Buying and Selling

  

When it comes to buying and selling a home, whether you're a first-time buyer, a seasoned professional or savvy investor, there are many things to take into consideration on the path to a successful real estate closing. At McManamy Jackson, you will enjoy the combined depth of our real estate law experience and user-friendly, secure infrastructure. We are dedicated to providing our clients with a myriad of tools and resources to better prepare all parties involved to ensure an efficient and expertly executed closing. 


During a real estate transaction process there's no denying it can, at times, become stressful. There are many steps along the way that can be confusing and require the utmost attention to detail. To begin, finding the right real estate agent is an important first step and goes a long way in alleviating some of that stress. In addition, selecting a highly-qualified closing attorney is just as important. 


On this page, we invite you to learn about the stages of closing and take the opportunity to review the Buyers Checklist, Sellers Checklist, and our funding policy which will equip you with the tools needed for a smooth, efficient and successful closing.

The Closing Process

Stages of Closing

You've found the perfect home, congratulations! You've successfully negotiated terms with the seller, found a lender (if applicable), and sent the fully-executed contract to the closing attorney. So, what's next?


Now that your closing attorney has your file, you'll begin to hear terms such as pre-closing, closing, and post-closing. What does it all mean for you? These terms are used by our office to describe the progressive stages in which the closing file follows. Let's briefly break them down.


PRE-CLOSING


This is the initial stage in which a closing file is received in our office, assigned to a team of paralegals and the process of information gathering begins. Pre-closing paralegals are responsible for:


  • Obtaining contact information (phone number, email address, mailing address, etc.) for all individuals and companies associated with the closing.


NOTE: A valid email address is required for registering for secure access to the MJ Live portal.


  • Determining if the parties to closing will be attending closing or require a Power of Attorney or mail out.
  • Ensure all parties are registered for MJ Live (secure portal access).
  • Schedule dates and times for closing.
  • Responsible for ordering title examinations.
  • Ensuring Title Commitments and other preliminary documents are sent to the lender in a timely fashion. 
  • Gather all HOA dues information, mortgage loan payoff(s) and other lien or title clearances.


CLOSING


The second stage of the process is closing.  Once the majority of the necessary information is obtained from the buyer and/or their agent, closing paralegals are tasked with the following:


  • Prepare & format legal documentation for closing.
  • Obtain loan documents from lenders.
  • Prepare & obtain approval of closing statements.
  • Responsible for coordinating the receipt/disbursement of closing funds based upon the required funding policy.


WIRE FRAUD NOTICE


Please refer to our wire fraud prevention guide for useful tips and information on how to avoid becoming a victim.


POST-CLOSING


The final stage of the process is post-closing.  Once the closing attorney has met with all parties and the documents have been fully executed, the file will be given to the post-closing department. Post-closing paralegals will help ensure all terms of the closing have been satisfied before the final closing of the file.  Post-closing tasks include:


  • Ensuring checks & invoices are mailed timely.
  • Wiring of client funds & mortgage payoffs.
  • Recording of documents.
  • Final Issuance of Title Policies.
  • File organization & quality control.
  • Responsible for document retention/destruction in accordance with firm policy.
  • Addresses any client questions or concerns after signing takes place.

MJ Live Secure Portal

Our firm offers its clients a secure way to correspond with our office, view important details about their closing and safely exchange sensitive data.  


Click below to access our MJ Live page for additional information.

MJ Live Information

Checklist for Buyers

What to Expect and When to Expect It

Staying informed with proper communication and timely attention to the details below are the keys to a successful closing experience.


UPON FULL EXECUTION OF THE CONTRACT:


    Choose a Trusted Lender (and Fulfill Loan Requirements):

  

  • Provide the lender with a fully-executed contract.
  • Lock in rate and loan terms and understand time limit before terms expire.
  • Satisfy all underwriter conditions including timely return all requested items and be prepared with tax returns, pay stubs, bank statements, employment history, etc.
  • Once your application has been submitted, do not make any large purchases or apply for any new loans or credit cards. Changes to your financial situation prior to closing could delay closing and put you at risk for failing the underwriting process.


    Choose Homeowners Insurance Provider:

  

  • Don't wait. Upon selecting your provider, be sure to forward proof of coverage and invoice to the lender and closing attorney's office asap. 
  • Confirm with your agent or lender if a policy of flood insurance is required. Although a flood policy may not be required, McManamy Jackson strongly recommends obtaining a flood policy due to our geographical location on the coast.


    Know Deadlines:


  • When does your rate lock expire?
  • How long is your due diligence period for inspections?
  • When does the contract expire in the event there is a delay in closing?


