Advice for Consumers

What else is on your ballot?

In Lehman’s Terms

It’s finally here. After a seemingly never-ending campaign season, it’s time to cast our votes.

You may already know who you’re choosing for president … but do you know what else will be on your ballot?

Going down the ballot
There are several state-level races and the race for who will represent your district in the U.S. House of Representatives. (All of the 36 Texas seats are up for election.) And depending on where you live, you may be voting for your state representative or senator, or for local races, such as city council or school board.

You may even have local propositions to vote “for” or “against” on your ballot.

These are known as “down-ballot” races. While they don’t garner as much attention as the top of the ticket, they have the greatest impact on your daily life. The people in these state and local offices make decisions about the roads you drive, your children’s schools, and how properties are developed in your community.

Are you getting the truth?
That’s why it’s so important to educate yourself about the candidates and the issues. Don’t wait and just be surprised by what’s on your ballot. Contact your county elections office to request a sample ballot ahead of time to see what exactly you’ll be voting on, and then research your options.

With so much misinformation floating around on social media, talk radio, email chains, and from sources that aren’t associated with candidates’ campaigns, voters have more responsibility now than ever to dig down and get the truth ourselves.

You can also see what credible sources are saying about your options. Like many trade associations, the Texas Association of REALTORS® spends months vetting candidates before deciding who to support. Visit to see the REALTOR®-supported candidates on your ballot and a list of all the candidates we’re supporting in the general election based on their dedication to protecting private-property rights.

Give your ballot a second look
Maybe your plan is to only vote for candidates in one political party—a practice called straight-ticket voting. Texas is actually one of only nine states that allow straight-ticket voting.

It’s a convenient option for voters who want to support all of the candidates in one party. But it presents the possibility that you may not make a selection in some races because it doesn’t apply in nonpartisan races—like city council and school board—or ballot propositions. If you use straight-ticket voting, be sure to review these races, too.  

The Texas secretary of state announced earlier this month that a record number of Texans—more than 15 million people—have registered to vote. Thankfully, early voting runs through November 4 … so we don’t all have to stand in line on November 8.

See you at the polls.

Mark Lehman is vice president of Governmental Affairs for the Texas Association of REALTORS®. 

You sure you want the internet to solve your real estate problems?

I was reading user comments on a real estate website the other day. The questions buyers and sellers were asking reminded me that real estate transactions can get complicated in countless ways.

Here’s a random sample of issues buyers and sellers were having …

  • A lien the seller didn’t know about is making it difficult to sell the home.
  • A person buying a home is thinking of renting out her current home rather than selling it.
  • The seller accepted the buyer’s offer, and now the buyer has found a home he likes better.
  • The homebuyer wants to move in before closing and rent the home until the closing date.
  • An inspection revealed costly repairs are needed, and the buyer wants to renegotiate the purchase price.
  • A buyer has a contract to buy a home and learned the seller has another a contract with a second buyer.
  • The buyer and seller disagree about what items should stay with the property after the sale.
  • A buyer of a commercial building doesn’t understand the seller’s reply to his offer.
  • The seller wants to know how to handle multiple offers.
  • The seller didn’t show up to closing, and the buyer doesn’t know what to do.

This list could keep going and going.

I understand why people would “ask the internet” about their real estate problems, but I would be wary of the advice found there. You don’t really know what you’re getting.

On the other hand, a Texas REALTOR® is a professional with the experience and knowledge to help you avoid many problems, deal with those that arise, and help you reach the best possible outcome on your real estate transaction. 

What is a Texas REALTOR®?

Not all real estate agents are REALTORS®.

Only those who agree to abide by a code of ethics that goes beyond what the law requires may join the Texas Association of REALTORS®.

Read the REALTOR® Code of Ethics

Texas REALTORS® do more than help you buy and sell real estate

They protect the rights of property owners. They fight proposals that would increase the burdens on buying, selling, and owning real estate. And they bring property-owners’ concerns to the Legislature, regulatory agencies, and local authorities.

Learn more about how Texas REALTORS®  can help you