Real Estate Law with Keval Patel

By 2018-12-03Radio Show

RPRE 205 | Real Estate Law

 

Doing business in real estate means not only getting yourself familiar with properties; you also have to get in touch with certain laws and legal procedures. Moving into the legal side of real estate, Keval Patel of Patel Law takes us into real estate law, sharing some legal advice on what to do and how to deal with certain situations that arise. He covers eviction as well as dealing with breach of contract. Keval also talks about the different title issues, the statute of limitation for wrongful foreclosure, and the different kinds of lawsuits – from trespass to try title to partition.

Listen to the podcast here:

Real Estate Law with Keval Patel

I’m excited to be joined with a good friend of mine and he’s also my attorney. It’s rare that you can say that, a good friend and attorney in the same sentence. It’s Keval Patel with Patel Law. I’d say that your specialty is real estate law. Wouldn’t you agree?

Yeah, absolutely.

Don’t call for a divorce. Don’t call for family. Don’t have a call for adoptions. You do business law and also real estate law. Everybody goes to law school that becomes an attorney or everyone that is an attorney has gone to law school. You learned everything about the law at law school. You’ve got to be tested over all of it. After you get out of law school, a lot of people reading may not know that you have to start specializing because the law is so broad that you can’t be an expert in all of it. You have to choose, “Do I want to be an oil and gas guy? Do I want to be a medical guy?” You’ve chosen real estate. What else would you say that you do besides real estate?

I do a lot of real estates. I’m an outside general counsel for a lot of small businesses. I do a lot of business law and I do some estate planning, which is ancillary to the other practices.

I know when we were first starting Houston House Buyers, we went to a particular guy that I knew from B&I days and he goes, “I’m not a litigator. I don’t do contracts.” He said, “I only do like business organizations.” He referred me to another guy. You’re a litigator. How often would you say you were in the courtroom?

It’s probably at least two, three times a week usually, depending on the week.

I know you do evictions?

I do a lot of evictions.

In case people are reading, they’ve got an eviction, they don’t want to handle themselves. What do you charge for an eviction typically?

I usually charge a flat fee. It’s $700 for a flat fee plus whatever the filing fee is, which is usually between $100 to $150.

How big around Houston would you typically go for filing? You’ll go to Fort Bend County. You’ll go to all of Harris County. Do you go up to Montgomery County? Would you go out to Beaumont?

It wouldn’t be worth it at that point. I could take it. What I do a lot of times if it’s out of town or too far, then I’ll outsource it. I’ll find a local guy to go and cover it for me. I have someone local there that will go and do the hearing, but I can still file it and monitor it.

You manage it from that standpoint, but you’ve got a network. You know other attorneys in the area, maybe someone you went to school with or that you’ve met because you have to do continuing education, like real estate agents do, or like insurance agents do, that kind of stuff. I’m sure you meet and you’re a great networker. Many attorneys that I meet, they’re just like you’re not that guy.

I try not to be. You’ve got to be a person as well. You can’t be a lawyer all the time. You’ve got to deal with people and the more you deal with them, the better it becomes. It’s all about relationships and not being that super aggressive over the top attorney.

How old were you when you knew that you want to be an attorney?

To be honest with you, I didn’t know until it was my second to last year at A&M. It was two years engineering. I thought I wanted to be an engineer like my dad.

Was there a particular course in engineering?

I just had a revelation. I was like, “I don’t want to be my dad.” I switched to Liberal Arts Pol Sci at the Bush School. I didn’t quite like that either. I didn’t know what I was going to do. Finally, I was like, “I’ll go to law school.” In my senior year, I decided to go to law school.

Which law school did you go to?

I went to Thurgood Marshall here in town.

You went to A&M. You’re A&M class of?

’02.

Question for Keval, “When a buyer signs all closing docs at the title company but fails to fund, what happens now? My attorney is out of town.”

Has the seller signed as well or does it depend on if all the docs have been signed?

Whoever is willing to take the least amount of return or the most risk is always the winner at the auction. Click To Tweet

The buyer hasn’t funded. They’re in breach of contract.

