Should I Hire a Real Estate Lawyer for Buying or Selling a House?

Is It Important to Ask a Lawyer When You Are Buying a Residential House?

You may be aware that the state of South Carolina requires licensed attorneys to conduct real estate closings in person, and you will want to have a skilled South Carolina real estate attorney helping you throughout your real estate process.

The seminal case was State v. Buyers Service Co., in which the Supreme Court of South Carolina wrote that it was convinced that real estate and mortgage loan closings must only be conducted under the supervision of attorneys with the ability to furnish legal advice and that protection of the public was of paramount concern.

Duties of the Closing Attorney

South Carolina requires a lawyer to be present at the closing of a real estate transaction and has issued best practices guidelines relating to this order. The South Carolina Supreme Court lists essential components of closing as including five categories:

  • Title Search
  • Loan documents
  • Closing
  • Recordation of documents
  • Disbursement of transaction funds

All of these steps exemplify when you want and need to have legal representation because every step should be supervised by a lawyer. Specific steps that demonstrate the need for attorneys include:

  • Receiving the contract — Essentially the first step in the home buying process, receiving a contract leads to a closing attorney reaching out to every party to gather all of the information on the transaction required of both the buyer and the seller. When it comes to the buyer, the attorney will coordinate with a lender to obtain banking documents and keep tabs on receiving inspection reports while ordering a title abstract. For a seller, a lawyer will gather information about mortgages needing to be paid off, loan insurance, inspection reports, and other homeowner documents.
  • Reviewing the title to the property — An attorney will learn all about the history of your potential property. Examining the title will mean researching the chain of ownership, including deeds from one owner to the next, going back a minimum of 61 years for a particular parcel of land. An examiner will verify that all mortgages or liens against the property are satisfactory, and also lists any easements or defects in the title. A title search often requires research on an exact parcel that has been deeded. A piece of land may have been combined or divided over the course of many prior decades.
  • Applying for Title Insurance — This will secure your purchase. After a clear title has been determined and an attorney has issued a title opinion, they will apply for title insurance. The title insurance will be the policy insuring the good title of the property so a lender has an assurance that it can be used as collateral for a loan.
  • Collecting and preparing documents — An attorney collects all of the documents from a lender as well as disclosures and assorted other documents from a realtor’s closing coordinator. The deed and settlement statement will then be prepared, and an entire package of all required paperwork to finalize a purchase will be readied.
  • Closing — At closing, the parties will meet with an attorney who will explain all of the legal documents to the parties and then walk each party through what needs to be signed, as well as how they affect each party. A buyer should expect a closing attorney to explain all of the loan documents, including the interest rate, amortization schedule, late payment or prepayment penalties, terms of the loan and maturity date, and events of default. Following the signatures, the buyer receives the keys to their new home.
  • Disbursements of Transaction Funds — Essentially the loose ends, an attorney will be the clearing house for all of the funds being brought to a closing with the lender, the seller, and the buyer. The funds will be held in a trust account until disbursement, and the attorney will coordinate payments based on a settlement statement. Prior mortgages will be paid off, and bills from third parties included in the transaction, commissions, and seller’s funds are also dealt with.
  • Recording the Legal Documents — This step makes the transaction official. Every executed and pertinent document to the transaction will be filed in the appropriate public records, and proper indexing will be verified. An attorney continues to follow up with lenders to make sure the satisfactions of liens or mortgages are filed when appropriate, and then file for the final title insurance opinion. Both the buyer and seller will receive original documents filed and a record book of the transaction.

Schedule a Free Consultation with a South Carolina Real Estate Attorney

Are you preparing to buy or sell a home in South Carolina? You are going to need to retain legal counsel at some point, so you might as well contact South Carolina Real Estate Attorney as soon as possible.

Mark W. Weeks was born and raised in Charleston, SC. He received his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Newberry College and his law degree from the Oklahoma City University School of Law. He founded Weeks & Irvine in 2010.

How to Choose a Good Atlanta Closing Attorney

Choosing an Atlanta Closing Attorney

If you are thinking about hiring an Atlanta closing attorney, there are several things to keep in mind. The following article will explain the functions of a closing attorney, their fees, and their requirements. Hopefully, you will be able to use this information to make an informed decision. In addition, this article will help you choose the right attorney for your needs.

Functions of a closing attorney

When a buyer buys a house in Georgia, it’s essential to hire a licensed Georgia closing attorney. The attorney will be responsible for overseeing the transaction and handling any encumbrances that may be on the property. The attorney will contact all parties involved and handle the details, including drafting a power of attorney and negotiating on your behalf. The attorney should be included in your purchase agreement.

