Texas Real Estate Articles


I want to thank you for the information provided on your website. As a litigation lawyer, I have referred to this information more than once.

Brownsville Attorney Barry R. Benton

Thank you for the immediate response on a Saturday. I didn't think I would hear from you till Monday. Excellent customer service!

Client Jeff H.

I always check your website and it is very inspiring. Not to mention that you are a great attorney.

Investor Client Francisco P.

I frequently refer to your website and book when I get stuck on real estate matters. The information is extremely helpful.

San Antonio Attorney Lisa Galvan

I give your book an A+. You are a rock star in our legal community!

Woodlands Attorney David Borger

David, you are the man. The future of law is with you!

MrInvestor.org

I was referred to Mr. Willis by a title company. Though his office uses email as the primary form of communication, his replies are surprisingly quick. Documents are produced very quickly as well, often within the day. Mr. Willis's level of detail and professionalism is top notch.

Client T. Scott

I have to say, these are the most detailed, best written real estate documents that I have seen so far. You really mean what you say on your website.

San Antonio Broker and Investor Rolando Flores

I was recently sued and showed my litigation attorney the asset protection structure that you built for us two years ago. “Perfect!” he said. Thank you, David.

Client Peter W.

What a great resource! I liked your book so much I purchased the Kindle version to have on my phone. I’ve recommended it to my investor and Realtor clients.

Dallas Attorney John Andrews

Months after setting up my LLC David Willis continued to answer questions and provide guidance, usually within a matter of hours. I would strongly recommend LoneStarLandLaw to any investor seeking a trusted business partner.

Client Robert H

I must say your articles always impress me. I like your style. I don't make it to Houston often, but next time I do, I owe you lunch.

Dallas Attorney Matthew Aycock

I was delighted to find your concise and well-written article on adverse possession. As a professional educator for 25 years, I appreciate the style and manner with which you approach public education. Thank you!

Client Hank M., Phd.

I would be happy to provide a testimonial although it looks like you have a long list of them already. Can't thank you enough. I'll definitely use your services in the future.

Client Ben P.

Your book is a terrific resource!

El Paso Attorney Kathleen Crook

Your book is a very easy and informative read. I will gladly and confidently refer clients to you.

Houston Attorney Kevin J. Smith

It is a rarity and a great pleasure to do business with someone who is so thorough, accurate and prompt.

Clients Rod and Michelle F.

Thank you very much for all your help! You have provided a very valuable service to me and I highly appreciate it. I will recommend you to everybody should someone ask me for an recommendation for a real estate attorney.

Client Sanjay P.

David Willis is the consummate real estate lawyer, and possesses uncanny skill at structuring deals.

Houston Attorney Carol Guess

Excellent book!

J. Thomas Black, Houston Attorney

I would never have expected David to reply to my email on a weekend but he did. He is a very diligent, dedicated, and knowledgeable attorney. The website is so informative - it offers easy-to-understand explanations to real estate and asset protection questions.

Client Chris V.

I've been so impressed with your website and your expertise. I would endorse you anytime.

Dallas Attorney Charlie Kim

As I acquired more investment properties – I now own about 50 rental houses – I became more concerned with asset protection. David Willis was able to create a simple two-company structure that recently withstood a court challenge. Having my real estate assets securely protected certainly adds to my peace of mind.

Client Bryan P.

Working with LoneStarLandLaw online was fast and efficient. I received high-quality, sophisticated legal documents - along with the advice I needed - without having to spend hours in a lawyer’s office.

Client John T.

David J. Willis is a clever lawyer who came up with a great plan to protect my rental property from lawsuits. I feel much more secure now. He is available by email whenever I have questions.

Client Marion W.

As a corporate attorney who does real estate I can say with confidence that David Willis is the real estate law leader in Texas.

Dallas Attorney Kevin Vela

I live in London but was buying a small apartment complex in Texas. Mr. Willis handled the whole transaction for me, as both my lawyer and real estate broker. It was a relief to put the transaction in the hands of someone who knows what he’s doing.

Client Phillip K.

My portfolio contains a mixture of rent houses and owner-financed properties. I rely on David Willis for evictions, foreclosures, deeds, leases, options, and the like. This is a guy who knows the system and gets the job done.

Client Darrell P.

As an attorney I am familiar with David Willis' expertise in real estate. I highly recommend his book. If David wrote it, you can depend on it!

Woodlands Attorney Paul Spielvogel

Not long ago my LLC was sued over a contract - and I was sued along with it, personally. David Willis was eventually able to get my name removed from the suit. He also filed a counterclaim for a frivolous lawsuit. He is an aggressive lawyer to have on your side.

Client James S.

DAVID J. WILLIS ATTORNEY
http://www.LoneStarLandLaw.com
Copyright © 2013. All rights reserved worldwide.

