Is Florida a Title or Attorney Closing State?
December 22, 2022As real estate laws and regulations vary from state to state —and even between counties—, so does the closing process. In some states, known as "attorney states", a licensed attorney is required to handle and control the closing process, while in other states, operations can be conducted through negotiations between the party's real estate agents, with the involvement of a title company, without an attorney having to intervene. Even in states where a real estate attorney is not mandatory, complex circumstances may arise that merit legal assistance from a professional.
If you're reading this, it's probably because you're planning to buy or sell a property in Florida and want to know who to go to to help you close your real estate transaction as smoothly as possible. That's why through this article, our title and escrow company will tell you which states require an attorney, which do not, and how real estate closings are handled in the state of Florida.
TITLE VERSUS ATTORNEY CLOSING STATES
Let's quickly review what Homelight has to say about the requirements for each of the 50 states in the US:
In attorney states, due to laws, court decisions, or other regulations, a real estate attorney is required —fully or partially— to close the transaction.
In states such as Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Kentucky, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, North Carolina, South Carolina, and West Virginia a licensed attorney must conduct the real estate process.
In other states like Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Wyoming an attorney is partially required to examine, certify or give an opinion on the title and/or prepare, draft, and/or legal documents.
In states such as Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin, a real estate attorney is not required to close the transaction. However, one may be hired by your title company or real estate agent if/when advice is needed.
There are certain places, like the northern region of New Jersey, where the tradition comes into play, and it has become customary for an attorney to intervene in the real estate closing process. Chicago, Illinois, is another example where it is customary for a real estate attorney to review and approve title documents, even when not mandatory.
In other states, such as Hawaii and New York, a real estate attorney is not essential for closing. Still, due to certain complexities in these states, hiring one is customary and legally advisable.
On the other hand, there are other states where an attorney is not necessary, but local laws leave a gray area for them to have to intervene — fully or partially— in the process.
This is the case in Maine, where real estate closings can be conducted by either a licensed attorney or a title company, however, Maine Law Title 9-A, §3-311, states that "the consumer may select the attorney of their choosing." This also happens in Maryland, where an attorney is not mandatory but Maryland Real Property §3-104(f)(1)clearly states that "an attorney must certify that any deed, mortgage, or deed of trust has been prepared (1) by an attorney, (2) under an attorney's supervision, or (3) by one of the parties named in the instrument."
To be safe, ask your real estate agent or title company how things are handled in your state before closing, as laws and regulations can change over time.
HOW ARE CLOSINGS HANDLED IN FLORIDA?
As aforementioned, Florida is a closing state. Therefore, it is not mandatory for the buyer or the seller to hire a real estate attorney to close the sale of residential real property. Operations can be conducted between the party's real estate agents, with the involvement of a title company, without an attorney intervening.
In other words, your title and escrow company, along with your real estate agent, are capable of guiding you through the closing process from start to finish, making sure every document is properly prepared, everything is properly inspected, obligations are met, and all is correctly signed and recorded. The presence of a real estate attorney is only really necessary if any complication should arise that requires the legal assistance of a licensed attorney.
At Key Title & Escrow we have the experience and knowledge to handle your closing from start to finish. With over 24 years and an uncountable amount of successful transactions, you can rest assured you'll have a hassle-free process when working with us. And if any legal assistance is needed, we will be the first to let you know and even recommend a real estate attorney to handle the issue.
So if you're ready to buy or sell a property in the state of Florida, just give us a call at (305) 235-4571 or toll-free at (800) 547-0006. You can also fill out the Contact us form on this page and we will get back to you as soon as we possibly can. We will be more than happy to handle your closing in Florida.