The closing lawyer in Atlanta will also explain the contents of all of the relevant documents to both parties. Typically, closing attorneys represent lenders in lender-funded real estate transactions and buyers in cash purchases. Although each party may have their own attorney, it’s customary for the attorney to serve as the liaison between the buyer and seller. The closing attorney is required to act fairly and impartially for both parties.

The closing attorney will also oversee the conveyance of the property based on the terms of the contract. This will include making sure the buyer’s lender has first lien position when recording a security deed. In other states, this document is known as a mortgage. The attorney will also have to do a title search to make sure that no encumbrances are on the property. Additionally, the closing attorney will prepare and arrange for the closing ceremony.

Fees of a closing attorney

Atlanta closing attorneys charge fees for a number of services, including drawing up closing documents and representing the buyer in the closing process. They are responsible for ensuring that all documents are properly prepared and that the title to the home is clear. Typical closing costs are around 6% of the sales price of the home, but they can be negotiated if necessary.

A licensed Georgia attorney must be hired to close a real estate transaction in Georgia. These attorneys are required by law to represent the buyer in a lender-financed transaction, and the seller in a cash-purchase transaction. In other states, title companies handle the escrow and closing process.

Georgia law requires closing attorneys to review and verify the seller’s ownership of the property. They also order a thorough title history search of the property. A title search can reveal unpaid taxes, lawsuits, and other issues.

Requirements of a closing attorney

In Georgia, real estate transactions must be closed by a licensed real estate attorney. While many states delegate these functions to title companies, in Georgia, the attorney must represent the buyer’s lender or seller in cash transactions. During a transaction, the closing attorney will review and explain all documents to the buyer and seller. Additionally, the attorney will arrange the closing ceremony and oversee the recording of documents.

A Georgia closing attorney will be required to prepare a statement that outlines the details of all receipts and disbursements made by the buyer and seller. This statement will be provided to both the buyer and seller, as well as the broker, if applicable. A Georgia closing attorney should also have the experience necessary to handle such a complicated legal process.

In addition to making sure that all legal requirements are met, an attorney can negotiate on behalf of the buyer and seller. He can also prepare the necessary documents for the closing process, such as power of attorney documents. Lastly, he can help the buyer and seller get the best price possible on the property. A good closing attorney can also save the buyer time, energy, and money.

Choosing a closing attorney

If you are planning to purchase a home in Atlanta, choosing the right closing attorney is important. This is because mistakes can delay the process, and a delay can mean the process must start all over again. This can be devastating to a family moving into their new home. Choosing an Atlanta closing attorney that specializes in business law can help ensure the process goes smoothly.

While other states may allow a title company to handle closing issues, Georgia requires an attorney to be present at the closing of real estate transactions. A qualified Atlanta closing attorney will coordinate with all parties involved in the transaction, including real estate brokers, buyers, sellers, parties holding judgments against the property, the tax department, home inspectors, and buyer’s insurance company.

Real estate attorneys usually charge around $150 to $300 per hour. However, some may charge per service. In Atlanta, Stan Faulkner, a real estate attorney, has 18 years of experience.

Find top rated attorneys and law firms profiles with Find Attorneys Directory, the best and free online attorney directory. Guest bloggers can also publish their articles here as other bloggers are doing.

Tips for Negotiating Commercial Leases

How to Negotiate a Commercial Lease Effectively?

Renting commercial property may be one of the most expensive business activities. So, it is important to know various aspects of commercial real estate for an astute negotiation. Here are some game-changing ideas to help you strike the best bargain, which will impact the bottom line of your business for years to come.

When negotiating a commercial leasing agreement, the odds are generally stacked against you. As the landlord is well-versed with the process, it becomes necessary to walk the slippery slope cautiously.

Signing a business lease is a significant milestone in the entrepreneurial journey. Its importance in corporate success cannot be overstated. The landlord will aim to maximize the earnings from his/her property and may incorporate certain crucial conditions. It is critical to note that practically every clause in the lease is negotiable.

What is a Commercial Lease?

A commercial lease is a legal agreement or contract that allows a company to rent a commercial property to conduct business from that location. The legally binding contract between the landlord and the business tenant is to use the property solely for commercial purposes, such as an office, warehouse, industrial complex, or other comparable facilities. The five types of business leases are:

  • Net lease
  • Double net lease
  • Triple net lease
  • Percentage lease
  • Gross rent lease

What Should a Commercial Lease Include?

