Category Archives: Purchasing Property

Transferring the Over-65 or Disabled Property Tax Exemption

Dr. Blake Bennett and I co-authored a fact sheet on an important, but not widely known, concept related to property taxes. Most people are familiar with the over-65 exemption and the disabled exemption for property taxes, which allows for an additional $10,000 homestead exemption for school district taxes.  Additionally, the over-65 exemption and the disabled exemption freeze the value of the homestead for school tax purposes a the dollar value when the person initially claimed this additional exemption on their homestead.   The market value can continue to increase… Read More →

Rights of First Refusal and the Importance of Record Notice

A right of first refusal can be a good way to ensure a person has an option to purchase property before it is sold to another.  However, as the Amarillo Court of Appeals recently considered in Mr. W. Fireworks, Inc. v. 731 Properties, LLC, certain steps must be taken to ensure enforceability of this right.  [Read opinion here.] Background Mr. W Fireworks, Inc. (“Mr. W”) owns fireworks stands across Texas, New Mexico, and Oklahoma.  One of its stands is on Soncy Road in Amarillo on land that it leased… Read More →

October 22, 2021 Weekly Round Up

Here are some of the ag law stories that have been in the news recently. *HSUS files lawsuit against Smithfield.  The Humane Society of the United States has filed suit against Smithfield Food alleging the company made false claims regarding animal care standards that mislead consumers.  In particular, the lawsuit takes aim at claims related to gestation crates and group housing of sows.  [Read article here.] *Groups object to EPA rule banning chlorpyrifos.  You may recall from this prior blog post that the EPA passed a rule that… Read More →

Case Addresses Mineral Reservation Language Dispute

The Austin Court of Appeals recently addressed the issue of mineral reservation in a deed in Ross v. Flower, offering important reminders for Texas landowners and property purchasers. Background This case revolves around the interpretation of a paragraph in a deed for 20-acres of land in Fayette County. In 1999, the Rosses owned the surface and mineral interests for the 20-acre tract at issue.  In April 1999, the Rosses executed a General Warranty Deed conveying the property to Richard & Patricia Church.  Specifically, the Deed stated that the… Read More →

Case Offers Reminder of Statute of Fraud Requirements for Property Description

A recent opinion in Dayston, LLC v. Brooke, offers a good reminder of the importance of clear, precise descriptions when drafting contracts and a good overview of the requirements of the Statute of Frauds.  [Read opinion here.] Background  In October 2017, Dayston, LLC (the seller) and Brooke (the buyer) entered into an agreement for the purchase of land.  The parties executed a Farm and Ranch contract (Contract) and Brooke paid the required earnest money. The Contract described the property as follows:  “The land situated in the County of Erath,… Read More →

2020 USDA Land Values Summary Report

In August, the USDA released its Land Values Summary Report for 2020. [View Report here.] The report indicates that nationwide, land values were stable, showing no change from the 2019 report.  For “farm real estate value,” which takes into account the value of all land and buildings on farms, the average value was $3,160.  For cropland, the average value was $4,100/acre.  For pastureland, the average value was $1,400/acre. The report also looks at various regional measurements. Farm real estate average value is the highest in the Corn Belt… Read More →

Undisclosed Surface Lease Offers Important Reminders to Property Purchasers

The Eastland Court of Appeals recently issued an opinion in a case involving the purchase of land, a surface lease not disclosed by the seller but noted in the title commitment, and claims of fraud.  [Read opinion here.] Background Parmelly owned 700 acres of land in Taylor County, Texas.  The land was naturally divided by a steep bluff into an “upper” and “lower” part.  The lower part of the property was about 225 acres. In 1999, Parmelly signed a surface lease with Vulcan Construction Materials that covered most… Read More →

2019 Rural Land Value Trends Report

Each year, the Texas Chapter of the American Society of Farm Managers & Rural Appraisers publishes the Texas Rural Land Value Trends report.  This document provides helpful, interesting information for Texas landowners on both average property value and lease rates for agricultural land across the state.  They recently released their 2019 report.  [Click here to download.] The average price per acre in Texas increased by 6.4% from last year to $2,972/acre.  The publication divides the state into 7 regions, and then further divides each region into sub regions. … Read More →

Case Offers Important Considerations When Purchasing Property

A recent case from the Corpus Christi Court of Appeals, Chapa v. Arrellano, caught my attention and offers the chance to talk through some important reminders for anyone purchasing land. Background In August 2017, Chapa purchased a piece of land from the Arrellanos in Hidalgo County, Texas.  She intended to build a home on the property.  Prior to purchase, she conducted a visual inspection of the land and saw no visible impediment for the construction of a home on the property.  She did not hire a title company or… Read More →

2019 USDA Land Values Summary

The USDA recently released their 2019 Land Values Summary, which reports average agricultural land values across the United States.  To view the report, click here.   The report looks at the value of agricultural land across the country in several different categories.  Information comes from USDA National Agriculture Statistics Service survey responses. The broadest measure of land value in the report is the “farm real estate value.”  This measures the current market value of “all land and buildings used for agricultural production, including dwellings.”  For 2019, the average… Read More →