What You Should Know About Real Estate Closings

What You Should Know About Real Estate Closings

Buying a home is a huge commitment. While the process can be daunting, it’s amazing when you find the perfect home for you (and your family).

If you’ve decided to move forward with a specific home, you are probably looking forward to the real estate closing, which is the formal completion of your real estate transaction. Here’s what you need to know about closing on a property in Georgia.

A Real Estate Closing Attorney Must Be Present at the Closing

Georgia requires an attorney to be present at the closing. Typically, the attorney represents the buyer (in cash purchases) or the buyer’s lender (with loan purchases). Even if the attorney represents the lender’s interests, they still have a responsibility to treat all parties fairly.

At the closing, they will still explain and walk everyone through the documents and their details. In some cases, both the buyer and seller may choose to have other legal counsel present. The buyer may also ask the attorney, who represents their lender’s interests, to also represent them as well.

In supporting clients throughout their closing process, a real estate closing attorney’s work may include but is not limited to:

  • Ensuring the seller has a good title to the property
  • Helping the seller with any issues with their property title
  • Coordinating with both parties and their agents to schedule the closing
  • Reviewing all the documents related to the transfer
  • Preparing needed documents (i.e., promissory notes, settlement statements)
  • Explaining the closing disclosure (which contains information about monthly payments, closing costs, and more) to the buyer
  • Confirming all parties are paid the correct amount
  • Ensuring the correct closing documents are recorded and included in the deed records

Once You Receive the Deed, The Contract is Completed

Buyers and sellers usually sign a purchase agreement or contract. In the agreement, certain “covenants” (promises) can be outlined. For example, the seller may have agreed to repaint the downstairs level of the house or have the home professionally cleaned.

Unless you have a survival clause in your agreement, after the buyer receives the deed, the contract is complete and unfilled promises don’t have to be upheld. Covenants are only enforceable while the contract is still in effect.

The Sale Can Fall Through or Be Delayed

Typically, lenders will have your home inspected for various types of damage, and they will have the home appraised. Costs for this will fall on the buyer. Sometimes, closings can be delayed because of issues revealed during home inspections or appraisals.

With appraisals, lenders want to ensure that buyers are paying (at least) what the home is actually worth. If the home appraisal is too low, then the:

  • Seller will need to lower the selling price
  • Buyer will have to pay cash for the difference (between the sale price and appraisal estimates)
  • Lender and/or buyer may back out of the purchase

Because of all the risks that come with property appraisals, buyers may want to ask their lawyer to get an appraisal contingency included in their initial purchase agreement. Also, buyers can negatively affect the closing process unintentionally. As a buyer, you should avoid doing certain things before the closing is finalized, such as:

  • Making any major purchases
  • Dodging calls from your lender or the closing attorney
  • Increasing credit limits on any credit cards
  • Opening or closing any credit accounts
  • Quitting your job
  • Making late payments
  • Cosigning on other loans with anyone
If you’re looking for a real estate closing attorney, look no further than Balbo & Gregg, Attorneys at Law, PC. With over 40 years of combined experience and a great reputation, our firm is equipped to support you. Our real estate closing attorneys are happy to help you as you start this new, exciting chapter. To get started, contact our office at (866) 580-3089 or via our online form.