One Buckhead Plaza, Suite 1570 Atlanta, GA 30305

Buyers - Closing Information

Information About The Hudson Law Firm

Reasons to Use The Hudson Law Firm to handle your important closing.

First and most importantly, we really care about you and your home purchase, and our high level of service reflects our care.

Second, we have 17 convenient closing offices.

Third, we use the latest technologies to make your closing efficient and secure.

Fourth, we keep our fees and expenses reasonable.

In Georgia, the buyer has right to select the law firm to handle the closing.

Our law firm represents the lender.

It is important to understand that our law firm represents the lender that makes the loan to the home buyer. We do not represent the buyer or the seller. In Georgia, buyers and sellers of residential real estate are typically represented in the home selling and buying process by their respective real estate agents. The real estate agents complete the Purchase and Sale Agreement and make amendments, as needed to the Agreement. If there is a dispute between the seller and the buyer, they should try to resolve the dispute with the assistance of their real estate agents or if necessary hire an attorney other than The Hudson Law Firm, LLC.

How to send secure/encrypted information to us.

We protect your private information like your bank account number and your social security number. We send encrypted emails to you and provide the means for you to send encrypted emails to us. In the signature block of emails sent from our employees to you, there is a tab that allows you to send a secure, encrypted email to us.

Preparing for Closing

Why you must wire funds over $5,000.

Georgia law section 44-14-13 requires that funds in excess of $5,000 be wired to us. There are no exceptions to this law and you cannot use a certified check for amounts over $5,000. For amounts under $5,000, our firm will accept a certified check made payable to The Hudson Law Firm, LLC Escrow Account.

How long before the closing should you wire your funds?

Please wire your funds to The Hudson Law Firm, LLC no later than the day before the closing. Most banks require you to go to the branch to wire funds, so make time the day before the closing to go to your bank. The #1 reason that closings are delayed is that a buyer wires funds to us the day of the closing. Some banks take hours to send wires, even though the bank tells you that it will only take a few minutes.

How to obtain wire instructions for The Hudson Law Firm.

Please telephone our office: 678-999-6030.

Why purchasing title insurance is a MUST.

After a buyer receives the proposed closing disclosures (“CD”), which details all the closing costs, one of the most common questions is about title insurance. Buyers want to know (a) what does title insurance do and (b) why they need it. So we’ve put together some quick facts about purchasing title insurance in Georgia.

What is title insurance?
Typically, when a buyer purchases a home, condo or lot in Georgia, the buyer receives a “limited warranty deed” from the seller which shows that the seller transfers their legal ownership, or “title” to the property to the buyer. The “limited warranty deed” is called such because the seller “warrants” (i.e., promises) to handle any claims made against the property based on an event that occurred during the seller’s time of ownership. Common claims are the result of the seller’s failure to pay property taxes and water bills, or come from contractors who claim they were not paid for work done on the home. The tax authorities, water utilities and contractors have the right to make a claim against the buyer, even though the taxes, water service or the contractor’s work was provided during the time the seller owned the property!

Another common claim can come from a neighbor who says a fence or part of the house is on the neighbor’s property.

The “limited warranty deed” allows the buyer to ask the seller to handle the claim, and if the seller refuses, then the buyer can hire a lawyer and file a lawsuit against the seller for breaking his promise (warranty).

While it’s nice to have a limited warranty deed, it’s usually not enough – title insurance is needed.
Title insurance protects the new owner against covered claims. The new owner pays a one-time premium for an “Owner’s Policy” and is covered for the entire time the buyer owns the property. If there is an issue and it’s covered by the policy, the buyer simply files a claim with the insurance company. The insurance company will pursue the issue with the seller and handle the claim with its own lawyers, if necessary.

But What About the Seller’s Promise or Warranty?
If the limited warranty deed says the seller of a property warrants (promises) to handle any claims, why does the new owner need title insurance? Unfortunately, the seller’s promise to be handle claims may not be worth much. A lot of things can happen: (a) the seller may move to another state and become unreachable / unfindable; (b) the seller may have no money; (c) the seller may have died or filed bankruptcy; or (d) the seller may have money, but refuse to live-up to this promise. Only under (d) does the buyer have a chance of getting some recovery, BUT the buyer has to hire a lawyer, pay a retainer upfront, it may take years to get any recovery, and the buyer will likely not be able to recoup their attorney fees!

Mortgage companies ALWAY purchase title insurance, separate from the “Owner’s Policy.”
All mortgage lenders have their own title insurance (called a “Lender’s Policy”) which protects the mortgage company’s loan from covered claims. Why do lenders always get title insurance? Because lenders have seen lots of claims against sellers and they believe title insurance is the best way to protect themselves. Mortgage companies do not want to rely on the seller’s promise that the seller will handle claims, so why would you?

