• September 04, 2020
  • Category: FAQ

Earnest money is an essential part of almost every real estate transaction. To show they are serious, buyers will deposit a sum of money into trust. Typically, the seller sets the earnest money price, which is either a percentage of the purchase price or a flat sum. Earnest money can also cushion the blow if the buyer decides to step away from the deal as it covers some unforeseen expenses incurred by the seller. But what happens to earnest money if the sale falls through? This happens more often than people might imagine. In earnest money disputes, it matters why the buyer has cancelled the contract. A Buyer’s Chances to Get the Earnest Money Back Real estate contracts are complicated and often include many milestones. For example, a buyer will want the home to be inspected before going through with the sale. If the inspection comes back unsatisfactory, then the buyer can call off the purchase if they provide appropriate notice. These milestones are often contingencies—something must happen for the contract to be valid. Another contingency included in many real estate contracts is that the buyer sells their home. If they can’t, then they can cancel the purchase and get their earnest money back. One question we receive is, “Do you lose earnest money if financing falls through?” Probably, as receiving financing is usually the final milestone included in home purchase contracts. If the buyer cannot get a mortgage, then they can cancel the contract and have their earnest money returned. But if they do secure financing, then the buyer usually can’t cancel the contract without losing their earnest money. Retrieving the Money from Escrow Earnest money is often deposited in escrow and should be returned within a short amount of time once a buyer drops out of the contract. To request the earnest money, contact the escrow holder for more information. However, if there is a dispute about whether a buyer can get the earnest money, the escrow holder will keep it until the dispute is resolved. At that point, you will need an attorney’s help coming up with a plan for prevailing in your dispute. How to Protect Yourself Contract disputes crop up all the time, and many contracts contain dispute resolution clauses. For example, the buyer and seller might attend mediation or arbitration to resolve their differences. These dispute resolution techniques are often quicker than going to court and can frequently end the dispute. You should also meet with an attorney. An experienced real estate dispute lawyer can reach out to the other side to resolve the dispute informally. Doing so will help everyone save money by avoiding court and all the expenses associated with a lawsuit. However, when a lot of money is at stake, a trip to the courthouse is often unavoidable. Your Real Estate Contract Lawyer Rachel Khirallah has been practicing in the real estate field for over a decade and has handled many earnest money disputes. If you have a question, or if you need help negotiating a resolution to a dispute, contact us today. We can swing into action to protect your rights. Call 214-302-0462 or send us an online message.

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  • September 04, 2020
  • Category: FAQ

