Austin Construction And Real Estate Law Blog

A mechanic's lien may help you get paid

If you are a Texas contractor, subcontractor or supplier in the construction industry, you probably agree that one of the most difficult parts of your job is getting people to pay you for the goods or services you provide. Whether the project owner refuses to pay or the contractor fails to give you your fair share, it can be frustrating and damaging to your business to have to chase down your money.

Fortunately, the law provides a process that offers some protection from nonpayment and an alternative for claiming the money an owner or contractor owes you. You can place a mechanic's lien on the property under construction that will place significant pressure on those parties to pay their debt to you.

Building a structure on land with an easement

When you buy land in Texas, you probably have specific plans for what you want to do with that property. You may want to build a home, or you may want to develop the land at some point in the future. Whether you already own the property or are considering it, an important first step is determining whether there is an easement that could affect your property use.

An easement is essentially another party's right to use or access property belonging to someone else. It's possible there is an easement on your property, and you may be completely unaware of it. It is in your interests to know if there is one and what it could mean for you. This is especially important if you are planning to build, add a fence, put in a pool or develop the land.

Was your loved one's home stolen?

When a loved one dies, it can take months or even years for his or her home to transfer through probate. If our loved one moves into a nursing home, his or her home may not be a priority as you make sure he or she is settled. During this time, you need to get back to our own life and may leave the home unoccupied for some time.

When you are able to get around to dealing with the home, you may discover someone is now living in it and claims to own it. How did your loved one's home end up stolen?

What does the statute of frauds require of your real estate deal?

Many people who live here in Austin wouldn't want to live anywhere else. If you are one of those people, you probably took your time finding just the right home before putting in an offer on one. You wanted to make sure that it would fulfill your needs for years to come.

You may have heard that, when you enter into a contract to purchase a home, your deal must comply with the statute of frauds. What does that mean?

Home disclosure statements can help you avoid trouble

From the day you decided you had found the house of your dreams, you began to receive and sign mountains of documents. While you were searching for a home that ticked off all the boxes on your wish list, you may not have had the time to research the real estate laws in Texas. You may not have understood that the law requires the sellers to provide you with a written statement disclosing certain defects in the house.

Texas disclosure laws are tougher than many states. Unless you are buying the house in a foreclosure sale or under certain other circumstances, you are entitled to know what the owners know about the condition of the house. Once you have moved into the home, you do not want to discover that the roof leaks or that the previous owners had been in a boundary dispute with their neighbor.

Essential elements of a solid construction contract

As a construction contractor, you know that every project is unique. For this reason, every contract you enter into with a developer or property owner will have its own unique elements.

Even so, every contract needs to contain certain elements that help ensure you protect your rights as the project progresses. After all, if a dispute arises with the other party, your contract will provide guidance for its resolution.

Where does your property begin and your neighbor's end?

As a Texas property owner, you have the right to protect your investment. This may mean several things, and one of them may include keeping the wrong people off your land or off your property. This can be particularly difficult when there is confusion and disagreement over where the property lines actually are. It is important to clearly establish where your land ends and your neighbor's begins. 

Boundary disputes can be much more than an inconvenience for you as the property owner. Not only could this mean that you may find people walking across your land, but it could also mean that your neighbor may try to erect a fence, build a structure or even put a pool in – over where you believe your property line is. This is frustrating and stressful, but thankfully, there are legal options available.

Specific signs that may indicate a foundation problem

When your Texas business is ready to move into a new commercial space, you understand the importance of ensuring there are no problems with the quality of the building. Issues with a building can cost you significant time and money, and you want to avoid these types of problems whenever possible. This is especially true when there are problems with the foundation of the home.

Foundation problems can be extremely expensive to fix. Thankfully, there are certain signs to look for when inspecting a building or looking at a space as a potential office or business space. Knowing what to look for before you move forward or sign on the dotted line will allow you to avoid problems that could be financially devastating for your Texas business down the road. 

Is your construction project experiencing water problems?

Building a new construction project in Texas can be a lengthy, arduous process. Your progress is subject to everything from the weather to the whims of the contractor. It can be frustrating and expensive, but it may seem like all of the hassle was worth it when it's over and you can finally occupy the space. 

Days, weeks or even months after you move in, you may notice certain problems. With new construction, it is rather common to see cosmetic issues that fixing, finishes that need changing or other problems that need addressing. One of the most serious is water intrusion. Water issues are particularly serious because they can often indicate serious underlying problems and eventually lead to mold, structural damage and more.

Protect yourself from new home construction problems

When you purchase an older home here in Austin, the current owner likely already knows about the house's problems and issues. More than likely, the person who owned it when it was first built, who may or may not be the current owner, already found and repaired any defects from the construction process. For this reason, you can probably have some confidence that it does not have any major defects not already disclosed by the current owner.

When you enter into a contract to build a new home, you don't have the time and experience of other owners to rely on. All you have is the word of your construction contractor that the home does not contain any construction defects. You may want to take steps to help ensure that you can trust that statement.

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Law Office of Tom Murphy
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Austin, TX 78759

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