FAQs for Homeowners

FAQs for Homeowners

Choosing Your Builder

If you're in the market for a new home, you should shop for your builder as carefully as you shop for your home. Whether you are buying a condo, a townhouse, a house in a subdivision, or a custom-built house, you want to know that you are buying a high-quality home from a reputable builder.

Start your Search

Once you have thought about the type of house you want, where should you look for a builder? First, make a list of builders who build the type of home you're looking for in your price range. The real estate section of your newspaper is a good place to start. Looking through the ads and reading the articles can help you find out which builders are active in your area, the types of homes they are building, and the prices you can expect to pay. In addition, your local home builders association has a list of builders who construct homes in your area. Local real estate agents may also be able to help you in your search. Ask friends and relatives for recommendations. Ask about builders they have dealt with directly, or ask them for names of acquaintances who have recently had a good experience with a builder.

Take a Look Around

Once you have a list of builders, how can you find out about their reputations and the quality of their work? The best way to learn about builders is to visit homes they have built and talk to the owners. Ask builders on your list for the addresses of their recently built houses, subdivisions, townhouses, or condos. Builders may even be able to provide names of some new homeowners who would be willing to talk with you. Drive by on a Saturday morning when homeowners may be outside doing chores or errands. Just introduce yourself and say you are considering buying a home from the builder who built their home. Visit several owners, and try to get a random collection of opinions. The more people you talk with, the more accurate impression of a builder you are likely to get. At the very least, drive by and see if the homes are visually appealing. Look at homes that are like the style you plan to buy — for example, if you are interested in a two-story home, look at two-story homes rather than split levels. When you talk to builders and homeowners, take along a notebook to record the information you find and your personal impressions about specific builders and homes. Doing so will help you make comparisons later. Some questions you can ask people are:

  • Are you happy with your home?
  • Did the builder do what was promised in a timely manner?
  • Would you buy another home from this builder?

Usually, people tell you if they are pleased with their homes. And if they are not, they'll probably want to tell you why.

Shop for Quality and Value

Look at new homes whenever you can. Home shows and open houses sponsored by builders are good opportunities to look at homes. Model homes and homes displayed in these shows are often furnished to give you ideas for using the space. You may also ask a builder to see unfurnished homes. When examining a home, look at the quality of the construction features. Inspect the quality of the cabinetry, carpeting, trim work, and paint. Ask the builder or the builder's representative a lot of questions. Get as many specifics as possible. If you receive the answers verbally rather than in writing, take notes. Never hesitate to ask a question. What seems like an insignificant question might yield an important answer. Always keep value in mind when shopping. Just because a home is less expensive than another does not mean it is a better value. Likewise, a more expensive home does not automatically assure higher quality. A home is primarily a place to live, but it is also an important investment. Consider the appreciation potential of any home and the possible future influences that location, housing supply and demand, and other market factors will have on the value of your new home. Another important aspect of value is design quality. When you look at a home, determine whether it will suit your lifestyle. Is there enough living space? Are there enough bedrooms and bathrooms? What about storage space? Will you have room to accommodate special interests or hobbies — for example, a large kitchen for casual entertaining, or a room for a home office or exercise room? Think about the amount of upkeep required both indoors and out. Consider also the location of the property. Is it convenient to transportation, shopping, schools or other places of interest to you?

Ask Questions about Service

One important criterion for selecting a builder is the warranty provided on the home. Most builders offer some form of written warranty. Many builders back their own warranties on workmanship and materials, typically for one year. Other builders offer warranties backed by an insurance company. Ask to see a copy of the builders warranty. Although reading legal documents is tedious, read the warranty to understand what protection you would have. Don't wait to read it until after you move in and a problem arises. If you have any questions about the coverage, ask the builder.

Also, find out from each builder what kind of service you can expect after the sale. Typically, a builder makes two service calls during the first year after you move in to repair non-emergency problems covered by your warranty. The first call is usually 30 to 120 days after the move-in, and the second is around the eleventh month — right before any one-year warranties on workmanship and materials expire. For emergencies, the builder should be able to send someone to your home right away. Some other questions you might ask builders are:

  • How long has the company been in business?
  • Whom do you contact for customer service after the sale? Should requests be in writing?
  • What responsibility does the builder assume for the work of subcontractors? Who will be responsible for correcting problems with major appliances?
  • Does the builder belong to the local builders association (affiliated with the National Association of Home Builders?)
  • Does the builder use state-of-the-art energy features?
  • Equipment, insulation, design, and landscaping can all affect a home's energy efficiency.
  • Buying a new home is one of the biggest and most important purchases you will make in your lifetime. By doing your homework, you will be able to shop for a home with a sense of confidence and the knowledge that will help you make the right decision.

If you have additional questions about selecting a builder, please contact the Texas Panhandle Builders Association directly via email at <ahref="mailto:tpba@tpba.org">tpba@tpba.org We would be happy to help you get the answers you're looking for.

Homes, like all structures built for human occupancy, are assembled on-site, by hand, from the ground upward in the elements of nature by scores of construction professionals. As such, situations develop and questions arise involving the construction methods, practices, materials, and techniques used to complete the project. Each construction issue and circumstance is different and often involves a myriad of building codes, municipal ordinances, Texas laws, and federal regulations.

When questions or situations arise, it is important to discuss those promptly and directly with the home builder. The home builder’s insight and expertise about the project can lead to quick resolution, provided that clear communication is established. Contact with the home builder should be done as soon as the issue becomes known especially issues involving the home’s plumbing system, electrical system, roofing, and structural components. It is important to all involved in the construction process that homeowners with construction questions or experiencing what they perceive to be construction defects contact the home builder in writing and by telephone to fully describe the issue.

