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10 What the Hecks of Real Estate

Selling or Buying property can cause a person to yell, “What the Heck!” or some other colorful language to describe their stress and confusion.

At Stott, Hollowell, Windham & Stancil, PLLC we know that the sale or purchase of a home can be hectic at the best of times.  Below are 10 “What the Hecks” we commonly hear from our clients during the selling/buying process.

  1. What the Heck is Title Insurance?
  • The Short Answer: Ownership Protection.
  • The Long Answer: Like other areas of your life that are important, the ownership of your home is one you want to protect.  Title insurance is insurance that protects your ownership interest in the home and property. With one premium payment at the time of closing the insurance company protects your home from ownership claim of others, such claims are more common than you think.
  1. Why the heck would I need a survey?
  • The Short Answer: To know what you are paying for.
  • The Long Answer: Surveys, while not required, are highly recommended.  Surveys can reveal issues or problems with a piece of property that a title search cannot such as incorrect boundary lines, bad property descriptions, easement issues, and other headache-causing issues for buyers and sellers alike. Check out your boundary here: GASTON COUNTY GIS or MECKLENBURG COUNTY GIS
  1. Who the Heck pays the property in a real estate closing?
  • The Short Answer: Both parties.
  • The Long Answer: Unless otherwise agreed to by the buyers and sellers, taxes are prorated between the parties with the sellers paying from the 1st of the year through the day of closing and the buyers being responsible for the remainder of the year’s taxes. Check out your taxes here: GASTON TAX or MECKLENBURG TAX
  1. Who the Heck does the Attorney represent?
  • The Short Answer: The Buyer.
  • The Long Answer: Under the North Carolina Rules of Ethics for attorneys, a real estate attorney represents the Buyer, and in most cases, it is the Buyer will choose the attorney.  While the attorney technically represents the buyer, he can also prepare the closing documents for the transactions, while this can be a more affordable arrangement for the parties, Sellers can also hire their own attorney for their side of the closing.
  1. What the Heck is Due Diligence Money?
  • The Short Answer: Buying Time.
  • The Long Answer: Often, when buyers and sellers are negotiating for the purchase of a home, the Buyers will ask to inspect the home before fully committing to the purchase.  This is where Due Diligence money comes into play. The Buyers pay the Due Diligence money straight to the Seller and it is no refundable. What the Buyers get is a set amount of time (usually 2 weeks or so) to inspect the property and decide whether or not to move forward with the purchase.  It also gives the buyers the option of pulling out of the deal without penalties or losing their earnest money. If all goes to plan, then the Due Diligence money is credited toward the final Buyer Closing Cost.
  1. What the Heck is an Earnest Money Deposit?
  • The Short Answer: Prepayment.
  • The Long Answer: Earnest Money is a prepayment of good faith buyers put down to show to the sellers that they are serious, often the Earnest Money Deposit (EMD) is held by the Attorney coordinating the closing, and if all goes to plan said EMD is then credited toward the final Buyer Closing Cost.
  1. Why the Heck does my spouse have to sign if they’re not on the Deed?  
  • The Short Answer: Marital Interest.
  • The Long Answer: When two people marry they each invest in the other the right to inherit property or spousal interests in the property if something were to happen to the other spouse.  This right is automatically invested when a person marries unless there is a prenuptial, postnuptial agreement in place, or if a divorce takes place. In order to pass on this interest when selling property a spouse will usually have to sign.
  1. How the Heck do I get this inherited property into my name?
  • Short Answer: Nothing.
  • Long Answer: In North Carolina when a person dies their property is passed to their heirs (whoever they maybe) through either a will, testamentary device (such as a trust), or by statute, and in most circumstances the property passes to the heir through the Estate File or the testamentary device, without the need of a deed.
  1. Why the Heck should I be physically present at closing?
  • Short Answer: To Limit Issues.
  • Long Answer: While every person involved in a closing strives to make the closing process smooth, mistakes happen.  Even a small error in the spelling of a name or street can bring a closing to a standstill. When all individuals involved are at a closing even major hurdles can be overcome. When a Buyer and Seller cannot be at closing Stott, Hollowell, Windham & Stancil, PLLC offers mail-away documents and Power of Attorney specially formatted for real estate transactions.
  1. Why the heck should I choose Stott, Hollowell, Windham & Stancil, PLLC?
  • Short Answer: We Care!
  • Long Answer: Real estate can be one of the most important and life-changing investments a person, family, or business will make. At Stott, Hollowell, Windham & Stancil, PLLC, we will be with you every step of the way. Whether you are buying, selling, or leasing commercial, residential or rental property, we have the experienced legal team you need.
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Stott, Hollowell, Windham & Stancil, PLLC

Stott, Hollowell, Windham & Stancil, PLLC offers legal knowledge and experience spanning over 40 years to provide quality legal services to the greater Gaston and Charlotte regions.

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