residential real estate closings

Residential Real Estate Closings in South Carolina: Do I Need a Lawyer?

A real estate closing is the practice of law in South Carolina, and therefore, must be supervised by a licensed South Carolina attorney. State v. Buyers Service Co., 357 S.E.2d 15 (S.C. 1986). The attorney must review the title search, conduct the closing, and record the legal documents, and disburse funds. A review of the title records requires an attorney’s expertise to ensure there are no prior liens, encumbrances, or faulty conveyances, and to guarantee the buyer receives a title free and clear of any errors.

Do I Need an Attorney to Refinance My Home?

Yes, a South Carolina attorney will need to supervise the closing on the mortgage. For the same reasons stated above, a refinance of a home requires an attorney to oversee the closing. The mortgage will attach to the property and affect the title.

Residential Real Estate Closings: Who Chooses the Attorney?

Typically, the buyer chooses the closing attorney according to the South Carolina Consumer Protection Code. This is to ensure the attorney is providing the buyer a clean title to the property as intended. The realtors and lenders must heed the buyer’s choice in closing attorney. Our office treats buyer and seller the same throughout the entire transaction, and we are here to assist each party. Additionally, the attorney is impartial and will not represent the buyer or seller if there were a dispute over the closing process of the home.

What Information Will the Attorney Need from Me?

Once the attorney receives the purchase contract, information gathering begins. Our office will gather information with you, along with help from your realtor and mortgage servicers. The buyer will need to provide all necessary contact information, loan information, and home owner’s insurance information. The seller will need to provide all necessary contact information, loan servicing and payoff information, home owners association information, including proof of paid fees, and new forwarding address.

What does the Attorney do Prior to Residential Real Estate Closings?

In addition to information gathering, the closing attorney is busy examining the title to the property, reviewing the chain of ownership to verify mortgages and liens are satisfied, as well as ensuring prior deeds are faultless. The attorney is also securing title insurance to insure the good title. Finally, the attorney’s office is preparing documents and disclosures with the lender and realtors so that a closing package is ready to be finalized.

What do I Need to Bring to Closing?

You will need two forms of current identification—typically this is a driver’s license and a social security card. You may also bring other forms of government issued ID like a passport, military ID, voter’s registration, etc. The buyer will bring any necessary money to close in the form of certified funds. The seller will also need to bring the keys to the property!

Who Attends Residential Real Estate Closings?

Of course, the Buyer and Seller are present at closing unless documents have been signed remotely or in advance. The Buyer and Seller will review and sign documents separately. Note, if husband and wife own property jointly titled in both their names, then they will both need to be present at closing. The realtors often choose to be present at closing, and occasionally loan officers will also attend.

When Will I Receive my Funds?

For a cash purchase closing: sellers will receive their funds after all closing documents have been signed and the closing attorney completes a quick check of the public record for any changes.

For a purchase closing involving a lender: once the buyer and seller sign all closing documents, the attorney’s office will send documents to the lender for approval. The attorney’s office will receive funding authorization from the lender, and then the attorney’s office may disburse funds. Any outstanding taxes, recording fees, mortgages, invoice from third parties, realtor commissions, etc. must be paid first. Then the seller will receive funds the day of closing.

For a refinance or home equity line of credit closing: a 3-day right of rescission period applies for transactions involving a borrower’s primary residence, so funds are typically disbursed 3 business days after closing. A prior mortgage may contain funds in escrow that need to be refunded, and those funds are typically provided directly from the prior lender within thirty (30) days.

Hyde Law Firm offers an attentive and easy experience when closing on real estate. Our professional and prompt staff are here to help you. Contact us today to schedule your closing, 864-804-6330.

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