According to the Georgia Multiple Listing Service, over 9,000 residential homes were sold in June of 2018 in Atlanta and it’s surrounding counties. Fulton, Gwinnett and Cobb counties topped the list with over 1,000 homes sold in each area for the month. That’s over 9,000 times a real estate lawyer was needed to facilitate a closing because here in Georgia, real estate closings must be conducted by a licensed Georgia real estate attorney.
Preparing to go home shopping
If you’re a first-time homebuyer, it might seem strange that you need to have a lawyer present during your closing, but they’re just one of many individuals ready to help you through the process of purchasing a home with as little stress as possible. Before you get to the stage where you’re selecting your closing attorney, there are a few important things to remember to ensure you get the best home for you and your family.
- Have a budget in place before you begin your home search – this includes saving for your down payment as well as using a mortgage calculator to figure out what you can afford to pay each month. It’s also a good idea to budget for closing costs even if you’re planning on asking the seller to cover them.
- Get pre-approved for a mortgage by a financial institution you trust – being ready in advance allows you to move quickly on a house should your offer be in competition with other interested parties.
- Utilize a real estate agent you trust to guide you through the process – even better is someone that a friend or colleague can recommend or someone you know personally.
- Research neighborhoods in advance to locate one that will not only meet the needs you have today, but will accommodate you in the future. For example, look at the quality of the schools even if you don’t have children right now, but are considering starting a family while still living in the home.
- Get a home inspection during the due diligence period once your offer on a home has been accepted. This should include a radon inspection, which is usually separate from a general home inspection. It’s at this stage you can ask the current owner to make any repairs found during inspection, or you can walk away from the house should there be a larger, unseen issue that can’t be properly addressed.
You’ve gone through the home search, offer process, negotiations, and home inspection; now it’s time to sit down at the closing table and sign a lot of papers. It’s good to know what to expect in this situation before you arrive. The closing attorney you select will give you detailed instructions of what needs to be done beforehand. This usually includes wiring the down payment for the home to your lawyer’s office for transfer the day of your closing. You’ll also receive information on what documentation you need to bring with you.
The closing process is pretty standard. You’ll find yourself in a boardroom with a large table. You’ll sit on one side with your real estate agent, across from the sellers, with your lawyer presiding at the head, a large stack of papers in front of him or her. The stack is so big because everything will have to be signed more than once in order to distribute copies to all involved parties and have documents to file for your title of ownership. Your attorney will explain each document as it’s signed and then distribute copies accordingly. When it’s all done, you’ll have the keys to your new home!
Why a closing attorney is so helpful
Beyond simply explaining and distributing paperwork during a closing, a real estate attorney helps manage the details of your closing, ensuring everything happens appropriately according to the parameters of the sale of the home. This means he or she will prepare your closing statement as well as a detailed statement that breaks down the disbursements from you and your lender, if you’re borrowing money to purchase your home. They will assist you with filing for your title, and they’ll disburse money as stated within the closing statement. They can also issue receipts for both the buyer and seller.
Outside of the closing, a real estate attorney can be beneficial during the home purchasing process should you find yourself in a more complex circumstance. Whether there’s an easement associated with the property, existing zoning disputes, or even if the home you’re purchasing is a historical property, a properly licensed attorney can review both the title and ancillary documentation to help address or resolve these issues prior to the home purchase.
If you’re involved in a high-value home acquisition, you may find some unique issues attached to the property such as liens, encumbrances, or
Selecting the right closing attorney
As the buyer, you’re able to select the closing attorney for your home purchase, and while your real estate agent may suggest someone they’ve worked with in the past, the final decision is still up to you
That’s why it’s important to do your own research in locating an experienced real estate lawyer who you know will have your best interest in mind when facilitating the purchase of your new home
The legal team at The Patterson Cozzo Law Firm treats every client with the respect and attention they
Set up a free consultation today to learn more and get in touch with an experienced, Georgia real estate lawyer.