Need to know when buying a new home that is built in Maryland

by Dan Krell © 2012

New HomesIn today’s housing market, chances are that you may looking to buy a new home rather than a resale;

be prepared and know what you can reasonably expect from the home builder, as well as understanding how to resolve problems with the builder.  Whether or not you have a licensed real estate agent representing you in the transaction; the Maryland Office of the Attorney General Consumer Protection Division provides consumers guidance, pertinent information and other resources to dealing with a home builder and buying a new home built in Maryland.

Unfortunately, many home buyers believe they do not need representation when buying a new home.  Because the new home builder reps are often friendly, helpful and may appear to be on your side in the transaction; it is understandable how a home buyer may misconstrue the home builder’s sales persons’ loyalties.  However, home buyers must recognize that the builder’s sales people represent the home builder.

Before engaging a home builder and their sales people, you should check out whether or not the home builder is registered with the Home Builder Registration Unit.  Additionally, unless the home builder hires a licensed real estate agent to represent them, the home builder’s sales reps must also be registered with the Home Builder Registration Unit.

Before entering into a contract with a home builder,

you might consider reading the consumer information booklet that home builders are required to provide consumers before entering into a new home sales contract.  The booklet is provided by the Home Builder Registration Unit of the Maryland OAG Consumer Protection Division and discusses: choosing a builder, the contract, how your deposit is protected, custom home contracts, construction of your home, and resolving problems.

The Maryland OAG Consumer Protection Division oversees a Home Builder Guaranty Fund “that allows consumers to seek compensation for losses resulting from an act or omission by a registered builder who constructs a new home for a consumer.”  You may seek compensation from the guaranty fund if your home builder is registered with the Home Builder Registration Unit and you entered into a contract for a new home built in Maryland after January 1, 2009.

New HomesPayments from the Home Builder Guaranty Fund are to cover actual loss that result from “an act or omission by a registered builder as determined by the Consumer Protection Division or a court of competent jurisdiction…”  The Guaranty Fund is not meant to cover such items as: attorney fees, punitive damages, interest, court costs, personal injury, or subsequent damages.  The “actual loss” that is covered refers to “the costs of restoration, repair, replacement or completion that results from the incomplete construction of a new home, a breach of an express or implied warranty, or a failure of the builder to meet certain construction standards or guidelines.”

Guaranty Fund claims must be made “within 2 years after the consumer discovered or should have discovered the loss or damage or within 2 years after the new home warranty expires, whichever comes first. If the consumer files a claim against the home warranty plan, he or she must file the claim against the Guaranty Fund within 4 months after that claims process is exhausted.”

For further information on the Home Builder Registration Unit, consumer information booklet, and the Home Builder Guaranty Fund – visit the Maryland OAG Consumer Protection Division website on home builders (

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This article is not intended to provide nor should it be relied upon for legal and financial advice. This article was originally published in the Montgomery County Sentinel the week of September 17, 2012. Using this article without permission is a violation of copyright laws. Copyright © 2012 Dan Krell.

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