Ten Things You Don’t Know About Your Texas Real Estate Agent

1. Your Texas real estate agent may not assist you in finding a competent Texas home inspector. In fact, they may purposely steer you away from the best Texas inspectors. Many agents will not allow a thorough Texas home inspector to kill their deal. They go to great lengths to insure that you choose an inspector that either is new to the business and knows little to nothing about inspecting or has been in the business long enough to become friends with all of the local agents in order to get their referrals. Meticulous and technically-oriented Texas inspectors are blackballed, especially in neighborhoods with pricier homes.

2. Your Texas real estate agent may not even really be working exclusively for you. If you contact the agent on the yard sign of a house you are interested in and contract with this agent to represent you, you are likely making a huge mistake. This agent’s first loyalty and duty is to the seller, and not to you. What was once somewhat accurately referred to as “dual agency”, is now operating under the more PC name of “intermediary relationship”. This is essentially where the agent is representing both parties to a resale contract. Or, simply put, it is like using your opponent’s attorney to represent you in a civil suit.

3. Your Texas real estate agent may not be licensed. Agents who work for home Texas home builders are not even required to be licensed. Since they have no standards of practice or code of ethics to be concerned with, they can lie to you about anything and everything, and often do.

4. Your Texas real estate agent may be practicing law without a license. While prohibited by the Texas Real Estate Commission, some agents choose to attempt to interpret the resale contracts for their clients without the use of an attorney. 

5. Your Texas real estate agent’s commission is negotiable. This tidbit will, of course, never be offered up to you without some significant prying on your part. 

6. Your Texas real estate agent may tell you that your home warranty (service policy), or homebuilder’s warranty will cover everything your inspector finds during his inspection. This is simply not true. Home warranties cover only certain parts of some major systems. As with all insurance policies, exclusions abound. Read the fine print.

7. Your Texas real estate agent may not be a trained or competent negotiator. The one essential skill required to be a competent agent is negotiation. This issue is only lightly touched upon in their required training. If your agent does not come to the profession with these skills there is little chance they will acquire them through osmosis. Any reasonably skilled negotiator would understand the value of a thorough inspection and a long, detailed inspection report when dealing with a seller, home builder or their agents.

8. Your Texas real estate agent may not be autonomous. Many real estate teams, consisting of a lead agent and their many minions, have delegated responsibilities for the different aspects of the sales or purchase process to underlings. They follow procedure and are often just going through the scripted motions while dealing with buyers like you.

9. Your Texas real estate agent may tell you that items found by your Texas inspector are not an issue because they are “grandfathered”. This term indicates that the issue was allowed at the time of the construction of the house, but is no longer considered appropriate or safe. The Texas Real Estate Commission does not recognize this as a valid concept. No safety or other issues are grandfathered.

10. Your Texas real estate agent may be incompetent. Napoleon Bonaparte is attributed with the saying, “Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence”. Having said all that, many agents are indeed competent. In the final analysis it is likely better to venture forth into a real estate transaction with even a moderately competent agent than with none.