1-2 WEEKS PRIOR TO CLOSING:


     Notify the Closing Attorney Immediately if the Following Apply:

  

  • One or more of the buyers will not be attending the closing. Arrangements for a mail out or Power of Attorney (POA) will need to be made in advance. POA's must be approved by the lender.
  • Should your spouse not be on the loan, but you wish for them to be on the title of the property.


     Follow Up with Lender and Closing Attorney:


  • Ensure there are no outstanding items necessary for closing that could cause a delay.
  • Review your loan estimate - Be prepared to bring appropriate funds for closing if necessary.
  • Review the funding policy to ensure proper funds are obtained for closing.


1-3 DAYS PRIOR TO CLOSING:


    Follow Up with Lender and Closing Attorney:


  • Confirm the closing package is being prepared by the lender and sent to the closing attorney.
  • Review your final Closing Disclosure.
  • Make final arrangements to obtain funds needed for closing.  See funding policy.


    Perform a Final Walk-Through of Property:


  • Ensure the property is in the same condition as when you went under contract.
  • Verify the completion of any repairs or items that were to be addressed during the inspection period.


     Follow Up with Insurance Agent:


  • Confirm your homeowners policy and flood, if applicable, are effective the day of closing.


CLOSING DAY:


    What to Bring to Closing:

 

  • Two forms of identification:

                      ○ 1st Form - a government-issued ID with a photo (Driver's License, Passport, Military ID, 

                          etc.) 

                      ○ 2nd form - no picture required (Insurance Card, Work ID, Social Security Card) 

                          ***credit or debit cards cannot be accepted.

  • Certified funds or proof of wire confirmation. Also, please bring a personal checkbook in the event of any last minute changes requiring additional funds at closing.
  • If an individual is signing as Power of Attorney, that individual must bring the original POA to closing for recording.
  • Any documents required by the lender.  For example, the Settlement Statement for the sale of your last home.


     Helpful Tips:


  • Arrange the transfer of house keys, gate keys, garage door openers, etc. with the seller or  agent.
  • Be sure to update mailing address with the US Postal Service, family & friends as well as financial institutions and other bills.
  • Transfer or start utilities, cable/internet services, etc. in your name to avoid disruption of services.


AFTER CLOSING:


     What to Expect from McManamy Jackson:


  • Buyers will be provided at closing with a signed copy of the Settlement Statement.
  • Fully Executed Closing Package will be sent via email or uploaded to the secure portal typically within 48 hours after closing if all conditions of the closing have been met.
  • Recorded Deeds will be provided to the parties when returned to our office from the Clerk of Court. Recording times vary by county, but typically you will receive within 4-6 weeks after closing.  


     File for Homestead Exemption:


  • If the property purchased will be your primary residence, be sure to file for your Homestead Exemption.  You can visit the GA Department of Revenue website regarding Homestead Exemptions for more information and filing procedures.


     Be Aware the following:


  • Monthly Payment - Although you may have a fixed rate mortgage, escrowed property taxes, homeowners insurance or mortgage insurance can adjust causing changes to your monthly payment.
  • Loan Servicing - Often times your loan will be serviced by a different bank than the one you closed with. Be sure to look out for notices that change where you send your monthly mortgage payment. Also, be sure to find the first payment letter in your closing package to ensure timely and accurate payment.
  • Marketing Scams - New buyers will often receive phone calls and mailings from companies stating they will provide a copy of recorded documents.

Checklist for Sellers

What to Expect and When:

Staying informed with proper communication and timely attention to the details (listed below) are essential to a successful closing experience.


 UPON FULL EXECUTION OF THE CONTRACT: 


     Schedule Repairs and Gather Information:


  • Prepare for the home inspection. Sellers should not be on site, but available by phone to answer any questions. Be sure all utilities are on in order for the inspection to be completed.
  • Review the terms of the contract and schedule any repairs that were included. As a general rule of thumb, all repairs should be completed prior to closing; but, it would also be wise to have completed in advance so the buyer and their agent can have ample time to approve the repairs.
  • Copies of repair invoices and scope of work may be required to be submitted to the buyer's lender if the repair was a loan requirement. Have the appropriate paperwork handy just in case.
  • Gather contact information regarding any Homeowners Associations (HOA), current mortgages and/or equity lines of credit.


  1-2 WEEKS PRIOR TO CLOSING: 


     Follow Up with Closing Attorney:


  • Provide all applicable information to the closing attorney's office.  Items include: contact information for any homeowners association's, mortgage companies, lines of credit.

                  IMPORTANT NOTE: At this time do not request any further advances on any lines of credit     

                  as it will cause a delay in closing.