This glossary defines legal terms commonly used in real estate to define disputes, transactions, or services. Khirallah, PLLC wants you to be as educated as possible during your real estate litigation case. We also offer blog posts on legal topics so that our clients can familiarize themselves with the legal process. We hope you find the definitions of these terms helpful as you navigate your real estate dispute. Adverse Possession A claim of ownership to property that arises after known, unauthorized use of another’s property for a certain number of years. A common example is a neighbor that builds a shed on your property. If you knew about the shed but did nothing to stop him, your neighbor would eventually be able to initiate a court proceeding to claim ownership. Assignment of Contract A process in which a party to an existing contract sells, transfers, or assigns their rights under that contract to another party. Contract for Deed An alternative method of payment that allows a buyer to make regular payments on a property until the amount owed is paid in full. During the repayment period, the buyer has “equitable title” in the property and is, for all intents and purposes, the owner. The seller still retains “legal title” until the property is fully paid off. Also known as an “installment land contract.” Deed of Trust An agreement between a lender and a borrower to transfer property to a neutral third party trustee. The trustee holds legal ownership until the borrower pays off the debt, but the borrower maintains full responsibility for the property during the repayment period. Easement The right to use someone else’s property for a specific purpose. For example, an easement might exist where one property is only accessible by passing through the private property of another (via a driveway or other path). Escrow Payment A portion of a mortgage payment, set aside in an escrow account, used to pay property taxes and homeowner’s insurance. This money is stored in an escrow account to guarantee it can be used. Equity The difference between the fair market value of the property and the amount of money you owe on the mortgage. Put another way, equity is the money you would receive after paying off the mortgage if you sold your home. Forced-Placed Insurance An insurance policy placed on property when the owners’ own policy lapses, is cancelled, or is insufficient and a new policy is not obtained. Force-placed insurance policies allow lenders to protect their financial interest in a property. Joint Tenancy An equal, undivided interest in property shared by two or more tenants. Ownership in a joint tenancy must be established by the same deed, at the same time. If one tenant dies, their ownership automatically passes to any surviving tenants. Lien A notice attached to a property indicating that there is some unpaid debt. A lien prevents the property from being sold or refinanced until it is paid off. Lis Pendens Written notice that a lawsuit has been filed concerning title or other interest of a piece of property. Lis pendens is Latin for “a suit pending.” Marketable Title A title that is free from any threat of litigation or encumbrances (like a mortgage). When a seller sells property, there is an implied promise in the contract that the title is marketable. Partition The act of dividing up an estate owned by multiple people at the same time. The estate is divided proportionally based on the ownership interests of the concurrent owners. Quiet Title Proceeding A legal action taken to resolve disputes over ownership of real property. If more than one person claims ownership of a piece of property, an action to quiet title can determine the rightful owner, “quieting” any challenges to ownership. RESPA Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act—Federal law that requires lenders to disclose certain costs related to real estate transactions and related settlement services. RESPA also regulates the use of escrow accounts and prohibits kickbacks. Specific Performance A contract remedy where a court orders the breaching party to perform its contractual duty. Specific performance may be awarded when money damages would be inadequate. Title Insurance Insurance that protects the holder from financial loss caused by defects in the title to a property. Unexpected defects may be present if unpaid taxes or liens are missed during a title search (a review of public records to confirm ownership of the property). Warranty Deed A type of deed where the seller guarantees that she holds clear title (free of debt or other liens) to the property being sold and that she has the legal right to sell it. Wraparound Mortgage A subordinate mortgage that “wraps around” and incorporates an existing loan. The borrower makes payments to the lender, who makes payments on the underlying mortgage. Start Your Real Estate Litigation Case Understanding these terms can make the real estate litigation process easier for you. Knowledge of these terms helps facilitate discussion with your real estate attorney about your case. If you are looking for a real estate attorney that will work with you every step of the way, contact Khirallah, PLLC today. 

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  • September 04, 2020
  • Category: FAQ

