The Floyd Law Firm offers comprehensive real estate legal services. Our lead real estate attorney, Patricia H. Anderson, is here to listen and gently guide you throughout your successful closing process.
While South Carolina—Horry County especially—is experiencing a period of increased growth and a substantially active housing market, it can become overwhelming for first-time home buyers and newly licensed Realtors. The real estate agents, lenders, mortgage brokers, lawyers, and paralegals must work together diligently in the effort to help each and every individual buyer or seller to the best of their ability.
So many individuals and families from neighboring states are choosing to make South Carolina their home. The recent increase in sales and purchases along the Grand Strand and surrounding communities is feeding a building boom as well. Local leaders are working hard to get the local infrastructure ready for such growth and expansion.
Meeting our client’s demands and elevating the closing process requires clear communication and teamwork. This can be accomplished by looking beyond the closing table into the intricacies of each group assisting the Seller(s) and Buyer(s).
Our goal at The Floyd Law Firm, PC is to share information with real estate agents and lenders while promoting honest transparency that facilitates an exceptional closing. It’s our job to know the law and we hope to be of help when it comes to bridging the gap between all parties involved with each step of the transaction.
The Agreement to Buy and Sell Real Estate
In South Carolina, the form required for all residential real estate transactions is the Agreement to Buy and Sell Real Estate Form 310 for general use. The contractual form is to be completed in its entirety without any sections being left blank. Realtors know that this is important for protecting their client, and also protects themselves from any problematic interpretations that could cause delays or failures in the process.
The Realtor information sheet needs to be fully reviewed to help expedite the closing process. It aids to maintain fast and concise communication with the real estate agents clients and the coordinating attorney in the sales transaction. While many clients may be reluctant to provide their Social Security numbers at first, it is important to explain to them that we must have the Social Security Numbers in order to close. If a client is hesitant to email the information through a secure portal, they can be accommodated via a confidential phone call.
The full legal names of the Seller(s) and the Buyer(s) are a must for the Form 310. This means that each has to be spelled out fully, such as Mary Elizabeth Smith and not Mary Smith or Mary E. Smith. Title searches are performed using the entire name for both the Seller(s) and the Buyer(s) to rule out any judgments or liens against any individuals that may attach to the property (Buyers) or may have already attached to the property (Sellers). If at a later date an individual is added, or the name of the Buyer or the Seller changes into an LLC, the title search must complete additional searches on those parties. This adds additional days to the final title search request which can often cause a delay in the closing process. It’s prudent to be mindful of this when filling out the contract.
It may seem counter-intuitive, but it must be confirmed that the Sellers are the actual current property owners. Yes, people do try to sell property that they do not legally own, unfortunately. This step can be performed by examining the related property tax notices on the Horry County Government Website – Tax Search. Always being sure to do the due diligence first can expedite the closing process and help things go smoothly.
Note that if the tax notice indicates a different name or “et al”, ( e.g. Smith et al), meaning there is more than one owner—or a different owner—look to the last recorded Deed on file. Inquire further as to all the Sellers as well.
If an entity such as a Limited Liability Company (LLC) wishes to sell or purchase the property, the the following is required by the attorney:
- Certificate of Existence
- Articles of Organization
- Operating Agreement
- EIN Number / Form SS-4
- Tax Compliance (if selling the majority of the LLC’s assets.)
- Complete the Buyer(s) or Seller(s) line on contract correctly – e.g. Smith Limited Liability Company or Smith, LLC
If the property is in a Trust, the closing attorney needs the following:
- Copy of the Trust
- Copy of a recently recorded Certificate of Trust
- If there is no recently recorded Certificate, one must be created for recording with the transaction
- Fill in the Buyer(s) or Seller(s) line on contract correctly as, for example, Mary Elizabeth Smith as Trustee of the Smith Family Trust
If the Seller is deceased or the property is in Probate – The Estate of Mary Elizabeth Smith, as an example – the attorney may need the following depending on the situation:
- Copy of the Last Will and Testament
- An original Death Certificate
- An appointment of the Personal Representative with SC Probate Court
- If the deceased Seller resided outside of SC, an Ancillary Estate must be opened in the SC Probate Court
- Complete the Buyer(s) or Seller(s) line on contract correctly as, for example, Robert Smith as Personal Representative of The Estate of Mary E. Smith
If there exists to be multiple Sellers and/or multiple Purchasers, consider a Specific Power of Attorney (POA) for one individual. This will reduce costs and achieve the same results without the chaos of coordinating multiple closings. If using a lender, please also make note that the lender must approve the POA prior to the closing.
The Closing Date should reflect the actual date that both Seller(s) and Buyer(s) wish to close. Please refrain from putting a closing date and then a request to close earlier. Law offices work toward a closing date listed on the contract, as do the lenders. Many required steps such as ordering the title search, certificate of assessment (COA), and the termite inspection (CL 100) all have their own time requirements. If the closing date changes, attorneys and their staff then must work to alter the scheduling of each individual step to be changed to meet the timeline of the new closing date. Upon receipt of the Form 310 contract, client closings are placed on the working calendar with the aim to close on the closing date of the contract.
Sharing information is our most valuable asset when it comes to working together as a team with real estate representatives, brokers, and bank lenders. It is everyone’s goal to help the process go as smoothly as possible for our most important patrons–the Buyers and Sellers.
At The Floyd Law Firm PC, protecting your real estate transaction is our focus. Our attorneys bring together more than 100 years of combined experience, and our team approach to the law allows us to deliver results that our clients can depend on. It is our job to know everything that the laws governing real estate require, and to make sure that every important detail is discussed.