[GA] What buyers should know about the state’s real estate processes & such

 In RealEstate

There is such different terminology, different docs, and different processes in Georgia compared to my former market that that were all at least initially confusing. I feel bad for anyone who moves here from far away, doesn’t know anyone, and could get taken advantage of by an agent or FSBO seller in Georgia. Thankfully I got connected with some trustworthy people who deal with the market. There wasn’t much on this sub or elsewhere that gave a good overview, so I made this post. Consult with your own real estate and legal professionals before making real estate decisions. Here is what I personally learned about and seemed different to me about Georgia’s market: Up Front Georgia has the fastest foreclosure state in the country at 3 to 4 months. (courtesy of /u/kfb007570) Properties that qualify for USDA loans are more prevalent in rural areas, and there seem to be two types that are largely based on income: Guaranteed and Direct. IIRC direct has more lenient income requirements, but tend to be for people who need to put less money down on a mortgage, whether a first time buyer or not. The closer to ATL, the hotter the market is for sellers & the less DOM for listings. The listings that are further from any growing town/city (regardless of size) are slightly less hot and have higher DOM. Loan Pre-Approval should be provided with offers. Other markets allow a few days after contract acceptance to furnish this. Understand how your broker is protected by law in accordance with BRRETA act and Merger by Deed Doctrine to be aware when a broker is gaming the system. (courtesy of /u/beoweezy1) I still don’t completely understand all of it, and I’m not sure how this compares to other states. Costs By default, buyers pay all closing costs, and seller is only legally obligated to pay any extra fees resulting directly from seller actions (e.g. seller’s docs must be shipped out of state because they will not physically attend closing). Closing costs are still negotiable though. This is different than other markets where the seller by default pays certain closing costs, such as seller’s title insurance. Georgia state has a Real Estate Transfer Tax of roughly $1 per $10000 of the sale price, whereas some other markets do not. There are many different homestead related tax exemptions, some which vary by county, and do not exist in some markets. The standard exemption might save you ~$50 per year in property taxes like it would for me. Buyer’s broker initially receives the Earnest Money, not the title company. The funds later end up with the closing attorney. The Due Diligence Process Instead of an Inspection Period, there is a broader Due Dilligence period that allows for termination of the agreement for any reason (including inspection). When inspectors go through everything in the house, they may not test things in the house that are not clearly attached, so you must put to them in writing anything you expect them to test that will stay with the home. Inspector may supplement their report an abbreviated list of everything in it that is considered “marginal” or “defective”. This “marginal list” does not include all recommendations they make, as they can still mark something as “acceptable” even if they write a comment of “Should add/install X for Y” for item Y. Other markets may not provide a “marginal list”. Don’t expect buyer to do anything about things not on the marginal list. The hotter the market, the less likely a buyer will fix or give closing costs for items, even if they are safety related. Closing Time Buyers are legally obligated to hire an attorney, regardless of whether the seller has a real estate agent or not. When reading relevant Georgia laws, the actual legal obligation of hiring an attorney wasn’t very clear to me. The attorney is called a “closing attorney” and represents the buyer’s mortgage company or the cash buyer. The closing attorney acts as a middle man between buyer/lender/seller and the title company, also handling all money changing hands. Closing attorney’s “closer” is an attorney’s assistant who should only deal with you and your lender’s closer, not anyone else from the lender nor your agent. You, your lender, and your agent never deal with the title company. Buyer’s title insurance is optional (but often standard), but buyer must pay for seller’s title insurance. In other markets, both are standard and paid for by the respective parties. As for closing, there is less emphasis placed on when the property is recorded by the county than when the closing signing ceremonies are considered “complete”. Some questions I still have out of curiosity: How common is the “marginal list” in Georgia home inspections? I came from a state that had me deal with a title company directly and did not require a closing lawyer. What are the benefits or downsides of having a “closing attorney” as an extra middleman? Why would buyer’s title insurance be optional, and why must the buyer pay for seller’s insurance? Is the seller legally obligated to pay for HOA related disclosures? I don’t have an HOA, but I used to. submitted by /u/Renegade_Meister [link] [comments]

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