No one ever anticipates the need for a real estate lawyer, but life can be unpredictable, especially when buying, selling, and leasing property. If you’ve found out that there were hidden problems with a property you recently purchased in Dallas, if you’re having issues with your mortgage broker or lender, or if you’re stuck in an ongoing dispute with a renter, then it might be time to consider legal representation from an experienced Texas real estate lawyer. Here are some interview questions that can be used to ensure that you hire an attorney that will provide honest, reliable assistance. Five Important Questions to Ask a Real Estate Attorney 1. How Old Is Your Practice? Becoming a lawyer requires a lot of schooling and the ability to pass the bar exam, so all practicing attorneys should be qualified to handle your case, right? Not necessarily. Unless you ask how long they’ve been practicing real estate law, how will you be able to tell whether or not they’re a seasoned veteran or fresh out of law school? Keep in mind that not all legal services require 20 years of experience, but it’s always good to know what you’re working with. 2. Do You Have Experience Handling Similar Cases? Beyond finding a Dallas real estate attorney who has extensive experience handling real estate law, it is ideal to find a lawyer who has taken on cases that are similar to your own. For example, if you are facing wrongful foreclosure in Texas, you should look to find a legal representative who has deep experience working on the side of borrowers who have been mistreated by their mortgage servicing company. Likewise, if you are involved in a construction defect case, you will want a lawyer who has handled those types of legal claims. The more relevant experience a real estate attorney has, the more likely they will be able to offer you effective guidance. 3. Who Else Will Be Working on My Case? When hiring a real estate attorney, you will want to be sure to understand exactly what type of service you are receiving. A good question to ask is “who else will be working on my case?” In many cases, this will include a paralegal or another type of legal support staff member. In addition, you should find out if the attorney you are speaking with will actually be doing the lion’s share of the legal work. One of the major advantages of choosing a small, boutique law firm is that you can work closely with your attorney. In real estate law cases, it is crucial that clients have an open and honest relationship with their lawyer. 4. How Would You Handle My Case? It’s reassuring when an attorney feels confident that your case can be resolved with a favorable outcome. But it’s not enough just to tell you that they can, they should also be able to tell you how. A great real estate attorney will be able to explain exactly how they plan to take action to protect your rights and interests. Before hiring anyone for legal services, ask for an expected timeline of what will happen when, so you have a good idea of what to expect. Further, your real estate attorney should be able to explain why their selected approach is the best strategy for your objectives and goals. You should never be left in the dark about what is happening in your case. 5. How Will The Fee Be Handled? As we’ve mentioned in previous blog posts, hiring a real estate attorney can be costly, but it’s important to think of this as an investment rather than an expense. Still, to make an informed decision, you should have a basic idea of how your attorney’s services will be billed and how much it will cost to handle your claim. Always remember to be upfront with your attorney about your budget and be sure that you’re clear on what their expectations will be for payment. Dealing with a real estate dispute is stressful enough; you do not need any other financial surprises. Get Help From Our Dallas Real Estate Attorney Today At Khirallah PLLC, our Dallas real estate law attorney has the skills and experience needed to represent buyers, sellers, lenders, brokers, agents, and property owners. Are you searching for a reliable real estate lawyer in the Dallas area? Rachel E. Khirallah is standing by, ready to help. We encourage you to contact our law firm for a free, fully confidential initial consultation. Our real estate lawyer is ready to help you get answers to all of your most pressing questions. With an office in Dallas, we serve communities throughout North Texas.

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  • September 04, 2020
  • Category: FAQ

The basis of any real estate transaction is the contract, which binds both the buyer and seller and outlines their obligations. When one side decides to break the contract, they have committed a breach, and a lawsuit might be unavoidable. After the breach of real estate contract, you need competent legal advice about your options. Contact a Dallas real estate dispute attorney as soon as possible. Terms in a Real Estate Contract that Are Breached A real estate contract includes all the essential terms of agreement between the parties. A real estate contract should be in writing, otherwise it will violate the Statute of Frauds. By reducing a contract to writing, each side understands its obligations, so there should be no confusion about what each side needs to do. Real estate contracts contain many of the same terms, including: The property’s address The purchase price for the property The amount of a good-faith deposit How the buyer will purchase the property The closing date when the purchase will be completed What is included in the sale, such as fixtures, furniture, or other items What is excluded from the sale (i.e., what he buyers will take with them) How property taxes will be allocated between buyer and seller Contingencies in Real Estate Contracts Sometimes, a sale is contingent on an event happening. For example, the buyer might be trying to sell their home at the same time. If they cannot sell it, then they cannot afford to buy the house, so the sale will have to fall through. Likewise, a buyer might need to secure a mortgage so that they can afford the house. Without the mortgage, they are not in a position to buy the home. These are contingencies, and a valid real estate contract should contain multiple contingencies. When a contingency is not met, either the buyer or seller can provide notice that they are dropping out of the transaction. This is not a breach. Common Ways a Contract is Breached As experienced real estate attorneys, we have seen all kinds of breaches, including: Refusing to pay on time Failing to deliver the deed in a timely manner Selling a home without the items specified in the contract Backing out of the contract for no legitimate reason Some buyers or sellers get cold feet and try to back out, even if the contract does not allow them to do so. The result is a breach, and the non-breaching party should consider what remedies are available. Suing for Breach of Contract Real Estate The purpose of a lawsuit is to remedy the breach. There are some common remedies, which will depend on who breaches—the buyer or the seller: If the seller breaches, then the buyer can sue for compensation, return of their good-faith deposit, and reasonable expenses. The buyer can also request that the contract be terminated. If the buyer breaches, then the seller can often terminate the contract and sue for money damages. For example, the seller might ultimately sell the home but for less than the amount included in the breached contract. The seller can sue to make up the difference. One remedy that doesn’t receive a lot of attention is specific performance. This refers to forcing the other side to go ahead with the sale and transfer of the property even when they don’t want to. In many cases, the seller tries to back out of the contract and the buyer wants to force the sale. Texas law allows for specific performance, but parties need to meet certain requirements, which usually require the help of an experienced attorney. Contact Khirallah PLLC for Your Real Estate Disputes If you have a question about the breach of a real estate contract, please contact us today. We are an established real estate law firm with a long list of satisfied clients. To learn more about your options, contact us by calling 214-302-0462 for a free consultation.

