Frequently Asked Questions About Our Real Estate Services

Whether I am the Buyer or Seller, should I sign the contract prepared by the real estate agents?

Once your attorney has reviewed and discussed the contract with you, you might be ready to sign! As exciting as it will be to have a contract you can sign to complete the deal, once the contract has been signed by both the Buyer and Seller, both parties are legally bound to its terms. The purchase contract is the most important step in buying or selling a home. It may be too late after you’ve signed the contract to apply any of the helpful advice and counsel of your attorney. If you don’t have time to review the contract with your attorney before signing, then you should include a provision in the contract that states the contract is subject to the review of the Buyer/Seller’s review and approval within an agreed-upon time frame. This will provide both parties additional time to sit down with their attorneys, review the contract, and allow for the possibility to negotiate the terms, if required.

What is the fundamental difference between a condo and a co-op?

The contract for a condo sale provides for the purchase of a piece of real estate. Whereas the contract for a co-op sale provides for purchase of stock in a corporation and the transfer of a proprietary lease from the seller to the buyer for a specific unit. Additionally, the completion of a co-op transaction is contingent not only on the buyer and the seller, but on the third-party co-op board, whose consent is required to complete the sale.

If I already have a real estate agent and can use a title company instead, why should I hire a real estate attorney for the closing?

Buying or selling your home is usually the biggest monetary transaction our clients make in their entire life. When so much money and risks are involved, buying and selling real estate without legal representation can be very dangerous. Though a real estate agent is often the one to prepare the contract and a title company acts as closing agent, the real estate attorney you hire is the only expert involved who can advocate a position and give their client legal advice. Attorneys are trained and have experience to recognize the issues that may arise during a real estate transaction. They can protect their client by assisting in negotiating the contract. Attorneys also may advise their clients on other contract related contingencies–including title, zoning, financing, inspections, and taxes–that title companies cannot.

What is a lien?

A lien is any legal claim on a real property that functions as a security for the payment of a debt or any other financial obligation. If the debt is not repaid as agreed upon, the lender (lien holder) can foreclose their claim on the property and force a public sale of the property to repay the debt. The most common type of lien is a mortgage. Liens also occur as judgments against the property owner and from recent unpaid improvements to the property, unpaid taxes, and unpaid utilities. One thing a real estate attorney will do for you is to investigate whether there are any outstanding liens on the property at the time of the transaction closing.

What is an easement?

An easement is the property right that allows another person to use your land for a specific reason. Commonly, easements are granted to public utility, telephone, or electric companies to run lines on or under a private property, or granted to neighboring properties to use a shared driveway that gives access to their own home.