Articles Posted in Real Estate

In our last blog entry on San Antonio adverse possession of real estate , we touched on the conditions of the 3 year and 5 year statute of limitations for an owner to bring an action to recover property held in adverse possession.

Under the ten (10) year statute of limitations, an owner of land must bring suit to recover land held in adverse possession by a party that cultivates, uses, or enjoys the property. This is the most common statute of limitations, since most parties in adverse possession do not hold the land under a title or deed and have not paid any real estate taxes. Without a title, theoretically, a person in adverse possession is entitled to no more than 160 acres.

The final statute of limitations is the twenty-five (25) year limitations period. This is the catch-all limitations period that applies regardless of whether the owner had a disability during the time of adverse possession. An owner who sues for recovery from an adverse possessor may under the law suffer from a disability. Texas real estate law recognizes that an original owner may have a disability such as being a minor (under 18), having an unsound mind, or serving in the military during a time of war. The time of disability is not included in a limitations period. Texas law however essentially cuts off an owner’s right to sue for recovery of land held in adverse possession regardless of disability if 25 years passes after the adverse possessor first occupies the property.

Imagine you have inherited a large, vacant piece of Texas land from your beloved uncle. You are excited, because the land holds promising residential and commercial real estate development. You travel out to view the land, and you notice a large mobile home parked on the land accompanied by what appears to be utilities, including a septic tank and electrical hook up. You are shocked, because no had ever mentioned to you that the land could be occupied. You have no idea how long they have been there, and war stories of adverse possession start circulating through your head.

Before you become too anxious, perhaps the following primer on San Antonio and greater Texas adverse possession will be helpful. Under the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code , the term “adverse possession” refers to a situation where a party makes an actual and visible takeover of land that is considered hostile and inconsistent with the claim of another party. The possession must occur over a period of time in which there is no suit by the landowner to recover the property.


There are multiple statutes of limitations on adverse possession in Texas.

In San Antonio and greater Texas, under the Texas Business and Commerce Code, the courts will not enforce a contract for the sale of real estate unless such an agreement is in writing and signed by the parties to the agreement or their agents. Tex. Bus.& Com. Code § 26.01. Such a requirement is an essential legal concept known as the Statute of Frauds, which requires certain agreements such as those for the sale of land to be in writing.

In order for the courts to enforce specific provisions of a real estate contract for sale, the written agreement must be such that the terms are expressed with a reasonable certainty. Also, the courts will require that the party demanding the contract be enforced show that it in fact has complied with all his or her obligations under the contract.

Sometimes, a party will claim fraud on an oral contract for sale of real estate. The courts however reject this legal theory on the basis that the alleged contract was inherently unenforceable under the statute of frauds.

In our last discussion, we reviewed Texas General and Special Warranty Deeds . Quit Claim Deeds transfer real estate from seller to buyer only if the seller has something tangible to transfer. The major key to a quit claim deed is that there is absolutely no promise by the seller that the seller owns the property or can transfer a tangible property. A quit claim deed does not warranty title – it simply transfers whatever interest the seller might have in the property, even if the seller has no interest. Quit claim deeds are accepted for title insurance purposes from Texas governmental authorities or municipalities.

While Texas quit claim deeds are generally frowned upon, they do have some value in clearing title to property. Sometimes, there are questions as to whether a person might have a claim to the property such as being an heir. In such situations, this individual may not have an interest and would not be willing to warranty title. Therefore, they would use a quit claim deed.


The county courts generally keep certified copies of all deeds. In some cases, Bexar County in San Antonio can provide digital online copies of deeds. In order to accept the deed for recording, certain items must be included in the deed. Such items include a confidentiality notice as to any social security number or driver’s license number. Other specific information include the full name of the grantor and grantee, as well as the address of the grantee. The deed should also contain a legal description of the Texas property including the lot and block description.

Throughout San Antonio and Texas, many people have to buy and sell real estate using a variety of deeds. While it certainly helps to have a Texas real estate lawyer , you should understand the various difference between the deeds so you are at optimal protection when buying property.

There are three basic types of deeds used to buy and sell Texas real estate – general warranty deed , special warranty deed, and quit claim deed. Today, we will discuss special and general warranty deeds.

Whether you are selling a home, commercial property, or just plain land in San Antonio, the purchaser will want you to provide assurances that you actually own the property and possess the legal right to sell it. The buyer will probably be getting a loan. The lender will request guarantees that you as the seller are providing complete title to the real property and that the lender can place a legally enforceable lien on the property.

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