Welcome in to the Outlaw Lawyer. Josh Whitaker, Joe Hamer, and today Cassandra Nicholas remoting in for Morehead City. On today's show, there are so many terms, legal docs that are out there and people have so many questions about them. We're going to attack those today.
So if you've had any issues coming up in your life and these terms come up and you want those definitions, we've got them for you. Coming up next on the Outlaw Lawyer. Welcome in to the Outlaw Lawyer. Josh Whitaker and Joe Hamer managing partners. Whitaker and Hamer law firm. They are practicing attorneys here in North Carolina and host of the Outlaw Lawyer. And joining us today from the Morehead City office, Cassandra Nicholas, also an attorney at Whitaker and Hamer. A reminder, office is conveniently located for the firm in Raleigh, Garner, Clayton, Goldsboro, Fuquay, Verina, Gastonia, and as mentioned, Morehead City. If you've got a legal situation that you are facing and you've got questions and you need some answers, you can always call the firm 800-659-1186. That's 800-659-1186. An attorney with Whitaker and Hamer will be in touch.
Just leave your contact information briefly what the call is about. Also, you can email your questions to the show questions at theoutlawlawyer.com. So we're going to get into a bunch of stuff, but Josh, take us through what we normally do. And that's just banter, right? You know, for better or worse, Morgan, we always start out by talking about whatever is on our minds.
Whether it be legal or otherwise. And today, you know, being born and raised in Raleigh, for me today, you know, where we're in the studio, we're usually in the studio earlier in the week. You know, if you're listening to this on the radio or if you're listening to this as a podcast, you know, usually that usually comes out a little bit later in the week. But today, for me, is the first day we're in the studio. Wednesday morning is the first day of the ACC tournament. Yeah, real day. Second day. But yes, real day. Yeah, yeah, it is the first real day. But I mean, you guys grew up with it. I did too.
And it's, of course, Cassandra, you did not. In your face. Yeah. It's almost like a rite of passage. But back in the olden days, you know, on Fridays, at any school you're at, they would roll the TVs in. And yeah, I mean, it was almost a free day.
And you could watch basketball. And it just, it's it's it's an awesome day. It's obviously it's awesome.
Earlier in the week now. But man, that that old Friday in the ACC could not match it. It was big time. And it was, you know, everybody knew that's what your teachers did. And no one complained, right?
No one. There wasn't a parent that complained. Like, you got your you got your TV wheeled into your imagine that a parent back in those days, my son had to watch. I want him to learn. We had that parent in jail.
We had an interesting situation because my mother was our high school librarian up at Watauga High School in Boone. And they allowed the TVs in the audio section of the library to be tuned to the tournament. But you could not cheer. You could do the fake clap. Yeah, no, you could not go over a certain decibel limit.
And I just like I was laughing. But I mean, at least I let the TV. That's your mom's specific rule.
No, that was the that was the rule of the library. My mom was cool. She's she's she's a Carolina person as well.
Class of 62 along with my dad. And, you know, she has a tough time watching any second half of any Carolina game. And she just she gets too nervous. You know, I, I think Carolina fans watch games and maybe do fans too. I don't know. But Carolina fans watch games differently. Yeah, it's an NC State fans this season.
It's we're waiting for the train wreck. Oh, yeah. I've watched games with my Carolina friends. You're right.
And I've watched games with my sister problem, right? Mighty, mighty, mighty big over there, Josh. How do you have so low as to watch for the Carolina fan? And I think it's I think it's expectations. I think that's it's got to be what it is. I think you guys have higher expectations. And we're, you know, if anything good happens, it's great.
If anything bad happens, we go about our day. But it's definitely it's definitely expected. Yeah, it's definitely it's definitely different. That's all I can say.
That's what I've observed. It's it's different. It's a different experience. So I got a thought, man, you know how they make candles and the candle like the name of the candle is like a thing. It's like, yeah, it's like the candle is like, I don't know, it reminds you of something. It's like a memory.
Sure. If they can make a candle and it smelled like your second grade teacher rolling in the big CRT TV to watch ACC tournament, man, I'm buying that candle. If they can make a candle that smelled like Carolina fan tears, I'd sell that thing out in a second.
I don't know if they made a candle that was like Friday rectangle pizza slices. I'd fire that up every Friday. I'd just be addicted to it.
You would I'd just be in my room smelling it. Well, you know, once I got old enough to drive, we just didn't go to school, right? Once you were old enough to drive, you just didn't even go on ACC.
Hopefully our young listeners. Sick. I would I would make sure you know, I was always the kid that I knew exactly how many days I could miss like a quarter semester or whatever it was. And I missed exactly that amount of days. But I always save days for the ACC tournament.
Answer me this, guys, and you guys have kids. They're all in school. The amount of teacher workdays.
It blows me away. There's so many now. And back in the day, I don't remember ever getting a teacher workday. Why not? Why couldn't we back in the day go, you know what, why don't we make the ACC Friday a teacher workday?
It was a failure of our governors over time. I mean, that was our our teacher workday was for deer opener for deer season for deer season stuff. You guys like to murder animals.
We like to watch basketball. Well, they got to take care of that population because they're like rats up there. I mean, you really have to go kill the deer. You really do. The we kind of got that done in the 80s.
We never have a consensus now. You never make it. I wonder how many I wonder how many kids and like the we're in Wake County right now.
Wake County Public School System actually want to watch the ACC tournament, right? I know you're big. You're big. Like it's not the same guy.
And you complain about things and not the same. But I can. But you see the ACC tournament starts officially. I don't even I don't even feel it, man. I feel like tomorrow. I feel like tomorrow is when I would consider Duke. I mean, you got somebody today.
