Month: August 2014

Engineering in Three Sentences

Engineering is “the application of science and mathematics by which the properties of matter and the sources of energy in nature are made useful to people.” The State of Texas regulates the licensure of engineers and the practice of engineering. Generally, an engineer may not engage in the practice of architecture unless she is also licensed as an architect.texas practice of engineering

In our Law 101 posts, we define terms, phrases, or concepts with the goal of conveying core information in order to set the stage for more complex discussions.

What Exactly is “Closing” on Real Estate?

When is closing? Where is the closing? Will you both be present at closing? We can talk about it at closing.

You don’t have to be a sophisticated real estate investor in order to have heard the term closing. All homeowners have gone through the process. But what exactly is the process, and why is it called closing?

closing texas real estate transactionClosing is short for closing the transaction. It includes a determination that (1) all delinquent taxes on the property have been paid; (2) all current taxes based on the latest information have been properly prorated between the buyer and the seller; (3) the sales price has been paid; (4) all proceeds have been properly disbursed; (5) a final search of the property title has been made; and (6) all documents required to complete the sales transaction and conveyance have been signed, acknowledged, and filed for record, as appropriate.

In our Just for Fun posts, we underscore certain construction and real estate topics just for the fun of it.

Restrictive Covenants in Three Sentences

Restrictive covenants, or deed restrictions, are agreements to do or refrain from doing something with land and related improvements. They may be mandatory, prohibitive, permissive, and/or administrative in nature. They’re often imposed by developers as a means of implementing certain goals.texas restrictive covenants deed restrictions

In our Law 101 posts, we define terms, phrases, or concepts with the goal of conveying core information in order to set the stage for more complex discussions.

Overview of the Texas Construction Trust Fund Act

The Texas Construction Trust Fund Act (the “Act”) imposes fiduciary responsibilities on contractors to ensure that their subcontractors and suppliers are paid for their labor and materials.

texas construction trust fund actConstruction payments are considered trust funds if they are made to a contractor, subcontractor, or to their agent under a construction contract for the improvement of specific realty in Texas. In this scenario, the contractor, subcontractor, owner, or their agent who receives or has control of the trust funds is deemed to be a trustee. And the subcontractors or suppliers who furnished labor or materials for the construction or repair of an improvement on the property are the beneficiaries of any trust funds paid or received in connection with the improvement.

“Any trustee who, intentionally or knowingly or with intent to defraud, directly or indirectly retains, uses, disburses, or otherwise diverts trust funds without first fully paying all current or past due obligations incurred by the trustee to the beneficiaries of the trust funds, has misapplied the trust funds.”

A trustee who misapplies trust funds amounting to $500 or more, or who fails to establish or maintain a separate construction account when required, may be criminally prosecuted and the subject of a civil lawsuit. Criminal violations are class A misdemeanors or third degree felonies.

In our Law 101 posts, we define terms, phrases, or concepts with the goal of conveying core information in order to set the stage for more involved and complex discussions.