What is the Difference Between a Title Company and a Real Estate Lawyer?

What is the Difference Between a Title Company and a Real Estate Lawyer

When the time comes to buy or sell a home, what is a better choice a real estate lawyer or a title company?  While you can use either of them you need to know what is the difference between a title company and a real estate lawyer.  Let’s look at both entities and see who is a better choice for you.

Real estate attorneys

They are highly educated specialists that have understand the law as it relates to real estate, they are there to protect your interests whether you are a buyer or a seller.  The can fulfill the role of an escrow agent and hold onto down payments along with helping you get the right paperwork in order.  They are there to explain the legalities and how it can affect your transaction.  You can have your own attorney at closing rather than relying on the one supplied by the lender.  Your attorney has two main responsibilities at the end of the day.

  1. Advise you of the documentation during the buying/selling process
  2. Represent you during the closing.

Aside from these responsibilities your attorney can help you with modifications that may need to be made to the contract.  If you are the seller then they can prepare your deed.  Your attorney will also accompany when the deal closes and let you know of any tax problems you might have because of the sale.  Here is an overview of the process from an attorney’s point of view.

The Title Company

A title company is essentially an insurance agency.  They insure the titles for buyers and lenders to make sure that the title or deed is free from any encumbrance that may cost you money in the future.  They insure that the buyer will receive the property free and clear without liens against the property.  This type of insurance actually protects everyone.  Title companies will have lawyers on hand to make sure that all the requirements are fulfilled.  The closing process will depend on the state and municipality that you live in.

Buying or selling property

While you can use either one to close on your property, you may be better off with a real estate lawyer particularly if the transaction gets the least bit complicated.  Then the services of a lawyer are far better than simply having title insurance.  Simple transactions, on the other hand, can be done with just a title company.

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The Basics of Real Estate Law

The Basics of Real Estate Law

Real estate law is multi-faceted with a lot of different categories and different laws that govern transactions.  When talking about real estate transactions, “real” refers to real property and this is the land and the buildings that are permanently attached.  That also includes anything that is underneath as well.  If you find oil or natural gas under your property then the property owner has the rights to any natural resources found on their land.

Property Ownership

When it comes to owning property it is not without risks.  You have a liability to the state, your neighbours and those who come onto your property.  Also when you buy a piece of property it can fall under zoning restrictions.  Zoning restrictions are found most often within the boundaries of a city, the city can determine things like what type of structures that you can put on the land.  If you want to build an office building in the middle of a residential street the city can stop you.  That particular piece of property may only be zoned for residential property.

Liability isn’t just about zoning laws it can include liability to third-parties too, for example paying your mortgage to a lender for your house or building is also a liability.  If you as the owner don’t meet the obligations of the liability then your loan or mortgage is in default and the lender can seize the property as payment for the outstanding debt.

State Laws

Property laws go all the way back to the kings and queens that used to rule Europe and the settlers took them with them when they came to America.  Although property law has changed a great deal and even today these laws are still evolving.  Real Estate law can vary state by state and are impacted by the geography and culture of each individual state.


If you are having a land dispute with your neighbor and you own property in Florida, then a real estate attorney from Washington doesn’t do you any good.  You want to deal with local representation who knows the property laws in your state along with the municipal codes in your city.  They are well versed in your rights as a property owner and can advise you accordingly.

Property disputes are never fun and if you find yourself in the middle of one then you need an attorney, find one that specializes in real estate law and understands the statutes that regulate your location.

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