For some homebuyers, adding a real estate attorney to the proceedings can provide peace of mind. A knowledgeable and reputable real estate attorney can help you navigate the closing process and make sure that your interests are represented.
However, attorneys cost money. In some cases, you might even find that your lender has already hired a closing attorney, and the fees for that attorney are part of your closing costs. It’s important to find out ahead of time if this is the case and decide whether you want your own attorney as well.
What is Included in Closing Attorney Costs?
As with so many things in life, the cost of a closing attorney varies from state to state, and from attorney to attorney. It also depends on the type of transaction(s) the attorney will be handling.
Some attorneys start at a $100 - $150 flat fee to prepare a deed, and then go up to $1,000 or more for a “complete package.” Many packages start at around $500 or $600, depending on what you have done. A complete real estate closing package might consist of deed preparation, title examination, purchase/sale review (including checking the paperwork on your behalf), lender work, and purchases that require more than one transaction.
Other attorneys work at an hourly rate. It’s not uncommon to find closing attorneys that charge $200 an hour. However, you need to be careful, since you might be billed for time you spend communicating via phone or email with the attorney – and some will even put you on the clock for non-business related small talk!
In many cases, it is best to ask for a flat fee real estate closing package. Many closing attorneys offer these types of legal packages since property transactions are so common. If you only have a small amount of work to be done, an hourly rate might work, but it is often more cost-effective, overall, to ask about a package. Many closing attorneys offer special deals for closing packages, since they are so routine.
Shop around, calling at least four or five attorneys, to get a feel for what’s available, and what is a reasonable closing attorney cost for your area.