Home Buying Basics in Texas

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Buying a house is a significant event. Before you purchase a home, take time to determine what you can afford and decide what features you need or want in a home. With proper preparation and prudent use of qualified professionals, buying a home in Texas can be a positive experience.

Advantages of Employing a Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent reviews your finances and explores financing options to help you determine what type of house you can afford to buy and how big a mortgage you can qualify for. The agent will then work to locate houses that meet your needs. Your real estate agent is familiar with local market conditions and can help negotiate the best price for your new home. Real estate agents can also locate other professionals to assist you.

Personal referrals are usually the best way to select a real estate agent, or search for licensed real estate agents on the Texas Real Estate Commission website. Look for agents with experience representing buyers, and carefully check their qualifications and references.

Seller Disclosure Requirements

State law requires sellers of real estate to make a number of specific disclosures regarding the condition of the property. The seller’s disclosure must contain all of the information set forth in the Texas Real Estate Commission's disclosure form. The form requires the seller to list various features and equipment contained in the home and to state whether any known defects exist.

Buyer's should not rely solely on the seller's disclosure, however. Hire an independent home inspector to verify the information from the seller's disclosure.

Real Estate Purchase Agreements

A real estate contract must be in writing and signed by the parties to the contract. It must contain an offer to sell or purchase, an acceptance of the offer, the sale price, and an adequate description of the property. Texas real estate agents must use the real estate contracts form approved by the Texas Real Estate Commission.

Title Issues

A buyer should always obtain a title search from a title company before purchasing a home. The title company searches for any liens, easements, or other encumbrances that may affect the property. If the title search locates problems, the buyer should require correction of those problems as a condition to closing.

You should also consider purchasing a title insurance policy to protect the title to the property against adverse claims by third parties. Mortgage companies usually require the buyer to purchase a title insurance policy in connection with obtaining a mortgage.

Legal Advice

For legal advice regarding the home buying experience, please contact a local residential real estate lawyer.

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