In the State of Georgia a Real Estate Closing (which is the entire process by which title to the property is transferred) must be conducted by a licensed Georgia attorney. Although the Closing Attorney usually represents the lender in the transaction, the goal of all parties is to complete the Closing accurately and efficiently. For this reason, the Closing Attorney representing the lender is almost always the only attorney involved in the Closing.
Most of the time your mortgage or real estate professional will contact Slepian, Schwartz & Landgaard to schedule your Closing.
Anyone whose name appears on the loan or the title to the property must be present at Closing.
An experienced Title Examiner retained by Slepian, Schwartz & Landgaard, will thoroughly examine the court deed records related to your property for potential title issues and tax information on behalf of the lender. The Closing Attorney will also order a survey, should one be requested by your mortgage or real estate professional.
There are two types of title insurance: Owners and Lenders. The lender’s policy is included in your Closing costs, but this policy does not protect the new owner in any way. At Slepian, Schwartz & Landgaard, we recommend that all new homebuyers purchase an owner’s title insurance policy at Closing. This policy will protect your interest in the property against any claims or defects which are discovered after the Closing. Examples include: contractor liens, federal tax liens, unrecorded or misrecorded documents, boundary disputes or claims/liens filed after the effective date of the title exam. Title insurance will also protect you should your title turn out to be fraudulent or forged. Title insurance is a one-time fee and is a relatively inexpensive way to ensure that your equity is protected. In Georgia, the only way to obtain a title insurance policy is through a Closing Attorney.
The Lender’s title policy is included in your final Closing costs. You may also choose to purchase an additional Owner’s title insurance policy at Closing, which protects your title against any liens or defects that were not discovered during the title search. Slepian, Schwartz & Landgaard, recommends the purchase of an owner’s title insurance policy. If you decide to purchase an owner’s title insurance policy at Closing, the policy will be mailed to you along with your recorded deed following the Closing.
Attorneys fees for the representation of the lender are included in the Closing costs and do not need to be paid separately by the Buyer or Seller.
You should bring the amount shown on any preliminary Settlement Statement provided by our office prior to Closing. In the event that you have not received a preliminary Settlement Statement prior to Closing, you should bring the amount shown on your Good Faith Estimate provided by your Mortgage Lender.
In accordance with Georgia law, a Closing Attorney is unable to accept a personal check in excess of $5000.00 at Closing. Assuming your cost will be in excess of this amount, you will need to either have the funds wired directly to Slepian, Schwartz & Landgaard or bring a check drawn on a Georgia attorney’s trust account.
Please refer to the following checklists for a list of required documents and information:
You should arrive 15 minutes before your scheduled time to allow us to gather any information we may need from the parties. At Slepian, Schwartz & Landgaard we know your time is important. We place a premium on adhering to our daily Closing schedule so that your Closing will start on time. At Slepian, Schwartz & Landgaard, you can expect your Closing to start on time every time.
Residents in the state of Georgia are permitted to file for a homestead exemption for their primary residence. Homestead Exemption is a partial exemption from property taxes and results in a reduction in the property taxes assessed against that property. To be eligible for Homestead Exemption in a given year, the owner must have owned and occupied that property on January 1st of that same year. You may file for Homestead Exemption any time after the Closing date up until April 1st of the following year. To file for Homestead Exemption you must take a copy of your Settlement Statement and your Deed to the Tax Assessors Office in the county in which the primary residence is located.
Any party who cannot attend the signing of the Closing documents must send a representative with Power of Attorney to execute the Closing documents in their place. Any Power of Attorney which will be used at the time of Closing, must either be prepared by Slepian, Schwartz & Landgaard, or reviewed by us prior to the Closing. If you know you will not be able to attend your Closing, we can assist you with preparing a power of attorney for someone to sign in your place. If you are representing a trust, an estate or business entity, you must present documentation of your authority to sign for that trust, estate or business entity prior to Closing.
The signing of the Closing documents usually takes about an hour or less.