Real Estate

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.

Greenway Projects and Community Benefits

A “Greenway” is usually defined and promoted as an area or strip of land which is preserved for recreational use or environmental protection – though in most cases other benefits are publicized, as well.  Typically, Greenway land consists of underdeveloped or vacant properties which are acquired by municipal or other government entities through condemnation proceedings or private donation.  Greenways usually connect separate city neighborhoods through a series of pedestrian walkways and trails.     

Lease with Option to Purchase

Occasionally we answer questions regarding Leases with Options to purchase, also known as “lease-purchase” or “rent to own” transactions.

Normally the questions I receive are from buyers or realtors representing buyers who would like to purchase a home yet due to an extenuating circumstance they cannot move forward with the purchase. Sometimes in these cases, a seller will entertain a lease with option contract where they commit to sell the property to a buyer while holding an offer to sell open for a set period of time, the “option period."

Family Care Homes in NC: Is Your HOA Against Them?

Recently, a neighborhood HOA approached me with a question regarding family care homes in North Carolina. The HOA contained covenants and restrictions which limited the use of homes in the neighborhood to single family residences only.   The question was whether an owner in the neighborhood could establish a family care home based on the neighborhood restrictions. Despite the restrictions written in the HOA covenants, the answer is yes, the owner can establish a family care home. The jurisdiction of the Family Care Home bill supersedes any restrictions imposed by the HOA. 

NC Residential Property Disclosure

WHAT IS IT AND WHY DO YOU NEED TO PROVIDE IT?

Sellers of real property in North Carolina have a lot of obligations to fulfill before selling their property such as ensuring they can provide good title to the buyer and making needed repairs. However, there is another obligation many homeowners do not realize exists, especially those selling their home without the aid of a licensed real estate agent. 

NC Sales Tax - Not Just Goods but Services, Too

Co-authored by Chris Foster, estate planning attorney

While most of us are accustomed to paying sales tax at the grocery store and department store, most people are not used to paying taxes on services provided to the consumer. However, recent changes to North Carolina tax laws make it mandatory for service providers to tax those that benefit from some services. One particular area in which these new service contract sales tax laws may affect you concerns your home.