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- Borrowers must be given an opportunity to select the closing attorney and the provider of insurance coverages.
If they express no preference, they may be guided by the lender, real estate agent, or other party. A Preference Selection
form should be a part of all loan packages. (SC Code 37-10-102). Borrowers, demand closing by the closing
office of your choice! The lender must abide by your choice, so long as that attorney is qualified.
- Our Supreme Court continues to make it abundantly clear that all stages of a real estate transaction must be under the
direct supervision of a South Carolina attorney. These stages are: (a) Title search and subsequent preparation
of certification documentation; (b) preparation of loan documents; (c) supervising the closing and providing advice to the
buyer/borrower; (d) recording legal documents; and (d) disbursement of funds. Our associated attorneys assure that the
requirements of law are met; and that both lender and borrower are properly represented. "Witness-only closings"
common in other States, where only a Notary Public may come to borrowers' home for signing, are prohibited in South
Carolina. (State v. Buyers Service, 292 SC 426, 357 SE2d 15; Doe v. McMaster, 355 SC 306, 585 SE2d 773; In the Matter
of Fortson, SC Supreme Court Case 25898; and In The Matter of Boyce, SC Supreme Court Case 25985.)
- Title in South Carolina is traditionally held as tenants-in-common. Basically, this means that an individual
may hold title in his/her own name, regardless of marital status. If a husband and wife choose to both own
the property, they each own a one-half interest in the property (unless specified otherwise), and even after death or divorce
title is still owned 50%/50%. As long as all of the owners of the property sign the Mortgage, whether 1 or many, lender
has a valid lien on the real estate. Only 1 owner may be the financially responsible party (loan applicant), signing
the Note and other loan documents; but all owners sign the Mortgage. Conversely, both husband and wife may be loan
applicants, based on combined income, but title to real estate is held by only 1 of them. Both parties will sign Note
and other loan documents, but only the 1 vested owner is required to sign the mortgage to give a valid lien. Title
may, upon request, be vested as Joint Tenants With Right of Survivorship, which ultimately results in ownership by "the
last man standing".
- Owners of property living outside South Carolina, who do not regularly file
South Carolina income tax returns, are subject to 7% withholding tax against the gain at time of sale of South Carolina
property. The Buyer is required to deduct this tax and transmit it to the South Carolina Department of Revenue; thus
it is part of the closing transaction.
- Proper execution of a legal document for recording in South Carolina requires
2 independent witnesses (one of whom may be the Notary), in addition to a uniform Notary Acknowledgment, or our unique
South Carolina "Probate", signed by one of the witnesses and a Notary Public.
- If an Owner has an existing
Owner's Title Insurance Policy, it can save them time and money on new transactions. Title search is reduced to cover
from date of policy forward. If the policy is less than 10 years old, premium for new policy is discounted.