After You Move In

What about things that need to be fixed after you move in?  If we think of a home as a very large piece of equipment, we can recognize that it is not only one of the most expensive things we will ever buy, but probably the most complicated as well.  Things can go wrong and do, some little and some serious.   Some problems, like severe weather damage, are beyond anyone’s reasonable control and should be dealt with through insurance.  In some cases, the responsibility for the problem, particularly those that arise soon after you move into your home, can be traced to the firm that provided the material or installation services.  Those problems can often be resolved through the warranty or guaranty offered by that provider.  There may be dozens of separate warranties that apply to your home, and for most, you will have received some documentation as to how they function.

Most warranties are limited in some way, both as to time and the things covered.  For instance, many warranties require that you report the problem within the first six months or first year after you occupy the home.  Federal laws in the US and Canada regulate limited warranties.  There are additional regulations at the state and provincial level, some of which apply specifically to new homes.  All of these regulations create boundaries on how many limits a firm can place in their warranties, and some fundamental rights cannot be taken away from you.

Builder’s Warranty:  Your builder has overall responsibility for your home, its conformance with the applicable building code, its conformance to the design and specifications in your contract and its performance.  Your builder will probably provide you with a written limited warranty defining what is covered and explaining how to seek assistance if there is a problem.

Our Limited Warranty:   We provide a written limited warranty to your builder, which extends to you.  We recommend that you obtain a copy from you builder.  It contains a lot of information on precisely what is covered and defines what can be considered a defect that we are obligated to remedy.  You can also download a copy through this [link].  We only warrant the elements of your home that we produced.  It covers the defined defects for one year from first occupancy.

Warranties of Our Suppliers:  Many of the materials we purchase and incorporate into your home have their own limited warranty.  Some, like shingles and siding, have very long-running warranties.  These are “pass-through” warranties in the sense that they come to us as the original purchaser of the materials, but pass through to you as the ultimate user.  We provide your builder with these documents, who will then provide them to you.  You can often find additional details on the internet web site of the original manufacturer.

Warranties of Your Builder’s Other Sub-Contractors:  While we are probably the largest sub-contractor to your builder, there are others, and most will probably have provided a formal or informal warranty to your builder.

Obtaining Warranty Service:   If you encounter a problem that you believe may be covered by a warranty, it is generally wise to first discuss it with your builder, who is likely to know whether it is covered by a warranty and what warranty applies.  It is not always obvious.  For instance, some problems may involve a defect in the manufacture of the material or equipment, but others may involve a defect in how the material or equipment was installed, which could be a different warranty.  Some problems may arise because material and equipment provided by one firm and installed by a second has been damaged by a third.

Most problems covered by a pass-through warranty from us or another sub-contractor require that you contact that manufacturer directly.  Telephone numbers, mailing addresses and/or email addresses are provided in the limited warranty documents.

With regard to our limited warranty, Canadian home buyers should contact their builder.  When we entered into a sales relationship with your builder, it included an understanding that they would make required repairs, replacements or reimbursements under the warranty on our behalf.  US home buyers should still contact their builder first, even though we may undertake required repairs, replacements or reimbursements with our own employees or service sub-contractors.  In many cases your builder will be assisting us in resolving the problem.  You can also contact us directly as provided in our limited warranty documentation.

Preventative and Routine Maintenance and Proper Operation:  Most warranties, including ours, do not cover problems that arise because of your failure to properly maintain the materials or equipment or to operate the equipment in a reasonable manner.  What constitutes proper maintenance and operation may be covered in part in the limited warranty documents, but you should also look at any accompanying “homeowners guides,” “operating manuals,” “installation instructions,” “maintenance guidelines,” and similar documents.