Goodbye HUD-1, Hello Closing Disclosure

HUD-1 Settlement Form replaced by Closing Disclosure in 2015 Read More...
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Should You Use RocketLawyer or LegalZoom

Should You Use RocketLawyer or LegalZoom?


This morning I came across a great article written by lawyer Reba Kennedy on the subject of using legal form document companies. Reba discusses the potential cost savings from buying legal forms instead of just hiring an attorney. She also warns that the risks may not outweigh the benefits. Here is my take from the perspective of a real estate attorney.

I think there is a fair argument in favor of accessible legal services. Since quality legal services are rarely inexpensive, the online form companies such as LegalZoom and RocketLawyer have filled a vacant niche. However, as with any product or service, clients are happiest when their expectations are met. Unfortunately, bad results are usually not apparent until it’s too late. Using an online legal forms service may give the perception that a particular form is legally appropriate for a given circumstance or situation, when it is not.

LegalZoom's Deed Transfer Service web page, for example, does not mention that the type of deed used can have serious legal consequences in various ways. The layperson may be unwittingly creating title problems, sabotaging an existing title insurance policy or failing to pay required taxes due on the transfer. Furthermore, no conveyance should ever take place without a consideration of tenancy, which determines how the property is handled should an owner pass away.

When things matter I recommend using a licensed real estate attorney. And real estate matters too much to leave to a cheap, online form. When problems arise, that form could be a very expensive piece of paper.

To assist Georgia residents in conveyances outside of closing, Georgia Title & Escrow Company has created a new portal. This system is designed to have the flexible advantages of a web based service (credit cards are even accepted), but with the benefit of a property lawyer overseeing the process. Check it out at
Rocket-Zoom.com.

CHRIS PAHL
Real Estate Attorney
3575 Piedmont Road NE
Building 15, Suite 120
Atlanta, GA 30305

Tel. +1 (404) 476-3736
email:
chris@GeorgiaTitle.com
web:
GeorgiaTitle.com | GetMyGFE.com

*Here is the link to Reba’s original blog posting: http://everydaysimplicity.blogspot.com/2008/08/should-you-use-legalzoom-or.html.
*Here is the link to my original reply post: https://plus.google.com/104156028563033179675/posts/1ukTNx9snox


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How to Choose a Closing Attorney?

Q: How to Choose a Closing Attorney?


If you are in the market to buy or sell a home, or refinance your existing mortgage, you may be wondering how to choose a closing attorney...and have the best, most outrageous closing experience possible. Here are a few tips.

  • Take Your Choice of Closing Attorney Seriously. Choosing the best closing experience is just as important as selecting the right mortgage lender or real estate agent. Never leave your decision up to someone else.

  • Stay Involved in the Process. I have been handling real estate transactions since 1997 and a huge observation I have made is that the most satisfied clients remain active participants during the entire closing and escrow period. I would estimate that about 95% of a real estate attorney’s work is done outside of the closing ceremony. Having a continuing dialog with the closing firm ensures that expectations will be met and that there will be no hidden surprises at the closing table.

  • Choose a Decision Maker for the Firm. It is not only important to work with a decision maker for the closing firm, but also important to make sure the same professional will handle your actual closing. Set your expectations up front with your closing attorney. Do you want to risk a closing situation and where you are put “on hold” until someone more senior is available to handle the matter?

  • Work with a Seasoned Professional. It takes years of practice to hone the necessary skills to effectively deal with the myriad of issues that arise throughout the escrow period. Real estate transactions are complicated, highly orchestrated events. Your best selection is an attorney who has handled thousands of closings.

  • Avoid Paid Referrals. If a real estate professional refers a particular firm, ask whether there is any affiliated business arrangement or marketing alliance between the two companies. If there is, ask for a second referral. A majority of consumers believe there is a conflict of interest when a real estate professional directly or indirectly accepts compensation for a referral. Since most professionals would probably not even consider their referral partner if it were not for the kickback, neither should you.


CHRIS PAHL
Real Estate Attorney
3575 Piedmont Road NE
Building 15, Suite 120
Atlanta, GA 30305

Tel. +1 (404) 476-3736
email:
chris@GeorgiaTitle.com
web:
GeorgiaTitle.com | GetMyGFE.com

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*due diligence period georgia

Due Diligence Period in Georgia Real Estate Contract


CHRIS PAHL
Real Estate Attorney
3575 Piedmont Road NE
Suite 120
Atlanta, GA 30305
Tel.
+1 (404) 476-3736
email:
chris@GeorgiaTitle.com
web:
GeorgiaTitle.com | GetMyGFE.com

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Use of GAR Purchase Sale Agreement by Non Realtors

Q: Can I use the GAR Purchase and Sale Agreement if I am not a licensed real estate agent.


A: Yes and no. The Georgia Association of Realtors claims a copyright on their published forms. Forms may be used upon payment of a licensing fee, or in a transaction handled by someone who is licensed to use the forms, such as a real estate agent on the other side of the transaction.

If you are not working with a Georgia licensed real estate agent and need a purchase and sales agreement form, you have some options. You may contact a real estate attorney who can draft the contract for you. As a real estate attorney practitioner, I would advise against using boilerplate contracts that are not written for Georgia properties. Those types of agreements occasionally make their way to our offices and they often contain errors, defects or omissions. Invariably this leads to a completely unnecessary renegotiation of the terms. Some people may choose to simply obtain a copy of the GAR form and use that. I would caution against this for a few reasons, beside the fact that this would violate the licensing terms for use of the form. First, the GAR form is designed to be used with a host of other templates forms that are not available unless you are a licensee to the form package. Second, the GAR form is not the best form out there. It is better to have a contract custom drafted for the situation and this is not always as neutral the GAR form attempts to be. Best option is to contact a real estate attorney.


CHRIS PAHL
Real Estate Attorney
3575 Piedmont Road NE
Building 15, Suite 120
Atlanta, GA 30305

Tel. +1 (404) 476-3736
email:
chris@GeorgiaTitle.com
web:
GeorgiaTitle.com | GetMyGFE.com

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Georgia Real Estate Purchase and Sale Agreement

Georgia Real Estate Purchase and Sale Agreement


CHRIS PAHL
Real Estate Attorney
3575 Piedmont Road NE
Building 15, Suite 120
Atlanta, GA 30305

Tel. +1 (404) 476-3736
email:
chris@GeorgiaTitle.com
web:
GeorgiaTitle.com | GetMyGFE.com

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Georgia Realtors Forms List

Georgia Association of Realtors forms list. Read More...
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