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Front Page - Friday, February 2, 2018

Tips on your new home warranty

Buying a new home is one of the most important purchases you’ll ever make, but it’s also one of the most exciting. One great benefit of buying a newly-built home is that it will often come with a home warranty.

You probably have a lot of questions about what to expect from a new home warranty, especially if you’re a first-time buyer. Here are answers to three of the most common queries to get you started.

What’s a new home warranty?

A new home warranty gives you limited coverage on home repairs for a set amount of time, but the scope and length of coverage will vary. Some warranties will cover only deposit insurance and protect against major structural defects, while others are more extensive, covering defects in your home’s heating and air conditioning, plumbing, windows, roofing, lighting, or even fixes to overly creaky floors.

You can often choose to upgrade from a basic package to a more comprehensive one, so if the warranty your builder is offering doesn’t put your mind at ease, inquire about increasing the coverage.

What does a warranty cover and for how long?

Coverage depends on the provider and type of warranty, but typically your new home warranty will be divided into different terms.

For example, labor and materials might be covered for one year, while plumbing, electric, heating and air will be covered for a little longer – maybe two to three years. Structural defects will usually have the longest coverage period, extending for 10 or even 20 years.

A home warranty likely won’t cover things like appliances and swimming pools, so if you want long-term coverage for those things, you’ll want to buy a supplemental warranty from a third-party seller.

How can I make sure I’m getting a good deal?

It’s a good idea to ask your builder about the warranty before building even starts. Make sure to read through your entire warranty carefully. Mark any passages you don’t fully understand and go over them with your builder before signing off on anything.

Hopefully, you’re working with a builder you trust. Good builders will want to give you a solid warranty to maintain their reputation.

If you feel like you might be getting a raw deal, start by verifying your builder is registered with a warranty provider by checking the provider’s website or calling their hotline. If you’re still feeling uneasy, take the warranty to an attorney and get their opinion.

It’s also crucial that you understand the process for making a claim and resolving disputes. Put all your correspondence with your builder and warranty provider in writing whenever possible. That way you’ll have a comprehensive record if a dispute ever arises.

For more information about buying a new home, contact the Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga at (423) 624-9992 or www.info@hbagc.net.