Last Updated on June 1, 2023
Has it been a while since you were on the other side of the table from a real estate attorney?
For both you and your buyer, attorney fees will be among the closing costs you have to pay. But do you fully understand what those costs entail and the role your attorney plays in your home transaction?
Here’s a quick primer on closing attorneys, including what they do and why you need a closing attorney in North Carolina.
What does a closing attorney do?
Your real estate lawyer, or closing attorney, plays a valuable role in the real estate closing process. After the due diligence period and when a purchase agreement or lending request has been made, attorneys step in on behalf of the buyer, seller, and lender, respectively, to make sure paperwork is complete and drafted in the best interest of their client. In short, they help wrap up the process with a nice, tidy bow and a lot of legalese.
Even though you may not meet your closing attorney in person until closing day, they are busy coordinating steps for your home sale behind the scenes. The closing attorney performs several primary functions during a real estate transaction:
Title examination and insurance
Closing attorneys examine property titles on behalf of the buyer and lender to make sure the property is free and clear of any encumbrances. They create an overview of any liens, judgments, or mortgages against the property. After that is complete, the closing attorney prepares an opinion on the property for the buyer to present to a title insurance company.
In North Carolina, this is a different process than in other states where the title company conducts real estate closings. It’s also the reason why closing costs are lower here than in many other states—the attorney is guaranteeing a free and clear title, so subsequent title claims are very low.
Review of documents, recording and disbursement, coordination
On closing day, the closing attorney is present to review and explain the various documents associated with the real estate and loan closing. They review the sales contract to determine that all the terms of the contract have been met before you close. They distribute all monies in the transaction from the buyer to you and the buyer’s lender. Then, they go to the courthouse to update the title and record the deed and/or deed of trust.
During this entire process, the closing attorney is responsible for maintaining lines of communication between the many parties involved in the real estate transaction, including the buyer, seller, lender, HOA, surveyors, inspectors, and more.
Why do you need a closing attorney in North Carolina?
Every state has slightly different requirements for selling a home and a slightly different process for buying a home. As a home seller in the state of North Carolina, you aren’t legally required to engage a closing attorney, but it is certainly to your benefit to hire one. Keep in mind that other attorneys present at the closing may represent the interests of the other parties. It is up to you to make sure you have legal representation for your interests, too.
As stated above, real estate closings require preparation, execution, and notarization of documents. This process can be difficult to understand and execute if you don’t have a legal or real estate background. Closing attorneys specialize in real estate law and to prepare or review all documents related to your closing. They also ensure that your rights in the transaction are adequately protected in the process. If any legal questions or issues arise, your attorney is there to help you understand the terms and conditions of the closing documents.
In addition to their legal expertise, it also helps if your attorney is an expert in your local community. Even within Western North Carolina, it helps to have prior experience in the legal nuances of certain communities. With the help of your Allen Tate/Beverly-Hanks real estate agent, you can choose a closing attorney who best meets the needs of your unique transaction.
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All real estate is local. In order to make confident real estate decisions, it’s important to have timely and neighborhood-specific information. Contact us today to speak with an Allen Tate/Beverly-Hanks real estate agent about selling homes and land in Western North Carolina.