Frequently Asked Questions
What is title insurance?
Title insurance is a form of coverage you can purchase at the closing to protect you in the event that any unforeseen title claims are made at a later date against your property. Often, even the title examiner cannot determine if a deed was forged or drawn improperly. Or in extremely rare cases, your title examiner made a mistake and missed something. If these things happen, the title insurance company is a “deep pocket” which is there to cover you from any financial loss that occurs. It may be a small lien that was not paid off or it could be a mistake so severe that the property could be taken from you in a lawsuit. In either case, the title insurer pays you back for your loss. The lender requires such a policy to pay them back for their loss, but this does not cover your equity (which increases as the loan is paid down). So it is extremely important to buy this “owner’s title insurance” policy at the closing. The premium is only paid one time, and its relatively cheap. It lasts you for as long as you own the property.
How is title held for married couples?
The preferred method of holding title for family members is “joint tenancy with right of survivorship.” This means that if one title holder dies, the other(s) automatically retains the entire title to the property, without the necessity of a will. Joint tenancy can be held between brothers, friends, boyfriends/girlfriends, spouses, parent/child, etc. You do not need to be married.
What other way may I hold title?
The default method of holding title in Georgia is called “tenancy in common.” This means that if one person on title dies, that person’s heirs get their interest in the property, not the other person(s) on title. This is commonly how investors hold title to property. This will be how you hold title unless your deed specifically states that it is “joint tenancy.” Make sure you double-check this with your closing attorney.
Can I write a check to the attorney for my closing costs?
Generally, No. Pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 44-14-13, all funds for closing that exceed $5,000.00 must be provided in the form of a BANK WIRE. Please ask for our firm’s wiring instructions, as an ACH draft or direct deposit will not be accepted by the bank to a trust account. Hartmanlaw, LLC accepts personal checks from the named party to the transaction in amounts under $2,000.00, and accepts certified or official checks from U.S. banks in amounts under $5,000.00.
What if I have a “punch list” for unfinished repair items with my builder or seller?
Such lists of small, unfinished repairs “survive” closing and become a binding contract for their completion, even after the seller receives their check. Most of the time, these repairs are completed peacefully. If your builder or seller refuses to complete the agreed-upon repairs, you have an action in court to force them to do so. If the relationship with the seller or builder has been difficult, you may enter into an agreement to have the attorney “escrow” some of the seller’s funds to be released only upon the completion of the repairs. But there is no law requiring your seller or builder to agree to such a plan. The attorney may charge a fee for such a service.
When will I get my original deed?
The attorney will file the original deed within a day of your closing. It usually takes most county recording clerks approximately eight weeks to record the deed and send it to the attorney. The attorney will then send the original to you along with your owner’s title insurance policy. But you legally own your new property on the day of closing.
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