Real Estate Litigation Attorney
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Typically, a “Houston Real Estate Lawyer” refers to a lawyer who performs transactional work in real estate matters. For example, preparing deeds, leases, easements, contracts for sale, deed restrictions, real estate development, subdivision platting, and related work.
Real estate litigation, however, means a dispute involving title, boundaries, land usage, possession or liens on real estate, that must be resolved in court. That can include such matters as commercial or residential evictions, adverse possession claims, partition of property, fraudulent deeds, liens, and disputes about title. Although most litigation lawyers will do some transactional work, most transactional lawyers do not want to get involved in litigation. If you’re not sure whether suit is necessary in your case, talking to a lawyer about your situation can help to define the best options, and is a good step towards hiring the right lawyer for you. Most lawyers are happy to refer you to someone else for matters that they are not well suited to handle.
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In the last few years, a “subject to” sale has become a popular method for real estate investors or “flippers” to transfer title to property; consequently, such transactions have generated plenty of litigation. In a “subject to” sale, the property is being sold without paying off the seller’s mortgage. In most cases, the only person who gains anything by this method is the person setting up the transaction. That’s because a “subject to” sale is either not a true sale of the property, or is a violation of the mortgage agreement. In either situation, the Seller, the Buyer or both will be harmed, and a foreclosure is likely. Forged deeds, invalid liens, evictions, and title disputes are other likely consequences of such transactions.
For virtually all real estate transactions, title insurance is strongly recommended. The function of a title insurance policy is to cover the Buyer for the cost of correcting any defects in title that may come to light after the closing. A title defect is a claim by another party of some right to the property, such as ownership, lien, lease, or easement rights. Title insurance differs significantly from auto insurance, because auto insurance covers the policy holder for the accident that happens after the insurance policy is issued. Title insurance covers the policy holder (either the Buyer or the Buyer’s lender) for defects in title which exist before the policy is issued. Therefore, the title company will search the real property records to find any other claims to title that exist, and make sure they are excluded from coverage, in order to limit their own risk of paying claims.
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Sometimes title disputes can arise as a direct result of a title insurance company’s error, or because the claim arose between the date the title company examined the records and the date of closing. For example, a sale may be closed without paying off all outstanding liens or taxes, or without getting all the necessary signatures on the deed. In such cases, the Seller – who is Not protected by the title insurance policy – may have to defend a suit brought by the title company on behalf of the Buyer, or may even have to file suit against the Buyer to resolve the problem.
The attorneys at Walter Law Firm, PC are very experienced in handling real estate litigation, including matters related to residential or commercial leases, adverse possession claims, title and boundary disputes, liens, partitions and evictions. These matters sometimes include claims for fraud, Deceptive Trade Practices, trespass, nuisance, or damage to real property. In many such matters, there is a contract or statute which allows for recovery of attorneys’ fees, in addition to the actual damages, interest, and court costs.
If you have a real estate dispute, give us a call because…It Feels Good to Prevail!
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Frequently Asked Questions
How much does a real estate lawyer cost in Houston?
Typically, a real estate lawyer will charge a different fee based on the complexity of your case and the amount of experience and expertise the attorney possesses. Our prices are very competitive in the Harris County, Houston area. Call our office immediately to speak to an attorney and get a cost estimate for your specific legal situation.
Do I need a real estate attorney for my case?
There are many situations in the business of real estate where certain disputes can be solved without the involvement of a lawyer. However, you should always check with a licensed attorney in your jurisdiction to determine what kind of legal help, if any, your situation will require. This is one of the best ways to ensure your rights are protected. Call our office to speak to a real estate lawyer.
Who is the best Harris County real estate lawyer?
Most lawyers do not like to refer to themselves as the best attorney. Additionally, many State Bar Associations frown on the practice of advertising that you are the best Houston real estate lawyer. Therefore, in order to do your research, you should schedule a consultation and speak to your attorney directly, as well as, read their online reviews. Call our office for a consultation.