The First Year
Moving into a new home is a great experience, and now it's time to enjoy the rewards. As you get ready to settle into your new surroundings, it's a good idea to review the processes that will help to ensure that your first year in your new home is a truly satisfying experience.
During the pre-delivery walk through there may have been minor items needing to be corrected or completed after you moved in. Typical items include small touch-ups, missing finishing products due to delivery delays or things that cannot be completed due to the weather. Discuss with your builder how and when you can expect these items to be dealt with.
Make sure you are familiar with your builder's after-sales service process ask about such things as:
- What's covered by warranty during the first year and what's not?
- What’s covered in subsequent years and what’s not?
- Who is your key contact?
- Does the builder schedule a regular follow-up call during the first year when you can discuss any accumulated work, or should you contact the company as the need may arise?
- What is the response time so you can have realistic expectations? Outside of the rare emergency requiring immediate attention, a builder may arrange service calls around construction schedules as well as the availability of subcontractors. The vast majority of service calls are dealt with professionally, within a reasonable timeframe and to the homeowner's satisfaction. If needed, the third-party warranty program, which backs the builder's warranty, can step in to resolve any dispute and ensure that the required work is done.
Typical first-year changes
A new home typically experiences some drying out of materials and settling during the first year, which may result in minor changes. This is completely normal, does not indicate a defect in your home and should not be a cause for concern.
Most changes are related to moisture, as materials used in the construction continue to dry out. For instance, drywall may develop nail pops or hairline cracks, or small shrinkage cracks may appear in basement walls or garage floors. Occasionally, hardwood flooring may develop a few squeaks as the wood dries out; however, it is important to remember that solid wood products, will continue to contract and expand throughout the lifetime of your home, in response to humidity levels inside and out. Talk with your builder about any changes that might occur, and how to best deal with them.