For most people, buying or selling real estate is one of the largest transactions they will ever undertake. Real estate law is complex and there are numerous pitfalls to watch out for. This is understandably a daunting process.
Our attorneys have been working with home buyers, sellers, investors, developers and tenants for over 30 years. We have seen strong markets, we have seen weak markets and we have seen the raft of issues that comes with each of them.
Our services include:
- Pre-Purchase Negotiations
- Real Estate Acquisitions
- Real Estate Sales
- Property Developments
- Mortgages and Foreclosures
- Title Examinations
- Quiet Title Actions
Real estate transactions often involve large purchase prices, and accordingly, both vendors and purchasers have a lot at stake. It is important to have an attorney on your side who can protect your interests, can make sure the transaction goes smoothly, and can ensure you are considering all of your options along the way. An experienced real estate lawyer can make the difference between a successful real estate transaction and a costly mistake. Common pitfalls your real estate attorney can protect you from:
Issues arising from Title
A title deed reflects ownership of a property but usually will not reveal the existence or status of liens or other encumbrances against the property, possible defects in title, or other significant matters. Therefore a mere title inspection may not reveal all issues with a property and further enquiries may be required. Unless you are trained in how to conduct these enquiries you are likely to miss something.
Although the property has physical access to a public road, it may not have legal access. For example, the property may be reliant on an informal access route across a neighboring property. If that neighbor chooses to use the land in a different way, thus restricting your access, you will have a very expensive problem. Title and other documentary enquiries may confirm the access status.
Easements give some other party a right over your property, such as a right of way or access rights for a drain. If easements exist on the property they may restrict what you can do with it. For example, if a drain runs through the middle of your yard, you may be unable to build or develop over it.
Legal property boundaries are not always where fences and other structures suggest they are. It is possible that your building may encroach onto the neighboring property, or vice versa. If either of these situations exists and are not picked up prior to closing, you will have a very expensive problem.
Liens and taxes
Either of these may affect the property and restrict your ability to purchase it. Your attorney will be able to identify any liens and taxes and ensure that the other party rectifies them prior to closing.
These may impose restrictions in terms of the type of development that can be conducted on the property. For example, they may specify the types of building materials that can be used, or the number of buildings, or size or height of any building that may be constructed on the property. Even if you do not plan to develop or renovate the property, it is possible that the building(s) on the property are already non-compliant. If this is not rectified prior to closing then it will become your problem.
The zoning requirements also specify what can be done with the property. Do not assume that the property is compliant. If it is not, and you do not check, then any non-compliance will become your problem. These are often expensive problems to fix.
Building codes and fire codes
Building codes and fire codes in Texas set out some strict rules about building construction. You should confirm prior to closing that the property you intend to purchase is compliant.