I mean, obviously you got to survive to tomorrow. So it's it's an exciting day for I'll say, so on a fan and for state fan when Carolina plays this, the second half of today is when I'll consider it started because their first two games. I mean, you got Wake and you've got Georgia Tech.
You know, those are two teams that I would associate with the real ACC tournament. Seven o'clock tonight is when I'll say the tournament is starting. Just just a reminder to our listeners. We do tape on Wednesday. Yeah. So this is all going to be outdated by the time we're we're going to know whether we need to be really stoked or really upset. But we'll have to report back. But well, you know, we follow a lot of we follow a lot of national stories and and we don't always think those get treated right in the kind of the national or local media.
We like to talk about stuff. So we've been talking about I can't pronounce the guy's name. I'm not going to try.
Alec Murdoch. But we won't spend a lot of time on that. I can't do it. I can't do it. But but Cassandra, that that finished out and didn't go well. It didn't go well. Guilty.
Both murders. And they put him on the stand for like a week. It was it was intense.
They tossed out a juror the morning of the end of the trial. It was it was something. So I assume he wanted to say I assume like I just assumed that was his decision. Like he was practicing attorney and he was just like, hey, I'm going I'm assuming he saw the writing on the wall.
He's like, look, I'm going down if I don't you know, if I can't. But he's not a very I wonder if that helped him. I mean, either way, he's guilty.
But right. I wonder if that helped him or hurt him. That's always a big decision for a criminal defense attorney is whether or not to let your client take the stand. And most attorneys had a choice by by the time he took the stand. He was doing it.
So yeah. How did you I didn't really watch much of it once he was on the stand. But how did he do? Was he sympathetic? It was a lot about his copious drug use.
Yes. Yeah, I was banging a lot of drugs. He was really taking it to the limit. It was very high and didn't remember anything when it would not have been advantageous.
Well, I could see I could almost buy that like he probably doesn't remember very much. Yeah, I mean, I think it was a lot of sentencing. The judge tore into him saying he he tried to like interrupt and say that he was innocent. And the judge said, Yeah, maybe you didn't do it. Maybe the monster you become when you have 20 3040 5060 opiates.
Maybe that's the guy that did it. That would like put you down like one puts you down. You're big.
You're a hardy fella. Now, Cassandra, just for Yeah, I wanted a question to you. So are we done? Or does he have other cases against him? Are there other suits against him? He has 99 financial charges. 19 indictments. They're with the same judge.
Okay. It's a lot of crimes. Yeah, but at this point, you know, once you you know, what do you get when you have to life concurrent life sentences? Who cares? Yeah.
I would even like those are two big dominoes. And they felt if you started right now, you're like, commit crimes. It takes you. It's a lot to get to 99.
I have to try even 100. They should just dig one more up. I'm sure he's I'm sure he's we could get them there.
And but South Carolina doesn't have parole at all for anyone. So I didn't know that either. Yeah. Huh? Well, today on the on the on the show for for the for our remaining segments, what I wanted to do, you know, I usually, I do a lot of consults with folks during the week, I spent a lot of my time talking to clients, new clients, returning clients, and people with a lot of different issues. And I usually like to bring some of that to the show, some of the questions that I get asked in those consults, I like to talk about them here, because I figure if my clients have these questions, a lot of other people probably have these questions.
And, and on the show with, you know, we can only tackle kind of basic questions, we can't get too in depth. But I find a lot of folks, you know, there's there's legal documents, legal terms, that lawyers use that we're intimately familiar with. And depending on what type of industry you work in, maybe you're familiar with them, too. But, but I have a lot of people who don't know what basic legal documents are, even after they've signed them. And they're getting sued, you know, in conjunction with these documents. And so we've got we've got three segments here built out to talk about just different legal documents that we we see every day.
That that may need a deeper dive if it's something you don't you don't deal with every day and and and so Morgan, that's what we're going to tackle today. All right, the outlaw lawyers Josh Whitaker and Joe Hamer are your host managing partners at Whitaker and Hamer law firm practicing attorneys here in North Carolina also joining us from Morehead City's office Cassandra Nicholas. And if you have any legal situations that you're facing, you got questions, you can always contact the firm 800-659-1186.
That's 800-659-1186. You can email your questions to the show as well. That's questions at the outlaw lawyer.com.
Just leave your contact information briefly, what that call or email is about. And an attorney with Whitaker and Hamer will be in touch. Plus, we'll take some of those questions and we'll make them anonymous. And we'll answer them on future outlaw lawyers.
We're back right after this. The outlaw lawyers Josh Whitaker and Joe Hamer managing partners at Whitaker and Hamer law firm. They're your host. They're practicing attorneys here in North Carolina also joining us from Whitaker and Hamer in the Morehead City office, Cassandra Nicholas. And we are talking about defining legal docs and terms going to go over a bunch of these and Josh, you kind of got started on this because you're getting a lot of questions about it. Yeah, the first the first kind of segment of documents topic I want to want to tackle is basically when you're, you know, in situations where you're borrowing money from a bank or, you know, a lender car dealership mortgage lender, right, when you're borrowing money to buy a car, to buy a house, put solar panels on your roof, you know, new HVAC, you know, whatever you're borrowing money for the person lending you money, the lender is going to want certain things from you, they're going to want certain things signed, they're going to want certain security agreements signed. And I think a lot of people in their day to day life, you know, just kind of sign whatever the lender puts in front of you, not that the lenders doing anything, you know, sketchy or anything, they just they have their documents that they use, they're not willing to lend you money, unless you sign the documents they put in front of you.
Sometimes an attorney is not around. But but so we're gonna talk, we're gonna talk about that to our firm, the law firm of Whitaker and Hamer, throughout all of our offices, we do a lot of real estate transactional work, right? So that it would be if you're buying a home, you're refinancing a home, home equity lines, even in a commercial context, buying a commercial building, office building, investment property, 1031 exchanges, there are all kinds of transactions that go under that umbrella real estate transactions. Right. But let's say you're not paying cash, if you're paying cash, you ain't signing a lot, right?
