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Answers to Common Questions About Real Estate Lawyers: An Interview with Lee Cole of Cox & Cole, Attorneys at Law

By Lee Cole

Tell us a little bit about your firm and the areas of law your practice.

Cox & Cole, Attorneys at Law is a general practice firm located in downtown Williamston, South Carolina. We serve clients throughout the Upstate of South Carolina in Anderson, Greenville, Spartanburg, Oconee, Pickens, Abbeville, Laurens, and Greenwood Counties.

We practice in a broad range of areas of law including Real Estate, Criminal Defense, Wills and Probate, Personal Injury, and Family Law.
We believe this sets us apart from other firms in that we offer small town accessibility combined with a wide variety of practice areas.

If having a lawyer is not legally required for a residential transaction, what is the benefit of hiring one?

In South Carolina, only lawyers can legally conduct real estate closings. One of the most important duties of a lawyer in a real estate transaction is to ensure that title to the property is clear. If a person attempts to transfer real property without an attorney, the property could have title problems including liens, judgments, and mortgages which could make it nearly impossible to sell the property in the future. Also, an attorney will make certain that documents related to real property like deeds and mortgages are executed and recorded properly.

What are the most common reasons why you might need an attorney when you buy or sell a house?

As stated above, the main reasons to hire an attorney to assist a person in transferring property are to allow the attorney to guarantee title and ensure that the property is actually transferred.

When should a prospective home buyer hire a real estate lawyer?

A prospective home buyer has the right to select a closing attorney of their own choosing in South Carolina. Therefore, I recommend that buyers inform their real estate agent of their attorney selection before they make an initial offer on a home.

How would you suggest that people find a reliable and competent residential real estate lawyer?

The biggest compliment a client can give to my firm is to recommend us to another person, so I would suggest that a person ask for recommendations from their families and friends. Also, a great resource for finding a local South Carolina closing attorney is the South Carolina Lawyer Referral service which can be accessed on the South Carolina Bar's website.

What advice can you give home buyers about working effectively with their real estate attorney to make the home buying process as smooth as possible?

I think it is very important for a home buyer to stay in communication with their closing attorney's office. After signing a contract on a home, the buyer should consult with their lender and real estate agent to establish a realistic closing date. This date should be communicated to the closing attorney as soon as possible. Also, a buyer should contact their closing attorney if there are any unexpected problems or changes in schedule. It is much easier to handle problems that are brought up ahead of time than those that arise while the parties are sitting at the closing table.

What's the best way for people to contact you and your firm?

The best way to contact my office is by telephone at (864) 847-9289. People can also visit our website, www.CoxandCole.com or contact us by e-mail at LeeCole@CoxandCole.com.

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