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Getting Your Warranties

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By Barbara Buchholz, Studio One Networks

Do you know which warranties you're entitled to, and for how long?

While everything in your new home should run perfectly for your first few years -- and probably for many years into the future -- we've all encountered the appliance, fixture, flooring, or paint job that goes sour. The garbage disposal stops working (watch what you throw down it), or your roof may leak -- and not because of a super-heavy rainstorm.

Before you call in a repairman or simply panic, check your warranties. These are the legally binding written documents that guarantee workmanship for construction and appliances.

In addition to knowing which items are covered, you need to keep tabs on how long the warranty is in force, what percentage of the purchase price and installation are covered, and what kinds of defects or workmanship are included.

All warranties are not created equal. There are full warranties, limited liability general warranties, and highly limited warranties. Some builders also prefer to provide coverage through a third-party warranty company. Know what you have and what's not covered.

If you don't understand something about the coverage, ask your builder, another professional, or even have a real estate lawyer go over the documents. You can never be too safe, only sorry.

Frequently, builders offer a one-year warranty to cover problems with construction or materials. After that, another company may give you coverage for up to the next 9 years you live in your home.

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