywall and paint during the first year. Coverage for HVAC, plumbing, and electrical systems is generally two years. Some builders provide coverage for up to 10 years for “major structural defects,” sometimes defined as problems that make a home unsafe and put the owner in danger. For example, a roof that could collapse is a “major structural defect.”

Most warranties for newly built homes, however, do not cover expenses an owner may incur as a consequence of a major construction defect or warranty repair, like the cost of having to move out of one’s home while repairs are being made. Nor do they typically cover:
·  household appliances
·  small cracks in brick, tile, cement or drywall
·  components covered under a manufacturer’s warranty

A few must-do’s before making a warranty claim. First, read the warranty to make sure that your problem is covered, paying particular attention to the time frame of specific types of coverage. Always put your request for repair in writing, and keep a record of your correspondence and conversations with the company. Chances are very good you’ll come out alright in the end, but if a dispute arises, it’s good to have a paper trail. 

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