They’re in breach exactly. You could either file a suit. Depending if you’re on that track contract, one of your remedies is take the earnest money and run. If you want to force the sale, there’s something called specific performance that you can probably force them to sell it to.

If they don’t have the money, they don’t have the money. They’ve signed the contract. They’ve gone and done all the closing docs. She says, “Everything is signed.” I assume that the title company is asking a question. How many different title companies do you work with?

I don’t even know. It’s on any given day. Title companies are very finicky. It’s depending on who’s willing to get the job done. I reached out to at least five in Sugar Land. That’s where my office is. Whoever will do it?

Almost any title company will do bread and butter retail transactions where you’ve got a very clear seller of the property that may be bought the house five, six, seven, eight, ten years ago. There’s been no death in the family. There’s no IRS liens or other liens like that. It’s a matter of a seller selling to any title company can do that. What are some of the strange title issues that you’ve seen title companies have a pause?

There are so many different title issues I’ve come across all of them. I do a lot. I’ve represented a lot of investors. A lot of my clients will purchase properties at the foreclosure sale, which as you know, even though it’s a clean title, but yet it’s not good title and reputable title. What ends up happening is when you have a whole slew of other issues related to that. Once they buy it, then there are usually lawsuits involved, the former borrower will try to sue everybody. You have that on there.

A lot of people ask me, “Tom, do you ever buy properties at the foreclosure auction?” I say, “No, I don’t.” They say, “Why not?” There are two reasons why not. One is, when the list comes out in the state of Texas, you’ve got 21 days from the day the list comes out until the actual auction happens. All the properties on the list, I’d say more than half of them get cured between that 21-day list coming out and then the actual foreclosure happening. You’re doing due diligence on all the properties, you’re working on a set of 25, 30, 40 properties. It might get whittled down to five go to auction.

If I’m an investor, let’s say I’m looking for a 15% rate of return and you’re an investor looking for a 10% rate of return, you can always outbid me because you’re willing to take less returns or if I’m saying, “I’m willing to take this much risk,” and you say, “I’m willing to take more risks,” you can always outbid me because you wouldn’t. Whoever is willing to take the least amount of return or the most risk is always the winner at the auction. I’m like that by design, that’s a bad design from a business standpoint. I’ve never liked that. You also add in the risk factor that although you think you’re buying, if you’re buying in a first lien position or if you’re buying at the tax lien auction, you’re right, yes, you do. The tax lien is a super lean. Now you have a “clear title” that wipes everything out. It’s not a marketable title because no title insurance company will ensure that what’s the statute of limitation for wrongful foreclosure?

Wrongful foreclosure is four years. Not only that, if it’s a tax lien also, then you also have the redemption statute.

You have six months, if it’s not a homestead, two years if it’s a homestead. Four years for wrongful foreclosure. It means you’re stuck in that property for four years. The workarounds of that, if you were selling seller financing, not going through a title company or if you were keeping it as a rental, but the risk is that you could do repairs to the property and you have the redemption issue.

You don’t get paid.

I’ve seen people, and I’m sure you have too, that think that they may have a $50,000 minimum bid so therefore it must be a first lien position on a trustee sale and only to find out that it was a HELOC or it was a credit card debt or it was an HOA debt or something else. You’re like, “How is it possible that you have something that large not be a first lien position?” It certainly is possible.

RPRE 205 | Real Estate Law

Real Estate Law: The more you deal with people, the better relationships become.

 

You definitely want to get a title report on each property, which can become very time-consuming and difficult. The other thing like you had mentioned is there’s a lot of unknowns at foreclosure. If you and I are bidding on a property, you could be bidding it up in spite of me as opposed to any other. If you can’t control those numbers, it’s very difficult to make a profit. You have to know what you’re doing. Nowadays, the foreclosure room, there are so many people. It’s competitive.