If you're paying cash, that's great. You're not borrowing money, a lot of the documents that you sign at your real estate closing, or when you go to buy a car, it's because you're you're borrowing money. And so the first the first document, this is easy. A lot of people probably know what this document is, Cassandra, but but the first document you need to be familiar with is your is your note. So what is a what is a note? Note is your promise to pay back the loan.
Right, right. So that's your that's your contract between you and the lender, right? So if Joe's lending me money to buy a car, he's gonna, you know, he's gonna prepare a note, it's gonna have my interest rate on there, right? If my interest rate can change, it's going to be on there, my monthly payments going to be on there where I make payments to for how long. But his note is going to be the contract where we decide, hey, these this is how you're gonna make payments, you're going to make payments for, I don't know, five years, if you stop making payments, these are the fees, you're going to incur default interest rate, this is this is the bad stuff that's going to happen if you're if you're in default. And so, like Cassandra said, that's a promise promise to pay. So if you're getting a mortgage, you're going to sign your note, which is great, but you're also going to sign a deed of trust. Yeah, that's right, Josh. So what's a deed of trust?
A deed of trust as well. So I tell folks, we do this a lot, right? We do a lot of signing. And I know everybody out there, they're, they're thinking about how exciting this sounds and how much they would love to do this every day. Because it really gets the blood pumping talking about notes.
And that's right, that's right. I tell folks, you know, usually, when I'm reviewing these documents with folks, we talk about the note and I talk about how important the note is, because the notes really the thing, right? Like the note is your promise to pay, it's your agreement, it's everything really, in a nutshell, the deed of trust is generally just going to basically incorporate the terms of the note and and not even necessarily incorporate those terms so much as put the public on notice that that note exists and and do what's called perfect the lender, whoever's loaning you this money, their lien on your property. So it's going to be when we do a title search on property, we've got to look and we've got to see what's out there that's affecting title to this property.
And so one of the ways we do that is we're going to search the local register of deeds, and we're going to see what's been filed on this property. And so that deed of trust is going to pop up during that search. And again, that's what's going to notify us as a title searcher and just the general public or anyone who knows to look that there is a lien on this property and that that note exists. So that deed of trust isn't necessarily going to do much in addition to the note. So again, you understand the note and the terms of the note.
That's usually what's going to be important to you. The deed of trust is just kind of the mechanism that puts folks on notice. And then in the event that you don't pay, and there has to be some enforcement action taken against you. Generally, when there's a deed of trust, that is going to be foreclosure. And whoever loaned you that money is going to come and they're going to foreclose on that collateral, which is the property but, but that's the gist behind the deed of trust. Right, so the trust is really just there to secure the lenders interest in the home, they just lent you money to buy.
And so the deed of trust is never a short document, you know, deed of trust will run you 20 pages or so. And it talks about the foreclosure process, what happens once you're found to be in default on your note. So notes, the contract in North Carolina, then you know, in other states, it's not called a deed of trust.
Sometimes it's called a mortgage, sometimes it's called a security instrument. But anyway, something will be recorded, like Joseph said, and, and so that's if that's if like, so that's Josh Whitaker borrowing personally, right, I decided to buy a house, I'm going to live in that house, the lender will have me sign a bunch of docs, probably, but they will definitely have me sign a note. And they will have me sign a deed of trust. Now, if Josh Whitaker LLC, right, let's say I create an LLC, we've talked about LLCs on the show, right, so you can create all types of entities that you know, you can treat as another person really, right. So we talked about trust, right, trust can exist as their own entity.
LLCs, corporations, you can create those, right. And if your LLC or your corporation or your trust wants to buy a piece of property, and you got to borrow money to do it, the bank's going to want you to sign a note, they're going to want you to sign a deed of trust. But there's probably gonna be some additional documents, one of them being a very important document, a guarantee and Cassandra, I know you run into those to a personal guarantee.
What does that do? Definitely, so the deed of trust is talking about that foreclosure and everything if you were to default on the loan, but that only affects who the actual borrower is. So if that's an entity, and then the LLC or whatever defaults on that loan, under the deed of trust, the lender could only sue that LLC to get their money. But if you as the owner of the LLC also sign a personal guarantee, that lender can then also come and get that money from you personally, not just from your business. Yeah, personal guarantee is a very powerful document that some people, you know, just think is a normal document.
And so when, you know, if you're like you said, if you're, if you if I've got Josh Whitaker, LLC, Josh Whitaker LLC is under contract, they're gonna buy it's gonna buy an office building. Local bank is going to lend me the money, they're gonna have me sign a note, a deed of trust, but they're not going to be satisfied with that. Probably they're probably gonna want me to sign a personal guarantee saying, Hey, you know, if I default and you foreclose, and you're still owed money, even after you foreclose on the property, they can get to me right. And in theory, they can get to my personal assets. A lot of times you create an LLC because you want to protect your personal assets, right?
It's one of the reasons you do it. And, you know, if you borrow money, the bank can require you it's their loans, you know, they can require you to sign a personal guarantee. And so you just need to be aware, if you default on that, then they can look to the property to foreclose and recover whatever they've lent you whatever the principle outstanding principle is, but they can also come after your personal assets. And so I meet with people, I mean, I would say at least once a month, you know, who get who gets sued, you know, being foreclosed on judgment against unsecured debt, you know, cars or whatever it is, they default on the note, the lenders taken possession of whatever the asset was that the money got lent to purchase.
So they've taken that they've sold it foreclosed on it done whatever they need to do, and they're still owed money. And they get these people get sued personally, and a lot of them will be confused. And I'll ask them like, Hey, did you sign a guarantee when this when this happened, and they won't know what I'm talking about. And then sure enough, the other side produces a guarantee.
