Warranties – Another Advantage of Buying a New Home

Image from Affordable Replacement Windows Systems

Image from Affordable Replacement Windows Systems


by Phillip B. Burum, Executive Vice President, Diversified Pacific,

President, Building Industry Association (BIA) Baldy View Chapter

In last week’s article, I focused on the cost of use of a new home versus a resale home and chose to gloss over the new home warranty. This is because the new home warranty is probably among the biggest advantage of buying a new home, so this week I am following up with a bit of an explanation as to why this is so important.

     We have come a long way from the plains dotted with adobe houses that used to make up California’s frontier. Today’s homes are more durable, more environmentally friendly, more energy efficient and more structurally sound than homes built in any other era. The knowledge that you are buying a great home is re-enforced by the builder’s new home warranty. Warranties vary by builder so be sure to clarify what is covered and how long each component is warranted for. The warranty is something you should take comfort in but you should not take for granted.

     In most all cases, your new home will have a ‘bumper to bumper’ one year warrantee. This means that from the day you move in, you can rest assured that if anything is wrong or goes wrong in the first twelve months, the builder will step in and take appropriate action to remedy the issue.  That doesn’t mean that the builder will be responsible to keep your gutters cleaned or your toilets free from your children’s toys or repair all hairline stucco cracks but it does mean that builders will stand behind all new construction to ensure there are no defects that might result in long term or larger problems going forward.

     Warranties guarantee that your new home and everything in it are built to the highest possible standards of workmanship and materials. Today’s home is a sophisticated, complex network of moving parts, from the hinges on cabinets to state-of-the-art central air-conditioning and heating systems and appliances. Today's new home incorporates the latest in style, safety, efficiency, mechanical, electronic and scientific breakthroughs to keep your family safe and comfortable while protecting your environment and your investment.

     That is why one of the most important steps in the purchase of a new home is the warranty orientation phase, more commonly known as the ‘homeowner walk-through’. The walk-through is a final inspection in which the buyer and a representative of the homebuilder will literally walk through your new home, room by room, to inspect each component and all surface areas to ensure the home is compliant with today’s rigid construction industry standards. It is also a time for the builder’s representative to instruct the buyer on how everything works and to explain the various warranty periods, as several items in the home will have warranty’s that extend beyond the first year of ownership.

     During the walk through, homeowners receive a package of instruction booklets covering the operations of the home's components protected by warranties such as HVAC (heating, ventilation and air-conditioning) systems, appliances, emergency detectors and landscape irrigation to clarify the new home's coverages and procedures. Most builders will provide information about the surrounding area such as the location of hospitals, schools, and even the best local restaurants. It also clarifies the buyer's responsibilities for maintenance and upkeep. Knowing how to operate and maintain the home's components will ensure optimum performance, long life and cost-savings, so pay close attention to the information presented.

Ask questions. It is not possible for the builder to anticipate your particular level of knowledge of new construction. Most walk-through coordinators have the experience to talk through very complicated subjects in a very understandable way but you should not make any assumptions about how something should work or what process needs to be followed. If something isn’t absolutely clear, ask. 

     As a homebuyer, you should know that the builder shares in your pride of ownership. I am proud of each and every home that we build and like most new homebuilders, we strive for a perfect result. That is not always possible but the warranty period and new home orientation are tools that help get us a step or two closer to our end goal: which is to provide you with the best possible living experience in your new home.