Whether you are buying or selling property in North Carolina, you'll need an attorney to prepare your documents and execute the closing for your sale. Start your search early on in the contract period, and use these tips to choose the right attorney for your needs:
Ask your real estate agent for a list of suggestions
Agents work with closing attorneys often, so it's no secret that your agent has probably been able to detect the differences between local attorneys. Many agents even keep a list of attorneys with which they have worked well in the past. Just remember that you always control the choice, and you are welcome to seek information from attorneys other than those your agent may recommend.
Prep a list of questions to ask in advance
If you prepare before calling around, you'll be ready to compare "apples to apples" between attorneys. Ask questions like:
How long have you been handling real estate closings?
What are your fees?
Will I be communicating directly with you, or another member of your staff?
What should I expect for closing (i.e. in-person, virtual, etc.)?
Do you have a specialty? Ask this specifically if you are buying or selling property where a unique specialty is needed (i.e. estate sales, commercial sales, short sales, etc.).
What kind of funds do you accept (i.e. wire transfers, certified checks, personal checks, etc.)?
Even attorneys sometimes collect reviews online, so you may be able to use those reviews to help thin the crowd. Just remember, if your attorney does not solicit online reviews, there may not be any reviews posted - the lack of reviews is not necessarily an indicator of their quality of service.
Whether you plan to go with one of the attorneys suggested by your agent, or you choose to call around and research attorneys on your own, please do it early in the contract period. Attorneys need to be given plenty of time to perform their part of the work before closing - they research the chain of title, prepare the deed for transfer to the new owner, seek out title insurance, and coordinate with the buyer's lender to prepare the full package of loan documents. These things all take time, and attorneys stay booked with closings well in advance. Your attorney will appreciate the prompt notice, and will be able to perform the closing without rushing any steps in the process.