And they're usually many guarantees can be super broad, they can reach a lot of stuff. So if you're if you're borrowing money, as an LLC, as a trust as a corporation, if your lender, that's a negotiable item, right? So you can talk to your lender and say, Hey, I want to borrow this money, but I don't want to sign a guarantee. Maybe they make you bring more to the table.
Maybe they loan you less higher interest rate. That is a negotiable item. But this this document and these guarantees are usually not very long. When I was looking at the other days a page, but it is got super broad language, and it opened up this one client to some some liability he probably didn't didn't want. And so, again, I know Cassandra practices a lot of business law.
I know I see that a lot. So I guarantee is important to know what it is. And maybe it makes sense to sign it, right? It's not something you I've signed them. That's the thing, man, you talk about how it's a negotiable thing. And I mean, technically, every term of a loan is negotiable in the broadest sense of the word, like you can negotiate the terms. But I think the practical reality a lot of the times, especially when you're dealing with big national lenders that have these standardized forms is, if you want this money, you're basically signing whatever they present to you. And, you know, you don't have a ton of leverage in that situation. Now, that's not to say you shouldn't advocate for yourself. And that's, that's definitely not to say you shouldn't understand exactly what you're signing. But there's not going to be a ton of wiggle room. And that's why a lot of times we get to the point we sit with folks.
It's like, you know, you're here, obviously understand this. But if you don't like it, and you don't want to sign it, you're, you're not going to get this money. That's essentially the that's the trade off. Yeah, lenders a lot of times we're lender shopping comes in sure that the different lenders have different terms and more localized lenders might be more amenable to that sort of negotiation. Yeah, absolutely. And you can definitely when time permits, sometimes time doesn't permit sometimes only you only have a, you know, certain lenders that that you can work with. But if you've got time, and you've got the ability to just like anything else, insurance attorneys, right, anything that you're going to endeavor on like that you can you can shop around.
But it's important to know what a guarantee is, especially for our business folks who who operate their own, our self employed business folks who operate their own LLC, their own corporations, or if you've done some estate planning, and you operate out of a trust, you know, getting a mortgage while you have a trust, there's not a lot of lenders who will lend to a trust. So there's some things that you have to work around. I know we're coming up against a break. But I also wanted to mention in this segment, UCC fixture filings, right? So UCC fixture filings, you know what those are? Joseph, I know you do. I'm asking you, but I know you know what those are? Yeah, man, I know what those are. I thought that was just a closed ended question.
Yeah, no. So yeah, so you we see again, we talk about ways that lenders are going to, you know, kind of enforce their your obligation, because again, they can just sue you based on whatever your agreement is, they can get a judgment against you for for whatever dollar amount. But a lot of times that ain't going to be worth a whole lot of judgments only worth what you're worth, right? So these UCC fixture filings, they'll they'll be filed from time to time. And basically, that's gonna, whereas you can file a deed of trust to get a lien on real property, those fixture filings can be filed to put a lien out there on, you know, the personal property or the fixtures that are associated as well with with your property, essentially.
Yeah, we run into those a lot. You see there's a lot like if you're if you're contracting, if you're contracting with a pool company, and they're going to lend you money, a lot of times they'll file what we call a UCC stands for the Uniform Commercial Code, which is a statute that is in most states, and it allows a fixture filing for personal property. So people who put in the people who put in your pool may take a fixture file, they may file that as a as a lien on your property until they're paid off for your pool. So you can't sell the property without paying them off. You see it a lot with solar panels, you see it a lot. Sometimes if people need a new HVAC, and they're making payments over time, you'll see that fixture filing.
So anytime you're, you know, generators, I see that a lot with generators, right? So that's what a UCC fixture filing is, it doesn't, UCC fixture filings don't require you to sign them. So it'd be part of your note, it'd be part of your agreement that you sign with the pool company, they would say, Hey, we're gonna file a UCC fixture filing, and they're supposed to cancel it when it's paid off. Some do, some don't. We see that a lot too. But all right, that was a note, a guarantee, a deed of trust and a UCC fixture filing. So there's some documents we see in the loan lender world that we thought it might be fun might not be the word might be fun to to define. So we got to take a break.
So my heart. The outlaw liars Josh Whittaker and Joe Hamer managing partners Whittaker and Hamer law firm hosts of the show and of course joining us from Morehead City's office Cassandra Nicholas also an attorney at Whittaker and Hamer. Just a reminder offices conveniently located for you for Whittaker Hamer and Raleigh Garner Clayton, Goldsboro, Fuquay, Verina, Gastonia, and as we mentioned, where Cassandra is Morehead City.
If you've got a legal situation you're facing, maybe you've got a term that you're just confused by. You can always call the law firm. Now you can always contact the firm 800-659-1186. That's 800-659-1186. Leave your contact information briefly what that call is about an attorney with Whittaker and Hamer will be in touch and you can always email your questions to the show questions at the outlaw lawyer.com and we'll use those on a future broadcast.
We're back right after this. Welcome back into the outlaw liars Josh Whittaker and Joe Hamer your host managing partners Whittaker and Hamer law firm practicing attorneys right here in North Carolina. We have Cassandra Nicholas, an attorney with Whittaker and Hamer joining us from the Morehead City office and speaking of offices also located in Raleigh Garner Clayton, Goldsboro, Fuquay, Verina, and Gastonia. If you've got a legal situation you're facing, you've got questions.
You need answers. You can always contact the firm 800-659-1186. That's 800-659-1186. Leave your contact information briefly what that call is about and an attorney with Whittaker and Hamer will be in touch and we can always take those questions by email.
Just go to questions at the outlaw lawyer.com. Leave it and we'll answer it on a future program. I'm Morgan Patrick, consumer advocate and sometimes referee. Josh, take it away.
