by Dell Claiborne
My husband and I are scheduled to close on a house in Highland Park. Should we get an attorney or title company?
First of all, congratulations on your purchase in one of Richmond’s great historic neighborhoods. Regarding your question, there will always be debate among real estate professionals on this topic and it appears to me that the community is split down the middle. A case can be made for both attorneys and Title Companies. The issue that usually starts the debate is cost. Honestly, there isn’t a huge difference in the cost of an attorney compared to a Title Company handling your closing. Title Companies advertise that their rates are lower than those charged by closing attorneys. In some cases, this is true and then a Title Company can be an advantage for cost-conscious purchasers.
However, the argument made on behalf of real estate attorneys is that Title Companies can’t give legal advice should a problem arise. Sometimes issues arise at the closing table that will require the expertise of a lawyer. Having an attorney present can really alleviate problems or prevent them from escalating. So in an effort to compete and to better serve clients, many closing companies will employ attorneys in order to handle legal issues and dispense legal advice.
In my opinion the best way to choose which is better for you is to sit down with a real estate attorney and a representative from a Title Company and choose the one that you feel will give you the best customer service. You will have lots of questions during the closing process and you should not only have your questions answered, but have them answered in a way that you feel comfortable and learn about the process. Throughout my career, I have worked with both closing attorneys and Title Companies and been satisfied with both.
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