Most buyers don’t think twice about getting a home inspection for an older home, but is a home inspection really needed for a brand new or new-ish build? The thought of saving money can be extremely enticing, but most home inspectors and Realtors would advise you to get one for your own protection. Waiving your right to a home inspection could have costly implications down the road with little opportunity for recourse.
When buying a new build or newer resale home, many buyers rely on the reputation of the home builder alone – but there are a lot of hands involved in the construction process. These companies hire many contractors to do the work for them – and during especially busy economic times when the labour force is tight, we often see an increase in issues or deficiencies in new builds.
What protections do I have?
For homes built after February 1, 2014, the Alberta Government has mandated the following new home warranty standards for all new residential builds:
- 1 year for labour and materials (floors, paint, etc.);
- 2 years for delivery and distribution systems (heating, plumbing, electrical);
- 5 years for building envelope protection (roof and walls); and
- 10 years for major structural components (frame and foundation).
Of course, these warranties have limitations and without a proper home inspection, you may not become aware of issues until after your coverage has expired. Buyers are not trained to spot deficiencies or potential risks, and in the excitement of moving into your dream home, you may overlook or downplay things that could be big problems down the road. If problems are not reported within the warranty timeframes, they will not be fixed by the builder. It’s important to know what items are covered by your new home warranty and the specific deadlines you should be aware of (since many problems are only covered for 1-2 years). After living in your home, you may even want to hire a home inspection company to do an “expiring home warranty inspection” to identify potential issues before your warranty expires.
How do I know what warranty coverage is left on my resale home?
If you’re buying a resale home that is still covered by new home warranty, your Realtor will help you obtain as much information from the seller as possible, but under the new warranty standards, builders are required to register all new builds on an online public registry system. A simple address search will show you if the home is covered by the new home warranty program, who the warranty provider is, and how much coverage remains. (Homes where the building permit was applied for before February 1, 2014 will not be in the registry).
But simply knowing you have warranty is not protection enough. Many buyers file their warranty information away, forgetting about it until it’s too late. Getting a home inspection before you move into your home will identify immediate issues and help keep your warranty top of mind.
If you have questions about home inspections for new builds or newer resale homes, talk to your Realtor and a reputable home inspection company that offers new construction or expiring home warranty inspections.
Written by CIR REALTY