Using a Texas Real Estate Lawyer

by David J. Willis
Attorney at Law


A good real estate lawyer can help an investor make money and, once he or she has it, help that investor hang on to it. How? Mostly by preventing the proverbial horse from getting out of the barn in the first place. In too many cases, the horse is not only out of the barn but well down the road before the investor finally bites the bullet (I’m having fun mixing metaphors here) and talks to a qualified attorney. This is unnecessary and, ultimately, not cost-effective. The almost irresistible urge to “do it yourself” (often with forms off the internet that are not designed with Texas law in mind) can have expensive consequences.

Most board-certified real estate lawyers who have been around a while charge for preparing documents, conducting closings, filing lawsuits, and so forth. Accept the reality of this and understand that some modest legal fees will always be a part of your cost of doing business in this highly litigious profession. Recognize that if you are going to be in this business for the long term, you need two professionals you can call at will and without hesitation: your real estate lawyer and a C.P.A. who understands the investing business. Neither one of these professionals will charge an established client for occasional calls. I get them every day. Examples: Should I do this? Am I opening up myself to a lawsuit with treble damages if I do? Do you have a better idea how this transaction might be structured?

Good real estate lawyers are delighted to take these calls without charge from investor clients. Why? Because first, we have the opportunity to keep our clients out of trouble before they get into it. We really are concerned with this. We want to keep our clients on solid ground and we want to save them money. The second reason is that we learn from these calls. That’s right. Every situation is unique. When someone asks how a certain transaction should be structured, it forces us to think and come up with an answer. It makes us better lawyers.

There is a theory, popular among realtors, that lawyers kill deals. There may be some truth to this if you are talking about non-real estate lawyers who do not know better. However, those of us who represent investors, brokers, buyers, sellers, and the like for a living could not stay in the business if we had a reputation for killing deals. Every good real estate lawyer knows that it is his or her job to help make the deal happen on the best terms possible for his client. We are on your side.

I have many horror stories I could tell, but I will relate only one of them. A California investor became interested in an apartment complex in Houston. He signed a “standard form” earnest money contract (let me give you a hint: there are no “standard” forms for anything in this business, except for amateurs who naively think that TREC or TAR forms are designed to protect them). He did this because he wanted to avoid attorney fees. He then allowed the seller to guide him to an unknown title company in Houston which, as it turns out, was owned by offshore interests. Let’s call this title company “Shady Title.” He did not talk to a lawyer about this because he wanted to avoid attorney fees. The investor put down $50,000 in earnest money, payable to Shady Title, with no effective escape clauses in the agreement. Again, he wanted to avoid attorney fees.

To make a long story short, the seller (an empty corporation, not even in title on the property) reneged and Shady Title’s offices were found abandoned the following week. It was a $50,000 loss for the investor - who now wants to sue but does not want to pay an attorney to do it!

Allow me to give you 10 reasons why you need a good real estate lawyer:

  1. the documents he prepares are Texas specific;
  2. these documents are current and up-to-date with changes in Texas law;
  3. documents are customized to your business model, not for someone in Idaho;
  4. documents are continually revised and improved with each use or closing;
  5. the opportunity to offload liability on the attorney (you have enough liability just being an investor);
  6. the availability of follow-up services (questions, supplementary documents, responding to title company queries, etc.), ie., having your lawyer "on call;"
  7. and, for closings conducted at your lawyer's office (rather than at John and Mary's kitchen table) the:
    • added credibility of closing at an attorney's office;
    • availability of a skilled attorney to make last-minute revisions, re-run documents, and create new ones if needed;
    • availability of an attorney to explain documents, which may assist in getting signatures of reluctant parties; and
    • availability of facilities and services (conference room, notary, copier, etc.).

A final word about board certified lawyers: use them. The law is highly specialized now, even sub-specialized, and no matter what your legal needs are you should seek out a board-certified attorney in that area. Board certified lawyers must have:


  1. five years minimum experience;
  2. ten peer recommendations;
  3. pass a specialization exam that is tougher than the bar exam;
  4. more stringent CLE requirements; and
  5. re-certification every 5 years.

Note that there are three separate certifications and three separate exams, one for residential, one for commercial, and one for farm and ranch.

If you check your yellow pages under “Attorneys,” you will find general listings and then, at the end, the names of board certified lawyers. Look under “Board Certified - Residential Real Estate Law” and “Board Certified - Commercial Real Estate Law.” I know most of these lawyers. They do good work. Call one before you do your next deal.



DISCLAIMER

Information in this article is proved for general educational purposes only and is not offered as legal advice upon which anyone may rely. Legal counsel relating to your individual needs and circumstances is advisable before taking any action that has legal consequences. Consult your tax advisor as well. This firm does not represent you unless and until it is retained and expressly retained in writing to do so.

Copyright © 2013 by David J. Willis. David J. Willis is board certified in both residential and commercial real estate law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. More information is available at his website, http://www.LoneStarLandLaw.com.

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