All contracts to sell or convey any land, tenements, or hereditaments, or any interest in or concerning land in North Carolina, and all leases or contracts for leasing land for the purpose of digging for minerals, of whatever duration, must be in writing and signed by the party executing the instrument in order to be valid in this state ( 22 2). An instrument of conveyance of land or of interest therein can be in the form of a general warranty deed, quitclaim deed, or other form that is commonly used in this state.
In this state, the power to convey real property or interest in real property is vested in all individuals of lawful age and all corporations with the legal capacity to acquire and hold property. It is lawful for aliens to take, both by purchase and descent, or by other operation of law, any lands, tenements, or hereditaments, and to hold and convey the same as fully as citizens of the state of North Carolina can or may do ( 64 1). When property is held by husband and wife as tenants by the entirety, the husband and wife have equal right to the control, use, possession, rents, income, and profits of the real property held by them as tenants by the entirety ( 39 13.6). The manner in which property is held will determine the owner's rights in a conveyance of said property.
All deeds, contracts, or leases should be acknowledged by the grantor or their signature should be proven on oath by one or more witnesses in the manner prescribed by law before the instrument is presented for registration. All deeds that are executed and registered according to law will be valid and will pass title and estate without any other ceremony ( 47 17). Acknowledgments must be in strict compliance with the North Carolina acknowledgment laws. An acknowledgment by a grantor, as provided in 47 38 of the North Carolina Statutes, when properly completed, may be used and is sufficient under North Carolina laws to satisfy the requirements for a notarial certificate. Every conveyance or other instrument affecting the estate, right, or title of any married persons in lands, tenements, or hereditaments must be executed by such husband or wife, and due proof or acknowledgement must be made and certified as provided by law ( 39 7). In addition to containing the requisite signatures, a real estate deed must meet the formatting requirements in 161 14 when it is presented for recording.
No conveyance of land, contract to convey, option to convey, or lease of land for more than three years will be valid to pass any property interest as against lien creditors or purchasers for a valuable consideration from the donor, bargainer, or lessor but from the time of registration thereof in the county where the land lies, or if the land is located in more than one county, then in each county where any portion of the land lies to be effective as to the land in that county. Unless it is otherwise stated either on the registered instrument or on a separate registered instrument duly executed by the party whose priority interest is adversely affected, (i) instruments registered in the office of the register of deeds will have priority based on the order of registration as determined by the time of registration, and (ii) if instruments are registered simultaneously, then the instruments will have priority as determined by: (1) the earliest document number as shown on the registered instrument and (2) the sequential book and page number as shown on the registered instrument if no document number is set forth on the registered instrument ( 47 18). This is known as a race recording statute, which gives priority to the first document recorded, even if the recorder or grantee has actual notice that another document was executed and delivered previously, but was not recorded.