Residential Real Estate Closings
BUYERS & SELLERS
We’ve helped thousands of buyers and sellers across the state with the help of our Georgia real estate closing attorneys. Purchasing or selling a home should be a wonderful, simple, and legally accurate transaction so that you can focus on enjoying the next chapter of your life.
The life of a real estate agent is filled with multitasking and high demands. We take the worry and stress out of the closing process by helping agents cater to their clients’ closing. We know that every closing and transaction is unique and pull from our expert resources and extended areas of legal knowledge within our firm to ensure that we get it right for agents the first time.
Smith, Welch, Webb & White has represented lenders with over 50+ years of relationships built on professionalism, trust, and efficiency. We make sure that the loan documents are executed properly, and that the property, which is the collateral for the loan, is free of title issues. Our attention to detail ensures that the lender stays in a priority position.
DELIVERY OF CONTRACT
A real estate closing begins when the buyer and seller sign the final purchase and sale contract. The contract gives the essential terms, including price, amount of earnest money, closing date, any seller-paid closing costs, and any contingencies
TITLE SEARCH & EXAMINATION
Based on the results of the title search, our closing attorney will prepare a title commitment for the lender and buyer providing the conditions upon which the attorney will issue title insurance.
The staff in our real estate department will handle all document preparation before your closing.
ATTEND YOUR CLOSING
Our closing attorney will explain the closing documents to the buyer and seller and answer any questions. All closing funds are collected by and disbursed from the attorney’s trust account. The attorney records both the deed conveying the property and the lender’s security deed.
Commercial Real Estate Closings & Services
Commercial real estate closings are far more complicated than residential closings, often involving significant negotiation between individuals and/or corporate entities. These closings require far more due diligence than residential closings. Land use, zoning laws, survey issues and environmental issues must be thoroughly considered and reviewed in addition to the normal financial documents, titles searches and other steps. Our firm has attorneys specializing in all of these areas outside of the closing, so we have the knowledge and resources to complete even the most complex transactions.
Complicated commercial closings can take days and consist of long conference tables lined with documents. While most commercial transactions are simpler, our Georgia real estate closing attorneys can handle transactions of all types and sizes. We see that all documents are available and properly signed and notarized, funds are tracked and disbursed, the recording package is prepared to be sent out to the courthouse and packages are prepared for the various parties for their records.
REAL ESTATE CLOSINGS
Frequently Asked Questions
Why do I Need A Closing Attorney?
While buyers and sellers often consult with a real estate attorney of their own, to do title searches, check documents (including the closing documents) or get advice, usually the closing attorney handles the closing alone, without input from other legal professionals, or any other attorneys being present. But there is nothing to stop the buyer and/or seller having their own attorney with them at the closing.
The federal law that covers the closing is the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), and this legislation applies in addition to the local Georgia real estate license law that the Georgia Real Estate Commission administrates. Chapter 47 of the local state law specifies the process involved for first mortgage loans. The real estate closing attorneys role is also specified in this chapter.
Amongst other things, it is the Georgia real estate closing attorney’s responsibility to:
- Ensure all documents are completed correctly
- Ensure deeds, affidavits, and all other documents are delivered to the right people
- Prepare the settlement or closing statement
- Disburse money in terms of the closing statement
Georgia law also requires the closing attorney to prepare a detailed statement that shows all disbursements and receipts from the buyer and the seller; and this must be given to both parties, and possibly the broker if there is one involved.
What do I need to bring to my closing?
Our closing attorney will give you a list of documents you will need to bring with you to closing. Generally those include:
- Wired funds for the down payment and other buyer costs;
- Insurance policy (must be ordered prior to closing from any licensed insurance company) and a bill or paid receipt;
- Any paperwork still required by lender (for example, a termite inspection report); and
- Photo identification (valid driver’s license, state issued ID or passport)
Who needs to attend the closing?
Anyone whose name appears on the loan documents or the title to the property must attend closing or be represented by a power of attorney approved by us and your lender. If a spouse or other person is to be on the deed (even if they are not on the loan) they must attend closing or make an arrangement with us prior to closing.