Their cost of capital is oftentimes lower. I’ve gone on behalf of other investors. One time, I was going with a group of people. They were bringing $15 million to $20 million at the foreclosure auction. Their cost of money was 1% because a big hedge fund out of Connecticut raising money on Wall Street. They were selling bonds $500 million at a time at 1% bonds. You realize that they’re bringing a backpack with $15 million or $20 million worth of cashier’s checks. My cost of money is higher than 1%. Most peoples are. Again, they can buy on an on a ten cap where I need to be at fifteen or twenty. I don’t even like cap rates when I’m talking about flipping houses or keeping for buy and hold. I’ve always said that don’t use a cap rate on single-family unless you have at least 400 houses in a particular market. That’s what the hedge funds typically do as well. They trade on cap rates. Ginger has put the fear of calling behind her and she’s called in. Ginger from Amarillo. Welcome to the show. How are you?

I’m very good.

You were asking a question, go ahead and ask the question.

I have a buyer that has gone to closing at the title and failed to fund the deal.

This is a retail buyer or this is an investor buyer?

It’s an investor buyer.

You’re wholesaling the property?

Wholesaling.

Were you doing a double close or an assignment?

No, I own it. I bought it.

You bought the property. You closed on it. You contracted with another investor. You’re wholesaling it, but you’re doing a double close. The buyer, they promised to buy the property for how much?

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$37,000.

They signed your contract. Did you use a TREC One to Four?

I did.

You used a TREC One to Four, then they go to closing. They signed all the closing docs that they’re going to buy it. They fail to fund and their excuse is?

I have not heard one.

How long ago did they go to closing?

It was right before Thanksgiving. It’s the 20th I believe.

Did they have an agent or no?

I’ve got an agent. She’s the one that brought me the buyer.

What does the agent say? Are they in communication with the seller?

Periodically, but she’s fallen down on the deal too. She’s not helping out a lot.

Is the seller saying, “It’s coming. It’s like mañana or it’s coming or it’s not coming?

RPRE 205 | Real Estate Law

Real Estate Law: Nowadays, there are so many people in the foreclosure room; it’s competitive.

 

It was supposed to fund last week is what I was told.

It still hasn’t funded?

It still has not funded.

He doesn’t have the money or at least he’s not liquid. He’s either waiting to liquidate some other asset to have the cash or something like that, but the bottom line is he hasn’t performed on the contract. He’s past the expiration date of the contract. The contract was good for 30 days or was it for less than that?

Actually, I found it doing an amendment because he was working on funding. I was willing to work with him on that. We’re two months into it right now.

When is the deadline based on the latest amendment?

There have been so many date changes on this. I don’t have my timeline in front of me right now, but it’s been a couple of months.

He’s out of contract at least a couple of months?

At least a month.

How much earnest money did he put down?

I only had him put $500 down because I’ve worked with him before.

What you should do is take a look at paragraph fifteen on the TREC One to Four. There’s a paragraph that starts with default. Look in that paragraph and it’ll tell you specifically what your options are. Depending on what you included or did not include in the agreement, you may be able to enforce specific performance which essentially is forcing him to do it right. You’d have to sue him to do it.

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From a practical standpoint, we’re done at a $37,000 house. If he doesn’t have the money and how long the loss you could take, six months, a year? If he doesn’t have the money, he doesn’t have the money. Wouldn’t it be better to say, “Cut bait and run,” so to speak? Take his $500, put it back out on market and sell it to somebody else for $37,000.

You essentially could. It’s unfortunate though that you’re stuck in this situation because of him. You do have remedies and options. You’ve got to weigh those pros and cons and see what the financial consequences are because essentially if you are paying an attorney, it could cost you more. On a breach of contract, you are entitled to your attorney fees as well. If the individual has assets, other homes that are non-homestead, then it may be worthwhile to pursue it because then you do have remedies.

He does.

Maybe you send a demand letter. Have an attorney send a demand letter demanding he fund it in X days. Maybe that’ll move him in the right direction. I don’t know.

For us, it’s been rare that we’ve had a buyer back out at the last minute. I can’t say it’s never happened, but typically we’ve never taken as little as $500 worth of earnest money. We normally have a minimum of $2,500 because then they at least have some skin in the game.

You definitely want to get a good amount of earnest money for these situations because you never know what could happen. His circumstances may have changed.

We know how we learn our lessons.

