If you intend to make any real estate transactions in Houston, TX, you may think of hiring a real estate lawyer. However, hiring a real estate lawyer in some states is not a legal requirement. According to Edwards Law Firm, Texas is an example of a state that doesn’t compel you to hire a real estate lawyer. Although it is not compulsory to hire one, it is highly recommended that you hire one. Some people choose not to hire them because they are costly, but you will soon realize that you got value for your money. For instance, the real estate lawyer ensures that all the real estate transactions are recorded in a contract to make them legally binding. However, if you did not involve a lawyer, you would likely purchase rental property without a contract or one that is vague. Also, the lawyer ensures that the property you want to purchase is free of any encumbrances. They do this by conducting a title search. However, you do not need to hire a real estate lawyer only when you want to purchase a rental property. For instance, real estate lawyers can help you in property disputes or estate planning. So, if you need a real estate lawyer in Houston, TX, here are the top ten best ones to consider:
10. Kent M. Hanszen (Hanszen Laporte LLP)
Running a business is challenging enough. It is even more challenging when a business must purchase rental properties. That is because there are complex transactions and litigation matters involved. Fortunately, Kent is passionate about helping businesses overcome such hurdles. Since he is a business owner, he can identify everything a business needs in any transaction. He represents Fortune 500 companies and small and medium-sized enterprises. Besides real estate, he is knowledgeable in legal matters concerning commercial litigation, business disputes, employment issues, insurance coverage, and title insurance issues. Kent can help you with real estate processes, including leasing, commercial development, management, acquisition, and disposition. He has a team of board-certified attorneys who can provide counsel to suppliers, contractors, property owners, purchasers, and developers. The firm specializes in helping you acquire any real estate property, which means the firm is knowledgeable on the necessary documents needed for a certain property. Some of the documents that Kent evaluates are easement agreements, original loan documents, title litigations, loan modification documents, master service agreements, etc. Besides reviewing the authenticity of documents, Kent assists clients in mortgage document preparation and fulfillment services through a documentation firm called HouseDocs. According to Hanszen Laporte, the service simplifies the loan closing process by providing accurate and regulatory-compliant documentation packages.
9. Melanie Bragg (Bragg Law PC)
Melanie is diverse in several areas of the law. Besides real estate, she has legal knowledge in civil litigation, guardianships and conservatorships, family law, mediation services, and business law. She spends her time reading and writing when she does not practice law. She has written several educational books and programs for other attorneys, e.g., HIPAA for the General Practitioner. Another hobby she does besides law is philanthropy. She is active in local, state, and national bar associations. At the moment, she serves as the Chair of the Solo, Small Firm, and General Practice Division of the American Bar Association. Melanie is revered for her mediation and arbitration skills. Her skills have helped her represent clients with legal issues like probate disputes, car wrecks, and real estate and business transactions. When she uses these skills, she always employs mindfulness in her practice. That means when she is mediating on behalf of a client, she considers how the other party would react and counsels them accordingly. An area she focuses on in real estate is estate planning. Some people resent drafting estate plans, yet you could lose your property without one. According to The Hilton Head Sun, one of the common reasons people do not do estate planning is that it is daunting. For instance, you will not know where to start. Fortunately, she can assist clients draft well-thought-out estate plans.
8. Rick Guerra (Guerra Days Law Group)
Rick focuses his practice mainly on real estate law. However, he also represents clients in other areas like foreclosures, business formation, bankruptcy, credit restoration, and taxation. Besides possessing the required legal credentials, he also has an extensive background in computer information systems, business, and accounting. Due to his experience in the fields, he can connect with his commercial clients and help them with their important and pressing legal issues. Since he focuses nearly on every aspect of real estate law, we will only focus on these two areas: boundary disputes and evictions. Boundary disputes are perhaps the most difficult areas in real estate law. Some disputes you may encounter are incorrectly placed fences or property encroachment. In such a case, Rick’s team can help you draft a demand letter to the party that has inconvenienced you. If the party doesn’t comply, your letter can be used as evidence. Evictions are inconvenient since the tenant may have nowhere to go. As a result, you may quickly sue the landlord for the trouble. However, Rick’s team will find out whether the client received an eviction notice or whether it was given on time. If the eviction was unjustified, the law firm will provide you with the necessary tools to stop the eviction.
7. Sharon C. Stodghill (Law Office of Sharon C. Stodghill)
Sharon has been board certified in estate planning and probate law since 2000. Before starting her law practice, she worked in the trust department of a national bank and the tax department in the public accounting arena. Due to her background in business, she has been able to help clients protect and preserve their assets by preparing and reviewing wills and trusts, for instance. When she is not practicing, she speaks about estate planning in various settings like civic groups, churches, and professional groups. Probate is the legal process where a court sends someone to distribute assets after a person’s demise. Sharon acknowledges how difficult probates can be. For instance, while you are mourning the loss of a loved one, you have to deal with the tedious court processes which can further break you. Thankfully, Sharon can make probates run as smoothly as possible. In estate planning matters, she has encountered clients who thought the process was for the wealthy. Some people deem their houses too modest for their families, yet their families may lack a place to live when they die. Therefore, she can dissuade this thinking by taking time to learn about their position.
