to understand the basics of Texas real
estate law. In Texas, a homestead is
defined as “the place of residence for a
family or individual and is secure from
forced sale by general creditors.” The
Texas Constitution guarantees that the
only way a person can lose his or her
homestead rights is by death, abandonment, sale of property, or foreclosure of a
lien against the homestead.
There are two types of homesteads in
Texas: urban and rural. Most homeowners file for homestead exemption as a
way to lower their taxes. To qualify for
homestead exemption, the owner must
be living in the property by January 1 of
that year. If a homeowner moves into
the property on January 2, he or she
cannot apply for homestead exemption
until the following year. Once the homeowner files for a homestead exemption,
it is good for as long as the owner lives
there and is using the property as his or
her homestead. If a homeowner moves
out of the property and rents it, the
homestead exemption is dismissed.
Another interesting thing about the Texas
homestead law is that if a property is
purchased that has already has a homestead exemption, the homestead exemption transfers to the new owner.
GET EXPERT HELP
Finding a realtor and becoming educated
about the Dallas/Fort Worth area and the
amenities offered in the different neighborhoods and surrounding towns will go a
long way toward making your house-hunt-ing experience enjoyable.
Be sure to choose a realtor who knows
the neighborhoods, the schools, the
extracurricular activities, and the tax bases
of different school districts. A realtor will
also be able to explain whether a home
may be subject to certain legal rules and
restrictions regarding the physical specifications of the home, including later housing alterations you might make.
Find a realtor through recommendations
from friends, co-workers, family, or by
contacting your local board of realtors to
find a real estate professional in the area.
With expert help, you’ll be able to make
a smart and informed decision about
buying a home – one of the most important investments you’ll ever make.
Whatever housing option you choose, it’s
critical to be prepared. If you’re buying,
double-check check your credit with credit
reporting companies, and correct any
inconsistencies or errors before applying for
a loan. All financing institutions use a scor-
ing system derived from a combination file
made up of reports provided by several
credit reporting agencies. This gives a bea-
con score that determines your rate.
The typical entry for fairly good credit
would be a score above 650, with 700
as an automatic approval. Mortgage brokers may work with borrowers and assist
in correcting costly errors on their credit
reports that could affect the final interest
on the loan, or even the loan approval.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)
requires each of the three nationwide
consumer reporting companies (Equifax,
Experian, and TransUnion) to provide
consumers with a free copy of their
credit report once every 12 months.
Call 877-322-8228, or go to
www.annualcreditreport.com to order.
THE PLACE THAT’S RIGHT FOR YOU
Deciding where to live is ultimately a very
personal decision. With the right relocation professionals, a little imagination and
a lot of legwork, those new to the area
will be able to find the neighborhood that
suits them best.
The metroplex has 10 major metro areas
and 12 counties. Counties include Collin,
Dallas, Delta, Denton, Ellis, Hunt, Johnson,
Kaufman, Parker, Rockwall, Tarrant, and
Wise, and major metro areas include
Dallas, Fort Worth, Arlington, Plano, Irving,
Garland, Carrollton, Denton, McKinney,
and Richardson, with many smaller communities in between.
While by no means comprehensive,
we’ve included sample neighborhoods in
the largest counties to give you an
overview of the area and an idea of what
you might find in each area – like a
neighborhood or a city’s personality and
area amenities. For more detailed information, check with your realtor.