Tips for Having A “Stress Free” Closing
If at all possible, schedule the closing before the last week of the month.
For many reasons, buyers will try to schedule closings for the end of the month or before a 3-day weekend to allow more time for moving and a small savings on interest, however, this creates a logjam. With many buyers clogging attorney offices and real estate agents schedules with end-of-the-month closings, there are bound to be a few missed steps. For this reason, it is best to go ahead and schedule your closing earlier in the month.
Provide the closing attorney with as much information as you have regarding the closing PRIOR to closing.
Here is a sample list:
- A legible and fully executed contract (including amendments)
- Instructions to the closing attorney
- Buyer and Seller’s contact information
- Buyer’s homeowner’s insurance information if known
- Seller’s payoff information if known
- Cooperating agent’s contact information
- Lender’s contact information
- Homeowner’s Association contact information (where applicable)
- Home Warranty information, if provided, for in contract (along with confirmation that warranty has been ordered)
- Copy of termite report prior to closing (due to potential issues related to FHA/VA loans).
Make sure to have originals of the following documents for closing:
- Termite letter dated within 30 days of actual closing date where required.
- Fully executed Sales Contract with all amendments – actual closing date and date shown on the contract must be the same. It is OK to use an amendment to update the closing date
- Buyer and Seller to have photo i.d. available at closing
Understand Seller’s closing costs
A few closing costs:
- Transfer Tax (State of Georgia = $1.00 per thousand of sales price)*
- FedEx fees and recording fees related to paying off Seller’s mortgages*
- Closing cost contribution as set out in contract
* These items are the Seller’s responsibility and will be on Seller’s
side of HUD even where Seller has agreed to pay zero Buyer
Funds at closing:
- Buyers may bring up to $5,000.00 to closing in the form of a personal check
- Any amounts over $5,000.00 must be in one of the following forms:
- Cashier’s check
- Money orders
- In-state attorney escrow check
- Wired funds into O’Kelley & Sorohan escrow account prior to closing
- NO CASH AS CLOSING – PLEASE!
- Sellers that have to bring money to close must bring funds in the form of certified funds. It is incredibly difficult to recover money from a seller if their check bounces.
Lender funds at closing:
- Georgia is a “wet-funding” state, which means attorneys are not legally supposed to disburse until actual funds are received from all parties required to pay money at closing.
- Some lenders (particularly those doing business primarily out of state) do not fund until the time of closing – check with your lender to determine when funding can be expected.
- Remember that lenders based in California often do not fund Georgia closings until afternoon even if the closing occurs in the morning – simply due to the time difference. Prepare your buyers/sellers for the chance that funding will not be available in the morning if you are dealing with a California lender and have a morning closing. OR, better yet, use Homestar and funding will not be an issue at closing!
Special circumstances to alert attorney to in advance of closing:
- Where the Buyer or Seller needs to appoint an agent to sign for him/her through a Power of Attorney
- Where the Buyer or Seller requires documents to be mailed to them out of state for signature (this is particularly important since we must now coordinate with a title company/closing attorney where documents are to be signed).
- Gift funds being used at closing (i.e., Nehemiah Program, etc.) to cover Buyer’s closing costs
- Spanish clients/customers requiring a Spanish-speaking attorney
- 1031 Exchange procedure being used by either Buyer or Seller to defer capital gains
O’Kelley & Sorohan
General Closing Information/Office Information/Directions
Information on 1031 Exchanges
Here is a Word document version of this list of helpful tips that will help ensure you have a “stress free” closing experience.