by Geoff Kirbyson
You wouldn’t think twice about buying a new car — or even a fancy new blender - without ensuring you had a multi-year warranty, so why wouldn’t you do the same with your home?
That’s the philosophy behind the New Home Warranty Program of Manitoba. It’s hardly a new idea as it’s been available across Canada since the 1970s and got its start nearly 90 years ago in the United Kingdom.
Unlike many other products with warranties, however, new homes in Manitoba aren’t automatically included. It’s essential that your builder be registered with the program in order for your home to qualify.
Buying a home from such a builder is as close as you’ll get to a no-brainer in real estate, said Chris Dudeck, president of WinnipegREALTORS®.
“I think the warranty program is appropriate for anyone who is entertaining the purchase of a new home. I don’t know why anybody would want to buy a home from a builder who wasn’t part of the program,” he said.
“It adds security to your purchase. Your home is one of the biggest purchases most people will make in their lifetimes. Why wouldn’t you want to protect it?”
The best part for would-be homebuyers is there’s no cost to them to get the warranty. For the builders affiliated with the program, it’s part of their product. The program consists of surety and structural warranty guarantees. The former includes purchaser deposit coverage and the completion of any deficiencies noted at the closing of the sale while the latter runs for five years and begins with the date of
It’s the magnitude of the purchase which drives the desire for warranties among consumers, Dudeck said.
“You’ve got to weigh the cost of the item versus the risk of loss. If you buy a $10 calculator, you’re not going to want the extended warranty because the risk is low when the item fails. When you’re buying a $400,000 home, the risk is high. You want it protected,” he said.
But the warranty action doesn’t stop there. Dudeck notes various components of a new home have their own warranties, too. Some windows, for example, have 20-year protection on the seal. If they need to be replaced, the homeowner only has to pay for the labour. There is often a warranty on furnaces, hot water tanks and shingles, too.
“The new home owner is well covered. It’s like the old Fram oil filter commercials used to say, ‘you either pay now or you pay later,’” he said.
The warranty program in Manitoba covers new homes built on permanent foundations as well as ready-to-move homes moved to permanent foundations. They include single-detached homes, semi-detached homes, homes on First Nations, row housing, duplexes and condominiums located in buildings up to three storeys in height.
Homes that aren’t eligible include renovated houses or additions, recreational homes, mobile homes and condos in buildings that are higher than three storeys.
It’s also important to note that just because something is on your property doesn’t mean it’s covered. A pool, garage, landscaping, flowers, trees, patios, driveways, sidewalks and septic tanks aren’t covered under warranty.
The potential to buy a home with a warranty can be the deciding factor for people weighing the pros and cons of buying new or used, Dudeck said.
“I know the decision in the buyer’s mind is often, ‘do I stay in my existing home and upgrade or do I move into a new home where I won’t have to do any upgrades for 15 years or more?’ I’ve got to believe that all of the new components that are warrantied and require very limited maintenance for a long time is definitely part of the that process,” he said.