Should a Georgia Homebuyer Use Their Lender’s Closing Attorney to Represent Them Too?

 

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Should a Georgia Homebuyer Use Their Lender’s Closing Attorney to Represent Them Too?

Cherokee County Probate Court is the central court that handles all matters of estate and inheritance in Cherokee County, Georgia.

Author: Stan Faulkner, Founder, Faulkner Law, LLC

Mr. Faulkner is an experienced counselor and litigator with 15 years of experience, having held bar licenses in four states (Mo, Il, Ct and Ga). Stan Faulkner uses this experience and focuses his skills in the pursuit of assisting individuals in probate (trust and estate) matters, guardianships and conservatorships, estate planning, business disputes and contract disputes. Published on August 29, 2019.

Georgia’s real estate law requires that all real estate transactions are closed by an attorney. Closing is complex, and having a trusted Georgia real estate attorney represent you will reduce your stress.

When buying or selling property in Georgia that requires a mortgage loan rather than a cash purchase, consider whether you would need your own real estate closing attorney or whether the lender will provide one.

Only one attorney is required to close the deal. For you, additional costs are critical at this stage. Should you use the lender’s attorney?

The short answer is it’s better to appoint your own closing attorney. There are several reasons for this which will be covered below. Let’s dive right in.

Is Georgia a Title or Attorney Closing State?

Georgia law requires that Georgia real estate attorneys close every real estate transaction. Georgia is thus an attorney-closing state. In other states, real estate agents use standardized form contracts for home purchases.

What Does a Closing Attorney Do in Georgia?

Once the parties sign the final purchase and sale contract, the real estate closing begins. The purchase contract contains all the essential terms such as the purchase price, closing date, amount of earnest money to be paid, and an outline of all buyer or seller costs and appraisal contingencies.

The attorney’s role is to control the closing process and assist parties in ensuring that the documents are accurate. The attorney may review documents and explain the contractual terms in detail to the buyer and the seller.

The licensed attorney must also ensure that the closing process is handled professionally and efficiently from start to finish and be physically present at the closing ceremony.

Practically the closing attorney is obliged to do the following:

  • Deliver all deeds, affidavits, and documents to the relevant parties
  • Prepare the settlement or closing statement
  • Make sure that documents have been accurately completed
  • Pay out monies in terms of the closing statement prepared by them. The statement should detail all disbursements and receipts.

Who Does the Closing Attorney Represent in Georgia?

A real estate transaction often involves three real estate attorneys representing the buyers, sellers, and mortgage lenders. The lender’s interests are the primary concern of the closing attorney.

If a lender is involved in the property sale, the closing will be handled by the lender’s attorney even where the home buyer and seller have their own attorney. The lender’s attorney will assume the role of the closing attorney and perform all the associated duties. In this situation, the closing attorney represents the loan provider, but they have a duty to all parties and must complete the closing on time. 

Although both the buyer and the seller may have separate attorneys at the closing, there is generally only one attorney involved. This presents a potential conflict of interest situation for buyers and sellers.

The buyer and seller may have separate attorneys at the closing. In general, only one attorney is present at the closing, which presents a potential conflict of interest for both parties.

The best way to ensure that your best interests are protected is to appoint your own attorney to represent you during closing.

As such, it is strongly recommended that you appoint your own attorney to represent you during closing. This will ensure that your best interests are protected. However, the choice is yours, and you may have reasons to go it alone.

Is Georgia a Title or Attorney Closing State

Expert Counsel for Canton GA Courthouse

The Pros of Using the Lender’s Closing Attorney

The law doesn’t require having your real estate attorney represent you. Sometimes, the seller may insist on it, which will be reflected in your closing costs. Some benefits of using the lender’s closing attorney include the following:

Cost-Saving

Additional costs may be a sensitive issue at this point in the transaction. If you use the lender’s closing attorney, you will save additional costs.

The buyer is typically responsible for the closing attorney costs, lender’s title insurance, title search, the Optional Owner’s title, and ensuring the buyer has a marketable title.

The closing attorney will often receive a commission on the title insurance policies for preparing the title insurance documents. You might decide that since you are already paying the closing attorney for the above, you may as well pay a discounted or free offer made by the closing attorney for all services offered to you as a buyer. This can save you a tidy sum.

Convenience and simplicity

Real estate property transactions involve many parties. The fewer parties involved, the simpler it is to communicate and arrange a closing ceremony. Using the lender’s closing attorney simplifies the process and makes it more convenient for everybody.

The Cons of Using the Lender’s Closing Attorney

Customized Forms

Often standard contracts and forms are customized by attorneys. This has resulted in standard forms which heavily favor the seller’s interests. Often the buyer’s attorney needs to amend the forms and contract presented by the closing attorney just to have a fair starting point. Your closing attorney would be more focused on ensuring this is done.

Free legal representation can be counterproductive when the real estate lawyer doesn’t provide a home buyer’s comprehensive and focused services.

Review of Closing Documents

An independent review of the documents prepared by the closing attorney is more likely to uncover anomalies than the same eyes that drafted the agreement.

Potential Conflict of Interests

The lender, buyer, and seller all have competing interests. Where the lender and buyer use the same attorney, conflicts of interest may arise, and your interests would be sidelined.

The Cons of Using the Lenders Closing Attorney

Cherokee County Courthouse Lawyer

Local Closing Attorney at Faulkner Law

To decide whether to choose your own attorney or use the lender’s attorney, carefully weigh the pros and cons.

It is best to weigh the pros and cons of appointing your real estate attorney in Atlanta before making the decision. However, most homebuyers opt to use the lender’s closing attorney because the pros outweigh the cons.

If you hire your own attorney to assist you with the closing process, they could provide legal advice, draft or amend sale contracts, and be present with you at the closing.

Having estate & business lawyers in Marietta help you with a complex sale can ensure that these complexities are addressed in the contract. If any contract issues arise, you’ll have legal support. Having an attorney at your side will instill confidence and give you peace of mind that your interests are being taken care of.

Our attorneys are here to help you with various real estate transactions. Contact Faulkner Law today to schedule a consultation.

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