Buying a home or property is more complicated than ever. We receive a lot of questions about the particulars of buying and selling real estate. Here, we share the top 10 questions and their answers.
1. What steps are involved with closing on a property?
In North Carolina, any agreement to buy or sell real estate must be in writing to be enforceable. Standard “Offer to Purchase and Contract” forms approved by the North Carolina Bar Association and the North Carolina Association of Realtors are the usual and suggested form to be used. These standard forms are detailed, but they help make sure the buyer and seller cover their rights and responsibilities for the sale/purchase. The standard form mentioned is complicated, and you usually need to seek advice from your attorney to be sure that you fully understand the document. You work out the contract and sign the papers. The buyer will then employ a real estate attorney to perform a title search and work with the buyer’s lender to close the loan. The seller may wish to hire his/her own attorney or may consent to the buyer’s attorney preparing the seller’s deed and other documents. The attorney and the lender and real estate agent will coordinate the closing process and transactions, creating a simplified experience for the buyer and seller.
2. Can I place a bid on a property that has a pending offer?
A backup offer is an option when finding a property that you really like. It is a fully executed contract that will become primary should the current deal fall through.
3. Can I back out from a purchase contract?
Your right as a buyer or seller to terminate an agreement is set out in the contract itself. The buyer may pay a “due diligence fee” with the initial contract and, if so, have an absolute right to terminate the contract for a certain period. Most agreements limit the damages to the earnest money. The seller would have to refund the earnest money if in default and be subject to damages suffered by the buyer due to the seller’s default.
4. Can I add another person to a deed after closing on a property?
If a loan is involved, the Deed of Trust restricts a change in ownership of the property and could trigger the due on sale clause, and the lender could require the loan to be paid off immediately. You would need to consult with your attorney before making any such change.
5. How can I remove someone from my mortgage?
You must apply for a loan to refinance your mortgage under your name only. You must consult the lender and follow its requirements.
6. Can I transfer my ownership of the property to someone else?
To transfer ownership of property, there must be a property deed. These legal documents will transfer the ownership to another party. The deed must be notarized and recorded at your county’s Register of Deeds office.
7. Can I transfer land that I own from my personal name to my business?
You can do so, but there may be tax consequences. It is best to consult a real estate attorney and CPA.
8. How can I check to see if there are any claims against the property?
Title searches are used to inform the buyer of any liens or claims held against the property. These searches should be done by an experienced attorney to find title problems and any adverse claims.
9. Who is responsible for mortgage payments if someone dies without a will?
North Carolina’s intestacy law determines who inherits property when an individual passes away without a will. Whoever inherits the real estate takes the real estate subject to the existing mortgage and will have to make the payments, sell the property, or allow the property to be foreclosed upon.
10. How can we divide the land amongst multiple persons who inherited it?
You need to file a “petition to partition” that will enable the clerk of court to decide how to divide or sell the property. Real estate attorneys are here to help guide you through these necessary arrangements.
It is always a good idea to get an opinion from a professional to ensure quality decisions based on real estate. Our attorneys here at Kelly & West are trained to handle these situations. Don’t face these difficulties alone; let us protect you. Contact us today.
“Reggie Kelly is a fantastic attorney with fantastic paralegals. My wife and I have been using him and his firm since 1983 when we first purchased property in Harnett County 37 years ago. He offers excellent legal advice and guidance. He never gets in a hurry to get us out the door because of his next appointment. He always takes the time needed to check out all of the issues that might come up. Reggie Kelly is a proud American and he loves our country and he wants everyone to do well. Reggie Kelly is an even finer person than he is a fantastic attorney and we are very fortunate to also be able to call him and his wife Cheryl our friends. We give him a 10 STAR Review!”