GEORGIA REAL ESTATE CLOSING ATTORNEYS
Georgia law requires that all real estate closings be overseen by an attorney. Unlike other states, Georgia doesn’t allow banker-closings. Georgia doesn’t even allow so-called “witness-only” closings,” unless the referral is from one attorney to another. Aside from being a legal requirement, the closing attorney’s role is to help those involved in the transaction by overseeing and explaining the transaction so that all parties can make sure they’re getting what they bargain for.
The closing attorney can help smooth the transaction for the real estate agent or broker by making sure that title issues are resolved as quickly as possible (preferably well in advance of closing). Examples of title issues might include uncancelled liens, property owners who have passed away (but without proper handling of an estate), etc…
The closing attorney helps the lender or mortgage broker by making sure that the loan documents are executed properly, and that the property (which is the collateral for the loan) is free of title issues. This ensures that the lender stays in a priority position (unless they are issuing a second position loan).
The closing attorney helps the purchaser by making sure they understand their rights and obligations. A good closing attorney helps to make sure that well-intended buyers, sellers, lenders, and agents have their transaction go as smoothly and efficiently as possible.
At Kim & Bagwell, our attorneys have been handling Real Estate Closings for over 10 years, and would welcome the opportunity to assist you, too. We are a small office, and our attorneys are responsive to the needs and questions of our customers, agents, buyers, lenders, and investors. We serve the Metro Atlanta area, as well as most of Northeast Georgia. While we certainly conduct closings at our offices in Gainesville, GA, and Athens (Boagart), GA, we are also often able to handle closings at the property being purchased, at the real estate agent’s office, or at any other location convenient to the people involved. If you are a real estate purchaser, seller, agent, lender, or investor, please contact us and we’ll be glad to discuss your transaction to see if we can help. As always, we can be reached at 770-538-5160, or at [email protected], or through our contact us page.
WHAT DOES THE ATTORNEY DO AT CLOSING?
TITLE: They ensure that the seller has good title to the property, and may assist in clearing up any old liens, loans, levies, probate, or other issues affecting the seller’s ability to sell the property. The closing attorney who certifies title is normally is able to offer title insurance to the lender and/or buyer on that title as well.
DOCUMENTS: The number of documents necessary to transfer property, especially when debt is involved, can be staggering. The attorney assists in the preparation of these documents, including deeds, promissory notes, security agreements, settlement statements, and many others. The attorney then explains those documents to the parties at the closing so that everyone can have a better understanding of their rights and obligations.
PAYMENT: The closing attorney acts as escrow agent, making sure that all the appropriate parties get paid in the correct amounts. This involves getting payoffs from mortgage companies, prorating Homeowners’ Association dues, Condo fees, property taxes, real estate commissions, and any number of other items that have to be dealt with and prorated upon the transfer of property. This includes making sure that the seller’s mortgage gets paid or released, and that the seller is paid. This part of the service is often referred to as “escrow,” as the funds for the total purchase of the property are held in the attorney’s escrow account until being distributed out to the appropriate parties.
RECORDING: Many of the documents which are executed during the closing must be recorded in the deed records in the county or counties where the property is located. The attorney makes sure that the appropriate documents are recorded (and in the correct order; there are lots of pitfalls if the wrong deed or document gets recorded in the wrong order), and that the clerk’s office is paid for recording and maintaining those records.