If you’re looking for the best real estate site for finding property in Frisco, TX, you might think that the big portals might help, especially if you’re used to using Rightmove in the UK.

What About The Real Estate Portals That Cover Frisco?

So you might go to Trulia or Zillow and start your search there. Since they are national portals with huge budgets, the website experience is great. But there’s one thing that these sites can sometimes come up short on, and it’s a big thing – the data. 

To understand the issue with the big portals, it’s worth taking a quick look at the estate agent industry here in Texas.

TL;DR version: there have been lots of lawsuits, and the best data is from MLS sites such as this one.

BestRealEstatePortal
Non-MLS sites don’t have the best data

To sell homes in Texas you need a licence. To be able to sell effectively, you need to be part of a trade organisation – to be a Realtor and a member of your local real estate board. That gives access to the local central database so that as an agent, you can both market a home for a seller, and find a home for a buyer. So in Frisco, we’re members of the North Texas Real Estate Information System. That’s where all the homes are. It’s called the Multiple Listing Service or MLS.

If you look at the business models of the portals, they display homes for sale, and then sell advertising back to Realtors and try to pair up potential buyers with the Realtors who advertise with them. But the Realtor associations suddenly realised that they were giving their home data – all the homes for sale in their MLS databases – to the portals, and then letting the portals sell advertising to their member Realtors.

After a short “aha!” moment, they realised that they would do better not to automatically give their MLS data away for free, and gave Realtor businesses the opportunity to opt out of the “give your data away for free, and buy back advertising”, and at this point, the portals no longer have complete information on homes for sale.

Who Owns The Real Estate Data in Frisco and Where Is It?

So the people who own the data (the Realtors) now have the control over that MLS data. It’s not like in the UK where an estate agency can only show or market the properties that are part of their office – any Realtor can show any property to a client, no matter which Realtor is helping the seller.

There’s a concept of a buyers agent in Texas which is missing from residential retail property in the UK. They work for buyers for free, and help you find, view and negotiate any property. If you’re looking for a house – get one working for you at no cost.

Realtors own the most real estate data and they show it on their local MLS sites. (I’m a Realtor, and you’re on such a site now!)

Which Is The Best Real Estate Site For Frisco?

So which is the best site for finding homes in Frisco? I would say a pure Realtor MLS site rather than a portal and one that isn’t also trying to sell you a real estate agent. And if you are looking for an estate agent who understands the UK and Texas, you can’t go wrong with our Sherlock Homes Frisco homes for sale MLS site.

People in Britain don’t trust Estate Agents. I’m a Texas Estate Agent, so don’t take my word for it – check out the chart from the market research company Ipsos.

Estate Agents Trust

My own personal experience of the estate agent industry in the UK has been varied. I’ve purchased over 30 properties for myself and investors over the years (not as an estate agent), and it really depends on the firm. I’ve had great experiences with some very service-oriented individuals, and some less than stellar ones. I certainly don’t trust an estate agent’s opinion, and many seem more motivated to give customer service as a pure means to an end to get a commission. 

There is some regulation in the UK, and a few schemes which agents belong to, but in general, there’s no smoke without fire. There’s a reason people don’t trust estate agents – even if most people only ever deal with a few throughout the course of their lives.

It’s somewhat different in Texas in terms of regulation. To get a licence (in American – a license) to become an agent here there are courses to be taken, exams to be passed, and background checks.

There are 180 hours of classroom education, fingerprints are taken – and the Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC) has the ability to fine and suspend agents for bad behaviour. You can even check an agent’s tenure and qualifications with TREC’s online license checker, though sometimes I find that the TREC firewall prevents access from overseas internet traffic – you might need to use a VPN if you are researching agents from the UK.

So the million dollar question is – do regulation and licensing requirement in Texas make agents any better?

Texas Realtor Licence Satisfaction
Source: Texas Realtor Association

According to the 2017 report from the Texas Realtor Association, it looks like people love their estate agents over here. 4.91 out of 5 sounds remarkably high, but who are we to query their research methodology. There are over 120,000 Realtors in Texas – over 1% of the adult population not in education – they can’t all be winners. 

My own experience of purchasing and selling homes in Texas for myself, (not as a Realtor) has been pretty positive compared to the UK. The agents have been more responsive and pro-active in general, and despite there being multiple parties involved in a real estate transaction, I’ve found the integration between them more connected.

The stakes and rewards for a real estate agent in Texas are a higher proportion of the sales price of a home, and if nothing else, that seems to make them more motivated than their UK counterparts.

If you delve into the above report, you’ll see that referrals from clients account for over three in ten transactions here in Texas. So like the legion of people in the food service industry giving better customer attention over here, I find Texas Realtors work hard for repeat business. And no, you don’t need to tip them.

