eFiling is Coming to Town

Electronic real estate filing is coming to Georgia.

eFiling is Coming to Town

Whether closings will be handled electronically is a fairly common question real estate attorneys are asked at the closing table. We have seen electronically signed loan packages for several years now, but we are now seeing in Georgia the emergence of electronic filing of the recordable closing documents such as deeds and loan documents.

A real estate closing involves the exchange of executed documents and disbursement of funds. One element of the “closing” is also the recordation, or filing and indexing, of documents at the courthouse such as deeds and mortgage instruments. In some States, closing proceeds are not disbursed until the documents are officially recorded. In Georgia however, our custom and practice is to fully disburse on executed, but unrecorded instruments. Although not commonly mentioned, there are risks associated with physical recording of instruments and these include lost instruments and intervening gap issues. At a practical level, physical handling of documents is not efficient for delivery, processing or handling. Further, there is no mechanism to track an instrument once it has been delivered to the recording clerk. This can be problematic since, in the past, some recording offices have had six to eight month gap periods.

The Georgia Superior Court Clerks’ Cooperative Authority (“GSCCCA”) has created an electronic filing portal with aims to streamline the recording process. It is foreseeable in the near future that all real estate recordings by transactional lawyers will be accomplished by electronic filing rather than physically delivering documents to the courthouse. Currently, electronic filing within the GSCCCA portal is available only in a few counties: Clarke, Crisp, Fayette, Forsyth, Henry, McDuffie, Muscogee, Toombs, Warren, Wilkes and Wilkinson.

The new system is currently a multi-day process, so it is not reasonable to expect recorded documents to be delivered at the conclusion of the real estate closing. However, the parties involved in the real estate transaction will benefit from faster recording times and decreased risk of loss of original instruments and intervening matters. Whether electronic recording will amount to cost savings is unclear due to third party vendor fees and technology expenses associated with processing the electronic recordings. As to electronic closings, we’re still not quite there, but one step closer, nonetheless.

Real Estate Attorney
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Atlanta, GA 30305
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