Local Buying Tips

Franklin Mountains

Texas REALTOR® vs. real estate licensee

Holding a real estate agent’s or real estate broker’s license does not make someone a REALTOR®. Here in Texas, membership in the National Association of REALTORS®, the Texas Association of REALTORS®, and one of 89 local associations or boards entitles real estate licensees to use the term “REALTOR®” on their business cards and in their marketing materials.

Hiring a Texas REALTOR® means you’ve retained someone who is committed to continuing education, professionalism, and integrity. In addition to upholding the strict REALTOR® Code of Ethics, many Texas REALTORS® (like me) hold one or more professional designations—those letters behind our names indicating advanced or specialized training in real estate.

Here are just a few of the various designations and certifications a Texas REALTOR® may hold and what they could mean for you:


Graduate REALTOR® Institute (GRI)

The GRI designation is a mark of distinction that earns REALTORS® respect and confidence from their peers and the general public, demonstrating their commitment to advancing their knowledge in many aspects of the real estate profession.


Accredited Buyer Representative (ABR)

A buyer’s agent represents the buyer in a real estate transaction, just as a seller’s agent is hired to obtain the price and sale terms sought by the seller.

The ABR is the only nationally recognized designation for buyer’s agents.


Texas Affordable Housing Specialist (TAHS)

Texas REALTORS® who have undergone a 12-hour certification program that arms them with specialized knowledge about affordable housing resources and products for consumers in Texas. A Texas Affordable Housing Specialist is dedicated to increasing the rate of homeownership and retention.

Loan Application Checklist:

$75 for Credit Report

Picture I.D.

Proof of Social Security Number(s)

Residence address(es) for past 2 years

Names and addresses of each employer for the past 2 years

Last years W-2s and last 2 pay stubs

For each checking & savings account: name of financial institution, address, account number(s) and balance. Last 2 months bank statements

For each current loan: name of lender, address, account number, balance and monthly payment

If you are self-employed: last 2 years tax returns; year-to-date profit and loss statement prepared by an accountant

Loan information and address(es) of real estate owned

Estimated value of furniture and personal property 

Certificate of eligibility or DD214s (VA only)