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  • September 04, 2020
  • Category: FAQ

One of the disadvantages of owning a home is that you can’t easily tap the equity built up in it. Selling is always an option, but people need a place to stay, and many elderly are hesitant to move. Wouldn’t it be great to tap into the equity of your home while living in it? One method is a reverse mortgage. It is a loan homeowners aged 62 or older can take out, allowing them to convert some or all of their equity into cash. They can then use the money for anything they want, including living expenses and health care. If you take out a reverse mortgage, you don’t pay it back until you sell your house. Nevertheless, this area is ripe for fraud and abuse, leading many seniors to take out a reverse mortgage when they normally wouldn’t or agreeing to terms that are excessive or onerous. Types of Reverse Mortgage Fraud As experienced Dallas real estate dispute lawyers, Rachel has seen many seniors fall prey to dishonest tactics, such as: Aggressive sales pitches. Many mortgage brokers call up seniors at all hours of the day to try and convince them to take out a reverse mortgage. Some brokers might claim there is an artificial deadline, which is clearly designed to pressure seniors into signing on the dotted line without giving the process much thought. Deceptive advertising. Some advertisers wrongly claim that a senior who takes out a reverse mortgage is never at risk of losing their home—which simply is not true. Other advertising can hide the true costs of these mortgages. Misrepresentations. Many lenders make false claims about their products or about reverse mortgages generally to induce seniors to sign up for them. If you experience any of the above, you should immediately stop the reverse mortgage process. How to Protect Yourself from Reverse Mortgage Fraud The Federal Bureau of Investigations recommends the following tips to protect yourself and a loved one from reverse mortgage frauds: Do not sign any contract that you have not read and fully understand. Ask for help if you are confused. Legal language is often confusing, and an attorney can explain it to you in plain language. Find our own reverse mortgage counselor and meet with them if you have questions. Contact the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to find approved counselors. Never respond to any unsolicited offer or advertisement. Throw them in the trash. Don’t give out sensitive personal information over the telephone. Doing so makes you vulnerable to identity theft. If you do fall victim to fraud, you can lodge a complaint with the FBI or with HUD. You should also meet with an experienced attorney who can discuss your options, which might include suing the lender for deceptive practices or fraud. Reach out to Us Today Reverse mortgage fraud deprives seniors of their property and causes millions of dollars in losses. If you or a loved one suspects fraud, contact Khirallah PLLC today. We are an established Dallas real estate litigation firm, and we can help you receive compensation to make up for any losses caused by the reverse mortgage fraud.

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  • November 26, 2019
  • Category: FAQ

