Buying a home in TexasThe good news for those buying a home in Texas is that real estate prices are relatively affordable. Note: "relatively." They’re affordable by comparison with some other big, populous states, like California. At one point, the median home sales price in California’s most expensive metropolitan area was nearly four times that of Texas’s. That may have changed by the time you read this. But probably not by much. There’s another good thing about buying a home in Texas. Your seller is obliged to tell you about any known material defects. This typically comes in the shape of a three-page form designed by the Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC). Chances are, you’ll be given that completed form before you sign a purchase agreement. But if you get it after, you’re entitled to cancel your offer within seven days of your actual receipt of the form if something looks amiss. The standard Texas Real Estate form is reasonably comprehensive and includes known defects with equipment (HVAC, electrical systems, appliances, swimming pool …) and the home’s structure, including insect infestations. The seller must also tell you if someone died in the home and how. Of course, sellers can only tell you about defects they know about. And they don’t have to get experts in to carry out inspections. So you still might need to commission your own home inspector. But this law can provide valuable protection for homebuyers.
Refinancing a home in TexasSince 2017, cash-out refinances have been covered by a new law in Texas. This has pros and cons for Texans compared with those in other states. Among the provisions of the 2017 Texas cash-out legislation are:
- When refinancing with cash out, you can’t borrow more than 80% of your home’s market value. This applies even on loans that usually allow you to borrow larger percentages, such as a VA cash-out refinance
- An earlier ban on loans on agricultural homesteads no longer applies
- Your lender can charge you only 2% of the loan value in its own fees. However, this cap does not apply to other fees and charges, including discount points used to buy down the interest rate, appraisal costs, survey costs, title insurance premiums, or a title examination report
- You can refinance again without taking cash out, proving you wait for a year. Previously, once you had a cash-out loan, you had to stick with those