Options for Representation in Real Estate Transactions

LIMITED REPRESENTATION OPTIONS

(Review/Comment on TREC Residential Contracts, the Title Commitment, Survey, or Closing Documents)

Consult Us BEFORE Both Parties Sign the Contract. In Texas, the earnest money contract substantially controls a real estate transaction, the rights and remedies of the parties, special requirements for closing, and the content of closing documents. After the contract has been signed, the opportunity to affect these factors and modify the contract to the client’s advantage has been lost. We decline to accept cases where the contract has already been signed.

Review/Comment on Individual Documents. The review/comment process is available for TREC residential contracts as well as title commitments, surveys, and closing documents. Our method is to go through the document and make comments and recommendations item-by-item as needed.

Legal Fees for Review/Comment. Fees for review/comment are: $250 for a sales price of up to $499,999; $350 for a sales price from $500,000 to $999,999; $550 for a sales price of $1M to $1,499,999; $750 for a sales price from $1.5M to $1,999,999; in excess of $2.0M, inquire.

Review/Comment is Not Full Representation. A review/comment consultation is a detailed and thorough discussion but it is still a one-time consultation that is limited in time and scope. It is not full representation in the entire transaction. After one hour of attorney time or after three business days (whichever comes first), the consultation automatically concludes. In cases of partial advice or representation, the client agrees to sign an agreement stating that we have no professional liability for those portions of the transaction in which we are not involved.

Existing Homes Only. We do not review new construction contracts. These are usually non-negotiable by the builders except for price and other deal points. Attempting to negotiate legal terms is usually futile.

Complex Transactions. Trust transactions and other complex transactions will likely incur additional fees. In such transactions, just reading the documents will use up most of the available hour, two hours may be required. Additional attorney time is at our posted hourly rate of $450.

Adding a Special Provisions Addendum. Standard contracts, whether TREC or TAR, are good contracts but are limited in the way they can be customized, particularly when it comes to creative transactions. Adding a custom Special Provisions Addendum can solve this problem. We will advise you if this should be considered in your case. Fees begin at $350.

Limits on the Consultation. A review/comment is type of consultation and the same policies apply. Our consultations are limited in duration to one hour or 3 business days, whichever comes first, at which time they conclude. As with any other consultation, it begins and concludes. A consult fee is not an on-going retainer for representation in the transaction.

Use a Title Company for Escrow, Title Work, and Closings. We offer representation, legal counsel, and document preparation. We do not, conduct in-office closings, escrow and distribute funds, or offer title insurance. An established title company is recommended for these services.

Quotes are Guidelines. Since transactions can vary considerably, quotes offered herein are guidelines only. We may, at our sole discretion, offer a specific fee arrangement that differs from the guidelines. We may also set a minimum fee level for higher-dollar transactions.

Our Attorney is Also a Real Estate Broker. However, our function is limited to legal services. We do not list or show properties; arrange for surveys, inspections, appraisals, or repairs; or assist with financing. If you need this higher level of assistance then you should engage a full-service real estate broker. Using our law firm is not a way to obtain brokerage services while avoiding a brokerage commission. Although we do not offer full brokerage services. TREC rules require us to direct you to TREC’s Information about Brokerage Services at https://lonestarlandlaw.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/IABS-1-0.pdf.

Commission Rebate May be Available. Because our attorney has a broker’s license, a partial commission rebate (net after taxes) may be available at closing but only if you use our firm for the entire transaction and you are not already represented by an agent or broker. In such cases, our fees are usually 1/3 of the total subject to a 1% minimum. A post-closing check is written to the client (net after taxes). The gross commission is assumed to be the customary 3% per side.
Terms of Service. Our posted terms of service (see website) apply to all clients without exception in lieu of individual fee agreements or engagement letters. By proceeding, you unconditionally accept these.

REPRESENTATION IN THE ENTIRE TRANSACTION

(Comprehensive Legal Counsel from Contract Through Closing)

If You Already have an Agent or Broker

As a general rule, our compensation is one-third of the commission amount payable at closing (subject to a 1% minimum) unless specifically provided otherwise in writing in advance. Retainers discussed below are paid in advance as flat fees (not subject to hourly accounting), are non-refundable, and are not contingent upon whether or not the transaction successfully closes. If the transaction does not close, nothing further is owed.

