Do I need a lawyer for my closing as a buyer? | Freilich Law | Michael Freilich | freilichlaw.com | (410) 321-0040
Depends how much you know. Typically, most lay people, and even most lawyers, don’t know enough to represent themself at the closing. As a buyer, there are two things you want to get. Most importantly is a title insurance policy that doesn’t have a lot of exception in, and that the exceptions it has does not affect you. Most title companies today are not spelling out what those exceptions are. You need an attorney who represents buyers to be able to go in and negotiate that with the title company. Recently, I have seen title companies in Maryland provide an affidavit for the seller to buy to sign at the closing, and it provides a lot of protection for the title insurance company, but little for the buyer.
Addition, if there’s dispute over the contract at the closing, you should have your own attorney there. And you should also have your own attorney present to make sure the settlement sheet is done properly, according to the contract. Typically, buyers do not take their own attorney to settlement. But they absolutely, positively should. In my practice, I try to obtain the title insurance policy in advance, so I can negotiate it, and then review all the documents you are supposed to sign in advance, so I don’t have to charge for being physically present at the settlement, but just for the work in reviewing the documents.