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The Role of a Closing Attorney in a Real Estate Transaction

Planning a meeting with an attorney is usually a rare occurrence. However, there are some things that require one, such as closing on a new home. During a real estate closing, it is important to understand the role of a closing attorney. In South Carolina, it is mandatory for there to be an attorney present at a real estate closing. While this may seem excessive, it’s important to understand each step of the important process for both buyers and sellers.

Take an inside look at what happens before and after a house closes on in South Carolina:

Step 1: Receiving the Contract

Once you receive the contract, it’s time to start preparing your closing documents. The process begins by working with a closing attorney to make sure all parties are prepared for closing day. The buyer’s attorney helps in obtaining bank documents, orders title abstracts, and keeps up-to-date on inspection reports. The seller’s attorney holds all the information regarding loans, insurance, mortgage payoffs, and any other important homeowner documents.

Step 2: Examine the Title  

A title search is a historical record of the ownership of property. A thorough examination of the chain of ownership going back at least 61 years shows whether all mortgages or liens are satisfied, and lists any defects in title. This information lets you know who owned your property previously, what they did, and where your rights as an owner come from.

Step 3: Apply for Title Insurance

Insurance is another necessity when purchasing a new home and securing that purchase. Now that you’ve selected your property, there are a few things left to do. The first is to secure your purchase. The next step is the attorney needs to issue a Title Opinion. The role of a closing attorney is to request title insurance on behalf of you and the lender. This policy insures the good title of the property so the lender can use it as collateral for the loan.

Step 4:  Collect and prepare documents

The attorney’s office will collect all documents from the lender, and the disclosures and more from the realtor’s closing coordinator. They’ll then get everything ready for closing. This includes preparing the deed, settlement statement, and a package of all the paperwork to finalize your purchase.

Step 5: Closing Day

By the end of the closing, most buyers feel as if they have been on a wonderful journey. They have found a home they want to buy, negotiated with the seller and reached terms with their lender to obtain a mortgage loan.  A buyer can expect the closing attorney to fully explain the loan documents to them. This includes interest rate, amortization schedule, late payment penalties, and terms of the loan and maturity date. This document is then presented to the seller for approval. It will be signed by both parties along with a transfer of the keys

Step 6: Disbursement

After the loan process is complete, the attorney works closely with all major players (lender, seller, buyer). This is to ensure that funds are held and disbursed appropriately.  The attorney ensures that closing goes smoothly. They do this by coordinating payment based on the settlement, paying off prior mortgages and collecting funds from third parties.

Step 7: Recording the Legal Documents

Now it’s official! Your attorney will ensure that all documents have been executed and filed in appropriate public records. They will also provide a copy of the documents and record book to the buyers and sellers. Lastly, they will file for final title insurance.


At Grand Strand Law Group, we understand the role of a closing attorney and that closing on a new home is a daunting process. We are here to help you every step of the way. Give us a call at 843.492.5422 and learn more about residential closings.

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