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Construction law

Warranties on new homes

Warranties on new homes

You are buying your first new home here in New Hampshire and you wonder whether the builder has to offer you a warranty on it. Contrary to popular belief, there is no such thing as a “statutory builder’s warranty” on your new stick built home. A stick built home means it was constructed in whole on site. That said, most builders are proud of their product and they do offer a limited one year warranty to the original owner, They are also subject to building in conformance with and to inspections by the local building department where the home is to be located.

In New Hampshire there are other types of housing that are required to come with a warranty. Presite built housing is described as any structure which is wholly or substantially made or assembled in an off-site manufacturing facility. These homes are required to conform with the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development minimum property standards and local building codes.

A new prefabricated or presite built home is required to have a written manufacturer’s warranty to the buyer. The warranty must include the terms that the home is free from any substantial defects in materials or workmanship in the structure, plumbing, heating, and electrical systems and in all appliances and other equipment installed or included in the home. Additionally, it must state that the seller or manufacturer must take appropriate corrective action at the site of the home in the instance of substantial defects in materials or workmanship which become evident within one year from the date of delivery of the home.

Manufactured housing is described as any structure that is transportable in one or more sections, which in the traveling more are 8 feet or more in width and 40 feet or more in length or when erected on site contains 320 square feet, or more of living area. Manufactured housing is built on a permanent chassis and is designed to be used as a dwelling with or without a permanent foundation and to be connected to utilities.

In order to keep a record of and to verify the proper installation of manufactured homes, no manufactured house may be installed in this state until the manufacturer or an installer licensed by the board has obtained a warranty seal from the New Hampshire Installation Standards Board and attached the seal to the manufactured house.

More information on the above warranty requirements can be found in New Hampshire RSA 205-B and 205-D.

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Homestead Rights in New Hampshire

Under Homestead Exemption laws any property designated as a homestead is exempt from execution and sale by creditors for the payment of debts. The protected amount differs in each state, but in New Hampshire every person is entitled to $1000,000 of his or her homestead to be exempt from the rights of creditors. That amount is slated to increase to $120,000 per person on January 1, 2016.

There are exceptions to the above and the following debts have precedence over the rights of homestead:

  • The collection of taxes;
  • The enforcement of liens of persons having done work for the construction, repair or improvement of the homestead;
  • In the enforcement of mortgages on the property;
  • In the enforcement of liens filed by homeowner or condominium associations for unpaid assessments.

No deed can convey or encumber the homestead right, except for a mortgage made at the time of purchase to secure payment of the money used to purchase the home, unless it is executed by the owner and spouse, if any. This is why, when a new mortgage is taken out or the property is conveyed, the husband and wife must both sign to release rights of homestead.

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