Questions for the Closing Attorney
Robert Whitney, Attorney
Every state has different rules about real estate and how the transfer of property takes place. Robert has over 35 years of experience and is my personal attorney on real estate, wills, and some estate planning. I sat down with Robert Whitney, one of the attorneys who close property in Oconee County, to ask him the questions I am asked during each transaction.
1) Why do real estate closings in South Carolina take place at an Attorney's office? The closings don't have to take place at my office but it is less expensive--the buyer and seller are not paying me to travel to closing. The convenience of doing it in my office is less expensive, more secure and private. The attorney's office is a controlled environment, not open to anyone walking by as you would have in a coffee shop or real estate office.
2) What does an attorney do at closing? make sure forms are properly prepared and signed. He is available for any questions, to be a witness or notary.
3) Why do I have to do a title search? Title searches determine outstanding problems, ownership defects, and liens. Attorneys look at the paper chain to make sure you are buying what you think you are buying and that you get 100% ownership.
4) If you do a title search, why do I need title insurance? Title insurance protects buyers and lenders from hidden defects in the property.
5) How often do I have to buy title insurance? When you buy or refinance a property.
6) What advice would you give a new buyer? Take pictures of survey markers...look at each one on the plat. Keep insurance. Pay taxes. Have someone look at the property if you are not a resident to make sure nothing has changed, no one is using your property and finally, have a will or co-owner to take over if something happens to you as an owner.
7) What way can I take title to the real estate? Tenancy in common, Joint Tenants with right of survivorship, life estates and remainder interest.
8) Anything extra that a new buyer needs to do on improved property?
- IF there is a house, have it re-keyed.
- Make sure the insurance is adequate.
- Make sure the seller has removed all his belongings before closing without damaging your property.
- A week after closing check to be sure your deed has been recorded and their mortgage(s) have been canceled against your property.
9) Any final advice for buyers of real estate?
- Get a survey or have the pins remarked
- Pay your taxes, insurance and mortgage in a timely fashion
- Get what you pay for!!
10) Any final advice for sellers of real estate?
- forward tax bills and related legal documents to the buyer.
Robert Whitney is in his 40th year of practicing law. He can be reached at 864-882-1414. Sandy Lee is his paralegal and usually answers the phone. Robert is my personal attorney so I am very biased in how great he is.