Who pays for closing attorney fees for restaurant sale?

Who pays for closing attorney fees for a restaurant sale, who does the lawyer actually represent? Once the buyer-seller has agreed to a purchase price, next, it’s time to open escrow and hire a closing attorney.

The closing attorney represents the buyer, and it’s the buyer’s expense to pay at the closing table. Most transactions only have a buyer closing attorney; occasionally, a seller will hire its own closing attorney.

Closing Attorney Fees for Restaurant Sales can differ from attorney to attorney. Unlike residential real estate transactions, restaurant buyers don’t need a closing attorney for the sales transaction to close, but it’s highly recommended.

What does a closing attorney actually do for the transactions? The closing attorney will provide a Bill of Sale, Non-compete agreements, settlement statements, and disburse closing funds to all parties.

Dominique Maddox, a Restaurant Broker and Founder of EATS Restaurant Brokers, says, “closing attorneys can be an asset or liability in a sales transaction. We always recommend closing attorneys that specialize in a business transaction rather than residential transactions.

The worst case I have experienced is dealing with a non-experienced attorney in Texas who was friends with the buyer. The buyer hired her “friend,” and he didn’t know what he was doing; he was actually learning on the job. He charged her $7,500 for a task that should have cost $1500-$2000”.

Closing attorney fees can fluctuate; find below three Attorneys EATS Restaurant Brokers recommends to clients for restaurant sales transactions and how the prices can differ.

Attorney #1

Base Closing: $1000-If cash transaction and includes a bill of sale, indemnifications, non-compete agreement, settlement statements, disbursements (wife fees included)

Base Closing with an institutional lender: $2000 includes all the above and dealing with lender requirements.

Seller Financing Docs: $350

Seller Wire $25

Lien Search: Cost but is included in the Base Closing fee

Draft Escrow Agreement: $350

Attorney #2

Base Closing $1200- If cash transaction and includes a bill of sale, indemnifications, non-compete agreement, settlement statements, disbursements (wife fees included)

Seller Financing Docs $400

Non-compete agreements-$200.

Lien Search $275-included in base closing.

Base Closing – All Cash (includes Bill of Sale, indemnifications,

Non-Competition Agreement, Settlement Statement and disbursements) $1,400


Closing Attorney #3

Base Closing – w/Seller Financing Documents $1,900

Base Closing – w/Traditional Loan $2,500

Base Closing – w/Small Business Administration Financing $3,500

Lien Search (the business name for UCCs and up to 2 individuals) $200

Escrow Agreement $350

Escrow Service Only $525

Mail Away Service $100


EATS Broker advice for using a Closing Attorney:

  • Use a business attorney who commonly closes business transactions. Confirm your transaction will not be the 1st restaurant sales transaction they have completed.
  • Agree on price and terms upfront for the restaurant sales transactions. Do not let the attorney charge you an hourly rate.
  • Use the Restaurant Brokers Asset Purchase Agreement and have an attorney review. Do not ask the attorney to draft an agreement. This can be expensive, and some attorneys charge by the hour.

A closing attorney can be an asset or liability. It’s highly recommended to use a closing attorney for all restaurant sales transactions. If you don’t have a closing attorney, your restaurant broker should be able to recommend a good one.

Visit our website at www.EATSbroker.com for more information on selling or buying a restaurant.