Who Looks After a Buyer’s or Seller’s Interests in a Real Estate Closing?
Each party most likely will be represented by competent experts before, during and after the closing. For example, the bank which issues a loan to a buyer usually retains an attorney to ensure that the bank’s interests are represented. Additionally, a title company issuing title insurance usually retains separate counsel to examine title and determine if there are any defects, liens, or encumbrances prior to the issuance of the title commitment and eventually the title insurance policy.
Since the buyer, seller, real estate & escrow agents, title company, bank, lenders and other closing agents interests are often conflicting, the buyer and seller should retain their own attorney to safeguard their interests.
Most people depend upon “their” real estate agent. However, this “agent” may legally owe no duty to the party depending upon this agency relationship. As a buyer, if you hire a real estate agent to help locate a property and facilitate a sale, that agent may or may not be representing your interest exclusively, if at all. A real estate agent has a duty to protect only his or her client’s rights.
In most circumstances, a real estate salesperson owes a fiduciary duty or duty of loyalty only to the seller as his or her exclusive agent. However, in recent years, “dual agency relationships” have become increasingly popular. In such circumstances, the buyer and the seller are theoretically represented by the same agent, and thus owed the same fiduciary duties. Infrequently, a real estate salesperson exclusively represents the buyer.
Since the other parties at a closing may be represented by professionals who are watching and guarding their clients’ interests, it would be wise for the average buyer and seller to be equally represented. If an error or problem should arise, and if one is not adequately represented, the unrepresented party may have no one else to blame but himself or herself. By retaining an attorney to safeguard your interests, you may have ensured adequate recourse in resolving any unforeseen troubles.
The attorneys at Sokoloff & Weinstein, P.A., handle residential and commercial closings, review contracts with clients, work with title companies, realtors and other counsel in reviewing title commitments towards final title policies and attend closings with potential buyers and sellers.
COURTESY OF SOKOLOFF & WEINSTEIN, P.A., ATTORNEYS AT LAW, IN ROYAL PALM BEACH.
(561) 790-6788 / 790-4505