How much money is due at the closing?
If you are a buyer in a cash sale with no lender, please let us know so that we can provide you with an accurate closing figure of the amount you will need to wire or bring well in advance of the closing.
If you are a buyer and using a lender, you may either contact us to provide you with an accurate closing figure, or contact your lender to obtain a closing estimate.
If you are a seller and need to bring funds to closing, it is best to contact us to provide the exact amount you will need to wire or bring to closing in the form of a cashier’s or certified check.
What is a title search?
Title refers to a person’s legal rights to ownership and possession of land. Whenever property is sold, the title (or rights to the property) is transferred from the old owners to the new, by virtue of a deed. The deed is then filed with the Register of Deeds office for the county in which the property is located.
Your title search fees are included in our closing costs. This search will assist the examiner or closing agent in determining whether there are any fraudulent conveyances, unrecorded documents, unpaid property taxes, unreleased liens, issues with the legal description of the property, and more.
What is title insurance?
When you have title insurance, you receive coverage for any claims or legal fees that may arise in the event of a dispute. According to the American Land Title Association, one in four real estate transactions uncover a title complication of some sort. More than $600 million per year is paid out by the title insurance industry. Not having title insurance can cost you exponentially more than paying for it does.
When it comes to the types of Title Insurance available, there are two: Lender’s Policy and Owner’s Policy.
A lender’s policy is designed to only protect the lender. If you take out a mortgage, then your lender will likely require a policy for an amount equal to the loan. You, the borrower or buyer, pay the one-time premium at closing.
- Coverage for a lender’s policy remains in effect for the life of the loan
- Coverage stops once the loan is paid in full and released
- Coverage does not protect the owner’s equity in the property
To help fully protect yourself, you should also consider an owner’s policy.
Our Real Estate Closing Attorneys
SERVICE THAT SPEAKS FOR ITSELF.
Smith Welch is very professional. They’re very thorough and diligent in their title work, so you don’t run into issues or snags down the line. They’re very good at sitting down at closing an explaining it. They don’t rush the client. If I’m on the South side, Smith Welch is going to do it 80-90% of the time. If you want somebody that’s really looking out for you, somebody that’s going to give you good customer service, somebody that’s going to give you reasonable fees and take time to explain to you, they’re the attorneys you want to work with.
– MARK CRUMP, SILVERTON MORTGAGE
I’m 46 years in the banking business and have used the Smith Welch firm all of that time. I’ve just found their work to be on a very high level, very consistent. They get the job done and have the closing ready when the client needs it.
– DON MASON, COMMERCIAL LENDER AT HERITAGE BANK
Well structured, organized, easy closing. I’ve done this now 3 times; more than just the professionalism, their heart was shown.
– STEPHANIE DAVIS
Morris Title Abstracts (Joan Morris) has a long association with Byrd Garland and highly recommends him as a seasoned real estate attorney with extensive knowledge in commercial, residential and new development transactions. His staff is a wonderful team that will assist you through each step of your real estate needs.
– JOAN MORRIS, MORRIS TITLE ABSTRACTS
Byrd Garland has closed loans for our institution for many years. He is an excellent closing attorney. We appreciate his attention to detail and superior communication. Byrd always makes his clients comfortable at the closing whether it is the buyer or seller and as a result all goes smoothly.
– ANONYMOUS CLIENT
They recently handled the closing of a new home that I purchased. The service was excellent and very professional. Everything was explained so that it was easy to comprehend and that made me very comfortable. I would recommend them to anyone.
– JULIUS YOUNG
We closed on our new home and everyone was very professional, personable and answered any questions we had. Ms. Leslie was very personable and Mrs. Bianca made the process very easy, detailed and smooth. Thank you to the team for making the process seamless. The presentation of the keys to the house is awesome.
– EMMY DIXON
Bianca Davis went above and beyond the call to help with what could have been a year worth of waiting for us that only lasted less than a month; thanks to her due diligence and proactivity. Thank you for all of your guidance and professionalism.
– ANONYMOUS CLIENT