When purchasing a home, it’s best to familiarize yourself with the specific state and local laws where the property is located, as the process can vary from state to state and city to city. Here’s what you need to know about buying a home in San Antonio.
Home seller and buyer laws
Texas law requires sellers to disclose details of the property by completing a seller’s disclosure notice for single-family residences or by submitting a statement containing similar information. The form covers the physical condition of all areas of the home, including, but not limited to, the electrical systems, foundation, roof and the presence of wood-destroying insects.
Sellers must include additional disclosures where applicable, such as notifying the buyers of a required membership to a homeowners association or that the property may be located in a propane gas service area.
The law states that sellers must submit the disclosure before entering into a contract. Otherwise, buyers have the right to cancel the agreement for any reason within seven days of receiving the form.
For buyers who run into difficulty paying their mortgage, Texas primarily uses a non-judicial foreclosure process, which entails a series of actions outside of the court system. However, if you default on a home equity loan, your lender may foreclose on your home through the courts.
Texas is one of nine community property states in the country. In a community property state, spouses equally own assets acquired, including property, during the marriage. For couples going through a divorce, this can affect their ability to qualify for a mortgage, as some government loan programs consider the assets of both spouses, regardless of whose name will be on the loan.
Texas homebuyers are not required by law to hire an attorney to represent them during closing. They can use an escrow officer, which can be a title insurance agent, escrow company or attorney.
In Texas, home purchases do not incur a real estate transfer tax, as is the case in many states. You will, of course, be responsible for paying property taxes once you own the home. Your lender will let you know if you need to pay a portion of your property taxes as part of your closing costs.
Residents can reduce their ongoing tax obligation through one or more exemptions. All residents who own and live in their property on Jan. 1 of the tax year qualify for the Residence Homestead Exemption. Veterans, disabled homeowners, surviving spouses and residents over age 65 are eligible for additional exemptions. You can find more information about property tax exemptions in Texas here.
Texas is known for high property taxes and ranks among the highest in the country, according to Tax-Rates.org. In Bexar County, where San Antonio is located, the median property tax is $2,484 for a home that costs $117,100.
Conforming loan limits
The conforming loan limit for San Antonio is $484,350. This represents the maximum amount you can borrow with a conventional mortgage, which is a loan backed by the government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. If you’re looking to finance above the conforming loan limit, you’ll need to pursue a jumbo loan, which is usually harder to qualify for.