You Bought a Home, Now What?

You closed and have been handed the keys to your new home. Home ownership comes with a lot of responsibility and work. Once the deed is recorded in the county records, you can expect an avalanche of junk mail, which often pretends to be from your lender or some official office in the county or state.  

If you did not get a home warranty, then definitely do not ‘renew’ one in the mail.  Junk mailers will send fake checks or anything to get your attention to sign up for their service or pay a fee for a service you do not want.  

Do not pay anyone to get a copy of your deed. You will receive the original recorded deed from your closing attorney a few weeks after closing.  When you receive that deed, make sure your name is spelled correctly.  It is easier to correct any errors right away as opposed to years later.  

If you own the property with another person, make sure the tenancy is what you want. If the deed simply lists the two buyer’s names, then title is held as tenants in common. This tenancy means that if one owner passes away, the person’s heirs would inherit ownership. If the deed states the grantees are ‘joint tenants with right of survivorship, ‘then the surviving owner would own 100% of the property if the other owner passed away. (Georgia does not recognize ‘tenants by the entirety,’ which does exist in other states.)  

Once you receive the deed, file for your homestead exemption if you are living in the house. The exemption is through the county tax assessor and has firm deadlines. Missing the deadline can cost thousands of dollars. The county will cross-reference your address with the DMV, so make sure you update your address on your driver’s license and any car registrations.  

John C. Bennett is a real estate closing attorney and owner of Origin Title and Escrow, Inc.. Since 2003, Origin Title has handled real estate transactions – purchases, refinances, reverse mortgages – quickly and professionally. There will be no surprises, nothing misunderstood. Title searches are thorough and well-reasoned, to avoid unpleasant surprises later down the road. Calculate your closing costs in Georgia or Florida using our calculator or contact Origin Title using this form.