Question: What are the legal steps to buy real estate?

John C. Koechel: Normally, in a residential transaction where you’re buying a normal home within a subdivision, you would usually work with a real estate agent. That’s not required but at some point you would submit what would be an offer to buy the property. The final offer that is accepted is hopefully in written form, and usually you do that through the use of a form contract that either the Texas Association of Realtors or the Texas Real Estate Council has put together to kind of simplify the process, to make sure that all the necessary questions are answered by the buyer and seller before they enter into the transaction to sell the property.

The next step after that usually incorporates a title company who will administrate the transaction and—as often is the case—when there’s a mortgage lender, the title company will also sell a title insurance policy to both the seller and the lender so that, from the buyer’s perspective, the mortgage loan can be processed and issued to the buyer to acquire the property.