1. Fees if You are the SELLER and ARE Represented by an Agent or Broker

Sales Price up to $600,000 – $750 advance non-refundable retainer plus an additional $750 payable by Seller at closing

Sales Price of $601,000 to $1,100,000 – $1,000 advance non-refundable retainer plus an additional $750 payable by Seller at closing

Sales Price of $1,100,000 to $2,999,999 – $1,500 advance non-refundable retainer plus an additional $750 payable by Seller at closing

Sales Price of $3,000,000 and up – Inquire

2. Fees if You are the BUYER and ARE Represented by an Agent or Broker

Sales Price up to $600,000 – $750 advance non-refundable retainer plus an additional $750 payable by Buyer at closing

Sales Price of $601,000 to $1,100,000 – $1,000 advance non-refundable retainer plus an additional $750 payable by Buyer at closing

Sales Price of $1,100,000 to $2,999,999 – $1,500 advance non-refundable retainer plus an additional $750 payable by Buyer at closing

Sales Price of $3,000,000 and up – Inquire

If You Do Not Have an Agent or Broker

Our role is strictly legal in nature in this type of transaction. We do not stand in or substitute for a real estate agent or broker or perform those services. Our compensation is one-third of the commission amount payable at closing (subject to a 1% minimum) unless specifically provided otherwise in writing in advance.

Retainers discussed below are paid in advance as flat fees (not subject to hourly accounting), are non-refundable, and are not contingent upon whether or not the transaction successfully closes. If the transaction does not close, nothing further is owed.

The client must be able to competently do much of his own primary work (normally the duty of an agent or broker) himself, including preparing and negotiating his own contracts, etc.

Doing much of the primary contract and ground work is how the client earns a commission rebate. Our role is to offer the usual range of legal support to the client as the client (for the most part) conducts his own transaction.

Retainers mentioned below are paid in advance as non-refundable flat fees that are not subject to hourly accounting and are not contingent upon whether or not the transaction successfully closes. If the transaction does not close, however, nothing further is owed.

Advance retainers are per property and per transaction (i.e., a single retainer does not cover multiple offers, properties, or transactions). Regardless of outcome, all retainers of this type expire after 60 days.

Note that the following options are available only if the TREC or TAR contract is not yet signed and the client is not already represented by a broker or agent:

1. Fees if You are the SELLER and are NOT Represented by an Agent or Broker

Sales Price up to $600,000 – $750 advance non-refundable retainer, credited against one-third of commission payable by Seller at closing subject to a minimum of 1%

Sales Price of $601,000 to $1,100,000 – $1,500 advance non-refundable retainer, credited against one-third of commission payable by Seller at closing subject to a minimum of 1%

Sales Price of $1,100,000 to $2,999,999 – $2,250 advance non-refundable retainer, credited against one-third of commission payable by Seller at closing subject to a minimum of 1%

Sales Price of $3,000,000 and up – Inquire

2. Fees if You are the BUYER and ARE NOT Represented by an Agent or Broker

Sales price up to $900,000 – $750 non-refundable advance retainer to be credited against one-third of commission payable from the Seller’s broker’s gross commission at closing (minimum of 1%). Net cost to client = $0 plus the potential for a commission rebate.

Sales Price of $901,000 to $2,000,000 – $1,000 non-refundable advance retainer to be credited against one-third of commission payable from the Seller’s broker’s gross. commission at closing (minimum of 1%). Net cost to client = $0 plus the potential for a commission rebate.

Sales Price of $2,100,000 to $2,999,999 – $1,500 non-refundable advance retainer to be credited against one-third of commission payable from the Seller’s broker’s gross commission at closing (minimum of 1%). Net cost to client = $0 plus the potential for a commission rebate.

Sales Price of $3,000,000 and up – $2,500 non-refundable advance retainer to be credited against one-third of commission payable from the Seller’s broker’s gross commission at closing (minimum of 1%). Net cost to client = $0 plus the potential for a commission rebate.

Essentially, the above two options are an opportunity to get full legal advice and legal support plus (usually) a commission rebate (net after taxes, payable after closing) so long as you are willing and able to handle certain tasks yourself. Please do not enter into this arrangement with the expectation that we are going to be your full-service broker at a discounted rate.

“I’ve been an Austin real estate attorney and title closing office for almost 30 years, having relied on David Willis for specialized documents and consultations. His service is responsive, efficient, and cost effective. My team will continue to count on David’s services.”

“I have used the services of David Willis for over 10 years now for my real estate needs. He is the most accomplished attorney I have found. He has developed creative but sound solutions to many potential problems that I have encountered. He responds rapidly and as you know doing real estate improperly can cost you a ton. David Willis prevents those problems and assures you do it correctly.”

“I hired David Willis to help review all the paperwork for my parents when they sold their home. The email based sign up and review process was extremely efficient and each request I sent was handled very quickly. David worked closely with the real estate agents and verified that everything was in order before my parents signed any of the documents. He also arranged for a special clause to be added to both the contract and warranty deed that added extra legal protection in the deal. I selected the “full representation” option and feel it was worth it for the thoroughness and peace of mind factors.”

“I found David to be a very knowledgeable and professional attorney who has a wealth of experience in real estate legal matters. He runs a very efficient and professional practice and it was a very pleasant experience working with his firm. The best part about working with him was how responsive he is and that he always responds to emails directly himself. Highly recommended!”

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