New Construction – Settlement Cracks and such

nail popHome Warranty: I just sent a text message to one of my clients who bought a new construction home almost a year ago regarding their “Builder Warranty”.

A new home will have its fair share of minor settlement cracks and “nail pops” and many quality builders will come back at the end of the 1st year to fix these. Some will have a limit as to how many times they will come back to the home to fix them, so I generally advise my clients to read their warranty very carefully so as not to use up their total return visits in the first week.

Many, many times I have gone to someone’s home to list it for sale finding these settlement issues, and the owner never bothered to call the builder in the warranty time frame to have them corrected. Trying to fix them 5 years later is not only more costly, since the builder would have done it for free if that is provided in the warranty, but also more difficult to fix. Finding the exact paint color five years later can be difficult. The 5 year old paint on the wall or ceiling may not match even if you have the exact paint color.

One of the most important issues with these fixes is not the paint color, but the paint “sheen”. Often I will go to someone’s house and see everything “fixed” by the owner vs the builder, and even though they used the exact same paint color, the fixes have a shine, and the rest of the wall does not.

If you bought new construction about a year ago, take out your builder warranty and examine your home very carefully. Look around door frames, windows, drywall tape joints. Pull your furniture away from walls and look for “bows” in the wall from green wood having dried incorrectly. Often you can see this by examining the baseboard for gaps, and remember to look at both sides of the wall if you find this type of abnormality.

Maybe you can have your friends over for an “Almost One Year Anniversary – Find a Crack” party :)

There is usually a “drop dead date” in your warranty for these types of minor repairs, so be sure to PUT IT IN WRITING. Don’t just call the builder a week before your time frame expires. It’s too easy for someone to say you never called, or that is not what you called about.

Best to get your request to the builder, in writing, before the time frame lapses. Happy One Year Anniversary in your new home, often includes a visit from the builder to fix those things that tend to settle in the first year of a new construction home.

If you bought resale, with a one year “home warranty”, same story. If you have been “ignoring” a small problem that may be covered by that warranty, be sure to get a written request in before that warranty expires. You will be looking for different things if it is resale vs new construction, so read your warranty carefully. You might even want to have a full home inspection done, to make sure you don’t miss something.

About ARDELL

ARDELL is the Managing Broker of Sound Realty in Seattle/Kirkland. ARDELL was named one of the Most Influential Real Estate Bloggers in the U.S. by Inman News and has over 22 years experience in Real Estate up and down both Coasts, representing both buyers and sellers of homes in Seattle and on The Eastside. Follow Ardell on Google+

Comments

  1. Absolutely! Too many buyers forget about the builder warranty.

    It’s kind of like when you buy something with a 120 day refund policy. At day 150, you realize you hate the product but it’s too late! :)

    Throw the date in your calendar, save yourself some cash.
    Good post, Ardell.

    Josh Sanders

    Founder, Shiloh Street

  2. This is great advice, Ardell. Many people (such as myself), who have moved into new construction are so tickled to have the place, they fail to remember there is usually a return visit or two in store for them by the builder under the warranty. And the sheen thing has bitten me more times than I care to count.

  3. Diane,

    One thing I have found useful is to put the extra paint that is in cans into glass jars around the house with a little paint brush. Usually under a sink or in a pantry.j

    1) The paint seems to last longer in a full jar than in the bottom of a big paint can (less air and tighter seal)

    2) Having it (right color right sheen “it”) handy in most every room with a paint brush (and spackle in a kitchen drawer) helps you to fix up little knicks as they happen, vs. all at once when it becomes a big impossible job.

    I often mix my own paint colors, so having the exact paint I used in a jar, in case I move a picture and need to spackle and paint the little nail hole, is very useful.

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