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Is choice of law firm for closing negotiable?

August 16, 2019
By ERIC FEICHTHALER - Real Estate Law , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Dear Mr. Feichthaler:

I am in the process of purchasing a property in Cape Coral, and have a question. I know that, in Lee County, the seller normally chooses the law firm or title company where the title work is done, and pays for the title policy. However, I purchased a property two years ago where the title company did very badly. I had to make a title claim and, even though it was eventually resolved, it took 18 months and a lot of stress to finally get clear title.

My question is, can I require the closing occur with a law firm that I trust?

-Michael S.

Dear Michael:

This is a question that comes up often. Especially in situations that require expertise, like when dealing with FIRPTA withholding for the seller or properties in probate, the buyer will want to make sure everything is completed properly, and that clean title is taken at closing. You are correct that, customarily, the seller chooses and pays for the firm that handles the title work. However, like nearly any other matter of concern, the Purchase and Sale Agreement, or Contract, can be written in a way to make all parties satisfied. Generally, the number one objective of the seller is to have the transaction close on time and get their money. They may not have a preference of where the transaction is completed. Even if they do have a firm they like to use, you can require in the contract that it close where you want it to, and if they don't agree, you could move on to another property, or you could acquiesce and agree to use their company.

For many of my clients, the purchase of a home will be the single largest financial transaction they ever make. That is why it is vital to have the contract provide for all the terms exactly the way you want them, at least as a starting point.

Eric P. Feichthaler has lived in Cape Coral for over 30 years and graduated from Mariner High School in Cape Coral. After completing law school at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., he returned to Southwest Florida to practice law and raise a family. He served as mayor of Cape Coral from 2005-2008, and continues his service to the community through the Cape Coral Caring Center, Cape Coral Historical Museum, and Cape Coral Kiwanis. He has been married to his wife, Mary, for over 18 years, and they have four children together. He earned his board certification in Real Estate Law from the Florida Bar. He is AV Preeminent rated by Martindale-Hubbell for professional ethics and legal ability, and is a Supreme Court Certified Circuit Civil Mediator.

Mr. Feichthaler can be reached at, or (239) 542-4733.

This article is general in nature and not intended as legal advice to anyone. Individuals should seek legal counsel before acting on any matter of legal rights and obligations.



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