Mary Willman Texas Realator
Buyer's Guide

1. Check your credit report for accuracy and completeness.
Buyers with inaccurate information on their credit report may have a hard time obtaining financing, or be offered loans at higher-than-market interest rates. The Fair Credit Reporting Act gives consumers the right to a free credit report from each of the three nationwide credit reporting companies every 12 months. Visit to request a report.

2. Educate yourself about mortgages and mortgage fraud.
Many mortgage products are available in today’s market, but not all of them work for all buyers. NAR warns consumers against exotic loans and predatory lending practices that can poison the home buying process and trap unsuspecting borrowers into years of financial hardship. Visit and search on “specialty mortgage” to read the brochure, “Shopping for a Mortgage? Do Your Homework First,” and consult a Realtor® to learn about different financing options and their implications over time.
According to Fannie Mae, mortgage fraud has increased five-fold in the past 10 years. Unsuspecting home buyers who aren’t familiar with an area’s property values can be victimized by scam artists who have bought a property at a bargain-basement price and have made minor cosmetic changes to sell the home for much more than it’s worth. People with blemished credit can also fall prey to unscrupulous individuals who pose as real estate agents or mortgage brokers, offering promises of a new home and mortgage qualification. These buyers end up assuming a loan they can’t afford, and the lender forecloses.

To protect yourself, work with a Realtor® who knows the local market, and check his or her credentials with the Realtor® board or association in your area.

3. Hire the right real estate professional for the job.
When you’re buying a home, would you know what to do if your financing fell through the day before closing, your home inspection found a termite infestation, or your future neighbors had just built a wall on your property? As a buyer, you want someone who knows the market and who has experience handling the particular needs of home buyers, whether it’s identifying homes and neighborhoods, negotiating for the best deal, or coordinating the 20+ steps between contract acceptance and closing. Realtors® who have earned the Accredited Buyer Representative (ABR) designation have demonstrated their commitment to and expertise in serving home buyers. To earn the ABR designation, Realtors® must successfully complete a two-day designation course that covers agency, service delivery, marketing and promotion, and negotiation and risk management; take an approved elective course, such as buyer representation in new homes, second homes, or relocation; and have completed five transactions in which he or she acted solely as a buyer representative. Some real estate professionals offer rebates or may work on a fee-for-service basis, in which buyers may be responsible for their own property searches, negotiating strategies, or other tasks. These different business models give consumers a degree of choice in deciding how they want to work with their real estate professional. Just make certain you know what services are provided and what you can expect from the business relationship.
Remember that you’re not just buying a home; you’re investing in your future.
Buyer’s Guide information provided by the National Association of REALTORS.

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