Sherlock Homes Frisco has British born agents who can help you buy or sell a home in the Dallas and Frisco area of Texas – get in touch to find if we’re a good match.  

Everyone keeps talking about the T-47 affidavit when you sell your house. This is why:

What is a T-47?

The T-47 is a Residential Real Property Affidavit. It’s a notarized document that tells the buyer of your home what you know about the home’s boundaries. You’re selling your home, and that doesn’t include your neighbor’s yard hopefully.

Who needs it?

The Buyer

The buyer needs this affidavit, and the seller has to provide it to them, or a new survey will be required. 

The Lender and Title Company

The old survey and T-47 are used by their lender and title company to figure out whether they are going to accept the survey the seller has provided, or if they require a new one. (We’re here in Texas and we typically close at Title Companies – law offices that also provide insurance that the title is good.)

Typically, a seller might want to say, “I’ve changed no fences and added no extensions to my home, please use the same survey that I got when I bought the home for title insurance purposes”. The T-47 is a sworn statement to that effect.

Or a seller might use the T-47 to swear, “I added a slab for a new shed in my yard since the last survey was performed. Please consider re-using the old survey again.” (in this case, the lender and title company probably would require a new survey, as they can’t tell without physically going to your house that you didn’t build it entirely in the allowable portion of your lot)

Sometimes there are grey areas, and it’s up to the discretion of the lender and title company, for example if you use the T-47 to swear, “I replaced my fence on the existing fence line since I bought the home.” or, “I moved the fence two feet towards my house since the existing survey was performed”.

How do I complete it?

First, get a copy of your survey from when you bought the home. If you don’t have one, you might be able to get in touch with the title company at which you closed escrow on the purchase of your home and ask them for a copy. If it was decades ago, there may be little point trying to find a survey.

Ask your agent for the Legal Description.

T47_part_1

If you can’t find a survey, don’t bother filling in the T-47. A new survey will be required for title insurance purposes.

Some of the fields are easy – date, name, address. The Affiant in question is you the seller. If you are married or own the home in common with someone, only one of you needs to fill their name in and sign in front of a notary. You can leave GF number blank – this is a file number for use by the title company at which you sell your home.

The description is a legal description. You can look that up in the tax records or ask your Realtor to tell you it. In a regular subdivided home, it will be something with a format like “Lot 5 Block C University Hills Subdivision”. It should also be recorded on the survey that you have in front of you.

Section 4 – this allows you to write the date that you bought the home (or the date of the survey if the survey was more recent). Then you have to put a list of things that you have changed that might affect the accuracy of the existing survey. If nothing has changed to impact the boundaries, make sure to write in “None” at the end of Section 4. I’ll say it again, don’t forget to right “None” if nothing has changed.

T-47 Mistake
Write “NONE” if there are no changes 

Then you should take along your T-47 to a notary to sign it and have the affidavit notarized. You can find notaries in banks, offices, at title companies, and at FedEx / UPS for example.

What’s the Biggest Mistake in Filling in a T-47?

Sorry to labor the point, but about half of people forget to right in “None” in Section 4 when nothing has changed. At some point in the sale process, someone will point it out – a compliance team, a lender, a title company, a Realtor. And when they do, it can adversely jeopardize your sales agreement dates and contingencies.

When we sell homes, we like our ‘i’s dotted and our ‘t’s crossed so as not to introduce contingencies or get-out clauses. 

T47_part2

If you get nothing else from this post, REMEMBER TO WRITE “NONE” IN SECTION 4 OF YOUR T-47 if that’s true.

When should I fill it in?

The affidavit is part of the Texas promulgated home purchase contract, and has conditions attached to it. My advice is to complete the form before you list your home for sale – before you even receive a contract. That way you avoid missing a contractual deadline to provide the survey and the related affidavit.

Why should I fill in it?

In short – to possibly save someone $500, or the cost of a survey.

The person who buys your home will most often require title insurance – a commitment that they are buying what they think they’re buying, and that you have the right to sell it, and that it can be represented by boundaries drawn on a piece of paper called a survey.

A survey on the average home in Frisco, Texas might costs from between $400 and $550. By providing a T-47, you might be saving someone from buying a new survey. Depending on how you negotiate, either you or the buyer may need to buy a new survey, and someone definitely will if you don’t fill in the T-47.

Where can I get a T-47?

You can get one from:

  1. your title company
  2. the Texas Department of Insurance (though this inexplicably has no space at the end of Section 4 to fill in “None”).
  3. Your agent can provide you with the Texas Association of Realtors version of the form, like this TAR 1907 Residential Real Property Affidavit sample.
  4. Failing that – use this T-47.

Who Are You?

We sell houses in Frisco. Really well. We are a team of real estate agents who provide leading marketing and expert advice when it comes to selling homes in and around Frisco, Texas. Get in touch with one of our REALTOR team if you have a question – (469) 305-0133‬.