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Real Estate Lawyers in Charlotte: Frequently Asked Questions

What will my closing costs be?

There is no clear-cut answer to this question. First off, every law firm categorizes closing costs differently, so it’s hard to compare estimates from one lawyer to the next. For instance, some firms lump excise taxes and past-due property taxes into the closing costs, while others list them in a different category.

Also, be aware that there’s a difference between buyer closing costs and seller closing costs. For instance, buyers pay for attorney’s fees, title searches, title insurance, recording fees, and more. Seller closing costs include document preparation, mortgage cancellation fees, county taxes, unpaid property taxes, and more.

The best way to tell how much you will owe at closing is to review the fee schedule your attorney sends over. Be wary of hidden fees, such as extra charges for wire transfers, title searches, or hourly work that goes above and beyond the scope of a basic closing. Ask about these fees upfront to make sure you don’t end up with any surprises on closing day.

Do I need title insurance?

Both buyers and sellers are responsible for purchasing title insurance. Sometimes, buyers can negotiate with sellers so they pay for all or part of both policies.

However, after a title search comes back clean, you may wonder why you would still need title insurance. The fact is, even a thorough search may not catch a mistake in ownership history, previously unknown heir, or oversight by the title researcher that comes to light later on. If any of these things happen, you could face a barrage of legal issues and extra expenses. You might even lose your property and the equity you’ve put into it.

Many lenders insist on title insurance because they are responsible for the bulk of your home’s value for the first several years of ownership. For your peace of mind, you should insist on it, too.

Are real estate transactions public record?

Yes. When buying and selling property in North Carolina, closing documents and transaction information are made available to the public. The names of the buyer and seller and the final price are all disclosed.

What does a real estate attorney do during a closing?

The job of a real estate attorney is to represent a buyer or seller when handing over the title or deed of a property, thus legally transferring ownership from one person to another. Here are the tasks the attorney handles during a standard residential closing:

  • Conduct title searches and prepare abstracts of title.
  • Review the title commitment, resolve any exceptions to the title, and review the purchase agreement.
  • Verify the payment of existing loans.
  • Check for any special assessments and calculate property taxes.
  • Obtain an updated title insurance policy.
  • Prepare checks, deeds, and affidavits.
  • Obtain any required authorization letters.
  • Establish a time and place for the closing, conduct the closing, and make sure all parties meet their legal commitments.
  • Collect and disburse funds for all parties.
  • Hold funds in escrow, if necessary, until all commitments are satisfied.
  • Prepare all paperwork, including settlement statements, mortgages, deeds of trust, and more.
  • Record the appropriate documents as required by law.

Is it necessary to hire a real estate attorney to oversee the homebuying process?

While it’s not always required to hire a real estate attorney, it’s highly recommended that you do so. There are many contracts involved, as well as large sums of money, so it’s a good idea to have a real estate attorney by your side to help you navigate the process and look out for your best interests.

What should I do before purchasing property or land?

Prior to closing on a home or plot of land, you should have a real estate attorney perform a title search to ensure it’s free of any lingering claims or liens. If you’re purchasing a home, it’s also a good idea to hire an inspector to ensure there are no urgent repair needs that could affect your contract.

What if the seller agrees to make repairs but never does so?

In this case, you should immediately contact your real estate attorney to notify them of the incomplete repairs. Your attorney will be able to connect with the sellers and find out whether or not plans were made and they just haven’t completed the repairs yet. Alternatively, if no plans were made, you may be able to file a real estate law case against the seller or back out of your contract without penalty. Contact the real estate attorneys at Matheson Law Firm to understand what options may be available.

If a home is sold as-is, who is responsible for repairs?

If you’ve purchased a property being sold as-is, it’s often the responsibility of the buyer to handle any needed repairs. However, each sale is different, and therefore would benefit from the eye of a skilled real estate attorney.

What should I do if I plan to sell my home?

If you’re planning to sell your home, you’ll want to make sure there are no existing claims or liens on your property. You will also need to determine what items will be included in the sale, and what is the lowest offer you’d be willing to accept.

What defects do I need to disclose to the buyer if I’m selling my home?

Sellers are required to disclose all defects upfront; however, a real estate attorney will be able to guide you on what your options may be. Failure to disclose property defects can result in a lawsuit.

Schedule a Consultation With a Real Estate Lawyer in Charlotte, NC

Real estate transactions can be complex, and working with an experienced real estate attorney at Matheson Law Firm, P.A. is the key to protecting your interests. We aim to complete the closing process quickly and efficiently, and we don’t nickel-and-dime our customers to cushion our bottom line. With over 20 years of experience serving property buyers and sellers in Charlotte, you can rest assured that your upcoming transaction is in capable hands.

If you still have questions about our real estate legal services, please contact us today.