Preparing for a Closing as a Refinancing Borrower
What Does the Closing Involve?You probably remember your closing experience from when you purchased your home. It involved signing your loan documents, having the seller sign documents relating to your title, and was attended by real estate agents, the sellers, yourself and perhaps your loan officer. A closing for a loan refinance simply involves the execution of your new loan documents and will likely be attended by only the attorney, yourself and your loan officer.
What if You Can't Attend the Closing and You are on the Loan?If you are unable to attend your closing, please call our office as soon as possible so that we may prepare a Power of Attorney for your closing. In such an instance, you will execute a Specific Power of Attorney form appointing another party as having power to execute documents on your behalf. However, not any Power of Attorney form will do: the document must be specific to real estate and refer to the property you are selling in particular. While those forms at Office Depot may seem convenient and helpful, it is unlikely that they comply with the Georgia real estate Power of Attorney requirements, and will therefore be invalid. Hence, it is probably best if our firm prepares this document for you. Please contact our office as soon as you realize that you will be unable to attend the closing so that we may prepare this document for you. You should know that there will be a nominal fee for the preparation and recording of this deed. There is no charge to have this document executed in our office prior to the closing. The execution involves the signing by the party who will not attend. A witness and notary is present to witness your signature. If the party who will not be able to attend the closing is unable to come to our office prior to the closing to execute this document, our Title Insurance Company requires that we locate a Title Company or Attorney where the signing party may go to have this document executed. In this case, there is a courier fee to have the original document sent to our office prior to closing as well as a fee which may be charged by the Attorney or Title Company who provides the witness/Notary service.
Information Required from You Prior to ClosingIn order to prepare our files for closing and to obtain your closing package from the lender on time, we will require the following information from you prior to closing:
Hazard Insurance You will be required by your new lender to have hazard (or Homeowners') insurance with coverage in the amount of the loan you are obtaining from them. Also, the new lender will require that their mortgagee clause and your new loan number be added to your policy. Our office can notify your insurance agent of the changes to be made. Therefore, it is imperative that you call our office and provide us with the following information: your insurance agent's name, telephone number, and your annual insurance premium amount. Believe it or not, this little bit of information is absolutely vital-without it the lender will refuse to allow a closing, so please, please, please make this a priority!
Mortgage Payoff Information It is important that our office obtain information relating to the loans that you will be paying off at closing. This would include all first mortgages, second mortgages and any equity lines of credit. As the closing attorney, it is our responsibility to obtain a payoff statement from your mortgage company, but we will be unable to do so without your information. We will need the following from you immediately:
Homeowners' Association/ Condo Association Information If your home is located in a subdivision that is subject to a mandatory homeowners association or condo association, it is necessary that we have information to contact the treasurer's office or billing department of the association. The reason for this is that we must ensure that all debts relating to the association are paid.
Termite Letter Some lenders will require a termite letter to be completed within 30 days of a refinance closing. If your lender makes this request, you must bring the original termite letter to closing, but we ask that you fax a copy to our office so that we may review it before we get to closing. The reason for this is that many loan programs require certain language be on the termite letter (for example, FHA and VA loan programs will not allow the letter to state "Earth to Wood Contact"). If our office is given the opportunity to review the letter prior to closing, we may be able to avoid some last minute scrambling.
What You Should Bring to ClosingYourself and your fellow debtor(s) Whomever is on the loan documents must be at closing, unless of course you have executed a Specific Real Estate Power of Attorney prepared by our office
A valid Photo ID (A Drivers' License, Passport or Military ID will work) Each borrower must provide a valid ID at closing. It may seem strange, but the title companies require us to obtain a copy of your ID just to make sure no imposters are executing documents in your name.
Lender Required Information If the lender requires you to pay off certain accounts at closing, you may wish to bring account statements to the closing to ensure that all the correct information has been provided to us. Also, it is not uncommon that the lender requests a borrower to bring copies of past tax documents. If your lender does so, you must bring these items to the closing or else the lender will refuse to fund your loan.
Termite Letter If your lender has required a termite report be prepared on your home, you must bring it to closing.
Certified Funds It is possible that you will be required to bring funds to closing. Funds should be either in the form of a Cashier's Check or Wired Funds from your bank. We will be able to provide you with the exact amount you should bring as soon as the approved Settlement Statement has been received from your lender. This is will usually occur somewhere between 72 and 24 hours before the closing. If you prefer to obtain your funds before that time and do not know the exact amount, it is usually best to obtain funds in the amount provided by your loan officer in your Good Faith Estimate. If you bring an amount to closing that is over the amount required, we will provide you with a check for the difference. If the amount you bring is less than the amount required, you may supplement it with a personal check. It is our firm's policy not to accept a personal check for an amount greater than $500. Please make your Cashier's Check out to yourself, and you can endorse it to us at closing. If you wish to wire your funds, please contact our office so that we may fax wiring instructions to your bank.