Buying a home is one of the biggest purchases you will ever make in your life. So before you jump in, you should know a little bit about how real estate transactions are conducted in Georgia.
Here are just 3 things you should know about Georgia’s rules when it comes to real estate closings.
1. Georgia Law Requires That All Real Estate Closings Be Overseen by an Attorney
In a home purchase situation, the real estate closing begins when the buyer and seller sign the final purchase and sale contract.
The purchase contract gives all the material terms of the agreement: the price, the amount of earnest money, closing date, any seller-paid closing costs, and any contingencies (such as financing or appraisal contingencies) etc.
Georgia law requires a licensed attorney to close all real estate transactions. In other states, the title company handles the closing and matters pertaining to escrow. But in Georgia, an attorney does it.
There is generally only one attorney involved in the transaction and he represents either the buyer’s lender (if the purchase if lender-funded) or the buyer (if it is a cash purchase). However, the buyer and seller can always hire their own counsel (and should) to review all the documents beforehand and to represent them at the closing.
2. The Closing Ends it All
The second thing you should know about Georgia real estate law is that the closing finalizes the deal. In other words, after the closing, if there are any outstanding promises (or “covenants”) that existed in the contract that were not completed or complied with, they’re not going to happen now.
In other words, “covenants” are enforceable only so long as the contract remains in effect.
Once the deed is prepared and delivered to the buyer by the seller, the contract is said to be “consummated” and it ceases to exist. It is said to “merge” with the terms of the warranty deed.
This means that unless you have a “survival clause” in your contract, the seller is under no obligation to do anything promised in the contract that remains undone, after the closing is finished.
3. If You Are Getting a Loan To Buy the Property, The Closing Attorney Does Not Represent You
Most homebuyers need to finance their purchase of a house. As a result, most homeowners get a loan from a bank or private lender in order to buy a home.
If you are buying a house and have gotten a loan for the purchase, you should be aware that the attorney who conducts the closing does not represent either you or the seller. Instead, the closing attorney represents the lender. This means that only the lender’s interests are represented by the closing attorney.
As a result, it is advisable for both buyers and sellers to hire their own counsel to review all the documents and represent them at the closing.
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At the Law Offices of Mark Weinstein, our practice is concentrated on real estate and only real estate. If you have a real estate issue, our experienced real estate attorneys can guide you and give you the legal advice you need. Contact us here or call us at 770-888-7707 to schedule your free phone consultation.