Archive for the ‘News & Updates’ Category

Sales By Estates Of Decedents

“Death and taxes and childbirth. There’s never any convenient time for any of them.”
~Margaret Mitchell

A land owner dies possessed of real estate in the State of North Carolina. May the personal representative of the Estate of the decedent sell the real estate? Do the heirs have to sign the deed? What about with testate estates? These are questions we frequently receive. The answers can be as complicated as the Estate matters themselves, but here are some general guidelines:

Intestate Estates (Decedent died without a Will)

If the funds arising from the sale of the real estate are needed to complete the administration of the Estate (i.e., pay debts), the administrator can sell the real estate with a Court order arising from a Special Proceeding (Court action). Otherwise, the intestate heirs and the administrator of the Estate will be required to sign the deed and all of the usual seller closing documents.

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Property Taxes in Residential Closings

“I?m proud to be paying taxes in the United States. The only thing is – I could be just as proud for half the money.” Arthur Godfrey

We receive telephone calls frequently from clients with questions about property tax bills on their new home purchases. They may have received a tax bill from their seller or the tax collector and don’t know what to do with it since their loan has escrows for taxes. Here is a short guide on how we usually handle tax prorations at closing:

If you close your home purchase during the months of January through June of the calendar year, we will estimate the current years taxes based on the tax rate for the prior year. (This is because the tax rate is not determined until July 1 of each calendar year). Using that estimate, we will collect from the seller his share

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Should I Get a Survey?

?I am come to survey the Tower this day; since Henry’s death, I fear, there is conveyance.?

One of the most frequently asked questions we receive is a relatively simple one: “Should I get a survey on the property I’m buying?” My answer is almost always in the affirmative. We think it’s important to make sure that the house that you are purchasing is located within the boundaries of the lot you are getting. The fact that a house is constructed upon the property is certainly no guarantee that it sits within the lot lines.

Similarly, just because there is a fence around the yard doesn’t mean that the true boundaries follow the fence lines. Fences can be the least accurate indication of boundary lines because of homeowners’ propensity to butt their fence up to a neighbor’s existing fence to save money. If the neighbor’s fence is located several feet within the

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Will My Spouse Need To Sign?

“One’s best fortune or their worst is their spouse”

This falls in the FAQ category. You own real property in the State of North Carolina. You were not married at the time you bought it, or you were, but the deed is in just your name alone. Now you want to sell it. Does your spouse have to sign the deed?

The answer to this question is “yes, your spouse must sign.” And here’s why:

If you live in North Carolina, your spouse is always a beneficiary of your estate. If you die without a will, then intestacy statutes will automatically award at least a portion of your estate to your spouse. If you attempt to avoid this outcome by leaving a will which gives all of your estate to persons or entities other than your spouse, North Carolina law allows your spouse to take an “elective share.” Under either scenario, the surviving

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Renting vs. Buying – A Military Family Conundrum

“Why so large a cost, having so short a lease, does thou upon your fading mansion spend?”

Military families moving to Ft. Bragg or any military base are often faced with a conundrum: do we lease a home or purchase? Here are several factors you should consider:

  • Length of your stay. How long are your orders for Ft. Bragg? Will you be here for three years, five years or until retirement? If you are transferred from Ft. Bragg and have to sell your house, you will need enough home equity to bear the costs of resale unless you want to bring funds to closing. A real estate agent will require at least six percent sales commission. Market forces may require you to pay some portion of the buyer’s closing costs. Equity arises from the reduction in your mortgage balance as you make your payments and the appreciation of your home’s value over
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Settlement Service Companies v. Real Estate Lawyers

Real estate lawyers here in North Carolina are asked frequently why buyers should use their services to purchase their homes instead of settlement services companies. What value is being added by having a lawyer involved? The short answer is that you can have an attorney represent your interests at a real estate closing without incurring any additional cost. The long answer is that an attorney can provide you with additional benefits that a settlement services company cannot simply because only attorneys may provide certain services in the State of North Carolina.

First and foremost, in North Carolina only an attorney can provide you with professional advice regarding your closing documents. In real estate closings in this day and age, you rarely have the opportunity to review your loan documents prior to the closing. Everyone says, “always read before you sign,” but you don’t usually have the opportunity. And if you are

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