A GA Real Estate Attorneys Role at the Closing
The attorney who handles the real estate closing represents the lender and not the buyer or the seller.
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.
So even though the closing attorney represents the lender, he or she has a responsibility to complete the closing efficiently and accurately in the interests of all parties involved.
Normally the closing attorney explains the contents of the documentation to the buyer and seller at the closing, before everything is signed and sealed. So if you are buying or selling property, or are in the business of lending money for mortgage loans, we are here to help you.
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