All right. So in this segment, again, the whole show, we've kind of dedicated to talking about legal terms, legal documents that are kind of commonplace that most folks might not deal with every day though. And so we get a lot of questions in our consults every week about these things. And I'd like to bring that to the show.
Joseph, I wanted to talk a little bit about what you've been talking about. Again, this is going to be a lot, you know, real estate transactions. A lot of times that's the biggest purchase people make, right? Their house, right?
That's an important thing. And here in Wake County, we have a lot of new building going on, right? So we have a lot of builders. And so people are buying houses from builders. And I want to talk about just the, I call it an offer to purchase and contract, but just the contract between the two.
And the seller of your house, we're kind of thinking of the builder context here, but an offer to purchase and contract has a lot of information in it kind of comparable to our, our note discussion from the last segment. Yeah, man, I just calmed down from that exciting segment. I was hyperventilating through the break.
I finally got myself under control. And here we go again. So you want to talk about contracts, right? You want to talk about, you know, the offer to purchase. So there's a, we see a lot of contracts, right?
We see a lot of offer to purchase contracts, and there is a standardized offer to purchase contract that we would generally see, especially when you're just dealing with a sale from an individual to an individual. And it's, it goes through some revisions. It's, it's been prepared by some, some real fancy attorneys, not like, not, not us down to earth attorneys, like to keep it straightforward.
We'd be two pages in a crayon. But these are, these are a little more complex and they're standardized. So they don't change very much from person to person. But when you start dealing with builders, especially bigger national builders or folks that do a lot of volume, a lot of times you're, you're not going to see that standard offer to purchase that we're used to seeing in just a traditional person to person purchase. You're going to see a custom drafted contract that may contain a lot of the same terminology that you'll see in these contracts from these standard contracts, but the builder contracts are going to be custom drafted. They're going to include custom drafted terminology from that builder's attorney. And a lot of times they're going to be made a good bit more favorable to that builder than if the standard offer to purchase contracts being used. Now, not every builder will do this a lot. What we see with a lot of builders is they'll take that standard contract.
They'll execute a standard contract, but then they'll have several pages of addendums that are going to include their specific terms or the things that they're going to change about that, that standard contract. But then you get some of these builders that are just straight, completely different contracts. So, you know, you're, you're dealing with something that's really going to change from builder to builder and situation to situation. And it's something that I don't know that I'd necessarily, I don't know that it's practical to have an attorney review that for you, right? Like just in the course of day to day business, like maybe so. I guess it depends on how different it is from the standard contract, but you see a lot of different things in a lot. There's a lot of variations. So it's hard to speak really in generalities about these, these builder contracts because they vary so much depending on who that builder is going to be.
Yeah, they can really be all over the board. So like Joe said, there's an offer to purchasing contract that if you're working with a real estate agent, the real estate, the North Carolina real estate commission has kind of signed off on it. The North Carolina Bar Association has kind of signed off on it because it would be impractical. Probably, maybe not, but probably that an attorney gets involved on every real estate transaction in the state to draft a contract. It'd be impractical, man.
Maybe not. I mean, we'll help you with it, but again, you're talking about, that's a lot, right? Like it's a lot and you come down to everything, you know, it costs, you know, everyone's time is valuable. We as attorneys, to review that contract or to prepare that contract for every single purchase transaction would be a lot, man. But that's part of the reason why you've got a real estate commission that's prepared a standardized form that has undergone the review that they've determined is fair to everybody involved. And so that's why we have the system we have, right?
So that gets used a lot. That's when we're used to saying, wait, I have my own forms I like to use, but there's these standard forms out there that your real estate agent can use, kind of fill in the blanks, names, purchase price, legal description, you know, things that the North Carolina statutes say an offer to purchase real property has to include. And that's kind of what we see the most, but these builders, like Joe said, especially the national ones can use their own forms and it's, you know, it's their, it's their house. If you want to, if you want to buy it, they're going to make you agree to certain terms and those terms can be all over the board and they can, you know, one of the big ones I see just to mention it.
One of the big ones I see is when your closing date is going to be and how your closing date can be delayed. We saw those supply chain issues during the pandemic. So that was a big thing that came up a lot builders kind of built into their contract leeway because they don't know if they're going to be able to get lumber on time or, you know, your garage door that has to go in. And so closing is kind of a moving target in a builder contract.
And I saw a lot of people, those clauses really get tested over the pandemic. So we, we, we see that, but you need to know what's in that contract. And if they hand you like an 80 page contract with addendums, it might be worth your time to have an attorney look over that just to see what they can do. And I know I've seen a builder contract where they could just walk away at any time and just refund, you know, whatever you've put in there. It doesn't matter how long you've been waiting for the house or, or what have you. So we saw a lot of that when prices were going up, we saw those, but anyway, you got to be wary of what's in the contract.
All right. So you, you, you sign a contract, you go to a closing, if everything works out, a deed gets recorded. And so a deed is, we've talked about this before on the show, general warranty deeds, special warranty deeds, quick claim deeds, estate deeds, there are all kinds of deeds, but a deed will get recorded. It'll transfer title to you. And then my question to Joe and Cassandra is once that deed is recorded, what happens to the deed in the contract? There's a legal, there's a legal fiction in North Carolina.
What, what happens to them? Anybody? That was, that was for you. I'm just throwing it out there.
I know. So, I mean, was it almost like that Ferris Bueller scene? Bueller? It's a legal fiction. Recorded document. So the contract really is, is, is no longer in play at that point. That's right. Yeah.