Homeowners that have unresolved questions or concerns about their home’s construction can pursue other avenues to have their concerns addressed.

Construction Concern/Defect Resolution Tips

The main tax benefit of owning a house is that the imputed rental income homeowners receive is not taxed. Although that income is not taxed, homeowners still may deduct mortgage interest and property tax payments, as well as certain other expenses from their federal taxable income if they itemize their deductions. Additionally, homeowners may exclude, up to a limit, the capital gain they realize from the sale of a home.

Information from: https://www.taxpolicycenter.org/briefing-book/what-are-tax-benefits-homeownership

The Texas Panhandle Builders Association (TPBA) is a voluntary trade organization representing all segments of the residential building industry. Through training, education, and active participation in the legislative and regulatory process, our organization works in conjunction with local home builders associations throughout Texas to make membership an essential element of a successful building industry company.

We are not a regulatory agency. TPBA is governed by a Board of Directors elected by members, and the board directs the policies and operations of the association in accordance with its bylaws. The policies and bylaws of TPBA do not include any formal or informal process to settle disputes or complaints against industry members.

However, those experiencing difficulties with home construction projects are welcome to share their experience with TAB in order to help guide future training and educational efforts. Contact TAB at info@texasbuilders.org.

A nonprofit association that manages the common areas of a modern subdivision or planned community. The association collects fees, either monthly or annually, from all owners to pay for maintenance of common areas, handle legal and safety issues, and enforce the covenants, conditions, and restrictions set by the developer. Sometimes referred to as a Property Owners Association (POA). They are very common in rural subdivisions outside of incorporated areas.

Public Improvement Districts (“PIDs”) provide a development tool that allocates costs according to the benefits received. A PID can provide a means to fund supplemental services and improvements to meet community needs that could not otherwise be constructed or provided and be paid by those who most benefit from them.

Monthly (or Follow Manufacturer’s Recommendations)

  • Clean and test smoke alarms.
  • Test and reset breakers for ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI).
  • Change or clean furnace filter.
  • Drain sediment from water heater per manufacturer’s instructions (local water quality determines needed frequency).



  • Check and operate the air-conditioning system.
  • Adjust registers and confirm that cold air returns are clear of furniture or draperies.
  • Make certain the air-conditioner compressor is level and clear of debris.
  • Turn the humidifier off.
  • If your home has a private well, have the water tested.
  • Start and adjust the sprinkler system. Test exterior faucets for broken pipes.
  • Check garage overhead door, tighten bolts as needed, and lubricate springs with motor oil. Have other repairs done by professionals?
  • Clean gutters and confirm that downspouts or splash blocks drain away from the house.
  • Look for the settling of backfill soils and fill in where needed.
  • Check exterior caulking and touch up.
  • Check exterior paint and stain surfaces (especially stained doors) and refinish as needed.
  • Inspect grout around tile (floor or wall) and touch up.
  • Wash windows and screens, clean weep holes, and lubricate tracks.
  • Inspect for shrinkage damage such as minor drywall cracks and separations of wood trim. Repair as needed.
  • Plan your first barbecue.



  • Regularly check sprinkler head adjustments.
  • Check interior caulking and touch up.
  • Inspect grout around tile (floor or wall) and touch up.
  • Pour a quart of water down the basement floor drain. As the water in this drain evaporates, sewer odor can seep into the house.



  • Operate (test) the heating system.
  • Adjust registers and confirm that cold air returns are clear of furniture or draperies.
  • Clean the humidifier per the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Adjust or replace weather stripping on exterior doors as needed.
  • Check the fit of exterior doors at their thresholds. Many designs are adjustable. Use a quarter to turn the large screws along the top edge.
  • Drain the sprinkler system.


Fall (Continued)

  • Remove hoses from exterior faucets. Even “freeze-proof” faucets end up with a broken water line if the water in the hose freezes and expands into the pipe.
  • Inspect chimney for nests.
  • Review safe fireplace operation. Chimneys for fireplaces and wood-burning stoves need professional cleaning at regular intervals.
  • Check overhead door of the garage, tighten bolts as needed, and lubricate springs with motor oil. Have other repairs done by professionals.
  • Clean gutters, check downspouts and confirm that splash blocks drain away from the house.
  • Check foundation, concrete slabs, and yard for the settling of backfill soils, fill in as needed to maintain positive drainage.
  • Check exterior caulking and touch up.
  • Wash windows and screens; lubricate tracks.



  • Follow all instructions for the safe operation of any fireplace or wood-burning stove.
  • Brush snow off gutters and away from downspouts.
  • Remove ice and snow from concrete surfaces as soon as possible.
  • Avoid using de-icing agents with damaging salts.
  • Pour a quart of water down the basement floor drain. As the water in the drain evaporates, sewer odor can seep into the house.
  • On pleasant days, open windows to allow the house to breathe.
  • Decorate safely for the holidays. Do not overload circuits or use worn extension cords.

This information is provided as suggestions.

While production builders build communities by restricting design to a group of preselected home types on lots they have picked and purchased themselves, custom builders tend to build on land owned by the customer and start fresh with each design.

Production builders typically construct a large number of homes throughout the year; these may offer a variety of options, but production builders generally do not use construction plans other than the ones selected by the building firm. Custom builders spend more time on each project and often work on fewer than ten homes a year.

This is a very common question. We recommend you start at Potter-Randall County Appraisal District, the site can be found at: prad.org

TPBA has several members with a directory of them. You can find it at:  Find a Builder

structural warranty provides a written agreement between the home builder and the homeowner and clearly defines the builder's work-product obligations related to construction quality and continuing obligations. Under the agreement, the builder is the insured and the homeowner is the beneficiary.