Real estate closing is a complicated and lengthy process and signals the end of a real estate purchase. Because of this complexity and the many steps involved in the process, it is highly recommended to hire a Douglasville real estate closing attorney to take care of closing a real estate transaction.
The closing process can be broken up into 3 phases – pre-closing, closing, and post-closing. Hartley, Rowe & Fowler have experienced real estate lawyers who will provide you with assistance every step of the way. Contact us on 678-825-6004 to set up an appointment to discuss your real estate closing requirements today.
The Pre-Closing Process
During this phase, your attorneys will begin laying the foundations for closing based on the contract that you have signed with the seller of the property. The following steps are included in the pre-closing process:
Step 1 – Title Search
The title search is perhaps one of the most important parts of the entire closing process and involves the following:
- Your attorney will conduct a search of the title deed of the property at the County Register of Deeds Office going back 30 years to determine the legal ownership of the property, research access to the property, and identify easements or rights that may burden the property. This search is to establish a chain of title ownership that runs to the current owner of the property or the seller.
- The attorney will then search the County Court Clerk’s Office to determine that there are no judgments or liens recorded against the property.
- The attorney will search the County Clerk’s Estate Office to check whether the property is being sold out of an estate and who has the signing rights to the deed.
- The attorney will check with the County Tax Office to ensure that all tax payments are up to date.
- Lastly, your attorney will contact the municipality to determine whether the property is properly located and that the seller does not have any outstanding assessments.
Once the title search is completed, the attorney will submit a preliminary title opinion to the relevant title insurance provider and open a binder on behalf of the buyer and their lender.
Step 2 – Information Gathering
It is just as important to ensure that the property being purchased is in good standing as the deed. Your attorney will ensure that a property inspection, termite inspection, and other inspections have been conducted and collect the reports. They will also investigate Homeowners Association fees and other relevant information such as home warranty and realtor commissions.
Your Douglasville real estate closing attorney will request a Closing Disclosure (CD) form from the seller. All this information will be added to the closing binder.
Step 3 – Negotiations
Your attorney will make a last attempt at negotiating a lower selling price for you. This will involve the information gathered above in Step 2. For example, the seller can either be responsible for any repairs that are necessary or the removal of termites, or the cost of this may be deducted from the selling price.
If the seller refuses to negotiate and you aren’t happy with the deal, then you can still back out. This is also a good time for your lawyer to go over the contract to ensure that everything is in accordance with your instructions and the agreements that you have made with the seller.
Step 4 – The Closing Package
The attorney will receive a package from the buyer’s lender including documents that need to be completed with information that was gathered in step 2 above. A copy of the package is then sent to the buyer. A final CD form will then be completed detailing how all the funds involved in the transaction are set out, the terms and conditions of the loan as well as any other pertinent information.
Step 5 – Funds to Closing
A date is set for closing and the buyer is told the amount that they will need to bring to closing either in the form of a cashier’s check or through a wire transfer.
The Closing Process
This is actually the quickest phase of the entire process and involves a final walkthrough of the property and the paperwork to ensure that everything is in order. At this stage, the seller, buyer, and lender are all satisfied that all the requirements for the sale of the property have been met and can sign the final paperwork.
Funds are then distributed or disbursed to the relevant parties according to the CD form. This disbursement pays the seller and can involve payment of commission to the realtor, lender fees, inspection costs, and so on. Once this is done, the buyer is now the legal owner of the property and the holder of the title deed.
The Post-Closing Process
Most people assume that once the paperwork is signed, the closing is complete. However, there are still a few steps that are left in the closing process:
Step 1 – Title Update
This is similar to Step 1 of the pre-closing process and is basically a check to see if everything with the deed is still in order. Your Douglasville real estate closing attorneys will then register the transfer of the deed listing you, the buyer, as the new owner of the property.
Step 2 – Final Title Opinion
The final title opinion is submitted to the title insurance company who will then close the binder on behalf of the buyer. The insurance provider will have received payment during the closing process during the disbursement of funds.
Step 3 – The Deed
When the attorney receives the original deed from the register of deeds office, they will send it to you, the new owner of the property. This is an important document and needs to be kept safe as it is your proof of purchase as well as ownership of the property.
What Are The Benefits of Hiring a Douglasville Real Estate Closing Attorney?
Hiring an attorney gives you the peace of mind that the property you are buying is free and clear of all burdens or encumbrances that could negatively impact you at a later date. You can also rest assured that all the legal matters are being taken care of expertly leaving you free to enjoy the property that you purchased.