Legal Guidance for Property Transactions in Queens
Real estate transactions are often expensive and complex. The parties have many decisions to make, and these decisions can have serious legal consequences. Our real estate practice involves the representation of buyers and sellers in residential and commercial real estate transactions, as well as foreclosure prevention strategies. Queens real estate lawyer Shane D. Scott understands the nuances of property transactions and can develop strategies to protect your interests.
Representing Buyers and Sellers
Buyers and sellers benefit from legal representation when they are involved in the sale of property. In New York, buyers are not immediately in contract with sellers when they make an offer on property that is accepted. Instead, a formal contract must be negotiated, drafted, and signed before they are in contract and legally bound to close the purchase. Contingencies may need to be built into the contract so that the sale does not move forward in certain situations.
Both the buyer and the seller must exercise due diligence and take certain steps before the closing. The buyer will need to have an inspection, survey, and title search conducted. An environmental site assessment may need to be ordered. When the property at issue is a cooperative or condo, the buyer may need to review the building’s records.
Meanwhile, a seller of residential property will need to make certain disclosures about known defects through a standardized disclosure statement or pay a credit to the buyer at the closing. The contract may require the seller to make repairs or cure violations. If title defects are found, the seller will need to resolve them. A real estate attorney in Queens can guide a seller through this process.
At the closing, the buyer and the seller will need to sign numerous documents. Taxes and fees will need to be adjusted. The seller will need to pay his mortgage and title bill and deliver keys and possession of the premises.
If you default on your mortgage, you will likely receive a foreclosure notice from the lender. We work to find solutions that enable homeowners to remain in their homes, such as loan modifications. However, some homeowners decide to move out but want to avoid foreclosure, and we can assist with strategies such as short sales and deeds in lieu of foreclosure.
Lenders should work in good faith toward a loan modification. In a loan modification, the existing loan is kept, but certain terms are changed; for example, the interest rate may be lowered or changed from an adjustable interest rate to a fixed rate, a loan balance may be forgiven or delayed, past fees may be waived, and loan terms may be extended for up to 40 years. In other cases, a Queens real estate attorney can help a homeowner pursue a refinance, which involves a new loan. Sometimes a homeowner owes more on a loan than what the property is worth, and in that case, it may be appropriate to try to get the lender to agree to a short sale, in which the home is sold for less than what is owed on it.
If a foreclosure moves forward and is not prevented, the lender will have ownership of the property, which is called real estate-owned or REO. There are several differences between traditional sales transactions and REO transactions, and it is important to work with an attorney who understands these differences if you are interested in buying an REO property. For example, the property is offered as-is, and the buyer’s sales contract in an REO transaction needs to include proof of funds. The condition of an REO property can vary dramatically, and it may be possible to negotiate a price reduction as an offset for the repairs that will need to be made.
Consult an Experienced Real Estate Attorney
When representing real estate clients, Shane D. Scott offers multidimensional insights from his prior experience in different roles: an attorney at one of the top three title insurance companies, a real estate broker, and a commercial property owner and manager. Call us at (800) 230-0744 or complete our online form to discuss a property transaction with a real estate lawyer in Queens.
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