January 2019

Commercial Real Estate Attorney | Bukowski Law Firm | Austin, TX

Top Reasons Buyers and Sellers Need an Attorney

For some states, the law dictates that you must have a real estate attorney representing you during the buying or selling phase, while for other states it’s optional. Although it’s in your best interest to have legal representation working to negotiate the best terms and ensure all legal documents are in order, for some straight-forward transactions one might forgo a lawyer and work directly with their real estate agent and their associated brokerages.

If you live in Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia the law mandates the involvement of a real estate attorney. All other states allow the buyer and seller to decide for themselves if they want to hire an attorney.

So how do you decide if it’s best to buy or sell a property with or without a residential or commercial real estate lawyer in Austin, TX? Here are some key reasons home buyers and sellers may want to hire an attorney.


You have judgments or liens on the property.

You’re selling a property that is in some state of distress.

You’re the heir or executor of a property whose owner is now deceased.

You’re selling a house with an uncooperative partner.

You’re an out-of-town seller.


You’re buying a property that is a short sale or bank-owned.

You’re buying a property that is part of an estate sale.

You’re buying a commercial property.

You’re buying a property that has structural issues.

You’re buying a property in a problematic area such as a flood zone.

You’re an out-of-town buyer.

If any of the above scenarios applies to your situation, hiring an attorney is in your best interest. Contact Bukowski Law Firm by calling (512) 614-0335 today and allow us to assist you with all of your real estate legal needs.

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Property Taxes in the Upcoming Legislative Session

As you probably know, the 86th legislative session in Texas began last week. While there hasn’t been as much fanfare as there was prior to the 2017 legislative session, there is no doubt that many important issues are on the docket.

One of the main issues – at the top of Governor Abbott’s wish list– is property tax reform (and, relatedly, school finance reform). Because of the rapid ascent in the cost to residential owners in Texas, property taxes and school finance reform are likely to be the dominant issues during this session.

While there are multiple property tax proposals that are sure to be nominated by different legislators, for this post, we will just concentrate on Governor Abbott’s proposal.

Basics of Abbott’s Plan

Governor Abbott’s property tax reform plan is based on one basic premise – that no local municipality will be allowed to increase its total tax revenue more than 2.5% above what it was in the previous year. This amount is determined on a total basis for the local municipality. It does not, therefore, affect any individual accounts.

While Abbott’s plan does address the ultimate goal of regulating property taxes, it fails to give much guidance in how the individual appraisal districts should accomplish this goal.

Abbott’s plan fails to give any guidance as to how the local municipality should ensure that the tax revenue does not increase more than 2.5%. Given, however, that appraisals are dictated by the market value of the property – which can be beyond the control of the local municipality – it is likely that most adjustments will come from decreasing the tax rates.

The plan also fails to give any guidance as to how the local jurisdiction should treat residential versus commercial properties. However, because of the political pressure on the local government, we expect the residential taxes to be the primary beneficiaries if Abbott’s plan passes. As a result, we think that property taxes on commercial properties will continue to increase while property taxes on residential properties may level off in the coming years.

Finally, the plan fails to give any guidance as to how it should be enforced. There is no input as to what would happen if a municipality’s tax revenue increased more than 2.5% for a year. Would that municipality be punished? What would happen to the extra revenue? That is not clear from Abbott’s proposal.

Related Aspects of Abbott’s Plan

If Abbott is successful in capping tax revenue, it is likely that local jurisdictions will have a funding shortfall. As a result, Abbott has other proposals that go along with his cap to make up for this potential revenue shortfall. These include:

  • Prohibit the legislature form imposing unfunded mandates on cities and counties;
  • Improve the transparency of local debt; and
  • Have the state make up for lost shared revenue recapture by individual school districts.

It is unclear what changes will come from this legislative session for property taxes. But one thing is clear – property tax and school funding reform will be on the top of the legislative to-do list. So expect to hear lots of discussions on these topics in the next 140 days.

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Commercial Real Estate Attorney | Bukowski Law Firm | Austin, TX

Why You Need To Contact a Lawyer Before Selling Your Property

Selling a property, whether it’s commercial or residential, can be challenging for a number of reasons. The average person doesn’t have the knowledge and understanding of the many stages of the buying and selling process. That’s why people rely on realtors and real estate attorney’s to help them get the job done.

The job of a real estate attorney is to know the rules and regulations related to real estate transactions. Real estate attorneys help their clients understand contracts and other legal documents. They deal with zoning issues, negotiate on your behalf, oversee the transfer of deeds and titles, and verify whether a commercial or residential property has a lien or other legal issues.

Hiring a real estate attorney is essential when you’re facing a challenging acquisition such as a foreclosure or short sale on a property that’s owned by the bank, and when buying or selling commercial property.

Having an attorney who specializes in real estate closing in Austin, TX, involved in the process can give you peace of mind, not to mention saving you time and money. The Bukowski Law Firm can provide you with the advice, expertise, and services you need to keep your real estate investments running smoothly. Contact us today to discuss your specific legal needs.

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Commercial Real Estate Attorney | Bukowski Law Firm | Austin, TX

Real Estate Investment Opportunities In 2019

If you hope to be successful in the real estate industry, you need to stay up to date on the latest market trends. Whether you’re a real estate investor or a broker, you’ll want to pay close attention to the areas with the highest growth potential in the coming year, as well as which areas are stagnant or declining.

If you want to expand your portfolio and you’re looking for promising real estate markets to invest in, consider these top cities in the U.S. housing market in 2019.

Austin, TX – One of Austin’s strengths is its diverse, stable economy, which offers tons of high paying tech jobs. It also offers a low cost of living and beautiful environment with a housing market that is landlord-friendly.

Dallas/Fort Worth, TX – The metropolitan area shows a strong economy with significant population growth due to the low cost of living and active labor market growth due to the low cost of doing business.

New York/Brooklyn, NY – Although getting into the real estate market in the Big Apple is rather costly, New York is known as an international housing market for foreign property investors and is a smart investment to make.

Orlando, FL – Due to its beautiful scenery, improving quality of life, and ambient weather, Orlando is a profitable choice.

Nashville, TN – Nashville is booming with high demand for both long-term and short-term rentals. The city also has the lowest unemployment rate of any metropolitan area with more than a million residents.

Are you ready to search for your next investment property? Begin that journey with the aid of an experienced real estate law firm in Austin, TX. The attorneys at Bukowski Law Firm are ready to assist you with all of your real estate legal matters – from acquisitions and depositions to insurance and property tax appraisals. Contact us by phone at (512) 614-0335.

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