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The New York Times Takes a Look at Texas Land Deals

The Law Office of C. William Smalling, P.C. Jan. 29, 2016

“The vultures are circling, but I’m going to do my best to keep them hungry.” That is the note I sent back to the client who forwarded me this New York Times article about land speculators hoping to snap up ranch land in Texas while oil prices are low. The article explains that rural land prices in Texas have historically followed oil prices, so now that oil is trading around $30 a barrel instead of $100, investors are looking to buy up land from desperate sellers.

The land this article is talking about is ranch land, but that is not the only property folks are going to look to unload if oil prices stay as depressed as they currently are, or the only property that can be a bargain if the price is right. There is going to be a lot of movement in the oil and gas industry over the coming months.

This article is a good reminder that you should always take time to have someone with your best interests in mind look over contracts you are thinking about signing. Even when time is of the essence, having an experienced attorney check to make sure the contract at hand actually matches the deal you think you are striking is critical

Doing a due diligence check is key whether you are buying or selling. In addition to making sure the contract accurately reflects the deal that is struck, a good attorney is also going to be able to tell you if there are any surprises hidden in the contract. For example, it is not always clear what legal liabilities are attached to a certain piece of property, and if there are liabilities, who is going to be responsible for them after the sale closes.

If the deal involves oil and gas or other mineral rights, you would be well-advised to engage an attorney with experience in that area rather than a traditional property lawyer.