Do I need an attorney when I buy or sell a house?

In New York State, you must retain an attorney for both the purchase of a property and any real estate sale. When you are looking for a real estate attorney, consult friends and family for recommendations. Your Awaye Realty real estate professional can recommend several. You can use the internet to research their reputations. Call to inquire about fees and to check on their experience. In general, more experienced attorneys will cost more, but real estate fees as a rule are small relative to the cost of the property you are buying.

Do sellers have to disclose the terms of other offers?

Sellers are not legally obligated to disclose the terms of other offers to prospective buyers.

What are the standard contingencies?

Most real estate purchase offers include two standard contingencies: a financing contingency, which makes the sale dependent on the buyers' ability to obtain a loan commitment from a lender, and an inspection contingency, which allows buyers to have professionals inspect the property to their satisfaction.

As a buyer, you could forfeit your deposit under certain circumstances, such as backing out of the deal for a reason not stipulated in the contract.

The purchase contract must include the seller’s responsibilities, such things as passing clear title, maintaining the property in its present condition until closing, or making any agreed-upon repairs to the real estate property.

Whose obligation is the disclosure of applicable information about a real estate property?

In New York State, that responsibility falls to the seller.

As required by law, the seller and their real estate agent are required to disclose all facts materially affecting the value or desirability of the real estate property which are known to them. This might include: homeowners association dues; whether or not work done on the house meets local building codes and permits requirements; and any restrictions on the use of the property, such as zoning ordinances or association rules.

In New York State, a seller is required to fill out a real estate transfer Property Condition Disclosure Statement. This is a lengthy questionnaire that you can find here: http://www.dos.ny.gov/forms/licensing/1614-a.pdf

Sellers must disclose any significant defects existing in the real estate property’s major systems. The form also asks real estate sellers to note the presence of environmental hazards, walls or fences shared with adjoining landowners, any encroachments or easements, room additions or repairs made without the necessary permits or not in compliance with building codes, zoning violations, citations against the property and lawsuits against the seller affecting the property.

People buying a cooperative or condominium must be told about all codes and restrictions pertaining to the property. What repairs are the property seller’s responsibilities? Repairs should be discussed between the real estate buyer and seller. Agreed-upon repairs should be stipulated in the real estate purchase contract. Nearly all purchase contracts include an inspection clause, which is a contingency that allows a buyer to back out if numerous defects are found or negotiate their repair.

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