When It Comes Time To Close On Your New House: What Is The Difference Between A Title Company And A Real Estate Attorney?

Are you getting ready to close on a house? Whether you are buying a brand new house or a previously owned one, or whether you are buying through a real estate agency or directly from the seller, you will need a means of closing on the house and taking the title. Transfer of ownership rights to real property such as real estate requires third party involvement. This is because the new title and deed to the property must be filed with your local court to prove your ownership. It is more complicated than it sounds. While some states require you use a real estate attorney, others give you a choice of using a title company instead. If you live in a state that offers you either option, which one is the best for you? What are the differences between a title company and a real estate attorney, and are there any similarities?

1. Both Title Companies and Real Estate Attorneys Handle the Paperwork Involved In Transferring Ownership of a House or Land

According to ELocalLawyers.com, title companies get the necessary documents together, write up the closing statement that includes the closing costs, and act as an escrow agent in the transferring of funds from one party to the other. Real estate attorneys do all of these things, too.

When it comes to preparing the paperwork and handling the money, you won't find much difference between your two options, if any. Also, both title companies and real estate attorneys will host closings at their offices.

2. Title Companies Only Handle Paperwork and Money

If you are very confident that no problems will arise with the sellers, with the title to the property, or anything else at the closing, then you can use a title company and be confident everything went smoothly and the house is yours. Title companies are very good at doing the paperwork and handling the money involved in a closing.

However, this is all they do. They cannot advise you on any issues that may come up during the closing, and they cannot help you understand the legal documents you are signing when you buy your house. They are clerks and processors. If you expect a clean closing, a title company is good for you to use.

3. Real Estate Attorneys Handle Legal Issues Involved With the Closing

Legal issues can often come up during house closings. There may be problems with the title the sellers aren't even aware of, such as it not being clean. The house title may have an encumbrance on it due to an unknown lien, or it may still technically belong to earlier owners. Real estate attorneys can get these problems fixed for you so you can buy your house and know it's yours.

Sellers sometimes want to change the terms of the sale during the closing. Without an attorney there to enforce the contracts you and the sellers have already signed, you may be pushed into agreeing to their new demands, even though those demands are not legal. A title company cannot help you with that, but a real estate attorney can ensure your rights are protected and the closing proceeds as agreed by both you and the sellers.

If you don't understand a part of the closing paperwork, a title company won't be much help to you. Your real estate attorney can explain everything carefully regarding legal implications in a language you will understand. This way you know what you're really agreeing to when you buy the house.


There are places in a house closing for both a title company and a real estate attorney. Depending on your situation, you may choose to use one or the other for your closing. Sometimes, you might even want to use both, which is perfectly acceptable. If you have any questions about what a real estate attorney can do for you in your house closing, call one today and ask.