Buying a house is one of the most exciting and expensive transactions that you will ever make. But, the thrill of purchasing a home can also be a nerve-wracking and complicated experience.
North Carolina is one of a few states that require a lawyer to be involved in the closing as well as other aspects of the process to make sure that both the buyer and seller are protected.
Steps in the homebuying process
There are several parts to buying a home where an attorney can protect your interests, including:
Purchase agreement: Residential real estate offers are most commonly presented to sellers by real estate agents using North Carolina Association of Realtors forms, which were developed by attorneys, so they comply with state law. Some homebuyers will ask their attorney to draft an offer.
Property disclosure: Once the contract is in effect, sellers must furnish buyers with a form designed to alert them to potential problems with the property. Sellers must only disclose issues they are aware of, including:
- Defects to electrical, plumbing and other main systems
- Water supply and sewage disposal problems
- Environmental issues, such as the presence of asbestos or other hazardous materials
- Pest issues, such as termites
- Homeowners’ association fees
Home inspection: Buyers should not rely only on the seller’s disclosure form to protect themselves against possible defects and other issues with the property. Instead, hire an independent home inspector to do a thorough investigation. If any problems arise, contingencies are made in the contract, allowing the buyer and seller to re-negotiate, or the buyer can back out of the deal.
Title search: Attorneys provide this vital service to ensure that the sellers have the legal right to sell the property and that it is free from any financial obligations, such as liens or judgments, which may include back taxes. If these problems develop, your attorney can advise you on how to proceed.
Real estate deeds: Your lawyer understands the legal requirements for filing these documents at the state and county levels and can do so in an expedient manner.
Closing: A licensed North Carolina real estate attorney must supervise all aspects of a residential closing, making sure that the buyer and seller meet all terms of the contract and that all documents related to financing the purchase are prepared, according to the agreement with the lender.
Protecting your future
Nearly every homeowner takes pride in having their own space to call home, but most people are not equipped to sort out the legal complexities involved in a transaction. An experienced real estate attorney here in North Carolina can help make sure the process is sound and satisfying to all parties involved.