New York City Real Estate Purchaser's Attorney
Congratulations, you put in a bid for a new apartment and it is accepted. Then your broker asks you, who is your attorney? Now what? This is your first purchase after years of renting and you don't have one. How do you choose? Does it make a difference and what do the attorneys do anyway? Let's learn a little more about what a real estate attorney does and how our law firm helps people across Long Island and the greater New York area.
The Role of a Purchaser's Attorney
The purchaser's attorney gets various documents in order. This includes the financials of the building as well as the offering plan and amendments. Then reviews them prior to telling their client to sign the contracts. Normally the broker involved will provide these documents to the purchaser's attorney. The attorney then reviews these documents as well as the proposed contract, which is prepared by the Seller's attorney.
Now back to that question about does it make a difference who your attorney is. You are about to make the single biggest purchase in your life. Obviously you want a competent person who you can trust and rely on to review these documents on your behalf.
The purchaser's attorney puts in provisions in the real estate contract to protect your interest. Their goal is to ensure you are getting an apartment without previous problems. Common examples include water leaks or infestations. Ultimately, the role of a real estate purchaser's attorney is to protect your funds in this transaction such as that you will have a mortgage contingency clause to protect your down payment if you fail to qualify for a loan.
Your attorney will explain the relevant terms to you as you sign the contracts. Then once you are satisfied with the contract and sign it one you will put down 10% of the contract price as a down payment which is put into the Seller's attorney escrow account. The balance will be paid at the closing.
Now the contract is signed, now what? Well, if you are buying a condominium you begin the mortgage application process. If you are purchasing a co-op, then you have to get the co-op application and fill it out as well as work on the bank process. Once you submit the co-op application you then have to wait for the board interview, which hopefully you will pass.
How long is the bank process? Figure at least 2 months. What do the banks review? As a general rule the bank will at a minimum review your financial history, including of course tax returns, W-2's, credit and work history etc.
Assuming you are approved for the bank loan and the appraisal report confirms the value of the apartment (not always guaranteed) then you are ready to schedule a closing. A closing is when the parties physically get together for a formal signing of all the legal documents to transfer ownership to your name.
What documents are signed at the closing and what are the closing expenses? Presuming a bank is involved, then they have numerous pages in duplicate or triplicate for you to sign. What do these papers mean? As they are prepared for the bank, one can surmise that they are for the interest in protecting the bank's interest. None of these provisions will come into effect as long as you make your monthly payments timely.
The parties also sign the documents for the transfer taxes (City and State). These are normally paid by the seller, unless there is new construction involved. Then that issue may be negotiated. There are also adjustments, either common charges (Condos) or maintenance (Co-ops). Presuming the transaction takes place in the middle of the month and the monthly payment was made at the beginning of the month, the seller is only responsible for payments of the monthly fee while they are residing in the premises. The purchaser will pay the monthly fee pro-rata amount for the reminder of the month they use the apartment.
The bank charges fees as well. These fees typically get deducted from the requested amount of the loan. Normally the bank will give the net figure to the purchaser's attorney only a day or two before the closing.
The other big expense at closing is the title insurance (when one is purchasing a condominium). When you are buying real property you want to make sure that no one comes to you after the closing and says, this is my apartment, not yours or that you owe money on the apartment for taxes that accrued before you took possession. This is where title insurance comes in.
A title company does the appropriate research on all the parties involved as well as the property and ensures there will be no problems once you finish the closing. How much will that cost? That could be the subject of an article in itself, but the expense can vary depending on many factors including how much mortgage one is getting. There may be other expenses of course to be paid at the closing, but this is just a brief synopsis of what one should expect.
So the bottom line is that purchasing an apartment will not be an easy experience, but with the right attorney to walk you through the apartment it will be as painless as possible. Bach Law Office has years of experience as a trusted real estate lawyer. And since we work in the New York City area, we are also very dependable as a commercial lease lawyer. So if you need a real estate lawyer in the New York area, please give us a call. The number for our office is 212-904-1900. When you call, we can provide you with a no-obligation consultation.