Due to fraud concerns, our firm does not email wiring instructions. If you receive wiring instructions for our firm via email, please contact us immediately as these are not valid.
Please be aware that most banks require wire transactions to be initiated in person. Contact your banking institution directly to confirm.
For Bank of America customers, you must go to a branch to initiate a wire (regardless of what the bank tells you).
When sending a wire, please reference the property address and the name of the party the funds are being sent on behalf of.
Our account does not accept ACH Transactions. Failure to send a wire could cause a delay in closing.
It is common in closings that a transaction may close in one name but the purchaser wishes the title to be held some other way after closing. There are 2 basic situations to consider:
Spouse will be on title but will NOT be on the loan
If there is a lender involved, the first step is to check that they will allow this to happen. If they do, then typically the lender will have the non-borrowing party sign both the Security Deed and the Truth In Lending document. Therefore, the person being added to title will need to attend the closing ceremony and both names should be listed on the contract.
After closing purchaser wishes to transfer the property into their LLC/Trust, etc.
If there is a typical loan involved, this is a violation of the due-on-sale clause contained in the Security Deed. Many times the parties are willing to take that risk and if so, they will need to have a deed prepared after closing, transferring the property to the name of the desired entity or party. If the lender discovers this, the lender can call the entire loan due. The attorney that handled the closing will not typically be willing to prepare a deed under this circumstance. If a deed is done in this situation, the person being added does not need to be present to sign the deed.
Risks of Adding a Person to Title
1. If the title is changed after closing without the lender’s permission, the lender could call the loan due under the Due on Sale Clause of the Security Deed.
2. If a name is being added to title, it is advised to do a lien search on the name being added. Any lien against that person will attach to the property. The property will not be able to be sold without either paying or cancelling the lien.
3. The person added to title will have to sign any deed to further transfer or encumber the property.
4. Changing the name on the title could invalidate or reduce the coverage under the owner’s title insurance policy.
We perform Title exam, tax search, preparation of title commitment and title binder, and issuance of insured closing protection letter.
From the Georgia Department of Revenue website:
“Homestead applications must be filed with your county tax commissioner or county board of tax assessors by the same date that property tax returns are due for property that was acquired before January 1. The law provides that property tax returns are to be filed between January 1 and April 1. Your county may offer more beneficial exemptions. Click this link to find out about the exemptions in your county and which tax official to contact for information about filing a homestead exemption application. Your county may have a website to download the homestead exemptions offered by the county.”
After a closing, MMH’s post closing department sends the deed to the county’s recording office via overnight courier. Recording timeframes vary from county to county. You should receive your deed from MMH within 4 to 6 weeks.
A title examination is an inspection of all public records that affect the title to real estate. MMH uses only Georgia licensed attorneys to perform title exams.
Owner’s title insurance is optional insurance offered to Buyers at closing. Typically the purchase price is the amount of insurance. This owner’s coverage is in conjunction with the required lender’s coverage. A loss paid under the loan policy would reduce the amount of insurance on the owner’s title insurance policy. So essentially, the owner’s coverage is on the equity which will increase, as the loan balance decreases.
An Owners Title Insurance Policy protects you against the many defects in title that a proper title examination by a title attorney may not reveal. Several examples are:
• Materialmens Liens
• Matters During the “Gap Period”
• Forgery in the chain of title
• Encroachments of Fences and other structures
• Invalid or Fraudulent Probate of Wills
• Improper Foreclosure
• Invalid Divorce
• Unknown Heirs
• Invalid Wills
Often purchasers do not feel the need to purchase Owner’s title insurance for a number of FLAWED reasons, such as:
• The lender coverage should take care of any problems. FALSE! The lender’s coverage is available only to the lender in the event you default, they foreclose and then there is a problem with the title. It provides NO coverage to the Purchaser.
• The house was just built. Therefore I do not need to worry about what happened before the house was there. FALSE! Title to the land may have passed many times, even though the house may not have been built. The original grant of land in the state of Georgia was from the Queen of England. That is where the chain of title begins. Whether or not the house is new makes no difference.
• The house was just built; therefore I do not need to worry about what happened before the house was there. FALSE! Title problems can originate with new construction. For example, mechanics liens can be filed, the house is not built on the correct lot or is not built within the building lines.
• The law firm searched the records, therefore title deficiencies are the law firm’s problem. FALSE! There are many title problems and issues that can not be discovered by examining the title.
• I have very little equity in the house. Therefore I do not need to purchase title insurance. FALSE! If a claim arises and you do not have owner’s title insurance, you could end up paying many times more than the premium to clear the problem in order to keep your home.
• I have very little equity in the house. Therefore I do not need to purchase title insurance. FALSE! If there is a title problem, you not only lose your equity, but you are still obligated to repay the lender the loan amount. If there was a valid claim against the property, you could end up having to pay the claim or risk losing your home, and still have to repay your mortgage.
Owner’s title insurance is a one-time premium usually paid at the closing. The premium is lower if you purchase it at the same time the lender’s policy is purchased (usually at closing). Like any other insurance, if you need it, it is more than worth the small premium it costs to purchase owner’s title insurance.
