Although different states have different requirements for how real estate transactions are conducted, South Carolina is one of the 13 or so states which require that real estate transactions, both residential and commercial, be closed by an attorney. The attorney’s role can range from assisting in preparing the home purchase documents, completing a title search, providing title insurance, but an attorney must be present at the close of the transaction.
The purchase of a home is often one of the biggest financial decisions that people make and understanding exactly what your buying is a key part of feeling confident in your decision. Title insurance is a means of ensuring that you end up with the exact property that you are intending to buy. When a piece of Beaufort County real estate is bought or sold, that transaction is recorded with the Beaufort County Register of Deeds. Beyond owning property, there are also ‘property interests’ which are also recorded with the Register of Deeds including mortgages or liens. That’s to say, a piece of property could be owned by one person, mortgaged by another, someone else may have a lien on the land and, on top of all of that, some interests are often lying under the surface and not easy to identify. If any of these other interests are attached to the piece of land that a buyer is intending to buy, then the seller does not have what is called ‘free and clear ownership’ of the property and this can be a serious problem.
Real estate attorneys can remedy the issues associated with these different ‘interests’ by providing a home owners title policy to the purchaser and, if needed, a lender’s policy for whomever may be lending the buyer the money for the property. In providing these policies, the attorney will not only research the piece of real estate with the Register of Deeds but will also examine tax records and search for any previous filing or procedural errors. Additionally, a diligent real estate attorney will ensure that the boundaries of the property are exactly where the seller is suggesting and that there is no other individual or entity that has previously acquired an interest in the land.
The policies created by attorneys are underwritten or ‘backed’ by a Title Insurance company, i.e. Chicago Title. It is imperative to have your policy backed by a reputable title company because it may be the title company who is responsible if a dispute regarding the property does arise. Should a dispute arise, and if you have title insurance, then it is often the title company that will pay the fees and costs associated with the dispute.
It is imperative that all real estate purchasers protect their investments when it comes to real estate transactions and title insurance is one of the surest ways of doing just that.
Submitted by Boatwright Law Firm