There is plenty of misinformation in our marketplace concerning buyer preference. Although South Carolina does have buyer preference, it typically is not to the extent that some believe. South Carolina buyer preference is set forth in South Carolina Code §37-10-102. The statute says “the creditor must ascertain prior to closing the preference of the borrower as to the legal counsel that is employed to represent the debtor in all matters of the transaction relating to the closing of the transaction.” While many read this provision to broadly grant the buyer the right to choose the attorney, in reality it does not go that far. What the statute does is limit the lender’s ability to require you to use a particular attorney to close the transaction as a condition for receiving the loan. However, this does not mean if one does not have an attorney preference that the lender cannot recommend someone.
Additionally, one of the biggest misconceptions is that the seller cannot require the buyer as part of a contract to use the seller-preferred attorney . For example, most builders, REOs and relocation companies have contract provisions where the parties agree to use a particular attorney. This does not violate buyer preference in South Carolina because it is not lender required. The parties can negotiate as part of the contract terms which attorney the buyer will use. There is no prohibition against such in the statute.
Today’s Historical Tip- Elmwood Avenue was originally named Upper Street. Upper Street was the northernmost street in the original Columbia street plan of 1786. As you may recall, the city was to be two square miles. In 1872 Upper Street was renamed Elmwood Avenue after the adjacent Elmwood Cemetery which was incorporated in 1854.