November 18, 2020

Difference between Real Estate Agent and Real Estate Attorney

Difference between Real Estate Agent and Real Estate Attorney

You have many options in choosing who you want representing your interest in a residential real estate transaction. Florida does not require you to hire an attorney when buying or selling residential real property nor do you need to hire a real estate agent to do so. In fact, you may legally buy and sell residential property without involving any of the two. However, hiring an agent or an attorney can have a huge impact on the process and value of your purchase. 

Real Estate Agent

Real estate agents generally fall into two categories: buyer’s agents and seller’s agents. Buyers agents aid the buyer by leveling the playing field and negotiating the purchase price most favorable to the buyer while seller’s agents aid the seller by negotiating the highest purchase price possible. The process of buying a home is burdensome and it is the agent’s responsibility to:

  • Locate your ideal home,
  • Know about the neighborhoods and surrounding areas,
  • Submit and negotiate offers,
  • Recommend home inspectors, and 
  • Draw up closing documents for the final transaction.

Typically, real estate agents are paid through commission generally around five (5) percent of the home’s purchase price and paid by the seller. At times, some buyers prefer to pay commission to the buyer’s agent directly in order to retain complete loyalty of the agent.


Real Estate Attorney

A real estate attorney can perform all of the duties of a real estate agent, but he or she can also provide legal protection and give legal advice whereas a real estate agent cannot. This means that a real estate agent cannot answer a legal question, even if they know the answer to it, without breaking the law. A real estate attorney can explain the legal terms and technical language used in the purchase contract, mortgage or any other documents, allowing you to sign with a piece of mind. Furthermore, he or she can advise you as to how you should hold title or under what circumstances you are entitled to cancel the contract and recover your earnest money deposit.

Attorneys can be very useful in real estate transactions but unlike real estate agents, attorneys are paid on an hourly basis or charge a flat fee for certain services. 

The bottom line is that whether you choose to hire a real estate agent or attorney, make sure that you are fully informed, and your agent or attorney is aware of your needs. It is better to consult with an attorney and spend a few hundred dollars than to force the agent to give you a legal opinion that may or may not be correct that can cost you thousands in the long run.