Advice for Consumers

Buying a home? Here’s your to-do list

You’ll have a team of real estate professionals working with you during the homebuying process—like lenders, inspectors, and appraisers, to name a few—but there are still some tasks that are all yours. Start by hiring a Texas REALTOR®, who will guide you through every step of the way, and taking care of a few to-dos that are all up to you.

  • Take care of your credit report. You should request copies of your credit report annually—especially before applying for a mortgage. Look for any issues or instances of identity theft. These won’t necessarily keep you from getting a mortgage, but you’ll have to take action to clear them up.
  • Set your realistic budget. If you need financing, your mortgage broker or banker will help you determine how much you can afford based on your income, debts, and credit history. He or she will then calculate what you’re eligible to borrow. Your job is to be ready to supply this information and set a price range that your Texas REALTOR® can use to find potential properties within your budget.
  • Get pre-approved. Your mortgage broker or banker can also help you get a pre-approval letter that states how much a lender is willing to let you borrow. When you’re ready to put an offer on a property, this letter will tell the seller you’re serious and you’ve already taken the first steps toward seeking funding.
  • Respond to requests quickly. You may be asked for copies of your financial statements, your tax records, or for your signature on forms. Your role is to provide this information in a timely manner so the requester can move forward.
  • Communicate with your Texas REALTOR®. If you’re feeling uncertain about part of the process, or you just have a nagging question, talk to your Texas REALTOR®. He or she will have the knowledge and experience to answer your questions.

Why should I care about the MLS?

A friend is encouraging me to use a Texas REALTOR® to sell my property because then the property will be listed in the MLS. What is an MLS?

A multiple listing service (MLS) is a private database of properties listed for sale or lease that REALTORS® can access and contribute to. As MLS participants, REALTORS® use MLSs to share and receive listing information to better serve their clients. Each MLS in Texas generally represents a specified geographic area, and is governed by rules that participants must abide by to ensure accurate, up-to-date information.

Listing your property in an MLS exposes it to a wide audience of real estate professionals and allows you to explain the terms and conditions under which you are marketing the property. In addition, your property will be included in the MLS’s download to websites consumers use to search for real estate listed for sale or lease.

Hiring a Texas REALTOR® gives you a lot more than just access to the MLS. Click here to read about other ways a Texas REALTOR® brings value to 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