There are two ways that you can learn lessons right, from your own mistakes or the mistakes of others. For all our audience, make sure that you don’t learn this lesson the same way. Billy is asking the questions, “Is the house in Houston? I don’t mind looking at if he can’t fund. I assume that it’s in Amarillo. Is that right, Ginger?

Yes, it’s in Amarillo.

Billy, it’s in Amarillo. If you want the beautiful metropolis of Amarillo, where the weather’s always pristine. How cold is it there in Amarillo?

We’re in the 30s.

RPRE 205 | Real Estate Law

Real Estate Law: There are two ways that you can learn lessons right: from your own mistakes or the mistakes of others.

 

Amarillo is a great place to be from. Thanks, Ginger. Thanks for giving us a call.

Thank you.

Earnest money matters. That’s one of the things that we’ve learned is that we’re typically in a situation where multiple people are looking to get properties that we put out on the market, especially when we’re wholesaling a deal. Our standard, we don’t take anything less than $2,500. We have a relatively tight time horizon from the time that we’re selling a property, especially something that’s $37,000. It has to be a cash deal or a hard money deal anyway. It’s not like you’ve got to wait for the traditional underwriting of retail purchase or those kinds of things. Most hard money lenders can fund in less than ten days. If it’s cash even quicker than that. Normally the thing that you have to wait on is clearing up the title.

If she’s already closed on it and nothing is changed since then, the title is not the holdup. We’ve literally close in as little as 48 hours before, especially with a cash buyer. Sometimes we’ve done it in as little as 24 hours. If you’re going to take us that small of amount of earnest money then it ought to be a quick closing. That’s the only reason why I could see doing something like that. Otherwise, it’s $2,500 on those close in ten days. It’s nonrefundable earnest money. Most of the time you’re supposed to give the earnest money to the title company. In this situation, earnest money normally comes to us because we don’t want to have to jack with signing releases and all that stuff. We’ve never ever failed to sell on a property or refund title or the earnest money whenever we’ve not been able to clear title.

A lot of times in these small instances, that may be your only remedy. If you don’t have anything to recoup, then you essentially have wasted your time. It’s good to get earnest money and nonrefundable. I like that. That’s a great plan too because that way even if they do back out, at least you have something for your time and effort.

One of the typical retail sales, you have options for refunding earnest money during the option period, for example. Secondarily, you also have it during the financing period if people don’t qualify for financing. When you’re talking about a $37,000 house, the investor should know that it needs everything. It’s obviously going to be in bad shape. It needs a lot of things. If you already know that you’re buying the property as is, the time to do your due diligence is before you put it under contract. That’s the way most investors operate. When I go walk a property, I’m not making an offer contingent on inspections and things like that. I can’t say it’s never happened, but it is so rare. It’s probably happened five times out of 500 houses. It’s less than 1% because we’ve walked that many houses. We know what we’re looking for. We account for the big-ticket items, which is the foundation, roof, plumbing and HVAC and then also termites or flood or whatever those situations. You know those things on the front end. I wanted to get into another topic, trespass to try title lawsuit. Describe what that is?

A trespass to try title would be if you and I claimed ownership on one property and essentially if we had conflicting claims of ownership, then I could file a suit against you claiming that you’re trespassing on my title. Those claims can be heirs. There are a lot of different circumstances where trespass to try title even a lot of these foreclosures. The former borrower may file a trespass to try title suit against the third-party purchaser claiming that they’re trespassing on their title. You have many circumstances where people have conflicting claims to one property and that’s where essentially you end up in a trespass to try title suit.

A partition lawsuit, how does that differ?

Partition is if you buy a portion of a property or you have an ownership or may be inherited, there’s another individual that does not either want to sell to you or is unwilling, uncooperative. You would seek to partition, which essentially if I own three-quarters of a property, you’ll own one quarter. We’d seek to partition my three quarters from your one quarter, essentially sell the property and then we both cash out. That’s another lawsuit that you would file, ask the court to essentially award you that remedy, which is to sell or pay you out one of the two depending on what the individual ends up doing.

You mentioned if it’s three quarters, one quarter, what happens if it’s 50-50? Does it work the exact same way?

It’s the exact same way. I was using arbitrary numbers. It could even be one-eighth and seven-eighths, anything. You could have less than 1% of a property. Depending on how that your title or however you ended up with the property, it could be a whole multiple.

