We Buy Unwanted Houses…Or Do They?

The Charlotte area real estate market remains hot and with that comes opportunists looking to make a dollar in real estate.  I receive solicitations from investors who claim to want to buy my house weekly (sometimes, three or more per day in my mailbox).  Telephone posts across the city are adorned with advertisements proclaiming to “Buy Unwanted Houses” or “Pay Cash for Your House”.  No doubt, it is tempting to want to cash in on the appreciating value of homes in the area.  However, homeowners should be cautious if they are approached by persons or companies who “pay cash for … Continue reading

Drone Photography and Real Estate Agents

“Drones”, or unmanned aerial systems (“UAS”), have made their into the marketing tool kits for many real estate agents, and for good reason.  A UAS can help produce splendid aerial views of properties for sale and give listing agents the ability to market properties in ways that were previously impractical or cost prohibitive.  Your marketing literature will stand out from the crowd with the photography UASs can provide.  However, obtaining these shots with a UAS can subject you to liability if you do not follow the applicable laws and rules concerns the operation of these systems. First of all, operation … Continue reading

Buyer Beware: Foreclosures of Properties with Existing Tenants

The housing market is hot in much of North Carolina, and many local and out of State investors are on the lookout for foreclosure deals that they can turn into quick rental income. In this situation some investors may be inclined to forego traditional due diligence, but they do so at their peril. No investor wants to purchase a property, only to learn after the fact that there is an in-place tenant (often less than desirable) who has no intention of leaving the property or paying reasonable rent. In this situation, the tenant may have more rights than the property … Continue reading

Best Lawyers Recognition

Two attorneys at Black, Slaughter & Black have been named to the 2018 edition of U.S. News – Best Lawyers. Best Lawyers recognition is based on peer reviews and client recommendations. Barbara Morgenstern been recognized by Best Lawyers in the practice of Family Law as well as Family Law Mediation. Barbara has also been named a “Legal Elite” by Business North Carolina magazine and a North Carolina Super Lawyer for Family Law. She is a Certified Specialist in family law by the NC State Bar, a Fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, Past President of the NC Chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial … Continue reading


At Black, Slaughter & Black, we handle closings for developers, builders, and investors throughout North and South Carolina.  Too often problems arise when the title to the property has been left in an old, dissolved entity.  Here is how we handle the issue in North Carolina: North Carolina allows business entities to convey property even after dissolution pursuant to statues governing the wrapping up of the business, so long as it is concluded in a reasonable amount of time (It is helpful that the law does not specify the duration, provide a limitation, or define a reasonable amount of time.  … Continue reading

Primer for Real Estate Brokers: Getting Your Deal Closed Like a Pro

As a real estate broker, getting a signed sales contract in hand is one of the most exciting parts of the buy/sell process.  A lot of time and effort goes into bringing a buyer and seller together to agree on the sale terms for a piece of property.  But, getting the contract signed only signals the beginning of the next phase of the process.  Brokers should be well informed of the steps in the closing process to be able to advise of and explain the process to their clients.  Being able to set expectations in advance of closing will help … Continue reading

Insurable v. Marketable Title in Real Estate Transaction

  The current real estate market is fast paced and more complex than ever before.  Many sellers of real property want to know they can move their properties as fast as possible without encountering costly delays brought on by unexpected title problems.  Larger institutional sellers (e.g., banks) will attempt to prevent some of these unexpected delays by contracting to convey title under a seemingly less stringent standard in order to get their deals closed in the shortest amount of time possible.  Often, this is done by agreeing to sell “insurable” title to prospective buyers.  But, what is the buyer actually … Continue reading

Bidding Wars and Low Appraisals

The current real estate market in Charlotte has a very low inventory for homes being sold.  One result of low inventory is the increased likelihood of multiple offers being submitted for a single property.  This results in bidding wars where the offers submitted by buyers far exceed the original listing price to ensure that their offer will be accepted over the other offers.  However, what many buyers are not aware of is that their winning offer also exceeds the actual appraised value of the property. When the property appraises for a lower amount than what was offered, who should bear … Continue reading


If you followed along with me on Part 1, you should know that purchase contracts come in all shapes and sizes.  Drafting a good contract considers not only the buyer and seller, but also everyone else in the closing process who will need the purchase contract for making decisions and producing paperwork. Delays are caused where there is incorrect or an incomplete information.  This blog will look at common legal description errors and suggest how to list a legal description to assist those who will follow in the closing process. Where is this? I have a purchase contract sitting on … Continue reading

Successful Real Property Listing Agreements

The real estate market has been getting hot again recently in the Charlotte market, as well as other areas in NC, and this is driving many homeowners to contemplate listing their homes for sale.  Some may choose to attempt to market their own properties, but most will find the assistance of a knowledgeable real estate professional to be invaluable. Along with the services of a real estate broker comes documentation.  The main document that defines the relationship between a seller and his or her agent is the Listing Agreement.  As you might expect, this agreement should ALWAYS be in writing … Continue reading


At Black, Slaughter & Black, P.A., we have the great privilege of working on real estate transfers in every step of the process, but we usually begin our residential closing work with the receipt of a purchase contract.  We find there are good contracts out there and some, well, not so good contracts. So what separates the good from the bad? A good contract is complete and accurate.  In the light most favorable, a bad contract has the essential information but leaves Realtors, Brokers, and attorneys trying to fill in the blanks.  This can cause frustration and delays to all … Continue reading

Creating a Contract: Help Me, Help You; Part 1: Who is the Seller? Are They Married?

