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The first year in your new home

January 14, 2020

Outstanding items

The pre-handover inspection of your home by you and your builder may have identified minor items to be corrected or completed after you move in. Typical items include minor defects and minor omissions. These items should be listed on the certificate of practical completion, signed by both you and the builder after the inspection. Discuss with your builder how and when you can expect these items to be dealt with.

After-sales service

What happens if a problem emerges after you take possession? Make sure you are familiar with your builder’s after-sales service process in detail. What’s covered by the home owner warranty insurance scheme? Who is your key contact? Does the builder schedule regular follow-up calls during the minor maintenance period,

Also have an idea of the response time you can realistically expect. Outside of the rare emergency requiring immediate attention, a builder may have to 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 homeowner’s warranty insurance scheme can step in to resolve any dispute and ensure that the required work is done. These schemes operate slightly differently in each state, so it is recommended you speak with the relevant licensing or consumer protection agency in your state or territory.

Typical first-year changes

A brand 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 of your home continue to dry out. For instance, plasterboard sheeting may develop nail pops or hairline cracks, or minor shrinkage cracks may appear in driveways or garage floor slabs. Occasionally, hardwood flooring may develop a few squeaks as the wood dries out; however, it is important to remember that solid wood products, from floors to doors, 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.

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