FYI: Real Estate Law
Real Estate Contract of Sale
Once you have agreed upon the price for the home you are buying or selling, the next step is usually to enter into a formal contract of sale.
Some real estate brokers or clients prefer to have a binder signed before entering into a formal contract. I do not recommend that my client sign a binder, because there is substantial uncertainty as to whether a binder will be legally enforceable. If a dispute arises regarding a binder, substantial delay and possible litigation may result.
There are many extremely important legal and financial issues that should be addressed in the contract. It is my firm belief that negotiating and drafting the contract of sale is the most important aspect of the legal services provided by the attorney, because the contract will serve as the blueprint for the entire transaction. Furthermore, if something unexpected occurs, your legal rights will usually be determined by the terms of the contract.
Ambiguous contract terms should be avoided, since that may lead to litigation to determine the intent of the parties and their legal rights.
The following are a few examples of issues that WE believe should be included in a real estate contract of sale:
•Under what circumstances can the purchaser cancel the contract, and obtain a refund of the down payment?
•What are the Purchaser’s and Seller’s legal rights and remedies if the Seller can’t deliver good title?
•What are the Purchaser’s and Seller’s legal rights and remedies if the Seller doesn’t have the required Certificate of Occupancy?
•What are the Purchaser’s and Seller’s legal rights and remedies if the Seller is unable to deliver possession (vacate the premises) on the agreed closing date or prior to the expiration of the Purchaser’s mortgage loan commitment?
•What are the Purchaser’s and Seller’s legal rights and remedies if the plumbing, heating, electrical system, air conditioning, or appliances are not working at the time of closing?
•What are the Purchaser’s and Seller’s legal rights and remedies if the Seller needs to close the transaction in order to obtain the money required to close title on his or her new home, but the Seller needs some time after the closing in order to move? This will require the Purchaser to pay the entire balance of the purchase price at the closing of title, although the Purchaser will not be given possession of the property until several days later. The contract should specifically state the monetary compensation that the Purchaser will receive for the delay in the transfer of possession. Adequate provisions should also be included in the contract of sale, in order to insure that the Seller will move out promptly after the closing of title, and deliver possession of the property to the Purchaser. In addition, provisions should be included in the contract, in order to compensate the Purchaser, in the event that the condition of the premises upon transfer of possession, is no longer as represented in the contract of sale.
•What are the Purchaser’s and Seller’s legal rights and remedies if the Purchaser is unable to secure a mortgage loan commitment within the time allotted in the contract of sale?
•What are the Purchaser’s and Seller’s legal rights and remedies if the Purchaser’s loan commitment is for an amount less than the amount applied for?
•What are the Purchaser’s and Seller’s legal rights and remedies if the Purchaser unnecessarily delays the progress of the transaction, which causes the seller to incur substantial additional expense? (This is especially significant if the seller has already moved from the premises, and is therefore paying the expenses on two residences simultaneously.)
These potential problems can often be avoided or resolved if they are properly addressed in the contract of sale, and followed through by experienced real estate attorneys.
Michael W. Goldstein’s many years of experience in negotiating, reviewing, and drafting various types of real estate contracts enables him to include legally enforceable language in your real estate contract, accurately reflecting the parties’ understandings, as well as the legal protection you need. It is our sincere belief that the extra care and attention that we devote to negotiating and drafting real estate contracts often saves our client the substantial expense and uncertainty of unnecessary litigation, or a real estate purchase or sale that does not close.
Real Estate Transactions Are Not Always Simple
The purchase or sale of a house, condominium, co-op apartment, land or commercial real estate may sound simple, but there are a myriad of things that can interfere with a smooth process from contract signing to the closing of title. As an experienced real estate law firm, we are often able to overcome obstacles that may arise in the transaction.
Anticipating potential issues, rather than simply hoping that problems do not arise, may differentiate the professional real estate attorney from the bargain priced high volume real estate firm.
Why Do High Volume Law Firms Often Quote Lower Fees for a Real Estate Transaction
High volume law firms may treat each real estate transaction as if they are all the same. Just like the assembly line enables products to be manufactured quicker and more cheaply, similar principles can be utilized by high volume law firms. If the transaction closes without incident, you may have saved a few hundred dollars.
Keep in mind however, that if an attorney has quoted a fee that is too low, the attorney can only afford to devote a very limited number of hours to your real estate transaction. Remember that the low priced high volume real estate lawyer’s fee is based on the use of paralegals to perform much of the work, and the assumption that the transaction will proceed smoothly, without ant problems. The experienced real estate lawyer knows first hand that the lawyer cannot safely assume that a real estate purchase or sale will have no legal problems.
Therefore, don’t be surprised if the high volume real estate law firm either takes some risks in the interests of saving time, or insists that you pay extra fees due to the issues that have arisen. Even worse, what if the high volume law firm doesn’t even realize that there is a legal problem, and closes the purchase or sale without addressing the issue at all.
Selecting a Real Estate Lawyer to Represent You
Be careful if you consult an attorney who is ready to have you sign a real estate contract without discussing the details of the deal you negotiated with the other party, or asking you questions that may reveal important issues that should be addressed in the control of sale . Also, you may want to clarify whether an attorney or a paralegal will be handling the legal aspects of your transaction.
HIGH QUALITY LEGAL REPRESENTATION AT MODERATE FEES
The Law Offices of Michael W. Goldstein provides high quality legal services and personal attention to each client. Our legal fees are extremely fair, considering the level of professional service we provide. However, for those clients who will select a lawyer based solely on the lowest fee charged, our firm will probably not be your first choice.
Our Firm serves its clients with a wide spectrum of legal services for individual and business real estate transactions, real estate leases, and real estate litigation. For more information about Michael W. Goldstein’s legal experience and areas of practice, see our Attorney Profile and Our Firm pages.
If you would like to read what our clients say about us, please see our Testimonials page.
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New York real estate transactions lawyer, NY real estate litigation attorney, NY real estate contracts Lawyers and Attorneys New York, representing real estate clients in New York City, Manhattan, Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, Long Island, Nassau County, Suffolk County, Westchester County, Rockland County and upstate New York.
Law Offices of Michael W. Goldstein is a New York real estate transactions law firm, also representing clients in commercial leases, real estate litigation, and real estate disputes.
Law Offices of Michael W. Goldstein, a New York real estate law firm