Harris Law
304 North 35th Street
PO Box 712
Morehead City, North Carolina 28557
Phone: (252) 247-1880
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Buyer's Questions

If you are buying real estate you should consider the following:

Why should I employ a lawyer for my closing?


Conducting a real estate closing, rendering an opinion on title, answering question about documents or legal restrictions and preparing legal documents is the practice of law as determined by the North Carolina State Bar and the General Statutes. Notaries, real estate agents, banking officers and title companies and anyone other than attorney can and should not conduct a real estate closing. Many times, this transaction involves the largest legal transaction a homeowner will be involved in and it should not e taken lightly. Recent surveys have shown that closing transactions that involve lawyers are less expensive than non-lawyer closings, when all fees are compared. Additionally, if the closing is conducted by a competent real estate attorney, your chances of having problems later are substantially reduced than if a settlement agent closes your loan whose sole mission is to get you to close so he or she or the bank can get paid.

The actual closing, where the closing documents are signed, represents only a small portion of the services we provide to you for your real estate transaction. In addition to preparing the loan documents, which can take a great deal of time, we perform the title search, review all documents in the chain of title, order title insurance and address any issues they may have, pay all charges on the settlement statement and follow up if questions arise concerning those disbursement.

Should I get a survey?

Years ago lenders required a survey for almost every closing. Now, the choice is usually yours as to whether or not you want to order a survey. You cannot go wrong by getting a survey. You will know the shape and size of the property. You will also know if there are any encroachments (i.e. the next door neighbor's fence is located on your property). Another option is to have your realtor ask the seller's realtor if the seller has a copy of a previous survey on the property. You can usually look at the property and tell if any improvements have been made since that survey was made.

How long will the closing last?

A closing usually lasts from 45 minutes to an hour.

What should I bring with me to closing?

Usually all you need to bring is your driver's license and certified funds, such as an official bank check, certified check, cashier's check or money order made payable to our trust account for the balance you will need to close. We will notify you before the closing if your lender is requesting anything else (we usually do not know what additional items your lender will require until the package arrives).

When will I know how much money I will need for closing?

In order to give you your final figure, we will need to receive the closing package from your lender. Typically, we do not receive the package until the day before closing. As soon as we receive the package, we will generate your closing statement. After the closing statement is completed, we will fax it to your realtor or to you directly if you do not have a realtor.

Are all of my fees included on the closing statement?


Can I wire the money to your account?

Yes, we can fax or e-mail written wiring instructions to you. Please note, wires are not received immediately. Plan ahead.

What if I want to wire the money before I have the final figures?

You can wire us more than you think you will need and we will give you a check for the difference at closing.

What if the money I will bring to closing will come from the closing on the sale of my present home?

If the closing on your present property is located in North Carolina, you may bring the check you receive from the closing attorney. If you are closing on a property located outside of North Carolina and you do not have enough time to get a certified check, ask us to fax our wiring instructions to the other closing attorney to request him or her to wire us your proceeds. If the amount wired exceeds the amount you need for our closing, we will write you a check for the difference at closing.

Can I write a personal check for the money I owe at closing?

No, unless the amount is less than $1000.00. All of the money we collect at closing will be disbursed the same day. The Rules of Professional Conduct and State Law require the funds to be immediately available. Personal checks may take several days to clear.

What if I am cashing in stocks or retirement plans to use for closing?

Start the process as soon as possible. Our experience has been that the process takes much longer than people think.

Can I see a copy of the closing statement before closing?

Yes. We prefer that you review the closing statement before you come to the closing. If you have any questions or corrections, we would like to know as soon as possible.

Can I see a copy of the loan package before closing?

Yes. After we type your loan package, we copy it to give to you at the closing. If you would like to review it before you get to the closing just call and tell us. We will leave a copy with the receptionist for you to pick up.

I am married, but the house I am buying will be in my name only, and my spouse will not be a co-borrower on the mortgage. Does my spouse have to come to closing?

Yes. Though your spouse does not need to participate in the buying of the house, he or she must sign the deed of trust. When you get a mortgage loan, you convey to your lender a property interest in your house, and your spouse's potential property rights must be subject to the mortgage.

What if my spouse is unable to attend the closing?

Most lenders will allow you to sign on behalf of your spouse as long as you have a properly executed durable power of attorney signed by your spouse. You will need to check with your lender to make sure this will be permitted. Then, call our office and request a power of attorney to be prepared with instructions on how to deliver it to your spouse. This document must be notarized when your spouse signs it. We charge a small fee for preparing the power of attorney.

The information contained in this site is provided as a public service for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a comprehensive statement of the law or, in particular, to contain legal advice. Laws vary from state to state and are subject to change, which could affect the information available on this site. If you have questions regarding any information found on this site, you should consult an attorney who can investigate the particular circumstances of your situation. Persons receiving information found on this site should not act on this information without receiving professional legal counsel. Use of and access to this web site does not create an attorney client relationship between Harris Law Firm, PLC and the user or browser. The opinions expressed at or through this site are the opinions of the individual author and may not reflect the opinions of the firm or any individual attorney.
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