One of the great advantages of buying a brand new home is a warranty. Purchasing a home is a significant investment, and you want to make sure it is well protected. As you look at homes and get to know the builders in your community, consider the warranty carefully.
- Is a new home warranty mandatory?
In British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario and Quebec, builders have to provide homebuyers with a third-party warranty. In the rest of Canada, the decision is left up to the individual builder. For homebuyers, the choice is easy-you want to buy your home from a professional builder with a solid reputation, excellent after-sales service and a third-party warranty.
- What's covered?
As a minimum, a new home warranty generally includes deposit insurance and protection against defects in work and materials as well as major structural defects. Additional coverage may include defects in your home's mechanical systems or building envelope. Some warranties include living expenses to offset the cost of temporary accommodations, moving and storage if you cannot occupy your home due to builder failure or warranty repairs. You may also be able to upgrade a "basic package" and get extended coverage.
Before you sign a contract with your builder. Know what you are buying. Ask the builder to explain the warranty before you make a final decision-what's covered and what's not. Also verify that the builder is registered with a warranty provider; you can contact the provider by telephone or check their web site.
- Before you move in.
As your home nears completion, your builder will schedule a walk-through of your home, also known as a pre-delivery inspection. Together, you and your builder will go through the home to verify that it is built according to plan, with the features and inclusions specified in your agreement. At the same time, you should take note of any imperfections and defects that require attention, down to the smallest detail-a sticking drawer, a missing towel rack, a scratch on the wall and so on. Discuss with your builder how and when these things will be dealt with.
During the walk-through, your builder will explain how to operate and service the mechanical systems, and how to take care of the many components in your home to ensure long-lasting performance. Ask questions as you go-it's important that you feel confident and knowledgeable about your new home from the outset.
- What if I run into a problem with my new home?
Keep in mind that "settling" is common during the first year and may result, for instance, in minor cracks or nail pops. If you have questions about your home, encounter any problems or need service, follow the process set out by your builder. In the event that your builder is not responsive to your needs, the warranty provider will ensure appropriate action, including mediation between you and your builder.
- Expectations and responsibilities.
- Open communication is key to avoiding conflict between you and your builder. What are the builder's obligations and performance standards? What are the company's after-sales service standards and process? What are you responsible for once you move in? What do you need to know in order to avoid problems in your new home? Don't hesitate to ask your builder for answers to these and other questions. Warranty providers also offer detailed consumer information, including home maintenance, online or you can request written publications. Many also have excellent advice on home buying, such as what to look for in a builder and the steps involved in homeownership.
New home warranty-another great feature of your brand new home.