Lawyers representing brokers in Texas Association of Realtors arbitration.

We represent real estate agents and brokers in Texas Association of Realtors arbitration.

The Texas Association of Realtors arbitration process has many pitfalls that realtors are not told about. There are technical rules and references the state law that no one explains. As lawyers, we have been very successful in representing real estate agents and brokers in arbitration matters.

This is a story about a Texas Association of Realtors arbitration case we won for a Texas real estate broker that was simply impossible to believe, but it’s true.

We represent a Texas real estate broker who listed a property for a seller. The buyer initially viewed the property without an agent. But the buyer had a relative who was an agent. The buyer’s agent then proceeded to assist the buyer but agreed to zero commission to keep the price of the property lower.

The Sales Contract between the buyer and seller indicated in two separate places that no commission would be due to the buyer’s agent and this signed contract was emailed back and forth between our client and the buyers agent before execution and closing with no objections from the buyer’s agent.

The buyer’s agent further showed up at closing and made no objections to the fact that she was not receiving a commission at closing.

Nevertheless, the buyer’s agent filed an arbitration claim against our client (the listing broker) seeking 3% commission stating that the MLS listing offering 3% commission was the only relevant agreement between brokers and that the Sales Contract was irrelevant.

We took the matter to arbitration and after a full hearing involving multiple witnesses the Texas Association of Realtors Panel found unanimously in favor of the listing agent and no commission was awarded.

This was another example when the power at your disposal when you have a savvy and knowledgeable representative.


Arresting the Debtor - Collecting Judgments in Texas

Turn the heat up. Then turn it up some more.

You’ve shown the debtor several times now that you mean business, but they’re still not getting the message. Because they’ve ignored repeated requests for information, the court has held them in contempt. For many in this situation, this is the end of the road. When faced with the threat of going to jail, debtors are often eager to resolve matters and you’re able to collect the judgment.

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Motion to Compel - Motion for Contempt - Collecting Judgments in Texas

You’re committed, but debtors can be stubborn.

At this point in the process, you’re working hard to collect your judgment. You’ve made it more difficult for the debtor to get new lines of credit, and you’ve investigated which of their assets could be used to pay off their debt.

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Writ of Garnishment + Foreign Judgment = Paid in Full

Writ of Garnishment + Foreign Judgment = Paid in Full

Some of our most interesting and successful work involves the enforcement and collection of foreign judgments issued by courts in other states. Relying on the Texas Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act, we regularly help clients enforce and collect foreign judgments with speed and efficiency.

Typically, debtors are unaware that we have even started the process of domesticating a judgment from another state. Even though they know the judgment has been entered, they are almost always surprised to learn that we have been quietly working behind the scenes to make sure our client gets paid.

One of our favorite (and most reliable) tactics is to file the foreign judgment in a Texas court before waiting a few minutes to file a separate writ of garnishment with the debtor’s bank. When we do this, the debtor has no idea what is coming since the writ of garnishment will be served on their bank before they even know that the judgment has been domesticated in Texas.

That’s the same model we used in one foreign judgment case by domesticating a judgment and filing a writ of garnishment back-to-back. We received a fax the next day from the bank’s lawyer confirming the amount of the foreign judgment and letting us know that the debtor had plenty of funds to cover the full amount.

Within an hour, the debtor’s lawyer called and asked that we dismiss our garnishment in exchange for a payout over 60 days. Naturally, we declined since we already had access to the funds, and it was a good thing we did. We later learned that the debtor had just borrowed a large sum of money to pay off another obligation, which had yet to be funded. Our garnishment froze the account, and the rest is history.

A major factor in this case was the fact that our client had kept copies of the checks from the debtor’s bank account and their credit application. With that information in hand, we collected the entire judgment in 72 hours.

This story provides an important lesson and a question we ask all of our collections clients: “Are you accumulating bank account information for your customers?”


Post-Judgment Deposition – Collecting Judgments in Texas

It all comes down to this: The only way to get the debtor’s attention in debt collection matters is to be the number one item on the debtor’s agenda.

How do you accomplish this?  As we’ve said before, you must be the squeaky wheel that won’t go away. If showing your commitment by employing Post-judgment written discovery doesn’t do the trick, the next step might. The Post-judgment deposition is where many debt settlements often occur.

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