Real Estate Lawyer

Experienced Real Estate Lawyer in San Antonio, TX

Purchasing real estate is one of the largest investments of an individual’s lifetime.  For most of us, this is the one time in our lives where we will purchase something as financially significant as a home — or as risky. Although people often regard the purchase of a home from an aesthetic and emotional standpoint, the financial and legal implications need to have as much consideration as the way a home looks and feels when you walk through the door or how many bedrooms and bathrooms it has.  You don’t want to leave this kind of large investment to chance. During the purchase and closing of any real estate, the sheer volume of legal documents speaks to its grave importance. Having someone in your corner to ensure that this property is a safe investment and all legalities have been considered offers incredible peace of mind. The expertise of an experienced San Antonio real estate lawyer can be a critical asset at times like these.  At the Law Offices of Ryan Reiffert, PLLC, we take the time to understand your needs and ensure that your real estate sale or purchase is legally safe and financially sound. 

What is Real Estate Law?

Real estate law is that area of law that deals with the purchase of real property and the structures that stand on it. Anyone who purchases, rents, or builds on a piece of property is governed under that state’s real estate laws and statutes, including home buyers and sellers, landlords, renters, property investors, developers, and others.  Real estate law defines how a property may be used and who can use it, the type of structure that can be built on it, what materials can be used, how properties are zoned, legal requirements of buyers and sellers, and other requirements as they concern
  • Buying and selling a residential property: Real estate laws protect both buyers and sellers during real estate sales. 
  • Buying, selling, or leasing commercial property: Real estate laws protect the buyer, investor, developer, landlord, commercial tenant, or seller in various ways. 
  • Land use laws govern how land can be used depending on how it is zoned, under what conditions it might be rezoned, and other matters of how the land is designated for use by local, county, or state government.
  • Landlord and tenant laws govern how properties may be leased and rules about landlord and tenant rights, eviction, whether a property is habitable, or other leasing and tenancy matters. 
  • Construction and development laws determine where and what kind of construction can occur, building codes, and how code violations are enforced or punished. 
  • Title disputes and boundary disputes determine who owns the property, the official boundaries of that property, and how a resolution can be agreed upon. 
  • Property taxes and assessment disputes determine the taxable value of a property and how it should be assessed.
  • Financing of real estate and mortgages: Real estate laws govern how mortgages are framed and legally enforced for both residential and commercial properties. 
  • Foreclosure: Real estate laws govern how foreclosures can be processed and enforced.

What Does a Real Estate Lawyer Do?

Most people encounter a real estate lawyer in matters of a residential purchase or sale. In the case of a residential transaction, sellers and buyers typically have their own real estate agents. This agent may have navigated many real estate transactions in the past, but as good as your agent may be, there are legal limitations to what they can do.  A real estate agent has a fiduciary responsibility to their own client. Therefore, the agent who has the most knowledge and understanding about a home, the seller’s agent, is primarily focused on their client’s interests, not the buyer’s.  As a buyer, your agent may, like you, be seeing the home for the very first time and have limited knowledge about it. You are both relying on the seller and the seller’s agent to provide you comprehensive information and be forthcoming in their disclosures. As a buyer, you want as much information as possible about a home before you close on it.  An experienced San Antonio real estate attorney has extensive knowledge of local and state laws and methods of conducting in-depth research into a piece of property. When you hire a real estate attorney, he or she will be working with your best interests in mind, both financially and legally.

Commercial and Investment Real Estate Transactions 

Commercial real estate transactions can be complicated, with many steps involved in the completion of a transaction. Successful commercial transactions require in depth knowledge of commercial real estate and land use laws, meticulous research, attention to detail, and the skilled ability to negotiate terms for properties such as
  • Industrial buildings and warehouse space
  • Raw land
  • Multifamily
  • Office buildings
  • Retail
  • Hotels and hospitality
  • Mixed-use properties
  • Special purpose
  • Farms and ranches
The purchase, disposition, or investment in commercial real estate projects come with their own set of large financial risks. There are extensive laws and regulations involving construction and zoning, environmental regulations, taxes, title, leasing, and land use requirements that must be considered. A commercial real estate attorney will represent and guide many different types of clients through commercial transactions, including
  • Legal advice and recommendations for buyers, sellers, developers, investors in the acquisition, disposition, development, construction, and financing of commercial properties
  • Analysis and drafting of contracts and lease agreements
  • Drafting of site development agreements
  • Drafting due diligence requests
  • Landlords and tenants in buildout and leasing projects
  • Contract and lease disputes
  • Mechanics liens and lis pendens
  • Structuring business entities 
  • Enforcement of contracts
  • Investors and financial institutions in foreclosure, bankruptcy, and other matters
  • Property tax disputes
  • Engineer and architect disputes
  • Construction and easement issues
  • Boundary disputes
  • Evictions
  • Water and mineral rights
and others.  Having the representation of an experienced Texas commercial real estate lawyer will reduce the risk in a commercial transaction that may have many moving parts and partners. 

Why Would You Need a Real Estate Attorney in Texas?