Yeah. When it gets recorded, there's a North Carolina called the doctrine of merger. So once you've accepted the property, that's what I meant. Once you've accepted the property, I, uh, you know, you, the deed gets recorded, you're, you're deemed right to the contract merges with the deed, the deeds of the last known, uh, terms. And so breach becomes a new issue, um, that we won't go into now, but, but just know that once you've closed and once you're in the property, there's something to be said for latent defects and things that you wouldn't have been able to figure out. You know, you still have avenues to, to sue a builder or a seller. But, um, anyway, that's the contract and that's the deed, two separate things until closing, and then they merge and kind of changes your, your, what you can do, uh, as far as claims against your seller for poor craftsmanship or, or something like that. But, uh, it's good to know that once you close, it's, it's a big deal. That's why you do a final walkthrough. Usually you got to make sure everything's lined up the way you want to, because if something's wrong, you've, you've accepted the property, you know, so I see that happen a lot. Yeah.
And even accepting it. So you've got the one year warranty on workmanship for builders products in North Carolina. However, that doesn't cover anything in the house that has its own independent warranty, like, uh, your stove, your shower door, the specific tile. Like if there are issues with something that has its own warranty, you have to go after that manufacturer. You know what else it doesn't cover? Is what? Purely cosmetic issues, technically, and that's something we see a lot, and that's a thing that, that we see a lot of folks after they've purchased reaching out about, because they've got something that again is a purely cosmetic issue.
They are a little confused. They consider that a warranty matter and they want to handle it that way. Now, practically speaking, a lot of builders, because they're doing business in the area, they understand word of mouth is a thing they want to do right by their, their, the folks they're selling these houses to. A lot of builders are going to help you out with those cosmetic things. They're going to have their own policies to take care of issues like that, that even though they may not technically be warranted, they want to make those things right for you.
They want to keep you happy. Um, and, and they're going to help you out with that, but there's an approach to that, right? There's a way to go about it. And so like I've seen homeowners approach things like that. They come out of the gate firing, they're angry, they're fired up, they're, they're threatening as opposed to just approaching it as like, Hey man, can you come help me with this thing? You know, you might, I know this may not be a warranted thing. You may not have a legal obligation, but do you mind helping me with it? In my experience, that, that, that more friendly approach is going to be far more successful than just immediately being combative.
Similar to when you get pulled over by the police. There's no point in being a jerk. That's right. Just be nice and nice things may happen. That's right. You're caught in it. You've already done the contract.
I mean, you may have to pay extra. How often do you see the, the taking like that being completely a jerk to a police officer actually help a situation? What do you think the percentage of that is?
Zero. Like I'm going to double down, I'm going to be terrible to this person and I'm just going to cause as much problems as I can. I strategically, I don't think it's the play. It's a tough, it's a tough situation to be in the, um, I don't like that either. I don't like when people, you know, we'll, we'll meet with some folks who are getting threats from the, we'll call them the opposing party. It could be an attorney, it could be, you know, somebody they've done business with, but the people who are threatening.
Who you can tell maybe don't, aren't aware of their legal standing, right? We run into a lot of people who, who are threatening our clients with, with something. And it's always fun to rebuke that, right? It's always to be fun to go by.
You have no, like, you have no claim here. What are you doing? So I really enjoy setting those people back a little bit and kind of, kind of resetting the table. So you like to legally knock people off of their high horse?
Is that what you're saying? I do. I do. I enjoy that. That's probably the best part of the. That's the best part of the job. Yeah. Yeah.
I think that's up there. When I wake up in the morning to do law. Piping, piping hot, fresh law. But anyway. All right. We're up against the break. So we'll leave that there.
All right. The outlaw lawyers, more piping hot, fresh law. When we come back, Josh Whitaker, Joe Hamer, managing partners, Whitaker and Hamer law firm, and practicing attorneys here in North Carolina. Joining us from the Moorhead city offices, Cassandra Nicholas, also an attorney with Whitaker and Hamer.
We have more discussion on the other side. Welcome back into the outlaw lawyers. Josh Whitaker and Joe Hamer, managing partners, Whitaker and Hamer law firm are your hosts, practicing attorneys here in North Carolina.
Offices conveniently located, Raleigh, Garner, Clayton, Goldsboro, Fuquay, Varina, Gastonia, and Moorhead city. And Moorhead city is where Cassandra Nicholas, an attorney with Whitaker and Hamer, also joining us remotely as we discuss a lot of different terms, legal documents that are out there. You've got questions about, and we're kind of hitting those today. Interesting conversation. Go ahead, Josh. You know, I want to go back to something we talked about the last segment.
I got a new idea for a firm, a law firm of Whitaker and Hamer t-shirt. Right. Give it to me. Oh, I know where this is going.
I've seen some of the old ones. Give it to me, man. It's steaming, I think. Right? Yeah.
I think we should have a shirt where on the back, we got to get a caricature. Is that how you say that? Yes. Yep. Yep.
You got it. Of Joseph, like pulling something. I don't know what it would be, pulling something out of a pizza oven. And it's going to say, come get your piping hot, fresh law, but I don't know what comes out of the pizza oven to represent law. Some papers, a promissory note. How about that? A personal guarantee.
Everybody loves it. Yeah, with pepperoni on it. Legal pie.
Yeah, legal pie. We'll have to put our best people to work on that. Put our artist, our artistry team. I'm on it. Let's get a haiku on that. I've cleared my schedule. Yeah, Cassandra is going to, yeah, no court for you this week.
You're just going to do that all week long, but all right. So our show today is dedicated to defining legal terms, legal definitions that are pretty commonplace for us as lawyers who deal with it every day. But we find out in our consults that other people who don't deal with it every day may not be super familiar with. And so in this segment, we want to talk about fairly common terms we use in litigation. So when we're litigating an issue, settlement negotiations have failed.
