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Blog Series: What Does A Real Estate Paralegal Do? Introduction & Part I: The Information Distribution Center


Whether you are buying, selling, or refinancing real estate, an attorney is a required part of the process in North Carolina. You may have received a referral for an attorney from your real estate agent, lender, or even a friend. Perhaps you have reached out to an attorney that you have worked with before. No matter how you have chosen your attorney, most likely the first person you will talk to within the attorney’s office will be a Real Estate Paralegal. At this point, you may be wondering

  1. Who is this person? 
  2. Why do I need to communicate with them? And/or 
  3. What does a Real Estate Paralegal do?” 

This blog series will discuss the roles and functions of a Real Estate Paralegal and will give you better insight into the closing process and some hints at how you can contribute to a smooth transaction. 

Part I: The Information Distribution Center 

Your Real Estate Paralegal acts as an Information Distribution Center. Think of an online retailer’s fulfillment center where goods and products come in from all over the world. At the center, they are processed, packaged with other items, and shipped out to a new destination. A Real Estate Paralegal does much the same thing, but with information instead of products. Here is a glimpse of how it works. 

To keep it simple, we will look at the most familiar type of real estate transaction which is the purchase of a home with a home loan. 

First Contact with the Law Firm

A request for a specific attorney or law firm to conduct a closing typically comes to the Real Estate Paralegal from one of three sources: 

  1. the Real Estate Agent: in the form of an Offer to Purchase,
  2. the Lender: in the form of a Title Request, or
  3. the Client directly: in the form of an Offer to Purchase or sales contract 

Gathering Information

This request will supply some information about your transaction – but there is still so much more we need to know! This one request sets off a flurry of activity. Your Real Estate Paralegal will get to work sending out requests for additional information to both the buyers and the sellers, both real estate agents and the lender in charge of the loan. In addition, the Real Estate Paralegal will notify the closing attorney that the closing has been requested. 

Once the Real Estate Paralegal has gathered all needed information it is put together and sent out to the attorney for a title search which will provide even MORE information. The title searcher will send IN information on any existing mortgages, liens, or restrictions that might be on the property. 

Your Real Estate Paralegal will receive this new information and process it which, then, starts another round of INCOMING information. This time, the paralegal will request more information from the following: payoff lenders, lien holders, the buyers, the sellers, and title insurance company. During this time, your Real Estate Paralegal will also be communicating with all of the parties and the closing attorney in order to determine the best time and date to conduct your closing. 

Sending Information

Once all of this information has been received, your Real Estate Paralegal will process and package it all up and send it OUT to the lender. The closing processor for the lender and the Real Estate Paralegal will work very closely to calculate all of the final figures for the closing and produce the Closing Disclosure.  The lender will then send IN a final package that contains all of the paperwork pertaining to the loan that is required to be signed by the buyers. The Real Estate Paralegal will print the documents, add a few more documents from the attorney, and give it OUT to the attorney to approve and bring to the closing table. 

How you can help your paralegal make a smooth closing

Whew! That is a lot of information distributed in a lot of directions. Obviously, all that information flow can get hectic, but no matter what your role in the transaction, you CAN help things go smoothly. How? By answering any emails or phone calls as promptly as possible. If you are requested to complete additional forms, do so as completely and as accurately as you can. If you have questions, please feel free to reach out to your closing attorney’s office, we are happy to help.  

You now have a brief overview of just one of the many roles that a Real Estate Paralegal Plays. Perhaps you are thinking “we’ve finished closing, what else is there?” For the answer to that…. Read on to Part II (coming soon…) 

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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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