In short, a Title Services company can provide title services (such as title search, notarized title transfer, filing of the title transfer, and title insurance) required of a real-estate closing, without the engagement of an attorney. However, any ensuing disputes over a title claim would definitely require an attorney to represent your side of the dispute. Therefore, the old adage, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure …” applies in the benefit of having an attorney involved in the title services at the time of buying a home; The experienced real estate lawyer can identify risks of potential title disputes, and help to avoid and mitigate risks, or advise a client to avoid a risky transaction altogether. In the case of engaging an attorney to prevent a problem before the transaction, or handle a dispute after the transaction, the latter can be disastrous in real estate title issues.
The question frequently arises because some title agencies are attorney-based, and some are not. Also, the time and place of the closing is often coordinated and recommended to they home buyer by the real estate agent, so the home buyer often raises that question, “Is a real estate attorney involved in the title transfer and closing? Do I need one?” If the selected title company isn’t attorney-based and engaging their attorney in the review of the contract as well as the title search and paperwork, it would be difficult to confidently answer, “you don’t, or won’t, need an attorney involved”, from the perspective of potential risk.
What Are Title Services? What is a Real Estate Attorney’s Role, if Involved?
Let’s be more clear about the services provided by a title company, and the services/benefits that a real estate attorney would add.
Title Services Provided by a Title Company (Any Title Company) in a Typical Real Estate Closing:
- A title search looks into public records to ensure that all past title transfers associated with the property were legally filed, and that there are no recorded disputes or outstanding, unresolved claims to the property by parties other than the current seller.
- The title transfer includes oversight of the transaction in accordance with the buyer-seller contract, and settling of all payments and loan balances, plus transactional fees, etc. due at the closing.
- The title company is also responsible for filing and recording the title claim with the appropriate municipal office, i.e., the county recording office.
- The title company can also offer and secure title insurance for the buyer, which protects the title from claims that have been missed or are undetectable in the course of the title search.
Benefits of Including an Attorney in the Real Estate Transaction, and/or Choosing an Attorney-Based Title Agency:
- A real-estate attorney is able to review the buyer-seller contract and offer a legal opinion as to client’s unforeseen risks in the transaction, and whether or not there are any terms of the transaction that could affect the title.
- In the case of any unresolved claims on the title, only an attorney can address and offer a legal opinion on the validity of claims.
- While a title company can process the title search and transfer documents, only a licensed real estate attorney can offer the legal opinion as to whether or not a party can hold title to a property. Buyer and seller both benefit from this ounce of prevention.
Agency Title, Inc., is an attorney-founded title company serving the greater Louisville and Southern Indiana communities for more than 25 years, with reliable title services, real estate closings, and attorney review. Today we have expanded into four offices, including Bardstown, KY. Our own attorneys are still engaged in the review of all title services. Please contact us for assistance with any real estate closings, other title services or questions. We look forward to serving you!