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Real Estate Attorney vs Title Company

Saturday, March 30, 2019   /   by Dixie Simon

Real Estate Attorney vs Title Company

Can someone please explain the difference?
What a great question for both the Seller and the Buyer

A Title Company is an insurance agency. They represent title insurance companies that ensure clean title to buyers and lenders. A title needs to be free and clear of encumbrances or any cloud on said title that would cause a financial loss. The potential financial loss is what is insured.

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The settlement transaction (the order in which documents are executed and filed for public record) together with the financial accounting of said transaction is insured in the event any error or omission. For the title insurance company to ensure the closing, they will require that it be done by a qualified closing agent who represents their company.  A title company is used to close the deal.
  • In many areas, especially in smaller communities where there are no title insurance company offices, attorneys can close a real estate transaction. The attorney submits a resume and makes an application to the insurance company for approval in order to be an insured closing agent.

  • An attorney may close a real estate transaction regardless of title insurance in a settlement. Sometimes a title company works side by side with an attorney if the attorney is not bonded to carry title insurance...which is rare. 


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Title companies may not practice law, however, they will often have an attorney on retainer to manage the care of legal issues that arise. The title company may provide the blank legal forms, contracts and promissory notes for example, but they can not give legal advice. They will sometimes assist in filing such forms, but at the direction of the parties as applicable.

A Clients dream team should have a good title company, familiar with investor strategies. The title company also needs to include an excellent real estate attorney, in certain cases especially to guide and consult when needed. 

An attorney in the title company on retainer by the title company, should not be representing you the client! The fact is, this attorney will be representing the title company, not the client. It is suggested to have a private attorney who has no connection with the title company in the event of a conflict in opinion or other matters.  The title company's attorney will side with the title company, whom they represent. Of course, It depends on the nature of the issue as to whether to use the title attorney or a private attorney. If there were a conflict of interest, they will definitely inform the client.


Which is best? Many people don't care. Several of my realtor friends love using the attorney. Fees may be a little bit higher; however, the realtor feels this is a measure of security for their client. Most residential transactions I feel totally comfortable with the title companies. If it were a condo or other commercial sale, I would totally want an attorney involved. This may or may not answer all your questions but at least you know that both options are available and you can choose where and with whom you would like to close. 
If you have any other questions feel free to contact me.

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