Please take notice of the Paragraph 21 notice that is about notices and that many people fail to notice. Call it a notice, a notification, disclosure … whatever. Just don’t ignore it.

Paragraph 21 of the Texas residential real estate contract reads:

“All notices from one party to the other must be in writing and are effective when mailed to, hand-delivered at, or transmitted by fax or electronic transmission as follows:”

There is space to add the buyer and seller names, addresses, phone, fax, and email.

This all-important paragraph is often neglected or overlooked to the detriment of all parties. I’d estimate about a third of residential contracts do not have contact information for both buyer and seller in this paragraph when they are submitted to the title company. That’s a lot of potential problems.

So, what’s the big deal? Why do the buyer and seller need to disclose their email addresses and phone numbers to each other and the title company? Should their agent protect their privacy by withholding this information? So glad you asked.

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How to make a buyer’s agent cringe: Ask for a 60 day seller lease back. While lease backs hold appeal for many sellers, it’s enough to make Realtors shudder at the thought of the problems that can accompany them.

A Sellers Temporary Lease allows the seller to continue living in the home after closing for a short time – anywhere from one to 90 days. It is designed to allow for delayed possession of the property by the buyer.

This temporary lease is used when a seller needs additional time after closing to relinquish the property. This may be for any number of reasons. The seller may be waiting for school to finish or need more time to move their possessions. Or they may just want to ensure the transaction actually closes and their funds are in the bank before moving out.

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Many folks think condos and townhomes are like po-tay-toe and po-tah-toe. They’re pretty much the same. When actually, they’re more like potato and tomato.

Just because the property sits on the ground and looks like an attached house, doesn’t make it a townhouse. And a condominium doesn’t always look like an apartment. There are condos that look like townhomes and vice versa. The appearance or physical description is not a true verification of the type of property. 

Townhouses and condominiums have subtle but distinct differences. The defining characteristic of a property type lies in the ownership, rather than the design. What you own, what you are responsible for maintaining, and what spaces you must share differentiates condos from townhomes.

Both types of properties are attached to another residence and are part of a larger property with shared or community spaces. They both have homeowners associations with dues assessed to owners. While there is a legal definition for each, allow me to add the stipulation that these characteristics are “typical and usual.” There are always a few communities that like to create their own unique ownership rules, restrictions, and covenants.

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Shopping for a home is a bit like dating. Buyers, like daters, are looking for that perfect match. But just because you fall in love doesn’t mean they’ll love you back. Getting down the aisle to happily ever after can take some effort. And you may have to kiss a few frogs in search of the ideal mate.

So what happens when you need to jilt that potential lover – or seller — before your first real encounter? It’s not the love connection you thought it could be and you’ve changed your mind?

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It’s closing day. Say cheese! All those photos of smiling faces on closing day offer proof that most folks are delighted to be closing on a home. Either they’re getting the keys to their new property or they’re getting a check for the sale.

Before the popularity of social media, most people mailed out moving announcements to let friends know they’d bought a home. Today, social media now plays a dominate role in announcing a move.

In this age of selfies and sharing, many homebuyers, sellers, and agents like to announce this kind of cheerful news with a closing photo. Just check out the social media posts on popular sites to find friends and families celebrating big events in their lives. Buying or selling a home is one of those big events.

“It’s a major milestone in your life,” says Kimberly Rote of Allie Beth Allman & Associates. She rates buying a home up there with getting married or having a baby.

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It’s Homestead, Sweet Homestead in the State of Texas. Our Texas constitution can help prevent Texans from becoming homeless if they are in a financial bind. Texas homestead protection laws guard your homestead against foreclosure by judgment creditors such as credit card holders, bill collectors, or winning parties in lawsuits.

This special protection from creditors only extends to the homestead. There are a lot of legal definitions of a Texas homestead, but basically, it is a primary residence owned and lived in by a family or single adult. You can only have one homestead entitled to be exempt from seizure by claims of creditors. If the property is not a homestead, the creditor has the right to go after that property to satisfy a lien.

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Imagine finding the perfect home. After weeks, maybe months, of searching, it’s just what you’ve been seeking. You get it under contract and have it inspected. After jumping through all the hoops for the mortgage, hiring movers, packing, and more, you’re ready to close. Then the seller decides they don’t want to sell it to you after all.

Wait, you say. They can’t do that. You would be right.

But what if they do it anyway? What options does a homebuyer have when a seller changes their mind? 

For the seller who changes their mind, there are consequences. For the would-be buyer, there are a couple of options.

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Option Fee and Proof of Delivery

The standard Texas residential real estate contract contains several options for buyers to terminate their contract for various reasons. While sellers may not like it, it makes sense that the person bringing the money has the most options.

The most popular option is the paragraph that requires the buyer to deliver an option fee for the right to terminate for any reason within a specified period of time. This time period is usually when the buyer will perform inspections. The option fee is payment for the buyer’s right to walk away from the contract. Whether or not they exercise that right doesn’t matter. The seller may cash an option fee check at any time and keep the option fee if the buyer terminates. Typically, the buyer gets credited for the option fee at closing when they do not terminate.

The option fee must be delivered to the seller or listing agent within three days after the effective date of the contract or the buyer may lose their rights under the option period. The crucial part of the option period is the DELIVERY of the option fee. Not receipt of the option fee. These are actually two different actions. Let me explain.

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