The final step in any real estate transaction is closing, where the buyer or their lender pays the purchase price to the seller, who then signs and delivers the deed for the property to the buyer.
In Georgia, the closing agent must be an attorney who collects all funds needed to close and then dispenses those funds to a lender to pay off an existing mortgage or to other parties as directed by the contract.
Key responsibilities for closing attorneys
There are five primary duties, including:
- Title search: Once a contract is in effect for the sale of a property, the closing attorney examines the title to identify the legal owners as well as mortgages, restrictions and easements while addressing any other encumbrances before the title transfers to the buyer.
- Title insurance: Once the title search is over, the closing attorney issues a commitment for title insurance, also called a title binder, which sets closing requirements. Any issues that exist with the title will be listed. Title insurance is required for any properties that lender-financed.
- Communicating with everyone: Your attorney must coordinate with all parties involved in the transaction to ensure a smooth end to the process. Those people include the buyer, seller and lenders plus real estate agents, county tax officials, home inspectors, homeowners’ associations and the other party’s attorney.
- Reviewing documents: On the day of closing, the attorney will be on hand to oversee the entire process, from explaining various deeds, the settlement statement and other documents as well as disbursing funds at the end of the transaction and fulfilling the lender’s loan documentation requirements.
- Recording and disbursing: After the documents are reviewed and the paperwork is signed, the closing attorney issues a final opinion to the title company and pays all interested parties from the proceeds of the transaction.
Seek a knowledgeable closing attorney
Real estate transactions can be complicated and costly if problems arise during the process. That’s why having an experienced closing attorney representing your interests can help ensure a smooth process for one of the most expensive and important purchases you will ever make.