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Do I need a lawyer to buy house in Florida?

October 18, 2023

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Buying a house takes lots of time and money. People need to look into many variables before making such a commitment. Purchase costs are high enough, but as a buyer, you should also consider fees attached to realtors and escrow services.

Lawyer commissions are usually counted among the services that buyers and sellers enlist to protect their best interests throughout the process.

Do You Need a Lawyer for Your Real Estate Transaction?

Lawyers have different roles depending on the transaction. Sometimes, they're hired solely to look into all the records and documents that are presented in preparation for the closing. Other times, buyers trust lawyers to take the lead while handling the most important step of the transaction.

To be clear, there's no law in Florida that forces sellers and buyers to hire a firm's legal services. The practice itself is highly encouraged in almost all parts of the real estate industry, so most people plan to at least get a consultation with a lawyer before buying a property of any kind. Real estate lawyers can help you prepare, pointing out the differences between buying a house, a condo, a public establishment, or a company sold by an LLC.

For most people, buying a house represents a once-in-a-lifetime investment. Seeking legal counsel is the least you can do in a process where you're expected to make several deposits and transfer thousands of dollars. A lawyer's assistance can also help you address last-minute that could needlessly drag out the process.

Legal Services To Help Your Purchase Transaction

Real estate lawyers can use their expertise in multiple ways, from steady counsel to more tangible services involving the validation of legally-binding documents. Just like buyers, home sellers are usually expected to have a laywer looking into the process to ensure that no issues come out of their end, like the financial disputes caused by an unclear title.

If you're a buyer, this is what a lawyer can do to help you along the way:

  • Deal with negotiations after an offer is made: Buyers and sellers go over different conditions before signing a contract that seals their commitment to complete the transaction. A real estate lawyer can ensure that all these factors are discussed until reaching a resolution that's beneficial to their clients and crystal clear to all parties.

    These factors will be listed as contingencies in the final contract, so clients have less trouble withdrawing if certain conditions aren't met. The lawyer reviews the contract thoroughly to verify that nothing is missing before buyers can put in their signature. Contracts list details like purchase prices and payment methods, property inspections, and other conditions that need to be fulfilled before the closing date.

  • Two People Looking at Documents
  • Conduct title searches: Real estate lawyers have the credentials to conduct title searches within the state. They know how to locate legal loopholes or odd inaccuracies that could hide fraudulent practices. This is a complex responsibility, as lawyers need to look closely into a property's previous owners across different generations, along with any additional claims that have been made on the property over that time.

  • Prevent miscommunication and faulty interpretation of property documents: On the one hand, lawyers can oversee all negotiation meetings to ensure that all parties are on the same page before moving from one step of the process to the next. Realtors and specialists from title and escrow services can also help on this end.

    On the other hand, a lawyer who operates in the real estate industry understands the legal jargon better than anyone. They can look into all the documents to change unclear details and explain the legal/financial consequences of seemingly minor mistakes (misspelled names, wrong numbers, hidden claims, pending debt, etc.)

  • Closing lawyer services: Under Florida law, lawyers don't have to be present during the closing, specifically the moment when sellers and buyers sign the closing statement and the title is transferred from one party to the other. Still, their presence can be a great reassurance at such a crucial point.

    More importantly, real estate lawyers can review the closing statement with an eagle eye, keeping tabs on the credits and payments between the two parties. If you have questions about any of the costs on display, your lawyer can explain the reasoning behind those numbers and why they're part of the settlement.

An article by St Petersburg Real Estate Attorneys Ross & Pardun describing the roles of real estate attorneys in real estate transactions statewide, lawyers can also help you through irregular circumstances.

A Man Signing a DocumentSome of these cases include the sale of a deceased person's estate, closing services for buyers outside of Florida, divorce settlements, and even instances of discrimination against a specific party during a real estate transaction.

Save Time and Money Before Closing

It's true that you need to add legal fees to your closing budget, but this could also save you many expenses over the years. An undisclosed lien can give you more trouble if it's revealed after you have bought the house. Even before closing, you might waste extra time and money if you find an error on the contract right in the middle of a real estate transaction.

In the end, the biggest advantage of hiring an attorney is that you'll have an expert in real estate law in your corner, and all their decisions will be made with your best interest at heart.

Real estate transactions last for weeks or months depending on the case, and you don't necessarily have to hire a lawyer to handle each part of this lengthy process. Still, it's safer to have an expert guiding you from beginning to end, and it's much easier when you can trust a single service with all the documents and investigations involved in the process. If you're about to buy a house in Florida, Key Title & Escrow can be that ally.

Our experts provide the best legal services to keep you ahead of any problem, even if it comes to saving you from a misleading sales proposal.

Key Title & Escrow has all it takes to stay on top of everything, no matter how hectic things get between negotiations, property inspections, escrow transactions, and more. We know all the steps of a successful real estate purchase and we use the most reliable technology to protect your investment.

Just call (305) 235-4571 or toll-free at (800) 547-0006 to learn more about our services. You can also contact our specialists via the contact form on this page. We take care of everything so you never feel overwhelmed before closing, and the quality of our services ensures that you feel nothing but satisfaction after making your purchase.
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