Advice for Consumers

Welcome to the Advice for Consumers blog, where you'll find tips about buying, selling, and leasing property, and so much more.
  • Sure, REALTORS® help you buy, sell, and lease property, but they also advocate for public policy that helps consumers. For example, the Texas Association of REALTORS® recently announced its support for the property tax reforms provided in Senate Bill 2, now making its way through the Texas Legislature. The bill is a positive step forward in ending the common practice of local elected officials misleading taxpayers when budgets are adopted at the local level. "When local elected officials hide behind increasing property values to justify larger budgets, taxpayers suffer. Senate Bill 2 goes a long way to fix this problem and provide more transparency and honesty in the local tax-rate setting process,” said TAR Chairman Vicki Fullerton. The bill reduces the rollback rate for local taxing entities and requires an automatic rollback election if the local taxing entity exceeds the rollback rate. Despite some comments to the contrary, the bill does not limit the amount of revenue a local taxing entity may generate. The association believes the bill will help give property owners transparency during the tax-rate setting process and encourage voter participation. To better understand the property tax process, visit hiddenpropertytax.com.

  • It’s nice having options, right? Especially when it comes to making a big purchase like a home. If you’ve started your home search by using online listing sites, you’ve probably found a long list of properties you want to tour. Even though it’s exciting to see what’s out there, are you wondering how you’ll be able to choose a favorite? Are you overwhelmed with your choices? That’s normal. In fact, research shows that when people have too many options, they have a harder time making a decision and tend to be less satisfied with their selection. Instead of making such an important decision on your own, there’s an easy way to get there faster: Hire a Texas REALTOR®. Texas REALTORS® can help you quickly focus on properties worth seeing because they can eliminate those that may look good online but don’t actually meet your needs. They also have access to current information about whether a home is still on the market, and when homes you thought are out of your price range might actually be open to negotiations. This is information you won’t find on your own searching online, and even if you could, it would take a lot of your valuable time. Visit texasrealestate.com to find a Texas REALTOR® who can help you avoid wasting your time and the stress that can come with choosing the perfect home.

  • REALTORS® from every part of Texas are traveling to the state Capitol April 4 to visit with their elected officials. They will discuss issues like property taxes, mortgage finance, and eminent domain. Texas REALTORS® get involved in this manner because they want to make sure our state representatives and senators know how current proposals may help—or harm—Texans. And they want to be part of the process of creating policies that strengthen our economy and protect private-property rights. How do these efforts impact you? Thanks to Texas REALTORS®' involvement in government, your property taxes are lower than they would otherwise be, you have constitutional protections prohibiting expensive tacked-on transfer fees when buying and selling property, and our state is starting to address pressing needs with our transportation and water infrastructure.  Rest assured that Texas REALTORS® will be looking out for your interests on April 4 and beyond!

  • Not having enough credit history for a credit score doesn't necessarily mean you must go through a drawn-out manual underwriting process to get a home loan. If you have a history of making housing payments on time and references, you could benefit from a new automated process from Freddie Mac, a quasi-public agency that purchases mortgages. Starting in June, borrowers without credit scores can see if they're eligible for purchase mortgages or no-cash-out refinance transactions on one-unit owner-occupied homes. Lenders will be able to use Freddie Mac's automated assessments to quickly approve your loan with greater confidence that Freddie Mac will purchase it. Loans will still be evaluated against Freddie Mac's credit requirements, but the automated process should allow lenders to more efficiently serve borrowers.

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