We have the great privilege of working on real estate transfers in every step of the process, but we usually begin our residential closing work with the receipt of a purchase contract. We find there are good contracts out there and some, well, not so good contracts. So what separates the good from the bad? A good contract is complete and accurate. In the light most favorable, a bad contract has the essential information but leaves Realtors, Brokers, and attorneys trying to fill in the blanks.  This can cause frustration and delays to all of the parties involved.  I find … Continue reading

Need Help for Bank “Zombie Foreclosures” in Homeowner & Condominium Associations?

A huge problem for HOA and condo associations over the past 5 years has been “zombie foreclosures.” That’s where a bank starts the foreclosure process on a property and the owner moves out, but then the bank doesn’t complete the foreclosure (no state law requires banks to complete foreclosure within a timeframe). We have seen properties where the bank has taken years to complete foreclosure! Because the home is unoccupied, the lot or unit falls into disrepair and the yard goes wild. While the owner is gone, the bank doesn’t yet own the property, so there is no one for … Continue reading

Congratulations to Steve Black, Residential Real Estate Specialist

Yesterday the North Carolina State Bar announced 2015 Board Certified Legal Specialists, and Steve Black has received his specialization in Real Property Law – Residential Transactions. It’s really a big deal. The NC State Bar began certifying lawyers as legal specialists in 1987. The requirements for legal specialization include being substantially involved in the practice area for at least 5 years; a required number of continuing legal education credits in the specialty area; satisfactory peer review; and a successful score on a written 6-hour examination. There are only 7 Board Certified Residential Real Property Specialists in Charlotte and 4 in Greensboro! Our firm has a total … Continue reading

Charlotte Office Moves to Larger Location

Big news for the firm! After 6 years in the UNC-Charlotte area, our firm has moved to a larger office closer to uptown—1927 South Tryon Street, Suite 109 (photo at left) in Historic South End.  We plan to have an open house next month, so we hope you’ll stop by for a visit! In addition to staff, two attorneys who do a great deal of real estate and community association (HOA and condo) law are resident in the Charlotte office—Elizabeth Holloway and David Wilson.  David is also licensed in South Carolina.  Other RBS attorneys regularly work out of the office, … Continue reading

Eminent Domain – Condemnation Yes! The government can take your property over your objections

Most people know the government has the power of eminent domain which is the authority to take private property so long as they pay fair compensation. This is also known as Condemnation Taking, Declaration of Taking, Notice of Taking, and possibly Inverse Condemnation. The process usually starts when you are contacted by an agent of the condemning authority to discuss the real estate involved and to negotiate a sales price. These agents will have an appraisal that was conducted for the condemnor. This appraisal will provide the starting point for negotiations. There is almost always room to increase the offer … Continue reading

North Carolina Community Association Legislative Roundup – April 8, 2015

    Ah.  Flowers are blooming.  Birds are chirping.  Community association legislative proposals are being filed.  It must be spring! Both the North Carolina House and Senate are back in full swing with the two-year 2015-2017 legislative session.  While there are numerous bill deadlines, here are some of the important ones.  All Senate bills had to be filed by Thursday, March 26.  House deadlines are a bit more complicated.  House bills recommended by study commissions had a filing deadline of Wednesday, February 25.  House public bills and resolutions that were not appropriations or finance have a filing deadline of Tuesday, April 14.  House … Continue reading

RBS Adds Attorneys to Charlotte Office

I’m pleased to announce that two attorneys with a focus on real estate and HOA/condo law have joined the Charlotte office of Black, Slaughter , PA. Elizabeth Holloway practices real estate law and assists individuals, developers and entities with commercial and residential negotiations, refinancing, and closings.  She received her J.D. from the Capital University Law School in 2001.  Elizabeth has also become quite the expert on Non-Public Private Information (NPPI) under the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and regular speaks to lawyers and other professionals on the new requirements and best practices.  Issues surrounding the protection of Non-Public Private Information and … Continue reading

Residential Evictions: Taking Back Your Leased Property . . .The Right Way [UPDATED]

[This blog replaces a previous post from September 2013, due to several changes to the North Carolina summary ejectment statutes effective October 1, 2013.]         You are a landlord and you enter into a residential lease agreement with a seemingly good tenant. Everything is going along fine until . . . the tenant stops paying rent, or the tenant fails to leave when the term of the lease expires, or the tenant breaches the lease agreement in some other way.  How do you get your property back and get the tenant out?  Can you simply change the locks?  NO! North Carolina has a very … Continue reading

Lien Back: A Relaxing Look at the North Carolina Mechanics Lien Law

The North Carolina Mechanics Lien Law provides more visibility to parties providing work on a construction project. Before April 1, 2013, there was no clearly defined way to determine which parties performed work on a construction project outside of asking the contractor (and taking their word for it), or finding a claim of lien and/or judgment filed at the courthouse by a subcontractor. The new law allows title insurance companies, attorneys, lenders, owners, inspectors, contractors, and subcontractors to view and track any construction projects by login to LiensNC.com. This website shows the owner/contractor of a project and will list any … Continue reading