How do judges typically look at a lawsuit like that? What are they looking at? What’s the law say that they have to consider?

They have to essentially make sure that what you’re claiming is accurate. One that you do own it. Whether you acquired that ownership through purchase or inheritance or whatever it may be. The remedy that you’re seeking is awarded. They need to make sure that they can do it right. Otherwise, you can’t have a conflicting claim where you can’t prove your ownership essentially.

If you don't have anything to recoup, then you essentially have wasted your time. Click To Tweet

Your website, I’ll go ahead and get that out. It’s Patel-Law.com. The first name is not Kevin, it’s Keval. It’s Keval@Patel-Law.com. You mentioned that you went to A&M. You spent the first two years undergrad engineering. I assume dad wanted you to be an engineer. You are going to be like dad and about two years into it you’re like, “I don’t want to be like dad.” Not that dad is a bad guy or anything like that. That’s the wrong reason to go be an engineer. You probably have some classmates from A&M days. They did that. As there are so many engineers that I know, they enjoyed it in school. They did it oftentimes because that’s what parents told them they should do. They’re in it. It’s not like it’s easy to get an engineering degree.

It’s a lot of work. It’s a good living. It’s not for me. It wasn’t for me. My brain doesn’t work in the same manner. They say that engineers are very left brained. For me, I wasn’t wired that way. Essentially, I’m glad I realized it because it would have been worse had I finished it and then realize later on, midway through my career that I need to make a career change.

That’s the worst situation is that you start climbing the ladder of success and you get near the top and you discovered it’s leaning against the wrong building. That’s terrible.

It’s too late and then you’re miserable.

Here’s the thing people don’t realize is that if you start climbing and you get to a certain point on that ladder of success on that one and leaning against the wrong building, it’s not like you leap from the top of this building to the top of another building. You normally have to climb all the way down this ladder. You have to go across the street. You start climbing another ladder. You’re starting at the bottom again. You don’t leap to the top of the next building.

Many times, you have to go back to school. If you’re older, if you have kids, whatever circumstances may be going back to school, may or may not be feasible. If you have to make money, you need some financial stability. If you go back to school, everything’s gone. You’re starting from scratch.

It’s tough to go to school. It’s hard enough going to law school when you were a student full-time. That’s what you did. You were a full-time student. Imagine trying to work and go to law school.

It would be hard and have a family. If you had a family as well, all of that would compound and be very difficult. My hat’s off to people that do it. It’s a lot of work. They don’t make it easy. It’s not geared for everyone to pass essentially. You’ve got to study for the BAR. He’s walking the BAR, three days of fun.

After three years of school, you already know it all. You walk in and ace it.

Simple, straightforward, easy.

We were talking about trespass to try title lawsuits. To summarize that it’s that if two people are claiming ownership of a property that’s competing with one another. That’s essentially what you’re saying, “I think I own all of this property. They claimed that they own all the property. We can’t agree on who owns it. We need the court to settle the dispute so we can clear up the title issues versus a partition lawsuit where there’s not a dispute necessarily. I own 50%. You own 50%. We can’t agree with what now what do we do either we’re not communicating. In fact, I have a situation like this right now that you’re working on with us.

I have two stepsisters, same dad but different moms. When dad passed away, the two stepsisters each inherited an undivided 50% interest in the property. They could not agree with what to do with the property. One sister lives out in California, the other sister lives here in Tomball. I’m not giving out too much information, but that’s the real story. Through one of our students, we got to know the person out in California. They wanted to sell their interest. We’re willing to do that at a discount. We bought an undivided one-half interest from the person that had inherited it.

RPRE 205 | Real Estate Law

Real Estate Law: The worst situation is when you start climbing the ladder of success but when you get near the top, you discovered it’s leaning against the wrong building.

