J. Patrick Sutton Cases & Issues Blog

Seller's Disclosures and Big Issues in Residential Real Estate Transactions

There's generally conceded to be a conflict between the "as-is" clause in Texas form real estate contracts and the fact that sellers are required by law to fill out a long form full of disclosures. If a buyer is buying the property "as-is," doesn't that mean the buyer has waived defects? No! A seller must fill out the disclosures in good faith, and a buyer is entitled to rely on those disclosures.Content may continue . . .

With the Austin Residential Real Estate Sales Picking Up, Consider Having Me Review Your Deal

I've had more calls over the past month on residential real estate deals than I had in all of 2012. I think every buyer is well served by having an attorney review a deal before the buyer's right to terminate the deal runs out. It's usually not more than about $500 for me to look for issues and problems. If you decide not to use a real estate agent or broker, the savings can be substantial by having me represent you through closing. I also have a construction background (as in, swinging a hammer and building projects), so I bring to bear some unusual skills in terms of understanding the condition of a property. I also point out zoning, HOA, financing, and other issues you may not have considered. Plus, I like doing real estate deals: house deals are generally happy situations, unlike the desperate lawsuits I'm often involved in.Content may continue . . .

Short-term rental ban rejected by Travis County court

In a clear victory for homeowners and property rights, a Travis County court has rejected an HOA ban on short-term rentals. Briarcliff Property Owners Association, Inc. v. Marvin William Hays, Jr., Cause No. D-1-GN-11-002233 (Order of March 14, 2012).Content may continue . . .

HOA's, the CAI, and Gaming the System

Under Texas HOA law, the one sure winner in every dispute is the lawyers. One particular provision of the Texas Real Estate Code is particularly pernicious in driving HOA's and homeowners into litigation. Say it ain't so, Texas Legislature!Content may continue . . .

Austin Construction Update

At last, the Austin residential construction market is showing signs of life. But that means falling contractor profits.Content may continue . . .

The Fundamental Flaw with HOA's

The governing documents (CC&R's -- covenants, conditions, and restrictions) and governing laws for the running of homeowners associations (HOA's) are too legalistic, abstruse, and technical for non-lawyers (i.e., your neighbors) to understand and enforce. That's why lawyers and property managers are getting rich at the expense of homeowners stuck with HOA's. We elect local governments and hire local officials to handle the complexities of property rights. HOA's should handle parties, beautification, and gripe sessions, not foreclosures and restrictions on others' freedoms.Content may continue . . .

HOA's and Freedom

HOA's are scary, and their trade group is even scarier.Content may continue . . .

FSBO Tips

For Sale By Owner Real Estate Sales: Not for the faint of heart, but a big money saver. Allocate a bit of the savings for attorney review of the documents.Content may continue . . .

The Real Estate Crisis Ain't Over

If the attitude I’ve seen from the big mortgage lenders is any indication, they’re running scared. A tsunami of residential foreclosures lies ahead.Content may continue . . .

Resubdivision and Its Discontents

Seeking resubdivision of urban oversized lots is not the only way to divide and develop your property. There are alternative strategies for developing such properties.Content may continue . . .

Family vacation home joint ownership headaches

When a family with multiple children has a vacation house, all sorts of title, tax, and administration issues arise. The tool of choice right now is the Family Limited Liability Company, involving the creation of a business entity and a well-written operating agreement.Content may continue . . .
J. Patrick Sutton Cases & Issues Blog