Strips & Gores

A Real Estate Law Blog

Merry Christmas! Watch out for the grinches–

We’ve gotten quite a few calls from people wanting certified copies of the deeds to their homes.  Typically callers have received some “official” mail warning about bad consequences for not being able to prove ownership.  The “cure” is money, of course.  The sender usually promises to provide a “certified” copy of a deed for a “low” fee ranging from tens to hundreds of dollars.  These scams prey on the uninformed.  

Property ownership is a matter of public record in South Carolina.  Anyone with access to the internet may search online and print  copies of  deeds for properties in many counties for free.  Some counties charge an online access fee.  For property in counties where the recording office is not online, anyone  may visit those offices in person and search for and obtain copies of deeds.  Copies are usually available for a small copy charge, and ”certified” copies may cost more.  More importantly however, deeds which have been recorded in the appropriate county office where property is located give  notice of ownership to the world whether owners have copies or not.

–David & David

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Since I get to choose, you’re my lawyer. Right?

Yes, but not just yours.  Although the Buyer generally chooses the closing lawyer in residential transactions in SC (see our last post), that lawyer typically represents all parties at the closing table according to descisions of the SC Supreme Court.  When there is only one lawyer involved in a residential closing transaction (this is the norm in SC), that lawyer can’t take sides in a dispute or keep secrets from the parties.  Each party can insist on having his or her own lawyer of course, but this generally increases costs for the Buyer since other parties are often in a position to pass their legal fees on to him or her.  In most residential closing transactions, the closing lawyer performs important tasks for the buyer, seller, lender, and title insurance company to get the deal closed for all.

–David & David

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Attorney Preference in SC

Did you know that the BUYER generally chooses the closing attorney for residential real estate closings? SC Code of Laws section 37-10-102 (1976 as amended) requires that Lenders determine the Borrower’s “preference” as to closing attorney; meaning that the Borrower chooses the closing attorney when closing a loan secured by real estate that is for personal, family, or household purposes. Since the typical residential real estate closing involves a Buyer who will borrow money to purchase a home to live-in, most Buyers choose who the closing attorney will be.

–David & David

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Thanks for checking out Strips & Gores: A Real Estate Law Blog! We’re excited about this new website and we think you’ll appreciate the little bits of information and news about SC real estate law that we’ll post here.

–David & David

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