We have no choice left. And litigation should always, in my opinion, be a last resort. It's when everything else has failed, you're going to have to take your matter to a judge, a jury, and have a fact finder, have someone adjudicate it. And so litigation starts, not always, but almost always, litigation starts with a complaint. And so Cassandra, tell us what is a complaint? A complaint is the initiation of a lawsuit, and it is listing out the complaints, the issues of one party against the other party, the defendant.
Right. So whether you're in a, you know, we talk about the difference a lot of times between like when we're reporting, when we're reporting, when we're talking about a national issue, we talk about the difference between small claims, district court, superior court, federal civil, federal criminal, we talk about what court we're in because that determines a lot of things. That determines the rules we're playing by, what can be litigated. But in all those arenas, no matter what court you're in, the action is going to start with the plaintiff. A plaintiff is the person who has the complaint, who has the issue that needs to be adjudicated. They will file a complaint, and that's just a formal document that usually will recite the facts of how we got here, and it'll make their claims, right? So if their claims could be fraud, could be breach of contract, misrepresentation, there's a ton of claims that someone could make for an issue, and so they're going to list them all out. And then that complaint has to get served on the defendant or the defendants. Those are the people that are going to have to answer the complaint.
So Joseph, what's the answer? Yeah. So you know, the complaint's the starting point, right? Like it may not be the starting point in the sense that you're usually going to try to negotiate something ahead of time, but it's the formal legal starting point. And like you said, it's going to contain the facts, it's going to contain the statement of whatever, you know, cause of action that there is, and the answer is going to essentially be a mirror image of the complaint from the defendant. So the defendant's presented with the complaint, that's going to notify them of these factual things, these allegations, whatever it may be. And the answer is going to respond to each of those things, and it's going to make some representation as to, you know, like we said, what the response is. So the complaint gets the process started, and then once you're, if you're served with a complaint as the defendant, you're going to have to come and you're going to have to give some response to that complaint.
And so what you may also do at that time is you may also, you know, make some counterclaims as well, or allege some things of yourself, but generally speaking, it is just the, the answer. Yeah. The answer to the complaint. Yeah. So that's why they, that's why they call it the answer.
Did you know that Josh? When they're, when they're a wrestler or a UFC guy, when they're somebody whose nickname was the answer? Uh, Allen Iverson. I think Frankie Edgar, maybe I'm going to Google that real quick. Iverson? I think Iverson's, I I'll double check, but I thought he was the answer. So yeah, the answer. I think AI was, I think AI was as well. The answer, Frankie Edgar, I got that first try, man.
I didn't even Google it before I told you. I, so the answer, that's what you do, right? So you're going to admit or deny the facts that were alleged in the plaintiff's complaint. And then you're going to, maybe you have counterclaims, maybe you don't, but you would assert those counterclaims. And then there's some defenses, uh, that you, you would need to assert if you were going to, if you were going to use them, right? So you're going to answer, uh, by admitting or denying the facts, you're going to make your counterclaims and you're going to make any, there's certain defenses that you have to give in your answer.
You've waived your right to use them. So complaint gets filed, you get served as the defendant, you answer. And so once that's done, uh, we go into kind of discovery, which can be, it depends on the type of case, it depends on where it is.
But discovery, I would say is usually six months to 12 or 18 months, uh, depending on the type of case and how quickly the parties, uh, get their discovery done. But, uh, discovery is, uh, is a term that includes a lot of, uh, potential documents and interrogatories is, is kind of the first one that people usually get served with interrogatories. Uh, let's say the plaintiff, you answer, you make some counterclaims and the plaintiff will serve you with basically a list of questions. That's what interrogatories are a list of questions that you will have to answer under, under oath in theory.
Right? So you've got to answer them truthfully, um, under oath in theory, in theory, I guess in theory, I guess there's no in theory there, I guess just under oath, you're going to be under oath. We're not going to do a theoretical oath and then you'd have request for admissions, right?
That's a very powerful discovery tool. That's a document you can get served with. And if you don't answer those in a timely fashion, they can be deemed admitted, right? So you can lose a lot of your ability to argue facts. If you don't respond to your interrogatories and your request for admissions and either side can serve these discovery documents, this discovery process, the defendant can use it. The plaintiff can use it.
So they're out there for everybody. The next level usually is a deposition, right? So once you've got your interrogatories answered, you got requests for admissions admitted or denied, uh, we can set the defendant down and then ask them questions, uh, you know, and that's, those are fun depositions. You said discovery like 800 times and all I can think of, man, and you're probably gonna be too old for this. You remember the discovery zone, is that a thing you remember? You was in Charlotte, it was everywhere, man. It was there. You remember it?
Cassandra? Do you remember it? Oh, absolutely.
They didn't actually have it in the Midwest, but I visit other places. Yeah. She's been around. You don't remember that?
Not offhand. I guess they started in 89. So you would have been 37 then. How old were you at that time?
In 1989. I probably had been in the sixth grade. Ah, so you were a little too cool. It was like a place you went, man. It was like a place you went. It's the Chuck E. Cheese family without pizza. Yeah, but it was way cooler than Chuck E. Cheese.
They had these big things you climb on. Chuck E. Cheese has nothing you climb on, man. That's my real beef with it. We've never talked about my beef with Chuck E. Cheese, but it starts with there's not things you can climb on. My beef with Chuck E. Cheese was, like, I didn't understand when it became showbiz and when it went back to Chuck E. Cheese because it went to, it was showbiz pizza.
Are you sure? It sounds like a Bernstein Bears type of situation. It was Chuck E. Cheese forever and then all of a sudden it was showbiz pizza and it had the bear with the band. They still got the bear with the band.
The bear with the band stayed because they still got a bear band. Sounds like you still go. Yeah, I've been. Not recently.
