During the 83rd Legislative Session, which concluded this summer, lawmakers made a significant change to the municipal code regarding sales for city-owned property. S.B. 985, sponsored by Sen. Judith Zaffirini (D-Laredo), provides home-rule municipalities the authority and option of entering into a contractual agreement with a licensed real estate broker for the sale of a tract of real property owned by the municipality.
Prior to the law change, home-rule municipalities had two methods to sell city-owned property: 1) public auctions; and 2) sealed bidding after publication. With the passage of S.B. 985, home-rule cities now have a third option of contracting with a licensed broker to sell property.
County governments have had the authority to contract with real estate brokers since 1991. S.B. 985 allows land properly owned by municipalities to be listed on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), reaching many more potential buyers. If the home-rule municipality does not want to sell through a broker, it will still have the option to sell a tract of real property by public auction or by sealed bids following the publication of two newspaper notices.