The Lender’s policy does not protect the buyer.
I have heard some buyers say that do not need an Owner’s Title Insurance policy because the Lender has a title insurance. This is 100% NOT correct. The Lender’s title insurance does not protect the buyer.

The Closing Attorney is the Lender’s Attorney.
Buyers need to remember that the closing attorney works for the mortgage company, not the buyer. So if the closing attorney fails to identify a title issue that affects the buyer, the closing attorney is not the buyer’s attorney and the buyer may not be able to get any satisfaction from the closing attorney.

The title insurance policy is separate from the title work done by the closing attorney. Title insurance is the protection that all buyers should have!

Do you need to obtain (and pay the extra cost) for a survey of the home you wish to purchase?

Most homes are purchased without a survey, however, I personally would not purchase a home without a survey. The cost of a survey varies depending on the size of lot, but a survey for a quarter-acre lot should be $500 or so. Sometimes a survey will reveal an issue that will enable you to negotiate a lower price or cancel the contract if the issue is significant.

Who is the best home inspector in the Atlanta metro area?

There are a number of very good home inspectors in the Atlanta area, but there are some that are not so great. If you buy a house and the discover defects that the home inspector missed, you probably will not recourse against the home inspectors. Do not skip on getting a home inspector. Ask your agent who the best home inspector is.

Information About Closing Day

How to get directions to the Closing office.

We have a number of closing offices. Please go to the locations page of this website to obtain directions to the closing office for your closing.

What you should bring to the closing.

(i) A valid driver’s license or valid passport. Plus, another form of ID such as an insurance card (home, medical or auto). (ii) If you are bringing funds to a closing, they must be sent to us via wire; please wire the funds to us the day before the closing, at least. For wiring instructions, please telephone our office: 678-999-6030. (iii) If your spouse or another person is buying the house with you, that person must attend and he/she must bring a valid driver’s license or valid passport.

What happens if you wire too much money?

The excess funds will be returned to you at the closing.

What happens if you do not wire enough money?

If the deficiency is a small amount, the closing attorney has discretion to take a personal check. Always take a personal check to a closing, just in case.

Things to Do After Closing

When you will receive your deed.

At the closing, the seller will sign the deed. You WILL NOT receive the deed at the closing. We record the seller’s deed in the County Land Records office. After several weeks, we will receive the stamp-filed original deed back from the clerk at the County Land Records office. At that time, we will mail the deed to you at the address of the property you purchased, unless you gave us another address.

Electronic deed filing will soon be coming to the Atlanta metro counties and this will reduce the time for getting your deed.

After you close on your home, there is a good chance that you will receive an official looking letter requesting you to pay money to obtain a copy of your deed. Do not respond to these letters. We will send your deed to you.

Be careful if you receive a letter after your closing requesting that you pay for your deed.

After you close on your home, there is a good chance that you will receive an official looking letter requesting you to pay money to obtain a copy of your deed. The letter may give you a time limit for responding. You do not need to pay anyone for a copy of your deed. We will send your deed to you once we receive it from teh Land Records Office. It will take several weeks after closing before we get the deed from the Land Records Office.

How to apply for your homestead exemption and lower the property tax bill on your new home.

We've put together a guide to help you file your homestead exemption and lower your property tax bill. An exemption from ad valorem taxes is available to residents of a particular county who own their principal residence within the county. Homeowners are entitled to claim partial exemption from taxation (the amount of exemption depends on the county), which can amount to substantial annual savings for the homeowner.

View The Hudson Law Firm Guide to Filing Homestead Exemption.
How to turn on water service to your new home.

We've put together a helpful guide for activating water service in metro area counties. In some counties like Bartow and DeKalb, all residents use the county’s water service. In other counties like Cobb, Fulton and Cherokee, in you live in a municipality, you use the water utility of that municipality, but if you live in an unincorporated part of the county, you use the county’s water service.

View The Hudson Law Firm Guide to Activating Water Service.
Are you required to get a new driver’s license and auto tag after you move within the state?

Yes. You must notify the Georgia Department of Driver Services (GA DDS) of your address change within 60 days of moving if you have a valid GA driver's license. You can change your address on your GA driver's license online or in person at a GA DDS office. You cannot change your address by mail or telephone.

You have 30 days to change your address on your vehicle title. Before changing your address on your GA vehicle title and registration, you must first change your address on your driver’s license. You can change the address on your vehicle registration card or title with the Georgia DOR Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) by mail or in person at your County Tax Commissioner's office. Some counties require that a name or address change be performed in person. Here is the link to the MVD website: https://dor.georgia.gov/motor-vehicle-tag-and-title

New Georgia residents must get a Georgia driver’s license within 30 days.

