Any real estate transaction made today may require the involvement of a wide variety of professionals including brokers, bankers, inspectors, appraisers, surveyors, insurance agents, and attorneys. There are so many moving parts that many buyers and sellers have confusion about the part played by each figure. The role of the real estate attorney is often one of the most critical for buyers, and yet also one of the least understood. Here is some general information about the services that a real estate attorney will typically provide for a buyer in the state of North Carolina.
Title Work and Documentation
The buyer’s real estate attorney is in charge of all title work. In general terms, “title” refers to evidence that proves a person’s legal right to ownership of a property. Title work involves a search of all of the pertinent land records at the Registry of Deeds related to a particular piece of property, dating back for a period of at least 30 years. This part of the search uncovers unsatisfied mortgages, easements, plats, or other types of property restrictions. The attorney also searches both state and federal court records for any type of legal proceedings that could effect property such as bankruptcy, foreclosure, or when an owner of a property has been deemed to be mentally incompetent.
The buyer’s real estate attorney uses the findings of the title search to order title insurance. All lenders require buyers to purchase title insurance before closing. The attorney also serves as an advocate for the client with the bank. The attorney assures that the fees charged by the bank are correct and reviews the terms of the loan agreement and other bank documents for accuracy.
Finally, the real estate attorney conducts the closing. On the day of closing, the attorney reviews all bank documents with the client and oversees the signing process. Afterwards the attorney ensures that the pertinent documents are recorded at the Registry of Deeds. After the documents are recorded, the attorney disperses the funds from the closing in compliance with the settlement statement.
Choosing an Attorney
Understanding the role of the attorney can help a buyer select the individual or firm that they are most comfortable with. North Carolina law currently requires that a licensed attorney oversee all real estate closings that occur in our state. A competent attorney can handle issues that may delay or prevent closings, and potentially identify and avoid problems that might call ownership into question after the closing. As the buyer’s attorney serves to protect the buyer’s interests throughout the real estate transaction, it is advisable that you select your representative carefully.
Clement Law Firm, Asheville, NC 828-281-8160 www.eclementlaw.com
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