Almost 10 years ago now, our family made the move from California to Texas. Since then, we’ve worked with countless clients relocating to Austin from the golden state. While real estate in California and Austin has a number of similarities, understanding the differences, and what they can mean for your transaction, can be the key to a stress-free real estate experience. In our latest blog series, we unpack the 10 biggest differences between the California and Texas real estate process and how you can use them to your advantage.
What are Amendments & Contingencies?
Very generally amendments and contingencies are clauses that somehow alter a contract. An amendment is an alteration or addition to the contract. A contingency makes the contract conditional or dependent on something else happening. The bottom line is that both of these have the power to change the spirit of the agreement.
Texas vs California Real Estate: Amendments & Contingencies
In Texas, the Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC) requires that a professionally drafted contract form (TREC 20-13) is used for all transactions. Since they have gone to the trouble to standardize the contract, it’s no surprise that they also prohibit real estate agents from altering the form by writing amendments and contingencies. This rule helps to keep the “standard contract” truly standard. Amendments and contingencies can still be written in Texas, but they must be done so by a licensed legal professional.
In California, real estate agents can use a variety of contract forms and they are also able to draft their own amendments and contingencies.
Which Solution is Better?
This is one where we heavily side with Texas. The Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC) has done a great job of creating professional, comprehensive forms that can handle the vast majority of transactions. While it might at first seem more convenient and cheaper to have your agent draft an amendment or contingency, it often comes at the expense of expertise. We’d also note here that California is the most litigious states in America in regard to real estate. So you might be trading convenience now for a bigger headache later.
The specialty of a real estate agent is to represent their client’s interest in a transaction, not draft binding legal documents. We believe Texas sets agents (and clients) up for success by not only forbidding them from drafting documents, but by providing the professionally crafted documents which eliminates the need for them to do so.
Considering a Move to Austin?
Check out our Austin Relocation Blog, our Guide to Relocating to Austin and our Tips for a Successful Relocation Experience for more tips. Then check out our Austin Home Buyers page to learn why we are the best Realtors to help you relocate to Austin. When you’re ready to reach out, fill out our Relocation Survey, send us an email or call us at (512) 827-8323 to schedule a no obligation consultation.
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