Who Chooses Closing Attorney in GA Real Estate Transactions?

 

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Who Chooses the Closing Attorney in GA?

Who chooses closing attorney in GA when you’re buying or selling a home? Learn more about the role of the closing attorney in GA real estate transactions.

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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 December 06, 2021.

The closing attorney is in charge of organizing and preparing a number of documents in a real estate transaction. These include surveys, title insurance policies, deed forms, and various other documents regardless of residential or commercial property type.

The issue of who chooses closing attorney in Georgia when you’re buying or selling a home is one that needs to be addressed, however. It’s important to know who makes this decision so you can determine how much time and money the closing process will cost.

Does Georgia Require a Closing Attorney?

Under Georgia law, a licensed attorney needs to be present at the close of all real estate transactions. In other states, the title company may handle the closing and matters that involve escrow.

If you are buying or selling real estate, closing begins when the buyer and the seller sign the final purchase and sale contract.

The purchase contract usually details all the material terms of the agreement, including the closing date, amount of earnest money, the price, and seller paid closing costs.

 

Who Chooses the Closing Attorney?

There is usually just one attorney involved in the closing, and in Georgia, the buyer typically chooses their own attorneys.

If it is a cash purchase, you will typically have the right to pick the closing attorneys. However, the buyer’s lender will choose the attorney when you are funding a purchase using a mortgage. 

Still, it is essential to note that the lawyer who closes the transaction usually is responsible to all parties involved. Both buyer and seller can also hire their own attorney to represent them and review all the documents before closing. 

Typically only one attorney is required to do the closing disclosure.

If you are looking for a lawyer to handle your real estate transaction in Georgia, you should contact Faulkner Law today. We have a lot of experience in real estate transactions, and our goal is to help you conduct your transaction as smoothly as possible.

Who Does the Closing Attorney Represent?

A real estate lawyer is usually responsible for several roles depending on what they are hired to do. When it comes to buying or selling real estate, a real estate lawyer can represent the lender, the buyer, or the seller. 

One attorney will usually not represent all parties even though the lawyer is responsible to all parties in the transaction. The same attorney may represent all parties involved in the transaction.

When a real estate purchase involves a mortgage lender, the closing attorney usually represents the mortgage company.

The lawyers at Faulkner Law have been representing clients buying or selling homes in Georgia for years. As such, we have experience in legal procedures and can help you with your transaction.

Contact us today for an attorney-client relationship, and we may have a lawyer waiting to provide the legal advice or representation you need in such transactions.

Who Pays Closing Costs Georgia

 

Neither the seller nor the buyer is usually responsible for all closing costs. Sellers will usually pay between 5% and 10% of the final sale price to close the transaction.

As a general guide, buyers may be responsible for anywhere between 2% to 5% of the transaction costs. As such, a home in Atlanta with a median value of $261,200 will have you paying between $5,000 and $13,000 when the transaction is concluded.

If you are conducting a real estate transaction, it is critical to have a real estate attorney by your side. A lawyer will be critical in such a process as they will help to check the disclosure documents and all other processes to ensure that everything is legal and that your interests are taken care of.

Georgia Real Estate Closing Costs

While closing costs vary a lot depending on the value and condition of a property and lender requirements, some costs accrue with every home sale in the state. Some of these costs include:

 

The Appraisal Contingencies

Lenders will only move forward with a transaction when a professional appraiser values the property. This ensures that the lender’s investment is protected and that they are paying a fair value.

 

Home Inspection Fees

Home inspections are not mandatory when purchasing a home in the state. Still, it is vital to have an inspection done to avoid financial devastation should the purchased property have unforeseen repairs such as expensive repairs. These costs typically come into play during the due diligence period.

Attorney’s Fees

Unlike other states, a real estate attorney must sign off on all property transactions. Attorney fees usually cover the review of documents, and for a home valued at $200,000, you should expect to pay something in the region of $700.

 

Application Fee

You will have to pay lenders to process your loan application. This typically includes credit checks, and hence you will have to discuss such fees with the mortgage company.

 

Title Fees

You will have to conduct a title search before doing any transaction to ensure that the home does not have issues with legal ownership and that the seller has a proper title. Title fees may also include a title policy to protect you should ownership issues and legal title arise in the future.

 

Real Estate Transfer Taxes

When properties change hands, transfer taxes will be paid. Even though the seller is usually responsible for paying these, some buyers may agree to pay these taxes. The usual fee in the state is usually $1 for every $1,000 in property value. The state also imposes a $1.50 for every $500 for a loan.

The lawyers at the Faulkner Law firm have the knowledge, experience, and skill on closing costs involved in home purchasing or selling transactions. Contact us today, and we may help you minimize your transaction costs while adhering to the legal requirements.

What Happens After Signing Closing Documents

The real estate attorney is usually responsible for explaining the relevant elements of the closing process to the seller and buyer before they sign the closing agreement. While he could be a lender’s buyer or seller’s attorney, the closing attorney represents all parties in the transaction.

While both sellers and buyers may have their legal counsel during the sale and purchase process, the closing attorney usually handles all closing matters without other legal professionals’ input. Nonetheless, both the buyer and seller may choose to have their attorneys present at the closing. 

State and federal law dictate the lawyer’s role in the closing process. The Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act usually governs federal law. State law is generally governed by Chapter 47 of the local Georgia real estate laws. 

Under state and federal laws, Georgia real estate lawyers need to do the following:

  • Ensure the deeds, affidavits, and other documentation is delivered to the appropriate people
  • Prepare the closing settlement or statement
  • Distribute funds according to the closing statement
  • Ensure the accurate completion of all documentation

Georgia real estate attorneys also have to prepare documentation detailing all the disbursements and receipts from the buyer and seller. If applicable, the detailed statement needs to be availed to both parties and the real estate agent. This is essential when settling an estate in Georgia.

Contact Faulkner Law today if you want to buy or sell a commercial or residential building in Georgia. With our experience, we may be able to help you avoid the pitfalls of purchasing a home that may result in substantial financial losses.

Contact a Georgia Closing Attorney Today

If you are buying or selling property, Georgia law requires that you work with a real estate attorney. 

At Faulkner Law, we have attorneys that may be able to help you with all aspects of your commercial or residential property transactions. Our lawyers have the skill and experience to facilitate the sale and purchase of different properties. 

We can handle closing for apartment complexes, single-family homes, hotels, condominiums, office buildings, multi-family dwellings, retail centers, and vacant property slated for development. 

Contact our experienced Georgia real estate attorneys at Faulkner Law today for a free first-time consultation. We have represented many clients with legal representation and provided advice on conducting such transactions.

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