Considerations Before Selling a House in Texas

Talk to a Local Attorney

The state of Texas has real estate laws and local rules that must be followed or you risk huge and costly legal problems. Before selling your house, there are some things to consider.

You Need a Real Estate Agent

With expertise and considerable resources, your real estate agent can accurately assess the current values of comparable homes in your area and effectively market your house to credible buyers. You can find licensed Texas real estate agents at

Real Property Listings

There are three kinds of real estate listings:

  • Open listing: Owners retain the right to sell the home and pay no commissions.
  • Exclusive agency listing: Owners execute a listing agreement with a broker and pay a commission only if the broker is the procuring cause of the sale.
  • Exclusive right to sell listing: The seller pays a commission to the listing broker regardless of who brings in the buyer.

Your agent determines the appropriate selling price by comparing prices of similar homes that have been listed in your immediate area.

What Goes in a Listing?

  • Price and commission
  • Items included or not included in the sale
  • Duties and obligations of seller and agent


The seller is required to give the buyer a disclosure form, which includes disclosing known material defects, along with:

  • Appliances
  • Hazardous conditions
  • House systems
  • Structural integrity
  • Wood-destroying organisms
  • Deed restrictions

Disclosures must be on a form established by the Texas Real Estate Commission. Sellers can use the Seller’s Disclosure of Property Condition.

Your Offer and Counteroffer

An offer is made by the buyer to purchase property pursuant to a written contract. It becomes a legally binding contract when the seller accepts the offer and notifies the buyer of its acceptance. A counteroffer rejects the original offer and presents a new offer with different terms. Once an offer is agreed upon, it will go into escrow where the buyer deposits certain funds into an escrow account along with instructions.

Texas Purchase Agreements

A purchase agreement is a legally binding contract containing the terms of the sale, including:

  • Agreed-upon price
  • Applicable financing terms
  • Guarantee of clear title
  • Identity of all parties involved in the transaction
  • Agreed-upon date for inspection
  • Closing date

Negotiating Post-Contract Defects

Generally, if an inspection turns up material defects, the buyer can insist that you pay to remedy the defect or lower the purchase price.

What Happens at Close of Escrow?

At the close of escrow, the following events occur:

  • The buyer signs a promissory note
  • Costs and fees are paid
  • All documents are signed and transferred
  • The deed is recorded

Sellers need not be present at the closing so long as all costs are paid and documents are signed. You will typically have to turn over the keys to the buyer the same day as the closing or when you get occupancy.

Be Sure, Consult a Lawyer

Don't feel that all real estate laws are the same. They vary considerably from state to state. You can only be sure of compliance by consulting a Texas real estate attorney before you sell.

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