A real estate closing attorney is important when buying or selling a property in New York. Real estate, whether it’s a condo, co-op, or house, is a big investment. You want to have your rights protected to the biggest extent possible. There is important information that both buyers and sellers need to know in order to make the best decision regarding selecting a real estate closing attorney.
What buyers need to know about selecting a real estate closing attorney in New York
Some buyers engage a real estate closing attorney the moment they decide to purchase. Others engage an attorney after making an offer to review the documents for closing. Either way, it is important to have an attorney and not wait until the last minute or wait until issues arise.
If a buyer is getting a mortgage, a bank probably won’t even lend the buyer the money unless he’s legally represented. For this reason, a buyer in the New York State is almost always represented by an attorney during closing.
It’s especially wise to engage an attorney from inception because the attorney can perform due diligence on the property before the buyer makes an offer.
For a house, due diligence will include making sure the buyer is real and the property is real and there are no issues or concerns with the title. For co-ops and condos, due diligence may include reviewing by laws and several years’ worth of board meeting minutes and financial statements. These documents provide clues about the state of the building and will discuss expensive problems that need to be repaired, such as an elevator that needs replacement or a perpetually leaking roof. Knowing this is important because these are costs that can be transferred and billed to the homeowners for their portion of the repair project.
Once the buyer decides on real estate property they want to purchase, their real estate closing attorney can draft an offer to buy the property to be presented to the seller. If the seller accepts the offer, the attorney can locate an inspector who can advise the buyer of problems identified in the property. The inspector’s report can be a basis for a discount on the selling price. This offer form, however, is non-binding and does not obligate the buyer to proceed with the purchase.
What sellers need to know about selecting a real estate closing attorney in New York
The goal of the seller is to receive money for the property with the least amount of hassle and delay possible. In New York, it is customary for the seller’s real estate closing attorney to draft the contract. It is usually a standardized form with additional provisions that include terms the seller might want to negotiate with the buyer. The buyer’s real estate closing attorney can review the initial contract to advise the buyer on which terms reflect standard practice, and which terms or clauses are non-standard and can be negotiated or rejected. Once this contract is signed, a downpayment is normally made to reserve the property. This downpayment (or earnest money as it is called in other states), normally 10% in New York, will be forfeited if the buyer decides not to proceed with the purchase for any reason not contemplated by the contract.
The buyer’s attorney will also work with him to provide information and documents that the lender requires to approve the mortgage application. The attorney will calculate the amounts owed at closing to the sellers, the sellers’ lender, the title company, and the taxes to be paid, among others.
Useful information about the closing
Closing occurs when the buyer gives the seller the money in exchange for the deed (for condos) or the proprietary lease (for co-ops). Most closings happen within 60 to 90 days after the contract is signed. During closing, the buyer will sign a voluminous number of documents. The attorney should review all these documents to ensure that these documents reflect the terms and conditions agreed upon before giving the buyer the clearance to sign. These documents are critical and the attorney should ensure that all terms, rates, and other information in the real estate contract are correct.
Give us a call
If you are looking for a real estate closing attorney, give us a call. We are Law Offices of Albert Goodwin and we can be reached at 212-233-1233 or 718-509-9774. We are available for closings all across New York City, Long Island and Westchester County.