is it necessary to have a lawyer at closing?

Asked by Dwilli13, San Antonio, FL Wed Jul 14, 2010

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Fred Strickr…, Agent, New Port Richey, FL
Wed Jul 11, 2012
If you don't have an experienced Realtor® working on your behalf than I would highly recommend having an attorney look over the paperwork.

There is a saying that "Only a fool will hire themselves as an attorney". I have been in the real estate industry for 28 years, and in that 28 years I have gained a wealth of experience and I am firm believer that a good Realtor® is the most important choice a home buyer can make.

Best Wishes!


Fred Strickroot, Realtor®, MBA, CDPE
Florida Lic. Real Estate Brokerage
2154 Seven Springs Blvd, Suite 103
Trinity, FL 34655
1 vote
, ,
Wed Sep 5, 2012
Good morning Dwilli13,

It makes good sense to protect yourself with the single biggest purchase of your life by hiring an attorney who specializes in real estate transactions.

It is common here in New York to have an attorney represent the Buyer in a purchase transaction. I know elsewhere in the country this is not necessarily the case. Frankly, I can’t understand how anyone could proceed with signing important legal documents without an attorney present to review and advise.

Here's a nightmare example of what can happen to a Buyer who doesn't have an attorney protecting her best interests. This is a story of an actual client I met:

A Buyer signed a contract to purchase an apartment without an attorney representing her. The Buyer is not the least bit qualified for the mortgage loan. There is no way possible this Buyer can obtain financing to purchase this apartment.

Normally, you might think, “Well, alright, Buyer makes application to the bank, is denied for the loan, presents the denial letter to the Seller and gets the downpayment back.” Seems simple enough—and very common, indeed—but, not in this case.

The contract of sale has no mortgage contingency. And the Buyer put 10% of the purchase price down on signing.

If the Buyer had an attorney, at the very least the attorney would have made provision for a mortgage contingency in the contract. If the Seller refused to provide such a contingency, the attorney would have advised the Buyer of this deficit and the potential loss of downpayment. If the Buyer insisted on proceeding with the purchase minus the contingency, then an attorney could have advised the Buyer to be absolutely certain that mortgage financing was possible before signing the contract.

No attorney. No mortgage contingency. No mortgage loan approval. No way to get back the 10% downpayment.

Have your attorney on your “team” before you get out there shopping for a home. Your team of professionals should be at your disposal to advise you before you open up the paper to look at the “Homes For Sale” ads or contact a Realtor to show you homes.

A good real estate attorney seeks to do two things in a purchase transaction:

1. Protect her client. This includes a review and revision of the contract of sale to remove any harmful language/requirements. Also a review of the title report to verify there are no obstructions to you, the Purchaser, receiving a good "clean" title at closing. Lastly, a thorough review and explanation of the closing documents.

2. Help the Purchaser accomplish the goal of homeownership. A good real estate attorney understands that buying a home is a happy time: someone's dream is about to come true! Thus, the adversarial nature of the contract transaction gets toned down to a matter of reasonable conversations betwen the Purchaser's and Seller's attorneys. This isn't a lawsuit or divorce case, so the good real estate attorney has to tone down the rhetoric and find reasonable compromises---while still protecting his client---so that the goal of the contract is achieved: a home purchase.

Hope that helps!
Trevor Curran
NMLS #40140
0 votes
Maria Cipoll…, Agent, Coral Springs, FL
Wed Sep 5, 2012
Is always a good idea to have a real estate lawyer review your documents before you sign. Normally in Florida the closing occurs in a title company and they will review all the documents for you.


Maria Cipollone
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Pat, Home Buyer, San Antonio, FL
Wed Sep 5, 2012
I would! I would also like to see more Realtors do a proper du-diligence (sorry can't spell it) on the homes they wish to sell; 2007 we bought in TBG&CC, San Antonio and our Realtor (P?/Tropical Real Est., Wesley Chapel..., failed to check the most important items on the selling list - in fact, I ended up having to do her work myself...(Just in it for the commision - I felt.)
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, ,
Thu Jul 15, 2010
The answer varies by state, in FL, as in VA, the state licenses title firms to perform home closings. Remember, the choice of the closing agent is always yours, as the home buyer. Also recall, unless you have a buyers rep agreement with the real estate agent, all agents in the transaction represent the seller.
Shop around for a good closing company, you can save significantly on some of your closing costs. I hope these comments help, Jim Ryan, HSOA, O. 703 591 5626 ext 419 C. 703 615 4675.
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Don Tepper, Agent, Burke, VA
Wed Jul 14, 2010

In some areas of the country, it's fairly standard. But not in others.

You should have your lawyer review all the paperwork beforehand. But unless there are any red flags, you shouldn't need a lawyer present at closing.

Hope that helps.
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Scott Godzyk, Agent, Manchester, NH
Wed Jul 14, 2010
You do not need a lawyer to be present at your closing, if you do not have a buyers agent than you may want a lawyer to review your purchase and sales BEFORE signing it and then if a cash deal, you will want to hire a lawyer to conduct your cloing and work on yoru behalf, if you are getting a loan, the bank will hire a lawyer to conduct teh cloing which is looking out for you and the mortgage company.
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Rich Homer, Agent, NAPLES, FL
Wed Jul 14, 2010

No it is not. Is your transaction complicated? Wondering about the specifics, but a good Realtor in Florida along with a title company should be adequate. Contact us if we can offer any more help.
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