Michael Farah is the founder and managing attorney of the Farah Law Firm. Mike graduated from the University of New Hampshire School of Law with a Juris Doctor and an L.L.M. in Intellectual Property. A native Texan, he completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Texas at Austin. He enjoys traveling with his wife, flying planes, skiing, and spending time on the family farm. Mike is licensed to practice law in Texas and New York.
Most people injured by a drunk driver are aware that they are entitled to compensation related to the compensatory damages they have sustained, including medical expenses, pain, and suffering, lost wages, etc. However, many folks are not aware of the potential to recover exemplary damages as well. (more…)
It’s that time of year again. Yes, tax time. If you’re like me, you received a notice from your appraisal district notifying you of the proposed value of your property for the current tax year. However, what many of you do not know is what to do if you are dissatisfied with the appraised value of your home, or if errors exist in the appraisal records regarding your property. In this post, I’ll quickly guide you through the processes of how appraisal districts value your property and how to go about protesting your property’s appraised value should you need to. (more…)
The goal of the 1-d-1 agricultural “exemption” appraisal method is to only tax that portion of your property being used for the specific type of agricultural method based on the income potential of that use. Article VIII, Section 1-d-1, Texas Constitution, and Chapter 23, Subchapter D, Texas Property Tax Code, provides for appraisal of open-space land.
This method is most important if you own or maintain any sort of agricultural land, be it cattle pastures or ranch, farm, grazing, or hay production land. The 1-d-1 appraisal is even allowed for raising horses in certain circumstances.
Land qualifies for special appraisal (1-d-1 appraisal) if it has been (1) used for agriculture for five of the preceding seven years and is currently devoted principally to agricultural use as defined by statute, (2) used to protect federally listed endangered species under a federal permit, or (3) used for conservation or restitution projects under certain federal and state statutes. The land must also be used for agriculture to the degree of intensity generally accepted in the area. The value of the land is based on the annual net income from a typical lease arrangement that would have been earned from the land during the five-year period preceding the year before the date of appraisal by an owner using ordinary prudence in the management of the land and the farm crops and livestock produced or supported on the land, including income received from hunting or recreational leases. (more…)
It’s a fact: breaking up is hard to do. But whether you and your spouse are going through an amicable or contentious divorce, it is extremely important to be careful when it comes to dividing your assets, particularly any and all real estate you own. (more…)
If you’re facing a real estate transaction, the prospect of gathering, reviewing, filling out, and filing all of the attendant documents may seem overwhelming. Indeed, the volume of paperwork and seemingly complicated real estate jargon can be confounding. But it doesn’t have to be. Here are five tips to help you navigate the not-so-tricky world of real estate documents. (more…)
According to the FBI, property and mortgage fraud is the fastest growing white collar crime in the United States. By definition, mortgage fraud schemes employ some type of material misstatement, misrepresentation, or omission relating to a real estate transaction which is relied on by one or more parties to the transaction. Such schemes can include:
Foreclosure rescue schemes
Loan modification schemes
Illegal property flipping
Builder bailout/condo conversion
Equity skimming (a type of foreclosure rescue scheme that often targets low-income homeowners)
Silent second (a secondary loan on a property that is not disclosed to the lender of the original loan)
Home equity conversion mortgage
Commercial real estate loans
Air loans (a scheme involving a fictitious property and borrower)
The FBI reports that in 2007 there were 46,717 mortgage fraud suspicious activity reports (SARs). By 2011, that number had risen to 93, 508, and it’s still continuing to rise. (more…)
Small-town Burleson, Texas, recently made national headlines when 16-year-old Ethan Couch managed to avoid jail time after killing four people in a drunk driving accident this past summer on Burleson Retta Road. Judge Jean Boyd sentenced Couch to 10 years probation after a clinical psychologist testified that the teen suffered from “affluenza,” a condition that causes privileged teenagers to believe there are no consequences for their actions.
Many people feel that Couch’s sentence is far too lenient, but regardless of your opinion on the case, the fact remains that four people died as a result of someone’s negligent behavior behind the wheel. And incidents like this one happen all too often. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, there were nearly 1,100 DUI fatalities and nearly 9,500 serious DUI injuries in the state in 2012.
