Attorney Representation in Georgia Residential
Real Estate Transactions
The services of a real estate
attorney are valuable to a buyer throughout the process of a residential
real estate transaction. It is, however, not unusual for an individual
to complete the buying or selling of a home in Georgia without retaining
an attorney. The real estate contract is usually prepared by the buyer's
agent on a Georgia Real Estate Board approved form. After the seller
executes the contract the lender's attorney will examine title for
the lender and close the transaction. If requested, the lender's counsel
will issue an owner's policy for the buyer.
Even though it is not required that a buyer or seller retain their
own lawyer in Georgia many do so because they feel more comfortable
knowing that that their interests are being protected. This representation
may encompass several aspects of the transaction. They are as follows:
For those who wish to be represented by an attorney during the transaction,
it is the best practice to involve counsel prior to signing the real
estate purchase and sale agreement. Parties to the contract must realize
that all the terms of the agreement become binding upon the execution
of the contract. A signed contract cannot be amended except by agreement
in writing of all the parties. The deal cannot be renegotiated at
the closing table. Once the contract is signed the buyer or seller
are obligated to close upon its terms. Therefore, review by an attorney
before signing is preferable to trying to change the terms later.
The Board contract form is an excellent starting point. It has been
revised several times to address recurrent problems. It also provides
a "standard" in that everyone knows what is in the fine
print. Normally, the real estate agent will prepare the contract and
our attorneys will make any necessary changes on behalf of our client.
This is usually a relatively inexpensive process but can save a great
deal of aggravation later. In the event that there is not an agent
involved in the process, Morris|Hardwick|Schneider can prepare the contract
on your behalf.
The lender's counsel will normally examine title and if requested,
issue an owner's title policy for the borrower. There are instances,
however, where a buyer should have the title examined independently.
Any transaction such as a loan assumption or owner financed transaction
being closed by the seller's attorney should have an independent exam
performed by the buyer's attorney. Property purchased at foreclosure
or auction always requires title exam to be done by the buyer. If
a buyer has questions about any title aspects of a proposed purchase,
it is often cheaper and more expedient to have the question answered
in advance of contract.
Prior to the closing, an attorney will review the
entire closing process. The attorney will advise the buyer on such
issues as whether to order a survey (lenders normally do not require
a survey). If lender's counsel is examining title the title work and
proposed title insurance binder will be reviewed. Ideally, it should
not be necessary for the attorney to attend the closing. If, however,
there are unresolved matters or the buyer is simply more comfortable
having a lawyer present we will be happy to attend the closing.
Morris|Hardwick|Schneider has conducted literally hundreds of thousands
of closings since the firm was founded in 1978. In assessing the representational
needs of a buyer or seller in a real estate transaction we feel unparalleled
in our ability to distinguish between "real" problems and
those that are normal to the process. In discussing the various services
offered we have tried to offer alternative levels of representation
as a means of controlling costs. These will depend to a large extent
on the particulars of the transaction. We look forward to working
with you toward the successful closing of your home.
For Attorney Representation please contact:
Randolph H. Schneider at 770-955-1763
Morris|Hardwick|Schneider | 7000 Central Parkway - Suite 1220 | Atlanta, GA 30328 | (678)298-2100