In Florida, the law does not require that you retain an attorney for real estate transactions. Yet many buyers and sellers choose to have a lawyer represent them. Why?

In a word, protection. Your real estate sales agent or broker has knowledge of property values and housing trends. However, when you are about to sign legal documents, you should have a legal professional in your corner. For about the same cost, a a real estate lawyer can do everything that a title company representative can. In addition, an attorney can:

Provide advice

Title companies prepare documents for you to sign at closing. Real estate agents may be able to explain most of the provisions.

However, neither agent can offer you legal advice before you sign the documents. Decisions such as how to take title to the property can affect you for as long as you own the property. Before signing, you should understand the legal and tax implications of each option.

Create and amend contracts

You benefit by having an attorney negotiate and examine contracts on your behalf. Discovering issues at the last minute can delay or derail the transaction. If you find out that something is wrong at closing, if the sale is nonstandard or if you need to change a clause in closing documents, you may need a lawyer present.

Represent you

All the other parties at closing represent themselves or their company. Who is there for you? A real estate lawyer can look out for your interests and advocate for you when no one else in the room will.

It can be intimidating to stand alone. You may find it empowering to have someone on your side as you close your real estate transaction.