 

Now, we own half and the other stepsister owns the other half. I’ve called and said, “Can we sit down? Let’s talk about this.” They go, “We don’t even want to talk yet because we need to research what you’ve done.” I’m like, “We can talk and research.” We can talk first research later. I’m not asking you to make a decision right now, but as it’s drawn out and drawn out. I finally got tired of waiting. The remedy for me now that I have an undivided one-half interest in the property is to force them to talk. That’s a partition lawsuit which we filed. They’ve tried dodging the service. At the end of the day that increases the cost, which is silly. What happens when somebody tries to dodge service? I’ve been served before and you’ve been served I’m sure. It doesn’t mean that you’ve done something wrong because you’ve been served.

It doesn’t make sense to dodge service because eventually, they will get you because essentially what happens is depending on what judge you’re in, what courtroom you’re in. It’s usually between four and six attempts by the process server. If they’re unable to serve them, then what we can do is, it’s called a Rule 106, which is essentially a substitute service. We go back to the court, ask the judge to post it on the door, or give it to anyone at the property and at that point, it is deemed served.

They post it on the door. They are it is so you don’t have to hand it. People hiding in the bushes, things like that to try and serve somebody. It doesn’t have to go to that extreme. They do attempt that up to six times. If they can’t hand it to you and like, “You’re served” as we see on TV or a movie or things like that, all in Texas, all they have to do is post it on the door. Why don’t they start with that?

It’s all about the notice. In order to give people notice, you have to physically transfer the papers. That’s what the process server’s job is.

If the process server is saying, “They know I’m trying to serve, but they’re evading. They’re trying not to be served. They’re aware that this is going on.”

If it’s very clear that they’re avoiding the process server, you have to get an affidavit from the process server stating, “I tried X amount of times. I confirmed.” A lot of times judges want you to confirm one that it is the residents or business or wherever you’re trying to serve them of the individual in some manner.

Talking to their neighbors.

It could be anything, neighbor or even mail, anything.

Check your mailbox like it’s addressed to them.

John Doe, he must live here or make sure that someone is physically either in the business or location. That way once you get that confirmation, get that affidavit, if you’re unable to serve them, then at that point, the law allows you to go post it. It is deemed served essentially.

What happens after they’re served? What happens next after that?

They have roughly twenty days. The way that it’s written is they have to answer on the Monday after the expiration of twenty days.

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I assume it’s calendar days because if you have any twenty-day period of time, sometimes you might have a holiday in there and that doesn’t extend the twenty days. Twenty days is a pretty long period of time. It’s not like they’re saying three business days on option period money or something like that. It’s twenty days plus that ends on a Wednesday or on a Tuesday that would be the worst-case scenario. It’s going to be the following Monday.

Unless Monday is a holiday. It will toll another week, but you have to answer it at that point. You have to provide a written answer to the court either denying or whatever your answer will stay. Maybe your affirmative defenses or whatever the claims may be. Once you file that answer, then the lawsuit has essentially begun. You go through discovery. A lot of times on partitions you may not need a lot of discovery because you may already have it. The research may have already be done. Maybe there’s a probate open depending on what the background is. Essentially you moved through like you would a normal trial. Either move for summary judgment or you’re saying, “You and I own X amount and we want to partition, then sell the property,” or you end up going to trial and proving it up. Your goal is to prove that you own this and they own that. All you need to do is pull your money out. You want to partition then sell. Either they buy you out or vice versa.

Either you buy them, they buy you or you both sell and each take your corresponding percentage.

You sell to a third party. Get your money out.

If you own a business and you want representation because you do that, all different types of lawsuits that a business might get involved in or if you need business advice as it relates to the law or set up a corporation, you do all of that as well. More specifically as it relates to all the different types of things that a real estate investor would get involved in, whether you do commercial real estate investing or residential because I assume you work with all different types of investors. You said a lot of people that invest in auctions, so you work with buy, fix and flippers that are buying at auction and flip properties. You work with buy and hold investors. You work with wholesalers I assume and all of that.

Whether it’s title issues, whether it’s evicting tenants because sometimes we’ve never had to evict a tenant that we’ve placed in the property. We’ve bought properties where we’ve had to evict tenants or sometimes we’ll get a property under contract and we’ll evict the tenant on behalf of the seller of the property. I remember the one up in Dallas where we contracted a property from the person that had inherited it from his parents. It was the son inherited the property for his parents. His grandson was living in the property, was claiming that he owned it. We’ve got a power of attorney from the son to represent him and also, he had a sister. We had a power of attorney from both of them to evict the grandson so that we could buy the property and all of that. You do all of that.

