Leaky roofs, leaning walls, faulty wiring: Purchasing a defective home is high on the list of home buyers’ worst nightmares. It’s no wonder, given that six in 10 homeowners say even a $2,000 home repair would be enough break their budget.
It’s just one of the many fears that plague home buyers as they search for their next home. Between worrying about market changes such as rising interest rates, wondering if they’ll be able to keep up with the mortgage, and stressing over the possibility of getting stuck with a money pit, more than 70 percent find the home buying process overwhelming. Some say it’s second only to divorce in terms of stressfulness.
Add to that the fact that 15 percent of new homes have at least two significant defects, and the anxiety alone could be enough to make buyers hesitant to seal the deal on a new home.
Home builders who can put these anxieties to rest have the best chance of selling new homes. Understanding what buyers dread most—and how new home builder warranties can mitigate these fears—helps builders market their homes more effectively. It’s important to let potential customers know how new construction home warranties protect them against the most common home defects, including:
- Structural and underground issues
One in four homes will experience some type of structural distress over their lifetime, and more than 20 percent of home warranty claims are structural in nature. Most involve cracked or shifting foundations, leaning or sagging framing, or flooring failures.
On average, it costs $42,000 to investigate and repair a structural failure, which is why one in 10 buyers cite structural problems as their biggest fear. While structural home warranties don’t cover foundation or framing problems caused by floods, earthquakes, landslides or other natural phenomena, they do cover any defects caused by improper installation. Buying a new home with a warranty means homeowners won’t have to foot the bill if the home is structurally defective.
- Faulty plumbing or wiring
When a major home system fails, the results can be disastrous. Poorly installed electrical wiring causes thousands of fires every year, while leaky plumbing can inflict significant water damage and threaten the home’s
“Of the many homes I have inspected, water damage to the structure has been the most damaging and costly, causing foundation problems, rot and the dreaded mold,” says home inspector Rick Yerger.
Buying a newly built home may alleviate home buyers’ concerns about outdated plumbing or wiring, but it doesn’t prevent installation defects from occurring. A faulty electrical system can cost up to $2,000 to replace, while a new plumbing system can run close to $10,000. Buyers who choose homes with insurance-backed home builder warranties, however, won’t have to worry about footing the bill if a construction defect leads to a major system failure.
- Defective roof
A well-constructed roof should last for at least 20 years. Yet roof failures are common, even in new homes. An improperly installed roof can leak, causing mold growth as well as other problems. A poorly designed drainage system can damage roofing tiles or even threaten the home’s foundation.
A defective roof can cost thousands of dollars to replace. But with a warrantied new home, any roof-related problems that arise from defects in workmanship or materials are covered, so home buyers can feel confident that the builder is putting a solid roof over their heads.
The more home buyers understand about home builder warranties, the better they’ll feel about their decision to buy a newly built home. By letting buyers know early in the sales process that they’ll be protected against the defects they fear most, builders can help make the home buying process less stressful. Builders should promote this important confidence-building feature and be sure to market their warranty program in all the places where prospective buyers would look: the builder’s website, the sales office or model home, in print collateral, in their drip marketing campaigns and finally in the home closing documentation. Make it easy for potential buyers to see that you stand for high quality building and if, for some reason, they do experience a structural defect, that you have a methodology in place to protect them and resolve the issue.