Now, a realtor is not going to recommend an attorney known for messing up deals. It's as simple as that.
If your agent has recommended an attorney, the attorney will probably respond a bit quicker because they have worked together before. You might actually get better service because again, they have worked with your realtor before. They might mutually refer business to each other. It doesn't make one or the other bad, Probably makes them both pretty good or they would not send referrals.
The realtors here have given you very good advice: Make sure the attorney is someone who specializes in real estate. In a city, that may be all they do. In a small town, they cannot rely on real estate alone but it should still be a significant part of their practice. You woudn't let your dentist practice surgery on you.
If this is a pure vanilla transaction, you are probably OK, maybe better off with their recommendation. The realtor is also sensitve to the fees that are charged and most will not use an attorney whose fees are out of line.
Here's my cautionary tale: many years ago, I bought an out of state vacation home. I asked my realtor to recommend a home inspector. She strongly discouraged me, stating "It's not customary to do home inspections here." I insisted and used the inspector she recommended. Some how he failed to turn on the water in the finished lower level, which would have revealed the numerous defects that the home had. The attorney, also recommended by the realtor, told me that there was nothing that I could do about it.
I think those instances are the exception, not the rule, but I do a lot of due diligence now before hiring any professional.
Agents don't get any type of compensation from the service providers they recommend to their clients, other than peace of mind because they know that they will be partnering with team members on behalf of their client to get the job done right.
However, an agents recommendation is just that: A recommendation. If you have your own "team" that you feel comfortable with, by all means, go for it! Just be sure who ever you choose is experienced in real estate and not Uncle Fred the Divorce Attorney.
During the homes sale/purchase process you will need to make some decisions that will place you in an uncomfortable position. You know you need the "right person", but you are not sure about how to make certain they in fact "are the right person"
One of the reasons I decided to move from only the investor-side of the real estate business to the "retail side" was that I was continually have issues with people who had been referred or recommended to provide me with assistance or advice.
My suggestion is to interview a number of people for key areas or roles of responsibility. Make a list of questions, ask them the same questions, and compare the answers.
I do have a couple of theories about this process:
1. Even with the perfect questions, people provide us with imperfect answers
2. At some point we all need to trust somebody. Assembling a team of professionals is in my view one of the Realtors roles...if they can do it in a way that you are comfortable. Even if your Realtor makes a recomendation, you should ask something like "I'd like to speak with them first one on one to develop my own opinion. "
3. There are advantages to working with people who have worked together before. A Realltor and an attorney, title company, inspector, etc. can provide you with a stronger and more proficient team than one that you or I put together because they are mutually accountable to each other. If the Realtor provides a referral to an attorney that you accept, and there is an issue that comes up, I would go back to the Realtor with that "well, he's your recommendation. Help him fix it" or something like that.
Best of luck to you.
Oh, and one more thing...pray for wisdom and discernment!
Of course, you are in Florida.... who knows in that State?.. (ducks...) Just Kidding!!
If you trust your agent (and you should) then you should take their advice, or get another agent whom you DO trust.
As for whom you use, agents are supposed to provide you with at least 3 choices for any service you request. If your agent has provided only one, you should ask for two more, then choose the one you prefer.
Sometimes an Real Estate or Mortgage agent will tell you to get a lawyer because it relieves everyone in the transaction from liability. IE: You had representation, don't come back here whining to me about some problem with the property, the terms of the mortgage, etc. Maybe the agent is unsure of themself???
As JR suggested, if you need a lawyer for a real estate transaction, find a real estate lawyer, not a 'hack' of all trades.