Real Estate Closing Attorneys in Atlanta, Georgia | Harlan and Associates

Get Our Newsletters

Email Address:

Occupation:


Sign up and you'll get the latest news, tips, and offers from Harlan and Associates!

Frequently-Asked Questions

How can I get Harlan and Associates to close my loan?
What do I need to bring to closing?
How long will the closing take?
What documents will I have to sign?
Should I have my own lawyer attend closing?
When will I know how much money to bring to closing?
The amount I need for closing is different than my good faith estimate. Why?
I need to bring money to closing. To whom should checks be made out?
Can I write a personal check?
Should I buy title insurance?
Have a question you'd like answered? Just let us know!

How can I get Harlan and Associates to close my loan?

It’s easy to select Harlan and Associates as your closing attorneys!

Under the Georgia Fair Lending Act, also known as GAFLA, the borrower has the right to select the closing attorney. When you are applying for your loan, simply look for the attorney preference checklist and make sure you chose Harlan and Associates to close your loan. Your mortgage broker will then get in touch with us, and we’ll take it from there!

What do I need to bring to closing?

You should bring two forms of identification, including at least one valid government-issued ID such as a passport or a driver's license.

How long will the closing take?

The closing ceremony, when all of the transfer and loan documents are signed, typically lasts around half an hour to forty-five minutes. Closings rarely exceed an hour. Depending upon the number of documents that need to be signed, and the detail with which the parties wish to review them, the closing may take longer.

Occasionally there may be a problem that must be addressed at the last minute, which might further prolong closing, but this rarely happens.

A good guide is to arrive for closing ten to fifteen minutes early and expect the closing to take around half an hour to forty-five minutes.

What documents will I have to sign?

Unless you are paying for the property in cash, it is usually the buyer who has to sign the great majority of the closing documents. While many are standardized, uniform, and used in every closing, the sheer number of documents to sign can sometimes be intimidating.

The settlement statement, promissory note, deed to secure debt, truth-in-lending statement, occupancy affidavit, and identity affidavit, along with a number of tax forms, are signed at every closing. Additionally, your lender may require a number of other documents to be signed.

At closing paperwork, we will happily explain each of the documents you sign and answer any question you may have.

For more information, please visit our page on documents that are signed at closing. You can also view a sample FHA loan package and a conventional loan package. These packages include papers both for the borrower and the closing attorney, and will be similar in form and substance to the documents you sign at closing.

When will I know how much money to bring to closing?

A settlement statement, showing exactly how much money you will need to bring to closing, is prepared as soon as we receive closing instructions from your lender. This may be several days in advance of your closing, or it may be just before you are scheduled to close on your home; it all depends upon your lender.

Rest assured we encourage lenders to get their closing instructions to us in a timely fashion and strive to provide a settlement statement to you as quickly as possible.

Should I have my own lawyer attend closing?

In Georgia, the closing attorney usually represents the lender, not the buyer or seller. This does not mean that that the interests of lender, buyer, and seller are opposed. In fact, just the opposite is true most of the time: the seller wants to sell the property, the purchaser wants to buy the property, and the lender wants to give a loan to the buyer to pay for the property.

In other words, the closing attorney, while specifically representing the lender, works to the benefit of all the parties to the transaction. Because the interests of the lender are closely aligned with those of the buyer and seller, most of the time the parties do not retain separate counsel and instead rely upon the efficiency and professionalism of the closing attorney.

If you want, you are more than welcome to have your own attorney review documents prior to closing or even attend the closing itself. We will happily work with you to ensure you are satisfied with your closing experience.

The amount needed for my closing is different than my good faith estimate. Why?

Before closing, your lender or mortgage broker should have presented you with a Good Faith Estimate of closing costs. This represents the lender's best guess as to what your costs will be when you get to closing. Unfortunately, it is at best only an estimate and should be treated as such.

Good Faith Estimates are notoriously inaccurate in a number of areas: in the proration of taxes and assessments, which change daily;in the interim interest charge, which also changes daily; in the amount of initial escrow account contributions; and in the inclusion or exclusion of owner's title insurance. Chances are if your good faith estimate differs from your actual costs, the discrepancy will be in one or more of these items.

This is not to imply that the Good Faith Estimate is worthless: it should accurately reflect all of the lender and broker costs you incur at closing. And if your estimate of costs is significantly different from your actual costs, you should always investigate the source of the difference, and we'll be happy to help you do so.

I need to bring money to closing. To whom should checks be made out?

Checks should be made out to Harlan and Associates, LLC, or to yourself.

Can I write a personal check?

Up to a point, yes.

Georgia law prohibits closing attorneys from accepting personal checks for more than $5,000.00, and in truth, most closing attorneys will only accept much less than that. Additionally, your lender will almost always insist on certified funds drawn from the bank listed on your loan application, regardless of the closing attorney’s policies on personal checks.

For amounts less than five hundred dollars, personal checks are generally fine. For amounts above five hundred dollars, you must either bring certified funds, or have funds directly wired into our trust account. To ensure timely funding, and to prevent closing in escrow, wires are stongly reccomended. Just email us and we'll send you a copy of our wiring instructions.

Should I buy title insurance?

While owner’s title insurance is not mandatory, it is highly recommended that buyers purchase an owner’s title insurance policy to protect against any potential financial loss should there be an issue with the title to the purchaser’s new home. Possible issues include identity theft, liens and judgments recorded just before closing, and mistakes made by the clerk of court – any of which could be catastrophic to the new owner.

In other words, the owner’s policy insures that you own your home, and that the ownership of your home is free from any and all covered defects, liens, and encumbrances.

Every lender requires a lender’s title policy to protect their interest in the property; Lenders, in fact, will not issue a loan with out it. The lender’s policy, however, does not offer any protection to the owner, who must obtain their own policy.

For more information, please see our page on owner’s title insurance.

Have a question you'd like answered? Just let us know!