The main thing that distinguishes a REALTOR® from someone who's merely licensed by the state to sell real estate is the REALTOR® Code of Ethics, which requires REALTORS® to put their clients' interests first at all times.
The REALTOR® Code of Ethics was first adopted in 1913 as a voluntary document outlining the professional duties of membership. The code became mandatory in 1924, four years after the Texas Association of REALTORS® was formed. This was an era before licensing was required in many states. Today, the Texas Real Estate Commission is the licensing authority for agents and brokers in Texas.
Holding a real estate agent's or real estate broker's license does not make someone a REALTOR®. Membership in the National Association of REALTORS® entitles licensees to use the term REALTOR® on their business cards and in their marketing materials.
Hiring a REALTOR® means you've retained someone who is committed to continuing education, professionalism, and integrity. The vast majority of REALTORS® participate in a local multiple listing service (MLS), which gives you a distinct advantage whether you're selling your home or looking for that special property.
Buying a home or land can be one of the biggest purchases a person could make in his/her lifetime.
Prices vary from state to state and region to region. This year, more than ever before, people are investing in land and so what is available today may not be available tomorrow.
When you enter into a contract there is earnest money due at the time of the offer. Sometimes it is the entire amount of the purchase or part of the purchase. You as a buyer will get credit for this at closing, which generally takes about 30 days, but can be longer. This amount of earnest money is set by the seller.
If you do not understand the contents of the contract, immediately contact the real estate office that wrote the contract, or you may have a personal agent/attorney that can go over it with you.
Contracts may also have accept or reject dates. You must accept and return the contracts by that date or your contract will be void and canceled. So time is of the essence. A faxed copy will usually be sufficient. Make sure you initial each page on the bottom of the contracts and sign where indicated on page 7 of the contract (unimproved earnest money contract) other contracts will have different page numbers.
Title companies do the rest. Check the history and all recorded documents that pertain to this property you are buying. About 10-15 days after your contract goes to the title company, you will receive a "title commitment." This is a draft of what your final title policy will look like. Make sure your name is correct and that any issues you may have questions about are answered. At West Texas Realty, the broker will see the commitment before the buyer and will be familiar with your commitment as well.
After the commitment comes to you, the final paperwork from the title company will be done. Make sure you have funds available for the final purchase, which can be wired to the title company or paid in form of cashiers check.
At closings, no personal checks are accepted. You have agreed to purchase this property in the contract so make sure you are available to sign papers and do final payment on that date. If your closing is late, generally the broker or title company will let you know in advance.
But remember, time is of the essence! Failure to close will result in loss of earnest money. Owning real estate is an opportunity that should not be taken for granted and should be an enjoyment for years to come for you and for your family.