Real Estate

Avoid Wire Fraud in Real Estate Transactions

Spot the Scam – How to Avoid Wire Fraud and Compromised Communications in  Real Estate Transactions

In recent years, internet fraud is one of the top growing concerns in residential and commercial real estate transactions. Today’s modern thieves, also known as “hackers”, are constantly inventing new ways to defraud both real estate professionals and their clients out of their hard-earned money. 

The ABCs of Title Insurance

Realtors & Agents: Here's the "anatomy" of Title Insurance

As a real estate agent, you know firsthand that buying or a selling a home can be overwhelming.  Clients can be confused or frustrated with the amount of paperwork involved in the transaction.  In addition, fees associated with closing can compound the problem.  Title insurance is one of the most-often misunderstood items, yet its value is priceless.  As an advisor to your clients, you are in a unique position to help them understand title insurance and the hazards of not having it.

Terminating a Real Estate Contract Properly

As a real estate agent, one of the worst things you can hear is that your client wants to terminate their contract. Although it is distressing, it is just part of the job. Because it is never fun having to notify another party that they either will not be selling their home or able to purchase a home, you may be tempted to just get the process over with as quickly as possible. But Stop! Terminating a contract is not as easy as just sending a quick email, text message, or making a quick phone call.

What Is A Title Search and Why Is It Important?

One of the few times I told my father he did something wrong involved him buying a couple of lots from an old gentleman allegedly at the same price the man had purchased the lots several years before. The lots are in a subdivision in the mountains in a very desirable location overlooking a major river. I asked him what attorney he had used, whether he had a title search done, and if he had purchased title insurance. When he told me that he hadn't purchased title insurance, the warning bells and alarms started going off in my head.

Fully Executed Contracts in South Carolina

In South Carolina residential real estate transactions, one of the first documents to be executed is the contract for sale.  This document is typically called the Agreement/Contract: To Buy And Sell Real Estate and sets the transaction and closing process in motion.  All of the steps to be taken toward closing are detailed in this document.  For a number of reasons, this contract document and any addenda thereto should be fully executed to ensure a smooth closing process.

Put It in Writing

Dispute of Earnest Money Deposit

When a buyer makes an offer to purchase real property, often the buyer will pay to an Attorney or Real Estate Broker a certain amount of money “down” at the time of the offer. These funds are known as “earnest money” and show that the buyer is serious and acting in good faith in making the offer. If the file proceeds to closing, the earnest money is credited to the buyer and reduces the amount of money that the buyer must bring at the end of the transaction.

Seller Remorse: Walking Away May Cost You

There are times when at no fault of a Buyer, a Seller decides they cannot move forward with the sale of real estate they have contracted to sell. Life happens - sickness, a job falling through or merely remorseful thoughts about selling the property - and as a result, a Seller may choose not to proceed to closing. The ramifications of the Seller’s decision is greatly impacted by whether or not there is a binding contract between the parties and whether the contract has been reduced to writing and signed by all parties. 

Wire Fraud: Understand and Avoid the Threat!

Imagine, you have worked hard and saved for a large down payment, you have found the perfect home, and now you are days away from closing. The transaction has progressed smoothly, and now you have been contacted by email from someone who appears to be your real estate agent to wire your closing funds to the attorney’s office for settlement. Because your real estate agent has guided you throughout the home buying process, and you have trusted in their guidance, you wire the funds just as they have advised in the email without question. What could go wrong? Wire Fraud!

What Buyers and Sellers Need to Know About Underground Storage Tanks (USTs) in North Carolina

Chances are if a home was built before the mid-1960s to late 1970s in North Carolina, it used oil heat as fuel for the furnace and stored the oil in an underground storage tank (“UST”). Luckily, most oil heating systems have been replaced with newer systems fueled by electricity or natural gas. Although heating systems have changed, many homes still contain USTs buried underground that may still contain oil. Over time, USTs can corrode leading to oil leaks, contaminated soil and contaminated groundwater.

Understanding the Deed of Trust: What Exactly are you Signing at Closing?

We often joke at the closing table that a borrower is about to sign their life away. Maybe it is not that serious, but signing the promissory note and deed of trust at closing is a life changing event. The promissory note is the promise to repay the loan funds to the lender. The deed of trust secures the house and land to the note and allows a lender to foreclose on a property if there is default. The most common default is failure to make the payments under the promissory note.

Lenders: What’s the big deal, it’s just a power of attorney?

North Carolina recently passed a new NC Uniform Power of Attorney Act, which replaces the old Power of Attorney Chapter 32A and becomes effective January 1, 2018. The Act changes a number of provisions including a new short form power of attorney and a new limited power of attorney for real property. Other provisions affected include agent certification, durability of the document, gifting powers, self-dealing powers, co-agents and how to handle power of attorneys executed out of state. As a result, NC lenders will begin to see new power of attorney forms in 2018.

HOA Transfer Fees: What Are They and Who Pays Them?

I am frequently asked by listing agents why their seller is being charged for the homeowner’s association (HOA) transfer fee on the Alta settlement statement. In the past, this question was easily answered because the 2015 version of North Carolina’s Offer to Purchase and Contract explicitly stated that the transfer fee was to be paid by the seller; however, now the explanation is a little more complicated.