An Unclear Title 

On about half of the closings we perform, there is a need to clear up some kind of title issue. If a title is not cleared, the lender or buyer may decide not to close on the property.

Common problems include judgments, liens and bankruptcies that are discovered as we look back over 50 years of records. We may find surprise deeds, trusts, wills, divorce decrees, forged signatures, sometimes one spouse fraudulently signing the others’ name without their knowledge, inheriting without knowing that some long-lost relative also has a claim, court judgments and tax situations. There may be a fictitious name or an adopted name on the deed instead of the legal  name that needs to be verified.

There can be errors in the legal description, especially regarding easements and rights of access that could require a property survey.

Often, though, these are issues that can be resolved with just a little bit of effort. Sometimes it is just an error in the records themselves. 

One common example is a property tax lien that has been paid but not released. Even though the lien may have been fully paid, some municipalities such as the Fulton County,  do not release a tax lien unless they are specifically requested to do so. 

Closing attorneys may charge for this additional service to clear a title, although it only takes a couple of minutes to email to request the release be filed. Origin Title does not charge extra for such simple services.

Once the search is complete and all title problems have been resolved then the closing can take place as planned and the Owner’s and Lender’s Title Insurance policies can be issued to protect their respective interests.

When Is a Closing Attorney Selected?

In Georgia, the closing attorney represents the lender that provides the loan, (or the Buyer in an all cash transaction), but the BUYER names the closing attorney in the sales agreement. The closing attorney’s role is significant, as they ensure all parties understand the complexities of the real estate closing process.

As the buyer, you have the option to select the closing attorney. You have the opportunity to find someone who specializes exclusively in real estate, one who is transparent about the fees they charge, and one who makes it clear they will answer every question and use as much time as it takes to be sure the buyer feels comfortable with the process and the outcome. 

A closing attorney is required in Georgia when it comes to real estate closings. When you are ready to purchase a home, make sure you have your closing attorney selected before you make that first offer.   

Importance of Selecting an Independent Closing Attorney

It is important to select an independent closing attorney for many reasons. We believe one of the top reasons is integrity.  When putting a house under contract, an Affiliated Business Arrangement is a document stating that there is a business relationship involving the sharing of profits by a settlement service provider to another affiliated business. Origin Title does not participate in these because we see them as a conflict of interest. Affiliated Business Arrangements do nothing but raise the overall closing costs for the buyer and seller. 

As you work with your agent to submit an offer on a home, if you are encouraged to use a particular closing attorney, ask if they are affiliated with the real estate office. If they say yes, consider doing more research and choosing an independent closing attorney. The best real estate agents select a closing attorney because they are good, not because the broker gets paid more.