January 13, 2020 – Why you absolutely should hire a real estate attorney for your closing
DON’T BELIEVE WHAT YOU HEAR. YOU ABSOLUTELY SHOULD HIRE A REAL ESTATE ATTORNEY FOR YOUR PROPERTY PURCHASE OR SALE. Even if you are the buyer and the seller is paying for your title policy.
I hear this from potential clients every week. “My realtor said I don’t need an attorney”. “My realtor told me the title company the seller selected is handling the transaction”. “My friends told me that you don’t need an attorney to handle a real estate closing in Florida”.
STOP THE MADNESS! YOU SHOULD HIRE A REAL ESTATE ATTORNEY! NO ONE ELSE IN THE TRANSACTION IS LOOKING OUT FOR YOU! Here is a real life example that just happened to my client on Friday. Fortunately, she was smart and had hired me to represent her in the purchase of a home in the Orlando area. The property was owned by a partnership – let’s call it ABC Partnership. ABC Partnership signed the Purchase Agreement and per the terms of the contract, hired the title company. Which I would add – was an attorney owned title company. After a week of requesting the closing statement and other closing documents from the title company- I received them at 4PM on a Friday when we were scheduled for a Monday morning closing. Obviously – that left no time to wire the funds as we received the documents after the wire rooms close.
But that is not the biggest issue. The documents had the wrong name of the seller! They had the seller as XYZ Partnership – the company that sold the property to ABC Partnership. Clearly a red flag that something was wrong. I searched the Public Records and presented the most recent Deed to the title company that showed that the property had been transferred to ABC partnership in December. They had apparently never looked at the Purchase Agreement to see the name of the seller, never updated the title – frankly, I am not sure what they did or did not do. Had I not been involved, they would have sent a mobile notary to meet with my client and she would have innocently signed the closing documents, wired her funds to the title company and RECEIVED A DEED FROM THE WRONG PARTY!! Would she even have a title insurance claim?? I cannot even imagine the nightmare she would have faced if I had not been involved to review the work of the attorney-owned title company handling this transaction.
Everyone can make a mistake. But you sell yourself short by not paying the very modest fees of a real estate attorney to represent you – even if the other party is paying for the title policy. That is only as good as the work of the title company they select. As this true story shows – even a title company can make a mistake. Protect yourself by having the trained eyes of an experienced real estate attorney to review what the title company selected by the other party has done to make sure everything was done properly.