The Gould Cooksey Fennell Blog

Should I Use a Real Estate Attorney?

Yes. Engaging the assistance of a skilled real estate attorney is a vital component of a successful real estate transaction. If you’re buying or selling real estate in Florida and are considering using an attorney, here are some important considerations.

Real Estate Attorneys Encourage Smooth Transactions

When you select a property to purchase, you are likely to encounter numerous transaction participants, including real estate agents, title insurance companies, lenders, appraisers, home inspectors and surveyors, along with the selling party. This process can become confusing, and along the way you may receive what appears to be conflicting or inconsistent advice. At times, you may even feel like the only nonexpert in the room, while the other participating parties seem to be speaking a different language. This can become stressful, particularly because you are committing your own financial resources, but you may feel as though you are the least informed.

The reality is that all these participants can each play an important role, but they typically work independently of one another, and they each limit their focus to specified parts of the transaction. Only your personal attorney has a broad and singular duty to protect you and your legal interests. An attorney is your personal fiduciary. We are trained and ethically bound to see that your needs are served. An experienced attorney will tailor his/her advice to fit your individual objectives. Your attorney will perform important analysis that no other participant will perform, and also explain important matters that
you may not have otherwise considered.

Legal Considerations & Title Insurance

Real estate transactions move swiftly, and important decisions in many instances have to be made “on the fly”. Attorneys know this, and they can guide your actions, to both explain and defend the consequences that arise from your choices. An attorney handling your transaction engages in a great deal of supplemental analysis and due diligence on your behalf that is not performed by any other participant in the transaction. This is critically important to protect your valuable investment.

For example, a knowledgeable attorney understands the inherent limitations of title insurance. Title insurance is used in almost every Florida real estate transaction. However, a title insurance policy provides no coverage or protection for many property conditions that constitute real title defects, and should actually be raised as title objections. These property conditions are rarely, if ever, disclosed to a purchaser by the other participants to the transaction. Your attorney will analyze these matters, and see to it that they are addressed and cleared in advance of settlement. This extra measure of due diligence and review by your attorney significantly enhances your protection. Absent this supplemental analysis, a purchaser may inherit these deficiencies, and his/her title insurance policy will provide no coverage or relief to the purchaser after closing.

Important Documents & Estate Planning

In addition to clearing title objections, an attorney can help you review your purchase and
sale agreement, and the closing documents you must execute at settlement. An astute attorney will counsel a client to be certain that a real estate investment is acquired consistent with the client’s existing estate planning arrangements. We counsel many clients that are moving to Florida from their former home state, or purchasing second homes or vacation homes. These parties generally have a structured estate plan already in place. It is important to confirm that the acquisition of title does not defeat the structure of this existing estate plan, and this analysis may engender the use of a trust or other special purpose entity to hold ownership.

Speak to a Vero Beach Real Estate Attorney Today

Speak to an attorney at the outset of your transaction. You’re likely to find that engaging a skilled professional to represent your interests will insure a smooth and efficient closing, timely solutions to issues that arise, and greater peace of mind with your real estate investment. Contact us today to speak with experienced real estate attorneys in Vero Beach, FL.

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