  • Be sure to provide your forwarding contact information. Important for receiving documents and funds from closing.
  • All seller's will be required to complete a W-9 for closing.  You will be required to provide your social security number and forwarding address prior to closing.  Our firm takes the privacy of our client's data very seriously.  Completed W-9's should be uploaded via the MJ Live secure portal.
  • Notify the closing attorney at this time if you will not be attending closing.  Arrangements for a mail out or Power of Attorney (POA) will need to be made in advance.  


  1-3 DAYS PRIOR TO CLOSING: 


    Follow Up with the Closing Attorney:


  • Review and verify the Settlement Statement for accuracy.  
  • Be prepared to bring appropriate funds for closing if necessary. 
  • Please review the funding policy to ensure proper funds are obtained for closing. 


 CLOSING DAY:


     What You Should Bring to Closing:


  • Two forms of identification:

                      ○ 1st Form - a government-issued ID with a photo (Driver's License, Passport, Military 

                          ID, etc.) 

                      ○ 2nd form - no picture required (Insurance Card, Work ID, Social Security Card) 

                      ***credit or debit cards cannot be accepted.

  • Certified funds or proof of wire confirmation. Also, please bring a personal checkbook in the event of any last minute changes requiring additional funds at closing.
  • If an individual is signing as Power of Attorney, that individual must bring the original POA to closing for recording.
  • Garage door openers, keys, mailbox keys, pool keys, gate keys, etc. 


      Helpful Reminders:


  • Arrange transfer of house keys, gate keys, garage door openers, etc. with the buyer or your agent.
  • Be sure to update your mailing address with the US Postal Service, family & friends as well as financial institutions and other bills.
  • It is a good idea to provide your forwarding address and contact information to the buyer in case any mail, notices or packages are received during the transition period.
  • Transfer or stop utilities, cable/internet services, etc. in your name to avoid continued charges.


 AFTER CLOSING:


        What You Should Expect from McManamy Jackson:


  • Sellers will be provided at closing with a signed copy of the Settlement Statement.
  • Fully Executed documents will be sent via email or uploaded to the secure portal typically within 48 hours after closing if all conditions of the closing have been met.
  • Any proceeds due the seller will be released upon satisfaction of all funding requirements.  Please review the funding policy below for additional information.

Funding Policy

Incoming and Outgoing Funds

INCOMING FUNDS TO MCMANAMY JACKSON:


Pursuant to O.C.G.A. 44-14-13, all funds exceeding the sum of $5,000.00 brought to a real estate closing must be in the form of wire transfer. For amounts between $1,000 and $5,000 a certified check from a known financial institution will be accepted. For amounts less than $1,000.00, you may write a personal check.  All checks must be payable to McManamy Jackson, PC.  Third party checks cannot be accepted.


How to Wire Funds to McManamy Jackson :


  • Contact your financial institution well in advance of closing to determine the requirements to initiate a wire on your behalf.  Policies vary, so be sure you know what to do and when to do it.  Provide them with the McManamy Jackson Wire Instructions.
  • Due to the significant increase in cyber crimes, our firm for the protection of its clients will only provide our wiring instructions in the following ways:

                       ○  In Person

                       ○  Published in the MJ Live secure portal.

                       ○  Via secure, encrypted email.

  • Always call our office to verify the wire instructions you have received from our firm prior to initiating the transfer.
  • Be sure your financial institution at the time of wiring is processing the transaction as a Wire Transfer and not an ACH transfer. ACH transfers are prohibited.
  • Obtain written confirmation of your request.
  • Provide a copy of the confirmation to the closing attorney's office.


(OUTGOING) RECEIVING FUNDS FROM MCMANAMY JACKSON:


Any client or vendor receiving funds arising from a real estate transaction should be mindful of the following:


  • Funds can only be released when all conditions of the transaction have been met. 
  • Lenders providing funding on behalf of a buyer will often have funding conditions that must be met prior to and after signing in order to approve the release of funds.
  • Client's receiving funds from closing proceeds will receive a check drawn from a Real Estate Interest On Lawyers Trust Account (IOLTA).
  • McManamy Jackson will, at the request of its clients, and for an additional cost wire funds for its clients.  Clients should arrange for the wiring of funds with our firm in advance of closing.  Our firm will only wire funds if the following conditions have been met:

                        ○  Completion of the "Outgoing Wire Request" form provided by our office.                                                                                                                                                            

                        ○  Completed wire request forms should be submitted to our office via in person, 

                             secure encrypted email, or by submitting within the MJ Live secure portal.                                       

                        ○  Our office will call to verbally confirm the instructions provided. 


                  IMPORTANT NOTICE:  The above referenced policies are for the protection of all the                         

                  parties due to the rising threats of wire fraud and other cyber threats. 

Be Aware of Wire Fraud!

Please be sure to visit our wire fraud guide for valuable information regarding best practices and how to protect yourself from becoming a victim.

Wire Fraud Prevention Guide