Step by Step Guide: for Sellers
The real estate sale process in New York can be rather complicated, both practically and legally. Below is our Step by Step Guide for Sellers of real estate. Please note that every deal is unique and the steps below are just a general overview of the sale process. Feel free to Contact Us with further questions.
STEP 1 – FIND A BUYER & ACCEPT THE BUYER’S OFFER
The first step in any real estate transaction is to find a buyer and accept his or her offer. Whether you have listed the property with a real estate agent or are selling the property without a broker, our legal work begins once you find a buyer.
Once you find a buyer, do not put anything in writing, as this may, unintentionally, create a binding contract. Often times the real estate agent will request that you sign a buyer’s “offer” or even a “contract.” Do not do so without speaking to a Real Estate Attorney.
STEP 2 – HIRE A REAL ESTATE ATTORNEY
Once you accept your buyer’s offer, it is time to retain a real estate attorney. In New York, buyers and sellers of real estate almost always hire a lawyer; the lawyer’s job is to guide the parties and handle the legal paperwork.
When looking for an attorney, make sure the attorney has experience in real estate closings. The staff at the Levin Law Group handles HUNDREDS of real estate closings per year and are well qualified to represent you. Please do not hesitate to Contact Us at any time.
STEP 3 – ALLOW THE BUYER TO CONDUCT DUE DILIGENCE
If your buyer chooses to conduct a homeowner’s inspection, please grant the inspector access. After the inspection is conducted, the buyer may find certain faults with the property and may ask for you to make certain repairs prior to closing. It is up to you and the buyer to then agree on which repairs you will and will not make.
STEP 4 – SIGN THE CONTRACT
Once the Levin Law Group is retained, you or your real estate agent provide us with certain information necessary to prepare the Contract of Sale. We then draft a Seller friendly contract based on the information provided and send the contract to the Buyer’s attorney.
The Buyer’s attorney then reviews the contract and negotiates the terms. We discuss the terms with you and assuming all parties are in agreement, the Buyer signs four (4) copies of the Contract of Sale and mails the contracts, along with the downpayment check to our office. Upon receipt of the contract, we schedule an appointment for you to sign (or, alternatively we may mail or email the contract to you for signature, if you prefer). Once you sign the contracts, the Levin Law Group deposits the downpayment into our escrow account. We then mail two (2) fully executed contracts back to the Buyer’s attorney.
STEP 5 – WAIT
After the Buyer’s attorney receives the fully executed contract, the following conditions must be satisfied:
- The Buyer’s Attorney orders a title search to ensure that title to the property is clean. A title search takes about 5-10 business days. If there are problems with title, we must work to clear the title problems. This may take more time, depending on the severity of the title problem.
- If your Buyer is obtaining financing, the Buyer must apply to his lender to obtain a loan. Generally, it takes about 45-60 for a lender to clear the loan for closing.
- If you are selling a Coop, the Buyer must apply to the Coop Board AFTER getting approval for financing. The Board can take up to 30 more days to approve or deny an applicant.
- You move your belongings off the Premises (or get ready to do so) to provide the property in “vacant and broom clean” condition.
Assuming the title is clean, the Buyer is able to get financing and is approved by the Board (if it is a coop sale) and you have moved out or are ready to move out from the premises, we can schedule a closing. Below are the average time periods it takes to close. Please note that these are only AVERAGE time periods evidenced only by our experience:
- Cash Sale: House: 20 days
- Cash Sale: Condo: 25 days
- Cash Sale: Coop: 45 days
- Sale with Financing: House: 60 days
- Sale with Financing: Condo: 60 days
- Sale with Financing: Coop: 90 days
STEP 6 – SCHEDULE A CLOSING
Once the Buyer and the Buyer’s bank are ready to close, we can schedule a closing. You should plan ahead of time to determine when you will be able to move out of the premises to deliver the property vacant at closing.
STEP 7 – MOVE OUT
Unless otherwise agreed in the contract, the premises are to be delivered “vacant” and “broom clean” at closing. This means that all occupants must be off the premises and all personal belongings and furniture are removed.
STEP 8 – ATTEND THE CLOSING
The Closing is a “meeting” where the deed (or stock certificate for a coop) and other legal documents are given to the buyer and money is given to the seller.
The following individuals usually attend the closing: (1) the Buyer, (2) the Seller, (3) the Buyer’s attorney, (4) the Seller’s attorney, (5) the Buyer’s Bank’s attorney, (6) the Seller’s Bank’s attorney (in Coop transactions only), (7) the Title Closer (in non Coop transactions only), (8) the real estate brokers and (9) the Managing Agent (in Coop transactions only).
The Closing customarily takes places either at the Seller’s attorney’s office or at the Buyer’s Bank’s Attorney’s office. In Coop transactions, the Closing always takes place at the office of the Managing Agent.