Much of your decisions between choosing a newly built home and a resale home will ultimately come down to personal preference. But one of the biggest benefits of buying a new home over a used home will always be the fact that new homes regularly come with comprehensive warranties to cover any issues encountered within the first year after purchase.
As with any warranty protection for anything you buy, there are always certain terms, conditions and exceptions that dictate what a builder’s warranty covers and what it doesn’t. Fortunately, the vast majority of the questions you have about the warranty from your builder of choice can and should be answered before you ever agree to buy a home.
So if you’re in the market for a new home and considering making a purchase in the near future, here are three essential questions you should ask your builder about their warranty:
Does the Warranty Cover Everything it Should?
Many builders will offer coverage on components such as windows, drywall, siding, heating, HVAC systems, plumbing, etc. For items such as appliances, homebuilder-warranty coverage is rarely offered, but this is offset by the fact that these should be covered by separate manufacturer warranties. With that said, the exact details about what is covered and whether workmanship and materials are both covered as well may vary from builder to builder.
It’s important to understand that no two builders are going to offer exactly the same warranties, so you should get a detailed list of everything a builder will cover through their warranty. And don’t be afraid to reach out to your real estate agent for advice and clarification in you need it.
How Long Does the Warranty Cover the Home?
In general, builders are going to cover much of your new home’s components for the first year after purchase. This usually suffices for most homebuyers because the home is most likely to experience smaller issues with things like drywall, paint or trim in the first year as the house settles after construction.
More complex components such as HVAC systems and plumbing are probably covered over that same time period but may be covered for longer. It’s also common for builders to cover major structural components for even up to a decade after you purchase.
Who Services Warranty Claims?
One of the biggest misconceptions that many people have about homebuilder warranties is the fact that they’re not always serviced by the builder itself. Due to the high cost associated with managing warranties, builders often select third-party warranty services to handle any claims that may arise; however, there are some builders that do offer in-house warranty claims services.
There isn’t necessarily a general upside or downside to either approach — your satisfaction with your builder’s warranty is ultimately going to depend on how well the builder or its third-party warranty service takes care of its customers. With that said, it’s always a good idea to know who you’ll need to work with if something does need to be fixed.
Want to learn more about warranties for newly built homes? Be sure to check out the Federal Trade Commission’s breakdown of them here.