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About the Yana A. Roy team

This Firm handles all matters including litigation pertaining to Residential and Commercial Real Estate transactions that include:

  • Sales
  • Closings
  • Contracts
  • Leases
  • Landlord Tennant

Real Estate Purchase: A Brief Overview

Once you find a house you want to buy and have agreed to a price, often you will be asked to sign a piece of paper or a binder and pay a deposit. The binder, receipt, agreement or purchase offer and is usually prepared by the seller's agent or attorney. Contracts prepared by brokers are usually subject to the approval of the attorneys for each party within a designated period of time.

Before you sign anything it is important that you understand what you are signing and that by signing you may be legally bound to purchase the property. Before signing anything, you should seek the legal advice. Remember, once you have signed the document your rights and obligations are fixed concerning the transaction and your attorney may be unable to have the opportunity to negotiate the terms on your behalf.

Both buyer and seller should understand the terms of the contract and how it may affect each respective party. The other party has no obligation to tell you what your rights and responsibilities are under the contract and you may not understand the legal terminology or meaning, nor what should be added or deleted to protect your interests.

If you are going to seek legal representation for the transaction, the right time to contact one is before signing any papers or immediately after signing a contract that is subject to attorney approval.

Real estate “title” is the right of the owner to peaceful possession and use, free from the claims of others. Regularly, that right is limited by the existence of other possible rights, called “easements”. Easements can consist of the granting of rights to municipalities or public utility companies in order to obtain electricity, sewers, telephone, etc. to run its lines, pipes, etc. across the property to the house. Other kinds of often-encountered easements include: jointly used driveways, access rights, or drainage of surface water.

The use of the owner's property may be limited in other ways, one being by way of deed restriction and another by zoning laws. All property is subject to real estate tax and if not paid accordingly may result in loss of title. When purchasing a home it is important to make sure that you are able to occupy it freely and without interference, so you will later be able to mortgage or sell the property without any problems.

Title Searches
After you have signed the contract, it is important to verify that the seller is able to legally convey the property that is the subject of the contract of sale. Your attorney will often order a title search to be done by a title insurance company or an agent of the company in order to obtain a title insurance policy.

Title insurance will give you protection against financial loss and protect you from the expense of defending your title in court; however, it does not lessen the importance of an attorney's counsel. Your lawyer can advise you as to what your title insurance policy does and does not cover, as well as the terms and conditions. Title insurance does not cover other items such as compliance with zoning or environmental laws, among other things.

Buyer's Duty to Inspect
Under New York law, the buyer of a house that is not newly constructed has a duty to inspect the condition of the house and land. The buyer should carefully look over the property and is also urged to consider hiring a home inspector to perform a professional inspection, preferably prior to signing a contract of sale. Alternatively, the contract of sale should be conditioned on receipt of a satisfactory inspection. The buyer also has a duty to ask questions about any conditions observed and to inquire about other matters, such as taxes, zoning and school district. Buyers of newly constructed houses are protected by a statutory housing merchant implied warranty under General Business Law § 777-a.

Form of Deed
Residential transactions usually use two “Forms of Deed”. The first is called a “Warranty Deed”, and is usually used upstate. A “Warranty Deed” assures the buyer that the title is good against anyone whom may claim a superior title. The second “Form of Deed” is the “Bargain and Sale Deed With Covenants Against Grantor's Acts” which is normally used in the city. A “Bargain and Sale Deed With Covenants Against Grantor's Acts” assures the buyer that the seller has done nothing to affect the title to the property through his or her own acts or omissions. In either deed, if a title insurance company insures the title, the buyer will usually look to the title insurer for protection against claims even though the buyer may also make a claim against the seller.

It is important to remember that the seller, broker, and bank in the transaction will most likely have their own attorneys to represent their interests. Even though you may be paying another parties attorney fees, usually the banks, does not mean that this attorney is your attorney or that they are representing your interests. The banks attorney usually is not your attorney unless both parties agree otherwise after full disclosure of the potential conflict of interest. It is your responsibility to seek your own attorney's professional advice to protect your interests and to be sure that you get what you have bargained for in the deal. Remember you are making a substantial investment and quite possibly the biggest investment of your life, it is your responsibility to make sure that investment is properly protected.

The closing is the transaction where you receive all the documentation necessary to properly convey title to your home.

At closing all the parties gather to review the documents to be sure that all the conditions, terms and promises made in the contract have been fulfilled. Also, at this time the balance of the purchase price is paid to the seller, along with taxes, and the title insurance fee, etc.

Important Information
It is important to remember that buying a home is the single biggest investment any person will make. Purchasing a home usually involves making mortgage payments for anywhere between twenty to thirty years. Protecting your investment with the advice of an attorney is likely to be more economical than to risk the trouble and expense that could result from not having that advice from the outset.

Practice areas
Contact us 99 Tulip Avenue, S. 404 Floral Park, NY 11001
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