Chad is asking a question, “What are the steps of the purchase of acreage with mineral rights where the owner was deported and the ex-wife is trying to sell? The lawyers’ title is stuck on it.” We were talking about this. What did we discuss?

Essentially, you need to determine, when they got divorced, who owns it?

If it’s an ex-wife, was there an actual divorce? Sometimes you say, “All right, I’m done with you.” You don’t go through the divorce proceedings. We don’t recommend that. If you’re going to get divorced, might as well get divorced. If there’s an ex-wife, we’re going to assume there’s a divorce. You have to read the divorce decree and find out who got the land. If it’s her that got the land, then it’s pretty easy. Here’s what gets tricky is the land could be in one county and the divorce could have been in another county. The divorce filing is going to be in the county where the divorce was filed. It may be all settled in that divorce filing, but then that paperwork hasn’t been filed in the county where the land is because that’s where the title company is going to be looking up. That’s one possibility. If it wasn’t dealt with in the divorce decree and we assume it was community property and not inherited. There are a lot of factors that go into this. Let’s say she inherited it from her family and as long as she didn’t commingle it with, it’s not community property because the inherited property is sole and separate property.

If the other individual does own it and he was deported then there’s no way to clear the title unless you can find him wherever he got deported to and pay him some money and get him to sign a deed otherwise, I don’t know.

Maybe the ex-wife still stays in contact. In which case you can get a signature even overseas. We’ve had people, for example, that have gotten divorced. The sellers in Korea or they’re in London or places like that. What they typically have to do is go to a US embassy or a consulate where there’s a notary and they can go in there and schedule an appointment, the documents can be sent there and get notarized. He got the land, she said they were still married when deported. If he got the land in the divorce and she doesn’t have anything to sell, you have to contact him. It’s a matter of finding where he is and hopefully, she has a contact for that. That answers that question.

That means that she doesn’t have anything. When he got deported, it doesn’t matter. You’re allowed to own land here and still not be a residence here. Non-residents are allowed to own land here. You don’t have to be a citizen of the United States to own land in the United States. It’s different in other countries. I know laws here. One more thing I want to share. If you want to build wealth through real estate, we’ve bought fixed and flipped over 500 houses. We teach how to buy, fix and flip, how to wholesale and how to buy and hold, go to RightPathRealEstate.com and get registered for free. Thanks so much. Keval, thanks for coming in.

Thank you, Tom. I appreciate it.

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About Keval Patel

RPRE 205 | Real Estate LawKeval Patel began his career working for one of the nation’s top five accounting firms. He worked in the firm’s Research and Development Tax Credit Group where he performed both a consulting and legal role. Keval’s primary responsibilities involved assisting Fortune 500 companies to quantify and qualify R&D activities. In addition, Keval represented clients in the audit process against the IRS.

After leaving the accounting firm, Keval opened his own practice in the Sugar Land area. He spent the first few years representing clients in a variety of legal matters including criminal defense, civil litigation, tax, probate, contract disputes, and real estate. Prior to becoming a founding member of Ghalayini & Patel, LLC, Keval’s focus became real estate, estate planning, and tax.

Keval Patel represents clients on real estate matters including foreclosure defense, predatory lending, eviction proceedings, landlord security deposit disputes, and title issues. Keval has successfully prosecuted real estate claims in addition to defending them. Currently, Keval has been focused on assisting homeowners with foreclosure issues including suing banks to hold them accountable for promises made to unsuspecting homeowners.

Keval was recently featured in a Channel 11 newscast regarding one of his clients and the work relating to assisting the homeowner save his home. In addition to real estate, Keval assists individuals plan their estates through the implementation of living wills and trusts. Keval’s final area of focus centers around IRS defense and assisting individuals with tax problems. Due to Keval strong history in tax, Keval has been able to negotiate deals for taxpayers who are heavily in debt with the Internal Revenue Service. Keval utilizes his tax knowledge in his Estate Planning practice to minimize taxes.

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