FAQ

How long will my closing take?

Usually less than an hour.

What should I bring to the closing?

  • All signing parties need to bring a valid photo ID
  • Checkbook
  • Any original documents required by your contract or lender (termite letters, etc)
  • If seller is a corporation, please bring the corporate seal

Should I get a survey?

Property surveys: lenders in Georgia usually do not require surveys but we recommend that all buyers purchase a survey because it can mitigate future problems. The cost can range but is usually between $400 – $600. For more information see this recent article. Please let us know if you would like us to order a survey for you. Note: surveys do not apply to condo properties.

How do I bring funds to my closing?

  • Per Georgia law, if the necessary cash to close is larger than $2,500 then you will need to wire the funds to our account. For specific wiring instructions, please contact Meredith Hodge.

What main documents should a Buyer/Borrower expect to sign at closing?

For financed purchases:

  • ALTA Settlement Statement – This is the “map” for the closing and gives a clear outline of where the money is going for both Buyer and Seller.
  • Buyer’s Closing Disclosure – this is the form from your lender that notes final terms and closing costs. If this is a financed deal, the loan terms are on this document. Note: the Seller does not see this document.
  • Security Deed – Attaches the property to the note as collateral for the mortgage. This is recorded with the county and afterwards held by the lender until the mortgage is paid off.
  • Note – Provides all terms of the loan (date, term, rate, payment, etc).
  • Loan Application (1003) – A snapshot of what the borrower provided to the lender/underwriter.

For cash purchases:

  • ALTA Settlement Statement – This is the “map” for the closing and gives a clear outline of where the money is going for both Buyer and Seller.

What main documents should a Seller expect to sign at closing?

For financed purchases:

  • ALTA Settlement Statement – this is the “map” for the closing and gives a clear outline of where the money is going for both Buyer and Seller.
  • Seller’s Closing Disclosure – this is the form that notes final terms and closing costs. Note: the Buyer does not see this document.
  • Warranty Deed – Transfers ownership/title of the property from the seller to the buyer and is recorded with the county. Once recorded the original is returned to the buyer.

For cash purchases:

  • ALTA Settlement Statement – This is the “map” for the closing and gives a clear outline of where the money is going for both Buyer and Seller.
  • Warranty Deed – Transfers ownership/title of the property from the seller to the buyer and is recorded with the county. Once recorded the original is returned to the buyer.

Why does my payoff look higher than the loan balance on my current mortgage statement?

Your loan balance on your mortgage statement does NOT contain the current month’s accrued interest. The payoff adds those days of interest as well as a few extra days past closing to allow for the lender to process the payoff. Any monies received by the lender above the necessary amount will be returned to you by your lender within 30 days.

What do I do if I cannot be present for the closing?

We can draft a Power of Attorney with enough notice. Be sure a faxed copy is sent upon execution with required notary and separate witness. The original must be brought to closing.

What is Title Insurance and why do I need it?

Whereas Lender’s Title Insurance is required by all lenders, Owner’s Title Insurance is offered but not required. It is a small charge for a large piece of mind. Owner’s Title Insurance will protect the owner against any title issues that were not detected by the title exam. Please refer to this section for more information on this important insurance policy.

What if the Property is held in a company, trust, or estate?

Be sure the closing attorney is aware of the special circumstance. The corporate documents, trust documents, or estate documents will need to be faxed prior to closing for review.

When should I expect a Closing Disclosure or ALTA Settlement Statement?

We try our best to get Settlement Statements to all parties with plenty of time prior to closing. We are able to the get the Seller’s side of the document out after we have mortgage payoffs, title work, HOA documentation, and property tax information. This is typically no later than 24-hours prior to closing. For financed purchases, the lender will provide a Closing Disclosure to the buyer three business days prior to the closing. Although the figures on the Closing Disclosure may change slightly before you reach the closing table, the 3-day disclosure should be extremely accurate. For cash purchases, the ALTA Settlement Statement will be available typically 24 hours before closing.

What happened to the HUD on Lender Financed Purchases?

As of October 3, 2015, the HUD-1 Settlement Statement, as well as the Good Faith Estimate (GFE) and the Truth in Lending (TIL) Act disclosure documents, were replaced with two new forms: The Loan Estimate and the Closing Disclosure (CD). Essentially, the Loan Estimate replaces the initial TIL and GFE, and the CD replaces the final TIL and HUD-1. Click here for specific details on each form and examples.

I’ve closed. Now what?

You will receive a closing folder with copies of your most important closing documents and Settlement Statements. If this was a financed purchase and you are the buyer, you will also receive a key fob with a copy of your unsigned loan package for your future reference. Keep those in a safe place. You will need to fax your Settlement Statement to set up your water with the county. You will also need to keep an eye out for your lender to send information regarding your monthly payments and how to set those up, electronically or otherwise. You should receive all recorded documents back within 45-days as well as information to file for your Homestead Exemption. Lastly, no matter how long it has been after closing, we are always here to answer all questions! Our Contact Us page details who to contact with your specific question.

Why is my tax bill still showing under the previous owner?

Tax bills will be mailed to the property address and will be addressed to the owner on record as of January 1st of that year. This means that if you purchase your home in the beginning of the year prior to the tax bills being mailed, it will be addressed to the former owner. Even if the bill is addressed to the former owner, it is the current owner’s responsibility (you!) to pay the taxes, or make sure that your mortgage company pays the taxes out of your escrow account.

 

Hodge & Temple is a boutique real estate law firm serving metro Atlanta. Founded in 2006, Hodge & Temple focuses on residential closings closings including condos, new construction projects, and refinances.
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