Tuesday, November 23, 2010

We're # 6!

I'm surprised we were only in the top-10 once! We all know Atlanta traffic is always a mess; this article makes it "official"! So be careful out there as you travel; avoid 285 and you should be fine ; ) I sure wish the Northern Arc was not so politicized in the past! We could really use a 'relief' road between I-85 and I-75 on the Northside of ATL but that fell apart years ago... Oh well...

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Real Estate Lawyers versus Witness Only closings

I couldn't write an article on this subject as clearly as this one, as it references a court case in Massachusetts. I applaud their efforts and I am hopeful that efforts to stop the same activities in Georgia will be successful in the future. Yes, I know this sounds incredibly 'protectionist' of me--it is. Yes, I want to ensure that as a closing attorney I have a job.

BUT in all honesty these witness-only firms are not held to the same standards as I am. I try to leave a title cleaner than I found it--I either fix a title issue (open loan deed, etc.) or have detailed notes to share with a future lawyer who finds an issue with my file. In essence, I care about the actual practice of law (and I truly feel that the closing process is a 'start to finish' proposal--not just sitting at the table with a blue pen and my notary stamp). For that matter, who is going to fix the title issue caused by some out of state company? When you go to sell your house you may find that your last closing created a huge error that will be costly to fix! I find issues all the time--even one refinance uncovered a situation where the gentleman actually owned NOTHING (a long story, but after a month or so I was able to fix the problem).

Final thought--witness-only closings (or closings handled by out of state companies, with or without a lawyer involved) are not always the cheapest option. Costs in Georgia are very competitive (at least in the ATL area). It may seem like a good deal to have a 'one-stop' shopping experience but after 15 years I have seen that you either 'get what you pay for' or you can also get screwed. Choose wisely--choose to close with a fully licensed real estate law practitioner.