When you purchase a home in Florida, you are not required to have a lawyer. A real estate agent can prepare the contract and a title company can serve as the closing agent, responsible for processing the documents and disbursing the funds to complete the transaction. Which one you choose is largely a matter of personal preference. However, there are distinct advantages of retaining a lawyer for your Florida real estate transaction. Here are four things to consider as you prepare to close on your new property:
- Your real estate lawyer works for you — When you hire a real estate lawyer, they have a fiduciary responsibility to represent your best interests throughout the entirety of the transaction. By contrast, the title company is an agent of the title insurer or title underwriter, whose interests may not be in sync with yours. For example, a title insurance policy may contain exceptions that seriously limit the company’s responsibilities if a claim arises. While the title company is required to carry out the closing according to professional standards, having your own advocate can help you feel more confident that your interests are being protected.
- Get legal advice when you need it — Buying a home is an exciting process but it can involve unexpected twists and turns. You may encounter a few hurdles along the way. Whether it’s your first home or your third, you’re likely to have questions. Title agents are undoubtedly knowledgeable about the closing process, but they cannot give you legal advice. A real estate lawyer can answer your questions about everything from seller disclosure obligations to mortgage lender requirements.
- Full service from contract through closing — A real estate lawyer is engaged in the transaction from the onset, negotiating the contract and any riders or addendums and attending to pre-closing matters like financing and title searches. Title companies typically hire their own lawyer to handle any issues with the title. The mortgage lender also retains a lawyer to review essential documents. Your lawyer will interact with all agents and attorneys involved and make sure title and mortgage issues are worked out prior to closing, including any needed modifications of the contract.
- Costs are comparable — In most cases, the money you’ll pay for your closing is about the same whether you have a title company or a real estate lawyer handle it. This is because the fees involved in a home closing are determined by the state. However, having an attorney at the closing allows for prompt resolution of any unforeseen problems that may arise, which can save you money in the long run.
The Law Office of Tania Sayegh Bartolini, P.A. helps home buyers and sellers in Fort Lauderdale navigate the closing process from start to finish. Get peace of mind by working with an experienced Florida real estate lawyer. Call 954-603-1865 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.