Monthly Archives: March 2016

Marital Property and Proceeds in North and South Carolina

Screenshot 2016-03-29 08.17.23*Consult your licensed and admitted attorney in your state for legal advice.  This post is sharing my own experiences as an experienced REALTOR® licensed in both NC and SC.

In North Carolina we have a saying, ‘It takes one to buy and two to sell real estate in North Carolina.’

Generally, if both husband and wife appear on title, both must sign documents (mortgage, rescission and TIL); If only one spouse is on title to property being mortgaged, individual state law applies.

North Carolina is what’s called a dower state. Properties purchased by a married couple is a marital asset even if only one buyer signs documentation (unless that property is purchased by an entity*) and the property is equally owned by both parties, each with rights and responsibilities to the property. When making a purchase, if the intention is for each spouse to protect the others’ marital rights to the property should one spouse pre-decease the other, the closing attorney should include both spouses on the title with rights in common, or as directed by your closing attorney.

Properties owned prior to the marriage are not necessarily marital assets unless Screenshot 2016-03-29 08.45.56the non-signing spouse completes major updates to the property as a major investment in the property.  Each scenario must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

In the case of a spouse inheriting a property, the non-inheriting spouse must sign all documentation to list and sell that property. Often the non-inheriting spouse tells me, ‘That’s not my property and I don’t need to sign.’ Signing to list and sell, and ultimately to close on that property’s sale is for the non-inheriting spouse’s protection.  The spouse who did not inherit the property is signing away both his rights and his further responsibilities to that inherited property.

In contrast, South Carolina is not a dower state, it’s a Homestead (owner Screenshot 2016-03-29 08.48.24occupied) state and common law jurisdiction – what’s hers is hers, what’s his is his. Any husband or wife may freely and individually buy or sell any property with no benefit or responsibility to the other party. As long as the spouse is not on title, the spouse will not be required to sign, and perhaps more importantly, not be due any proceeds.

In the case of a married couple who has purchased a home together, but with only one spouse on the title in SC, if the other spouse wishes to receive a portion of the proceeds from closing and the parties don’t agree, that non-titled spouse must be awarded a court order for the proceeds to be divided.

*A Caveat – properties owned by an entity, such as an LLC or Corporation, or an interest owned by a Trust follow different rules of law and the above doesn’t apply.

NOT INTENDED FOR LEGAL ADVICE – Consult your favorite real estate attorney for full details.

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Chrystal is a REALTOR®, Broker in Charge of Real Estate Realty LLC, a boutique firm specializing in working with investors, and principal of The Safari Group LLC, a local,cbs isa homegrown real estate group, specializing in all phases of the residential and small business real estate market, including First Time Home Buyer, New Construction, Finance, Marketing, Objection Handling, Relocation, Technology, Foreclosures, Short Sales, Portfolio Development, Luxury Homes and GREEN Features.  Contact her at 704.562.1030; TXT for faster service

Is It Ordinary Wear and Tear, or Damage?

Screenshot 2016-03-27 16.26.28
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s a Landlord, there are the usual expenses in cash flowing a property which is the cost of doing business.  From the time the home is acquired until it’s rented, costs include acquisition costs to restoring habitability to updating, depending upon the overall objective of the landlord, and different levels of updating that may be desired.  Providing a safe and habitable abode is the goal to obtain and keep long-term tenants.  Once the tenant is placed, ordinary wear and tear is a landlord expense.  Damage or excessive filth isn’t.

A habitable structure is a safe structure that has met minimum building codes, and can be occupied in reasonable comfort.  Although standards vary by region, the premises should be closed-in against the weather, provide running water, access to decent toilets and bathing facilities, disposal of wastewater, provide heating, and electricity. Particularly in multi-dwelling buildings freedom from noxious smells, noise and garbage are included in the standard. (http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/habitable)

So, once the property meets the definition of habitable structure, what is ordinary wear and tear, and what is damage?

Ordinary Wear and Tear (OWT) and Landlord Responsibility VS Damage or Excessive Filth, the Tenant’s Responsibility:

1. Moderately worn carpet, vinyl and tile is OWT; burns, holes, breaks or stains is Damage

2.  Small holes from hanging pictures, OWT;  numerous or large holes from hanging shelves, accidents or carelessness is Damage

3.  Dents in wall from door handle, OWT; Door off hinges or missing handles or hardware is Damage

4.  Faded Paint is OWT;  stains, drawings or unapproved painting is Damage

5.  Burned out oven heating elements is OWT;  Burned out oven heating elements caused by food debris catching fire is Damage

6.  Warn gaskets on refrigerator doors is OWT; Broken refrigerator component or shelf is Damage

7. Moderate dark patches of soil on reasonably worn hardwood floors, OWT; water stains is Damage

8.  Warped cabinet doors is OWT; Sticky cabinets and interiors is Damage

9.  Moderately dirty mini-blinds, OWT; missing, stained or broken mini-blinds is Damage

10.  Cigarette smoke residue or fumes is Damage

11.  Garbage disposal that quits operating due to motor dying, OWT; Garbage disposal that breaks a because of a foreign object lodged inside is Damage

12.  Laminate top separated from countertop base, OWT; Burns, chips and breaks is Damage

13.  Loose door handles is OWT; missing or broken door handles is Damage

14.  Failed toilet parts, but no cracks in the toilet or stoppages or blockages is OWT;  cracked, breaks or problems caused by flushing foreign objects is Damage

15.  Loose faucet handles is OWT; broken faucet handles or missing drain plug or other parts is Damage

16.  Some electrical issues may be OWT; electrical damage caused by overloading the circuits or other tenant activity is Damage

17.  Worn out switches, OWT; broken or missing switches is Damage18.  Loose deck or fence components, OWT; Broken deck or fence pieces or parts is Damage

19. Loose stair banister or handrail, OWT; missing stair parts is Damage

20. HVAC concerns related to age of unit, OWT; problems caused by dirty or missing filters or abuse or misuse is Damage

21. Animal droppings left in the yard, and damage to landscaping by animal droppings or urine is Damage.

~ This list is by no means a complete and comprehensive list.  Based on what features are included in a home, there may be other items to consider.  Ordinary wear and tear should not be charged to the tenant or deducted from the security deposit.  Damages should be charged to the tenant or deducted from the security deposit.

Feel free to share this list with your tenants and your preferred Maintenance Professional so that everyone is aware of what is and isn’t covered by the landlord.

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Chrystal Safari Roy Leading You Home…

Chrystal Safari Roy has over 20 years experience in personal property management and residential real estate sales and is a licensed REALTOR® in North and South Carolina.  As a MASTERS Designation holder, she is a specialist in New Construction, Finance, Marketing, Objection Handling, Relocation, Technology, and is a multi-million dollar producer.  Chrystal is a member in good standing of the Charlotte Regional Association of REALTORS®, North Carolina Association of REALTORS®, and National Association of REALTORS®.