Is An Attorney Needed To Purchase Or Sell Real Estate In New York?

New York is unusual compared to the rest of the country, because it’s very attorney driven; there are only two or three other states where attorneys are so heavily involved in a transaction from the buyers and sellers standpoint on a residential deal. For example in Florida, the realtor handles most everything, from the contract to escrow to clearing the title and everything in between, but that’s not the case in New York. In New York, traditionally both sides of the transaction will hire an attorney to represent their interests, unless they’re experienced buyer or seller an even then an experienced buyer/seller will still usually hire an attorney.

Generally, we interview the client ahead of time and find out their needs and desires before we reach out to the seller and for or draw a contract. The two sides are kind of mirror images of each other; there are different roles and responsibilities, depending on which side we’re representing. I have a fiduciary duty to represent my client’s interest, which essentially means I don’t really care about any other party but my client. I want to get the deal done and everyone happy, but ultimately I’m there to protect the client’s best interest.

Why an Attorney is a Good Idea?

My business model follows a path of education and communication; because I usually find that the more I educate my client up front, the better prepared they will be for whatever comes up during the course of the transaction. Realtors are primarily interested in getting the deal into contract; a good realtor will get involved during the course of the transaction to overcome certain bumps in the road, but once the attorneys get involved the realtors are the t help facilitate the deal.

From the client’s standpoint I will guide them through the process, which can be very scary for most people because the average person will buy or sell one or two houses in a lifetime; perhaps a starter house and then a trade-up, to a nicer house, but that’s about all. For most people, this is a major transaction with a lot of moving parts, and I will attempt to cut through that and show them how all the pieces fit together and hopefully increase their comfort level during the course of the transaction.

What are People Most Worried about in a Real Estate Transaction?

In the New York Metro area, most people are worried about a few things. For example, they worry about mortgage contingency clause because they don’t understand the concept and are afraid of losing their down payment if they can’t close. What that means in New York is, unless the person’s planning to pay all cash without a mortgage, most buyers are trying to obtain financing.

As a buyer’s attorney, I want to include protection in the contract in the event they don’t qualify for financing so that their payment is not at risk. So, what we include in the contract is something called the mortgage contingency clause, which has certain provisions that protect the buyer if the bank rejects them for a loan. Typically, the clause will protect any buyer as long as they truthfully and diligently pursues the mortgage and cooperate with the loan officer in the application process, if they cannot get the mortgage commitments from a lender within a certain time period, they have the right to cancel the deal and get their money back.

That’s very important for most buyers here because they want to know that, unless their credit is absolutely sterling and they’re putting down 40 percent on contract, there’s a chance that they may get rejected for a loan and they don’t want to be out 5 to 10 percent if that happens.

We handle any kind of real estate, including co-ops, condos, single and multi-family homes. We’re highly experienced in all areas of real estate practice here in downstate New York.

For more information on Real Estate Transactions in NY, a free initial consultation is your best next step. Get the information and legal answers you’re seeking by calling (516) 683-1234 today.

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No information that you obtain from this web site is legal advice, nor is it intended to be. You should consult an attorney for individualized advice regarding your own unique situation. No attorney-client relationship is formed between Attorney Matthew K. Tannenbaum and you by viewing this web site.