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Does your new home have a warranty?

Buying a new home is an exciting -- and sometimes overwhelming -- event. For many people, it is the most significant transaction of their lives. In all the excitement, it can be easy to make some missteps or fail to see some red flags that could jeopardize your home and your rights as a homeowner.

For instance, you may not understand the importance of builder warranties if you are buying a newly built home. These warranties can be critical in the event that you discover any construction defects, so it would be wise to discuss them with an attorney prior to signing an agreement.

A home built in strict conformance with the Florida Building Code is more likely to survive a minor hurricane and will certainly need less maintenance over the years.


Why do I need a warranty?

A warranty is a means of ensuring your home was built properly and with the proper materials. As noted in this article from the Federal Trade Commission, a warranty also specifies which elements of your home are covered and for how long, as well as what options you have to resolve disputes, should they arise.

Can I just rely on the builder's word?

Relying on someone's word can prove to be a costly mistake, as an oral agreement is not always as effective -- or binding -- as a written agreement. Whether your builder includes a warranty in a contract or you work with an attorney to secure one, having a clear and enforceable warranty in writing can prevent serious legal headaches in the event of a dispute.

Why should I worry about construction defects in the first place?

Construction defects have the potential to cause serious damage to a home, particularly in areas of high heat, severe weather and proximity to water, like Naples. Poor workmanship or the use of substandard materials can lead to severe water damage, structural problems and other issues that make a home dangerous and are expensive to fix.

Buyers should also be aware of statutory warranties, such as the three (3) year warranty provided to buyers of condominium units by FS 718.203 of the Florida Condominium Act.

Consulting an attorney can be crucial

Before you sign or agree to anything when buying a newly built home, you would be wise to discuss warranties, contracts and other legal matters related to the purchase with an experienced real estate attorney. Failing to do so could leave you exposed to legal and financial challenges that you would rather avoid.

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