Drinking and driving is especially prevalent during the holidays, when alcohol abounds at parties and family get-togethers. This year, in light of this increased likelihood of inebriated drivers hitting the roads, Tarrant County has instituted a “no refusal” policy, which began on Christmas Eve and will continue through New Year’s. “No refusal” means that if a driver refuses to submit to a breathalyzer or blood test, a warrant will be obtained so that he or she will be forced to consent. Judges will be on call to issue the warrants, and the county has hired nurses to draw blood. (more…)
They say that the only two things that are certain in life are death and taxes…
…but thanks to homestead exemptions, that isn’t necessarily true.
In Texas, homestead exemptions help homeowners protect the value of their homes from exorbitant property taxes, aggressive creditors, and issues related to the death of the homeowner’s spouse. Applying for a homestead exemption can lower the taxable value of your house (thereby reducing your tax liability) and provide a firmer basis for homestead protection.
In order to claim your residence homestead exemption for 2013, you must submit your application between January 1 and April 30, 2014. (more…)
You may have heard the story. Just a few weeks ago, on December 4, a 32-year-old Iraq war veteran named James Vester was shot to death after responding to a Craigslist ad for an iPad, which he intended to purchase as a Christmas gift for a parent. He drove to a parking lot on the west side of Indianapolis to meet the “seller,” only to be robbed and murdered shortly after his arrival. Two young men, ages 18 and 19, have been charged in the case.
Sadly, stories like this one are all too common. Scams on websites such as Craigslist target unsuspecting individuals who find themselves caught up in the lure of a supposedly great deal, only to be swindled, robbed, beaten—or worse.
When it comes to renting or buying a home, you should be aware that landlords and sellers who list properties on sites like Craigslist can be especially ruthless, so it’s important to know what to watch for and what to do if you find yourself the victim of a fraudulent listing. Following are a few of the most important red flags to watch for. (more…)
Welcome to FarahLegal.com, the online home of The Farah Law Firm. This blog will serve as a place where you can find helpful legal advice and keep tabs on the latest news in real estate law. Our experienced team of attorneys will be adding new posts on a weekly basis, so be sure to check back frequently.
At The Farah Law Firm, we’re dedicated to providing you with the best possible legal counsel at a reasonable cost, and we work diligently and efficiently to help our clients avoid drawn-out legal proceedings. We’ve created this blog in hopes of providing you with a trustworthy and easy-to-access online resource that you can turn to as you navigate any and all legal issues you may encounter.
Have an interesting legal question or an idea for a topic you’d like to see us cover? Feel free to contact us at any time with your comments and suggestions.
We look forward to sharing our expertise and discussing important legal news with you both here on our website and in person at our office in Arlington, Texas.
“I hired The Farah Law Firm for the non-traditional sale of my residential property. The Farah Law Firm’s professionalism and outstanding knowledge of residential transactions made the sale go smoothly. The Attorneys and staff at the Farah Law Firm were understanding and took the time to explain each step of the process. They will be... Read More »
The residential real estate closing process can be confusing for a homebuyer, property developer, or investor. A real estate closing involves finalizing a property sale, which includes signing documentation to trigger the property transfer. The process takes place during an already stressful time and can be susceptible to possible setbacks. The... Read More »
For many people, owning property — particularly your own home — is a major part of the proverbial “American Dream.” In the past, only the very wealthy were able to become landowners. But today, home and property ownership are possible for more people than ever. And because of the nature of property ownership, and the fact... Read More »
Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic sweeping the country, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued an order (the Order) on September 4, 2020, that temporarily places a moratorium on residential evictions. This order is in effect from September 4, 2020, through December 31, 2020. At this time, many tenants have questions about how the... Read More »
With the recent outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in the United States, all Americans are forced to wonder how this pandemic will affect their lives going forward. It’s hard to imagine any aspect of life that won’t be affected by this global tragedy. Landlords, tenants, and real estate investors in particular are already facing many... Read More »