Unlike many other states, Florida does not require the use of an attorney 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 a title company to handle their closing. In this post, we want to share with you 4 reasons why a title company is not a substitute for an experienced real estate attorney.
4 Advantages To Hiring A Real Estate Attorney For Florida Property Transactions
1. A title company works for the title insurer, not the buyer or the seller, whereas real estate attorneys work for whomever hires them. Once hired, an attorney represents that client throughout the transaction – in addition to overseeing the transaction to completion, they look out for their clients’ best interest and advocate for their client. The title company’s role is to prepare the basic closing documents required by the title insurer to complete the transaction and issue the title insurance policy.
2. Title agents do not have law degrees and cannot provide legal advice. When there are problems or questions, the buyer/seller can’t turn to the title company for help or advice. One of the most common issues that comes up is how to take title to the property, which has legal and tax ramifications. A title agent cannot provide advice in this situation, but an attorney can. Realtors as well as the buyer/seller, benefit from working with attorneys since the attorney can review the contract and answer legal questions during the contract negotiation process; title companies cannot.
3. Title agents cannot create contract addenda, address problems in the sales contract, deal with non-standard forms, or correct legal issues that affect the title. This is important because if an issue arises, corrective documents may need to be obtained or created. Attorneys can provide legal advice on the best way to handle the issue, as well as prepare necessary documents, title agents cannot. Depending on the issue, a title agent will in fact have to send parties out to hire an attorney (at their own expense) to handle specific problems. Not having an attorney 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 such as title insurance premiums, documentary stamps, and recording costs are set by the State of Florida. They are the same whether an attorney or a title agent is facilitating the process. In some cases, using an attorney can actually save the parties money by performing double duty as an attorney and a title agent; a title agent cannot do the same.