Title Company vs. Real Estate Attorney: Cost

Having an attorney close the purchase of your home does not have to cost you more than having a title company perform the closing. When I ask homebuyers whether they would like to have a title company close the purchase of their home or whether they would like to have a real estate attorney close the transaction I usually get the same response: “I’d love to have an attorney close my deal but it would cost too much.”

It doesn’t have to cost too much, let me explain. Title Insurance Premiums are charged at a promulgated rate. In other words, the title insurance premium that is charged by either a title company or a real estate attorney is set by statute and is generally going to be identical regardless of who you choose to perform the closing. This does not mean, however, that the total cost charged by a title company or a real estate attorney is going to be identical. While the title insurance premium will likely be the same, it is customary for there to be a settlement fee charged as well. This settlement fee is where the prices between title companies themselves and attorneys can vary widely. Even between title companies, it is not uncommon for one title company to charge a much higher settlement fee than another. The settlement fee charged by attorneys can also vary greatly. For this reason, the best place to start a comparison of charges would be to compare the settlement charges of any title company or attorney you are considering.

However, comparing the settlement fee is not enough to make a final determination. Another area which may result in a difference in the total amount charged is the practice of charging “Junk Fees.” Many title companies are aware that consumers will compare settlement charges between companies and try to get away with what amounts to a bait and switch. They quote a low settlement fee but then add fees for such things as photocopies, couriers, shipping, scanning, and/or file maintenance. In financed transactions, this practice has been generally banned but the practice still survives. So, in determining whether an attorney is going to be more expensive than a title company the best course of action is to obtain an estimate of all charges from any title company or attorney you are considering and compare their charges.

In the end, it usually takes the eye of a trained real estate professional to determine the true difference in cost between title companies and real estate attorneys. But rest assured, hiring an attorney does not have to “cost too much” or even cost more than a title company. If you are interested in having an attorney close your real estate transaction at a rate that is comparable to what would be charged by a title company, call my office at Enrique J. Fernandez, P.A. at 305-226-4529 for a consultation. While I usually charge a fee of $100 for an hour consultation, I will waive the fee if you mention this blog. I’ll talk to you soon.

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The Law Offices of Enrique J. Fernandez, P.A.

Enrique J. Fernandez is a trusted real estate attorney and title agent serving the people of Miami, Florida and the surrounding areas. If you or one of your clients is looking to buy or sell real estate, we are here to help ensure everything goes as smoothly as possible throughout the entire process.

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