FAQ'S

How have you helped your clients?

We have helped folks with both complicated legal quagmires and convoluted logistical nightmares. We unearthed a defect in title that affected an entire subdivision and multiple deeds before our client’s purchase. We were able to work with the previous attorney involved in the development of the subdivision and have the proper parties execute documentation to correct and remedy the property records so our client could purchase and move into their new home.

Why should I choose a real estate firm instead of a settlement shop?

While initially, you may feel the transaction is straightforward, more often than not, questions or issues will arise that can only be resolved by a real estate attorney.  Attorneys are trained to see around corners and plan for the unexpected. Through our experience, we know the unexpected happens and that is when a settlement shop is less than helpful to clients and their real estate agents. It is often quite difficult to track down a roving notary service or settlement company when things go sideways with a closing. A North Carolina attorney is putting their name and business on the line when you close with a North Carolina law firm.

Does your office order surveys?

No, you are responsible for ordering your survey just as you would be for your other inspections.

How much does a survey cost?

Surveys start at around $500 for residential properties but vary depending on a number of factors.

Why should I have a survey completed?

Even if the lender does not require a survey or the prior owners had a survey completed, a current survey will reveal any encroachments on the property. Encroachments can cause a number of headaches for you as the owner, including, but not limited to, civil action. Please not that if a survey is not ordered, the Buyer will have NO title insurance coverage for those matters identified on a new survey.

Do I have to pay Homeowner’s Association Fees/Condo Fees?

That depends on whether there is an HOA for your property. Some properties have restrictive covenants but no HOA. Some properties have optional HOA dues. If your dues are mandatory, you must pay them at closing. Failure to pay ongoing dues can result in liens against your property or foreclosure.

What are HOA transfer fees?

HOA property management companies often charge a transfer fee when the property is sold.

What is an encroachment?

Encroachments are violations of property boundaries. A common example is a property fence that encroaches onto the neighboring lot. Encroachments can result in additional expense to the homeowner, including litigation. The repercussions of encroachments should be discussed with your counsel. Encroachments will not be discovered without a survey. 

What is an easement?

An easement is a right to enter or use property in a particular manner without actually possessing the property. An example would be a utility easement for Duke Energy.

What is a right of way?

A right of way is often a limited use of property to access other property. Often in subdivisions, the roads will be deemed “public” giving the general public the right to use the roads to access the parcels within the subdivision.

How do I get a permit for a dock?

If your lot is vacant, you must first have permits for the home you are building. If there is a home on the lot, you must contact the county to apply for a permit. Duke Energy’s Shoreline Guide

What are setbacks?

Setbacks determine the distance a building must be from a particular location, such as the property line. Setbacks are established by county and/or town ordinances as well as restrictive covenants. Setbacks are generally used for utility easements and right of ways. You can petition for a variance if you need to build within the setback but should be done prior to building.

What are restrictive covenants?

Restrictive Covenants are an agreement by you, as the homeowner, to engage or refrain from a particular use of the land. Restrictive Covenants often govern the size of home, architecture, landscaping as well as limitations on property use. Be sure you have read the restrictive covenants for this property prior to the expiration of your due diligence period. You should obtain this information from the seller or owner’s association, if any. If you are unable to obtain this information, please contact our office so that we may assist you. Restrictive covenants have a significant impact on the use and value of a property. Proceeding with closing prior to reviewing the restrictive covenants can result in negative consequences for you as the homeowner.

What is marketable title?

Marketable title is title to land that is free from defect. Utility easements, rights of way and the like as well as restrictive covenants that do not violate the law are not considered defects in title. Marketable title in North Carolina requires a minimum thirty (30) year title search for the title company to issue a title insurance policy.

What is insurable title?

Insurable title is title to land that has some defect such as, but not limited to, a lien, that a title insurance company is willing to insure over in the event an action arises from the title defect.

Why should I purchase title insurance?

Title insurance is a one-time fee and insures title to your property against claims. While a title search should reveal any title issues pertaining to the property, errors in public record, human error and unrecorded claims as to interest in property cannot always be avoided.

Why must my spouse sign the closing documents?

In North Carolina, spouses have an interest in property regardless of whether the spouse is on the deed, with few exceptions. Our office will determine if your situation falls within these exceptions.

Will you handle closings for buyers or sellers out of town?

Yes, this can be accomplished through a mail-away closing or appointing a power of attorney for the transaction. If you are using a lender, they may have specific requirements that must be met first. You will need to advise our office as soon as possible so as not to delay the closing.

When can I have my keys?

The seller does not have to give possession of the property until the deed is recorded which cannot occur until we have all funds in our trust account and have satisfied all of the lender’s conditions, if any.

When will you record the deed?

We must have all funds in our trust account and lender approval (when applicable) to record. Usually this occurs the same day with the exclusion of late afternoon closings. In counties where we e-record, the process tends to be faster.

When do I get my money?

We cannot disburse funds until the deed has been recorded.