Florida, unlike some other states, does not require a lawyer during a real estate transaction. Buyers and sellers have the choice of using an attorney or a title company to handle the closing on their real estate transaction. This often causes the parties to wonder why they should hire an attorney instead of using just a title company to close their transaction. Here are four advantages of using a Florida real estate attorney for real property transactions:
1. A real estate attorney works for you while title companies work for the title insurer.
An attorney represents the client’s interest throughout the closing process. This includes representing the client in contract negotiations, clearing title, obtaining financing, and the closing process. The attorney looks out for their clients’ best interest and advocate for their client. A title company role is limited to preparing the basic closing documents required by the title insurer to complete the transaction and issue the title insurance policy. In addition, an attorney is bound by the ethical standards of the Florida Bar. Remember, a title company is limiting the risk to their insurer while an attorney is working for you.
2. Title agents cannot provide legal advice.
When issues arise during a closing, the buyer or sellers cannot seek advice from the title company. Such issues can range from how a party should take title to the property to boundary disputes. A title agent cannot provide legal advice. Attorneys can work through the issues to get the transaction closed, which benefit all parties including realtors.
3. Real estate attorneys go beyond just forms.
Title agents are limited to the forms allowed by their title underwriter while attorneys can provide legal advice on the best way to handle the issue, as well as prepare necessary documents. Most importantly, real estate attorneys can advise their clients on whether or not to sign “standard” or “required” forms, which are often anything but. Not having an attorney in advance of the issues can delay the closing or even cause the transaction to fall apart entirely.
4. The costs of hiring a title company vs. an attorney are comparable.
Many closing costs are set by the State of Florida including title insurance premiums, documentary stamps, and recording costs. They are the same whether an attorney or a title agent is closing the transaction. Furthermore, many attorneys can issue title insurance which can save the parties money by performing double duty as an attorney and a title agent.
With three offices located in Melbourne/Viera, Vero Beach and Coral Gables, the law firm of Rossway Swan serves clients throughout Florida. Contact us today to speak with one of our experienced real estate attorneys.