Congratulations! You are finally buying your dream home in the Lowcountry! For most of us, buying a home is the biggest financial investment we make. In South Carolina, attorneys are required by law to oversee residential real estate closings. Most South Carolina real estate law firms also provide title insurance services. Our region’s real estate lawyers and paralegals are proud to close closings and welcome new residents to the Lowcountry. Below are 7 tips to know when closing your purchase:
- Reread your contract before signing it. It might sound trivial, but is your name spelled correctly? Is your address included? What is the closing date? Look at a calendar. If you have planned a trip to Antarctica (it happened) or if it is a public holiday, change the closing date before signing the contract. If you are funding your purchase, choose a closing date of at least 45 days from the date you sign your contract. While you’re there, avoid closing on the 15th and the last day of the month. Your real estate lawyer and paralegal will thank you.
- Your lawyer and lender will ask you for a lot of information. Answer phone calls, emails, and letters from your lawyer and lender. Provide your full contact details to your law firm and lender. Use your full legal name. The information you provide helps your attorney represent you effectively and keeps the closing going smoothly so you can move into your dream home on time. If you don’t understand something, ask us.
- You do not have to attend the closing in person. Your lawyer can send you the closing documents by email or next day delivery, but you should attend your closing in person if possible. At closing, you will likely only meet with your lawyer and paralegal to sign documents. The sellers will meet with their lawyer. Your real estate agent or loan officer may attend the closing, but this is rare.
- In South Carolina, we still need the original signatures on many closing documents. You probably won’t be able to use digital signatures for your closing documents. Some documents may require a witness and a notary. If you will not be attending the closing of your law firm, you may need to make arrangements to sign the documents in the presence of a witness and a notary where you sign.
- You will need to transfer funds to your attorney’s trust account for the amount you owe on closing. Contact your bank or financial institution to determine what you will need to do to transfer funds. Some banks require that you visit a bank in person to authorize a transfer. A customer had to drive from Hilton Head to Virginia to authorize a wire transfer to the nearest bank branch. Hopefully, this situation will not happen to you, but knowing your bank’s requirements in advance will ensure that your purchase is not unnecessarily delayed.
- This is the hardest part. Don’t expect to receive the keys to your new home at the closing table, especially if you get a loan. You need to sign documents, the seller needs to sign documents, your lawyer needs to get loan approval and loan funds from your lender, and your lawyer needs to receive your funds for closing. Your lawyer should send the seller’s product to the seller’s law firm. Only then are you entitled to take possession of your new home. Do not show up in your moving van with your pets for closing. Do not schedule movers, painters, cable companies, etc. for the afternoon of your closing date. Schedule your closure early in the morning to allow time for the closure to be completed on the same day. Despite our best efforts, delays do occasionally occur, and having to tell customers to reschedule deliveries is one of the toughest calls we have to make.
- Buying a new home is a huge and wonderful life event. We don’t expect customers to be fencing experts. Your real estate attorney and paralegal deal with fencing on a daily basis, so count on them to guide you through the closing process.