The following websites contain useful information that I frequently rely upon in my San Antonio, Texas real estate law practice. I hope that you find them to be useful resources for legal research and understanding:
- Bexar County Appraisal District allows you to search properties by address or owner name. Current appraised value, valuation history, property tax assessments and property characteristics are listed here. Our favorite aspect is at the very bottom of each property listing — the deed history. See my video tutorial for a detailed explanation of how to find deed records using BCAD info.
- Texas State Law Library is the public library that also serves the legal research needs of the Texas Supreme Court, the Court of Criminal Appeals, the Office of the Attorney General, and other Texas state agencies and commissions.They have an extensive digital collection, electronic databases, and resources generally relating to the practice and history of law in Texas. The library is physically located in Austin.
- Bexar County Courts Portal contains a directory of the Judges (at all court levels) in Bexar County, Texas, along with useful links to court staff and county officials, as well as court rules and policies.
- Texas Statutes is the Texas Legislature’s “official” electronic version of Texas laws, as well as the Texas Constitution and Texas Administrative Code. The statutes are searchable by title and number. This is a go-to resource for reading the express content of the laws in Texas.
- Google Scholar is an incredible resource for legal research assembled by the folks at Google. It is essentially “Google for the law,” and contains an extensive, searchable tool of legal writings (law review articles, etc.) and case law from the federal and state courts. I find Scholar to be so comprehensive that I have abandoned my subscriptions to expensive legal databases marketed to lawyers.
- Bexar County District Clerk is the administrator of all Bexar County district court files, records, effects, and conservator of the court registry. Her website contains a court records search that can be utilized to review the litigation history of people and entities. The docket sheet (or list of filed papers) for active and closed cases can also be viewed. Unlike other counties in Texas, and the federal court’s PACER system, the actual papers filed in court cases cannot be viewed online.
- Texas Real Estate Commission Forms & Contracts. Although intended for use by TREC licensees, commonly-used promulgated forms such as disclosure documents, notices, contracts and addenda are viable for download. The TREC Public Page also contains consumer information, and a searchable database of real estate license holders.
- Bexar County Clerk Public Records requires a free registration prior to use. This site is worth registering for, and has saved me hundreds of trips to the courthouse. Recorded deed, plat, lien and other land records (as well as assumed name and marriage certificates) are available for view and printing in a searchable database. Although the database is not 100% user-friendly, recorded documents can be saved and printed from your computer.
- Texas Court Rules & Standards page hosted by the Texas Judicial Branch maintains a wealth of valuable information for any person utilizing the Texas court system. The Rules of Civil Procedure and Evidence, Appellate Procedure, and Judicial Administration (along with others) can be found here in all of their unabridged glory. Local rules to many courts are also available.
- Texas Court Forms are a popular website for pro se litigants. While we rarely use these forms, we often receive inquires about where they may be found.
- Supreme Court of Texas is the “highest” and court of last resort for civil matters in the State of Texas. Its website contains released opinions, a searchable database of cases, briefs filed in cases before the court, and a portal to watch current and historical oral argument before the court.
- Texas Attorney General is the chief law enforcement officer in the State of Texas. The AG’s office is also responsible for ensuring open government in Texas, providing consumer protections, and litigating matters on behalf of the citizens of Texas. In addition to having a frequently-updated newsfeed, the website has a searchable database of Attorney General Opinions, and useful consumer protection information.
- Texas Legislature
- Active Rain Real Estate Community