In the state of Florida, it is not required by law to hire a real estate attorney to close the sale of residential property. This applies to buyers and sellers and allows for closing companies or agencies, which are companies designed to manage the closings of property transactions, to represent the interests of buyers and sellers in the same manner that real estate attorneys do.
Unlike many other states, this offers a unique choice to Florida homebuyers. They are presented with the option to hire a real estate attorney or a title company/agency to represent their interests in a real estate transaction. The third option of negotiation between the buying and selling parties is available in Florida, as well. Still, hiring either a real estate attorney or title company is advisable to guide you through your real estate transaction. Most individuals are not familiar enough with the real estate market to represent themselves in this manner capably.
Both real estate attorneys and title companies or agencies are capable and qualified to close your property transaction. They both can provide advice, experience, and support to your transaction that may prove invaluable. The key difference between these two options is the legal capability of a real estate attorney. Real estate attorneys can provide additional legal advice and insight and the capacity to respond with legal action should anything go wrong during the transaction. This legal advice and capability may streamline issues or avoid them altogether. As such, it’s important to consider your own needs and unique buying situation when weighing the options on who to hire to close your real estate transaction. For example, individuals who anticipate no issues or feel very confident in their real-state transaction may feel better off choosing an agent from the title company, as legal advice or capability may not be at the forefront of their needs. On the other hand, a complex real estate transaction, for example, one involving an issue with the title, may require the experience and capability of a real estate attorney.
Because buying a home is one of the largest investments most people make in their lifetimes, it is critical to consider your needs when purchasing a home and weigh your options carefully. First-time homebuyers or those newer to the real estate market may find the legal advice that comes with hiring a real estate attorney more assuring. Conversely, those familiar with the real estate market may not see legal advice as necessary to their transaction. But ultimately, the choice of hiring either a real estate attorney or a title company or agency is entirely dependent on your property transaction and the details surrounding it.
There are a lot of steps involved in closing a real estate transaction in Florida. Getting the buyer to the closing table can be complicated, and issues can come up along the way. Here are the steps that most buyers will go through in Florida to get to the closing table:
- Earnest money deposited
- Apply for a mortgage
- Appraisal of the property
- Secure title insurance
- Inspection for termites and damage to the property
- Survey of the property
- Obtain hazard, wind, and flood insurance
- Conduct a pre-closing inspection of the property
- Closing documents prepared and reviewed by the buyer and seller
- Closing money exchanged between the parties
As you can see, there is a chance that legal issues could occur with all these steps. So, for residents of Florida, when deciding whether to use an attorney or a title company to close your home purchase transaction, consider how prepared you want to be should any issues arise and what resources you need to make informed decisions throughout your transaction. Homebuyers frequently consult with their realtor or mortgage loan officer to determine who to use.