When You are Ready to Close, We Are Open
Campbell Law Group has handled thousands of purchase and refinance transactions. Whether you are buying a home or refinancing your existing mortgage, your attorney should be with you every step of the way to protect your interests and explain things to you.
Why do I Need a Real Estate Attorney?
The North Carolina State Bar has mandated that many aspects of the closing process require a legal opinion to be rendered by an attorney certified to practice in North Carolina. The North Carolina Bar and the North Carolina General Assembly have determined that a real estate closing is actually made up of several steps, many of which involve an attorney. The following list is taken verbatim from Authorized Practice Advisory Opinion 2002-1 (full text is available on the North Carolina Bar’s website) and details the many jobs of your closing attorney:
Abstracts or Provides an Opinion on Title to Real Property
- Explains the legal status of title to real estate, the legal effect of anything found in the chain of title, or the legal effect of an item reported as an exception in a title insurance commitment except as necessary to underwrite a policy of insurance and except that a licensed title insurer, agency, or agent may explain an underwriting decision to an insured or prospective insured, including providing the reason for such decision;
- Explains or gives advice or counsel about the rights or responsibilities of parties concerning matters disclosed by a land survey under circumstances that require the exercise of legal judgment or that have implications with respect to a party’s legal rights or obligations;
- Provides a legal opinion, advice, or counsel in response to inquiries by any of the parties regarding legal rights or obligations of any person, firm, or corporation, including but not limited to the rights and obligations created by the purchase agreement, a promissory note, the effect of a pre-payment penalty, the rights of parties under a right of rescission, and the rights of a lender under a deed of trust;
- Advises, counsels, or instructs a party to the transaction with respect to alternative ways for taking title to the property or the legal consequences of taking title in a particular manner;
- Drafts a legal document for a party to the transaction or assists a party in the completion of a legal document, or selects or assists a party in selecting a form legal document among several forms having different legal implications;
- Explains or recommends a course of action to a party to the transaction under circumstances that require the exercise of legal judgment or that have implications with respect to the party’s legal rights or obligations;
- Attempts to settle or resolve a dispute between the parties to the transaction that will have implications with respect to their respective legal rights or obligations;
- Determines that all conditions of the purchase agreement or the loan closing instructions have been satisfied in accordance with the buyer’s or the lender’s interests or instructions;
- Determines that the deed and deed of trust may be recorded after an update of title for any intervening conveyances or liens since the preliminary opinion;
- Determines that the funds may be legally disbursed pursuant to the North Carolina Good Funds Settlement Act, N.C. Gen. Stat. § 45A-1.
Be wary of a law firm or non-attorney settlement shop where you are unable to speak to an attorney regarding your real estate closing. While it is perfectly acceptable for paralegals to help your real estate attorney process your file and aid in the collection of information from the county governments and homeowners associations, it is of the utmost importance that a qualified, experience real estate attorney is closely monitoring the closing process.