Today’s new homes offer more benefits than ever before, interms of technology, energy efficiency and style. This is the third of a series of articlesoutlining eight of the reasons many buyers are making the choice to build fromthe ground up, or connect to a home at some point in construction.
Reason #3 – LowMaintenance and Home Warranty
Purchasing a home warranty has become a commonplacepractice, but a new construction builder’s warranty may offer an even betteroption for home buyers. Builder’swarranties vary from builder to builder, and it is important to view thebuilder’s warranty for specific coverage of systems and workmanship. Most builder warranties offer a one yearperiod of general coverage for items related to workmanship, such as nails thatpop through the sheetrock or squeaks that develop on the second floor. There are often strict guidelines thatdetermine what will be repaired and when it will be repaired M any builders ask that new constructionhomeowners wait until a month or so before the warranty ends to present acumulative list of minor repairs instead of picking up the phone every time anew nailhead pops through a freshly painted wall.Builders are often very set on holding astrict timeline for the end of the warranty period, so it is important thatbuyers not lose track of time and make requests within the time specified.
For major systems, such as the HVAC and appliances,builder’s warranties may extend past the one year period, or the specificmanufacturer of the system may offer a partial warranty for parts or labor thatextends beyond one year. It is importantto review builder’s warranties for these guidelines and to follow anyinstructions or requirements to register appliances or systems with themanufacturer.
Since buyers who purchase a home that is in the range of8-12 years old go into ownership with the thought that replacing a water heater,roof or major system, such as the HVAC, may be right around the corner, justknowing that these systems are new can bring peace of mind.
One thing that new home buyers should expect is that itsometimes takes a while to work the bugs out, and that they might expect tohave a few visits to make adjustments to systems and plumbing that weren’tfully tested until they moved in.
One question new construction buyers often ask is about ahome inspection. Thought variesregarding whether the inspection should take place before closing or before theend of the builder’s warranty, perhaps in the 11th month of ownership (in thecase of a one year warranty.)There arearguments for both options, as buyers have considerably more leverage to getbuilders to address repairs before they write a check for the purchase, butsome issues may take a while to show up. One option is to find an inspector who offers new construction buyers apackage deal, building both inspections into one set price, and sometimes even addinga pre-drywall inspection on top of that. It is also important to consult the builder contract for guidelines thatstipulate when a home inspection should be conducted.
New construction buyers should also pay attention to whetherthe builder’s warranty will convey to a new buyer in the event that decide tosell during the warranty period. Theyshould also look carefully to see if there are items that void the warranty,such as failing to replace furnace filters as scheduled.
In my experience, it is important for the buyer to maintaina good working relationship with the builder and their representatives, asasking the builder or onsite superintendent for help with a warranty issue isgenerally best received when it comes from a spirit of cooperation instead ofas an angry complaint. Buyers whoanticipate that everything might not be perfect from day one and expect someminor degree of maintenance issues to pop up in the first year are generallymore satisfied with their new construction purchase.