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

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Frequently-Asked Questions

What do I need to bring to closing?
How long will the closing take?
What documents will I have to sign?
Why is my mortgage payoff higher than my statement balance?
When will I receive the proceeds from my sale?
Can I have my money wired directly to my bank?
Should I have my own lawyer attend closing?
Will you close short sale transactions?
Have a question you'd like answered? Just let us know!

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. Additionally, if you are planning on having proceeds wired to your account, you should also being a copy of your bank’s wiring instructions or a voided check.

How long will clolsing 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?

As the seller of the property, you’ll only have to sign a few documents. In most cases, you’ll have to sign the settlement statement, the deed, several tax forms, and a property owner’s affidavit.

After the closing, you will receive copies of all the papers you’ve signed. For your convenience, we offer copies on paper and on CD.

Wht is my mortgage payoff higher than my statement balance?

There are a number of reasons why the payoff balance may be higher than the amount shown on your monthly statement.

The most-common reason is that your monthly statement does not show the amount of daily interest accruing on your mortgage. Many times, this additional interest accounts for the difference between the final payoff and the statement balance. There are, however, other factors that can affect your payoff: there may be a shortage in an escrow account, there may be owed late fees or other lender charges, or there may be a prepayment penalty associated with your mortgage.

We always obtain a written payoff statement from your mortgage company, and will happily give you a copy if you want one.

When will I receive the proceeds from my sale?

Checks are written after closing as soon as we have collected funds in our trust account and the lender’s authorization to disburse. Ordinarily this happens shortly after closing, but sometimes may take several hours; and closings that occur late in the afternoon may not fund until the next morning.

We encourage you to bring a copy of your wiring instructions to closing, and we will happily wire your proceeds to you as soon as possible. We do not charge for wires.

For more information, please feel free to request a copy of our funding and good funds notices.

Can I have my money wired directly to my bank?

Absolutely. Just bring your bank’s wiring instructions with you to closing, and as soon as we disburse the proceeds from the sale, we’ll wire them into your account free of charge.

For most banks, a voided check is sufficient to allow us to wire your money to you. However, if you want us to wire proceeds to a credit union or money market account, you should confirm your financial institution's wiring instructions before closing.

Once initiated, wires typically take from one to four hours to get from our bank to yours.

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.

Will you close short sale transactions?

A short sale occurs when a secured lender agrees to accept less than the full amount it is owed in exchange for releasing its interest in the property. In other words, the seller’s mortgage lender agrees to a discounted payoff at the sale.

We have closed many short sales. Just make sure to let us know that your closing involves a short sale, and when you send over a contract, make sure to send us the approval letter from the short-selling lender. If you don’t have an approval letter, just let us know, and we’ll work with you as you present the short sale offer to the lender.

When evaluating short sale offers, most lenders require a draft settlement statement. We will work with you through the short sale approval process and prepare preliminary settlement statements as may be required.

Please understand that in a short sale transaction, the seller cannot receive any proceeds from the sale. Furthermore, the short selling lender may insist upon reduced real estate agent commissions and caps to any seller-paid closing costs.

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