Owning a piece of land in Texas is something that’s deeply rooted into the historical psyche of the state. Homesteading, ranching, farming and defending your land with that piece of equipment privileged to its residents by the second amendment makes Texans proud to call the Lone Star State their home. But buying or selling a house has gotten more complicated over the years, and knowing the ins and outs of closing costs and prospective property taxes (high in Texas for its lack of income tax) can be tricky for first-time home buyers, commercial real estate owners or those who haven’t bought or sold in several years. This article onlineprovides some pointers on how to interact with real estate attorneys in Texas, and why they might be of use to you.
Contracts differ from real estate company to real estate company, for instance, and depending on what type of property you’re buying. Rules and fine print differ for historical sites, and wording for empty lots are different from developed land, from grazing land to condos, timeshares and strip malls. Granted, if you’re buying an entire strip mall, you probably have worked with real estate attorneys in Texas before, but even if your new purchase is a 900 square-foot house, it’s probably a good idea to have someone with lots of legal experience look over the contract wording to make sure you’re protected and everything is above board.
The article linked above describes a worst-case scenario: this home-buyer’s nightmare came true when a crooked real estate transaction resulted in years of mortgage payments paid to a property owner being pocketed and never paid to the bank. But because the prospective buyer didn’t have the legal protection she needed in the contract, she was left homeless and without recourse. And while even real estate attorneys in Texas will tell you that’s a situation that doesn’t happen often, it’s possible.
So finding a good real estate lawyer is, well, a good idea. Especially if you’re doing a for-sale-by-owner transaction: maybe you don’t want the hassle of a third party, but having an experienced eye review your contracts could save you a headache down the road. The key when working with real estate attorneys in Texas is to do your research. Talk to them before you sign them on for their services and get their rates. Many are willing to review contracts for a flat fee, negotiable beforehand. Others may need some time to put together a plan of action that takes into consideration the zoning laws or other restrictions in your area, a good thing if you’re able to get your questions answered in detail.
You can always contact the bar association in Texas, too, and ask for a list of real estate lawyers. Finding one that you feel like you can trust and has the experience you need at the right price can make all the difference in easing you mind when $250,000 for a home changes hands. A few more dollars for an attorney’s fees that results in legal protection against fraudulent or erroneous deals seems well worth it.