Do I Need a Real Estate Attorney to Sell My House?
In the state of South Carolina, an attorney is necessary to process a real estate transaction. However, the buyer is typically the party responsible for hiring the attorney. As the seller, you’re welcome to hire your own real estate attorney in Pawleys Island, and may want to do so if you’re dealing with a sizable real estate deal.
What Does A Real Estate Lawyer Do?
When you hire a reputable real estate attorney, you expect them to prepare and review any documents related to your real estate deal, like transfer and title documents, purchase agreements, and mortgage documents. The attorney will be present at the time of closing on the property and can help guide you along the way when it comes to your legal responsibilities as a seller.
An experienced Pawleys Island real estate attorney will ensure the transfer is legally binding and in the best interest of the client. When a property is being purchased, it’s customary for the real estate attorney to prepare insurance policies, closing documents, and complete title searches. The lawyer will also handle the exchange of funds for the property.
An attorney will also work to resolve real estate disputes. When property owners develop battles over lot lines, contractual issues, or chain of title, the lawyer steps in to attempt to resolve the matter. If necessary, the attorney can assist in hiring a title company or surveyor to resolve the issue. If the challenge can’t be solved through mediation, the lawyers can also represent you in the courtroom.
Responsibility Of Property Seller
While you may think selling a home is mostly waiting on the right buyer to come along, you are legally responsible for a few things. State law in South Carolina (South Carolina Code Section 27-50-40) mandated the seller to provide a disclosure of the property. You’ll have to truthfully describe the characteristics and conditions of the home as you know them, including:
- If the home was used as a rental
- Any issues with the electrical or plumbing systems, foundation, or roof
- Problems with the HVAC or water system
- Infestations of termites, ants, or other pests
- Presence of asbestos
- Nuisances from noise and odors
- Use of hazardous materials like methane, radon gas, or underground storage tanks
- Regulations required by the community’s HOA
The South Carolina Real Estate Commission offers a Residential Property Condition Disclosure Statement form that must be used to note all disclosures.
The seller who provides disclosure information they know “to be false, incomplete, or misleading is liable for actual damages proximately caused to the purchaser and court costs. The court may award reasonable attorney fees incurred by the prevailing party,” according the South Carolina state law.
Being honest on the disclosure also saves you problems in the future. When you list known issues, the buyer cannot return months later and demand repairs or money for a problem your previously revealed.
Choosing a strong real estate attorney in Pawleys Island gives you the confidence you need to sell a home or other property and know the transaction was done properly and you were protected at all times.