If you are relocating to Georgia from another state, you must get a new driver’s license and change your title and vehicle registration within 30 days of moving here. When I moved to Georgia from Florida in 1990, I failed to get a new license with the 30 day period and I got a ticket! Welcome.

Update your voter registration address when you move.

If you are registered to vote in Georgia and you've recently moved, you must notify your county board of registrars at least 30 days before an election. To update the address on your voter records, you can either: (a) mail your written request to your county Board of Registration and Elections or (b) submit an application for voter registration: https://registertovote.sos.ga.gov/GAOLVR/images/reg_form.pdf

Working With a Real Estate Agent

Who are the best real estate agents?

There are thousands of agents to choose from. How do you find the best agent for you? We asked several real estate agents to give buyers advice on selecting an agent for home purchasing. Below is some of the advice:

Nancy Aroneck, Dorsey Alston Realtors: Allow an agent to continually ask the prospective buyer(s) questions. The more information a buyer gives me, the quicker I'm able to guide them to the right/perfect house. "No one cares how much you know, until they know you care."

Gina Sharma, Keller Williams: A good buyer’s agent is one that always put their client’s interest first even if it is not in the agent’s interest. Someone who is guiding and advising their clients about future problems of a home. Things that a buyer is not thinking of that would be important to them based on the initial buyer consultation. Helping the buyer understand the buying process so they are not frustrated or caught by surprise during the process.

Lynn Lamousin, Red Robin Realtors: A buyer's agent should be a knowledgeable real estate expert who adds value to the buying process. If you feel your agent is just unlocking doors, and not an actual benefit to your home search, then that person is probably not the right agent for you. A good buyer's agent is a critical source of real estate knowledge. If your agent doesn't have the answer to your question, then they should be able to point you toward the person or resource who does have the answer.

Working With a Lender

Who are the best mortgage lenders and loan officers?

There are hundreds of companies that are licensed to make home loan in Georgia and there are thousands of loan officers agents to choose from. How do you find the lender and loan officer for you? We asked loan officers to give buyers advice on selecting a lender and loan officer for home purchasing. Below is some of the advice:

Jonathan Cundiff, Movement Mortgage: When you are looking for a lender, it is important to know that the company and individual loan officer have your best interest in mind. You want a company that offers a wide variety of lending programs so they can cater to your unique needs and you want a Loan Officer with the experience and knowledge to work with you to find the product that will fit your individual home buying profile. An experienced loan officer will know the right path to take your loan, whether you are a first-time homebuyer, an empty nester, or investor. With Movement Mortgage’s streamlined process, we are committed to making this experience simple and enjoyable from beginning to end.

Debbie Connell, American Home Mortgage: My company is a local lender for the past 25 years with in-house underwriting. I’m able to help the client select the right mortgage program based on their financial goals, FICO score, income and down-payment. My expertise will get the client to the closing table in a timely manner. My company offers competitive rates and programs which is a huge advantage for the consumer.

John West, Direct Lenders: Great Loan Officer’s and Lenders are frequently overlooked because they are with smaller, lesser known companies. Fact is, the best lenders and Loan Officers may well be publicly unknown and do little if no real advertising. The best way to find a solid lender/loan officer is to ask a closing attorney and/or a real estate sales professional who they have found to be exceptional in delivery of services. Far too often the big advertising dollars and brand name Lenders being advertised are among the worst in delivery of loan services and have many Google review complaints as well as formal complaints filed with the Georgia Department of Banking and Finance. Ask for a solid referral from someone who interfaces regularly with them and you have increased your odds to land an outstanding professional.

Andrew Denham, Loan Simple: Buying a home is a big decision, and choosing who to work with has a significant impact on the success of the home buying or refinance process. We believe a successful mortgage process starts and finishes with great communication. Our team is local, we provide upfront and honest advice, our response times are measured in minutes, not hours or days, and we guarantee our rates, fees, and close dates. When choosing a lender, make sure to choose someone you feel comfortable with and believe they will provide honest communication, quick response times, and close on time, because that is what you deserve!

Home Services

What is the deal with home warranties?

A home warranty is a contract whereby money is paid to a company for the company’s promise to fix certain items that break or fail in your new home within a certain period of time. There is a big debate on whether home warranties are valuable. Consumer advocate Clark Howard thinks that home warranties mainly benefit the seller by making the buyer feel more secure and allowing the price of the home to increase: http://clark.com/homes-real-estate/the-one-time-to-buy-a-home-warranty/

17 Metro Atlanta Closing Offices

OTP and ITP locations. Complimentary parking provided at all offices.

For Real Estate Closings and Title Orders

Please send an email to: titleorder@thehhfirm.com
Or telephone: 404-863-5338 or 678-999-6030

For earnest money checks and postal mail: One Buckhead Plaza, 3060 Peachtree Road, N.W., Suite 1570, Atlanta, GA 30305