Everyone keeps talking about the T-47 when I sell my house. This is why:
What is a T-47?
The T-47 is a Residential Real Property Affidavit. It’s a notarized document that tells the buyer of your home what you know about the home’s boundaries.
Who needs the T-47?
The buyer needs this affidavit, and it is used by their lender and title company to figure out whether they are going to accept the survey the seller has provided, or if they require a new one.
Typically, a seller might want to say, “I’ve changed no fences and added no extensions to my home, please use the same survey that I got when I bought the home for title insurance purposes”. The T-47 is a sworn statement to that effect.
Or a seller might use the T-47 to swear, “I added a slab for a new shed in my yard since the last survey was performed. Please consider re-using the old survey again.” (in this case, the lender and title company probably would require a new survey, as they can’t tell without physically going to your house that you didn’t build it entirely in the allowable portion of your lot)
Sometimes there are grey areas, and it’s up to the discretion of the lender and title company, for example if you use the T-47 to swear, “I replaced my fence on the existing fence line since I bought the home.” or, “I moved the fence two feet towards my house since the existing survey was performed”.
How do I complete a T-47?
First, get a copy of your survey from when you bought the home. If you don’t have one, you might be able to get in touch with the title company at which you closed escrow on the purchase of your home and ask them for a copy. If it was decades ago, there may be little point trying to find a survey.
If you can’t find a survey, don’t bother filling in the T-47. A new survey will be required for title insurance purposes.
Some of the fields are easy – date, name, address. The Affiant in question is you the seller. If you are married or own the home in common with someone, only one of you needs to fill their name in and sign in front of a notary. You can leave GF number blank – this is a file number for use by the title company at which you sell your home.
The description is a legal description. You can look that up in the tax records or ask your Realtor to tell you it. In a regular subdivided home, it will be something with a format like “Lot 5 Block C University Hills Subdivision”. It should also be recorded on the survey that you have in front of you.
Section 4 – this allows you to write the date that you bought the home (or the date of the survey if the survey was more recent). Then you have to put a list of things that you have changed that might affect the accuracy of the existing survey. If nothing has changed to impact the boundaries, make sure to write in “None” at the end of Section 4. I’ll say it again, don’t forget to right “None” if nothing has changed.
Then you should take along your T-47 to a notary to sign it and have the affidavit notarized. You can find notaries in banks, in offices, at title companies, and law offices for example.
When should I fill in the T-47?
The affidavit is part of the Texas promulgated home purchase contract, and has conditions attached to it. My advice is to complete the form before you list your home for sale – before you even receive a contract. That way you avoid missing a contractual deadline to provide the survey and the related affidavit.
Why should I fill in a T-47?
In short – to possibly save someone $500.
The person who buys your home will most often require title insurance – a commitment that they are buying what they think they’re buying, and that you have the right to sell it, and that it can be represented by boundaries drawn on a piece of paper called a survey.
A survey on the average home in Austin might costs from between $400 and $550. By providing a T-47, you might be saving someone from buying a new survey. Depending on how you negotiate, either you or the buyer may need to buy a new survey, and someone definitely will if you don’t fill in the T-47.
Where can I get a T-47?
You can get one from your title company, the Texas Department of Insurance (though this inexplicably has no space at the end of Section 4 to fill in “None”). Or your agent can provide you with the Texas Association of Realtors version of the form, like this TAR 1907 Residential Real Property Affidavit sample.
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