Closing – or settlement as it is known in some parts of the country — is a term used for the point in time at which the title to the property is transferred to the buyer and, generally, a mortgage (or “Security Deed/Deed to Secure Debt”) is given by the buyer/borrower to the lender.
Buying a house is an exciting time and the more you know about the process, the more relaxed you’ll be going through it. Keep reading, and we’ll walk you through what the closing process really means.
Some information about the costs associated with closing on your home should be provided to you before you put a contract on a house. If you are obtaining a loan to purchase the property, your lender has three days from the time of the loan application to provide you with a Good Faith Estimate (GFE) of your loan costs so there are no surprises about costs. Within those three days you should also receive a copy of the booklet, “Buying Your Home,” which outlines the settlement process. If these two things do not occur, talk to your lender.
Once the seller accepts your sales contract, the countdown to closing begins. Timing is essential to make sure all the ingredients for a successful closing are in place for your arrival. In some parts of the country, the settlement agent is an attorney, title company, or escrow company. Georgia is an attorney state and therefore, an attorney must not only close your transaction, all funds must be disbursed through an IOLTA trust account. The earnest money deposit can be delivered to the real estate broker or us and we will see that it is promptly deposited into an escrow account where the funds are held until the time of closing.
Next, we will request preliminary title work. A title professional will search and examine the public records for information related to your home’s title. This provides warnings of title flaws that must be dealt with before the property can change hands. For instance, the previous owner may have failed to pay local or state taxes. There may be an outstanding mortgage or judgment on the property. We work hard to see that such obligations are dealt with and resolve any issues found well before you go to closing. We will order payoff figures from the existing lender and clear any other outstanding debts or liens on the property. We work directly with the buyer’s lender to gather all of the information required for them to fund the loan. If the buyer is assuming the loan, we handle that as well. If directed to do so, we may also order property inspections, termite reports and survey.
Finally we are ready to prepare the Alta Settlement Statement. The settlement statement outlines all of the costs for both the buyer and seller associated with the closing.
On closing day, the property will be transferred from the seller to the buyer. You will sign a number of documents that will be explained by the closing attorney. Once all of the signing is done, the house is yours! Congratulations on owning your own home!
You should be generally aware that the behind-the-scenes process continues after the closing. We must make all disbursements, including payment to any prior lender, pay all the other parties who performed services in connection with your closing, pay out any net funds to the seller, and order a final search of the title to your new home before finally recording all the documents needed legally to complete your purchase. Once the recorded documents are received from the courthouse, we will issue the title insurance policies. You don’t have to be involved in any of this as we take care of these post-closing details!
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helpful information regarding your real estate closing.