When you miss a payment on your home loan, your lender can start the foreclosure process. According to data provided by RealtyTrac, approximately 40,000 foreclosures were initiated in Texas in 2018 alone. Unfortunately, lenders do not always act in good faith when foreclosing on borrowers. If you were the victim of a wrongful foreclosure, you deserve a lawyer knowledgeable in this area to help you. At Khirallah PLLC, our wrongful foreclosure lawyer can help you determine whether you have a wrongful foreclosure case and how to protect your rights. Here, we provide an overview of what you need to prove to bring a successful wrongful foreclosure claim in Texas. Of course, if you have any specific questions about your case, you should contact an experienced wrongful foreclosure lawyer right away. Texas Wrongful Foreclosure Cases Before a foreclosure can occur, the lender must take the proper steps according to the law; and sometimes the proper steps are missed. To prevail in a wrongful foreclosure lawsuit, a borrower must prove that the lender, in some manner, engaged in improper conduct. In Texas, plaintiffs in a wrongful foreclosure case sue for various types of claims: Negligence Fraud Negligent misinterpretation Wrongful foreclosure Breach of contract Cases Against Your Bank for Wrongfully Foreclosing on Your Home A foreclosure is wrongful for many different reasons and Khirallah PLLC is here to make sure that lenders follow the rules; however, if they do not follow these rules, we are here to help the borrower. Some of the most common examples include: Processing errors in your loan; Miscommunication between the lender and other parties; Improper advice from lender — such as to fall behind on mortgage payments in order to qualify for a loan modification; Predatory tactics; Failure to give the proper notices; Failure to accelerate; and Misapplication of payments. If you are facing foreclosure, it is imperative that you seek immediate assistance from a professional. You only have a limited amount of time to take action to protect your rights. Contact an experienced Texas wrongful foreclosure attorney immediately. Remedies Available for Wrongful Foreclosures in Texas Victims of wrongful foreclosure deserve justice. As a general matter, there are two types of remedies available in a Texas wrongful foreclosure lawsuit. If successful in pursuing a wrongful foreclosure claim, a plaintiff may be entitled to: Have the foreclosure proceedings halted and dismissed, Recover financial compensation for any damages, or Have the foreclosure sale voided. Our law firm fights for the rights of borrowers who have faced an unlawful foreclosure on their home. If your mortgage lender violated the law, we will help you get justice and full and fair support for your damages.  Speak to Our Texas Wrongful Foreclosure Attorney Today Rachel Khirallah is an experienced wrongful foreclosure lawyer. If you are wrongfully facing foreclosure or if your property has already been foreclosed upon, she can help. With an office in Dallas, attorney Khirallah serves clients throughout the region, including in Fort Worth, Arlington, Frisco, and Plano. Contact us today.

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  • November 26, 2019
  • Category: FAQ

Whether you are having a problem with your mortgage lender, or dealing with a construction dispute, there is a lot on the line in a real estate dispute. You do not have to navigate these complex issues alone. If you are involved in a real estate dispute, you should speak to an experienced real estate attorney about your case. During an initial consultation, a real estate lawyer will be able to give you guidance on how to best protect your rights and move towards a successful resolution. At the office of Khirallah PLLC, our real estate attorney offers aggressive representation during any real estate dispute, and we will advocate for your best interests. Most Common Real Estate Disputes There are several types of disputes that can arise that require assistance from a real estate lawyer. For over a decade, Attorney Rachel Khirallah of Khirallah PLLC has focused on handling the full range of real estate disputes. She provides smart, efficient and aggressive representation for any dispute. Some of the most common real estate disputes in Texas include: Development and construction disputes; Commercial lease and residential lease disputes; Wrongful foreclosures; Failure to disclose defects; Reverse mortgage foreclosures; Title disputes, including claims against your title company; Property line and boundary disputes Breach of real estate contract disputes; Land use disputes including deed restriction disputes; and Real estate fraud. Regardless of the specific nature of your case, it is imperative that you consult with an experienced real estate litigation attorney right away. The sooner you take action, the easier it will be to find an effective solution. How Our Dallas Real Estate Lawyer Will Protect Your Rights We have extensive experience representing individuals and businesses in real estate matters. Our law firm is committed to providing clients with assertive, sophisticated, and fully personalized legal guidance. Among other things, our top-rated Texas real estate attorney will: Conduct a comprehensive review of your case; Explain your rights and options to you; Zealously represent you; Investigate your dispute — obtaining relevant documents and records, and always be ready for trial. Real estate disputes can be complicated. Our Texas Real Estate Lawyer aggressively works on your behalf to make sure your interests are protected and that best potential outcome possible. Get Help From a Texas Real Estate Litigation Attorney Today Rachel Khirallah is an experienced real estate litigation attorney. If you are involved in a real estate dispute, Attorney Khirallah is standing by, ready to help. Contact our legal team today for a fully confidential review of your case. With a law office in Dallas, we serve communities throughout North Texas.

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