Advice for Consumers

The American dream is alive and well in Texas

In Lehman's Terms

Like most Americans, I pause at this time of year to give thanks for my many blessings.

Despite what’s happening in the world, there is one thing I cherish that is uniquely American and still as relevant today as it was during the first Thanksgiving: The dream of owning property is still alive and well in the United States.

That dream has brought many immigrants to this country. It’s also the dream that has caused many to Americans to choose to live in Texas, including my family.

Decades ago, my family owned land in Kentucky and were proud to be land owners. For the privilege of living on that land, they had to pay taxes to the state. They worked hard but couldn’t quite pay the tax bill. They sold most of their belongings but still couldn’t pay the tax bill. Finally, they sold the horse they used to work the land—but it wasn’t enough.

The state of Kentucky made them an offer: We’ll take your land to settle the tax bill, and you can work it as a sharecropper.

That didn’t suit my family, so they packed up what little they had left and walked to Texas; remember, they’d sold the horse.

Not all of them made it. My great-great-great grandmother is buried along the road somewhere in Arkansas. But they kept going because they knew that Texas was a place where they could earn another piece of land—and it wouldn’t be taken from them.

They saw Texas as the place to build their American dream. I think they would be proud to know that I, one of their descendants, has the opportunity to walk into the Texas Capitol every day and fight for the property rights that they worked so hard to gain. I am honored and thankful to have the responsibility to represent our Texas REALTOR® members in this endeavor.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Mark Lehman is vice president of governmental affairs at the Texas Association of REALTORS®.

How can you buy a home you don’t know is for sale?

Not many homebuyers would ask to see 70% of available homes for sale. But that’s what’s happening if you’re visiting certain websites. recently provided a real-world demonstration of its competitors’ incomplete data by wrapping an Austin home in a black covering with a statement printed on it that said, “Searching for a home to buy on Zillow? You’re missing out on thousands like this.”

The point is that not all real estate sources give you a complete picture. Some websites don’t list thousands of properties currently for sale, show homes for sale that have already sold, and provide inaccurate values and data.

So how do you know you’re getting the most complete, accurate information? My suggestion is to work with a REALTOR®. They are the folks with the most real estate experience, the best information, and the ability to help you interpret that information.

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