Should seller use same attorney as buyer?

Asked by lincoln572, Naples, FL Sat Feb 9, 2013

Selling a house in Naples - already agreed upon price, contract, etc. Attorney fees will cost $800-$900. Attorney representing buyer will do it for less than half the price. Seems like a conflict of interest, but would like to save the money. Is it a dumb idea??

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Joseph Runfola’s answer
Joseph Runfo…, Agent, Staten Island, NY
Sat Feb 9, 2013
I am not an attorney, nor I am providing legal advice, in my opinion it's not a good idea to use one attorney. The ABA is opposed to one lawyer advising all parties in a real estate transaction. Dual representation is virtually always improper in real estate transactions because of the very high probability that conflicts of interest will develop. When one client's gain results in the other's loss, an attorney has usually breached his duty of undivided loyalty if he acts for both.Confer with an independent attorney for advice.
3 votes
James Deskins, Agent, Worthington, OH
Wed Feb 13, 2013
Since you're asking the question and you said "it seems like a conflict of interest"....yes, it's a dumb idea.

Sorry, folks, but Florida is wacky. How could it EVER be a good idea to use the OTHER party's attorney? NO disadvantage? What if there is a legal problem and the seller wants to sue you? If you were going to court for some other reason would you use the other person's attorney?

I am so glad I don't do real estate in Florida.

I am NOT an attorney and this is NOT legal advice.
2 votes
hahahah funny, but I agree!
Flag Wed Feb 13, 2013
Antonio Vega…, Agent, Saint Cloud, FL
Sat Feb 9, 2013
In Central Florida most deals are closed by Title companies, not by attorneys. Most Title companies have an attorney on staff or are owned by an attorney. regardless of the set up they are supposed to be a neutral entity just bringing the transaction to a closing and does not represent any of the sides. If you are in a situation where the other side is represented by their own attorney it seems logical that you will hire one to protect your side. Sometimes all that is required is for them to overlook the procedure or take a look at the final paerwork before you sign. Was this answer helpful? If so please click on the "green thumbs up" or the "best answer".

Tony Vega
La Rosa Realty
2 votes
Debra (Debbi…, Agent, Livingston, NJ
Wed Feb 13, 2013
It seems "up north" we do things differently, as in northern NJ the buyer and seller each hire their own attorney for representation.
But, then, we routinely use attorneys here, not title companies, to handle our closings.

I don't know how much you're selling your house for, but to save $400-450 isn't much in comparison if it in any way compromises your position should there be an issue.

I will defer to your local "customs" so I am not attempting to give advice, as each area of the country does business in their own unique way!

Best wishes.....
1 vote
Bill Sontag, Agent, Naples, FL
Sun Feb 10, 2013
Hi Lincoln,

The numbers should not change for you either way so it should not make any difference. Your agent should review the HUD1 or closing statement and make sure the HUD1 follows the terms of the contract. The fees from the lawyer are higher because the title insurance is paid for by the buyer and that is where both title companies and lawyers make their money. Go for it.

Bill Sontag
Prudential Florida Realty
1 vote
Kathy Bogan…, , Naples, FL
Sat Feb 9, 2013
It's a personal decision; I see no disadvantage and it usually saves dollars. In a litigious closing it will be more difficult to recommend. In the Washington. DC area , where I am from, the same closing agent (either title or lawyer) always closed both sides, however, the buyer selected the closer. The Lee County contract and Collier differ in respect who selects closer and who closes. KathyBC 800-448-3411 ext 601...(2/9)
1 vote
Mary Horesco, Agent, Naples, FL
Sat Feb 9, 2013
Realtors are not in a position to give legal advice, but can offer suggestions and examples of past experience. Attorneys that represent buyers are only providing the title services to the seller,when using the same attorney. Title companies make some profit on the title insurance, so they can offer a lower price to the other party for title services.
It is up to the other party ( you) to decide if an attorney that will represent you should problems arise, is worth paying the extra cost.
An attorney that you may want to use for this sale, is worth consulting with so that you can make an educated decision on a very important legal transaction.
Good luck.

Mary Horesco
"Outstanding Performance Award Winner"
Downing-Frye Realty, Inc.
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1 vote
Bill Sontag, Agent, Naples, FL
Wed Feb 13, 2013
Simple...if you have a good Realtor who can check a HUD1 to make sure it is accurate, you can save money having the lawyer or title company close both sides. Closing companies from either side can make a mistake so what does it matter. If you are not paying for the title insurance yourself, you will have to hire a lawyer to do your closing.
0 votes
lincoln572, Home Buyer, Naples, FL
Wed Feb 13, 2013
Thank you all for your responses. Clearly, no consensus, but all helpful.
0 votes
Marc Comisar, Agent, Bonita Springs, FL
Wed Feb 13, 2013
Should not present a problem.....a closing is a closing. They should not do anything biased in the transaction anyway......we all work on a code of ethics.
0 votes
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