Some key features of a business lease to look for are:

  • Rent amount
  • Insurance
  • Security deposit
  • Exterior Appearance
  • Maintenance and renovations
  • ADA compliance
  • Lease term/type
  • Subleasing
  • Exclusive use
  • Personal guarantee
  • Permissions

Any first-time entrepreneur should consider expert assistance and consult a lawyer with extensive contract law knowledge before signing any agreement.

Tips To Negotiate a Commercial Lease

Here are some helpful tips for negotiating a commercial lease that works best for your company.

Evaluate Your Space Requirement: Carefully determine your company’s current and future space requirements. Second, examine your budget, preferred location, and available amenities. If you are unsure about your company’s prospects, a short-term lease may be a wise option.

Do Your Homework: Try to learn everything you can about the commercial real estate market in your chosen location. The terms may be widely different in each state and region. Gather information regarding security, crowds, neighborhood, and other vital aspects of the property. Collect information on the prices of comparable properties as well. All this data will prove to be very useful when negotiating a fair contract.

Think of the Long-Term: If the property is suitable for your business and the landlord has a good reputation, you may consider long-term leasing. Tenants who sign long-term rentals have greater bargaining power at the negotiation table. Landlords do not like to negotiate with a new tenant every year and may offer some concessions in exchange for a longer-term contract.

Learn the Real Estate Terminology: Premium property in a desirable location offered at a reasonable rent can significantly propel your business. However, before signing an agreement, look for any hidden expenses. This will prevent you from being stumped later. These additional costs include real estate taxes, insurance, electricity, maintenance, and operation expenses. Check the contract for the amount of rentable space. You may be charged extra for the unused area. You can bargain to pay rent only for the usable space.

Review Termination Clause: Read the lease agreement carefully to understand the termination clause conditions. What if, for example, the building is completely sold out? What happens in the event you miss paying rent for a month? What if you wish to grow and need more space? Can you sublet the property if your business operations contract? You need to consider all possibilities when bargaining for an early termination clause.

Negotiate Leasehold Improvements: Before you occupy and begin using the space, you may need specific modifications to fit your business. Request for concessions if you plan to take on the expenses of any repair or remodeling of the space. This might include things like reimbursement for alterations costs in the form of a rental waiver for a month or two in the agreement.

A commercial lease is essential before beginning the operations of your business. The terms of the legal agreement establish the middle ground between the landlord and the tenant, and the penalties must be fulfilled if either of them breaches the contract. Commercial leasing is a complicated procedure that should be handled by a legal professional who can negotiate on your behalf and get you the best price and terms.

Find top rated attorneys and law firms profiles with Find Attorneys Directory, the best and free online attorney directory. Guest bloggers can also publish their articles here as other bloggers are doing.

Loan Modification Vs Refinance

Loan Modification and Refinance: Definition and Differences

Loan Modification Definition

A Loan modification is when you make amendments to the terms of an existing loan. This process may involve dropping the interest rate, spreading the length of time for the repayment, another type of loan, or a combination of these.

Loan Modification on a Mortgage?

A mortgage loan modification is an alteration in your loan terms. The adjustment is a sort of misfortune management. The adjustment can lessen your regularly scheduled installment to a sum you can bear. Changes may include expanding the number of years you need to reimburse the loan, lessening your loan fee, and additionally refraining or decreasing your chief balance.

Difference Between Refinance and Loan Modification

There are two ways to lower your monthly loan payment, loan modification and refinancing. Most property owners hope for a reduction in their mortgage payments. However, others who have no other option to avoid foreclosure must lessen their mortgage payments. Loan modification and refinance both offer economically struggling homeowners to lower their mortgage payments. Let’s discuss the comparisons between loan modification and refinance.

Pros and cons of Loan Modification

Pros Cons
You can avoid a foreclosure by accepting a loan modification A loan modification can have a negative impact on your credit score
You can make modifications to the loan terms and make them affordable and secure better loan plans. Not all lenders agree to modification to a loan term


You are not obliged to pay the closing costs when modifying your loan. Though there might be some legal fees associated with the process that might fall on you. If you somehow miss a payment after loan modification this can escalate the foreclosure process

Doucet-Gerling Firm have experienced foreclosure lawyers in Ohio who will prepare a great legal strategy to get you out of your financial crisis.

Pros and cons of refinancing

Pros Cons
You can have the advantage of current low rates The closing costs will be paid by you
Your monthly payment can be lowered Variable savings depending on your current interest rate and time in home
You can make changes to the terms of your loan. You can change the time period of a loan or switch from a fixed-rate mortgage to an adjustable-rate loan You will be going through the underwriting process again

Balloon Payment

The bigger than-normal installment to be made generally toward the end of a home loan term or an amortization credit, is known as a balloon payment.

