I call transactional real estate law “happy law.” I say this because in my line of work everyone has the same goal. Everyone signed up for the transaction. Buyers want to buy and sellers want to sell (generally speaking). Because of North Carolina law, I get the privilege of doing this for a living and I couldn’t be more thrilled to assist buyers and sellers in completing their transactions. But this process and working with me to buy your home, may seem foreign to some people. This is because North Carolina is what we call an “attorney state” when it comes to real estate transactions.
Real estate closings are handled differently in every state. The end result though is the same. It’s the process to get to that end result that can be confusing if you have bought or sold in another state. Some states use title companies or settlement agencies for their closings, and others, like North Carolina, use attorneys. The two questions I most commonly get when people are trying to understand how North Carolina operates are: what is the benefit of North Carolina using attorneys for closings when other states don’t, and is a title company still involved in the transaction in North Carolina?
What is the benefit of North Carolina using attorneys?
Beyond the obvious that you get to hang out with me, there are so many benefits for homebuyers having attorney representation for likely the biggest purchase of their life. As a homebuyer in North Carolina, you get everything your average title company or settlement agent would provide, plus someone who can advise you on any of your legal questions during the process. The attorney is working for you as the buyer, not the bank, builder, or seller. You have a trained eye to ensure that you are receiving the property free and clear of any encumbrances and all the terms of the contract have been met. With this additional layer of service and protection, you’d think your closing costs would be more, but that is not the case. North Carolina is still one of the least expensive states to close your transaction in. Historically, because attorneys are involved, title insurance premiums are much lower in North Carolina. When you add up the attorney fee and the title insurance premium for a closing in North Carolina, the total is comparable and in most cases lower, than what you’re paying your settlement agent or title company for your closing in another state.
Is a title company still involved?
The answer is absolutely! Title companies are still required to insure the transaction and play a pivotal role. But unlike other states, only the attorney really engages with the title company. Attorneys are required to complete the title examination and produce a title opinion. Once the title opinion is drafted, the attorney will submit that to the title company to obtain your title commitment for insurance. Once the transaction is completed, the attorney submits to the title company a final opinion of title, and the title company issues and sends out to the buyer and lender copies of the issued title policies. Despite the extra protection and assurance that an attorney completed the title examination, title insurance is still a necessary part of a real estate purchase.
I may be partial, but I believe Jackson Law has the best attorneys around when it comes to handling real estate closings. The years of experience and crazy situations we’ve navigated and resolved for clients could be a book, not a blog post. Now that you know why you need an attorney to purchase property in North Carolina, choose Jackson Law and your “happy law” transaction will be done right and you surely can Rest Easy.