In Florida, both, attorneys and title companies, may issue title insurance. In contrast, in some states, like Delaware, only attorneys may issue title insurance. The title insurance rates are promulgated by the Department of Insurance so title insurance obtained through an attorney is priced the same as from a title company. In addition, closing costs charged by an attorney acting as a closing agent are comparable to those charged by a title company. With that said, what is the difference using an attorney rather than a title company for closing?
1. When using an attorney as the closing agent, the client has legal representation throughout the transaction, from contract negotiations through closing. In contrast, a title company’s role is solely limited to preparing basic form documents necessary to issue a title insurance policy in connection with the closing. A title company cannot provide legal advice, input, or guidance.
2. Although real estate contract forms and other closing documents are in many cases preprinted forms, the need for contract addenda, non standard documents, or changes to standard documents frequently arises to address specific issues with respect to the property, the parties, title requirements, or the transaction in general. An attorney can prepare such documents, whereas the title company in many instances cannot (or should not).
3. Realtors working with attorneys, rather than title companies, benefit too since the attorney can assist the realtor with the contract preparation (generally at no additional charge), answering the client’s legal questions during the contract negotiations and preparing contract addendums and other relevant documents as needed (again generally at no additional charge). A title company cannot do so.
4. In preparing for closing, if the title search or survey reveals a potential issue, the attorney can provide legal advice as to the best and fastest way to cure the issue and prepare the necessary corrective documents so the parties can close quickly (generally at no additional charge). In contrast, title companies cannot generally prepare many curative documents, and can never provide legal advice or guidance when or as an issue arises. Indeed, when a title company is the closing agent, the parties many times must scramble to then go hire an attorney (at significant additional expense) to address issues that could cause closing delays or otherwise provide legal advice and guidance to address them.
5.When purchasing real estate, one of the most important decisions the Buyer has to make is how to take title to the property. An attorney can discuss the options available to the Buyer and the legal aspects and tax advantages concerning same. A title company cannot provide this important legal advice.
In summary, both, title companies and attorneys, strive to assure all parties involved in the transaction a smooth closing process from contract to a successful closing. However, as noted above, there is a major benefit in having an attorney as your closing agent and on your closing team.
This communication is not intended to establish an attorney client relationship, and to the extent anything contained herein could be construed as legal advice or guidance, you are strongly encouraged to consult with your own attorney before relying upon any information contained herein.
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