Home purchases are one of the most significant financial transaction most people will ever make, and as such can be stressful. Educating yourself on the process will reduce stress and ensure a smooth real estate closing process. The following is a high-level overview of the five steps involved in a real estate closing in the state of Georgia:
Step 1: Signing the Contract
Once the purchase and sale contract is executed with the essential terms, the next steps follow:
- The buyer pays the money, which is usually held by either an agent or the closing attorney.
- The contract is sent to the closing attorney and to the buyer’s lender. (In Georgia, a licensed Georgia attorney must close all real estate transactions, unlike in many states in which title companies handle escrow and closing matters).
Step 2: Due Diligence Period
If the property inspection conducted by the buyer or a professional hired on the buyer’s behalf, reveal any unwanted findings, the contract typically provides for a termination of the contract by the buyer, receipt of the buyer’s money back, negotiation option for repairs or a reduction in price, or to accept the property as-is.
Step 3: Property Appraisal
At the termination of the due diligence period, the lender will order a property appraisal to determine the market value of the property. If the property does not appraise for the purchase price, the lender has the right to refuse the loan approval. As such, it is wise to include an appraisal contingency in the contract which would allow the buyer to terminate the contract in the event that the property does not appraise for the purchase price.
Step 4: Title Search
The closing attorney must search the title to ensure that nothing impedes the lender’s first lien position. Based on the title search results, the closing attorney will prepare a title commitment to the lender and buyer providing the conditions upon which the attorney will issue title insurance. There are two types of insurance policies: lender’s title insurance and owner’s title insurance.
Step 5: Closing Ceremony
Three business days prior to closing, the lender will provide the buyer with a closing disclosure that sets out the loan terms, including the monthly payments, closing costs, and the funds the buyer needs to have at closing. Prior to the closing, the buyer will wire any necessary funds to the closing attorney’s trust account. The closing ceremony typically lasts one hour or less. During the closing ceremony, the attorney explains the closing documents to the buyer and seller and answer any questions. All closing funds are collected by and disbursed from the attorney’s trust account.
Contact a Georgia Real Estate Attorney
At The Epps Law Group, our attorneys have been handling Real Estate Closings for many years, and welcome the opportunity to assist you with yours. If you are a real estate purchaser, seller, agent, lender, or investor please contact us at
678-456-4627 or send us an email through our online contact form.