Structural Home Warranties for the Home BuyerSeptember 13, 2016
Last month we wrote about the importance of a structural warranty for home builders. This month we want to remind the buyer just how important warranties are to you too! As discussed previously, when adding dollars to the cost of purchase, many people consider the structural warranty a frivolous expense. This is far from the truth! A structural home warranty can be a lifesaver and is always worth the investment for all parties. Coverage begins when the warranty is included in the purchase of your new home. Many builders consider the importance and have committed to placing an insurance backed structural home warranty on their home sale. They do this to not only protect you, the consumer, in the event of a structural failure, but to protect themselves as well.
As a new home buyer, there are certain criteria that a consumer sets when searching for a builder and their dream home. Design, materials, quality of construction, time frame for building, builders reputation and length of time the home is warrantied by the builder are just a handful of important things that are considered. No buyer expects that shortly after owning a home, that there could be a failure of an integral component of the home’s structure. In the event of a failure, would most buyers be aware of the process involved to have a problem remedied? In each state there is a “statute of repose”, a time limit for the builder’s’ responsibility to home buyers for the structural integrity of the home. The builder has an obligation to assure the buyer of repairs in the event of a structural failure. This can be a large financial burden on a builder and even more so on a consumer if the builder didn’t place an insurance backed structural warranty on the home. How could that happen? If the builder did not continue to stay in business, had a financial failure, and had not purchased a structural warranty, consequences could be catastrophic.
Many builders include an insurance backed structural home warranty on all of their home sales. Some builders offer it as an option for buyers to add to the cost of their purchase. These warranties are only available to purchase by a home builder. Builders enroll in programs that allow them to offer these structural warranties after they have gone through a screening process, and in some cases, a rather thorough financial and quality review. Buyers are given a written document that clearly defines the builder’s obligations and remedies in case of failures. The written document is important for buyers, because it gives a clear understanding of how to handle a claim should one occur.
When buying your new home, you may not be considering resale in the near future. However, at the time you do decide to sell your home, the structural warranty that was included when originally purchased will help you market and sell the property! A structural warranty is on the home and transfers automatically to the new buyer. The remaining years of the warranty will then stay in place for the next owner. This is a great marketing tool and should be advertised when your home is for sale. Competitively, if your home is five years old and still holds an insurance backed structural warranty, but your neighbor has a comparable home for sale that only had a builder’s personal assurance, a buyer may look more strongly at your home. Having an insurance backed warranty creates confidence at the time you purchase and at the time you sell. Home warranties are not just a “frivolous expense”, they are a risk management tool to protect your biggest investment!