Whereas it is not necessary to have a real estate lawyer in Texas, an attorney’s understanding of important real estate laws makes them a key advocate when purchasing or selling a piece of property. Your lawyer can prepare and review all documents required in your transaction with a keen eye toward what is legally acceptable. In addition to preparing or reviewing legally correct and comprehensive documents for the sales transaction, your real estate lawyer will
  • Have the knowledge and insight of the law that can let you go forward with peace of mind
  • Ensure that the terms of the agreement are as beneficial as possible for you as the client
  • Have the ability to handle any legal situations as they may arise during the transaction
  • Keep all client’s information confidential and work with their best interests in mind
  • Make their clients aware of any financial or tax implications that may arise from the real estate transaction

How Can a Real Estate Attorney Help a Buyer?

As a buyer, you are going into one of the biggest decisions of a lifetime with only the information the seller has given you. Although a seller is legally required to disclose any current or former problems with the home to a prospective buyer, we know that this is not always the case.  A real estate attorney’s job is to protect you, as the buyer, from any unscrupulous seller who may be withholding information about the home and holding them accountable. Your lawyer will look over the purchase and sale agreement to see if your rights are being considered, and everything is set out considering all timelines as they concern the buyer’s responsibilities.  He or she will make sure that the title is clear, all documents for financing and closing are completed correctly, and all funds are transferred properly. If there are any disputes during the home inspection process, your San Antonio real estate lawyer can advocate on your behalf and help negotiate new terms for your contract, if necessary. 

How Can a Real Estate Lawyer Help a Seller?

For a seller, a real estate lawyer is there to protect and ensure your best interests in the sale of your home and make sure that your purchase and sale agreement is drafted and executed properly, considering all timelines as they concern the seller’s responsibilities.  A real estate attorney for the seller will ensure that all paperwork is in order, from the contract to the deed conveying the property. If disputes arise from the inspection report, the seller’s attorney may offer suggestions to help keep the transaction alive or modify the contract’s terms to provide remedies. For both buyer and seller, an experienced real estate lawyer will offer valuable insight and solutions if anything happens to go wrong during a real estate transaction. 

Is It Always Necessary to Have a Real Estate Lawyer?

In the state of Texas, you are not required to have a real estate lawyer during a real estate transaction, but there are many instances when having legal representation is critical for a buyer or seller. 

When is Having a Real Estate Lawyer a Good Idea?

Besides getting objective legal insight and guidance when signing extensive legal documents containing language that you may not fully understand, having the assistance of a skilled San Antonio real estate lawyer is especially critical in other instances.
  • You are concerned that you are not getting full disclosure of issues from the seller or the seller’s real estate agent.
  • You are buying or selling a “for sale by owner” home.
  • You are purchasing a property that is a short sale, bank-owned, or currently in foreclosure.
  • There is a title issue or boundary dispute.
  • You are an out-of-town buyer who is not aware of specific regulations, tax implications, or who is responsible for paying transfer fees and title costs.
  • You have changed your mind — Although the seller has little rights to cancel a contract, the buyer has many. Your lawyer can help you understand how you can change your mind about the transaction without forfeiting your deposit. 
  • You have found illegal improvements or additions to the property that did not follow local building code.
  • You are purchasing or selling a home that may have structural issues.
  • You are selling the property with uncooperative partners, such as in a divorce, a dissolved partnership, or with the input of heirs and beneficiaries.
  • You are buying a property that is part of a trust or probate administration
  • You are concerned that the property will not appraise for the purchase price.
  • You are buying a commercial piece of property or purchasing property for investment. 
  • You don’t trust or have lost confidence in your own agent. 
  • You are considering selling or buying with a contract for deed.

What a San Antonio Real Estate Lawyer Can Do For You

Texas has recently seen a migration of individuals, families, and businesses, and the real estate market has expanded accordingly. If you are moving to Texas from out of state, it is helpful to get a Texas real estate lawyer’s assistance to guide you through the transaction safely and legally.  At the Law Offices of Ryan Reiffert, PLLC, we are full-service residential and commercial real estate lawyers who understand the importance of protecting any real estate investment, whether it is a single-family home or a large commercial building. We are experienced in residential and commercial transactions and offer skilled legal counsel to sellers, buyers, investors, and landlords concerning
  • Purchase and sale agreement drafting and review
  • Representation at closing
  • Title disputes and resolutions
  • Closing and conveyance documents drafting and review
  • Mortgage documentation preparation
  • Commercial and residential lease agreements
  • Loan modification agreements
  • Partition actions
  • Foreclosure defense
  • Foreclosure defense
  • Wrongful foreclosure
  • Deficiency judgments
  • Landlord disputes
  • Realtor disputes
  • Breach of contract
and other matters. 

Getting Legal Assistance Regarding Residential or Commercial Real Estate Transactions

If you are considering a residential or commercial real estate purchase or disposition, are involved in a real estate dispute, or have questions involving a transaction you are involved with, you should consider getting skilled legal advice. Contact the San Antonio real estate lawyers at the Law Offices of Ryan Reiffert, PLLC to schedule an appointment to discuss your real estate legal needs.