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Warranty Management for Custom Home Building

June 1, 2018

What’s covered? What’s not? What do you do if something breaks? Home warranties are one of the big headscratchers of the custom home building process. Fortunately, we have an expert in our ranks — Elise Mingarelli, Paradisa’s warranty manager.

Today we sat down with Elise as she dished on the warranty process: what’s covered, what kind of repairs are typical, and the different types of warranty packages offered by Paradisa Homes. Join us as we demystify the warranty process for custom homes and answer your burning questions.

What kind of repairs are typically covered by Paradisa’s warranty for custom homes?
Our builder warranty spans a decade and is broken into 1, 2 and 10-year intervals with specific types of coverage for each block of time. The one-year warranty includes any type of craftsmanship and is known as “wall-to-wall” coverage. It covers doors, windows, siding, roofing, masonry, and drywall repairs or settling cracks — stuff like that. That’s the one-year. The two-year covers plumbing, electrical, and HVAC. And the ten-year is going to be for the foundation.

After individuals have owned their home for nearly a year, we ask that they send us a list of all their requested repairs: examples would be drywall nail pops or any kind of settling cracks, or if they have a flooring issues or cracked tile. We ask that they send that list along with corresponding pictures directly to [email protected] On our end, the list and images are reviewed by myself and one or more members of our construction team. We then respond to the homeowners to let them know what is covered under the warranty and what isn’t covered. And then from there, we agree to get everything done from their list within 60 days. That’s pretty much the process.

Typically, we don’t get many additional claims after that. Unless something really crazy and unforeseen happens — in any case, we diligently work with our homeowners and aim to keep them happy.

What are the most common types of issues you see with warranty claims?
The most common would definitely be settling related drywall repairs: cracks on the walls or nail pops. Those are fairly common, but easy to fix. It’s from the house settling over time and is normal for all newly built homes.

Do you have any separate warranties administered through manufacturers? Or do you handle everything at Paradisa?
We handle everything except for the appliances. Whenever a homeowner moves into a house, they should register all their appliances in their name. That way, they can work directly with the manufacturer to get any kind of service calls taken care of. Everything else is going to be through Paradisa. We work with sub-vendors, and some of them have their own personal warranties and some of them don’t, so we take care of arrangements on our end.

Are repairs done by Paradisa’s internal team or by other contractors?
Project managers who assist with the review of warranty items are part of our internal team, but all tradesmen who carry out repairs are on contract with us. We have numerous tradesmen who specialize in particular aspects of construction who may be called upon to assist with warranty repairs. I directly work with them and the homeowners to schedule individuals to come over to the home and conduct repairs.

Do you ever have any disputes where it’s hard to tell if the customer is at fault or if it was a craftsman issue?
For the most part, I would say it’s pretty cut and dry. We do walk-throughs with homeowners when we sell a house, so all issues are usually taken care of at that time. However, with a cracked tile, for instance, it could be a settling issue or it could be that the homeowner dropped something on the tile. But we can typically tell by location whether that was something that the homeowner accidentally did, or whether that was something that happened with the settling of the house. Usually deductive logic resolves many of our disputes up front.

Is there any advice you can offer new homeowners to prepare themselves in case they need to file a claim? Anything they can do to prevent future warranty issues?
As far as repairs related to the home settling, there’s not really anything preventative that homeowners can do. Beyond this, unfortunately, a house doesn’t stay new forever and does require maintenance. For instance, when it comes to weathering of a wooden front door, you do have to stain it at least every three years or so. For a door that has direct exposure to sun or water, you may have to treat your doors more frequently [with varnish] to keep them looking new and in good condition.

We try to give homeowners as much information as possible at closing so that they understand the potential outlook for general home maintenance. Whenever they close on their house, they’ll get ACES Home Warranty documentation, and that warranty lists maintenance. It breaks down exactly what their warranty is and what their warranty won’t cover. That’s something they should read in depth.

Is there anything else you would tell homeowners about their warranty or the claims process?
One thing I would suggest — some homeowners will notice a minor repair and they’ll email us, and then two weeks later, they find something else. We strongly suggest that they wait at least six months to a year, just so we can make all the repairs at once. Unless it’s an emergency, of course!

It’s a pretty simple process, really.

Like I said, we do try to keep people as happy as possible. If there’s something that’s not covered by warranty, we keep all home design selections on file so we can tell homeowners what material may be involved with a repair and where to get it. If we have any materials left over from the construction of their home that may be needed for a repair, we’ll happily give them to the homeowner free of charge. Homeowners also get a sheet when they move in that has all of their design selections listed — all the paint colors, all the different tiles, etc. — so if they need to replace anything down the road, they’ll have that information. And if they lose it, we have everything on file, so we can easily retrieve it.

At the end of the day, our goal here at Paradisa Homes is to keep you, the homeowner, happy and comfortable. So we do everything in our power to get repairs scheduled and completed quickly and with as little inconvenience to you as possible. Our team works hard to put the “dream” in dream home!