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Your Austin real estate blog

Thank you for visiting Homeowner Herald, the official blog of, providing valuable information for both home buyers and sellers. Follow us on Twitter or check in each week for new posts on topics ranging from holiday decorating to the economy to moving into your new home. This blog is maintained by the Austin Board of REALTORS®. If you’d like to suggest a blog topic, contact the ABoR Marketing Department.

REALTOR® topics

Austin real estate blog
The truth about REALTORS®

Is truth stranger than fiction? Sometimes. The following information sets the story straight on common misconceptions about REALTORS®…The facts may surprise you.

Misconception #1: All real estate agents are REALTORS®. Nope. According to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), only about half of real estate agents are REALTORS®. Unlike agents licensed only by the state, REALTORS® have taken additional steps to become members of their professional real estate association, which means they must adhere to NAR's continuing education requirements and Code of Ethics.

Misconception #2: REALTORS® are rich. That depends on your definition of "rich." According to NAR's 2009 Member Profile, the median gross annual income of REALTORS® in 2008 was $36,700. REALTORS® with two years or less experience earned a median gross income of $8,600, while those in the business for at least 16 years earned a median income of $53,900.

Misconception #3: REALTORS® don't have to work long or hard to earn their pay. False. REALTORS® can perform more than 180 services for clients. A REALTOR®'s work day extends beyond the hours of "9 - 5" and well into the weekend. To ensure that processes go smoothly and informed decisions are made, REALTORS® spend many hours performing "invisible" work: running reports, researching public records, scouting neighborhoods, coordinating showings, preparing paperwork, negotiating offers, and the like.

Misconception #4: The homebuyer pays the commission of the buyer's agent. Not usually. In most situations, an exclusive buyer's agent's commission actually comes from the seller's commission in what is called a "co-fee." This means that the buyer's agent typically works for the same commission that is paid by the seller and split with the seller's listing agent.

Misconception #5: There's no point in using a REALTOR® when you can search for homes online. Wrong again. Aside from the fact that REALTORS® have access to listing information that may not be available online, REALTORS® can use their in-depth knowledge of the city to recommend neighborhoods best suited to clients' budget and personal preferences that clients may have never considered during their initial online search. In addition, the robust market statistics, education and professional networks that REALTORS® bring to the table can prove invaluable when it comes to making offers, handling negotiations, securing financing and more.

Austin real estate blog
Real estate disclosure: Safeguarding your best interests

If you’re looking to buy a home in Austin, Texas, we have good news for you: The state of Texas’ disclosure laws help safeguard your best interests in the real estate transaction.

It wasn’t always this way.

In the early 1960s real estate agents were required by law to represent the seller's interests, leaving no need to disclose a property’s defects to potential buyers. Today, however, real estate disclosure is codified into national and state laws as an extension of consumer rights. Home sellers now have specific duties to buyers in real estate transactions.

A good example of a nationally codified disclosure law is the 1992 Estate Disclosure and Notification Rule, which requires sellers of homes built before 1978 to disclose potential or known lead-based paint hazards and provide available written reports to buyers or renters.

Texas law now requires that sellers provide buyers with a completed Seller's Disclosure of Property Condition Notice on or before the effective date of a contract. The notice must disclose all potential or known structural defects, as well as information concerning issues with any of the following:

  • Heating
  • Plumbing
  • Mechanical and electrical systems
  • Easements
  • Environmental hazards
  • Landfills
  • Flooding
  • Zoning violations or noise problems
  • Termite and pest infestations; or
  • Treatments or damage

 Though all real estate agents are required to adhere to disclosure laws, REALTORS® go a step further to ensure that clients are treated fairly not only by legal standards but by strict ethical standards as well. In following a strict Code of Ethics, REALTORS® disclose any and all relevant information to their clients to avoid misrepresentation of themselves or the property at any time during the transaction.

Working with a REALTOR® can help you avoid legal issues common in real estate transaction. For more information about your real estate rights, visit the Consumer Tools section of

Austin real estate blog
5 real estate market myths exposed!

Fact or fiction? Find out which statements are complete myths when it comes to Austin’s real estate market.

1. Home prices have decreased dramatically. Wrong! Data from the Austin Board of Realtors® shows that median price levels have remained stable while gradually increasing—for example, a median price of $175,500 seen at the start of this year (January 2009) had become $185,250 by the end of the third quarter (September 2009). In addition, median prices seen throughout 2009 have fluctuated only slightly compared to 2008 while remaining above those seen in 2007.

2. It’s the wrong time to buy real estate. False! Thanks to its job market, stable home prices and affordability, Austin has the second healthiest housing market in the nation. There are plenty of homes available, and those ready to buy can take advantage of homebuyer tax credits, housing grants, low interest rates and renewable energy incentives.

3. It’s the right time for everybody to buy real estate. Nope! Whether it’s a good time to buy depends not only on the local housing market, but on the goals and unique situation of each person. Someone who is neither emotionally nor financially ready to handle homeownership should not enter into a real estate transaction—even when the market presents good opportunities. Talk to your REALTOR® to make the decision that’s right for you.

4. It’s a terrible time to sell. Wrong again! Austin real estate is sold every day to first-time and seasoned homebuyers looking to take advantage of amazing homeownership opportunities and incentives. In addition, sellers who work with a REALTOR® can usually sell their homes more quickly…in any market.

5. More homes are being sold by owners, making REALTORS® obsolete. No way! In the Austin area area, the percentage of people who planned to use a REALTOR® rose to 82 percent in 2008. According to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) the majority of For-Sale-By-Owner (FSBO) sellers are located in rural areas and small towns where the seller knows the buyer. It’s important to recognize that the value of REALTORS® goes beyond their access to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS)—it lies in the many other resources and services they bring to the table.

Central Texas real estate is different. Get the facts from your REALTOR® today or Find a REALTOR® on

Austin real estate blog

What makes a REALTOR®, a REALTOR®?

All REALTORS® are real estate agents, but not all real estate agents are REALTORS®. What’s the difference?

Those who receive basic real estate training and a license from the state of Texas to sell real estate may call themselves real estate agents. However, only members of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) may call themselves REALTORS®.

To be a member of NAR, REALTORS® must abide by a strict Code of Ethics This document provides rules, regulations and boundaries that bind a REALTOR® to his or her duties to the consumer and mandates that all parties be treated fairly. The REALTOR® Code of Ethics includes:

  • Loyalty to clients;
  • Fiduciary (legal) duty to clients;
  • Cooperation with competitors;
  • Truthfulness in statements and advertising; and
  • Non-interference in exclusive relationships that other REALTORS® have with their clients.

Another distinct feature about REALTORS® is that they must complete mandatory ethics training and continuing education requirements. Many REALTORS® enhance this training by earning designations in specialized fields, which allows them to better meet your specific needs.

For example, REALTORS® can specialize in serving buyers, serving sellers, serving those over the age of 55, serving those interested in green real estate and more!

Remember: Working with a REALTOR® can save you time, trouble and money when it comes to buying, selling or leasing Austin real estate. Learn more about REALTORS® or find a REALTOR® on today.

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