Real Estate

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. 

Forms of Ownership Interest in North Carolina Real Property: Your Interest Matters

Prior to recording a deed, the buyer should discuss with their attorney how they should take title to the property. The question of ownership interest is extremely important and is posed throughout the purchase process beginning with the sales contract and loan application, if funds are being borrowed to purchase the property.

Preparing for Battle: A Buyer’s Guide for Negotiating in a Sellers’ Market

Today’s real estate market can be a fickle beast often swinging from a Buyers’ to a Sellers’ Market at a quick pace. When purchasing in an area where demand exceeds the amount of readily available homes, competition is fierce, and the seller is king. Properties can be listed at a premium price, generating multiple offers without having to make extra concessions. Potential home buyers do not want to be caught off guard when entering a Sellers’ Market. Buyers must be nimble and ready to pull the trigger if they find a house that they want. 

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.

Can documents be signed on behalf of a LLC using a POA?

Many real estate investors purchase and manage property through limited liability companies (LLC). Documents are usually executed by a manager or a member depending on how the LLC if formed. Recently a question arose as to whether a manager or member of an LLC may appoint a power of attorney to sign real estate transaction documents on behalf of the LLC in their absence?

Cybercriminals Target Home Buyers & Sellers Nationwide

If you've been reading the news lately, fraudsters and hackers are everywhere! They're hijacking business and personal computers across the globe demanding a ransom so you can gain access back to your computer. They're sending fake emails asking you to open a Word document, Dropbox link, or Google Drive link that could potentially scrape your personal information to be used for identity theft. They're emailing you "from" UPS and FedEx claiming an urgent, overnight package can't be delivered.

I Inherited Property: When Do I Get the Deed?

In short, you probably will not receive a new deed. Under North Carolina law, ownership of real property passes to heirs or devisees as of the date of a decedent’s death, unless it needs to be sold to pay estate claims. This means that unless the Administrator or Executor of the estate of the person who passed needs to sell the property to pay claims, the heirs or devisees own the property immediately. So, in most cases, if you have inherited property in North Carolina there is no need for a new deed. 

Life Estates, Part 2: Why You May Want One

In my first blog “Life Estates in North Carolina,” I noted that a life estate is an interest in property that is measured by the life of a person.  It can be granted to someone for his or her lifetime or for the lifetime of another.  The life estate interest gives the holder the right to all the benefits of the property during the lifetime for which it is granted.

The Secure, PaperLess Workflow: ALTA Compliance

Pursuant to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) rules implemented on October 3, 2015, real estate attorneys should obtain certification as being ALTA (American Land Title Association) Best Practices compliant and should maintain and enforce written policies and procedures to protect client privacy. Maintaining clean desk and document storage policies has resulted in real estate firms across the state embracing paperless environments. Managing and storing documents electronically helps to mitigate security risks and adhere to CFPB requirements.