Q & A
What I need to know as a Buyer:
What is EM?
Earnest Money is the buyer’s way of showing to the seller that they are serious about wanting to purchase the property, “in good faith.” Edwards Law will deposit and hold the earnest money in their trust account for safekeeping, to be later applied towards the buyer’s closing costs.
Earnest Money is typically required to be deposited with your closing attorney within a few days of going under contract. Edwards Law will not hold due diligence termination fee’s. Please note, in the event the contract is terminated, Earnest Money can only be released by mutual agreement or court order.
How do I turn in my Earnest Money?
Edwards Law, LLC provides a variety of ways to deposit your Earnest Money. Check out our Earnest Money page for more information!
What to do I need Bring to closing?
Who needs to attend closing?
I am out of town and can not attend closing, what are my options?
How do I get a final closing figure and how to I bring funds to closing?
Why do you need my social security number?
What’s included in a title search?
What is a Survey? Do I need one?
A boundary survey is a type of survey that is conducted to determine the exact location and boundaries of a piece of land. A boundary survey is typically not required absent special circumstances (such as the discovery of a possible encroachment, unclear legal description, etc.) but we highly recommend getting one as they can be essential when building a fence or structure near a property line, or resolving property line disputes. It can also be helpful for ensuring that any improvements made to the property, such as building additions or landscaping, do not encroach on neighboring properties or violate local zoning ordinances. Therefore, since a surveyor must examine public records of adjacent properties, a survey may potentially uncover issues that would not normally be reflected in a title search. Please contact the office if you would like a quote for a new survey.
What is Joint tenants with rights of survivorship (JTWOS) vs Tenants in Common?
What is 4% (primary residence) vs 6% taxes?
In South Carolina, property taxes are based on the assessed value of the property and the tax rate set by the local government. The tax rate can vary depending on the location and type of property. The tax rate for owner-occupied residential properties in South Carolina is generally 4%. This means that primary residence property owner pays 4% of the assessed value of their property in property taxes each year. For other types of properties, such as commercial, industrial, or rental properties, the tax rate is generally 6%. Primary residents must apply for the 4% assessment ratio with the county their residence is located in in order to claim eligibility. Failure to apply will typically result in the assessed taxes defaulting at the 6% rate. Your closing attorney will discuss the steps and requirements to apply at the end of your closing as the application process will vary by county. You can find links to the application in our resource page.
What is title insurance and why do I need it?
Title insurance is insurance that protects your ownership in the property (i.e., your ability to own the property and your ability to sell the property). It provides financial protection to property owners and lenders in the event that there are defects in the title. Paid at the time of closing, and protects the homeowner for as long as they or their heirs own the property. It is designed to cover losses resulting from unknown or hidden defects that were not discovered during the title search process. Even with a thorough title search, there may be hidden defects in the title that were not discovered, such as forgery, errors in the public records, or undisclosed heirs. If a defect in the title is discovered after the property has been purchased or the mortgage has been issued, the title insurance policy will typically cover the costs of defending the owner or lender’s rights in court, as well as any financial losses incurred as a result of the defect. Title insurance is usually required by lenders when a mortgage is obtained, but beware, a lender’s policy of title insurance will only cover the lender and not the buyer. This is why we highly recommend that buyers purchase their own policy so that their investment (the property they are purchasing) is protected. For additional information visit the Old Republic Title website.
How do I receive my deed and title insurance policy after closing?
I don’t have an agent, how can Edwards Law help?
I am buying from a builder, can you close it?
I am buying land, can you close it?
I am buying a piece of property in another state, can you close it?
How do I turn on utilities?
How do I receive the keys to my new property?
I am moving from out of state, how might closing be different in South Carolina?
Welcome to South Carolina! We have many out-of-state buyers who have closed with us before. Here are the biggest differences we tend to notice:
- Attorney State: South Carolina requires that all closings be conducted by attorneys. This means that you can not sign your closing paperwork in a title agency, but a law firm. If you need to sign your closing paperwork in a different state, please contact our office immediately.
- Homestead Exemption: Some states call the primary residence tax rate the “homestead exemption.” We call this the “legal residence” rate for property taxes. While South Carolina offers a Homestead exemption in addition to a legal residence rate, it is for residents who have lived in South Carolina for a full calendar year and are 65 years or older, legally blind, or permanently/totally disabled. Residents who are eligible for the homestead exemption are able to deduct up to $50,000 from the value of their home for property tax purposes.
- Property Taxes paid in arrears – property taxes are due and payable at the end of every calendar year. They typically come out in the fall or winter (depending on the county) and will be considered late January 15th the following year. This means property taxes will be prorated at closing (i.e., the seller will pay to the buyer an amount proportionate to the length of time they owned the property).
What I need to know as a Seller:
What information do I need to gather for closing?
I don’t have an agent, how can Edwards Law help?
What to Bring to closing?
You will need to bring your driver’s license, wiring instructions or a voided check (if you have not provided it prior to closing), yourself, your keys (including garage door openers, etc.) and any original documents that may be required (such as a mobile home title, an unrecorded power of attorney, an unrecorded certification of trust, etc.). We will remind you prior to closing of anything additional you need to bring!