6. Richard Weaver (The Weaver Law Firm)
Richard is certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. He focuses on real estate law and business litigation. Clients have often considered him the go-to real estate lawyer for developers, builders, investors, and sellers of real estate. Richard has assisted such groups with lien filing, encroachment issues, title disputes, construction defects, and the list goes on. Although he handles real estate matters and transactions, his focus is majorly on litigation. During a litigation process, he helps resolve disputes between buyers and real estate agents or brokers. Sometimes, the disputes may not be solved, and they may go to trial. Fortunately, he is still able to help you even in court. He has also handled disputes regarding easements. A common easement dispute occurs when sellers do not disclose easements to the buyer. As a result, the buyer ends up suing the seller, and so he is able to devise a way of solving such a dispute.
5. Allan B. Polunsky (Polunsky Beitel Green, L.L.P.)
This lawyer was certified as a residential and commercial real estate law specialist by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization since 1983. He is able to practice in Texas and before the Supreme Court of the United States. Allan devotes most of his representation to residential mortgage lenders. He assists them by advising them on compliance with federal, state, and other applicable regulations and preparing and reviewing complete mortgage loan closing documents. Besides handling traditional mortgage transactions, he also handles disclosure documents, reverse mortgage loans, and home equity lines of credit. He has enjoyed great success in his career by preparing warranty deeds, serving as outside counsel to mortgage brokers and lenders, and getting the powers of attorney. Due to his high quality of work in these areas, he has bagged numerous honors and awards.
4. Robin L. Apostolakis (Stillwell, Earl & Apostolakis, LLP)
She is Board Certified in Estate Planning and Probate by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Her practice revolves around business transactions, estate planning, probate, and guardianship. One common mistake some attorneys may make when assisting with writing wills is using the ‘one size fits all approach.’ However, Robin understands that wills differ for individuals and families, and so she is able to advice a client on the matter accordingly. Outside of law, she enjoys helping small business owners at all stages of business ownership, e.g., creation of the business, assisting with negotiation and sales, consulting over its needs, etc. Some areas she handles under real estate include ownership entities, easements, real estate litigation, and construction disputes. Throughout her career, she has served in positions for professional organizations. For instance, she once sat on the board of directors of various nonprofit organizations and has been involved with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Team in Training program. In this event, she decided to take part in a marathon and a triathlon.
3. John S. Moody, Jr. (Moody Law Group, PLLC)
John has an extensive practice in real estate development, financing, sales, leasing, and acquisitions. Some clients he represents are financial institutions, developers, owners, retailers, investors, families, and private equity funds. He has assisted litigators in lawsuits and mediations, and settlements of various disputes involving commercial real estate. During his legal career, he has managed to bag several honors and award. He takes up several leadership roles when he does not serve as a lawyer. A notable role he is involved in is being in charge of the board and the human resource committee of the DePelchin Children’s Center. He has also been a speaker and moderator for various webinars. John has been consulting from time to time. He has continually improved his consulting skills through attending numerous mediations. In terms of consulting, he assists clients in asset review, strategic advisory, evaluation analysis, project review, etc.
2. Rahila N. Sultanali (Roberts Markel Weinberg Butler Hailey PC)
Rahila represents clients in matters of real estate law, commercial transactions, and outside counsel. Some of the commercial transactions she has experience in are multifamily projects, gas stations, improved property, restaurants, and shopping and retail centers. She has had over a decade of experience representing business owners, property owner associations, developers, and individuals. Before she ventured into law, she was an accountant. Her previous role enabled her to handle small transactions and multi-million-dollar deals. Additionally, she is experienced in mergers and acquisitions, general contract matters, and entity formations. She is very active in the legal community. For instance, she is a Galveston County Bar Association member and supports her community as a member of the Fort Bend Chamber of Commerce.
1. Cory Krueger (Hensley & Krueger, PLLC)
He is a transactional attorney, litigator, and trial lawyer who devotes his focus to estate planning, asset protection, probate, and estate administration. While in law school, he was a member of the Sports and Entertainment Legal Organization (SELO) and the Oil and Gas Legal Organization. Additionally, he found time to volunteer with the University of Houston Law Center Mentor Program. Since opening his firm, he has mostly assisted clients with their estate planning needs. Currently, he is admitted to practice in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas, the United States Tax Court, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas.