Buyer and/or Borrower Resources
Aldridge Pite, LLP works diligently with all parties to the transaction to ensure the closing process is smooth and efficient. Based on the vast experience of our attorneys and staff, we proactively recognize and resolve the unique issues that arise in the closing context, including complex title issues. In each transaction we endeavor to provide comprehensive communication and timely closings. As you prepare for your closing with Aldridge Pite, LLP you may find the following information helpful. We look forward to the opportunity to work with you.
What to Bring to Closing
- Driver’s License or other government issued photo ID as well as any other identification required by your lender.
- Ensure proper funds have been wired to AP at least 3 hours prior to closing. Please contact our office for wiring instructions. In the event the amount you owe is less than $5,000, you have the option of bringing a certified (cashier’s or official) bank check with you to closing. If the amount you owe is less than $1,000, you are welcome to pay by personal check, business check or cash. We do not accept credit cards for funds due at closing.
- Any documents required by your lender or mortgage broker as a condition of closing (e.g. closing statement from the sale or your prior home, your last paycheck, an original gift letter, copies of tax returns)
- The original executed Power of Attorney for any buyer/borrower not able to attend the closing. The executed Power of Attorney must have been reviewed and approved by your lender and AP prior to closing.
- If you are buying in the name of a trust or in a company name, we will need additional information from you. Please send us your trust agreement, operating agreement, and/or articles of incorporation for review prior to closing.
Sometimes title problems are discovered that could not be found in the public records or are inadvertently missed in the title search process. To help protect you in these circumstances, it is recommended that you obtain an Owner’s Policy of Title Insurance to insure you against the most unforeseen problems.
Owner’s Title Insurance, called an Owner’s Policy, is usually issued in the amount of the sales price. It is purchased for a one-time fee at closing and lasts for as long as you or your heirs have an interest in the property. Only an Owner’s Policy protects the buyer should a covered title problem arise that was not found during the title search.
An Owner’s Policy provides assurance that your title company will stand behind you — monetarily and with legal defense if needed — if a covered title problem arises after you buy your home. The bottom line is that your title company will be there to help pay valid claims and cover the costs of defending an attack on your title. Receiving an Owner’s Policy isn’t always an automatic part of the closing process. Be sure you request an Owner’s Policy.
There are two types of owner’s policies, generally, basic versus enhanced. You may have the option of purchasing an enhanced policy. Please click here for a comparison between the coverages available with enhanced and basic policies.
Homestead Exemption Details
Generally, a homeowner is entitled to a homestead exemption on their home and land underneath provided the home was owned by the homeowner and was their legal residence as of January 1 of the taxable year. (O.C.G.A. § 48-5-40)
Application for Homestead Exemption
To be granted a homestead exemption, a person must actually occupy the home, and the home is considered their legal residence for all purposes. Persons that are away from their home because of health reasons will not be denied homestead exemption. A family member or friend can notify the tax receiver or tax commissioner and the homestead exemption will be granted. (O.C.G.A. § 48-5-40) Application for homestead exemption must be filed with the tax commissioner’s office, or in some counties the tax assessor’s office has been delegated to receive applications for homestead exemption.
A homeowner can file an application for homestead exemption for their home and land any time during the calendar year. To receive the homestead exemption for the current tax year, the homeowner must have owned the property on January 1 and filed the homestead application by the same date property tax returns are due in the county. Property tax returns are required to be filed by April 1. Homestead applications that are filed after this date will not be granted until the next calendar year. (O.C.G.A. § 48-5-45) Failure to apply by the deadline will result in loss of the exemption for that year. (O.C.G.A. § 48-5-45) Click this link for more information on when homestead applications should be filed with the county.
Standard Homestead Exemption
The home of each resident of Georgia that is actually occupied and used as the primary residence by the owner may be granted a $2,000 exemption from state, county and school taxes except for school taxes levied by municipalities and except to pay interest on and to retire bonded indebtedness. The $2,000 is deducted from the 40% assessed value of the homestead. The owner of a dwelling house of a farm that is granted a homestead exemption may also claim a homestead exemption in participation with the program of rural housing under contract with the local housing authority. (O.C.G.A. § 48-5-44)