Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Every closing is different, but we’re here to guide you through the process. Some of the more commonly asked questions about closings are addressed below. Please feel free to contact us with any other questions or concerns.
At Smith Cavin & Corbin, we’re committed to making your closing a relaxed and enjoyable experience. After all, selling or buying a home can be hard. The closing should be easy.
How long will the closing last?
An average closing takes 30-60 minutes. Please keep in mind that unforeseen factors may result in the closing taking longer than average (for example, many lenders require that we send them copies of the signed closing documents before they will authorize us to “fund” the closing). We will always do our best to expedite the process.
Should I have my own attorney represent me at the closing?
In Georgia, the closing attorney represents the lender to ensure the legal requirements of the closing are properly fulfilled. This work is essential and helps all involved parties reach the same goal, a smoothly executed closing. For this reason, most buyers and sellers rely on the competence and professionalism of the closing attorney in lieu of hiring their own lawyers.
Even so, buyers and sellers always have the option of hiring a lawyer to personally represent them during the closing process.
What if I live out of state or out of the country?
If you live out of state or out of the country you will need to either arrange to attend the closing, appoint and sign a power of attorney or have the documents e-mailed to you. In addition, you may incur fees to have the documents signed. Also, there may be certain taxes that we will be required to collect on behalf of the State of Georgia or the IRS if the property was not your primary residence. Please let us know as soon as possible if you reside out of the State of Georgia or out of the country so that we can send you the appropriate documents in advance to determine if any tax is due.
What if I can’t attend closing?
We are happy to prepare a Power of Attorney (“POA”) for any party that is unable to attend closing. All POA’s must be signed in the presence of a witness and a notary public. We require that the POA be faxed to us upon execution along with a copy of the party’s drivers license. The original POA must be received by our office on or before the actual closing. Many lenders require advance approval of any POA, so please let us know as soon as possible if you need a POA.
Alternatively, we can mail/e-mail (“mail-away closing”) the documents out of state or the country but please be advised that you will most likely incur additional fees by having to take the documents to an attorney or title company to sign and, in the case of out of the country signing, you may need to go to the U.S. Embassy for execution. We will need plenty of advance notice in order to arrange a mail-away closing.
What if the buyer or seller is a Corporation, LLC’s, or Trust?
Please contact us immediately so that we may provide you a list of the the pertinent documents we will require to close (such as Operating Agreements, Corporate Resolutions, Articles of Incorporation, Certificates of Good Standing, Trust Agreements, etc). These documents must be provided in advance of closing. In addition, we will require tax identification numbers prior to closing.
Should buyers purchase owner’s title insurance?
In connection with your purchase of your property a title insurance policy will be issued insuring your lender. This title insurance policy only insures your lender and does NOT insure you as a purchaser of real property. It only protects the lender if you default on your loan and there are title issues when the lender needs to foreclose on the property.
Therefore, you may wish to obtain title insurance coverage (also known as “Owner’s Title Insurance”) which will insure you against loss or damage resulting from defects in the title and pay defense costs in the event of a challenge to your title. For your protection, this type of coverage is highly recommended by our attorneys. For more information regarding title insurance click here.
How will I know how much money to bring? Will I be given dollar figures in advance of closing?
Every attempt will be made to provide the parties involved with the final numbers in advance of the closing, but every situation is different. If you need to go ahead and send funds please use your good faith estimate amount and add a little extra to it.
Our ability to accept funds for a closing are dictated by Georgia law. Please note that we will only accept a wire transfer for amounts of $5,000.00 and above. For amounts between $1,000.00 and $4,999.99, we will accept a certified check from a U.S. Bank. For amounts under $1,000.00 we will accept a personal check from a U.S. Bank. Please contact us for wiring instructions or click here.
Please note that some online banks will not process wires so you must transfer funds over $5,000.00 to another bank and then request a wire. Also, some banks (such as Bank of America) erroneously describe their online transfers as wires when, in actuality they are ACH’s (automated clearing house). We are unable to accept ACH’s. Any ACH received will be rejected and will take 3-5 days for your bank to receive and reprocess. Please go to the bank branch whenever possible to initiate a wire to avoid any potential problems.
What should I bring with me to the closing?
- Buyers/Borrowers: Proper ID, documents required by lender
- Sellers: Proper ID, home warranty (if applicable), termite letter/warranty (if applicable)
Can I see my closing documents before the closing?
If you would like to review your documents prior to closing, please let us know as soon as possible so that we can arrange with your lender to obtain the loan documents in advance.
What types of documents to sellers have to sign?
The seller(s) will be required to sign the following documents. Please keep in mind that this is just a sample and that you may be required to sign additional or different documents;
- Settlement Statement/Closing Disclosure: This is an itemized list of all costs involved in the transaction. You may want to refer to your Good-Faith Estimate for a preliminary summary of these items.
- Warranty Deed: This is the document that transfers title from you to the purchaser(s).
- Seller/Owner’s Affidavit: With this affidavit the owner asserts that there are no liens, claims or judgments against the property and that the owner has good title to the property.
Seller’s Affidavit of Residence and Withholding Tax Affidavit: With this affidavit the owner states that they are/are not a residence of the state of Georgia and that this was/was not their primary residence. There may be special taxes due to the State of Georgia and/or the IRS that must be collected at closing.