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Tips for dealing with new home construction defects

When you purchase a brand new home, you expect it to be in good condition. Sadly, new home construction can go wrong. You may discover something missing, dangerous or improper with your new home. Here are some possible new home defects:

  • Faulty plumbing
  • Leaky roof
  • Foundation cracks
  • Electrical hazards
  • Poor drainage
  • Inadequate ventilation

Defects can cause various issues regarding your health, safety and personal preferences. Here are some tips for detecting and dealing with new home defects.

Get a comprehensive warranty

It is helpful to purchase a warranty that holds the builder accountable for any mistakes. At the very least, the warranty should cover workmanship and materials relating to windows, roofs, HVAC, electrical systems, siding, trim, doors, paint, drywall and plumbing. The duration of the warranty may depend on the component in question. For example, a standard warranty may cover painting for the first year but major structural defects for 10 years.

The new home warranty should also specify how the builder is to make repairs or replacements. Make sure you have a solid understanding of what a warranty covers before buying it.

Understand how to file a claim

If you notice a defect, read over the warranty terms to ensure it covers the issue. Verify that it is within the specified time frame. If it seems as if the defect is covered, file a claim according to the terms in the warranty. Keep documents of every conversation and correspondence you have with the building company.

Know how to resolve a dispute

The builder may not be helpful in responding to your request. If you enter into a dispute over whether the warranty covers the defect, you may need to seek a resolution. Some warranties may require mediation and/or arbitration first. A mediator helps you and the company reach an agreement while an arbitrator makes a binding decision for both of you to follow. However, it may be possible for you to go to court over the matter depending on the language in the warranty.

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