In Georgia who has the legal right to choose the closing attorney?

Recently I had a listing agent counter that the closing attorney would be "seller's choice". Um, perhaps said agent hasn't read the contract.  Let me show you.

Yup that's right, it's in the contract that the BUYER shall have the right to select the closing attorney. So many times agents seem to think their seller can choose if they agree to pay some closing costs, but it's not the case.

In many Georgia foreclosure sales the seller has their own attorney and tries to make the buyer use their closing attorney.  I've had attorney offices argue with me about my buyer not being "allowed" to use their own attorney.  They even tried to "bribe" them with FREE title insurance.  I advise my buyer clients to hire their own closing attorney and they sometimes ask "Why do I need my own attorney if the seller will provide me with one?"

Well if it's the seller's attorney, who do you think he represents?  And do you actually think he would care about your best interests?  And do you realized that title policy he gives you leaves a gap period?  Do you know what a gap period is?  Well the closing attorney I recommend explains to my buyers what the gap period is and why their title insurance policy is not issued at closing, but instead AFTER their new deed is recorded. 

The gap.... is the time between when the seller signs the deed after a title search has already been conducted and the deed is recorded.
  For example if the seller had work done on the home on Tuesday, sold it on Friday and didn't pay the contractor and on Monday before the deed is filed that contractor who did the prior work files a lien on the home it would fall in the gap period.  And attorney who represents the seller is not going to "re-check" title from previous time of check until new deed is recorded and then issue title insurance where the gap is closed, but the attorney I recommend will be doing that because he represents YOU the buyer.

And if you are a cash buyer the attorney represents YOU the buyer.  If you are a buyer obtaining a loan the closing attorney will represent YOUR lender.  But never the seller.  So you came to me because you wanted to be represented as a buyer, shouldn't you also have an attorney on your side?  I think so.

I have also seen it cost hundreds of dollars more for a buyer to use the seller's attorney.  The last foreclosure we had where buyers were "sucked in" by the "free" title insurance... I can assure you they paid paid three prices for it in attorney fees. It is worth paying for your own title policy to have an attorney or your side or at least on your lenders side to provide you with a good title search. We have one in the wings now waiting for a "re" foreclosure because it wasn't a proper and legal foreclosure.  Do you think the attorney who did it wrong for the seller would have caught the mistake?  I don't.

If you have questions about real estate I am willing to find you the answers.  We work hard for our clients. 

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Tammy Lankford, Broker/Owner


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Comment balloon 8 commentsTammy Lankford, • September 05 2016 09:12PM
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