For real estate transactions, the responsibilities of realtors are governed by agency law. The responsibilities of lawyers in South Carolina are governed by the South Carolina Rules of Professional Conduct and well-developed case law. So, what legal responsibilities do South Carolina lawyers have in real estate transactions?
Attorneys have a duty of loyalty. There are multiple parties in every real estate transaction. Between the Seller, the Buyer, the Agents, and the Lender, it becomes clear why loyalty is so important. Loyalty is a principle that requires an attorney to represent the complete and best interests of their client. When an attorney has conflicting interests between parties, it is their duty to receive the informed consent of all parties to ensure ethical and legal compliance to continue representation. As attorneys must oversee the entire closing process, the duty of loyalty is paramount to effective representation. It is important to know you can trust your attorney, and that they have your best interests in mind.
Attorneys also have a duty to provide competent counsel. With the recent changes to closing disclosures and forms, it is even more imperative to choose legal counsel that can competently represent you in your real estate transaction. “Competent representation requires legal knowledge, skills, thoroughness, and preparation.” Personality might draw you to an attorney, but competency will keep you using their services. In the end, making sure the transaction gets completed correctly should be the attorney’s top responsibility.
In South Carolina, attorneys are responsible for supervising every facet of the real estate transaction. The South Carolina Supreme Court has broken real estate transactions into five areas: the title search, loan documents, closing, recordation of documents, and disbursement of funds. For each of these areas, it is the attorney’s responsibility to supervise the work product. So, even though the title may be searched by an independent company, it is the attorney’s responsibility to ensure the search is complete. Each step is vital to each transaction, and each attorney must supervise each step.
At Clemmons Law Firm, we pride ourselves in providing loyalty and competency for each closing. We supervise each step of the process to ensure proper completion of each real estate transaction. We work, so you do not have to worry! With over a quarter century of experience, you can trust Clemmons Law Firm to get the job done with a high degree of efficiency. We look forward to helping you with your next real estate transaction!