Updated : August 23rd, 2012
Warranties for newly built homes guarantee to replace or repair certain elements of the home, if needed, within a definite time. If you are bearing mind a new home warranty, it is significant to realize what it covers, how to make a claim, and the procedure for resolving disputes with the builder or warranty company.
A new home warranty can offer peace of mind for homeowners, assuring that if something goes wrong in the early stages of a home’s life, it will be covered. Many appliance service contracts sold to homeowners are backed by the builder; others are procured by the builder from an independent company that presumes liability for certain claims. For added protection, homeowners may pay for coverage on their own from third party warranty companies in order to supplement the coverage their builder offers. The Federal Housing Authority (FHA) and the Department of Veterans’ Affairs want builders to buy a third-party warranty as a way to defend buyers of new homes with FHA or VA loans.
New home warranties usually offer limited coverage on workmanship and materials relating to different components of the home, such as heating, windows and air conditioning (HVAC), electrical systems, and plumbing for definite periods. A warranty also normally defines how repairs will be made.
The length of coverage differs depending on the component of the house. Coverage is offered for workmanship and materials on most components all through the first year. Coverage for plumbing, electrical systems and HVAC is usually two years. Some builders offer coverage for up to 10 years for “major structural defects,” sometimes defined as problems that make a home insecure and put the owner in danger. For example, a roof that could crumple is a “major structural defect.”
Nearly all warranties for newly built homes, however, do not cover costs an owner may acquire as an outcome of a major construction defect on warranty repair, similar to the expense of having to move out of one’s home while repairs are being made. Nor do they in general cover:
To know more about coverage, look into what’s typically covered in a home warranty plan.
If you have a flaw in your new home that may be covered by your warranty, first study the warranty or service contract cautiously to ensure that your problem is covered. Give particular concentration to the length of specific types of coverage.
Specialists suggest that its owners pursue the matter with both the original builder and the home warranty company. The builder possibly will defer to the warranty company, but at least they have been alerted.
Homeowners must make a list of the troubles that they want to get resolved and should make sure that the problems are covered under the home warranty. Pay attention to the “performance standard” section of the document, which records common problems and explains to what extent the builder is liable for fixing them.
Next, file your claim as per the instructions in your warranty, and put your application for repair in writing, even though the company offers a hotline for urgent needs. Ask for a return receipt, and keep a record of your correspondence and conversations with the company. Probabilities are your claim will be managed to your satisfaction, but if a dispute occurs, it’s good to have a record of your dealings with the builder and the warranty company.
In best-case scenario, the builder or the home warranty company will fix the problem. If issues continue, however, the problem could go to settlement.
One way to safeguard against future problems is to appoint a home inspector to inspect the house before taking custody. Many new homeowners think that they don’t need a home inspection since municipal building inspectors have signed off on the work done in the home; the house is new; and it is covered by a home warranty.
New homeowners should also bear in mind to keep a maintenance file comprising documentation of everything done on the home, including regular and special maintenance. The paperwork will come in handy if a claim is required.
In filing a claim, homeowners must keep in mind to be persistent. It may take a while. In the end, diligence pays.
Frequently, a dispute occurs between a homeowner and a builder or third party company over whether a defect is covered or whether repair was finished appropriately. Many warranties provide for meditation of disputed warranty claims on newly built homes, followed by compulsory binding arbitration. In meditation, a unbiased third party – a mediator – assists the homeowner and the company resolve the problem by making the discussion easy between both parties. It is up to the homeowner and the company to settle an agreement.
In case meditation does not work to resolve the dispute, it is possible that the homeowner would be needed to put forward any claim to arbitration, instead of going to the court. In this procedure, an “arbitrator” or panel makes a decision or award once the participants present their cases. Some warranties let the homeowners pick an arbitrator from a list acceptable to the builder or the third-party warranty company.
Arbitration is less formal than court. Most warranties want that both parties obey the arbitrator’s decision, without appeal. If your loan is funded through the FHA or VA and you file a claim against the third-party warranty company, you can opt between arbitration and going to court. If you pick arbitration, realize that you are bound by the verdict.
Even though arbitration is normally less pricey than going to court, home owners can anticipate shelling out several thousand dollars so as to take their claim through the process, based on the complexity of the arbitration. Understand your warranties carefully to decide what arbitration outlays or costs the homeowner is liable for and what expenses the builder must pay.
A few companies provide homeowners the option of arbitration or going to court. Sometimes builders disburse all costs related with arbitration to support a homeowner to agree not to take the issue to court.
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To discover more about warranties on newly built homes, get in touch with your state or local builder’s board. If you have loan insured by FHA, call the closest U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development field office for additional information. In case you have a VA loan, you can contact the nearest VA office.
Further, you can also compare and choose home warranty companies depending upon your requirements.
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