The Atlanta Title Company
Residential and Commercial Real Estate Lawyers
945 East Paces Ferry Rd, Resurgens Plaza, Atlanta, GA 30326

Framework for a "For Sale By Owner" Residential Purchase and Sale Transaction

  • Step 1 Choose Your Title Company

    Identify Your Real Estate Team including Closing Agent at the Start

    Identifying Your Real Estate Team Including Closing Agent at the Start is the crucial first step in the homebuying process. Your real estate team consists of professionals who will guide you through the complexities of purchasing a property. Your closing agent– that is us, by the way– an attorney title company will play a pivotal role from the beginning to the end of the transaction, often working behind the scenes to ensure the legal requirements are met, and facilitating a smooth closing process. Ideally, the closing agent should be written into the contract to avoid any misunderstandings among the parties.
  • Step 2 "All Cash" or Financing Your Purchase?

    If You Require Financing– Add a Reputable Mortgage Lender to Your Closing Team

    Before you start browsing properties, it's crucial to establish a realistic price range. Consulting with a licensed mortgage loan originator is a wise first step. They can assess your financial situation to determine a safe borrowing limit, considering not only your assets and income but also the loan amount, interest rates, and other factors affecting affordability. These include property taxes, hazard insurance, and any recurring dues for community associations. Once this assessment is complete, your lender will issue a loan pre-qualification letter. This letter is an essential tool, whether you're still searching for your dream home or have already found it. It serves as proof of your financial capability, and can reassure your seller of your readiness to complete the transaction successfully. If your seller is represented by a real estate listing agent, or if you're buying directly from your current landlord, they may ask for this "pre-qual" letter.
  • Step 4 "Get It in Writing"

    The Essential Step in Home Buying, With or Without a Real Estate Agent

    Embarking on the journey to find your dream home is an adventure brimming with excitement and expectation. The indispensable step in this process is "getting it in writing." This means securing your commitment to your chosen home with a legally binding and signed contract. Far from being a mere procedural step, this is a crucial requirement for your title company and mortgage lender. Regardless who is preparing your real estate contract, read the fine print. Insist on your choice for closing and settlement by writing it into the contract. Be aware of forces meant to distract you, such as "affiliated business arrangements" which are often results in the sharing of your closing fees resulting in higher costs to you. (Imagine that!) With expertise in title, escrow, and closing services, we can also assist in contract preparation as a part of our service.
  • Step 4 Officially "Open Escrow"

    Send Your Contract to Your Lender and Title Company and "Set the Wheels in Motion"

    Once a contract is in place, it's the ideal time for due diligence and comprehensive property inspections. This includes the recommended option of conducting a land survey, if desired. Concurrently, your lender will be actively working on meeting loan conditions and requirements, progressing towards submitting your loan to the underwriter. Meanwhile, your title company takes significant steps by officially opening escrow, collecting any earnest money, and commencing the title examination process. This phase is critical in ensuring all pieces are aligning smoothly for your property acquisition.
  • Step 5 Complete the Essential Tasks

    Finalize Key Steps and Secure a 'Clear to Close' from Your Mortgage Lender

    With mortgage financing, reaching the 'Clear to Close' stage requires meticulous attention to several critical tasks. Ensure you promptly provide any documentation your lender requests; this could range from additional financial records to employment verifications. If applicable, finalize any pre-closing inspections such as termite inspections, which are required with some loan programs. Additionally, prepare and make readily available the necessary funds required for closing. This includes not only the down payment but also any closing costs or fees associated with the transaction. Lastly, confirm that your hazard insurance is set up and active. This insurance is crucial for protecting your investment from unforeseen circumstances. By diligently completing these tasks, you pave the way for a smooth closing process and a successful transition into your new home.
  • Step 6 Closing Day

    The Final Step in Your Home Buying Journey

    Closing Day is the pinnacle of your home buying journey. This is when we have the pleasure of meeting at our office to complete the purchase process. We'll collect necessary title documents from the seller, including the deed, which officially transfers the property title to you. If you're financing the purchase, you'll also need to sign a mortgage loan package. Remember to bring your government-issued photo ID and, of course, a sense of humor is always helpful. After the closing is finalized and out of escrow, funds will be disbursed, and documents will be officially recorded at the courthouse. Congratulations, your purchase is complete!
  • Step 7 Post-Closing Process

    What to Expect After Closing

    After the excitement of Closing Day, the post-closing process begins. This involves the deeds being processed and recorded with the clerk of court. Once the deeds are recorded, this information is used to prepare the title insurance policies, including the owner's title policy, which is then sent out to you along with your original deed. As a new homeowner, remember to file for the homestead exemption by April 1st of the year following your purchase to take advantage of potential property tax benefits. Additionally, if your home purchase includes a new mortgage, be mindful of your first mortgage payment, typically due on the first day of the following month. These final steps ensure that all legal and financial aspects of your home purchase are complete.