Make Sure You Are Clear on What's Covered

A builder warranty applies to newly-built homes and is offered by the builder or a third party working with a builder. Many home builders include a warranty on their work in the sales contract, or they might make it a separate document. Not all builders offer a warranty, so it's important to do your due diligence when looking to hire a builder.New Home

Canopy Creek, Palm City

If you get a warranty, you need to go over it to make sure you're clear on how long the coverage period is and what you should do if you experience a problem. It would help if you also were clear on the maintenance requirements you need to keep up with or void your warranty.

The Department of Veterans Affairs and the Federal Housing Authority require builders have a third-party warranty for new homes with VA or FHA loans. Having a builder warranty is sometimes what compels people to opt for new construction versus buying a newer home, but you must read the fine print on the coverage.

What's Covered?

A warranty for a new house is usually pretty limited in its scope of coverage. Warranties define coverage for workmanship and materials related to different home parts like the heating, air conditioning, and electrical systems. Most warranties also dictate how repairs are to be made.

New homeowners often think that once the home passes inspection, that means everything is good to go. The fact is, there can be many problems that arise in new homes due to defective materials, landscaping issues, or foundation settling. Issues like these can be tough to notice until you‘ve actually lived in the home.

The coverage period for materials and workmanship will usually last anywhere from one to two years. For the major structural components of a home, there may be coverage lasting up to ten years.

Most new construction warranties don't cover household appliances, nor would they cover things like a small crack or the cost of having to move out of your home while repairs are being made.

Specific exclusions that are common in builder warranties include:

  • Damage stemming from your own neglect or misuse
  • Deterioration that would be considered normal, like shrinkage falling within industry standards
  • Damage caused by outsiders like vandals or "acts of God."
  • Any consumer product that is covered by its own warranty, like a refrigerator

Warranties and State Laws

Some states have strict laws about what builders have to provide in terms of warranties. If you aren't sure, you can talk to the contractor licensing board in your state or even the Attorney General Office to figure out what's required. Many states have either already done so or are in the process of increasing the duration of coverage from one to two years for workmanship and materials issues.


Contact Us to schedule a free consultation. Whether buying or selling a home, we are always happy to meet with you to discuss your wants and needs, with no obligation.


Eric Slifkin, a Broker Associate, is the founder of the Slifkin Team at Keller Williams Realty. Eric and his experienced agents serve South Florida and the Treasure Coast, including  Stuart, Port Saint Lucie, and the Palm Beaches.