does florida requires a real estate lawyer for closing

Does Florida Require a Lawyer for Real Estate Closings?

14 Feb 2022

Every day, hundreds of real estate transactions are closed between a myriad of parties across Florida. The typical real estate deal involves at least two parties—a buyer and a seller—each of whom will likely have a Realtor assisting in the purchase or sale of the property, respectively. There also will often be a title company involved to ensure title issues are squared away before closing.

You may think this is all you need for a successful transaction to close. However, even the smallest and most seemingly straightforward property deals have high stakes: A future home and/or investment for the buyer, and significant proceeds for the seller. With so much riding on any given transaction, you must think carefully about hiring an attorney for your purchase or sale.

The Basics

The short answer: Florida law does not require the parties in a real estate transaction to hire an attorney. In other words, it is not mandatory for buyers or sellers to rely on professional legal guidance when closing a real estate deal.

However, real estate transactions not only involve a large amount of funds being exchanged, but they involve numerous complexities, such as multiple parties (e.g., real estate agents, home appraisers, lenders, etc.) and demanding procedures (e.g., title search, home inspection, loan approval, etc.).

Given all the elements involved, how can a buyer or seller guarantee that their best interests are protected throughout the negotiation and closing process? How does a buyer or seller know what their rights or responsibilities are under the purchase and sale contract and Florida law?

That is where an attorney comes in: A qualified legal advisor will seek to protect the interests of their client and ensure that the deal benefits them. A licensed Florida attorney is bound by the rule of professional ethics to represent and safeguard your interests above virtually everything else. 

By contrast, Realtors and non-attorney operated title companies are not allowed to provide legal advice in Florida, as only attorneys licensed in in Florida have the authorization to provide legal services and general counsel.

Preventing Potential Issues

It is not difficult to see that complications may arise during even the most seemingly smooth of real estate transactions. Such unforeseen issues may expose the parties to risk (including legal liability) and hefty costs.

Common but potentially catastrophic mistakes include failure to disclose defects in the property, miscommunication and misinterpretation of the contract terms, inaccurate information, issues with the title, restrictions on the sale, and still more.

Ideally, preventing these issues is better than trying to solve them, which makes the legal advice of a real estate attorney fundamental for ensuring that your transaction makes it to closing as smoothly and stress-free as possible. Even if an issue arises, a Florida real estate attorney will have the tools, experience, and dedication to protect you and resolve it as effectively as possible.

Preparing and Handling Documentation

As you might expect, closing a real estate transaction involves a lot of documents and paperwork: Sales contracts, property deeds, approval or reoccupancy certificates, closing statements, reports on properties’ title history, approval letters from the condo or homeowner’s association, and possibly more.

In this digital age, it is common for everyone—even real estate agents and other professionals—to rely on ready-to-file forms easily found on the internet. Yet standardized forms, while convenient, may not cover all the circumstances and details involved in a Florida purchase and sale transaction.

Each property sale is unique, as well as the parties involved in the real estate transaction. Hence, a one-size-fits-all approach is at best inefficient, and at worst, potentially problematic for protecting your interests. It is better to have all the documents drafted by an experienced Florida real estate attorney who knows the specifics of the transaction and what to account for.  

Are Title Companies Actually Necessary?

An attorney-owned and operated title company is crucial to ensuring a successful real estate transaction. No matter what type of property you are dealing with, you must ensure that its title—i.e., the rights to possess, use, and transfer the property—is sound and does not expose you to risk.

A title company will investigate the records in an effort to identify any issues or defects that may hinder the property’s sale or leave the buyer exposed to costly liabilities. These include uncovering judgments and liens, defects in prior deeds, easements and encumbrances, and much more.

For so-called “hidden hazards” that even the most diligent search cannot find, your title expert can draft a title insurance policy that will protect you in the event such issues emerge after the closing.

However, it is even better to hire a company that unites title experts and real estate attorneys to deliver the best and most comprehensive title service throughout the State of Florida.

Waste No Time with Uncertainty – Work with Marina Title Today

You literally cannot afford to wonder whether you need an attorney for your real estate transaction. There is too much at stake to leave it all to chance, and no one will know the law better—or have the right to advise you accordingly—than your own attorney.

Owned and operated by experienced Florida real estate attorneys, Marina Title is the premier title company in Miami.  With our team by your side, you get the best of both worlds: Zealous legal representation through every stage of your transaction, as well as comprehensive title services that will protect your investment for years to come.

If you need comprehensive and effective title solutions in Florida and would like to learn more about what how we can assist you, contact Attorney Jennie Farshchian at (305) 901-5628 or email Info@MarinaTitle.com.

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