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a feme sole: of options, alternatives, and offers

May 1st, 2010 by

“A feme sole” is not misspelled, or in French.  That’s from North Carolina real estate law § 47‑69 pertaining to a married woman who “was a free trader by her husband’s consent” (anyone else see the contradiction there?) at the time of transfer of real property (read:  land).   Circa 1913.  She’s a “feme sole” when she trades freely—by her husband’s consent, of course.

This is just to illustrate how arcane and confusing law is in general and specifically around real estate.  As we ponder making an offer on a piece of land in North Carolina, we’re learning about Alternative 2, and option fees as opposed to earnest money, and when to offer how much or how little.

Alternative 2 is something apparently particular to North Carolina, wherein a potential buyer can put down a small chunk of money to hold a house or piece of land while they ponder whether they want it, then—after a specified amount of time—they can say “nope, changed my mind” for any reason or no reason and walk away.  Leaving the chunk of money behind.  Word is that Alternative 2 will become the only alternative soon in NC, but in the meantime we’re having to decipher what sums to pony up for that option fee, which isn’t the same as earnest money, which is the option that’s actually an Alternative, which is still not the actual Offer, which makes me Wonder what our Options really Are.