Warranty Resource packages relief for homeowners

Thursday, May 11th, 2006

Wendy McLellan

Warranty experts James Christensen (left) and Greg Stolz have put it all the answers together in a custom-made binder. JON MURRAY — THE PROVINCE

When you buy a new vehicle, you know where to find the warranty and the maintenance manual. If something goes wrong in a year or two, it’s easy to figure out who to call.

New homes are a little more tricky. There are dozens of components and stacks of different warranties and maintenance requirements that new-home buyers most likely find in a kitchen drawer or stuffed in a brown envelope.

A couple of local entrepreneurs saw an opportunity in the kitchen-drawer system and developed a program so builders can provide new-home buyers with the same service they would get if they were buying a new car.

“When you buy a new home, there are so many components and products and they all have different warranties and maintenance requirements,” said Greg Stolz, president of Vancouver-based CONASYS Inc.

“Builders give homeowners information about their new house, but there is no standardized way to do it. It doesn’t even occur to homeowners that every product in their home has a warranty.”

Stolz came up with the idea to develop a system, called Warranty Resource homeowner packages, to organize new-home information for builders and help homeowners at the same time.

Stolz and his business partner, James Christensen, have developed a database to collect warranty information on every product used in a new home, then build a custom-made binder that builders can give their customers.

The binders provide maintenance, installation and operating instructions for everything, including the kitchen sink. Each product and its warranty information is listed, along with the manufacturer, supplier, installer and even colour and style details so homeowners can track down replacements years later.

Later this year, the company plans to offer the same information online as well as a “maintenance alert” system to help homeowners keep up with warranty requirements. The service costs builders a minimum $450 per home.

“It’s something we should do ourselves, but we’re too busy,” said Victoria homebuilder Chris Ricketts, who signed up for the service last fall.

“They have the time to do the research, and it gives people information about every system in the house. It makes it easy for homeowners.”

© The Vancouver Province 2006

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