September 21, 2019

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North Carolina Real Estate Law

North Carolina Real Estate Lawyers

Real estate transactions can be far more complicated than you expect, and when something goes wrong, the consequences can be financially devastating. Real estate law is different in each state, so even if you have experience with buying and selling property in another state, you may find some aspects of North Carolina real estate law surprising.

Areas of Law

Real estate law covers more than buying and selling a house, building, or piece of land, and includes:

  • Residential sales
  • Commercial sales
  • Commercial leases
  • Landlord/tenant issues
  • Eminent domain
  • Adverse possession
  • Development
  • Boundary disputes
  • Liens
  • Title claims
  • Financing
  • Foreclosure
  • Zoning and use
  • Covenants
  • Homeowners associations
  • Mineral rights

Eminent Domain in North Carolina

Eminent domain is the power of government entities and certain agencies, such as utility companies, to take private property for public use. The entity or agency which takes the property must pay just compensation to the property owner.

An eminent domain action can take an entire piece of property or a portion. The entity or agency must prove that it is taking your land for public use and that taking your land is necessary for this purpose.

Public use includes:

  • Road construction or widening
  • Placing new power or water lines
  • Government buildings such as schools and police stations

You can challenge an eminent domain action and attempt to keep your property. You can also fight for fair compensation for your property. In most cases the government entity that is taking your land will offer you far less in compensation than your property is actually worth. Your chance of getting more compensation is much greater than the chance of keeping your property in most cases.

If you are facing an eminent domain action you should talk to a North Carolina real estate attorney about your rights and options right away.

Homeowners Associations

Before you purchase a home or land, always find out if a homeowner’s association (HOA) is involved. While there can be benefits to owning a home in a planned community or subdivision, there are rules and fees. You need to review all of the covenants and bylaws, and how much you will have to pay in fees and other hidden charges.

HOAs, in North Carolina, are generally responsible for maintaining common areas and enforcing covenants. You should not purchase property in a subdivision with covenants which will prevent you from enjoying your home. Although membership in the HOA can give you voting rights, that does not mean that you will be able to make the changes you want. Enforcement can include steep fines for minor infractions, and can escalate to HOA foreclosure on your home.