I get there and I'm like, man, there's nothing to climb on here and I'm ready to burn the place to the ground. Okay, real quickly before we wrap this segment, just to confirm, Allen Iverson, also known as the answer. He was the answer. The answer. Why does that not sound familiar to me? One of the reasons he had it, when he showed up in Philadelphia, he only had one tattoo. It was a bulldog and above the bulldog it said the question and then he signed a deal with Reebok and every style of shoe that came out after that was the answer.
I don't remember that at all. Hey man, maybe, I know we had plans for this next segment, but I feel like this Chuck E. Cheese showbiz pizza thing is big. I like it.
I'm researching right now. I am too. And it turns out showbiz pizza was separate. Yeah. They were separate.
Yeah. And Chuck E. Cheese took it over. They stole it. They took it over.
They stole it. They're animatronic. I've never heard of showbiz pizza, just like you've never heard of Discovery Zone. I see. Well, the Chuck E. Cheese in Raleigh became a showbiz, but anyway. All right.
We got to take a short break. The Outlaw lawyers, Josh Whitaker and Joe Hamer, managing partners, Whitaker and Hamer law firm, pricing attorneys here in North Carolina. Cassandra Nicholas, also an attorney at Whitaker and Hamer, joining us remotely from Moorhead City. I'm Morgan Patrick, consumer advocate. We'll wrap it up right after this.
Welcome back into the Outlaw lawyers, Josh Whitaker and Joe Hamer, managing partners, Whitaker and Hamer law firm are your hosts, Cassandra Nicholas, joining us from the Moorhead City office. Guys, take it away. Yeah. Getting back to this Chuck E. Cheese showbiz thing that we were talking about.
I saw, I think this was last year, I think I threw it up on my Facebook when I found it. Cause I was, I don't know what I was looking for. But there's a documentary on YouTube about a group of guys who collect the old animatronic showbiz pizza characters and rebuild them in their garage.
Like what, what are they doing with them? I didn't watch the whole thing cause I think it was like, wait, what was this? I'm sorry. I tuned out. They said showbiz pizza.
I'm right back. There's a YouTube document. It was on YouTube.
I don't know what it was originally on. And he built the animatronics. No, no, no, no. He repaired them, right? These are grown men who I guess remember it fondly and they collect, they go and collect these old showbiz pizza band characters and like repair them. I don't know what they do.
I didn't get that far. Some of the most, those are some of the most terrifying things in the world. Those, those animatronics, man.
They're dead eyes. They're not clowns though. Give me a clown all day, man. Let a clown I don't even know come live with me permanently. Do you not, you don't get, you don't like, you like these things, these animatronics no.
Yeah. They have no souls and you look into their dead eyes and uh, we should start a new pizza chain where the animatronic animal band has AI capabilities and they mess with kids and scar them. Well, Joe, you've been to Disney. I mean, early Disney, probably when you were a kid, I had a lot of that stuff going on scarred you. Huh? They did. Nah, it's not even Disney.
They put the money into it, man. You got cheaper Chuck E cheeses and you got, it's just, I don't know, man, the creep factor of some of those animatronics. I think they're great. I think they're off the chart.
What'd you say Cassandra? They're great. You would. I had my 20th birthday party at a Chuck E Cheese. Wait, no, 20? Hold on. What year? Birthday party? 20th.
20. But why? Why not?
I couldn't drink yet. You got a good, you've, you've raised a great point. What? So you were just, you were just searching up, you, you found out some information about the founder of showbiz. They were in fact two different entities. Yeah. So they were two different entities. And I found about the founder of Chuck E Cheese was also the co-founder of Atari, the creator of Pong, but Chuck E Cheese was going under, was, had filed for bankruptcy and showbiz merged with it, but somehow Chuck E Cheese remained the branding of all of them. Once they merged, I think we do our next show from Chuck E Cheese with the, the, the soulless demon band playing in the background with you flopping in the ball pit. Yeah.
I'm not going, not climbing on anything. I'm not going to any Chuck E Cheese that doesn't have the four person Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game. Oh, they got it.
They may have it. You know, new, new, new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles coming out movie, it's going to be any good. It's like animated. And it looks on me like TBD. My kids got into the Nickelodeon show and I was trying to show them the old and it doesn't translate well to them.
That didn't work. I mean, how amazing was that back in the day, it was show on that. I like it when we take the full resources of our seven office, you know, 40 to 50 plus attorneys employees.
I like we take the full focus of the firm and we're just for one day we have to turn onto something that's just super silly. Yeah. I get a lot of con, I do a lot of consults like you, Josh, and I get this, I get questions about the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles all the time, almost every day. I would love to schedule some consults about the original GI Joe, he made console for free. If you're asking about Ninja Turtles, I got you for free, no charge. All right.
We are wrapping up for the week. The outlaw liars, Josh Whitaker and Joe Hamer, managing partners, Whitaker and Hamer law firm practicing attorneys here in North Carolina. And of course, Cassandra Nicholas joining us from the Moorhead city office and speaking of offices, conveniently located, Raleigh, Garner, Clayton, Goldsboro, Fuquay, Verina, Estonia, throw a rock, you're going to hit an office from Whitaker and Hamer. If you've got a question about a legal situation you're facing, you can always call the firm 800-659-1186. That's 800-659-1186 or you can email your questions to the show.
We'll answer them on a future program. Questions at the outlaw lawyer.com. We'll have more legalese coming up next week. A law lawyer is hosted by an attorney licensed to practice law in North Carolina. Some of the guests appearing on the show may be licensed North Carolina attorneys. Discussion of the show is meant to be general in nature and in no way should the discussion be interpreted as legal advice. Legal advice can only be rendered once an attorney licensed in the state in which you live had the opportunity to discuss the facts of your case with you. The attorneys appearing on the show are speaking in generalities about the law in North Carolina and how these laws affect the average North Carolinian. If you have any questions about the content of the show, contact us directly.
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