North Carolina Is An Attorney Closing State

If you are located outside of NC or if you are not familiar with NC Real Property Law, please read this before contacting Title Sleuth, LLC.

Attorney Closings and the Title Search

In NC, an attorney handles real estate closings and acts as the settlement agent, not a title company. The attorney either performs the title search in-house, or she hires a trusted company like Title Sleuth, LLC to perform the search under her direct supervision.

Title searching/abstracting is a service that constitutes the practice of law in NC and while it may be performed by a non-attorney, it must be closely supervised by a licensed NC real estate attorney. Information gathered and used for the purpose of determining good and marketable title, whether it’s an update for a refi, a full search to convey ownership to another party, or a judgment search to uncover liens, must be supervised, reviewed, and certified by said attorney. The attorney provides the title opinion based on the information uncovered in the title search.

The Role of the Title Company

The attorney will still be using a title company to insure the title. However, it is the attorney who must perform (or supervise and review) the title search and certify the real estate title before the title company issues an insurance policy.

Even though North Carolina is an attorney state, the title company still plays an important role in the closing. The attorney submits her preliminary opinion with the title work to the title company for title insurance. The title company then reviews the title work and opinion to check for major issues, determines exceptions, and (after a few more steps) issues the title insurance policy, thus protecting the buyer’s interests in the property.

Working with Title Sleuth, LLC

Title Sleuth, LLC frequently receives work requests from companies outside of NC who are unfamiliar with our laws and common practices. We operate within the strict confines of NC law and only perform work under the supervision of licensed NC real estate attorneys.

If your title company works closely with or employs a NC real estate attorney, you may contact Title Sleuth, LLC to see if we’re a good fit. If you don’t have an attorney in mind, we’ll gladly recommend one!

NC State Bar Ethics/Rules Of Professional Conduct

On The Role Of Laypersons In The Consummation Of Residential Real Estate Transactions
Adopted: January 24, 2003
Revised January 26, 2012

A person who is not licensed to practice law in North Carolina and is not working under the direct supervision of an active member of the State Bar may not perform functions or services that constitute the practice of law. Under the express language of N.C. Gen. Stat. §§ 84-2.1 and 84-4, a non-lawyer who is not working under the direct supervision of an active member of the State Bar would be engaged in the unauthorized practice of law if he or she performs any of the following functions for one or more of the parties to a residential real estate transaction: (i) preparing or aiding in preparation of deeds, deeds of trust, lien waivers or affidavits, or other legal documents; (ii) abstracting or passing upon titles; or (iii) advising or giving an opinion upon the legal rights or obligations of any person, firm, or corporation.

Detailed information is available here:

Accepting new clients!

If your title company has a supervising attorney for NC closings, you may contact Title Sleuth, LLC to see if we’re a good fit. If you don’t, we’ll gladly recommend one!

Danielle McClennan
Title Sleuth LLC