The new year starts out with some changes in laws affecting homeowners and potential buyers and sellers. This is going to be boring for most of you, but my investor clients (those who buy and sell a number of properties per year with me) will be very interested.

New laws as of Jan 1

Oil and Mineral Rights Disclosure   If you buy property on or after Jan. 1, the owners of that property have to furnish a mineral and oil and gas rights disclosure statement. If you have questions about severing oil and mineral rights, please ask. This is a hot topic, particularly since fracking is moving into our state and even our geographical area.

Protection between husband and wife using a Trust    A new North Carolina law provides that husbands and wives who transfer real estate which they own as "tenants by the entireties" to a trust have the same protections from each others' creditors as they would before transferring it to the trust. The protection is conditioned on the spouses remaining (1) married and (2) the beneficial owners of the property placed in trust.

Contract Changes    There have been several small changes to the Offer to Purchase and Contracts to reflect Oil and Mineral Disclosure changes as well as tightening some language so that the meaning of the contract is more obvious for those who needed help in understanding some terms.

Also in January

The cost of replacing your heating and cooling system is rising again. Federal law requires a 14 SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating) HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) unit instead of 13 SEER on Jan. 26. Production stopped months ago, and the supply is dwindling. The cost difference is broadly $1000/ unit. If you are currently doing a rehab, be aware and buy it now. Also, a new gas will be required in 2025. They are currently phasing out R22 for R4-10A. Be extremely careful when doing repairs to current systems that you don't ever mix gasses!