Home Builder Warranties - A Guide

When you’re considering buying a newly built home, it’s very important to get a copy of the Home Builder’s Warranty the contractor offers and read the contract. In many instances, it’s a very long legal document so it might not be a bad idea to have your attorney look at it also. A home is a major purchase, and it’s better to go into a contract knowing what’s covered under the new home warranty than finding out later you were mistaken. Let’s look at the ins and outs of builders’ warranties.


What is a Home Builder’s Warranty?

A home builder’s warranty is a written contract that goes over what is and isn’t covered on your new home. It also includes the coverage periods, how to file a claim or request service, contact information, and how to handle disputes. Along with that, it states the performance standards, so the homeowner will know what to expect. Keep in mind that warranties can differ from state to state in case you’re shopping in several different locations to find your dream home.


The primary intention of a new home warranty is to provide protection and peace of mind to the new home buyer so that they are confident they purchased a home that will last for years to come. Along with covering the house, the land itself is covered as far as engineering safety. If you live in a planned community, the coverage extends to the common areas which makes sense because that’s what your homeowner dues help pay for.


What Does a Home Builder's Warranty Cover?

Home Builder’s Warranties will vary from builder to builder and may have different lengths of coverage for different items. In general though, you will want to make sure your builder offers coverage for things like:

  • Structural items such as roof, concrete foundation, framing and joists.
  • Water leaks and infiltration
  • Mechanical systems such as HVAC, electrical wiring, plumbing, etc.
  • Cosmetic material or workmanship issues such as uneven walls, chipped paint, etc.


Sometimes items may not be covered by the builder’s warranty. That is why you want to make sure to keep all of your paperwork, especially for your HVAC or solar systems in case you need to put in a claim with the manufacturer or supplier. Smart Home components, solar systems, and elevators are usually covered by the supplier or manufacturer rather than the builder unless it is from damage resulting from the initial installation.



What Are the Lengths of a Home Builder Warranty?

Not only is it vital to know what a home builder’s warranty on a new home covers, but also when the coverage period expires. Knowing what’s covered and for how long is especially important to know during the first 12 months because there may be several things (although mostly always minor) that need to be repaired. These would be items that you didn’t notice in the initial walk-through.

Here are examples of common Home Builder Warranty lengths and what might be covered.


10 years

There should be a structural warranty which covers the overall integrity of your new home. That would be the major parts of the house like the roof, concrete foundation, framing, and joists. Each builder is different, so it’s essential to read the entire contract to see what is and isn’t covered. 


5 years

This is the period most builders will cover internal water leaks and infiltration, for example, if the dishwasher that came with the home leaked, it would be included. The same thing goes for other appliances that came with the house such as the refrigerator’s icemaker in case it breaks and leaks. 


2 years

Coverage of mechanical systems like electrical, including wiring, and breaker boxes. For plumbing, it would cover bathrooms and kitchen leaks and problems, and for the HVAC, it would include the systems and thermostats.


1 year

House materials and the workmanship of the contractor. So, the first 12 months in your new home make notes of anything that needs to be fixed and call right away. Here are some examples: areas that should have been painted that weren’t; uneven wall texture, sticking doors, windows, or cabinets; carpet or flooring issues, and lighting problems.


Any good builder stands behind their guarantee and is more than willing to fix anything that needs to be repaired as long as it’s covered in your particular contract.


Are Home Builder Warranties Expensive?

The cost of a home builder’s warranty varies from company to company. Many contractors do not charge the homeowner an additional fee, but instead, provide limited coverage for a specified time. Generally, the period of coverage cannot be extended except under extenuating circumstances.


What’s the Difference Between a Home Builder Warranty and a Home Warranty?

As a new homeowner, it’s essential to know your rights, what’s covered, and for how long. The home builder’s warranty only covers the new construction and the appliances and systems they installed. In addition, some homeowners also get a home warranty, which sounds very similar, but it is different. A home warranty can cover things that were damaged from neglect or misuse, which would be no fault of the builder. It’s smart to shop around for a home warranty to make sure all of your bases are covered. Some of the best home warranty providers are America’s Preferred Home Warranty, and Complete Protection and the best time to purchase them is during your real estate transaction because you may be able to get a discount. Mind, you could avoid the need for a home warranty by practicing some straight forward home care steps, many of which you can do by yourself.


If you’d like to know more about the quality of a Pulte home and what’s covered in their home builder’s warranty, visit 10-year warranty.


Contributed to Your Home blog by Carol Youmans

Looking for more tips, ideas or inspiration? Return Home here.

Published 6.24.19

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