BBSG Des Moines
PO Box 264
Carlisle, IA 50047
515-348-9449

 

The Warranty Handbook

What to Expect

Builders, buyers, subcontractors, and agents have expectations about the customer services and warranty provisions included in a new home purchase. Conflicts can occur when expectations are not clearly understood and met. In addition to fair, equitable and professional interaction the following are key elements that should be expected.
 
Well defined warranty materials based on nationally recognized guidelines (e.g., Residential Construction Performance Guidelines for Professional Builders & Re-modelers published by the National Association of Home Builders). Materials should go beyond defining what is covered to include what is not covered and what is homeowner maintenance.
 
A formalized system and procedures for homeowners to report problems, not just a phone call or an informal email. Input requirements should prompt the homeowner for sufficient information so that a timely assessment can be made as to the nature of service request.
 
Systems and procedures need to be communicated to buyers at closing, before a problem occurs. Service providers need a method to validate reported issues against warranty provisions and provide feedback to the homeowner.
 
Homeowners should read warranty materials to distinguish reportable issues from homeowner maintenance items.  A good understanding of problems is needed to ensure that the correct subcontractor is properly equipped to make the repair so that unnecessary return trips are avoided. Homeowners deserve to feel that their issue has been properly evaluated and to receive feedback as to what will be done or an explanation as why no action will be taken.
 
The mechanism to notify the responsible subcontractors needs to be formalized, not just a phone call or informal email. Communications need to contain contact information for the homeowner and a sufficient description of the problem and requested action, to get to the right person. Care should be taken by all parties to avoid “scope growth” (i.e., the tendency to add to the work list once the worker arrives).
 
A method to verify that issues are addressed. It should have multiple closure mechanisms. For example, subcontractors should be able to close items assigned to them.
 
Homeowners should be able to update the status or close items when complete.
 
The system should have periodic review cycles and automated closure features (e.g., if homeowner prompt for status results in no update, item can be assumed addressed and auto closes after a set time).
 
With all these elements present, new home buyers receive customer care that is professional, equitable, and efficient. WE-CARE.