The Gould Cooksey Fennell Blog

Advocate vs. Administrator: The Real Estate Attorney’s Edge

Engaging a skilled real estate attorney to assist you with your purchase or sale of Barrier Island property is of essential importance. Working directly with an experienced professional can make a huge difference in protecting your personal investment and preserving your financial resources. As a senior real estate attorney at Gould Cooksey Fennell, I have practiced law in the Barrier Island community over 40 years. I have written articles recently to provide guidance to parties in their selection of legal counsel, and the benefits of obtaining the “right fit” to complement your personal objectives. The purpose of this article is to detail specific, practical examples of the value an attorney adds by representing your legal interests.

How a Real Estate Attorney Protects Your Interests

It is well known that attorneys in Florida routinely write title insurance, perform closings and settlement of transactions for parties buying and selling real estate. Attorneys provide these services, and charge essentially the same premiums and settlement fees as commercial title insurance companies. More significantly, attorneys perform additional functions and services of critical importance to clients that greatly exceed what title insurance companies are permitted or trained to deliver. Examples of these additional functions and services follow:

  • Legal representation of your personal interests not provided by any other participant in the transaction.
  • Legal review of contracts and analysis of client exposure and responsibility.
  • Negotiating and drafting special contract provisions, amendments and closing documentation particular to your transaction.
  • Examination of title insurance exceptions and surveys, raising appropriate title objections, and monitoring resolution of corrective title activities.
  • Performing regulatory and compliance analysis, and obtaining closure of open/expired building permits.
  • Review of title acquisition to ensure continuity and consistency with client estate planning arrangements.
  • Examining condominium documents and association budgets relative to sufficiency or inadequacy of reserve funds set aside for future maintenance and repairs.
  • Drafting early and post-closing occupancy agreements and lease-back contracts.
  • Drafting loan documents to memorialize seller secured financing agreements.
  • Organizing new legal entities to insulate and limit client financial exposure and liability.
  • Representation of client interests when disputes arise between parties.

The matters noted above are performed by legal counsel as a routine element of representation. Absent this analysis, adverse matters or property conditions that may exist and are left uncorrected now become the problem of the new purchasing party. In most instances, these

missed adverse conditions are not “covered” by the purchaser’s title insurance policy, so filing a title insurance claim is not a viable solution. The best course of action is to raise the same as a pre-closing objection, and see to it that they are properly disposed of prior to settlement. Otherwise, these difficulties are inherited by the purchaser. They can negatively impact value, and impede a party’s ability to sell the property in the future.

Contact a Vero Beach Real Estate Attorney Today

A skilled real estate attorney brings a great deal of knowledge and experience to the table to support and protect client interests. These services and responsibilities are undertaken by the attorney with an ethical obligation to act solely on the client’s behalf. They are not provided to you by any other participant in the transaction, and no other party is trained to perform the same. Feel free to contact Gould Cooksey Fennell to discuss a possible engagement. We appreciate the opportunity to become an integral member of your professional team.

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