What to Expect During the Escrow Period
By now, you've heard me say this at least a 1,000 times. Don't worry! We will walk you through every step of the process. This page is intended to give you an idea of what to expect.
You should have already received an email about setting up your home inspection and wiring earnest money. If you have not received that email, please call or text me right away at (404) 952-5020.
After the Seller has accepted your offer, you should immediately schedule a home inspection. We recommend our Buyers attend the home inspection. Some inspectors prefer you schedule a "walk through" with them towards the end of the inspection. Inspection results will likely be sent to to you and me within 48 hours following the inspection. If the inspection uncovers issues with the home, we notify Seller in writing of the results, along with your intention to move forward, request a credit in lieu of repairs, or ask Seller to repair or replace items that are not up to reasonable standards.
Buyer's Lender and Closing Attorney
My team and I will take care of communicating the accepted offer and all future amendments to your lender and the closing attorneys. They will reach out to you directly. You are not responsible for finding an attorney or an appraiser, this is all done for you. In most cases, I choose a closing attorney I've worked with in the past and based on proximity to the home you are purchasing. However, in some cases, the Seller asks (or demands) a specific closing attorney.
Your lender will contact you to order an appraisal. An appraiser will visit home to take pictures, measure square footage and appraise the condition of home. From there, appraisal results could take from 1-2 weeks.
If appraisal comes back at value of purchase agreement, and repairs aren't needed, nothing further is required of Seller. If appraisal comes in lower than sales price, we are back to negotiating table to figure out reasonable price that works for all parties involved.
Clear to Close
After we have an appraisal approval, there might be some waiting for the “clear to close.” A clear to close means that all conditions have been met and you have been completely approved and ready to close on sale of home. In many cases, we will not get the clear to close until 24-96 hours before closing. Sometimes we get it earlier and that’s fantastic, but don’t be alarmed or think something is wrong if we don’t get it until a day or two before closing date.
Don't worry about utilities right away. You will receive several emails from me over the next few weeks regarding Utilities. First, we ask the Seller to provide a list of all utility providers currently in the home. Next, I will enroll you for a free Updater account, a free service provided by Atlanta Communities to help you easily transfer your utilities. Finally, about a week before closing, I will send you a final "Change of Address" checklist via email.
First, we do a final walkthrough of your new home just before closing to make sure everything is in order. Once we arrive at the attorneys office for closing, all parties involved in the transaction will need a valid, state-issued ID. Please bring a blank check for any last minute balance changes.
Do I need to maintain integrity of my credit throughout escrow period?
YES! The lender will check your credit score again a few days before closing. Avoid any large purchase or abnormal spending. These are red flags to lenders and can derail your home loan approval quickly.
Do I need to attend closing?
Yes, but there are exceptions. Speak with your closing attorney about options.
Does I need to attend home inspection?
It is highly recommended you attend inspection but it is optional. This is a time for inspector and you to get to know home.
Will my agent be at home inspection?
I leave it this decision up to you. Some buyers feel it may be a distraction for agent to be there while other buyers want agents to attend. Professional home inspectors are licensed and insured in state of GA and work directly for buyer. The home inspection is a time for buyer and inspector to get to know the home. The inspector will send me a copy of report usually within 24 hrs of inspection. There is no substitute for a narrative report documented with digital photos.
Can we ask Seller to repair/replace something or ask for monetary concession in lieu of repairs once we are under contract?
Yes, the buyer has opportunity to make requests during the due diligence period.
Will Seller continue to show home after they accept our offer?
Sometimes. After Seller accepts an offer, listing agent marks listing as "Active Under Contract" or “Pending” which means home has a binding contract to purchase. They may choose to continue to show for a potential backup offer or simply for the listing agent generate new buyer leads. Most sellers do not continue to show once they accept an offer, but some do.
Is the closing date set in stone? Are we guaranteed to close by contract closing date?
No, absolutely not. Typically loans take a while in today's market. Closing date is an estimated close by date, only. Very rarely does a deal close earlier than close by date, and if it does close on time, it is usually closing date on purchase agreement. You will hear me say this plenty of times, so let's get it out of the way now. The best way you can help with an on time closing is to make sure when your lender says "jump" you've already landed.
When will we know if we are closing on time?
As crazy as this sounds, we won’t get "clear to close" until 24 to 72 hours before closing. That’s just how lenders work. With thousands of files to go through, they prioritize by closing dates.
What happens if we can’t close on time?
We will need to do an amendment to change closing date and all parties will need to agree. It’s usually not an issue with changing closing date.
When do I pay closing costs and my down payment?
Pursuant to O.C.G.A Section 44-14-13, Georgia law requires all funds for closing over $5,000.00 MUST be in the form of a bank wire, NO EXCEPTIONS (including any gift funds or funds from any other source that may be used by the borrower including closing proceeds from another law firm); funds under $5,000.00 may be a cashier’s check or wire. The attorney will send you instructions for submitting payment ahead of closing, usually 72-96 hours in advance. Please keep in mind, many banks require you go into a branch in person in order to send a wire transfer.