Many times title insurance policies are provided at the time of the closing. However, in certain transactions, policies must be issued once the warranty deed has been recorded. Therefore, if a policy was not issued at closing, you’ll receive your policy in the mail after the deed has been recorded and returned to MMH.
An Owner’s Title Insurance Policy protects you against the many defects in title that a proper title examination by a title attorney may not reveal. Lender’s Title Insurance Policy protects the lender for the same risks.
Protecting your Home Investment
A home is usually the largest single investment any of us will ever make. When you purchase a home, you will purchase several types of insurance coverage to protect your home and personal property. Homeowner’s insurance protects against loss from fire, theft, or wind damage. Flood insurance protects against rising water. And a unique coverage known as title insurance protects against hidden title hazards that may threaten your financial investment in your home.
Protecting Your Largest Single Investment
Title insurance is not as well understood as other types of home insurance, but it is just as important. You see, when purchasing a home, instead of purchasing the actual building or land, you are really purchasing the title to the property – the right to occupy and use the space. That title may be limited by rights and claims asserted by others, which may limit your use and enjoyment of the property and even bring financial loss. Title insurance protects against these types of title hazards.
Other types of insurance that protect your home focus on possible future events and charge an annual premium. On the other hand, title insurance protects against loss from hazards and defects that already exist in the title and is purchased with a one-time premium.
Two Kinds of Title Insurance benefit You in Two Ways
There are two basic kinds of title insurance:
• Lender or mortgagee protection
• Owner’s coverage
Most lenders require mortgagee title insurance as security for their investment in real estate, just as they may call for fire insurance and other types of coverage as investor protection. When title insurance is provided, lenders are willing to make mortgage money available in distant locales where they know little about the market.
Owner’s title insurance lasts as long as you, the policyholder – or your heirs – has an interest in the insured property. This may even be after you have sold the property.
Depending on local practices and state law where the property is located, you may pay an additional premium for an owner’s policy or you may pay a simultaneous issue charge – usually a smaller amount – for the separate lender coverage. You may even split settlement costs with the seller for the lender or owner’s policy.
What does Your Premium Really Pay For?
An important part of title insurance is its emphasis on risk elimination before insuring. This gives you, as the policyholder, the best possible chance for avoiding title claim and loss.
Title insuring begins with a search of public land records affecting the real estate concerned. An examination is conducted by the title agent or attorney on behalf of its underwriter to determine whether the property is insurable. The examination of evidence from a search is intended to fully report all “material objections” to the title. Frequently, documents that don’t clearly transfer title are found in the “chain,” or history that is assembled from the records in a search. Here are some examples of documents that can present concerns:
• Deeds, wills and trusts that contain improper wording or incorrect names;
• Outstanding mortgages and judgments, or a lien against the property because the seller has not paid his taxes;
• Easements that allow construction of a road or utility line;
• Pending legal action against the property that could affect a purchaser; or
• Incorrect notary acknowledgements.
Through the search and the examination, title problems are disclosed so they can be corrected whenever possible. However, even the most careful preventative work cannot locate all hidden title hazards.
Hidden Title Hazards – Your Last Defense
In spite of all the expertise and dedication that go into a title search and examination, hidden hazards can emerge after closing, resulting in unpleasant and costly surprises. Some examples of hazards include:
A forged signature on the deed, which would mean no transfer of ownership to you;
An unknown heir of a previous owner who is claiming ownership of the property;
Instruments executed under an expired or a fabricated power of attorney; or
Mistakes in the public records.
Title insurance offers financial protection against these and other covered title hazards. The title insurer will pay for defending against an attack on title as insured, and will either perfect the title or pay valid claims. All for a one-time charge at closing.
Your home is your most important investment. Before you go to closing, ask about your title insurance protection, and be sure to protect your home with an owner’s title insurance policy.
A Truth in Lending (TIL) statement is a required disclosure to consumers on loans made by mortgage lenders. The law requires lenders to provide the consumer with a TIL showing loan cost information so they can comparison shop for certain types of loans.
The Georgia “Good Funds Law” is located at OCGA 44-14-13 and it states a settlement agent must have collected funds to disburse settlement proceeds. Collected funds have been defined as funds deposited, finally settled and credited to the settlement agent’s escrow account. For this reason, any amounts due in excess of $5,000 must be wired into the closing attorney’s account.
At MMH, amounts due between $1,000 and $5,000 can be accepted in the form of a cashier’s check made payable to our firm or the maker of the check, and then endorsed over at closing. Amounts due from buyer less than $1,000 can be accepted by the attorney on a case by case basis. Any funds due from seller should be wired.
Every bank is different with regard to their requirements to wire funds. Be aware that some banks, Bank of America in particular, has an online function that appears to be a wire transfer but is in fact an ACH payment. Our Attorney Escrow account CANNOT accept ACH transfers. As of this moment, Bank of America requires their customers to physically go into a branch to perform a wire transfer.
Finally, some online banks will not wire funds for their clients. In those cases, the customers have had to open other bank accounts, transfer money to that account and then wire the funds. This can take some time to arrange, so please ask your clients to check with their banks early to be sure they give enough time for the wire to occur.
Frequently Asked Questions
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