Key Points of Balloon Payment

  • Lower regularly scheduled installments than conventional loans
  • Higher hazard because of lump amount installment
  • Usually limited to generally reliable and pay stable borrowers

What Do Lenders prefer?

Since there is a renewed loan in mortgage refinancing, there is a good amount of paperwork and requirements to qualify. Lenders would normally prefer refinancing to burrowers with higher credit scores who are punctual with their mortgage payments. However, with the modern government-back program, refinance has improved and now requires even less paperwork.

However, a loan modification simply makes changes to the existing home loan with the involvement of even lesser paperwork than refinancing. Therefore, loan modifications are convenient and faster to receive. Lenders recommend loan modifications to burrowers who are currently in a financial hardship and are already late on their home loan payment because they are unable to get refinancing.

Troy Doucet leads the team of well trainer lawyers who regularly work with foreclosure clients to obtain loan modifications. Contact him firm today to get your foreclosure issues sorted.

A Comprehensive Guide to the Provisions of Compensation for Land Acquisition in Australia

Australia is a big country with six states and two territories. They are New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania, Victoria. (North and Australian capital. The total area of Australia is 768 million hectares with a population of 2.41 crores people.

Just like any other country, the Australian government acquires land from its inhabitants for the construction of roads, cities, gas pipelines, railway tracks, etc. In exchange for the acquired land, it provides the compensation amount to the people. Today, in this article, we will talk about the provisions of compensation for land acquisition in Australia and try to understand how individuals can get a reasonable sum of the compensation amount.

The Land Administration Act 1997

As per the Land Administration Act 1997 (LAA), the Australian government can acquire land for public works. The Minister for Land, the Department of Regional Development and Lands, the State and local governments, agencies with their own special statutory powers, and property acquisition staff monitor the process of land acquisition in Australia.

In most cases, the land purchasing Agency makes it mandatory for the landowner to go through the registration process and agree to a fixed price after the evaluation of the land. On the other hand, the government also uses compulsory acquisition if serious attempts at negotiation have failed, Land is urgently needed for public works and the landowner is agreed to section 168 (1) (b) of the PTA.

To complete a mandatory land acquisition process, the concerned agency needs Proof of negotiation, Indemnity to the Minister for Lands against any claims or costs, evidence of an owner’s consent to the acquisition, and a statement from the local government (section 56 of the LAA) that the land is needed for the construction of roads.

To acquire the land, A Notice of Intention to Take (NOITT) should be lodged with the land gate and registered against the relevant title and must be published in newspapers. The Documents must also be served to the owner, occupier, or any related parties. The notice contains the full Info about the relevant land, the interest in land, public work details, reasons why the land is suitable for acquisition, etc.

The landlord can object to the acquisition of land within 60 days of registration of the NOITT. So, the landowner can ask for the return of the acquired land if the land was acquired one year ago but has not been used for the intended work or it can be sold jointly by its former owner if unused.

The power of state or local governments in land acquisition

The LAA allows the state or local governments to conduct surveys and perform feasibility surveys or to commence work for the urgent acquisition of lands. For such works, notice must be given in advance as shown in the chart:

Entry for the feasibility study 30 days (s182)
Railways, under a Special Act  7 days (s183)
Entry for the survey, inspection 48 hours (s184)
Entry for temporary occupation 7 days (s185)
Entry for the urgent beginning of the work 7 days (s186)


Land Acquisition Compensation

All those government agencies that acquire land from individuals are responsible for providing the compensation amount to the needy people. The state department involves in land acquisition and acts from the side of client agencies. The client agencies talk about the compensation amount for the acquired land as per the provisions of LAA.

In general cases, government agencies evaluate the base price and current market price of the land and offer the compensation amount to the people accordingly. In case of dispute, related parties can negotiate with the help of a local property lawyer and strike a mutually beneficial deal. The lawyer can help you in the survey and plan preparation, negotiation with government agencies, legal complexities and fulfill the procedural requirements of the NTA.


Final Words

Land acquisition in Australia is a common happening. The federal and state governments acquire land for public works. By following the above-mentioned tips, you can have fair compensation from the government in exchange for the acquired land.

Michael Birch  is a senior Corporate & Civil lawyer at Law office of Sydney, Australia and focuses his practices in the areas of Building Construction Law, Civil Litigation, Commercial Contracts, Commercial Litigation, Domestic and Commercial Conveyancing, Probate, Mediations, Conciliations and Arbitrations. Mr Michael has extensive knowledge in real estate development, real estate finance, real estate lending, asset management, asset purchase and sales, commercial leasing, mixed-use development and planned communities, including condominium ownership.