Advice for Consumers

A money-saving tip 70% of homebuyers don’t know about

How would you feel if you got home from the grocery store and found a $3 coupon on your kitchen table for the $8 bottle of olive oil you just bought? Frustrating, right? Now imagine your reaction if a similar thing happened after you bought a house.

No, you’re not going to find a coupon for your next home. But there are more than 2,200 homebuyer assistance programs in the U.S., many of which could save you thousands of dollars on your home purchase.

Assistance programs exist for first-time buyers, people who work in certain professions, buyers with modest incomes, veterans, people who purchase certain types of properties, and other circumstances. Many of these programs reduce the amount of your downpayment, lower your closing costs, or provide a lower interest rate than you could otherwise get.

Yet 70% of adults don’t even know these programs exist, according to a survey by NeighborWorks America.

If you were among that 70% before reading this, do something for your own good: Explore assistance programs on txhomeprograms.org. Better yet, work with a Texas REALTOR® to identify programs that may save you a bunch of money. 

Give yourself an option

Whoever invented the undo function in computer software is one of my heroes. Think about it: If something doesn’t turn out the way you intended, hit Control + Z and—poof—it never happened. There aren’t many places in life where you get to undo your actions like that, but the option period in a real estate contract is one of them. It lets you walk away from purchasing property, legally undoing your contract.

How do I know? At my REALTOR®'s urging, I purchased an option period in the contract to buy my current home. With three days remaining in that period, my home inspector found a leak in the plumbing system that he couldn't pin to a source. The next day, I had a plumber scour the house. I was ready to exercise my termination option, to undo the contract, if he couldn’t figure out what was going on. He eventually located the source: a faulty valve in the sprinkler system. No big deal. The seller fixed it, and I bought the house.

If that leak had turned out to be something larger, however, I had the chance to hit Control + Z on the whole deal. That’s what the option period is for, and it’s right there in your real estate contract.

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