Home Buyer's guide
(house, condominum and co-operative).

Getting a home inspection.

Home inspections are an important part of buying a house.   While it will cost you money before you will sign the contact (which will not be returned), it can save you tens of thousands of dollars later.   A Seller will almost never sign a contract subject to a home inspection.

Top of Page

Hiring a lawyer.

Your lawyer can be helpful in recommending a home inspection company that has done good work for his/her clients in the past.

In New York State both the Buyer and the Seller are represented by attorneys.   Most people find their attorney through a recommendation that can come from family, friends, a local bar association or through Internet searches.   Be a little cautious of a recommendation from the real estate broker/agent.   The attorney is obligated to work for your best interest, not the broker's or seller's.

Ask the attorney about what fields she/he practices in and how much experience she/he has.  Most lawyers who do real estate closings, handle other types of matters as well.   Just make sure that she/he has substantial experience with real estate closings.

The Buyer's attorneys job is to gather the information about the parties, inform the buyer about home inspections and to contact the Seller's attorney.   It is customary in NYS for the Seller's attorney to draft the contract and to forward them to the Buyer's attorney.   The Buyer's attorney will review the contracts prior to the Buyer coming in for signature and make sure they generally meet the terms of the offer or the listing agreement.

The contracts are often amended several times between the lawyers before you come in to sign.   it is important that the terms of the contract are clear and that you understand them.   Your lawyer should be wiling to take the time to fully explain them to you.

Once the contracts you will come in and sign the contracts.   You should bring your check book for the contract deposit check which is usually equal to 10% of the purchase price and a check to your lawyer for a deposit on her/his fee.   The main clauses to be reviewed are: personal property and appliances included and guaranteed to be in working condition, the closing date, mortgage contingency clause, the date you will take possession (if different than the closing date), the seller's guarantees regarding plumbing, heating and electrical systems and that it's not a binding contract until the Seller signs the contract.

Top of Page

Your contract.

The following are some of the more important parts of the contract to discuss with your lawyer:

Top of Page

Get ready for your closing:

Once you receive the commitment letter from your lender and approval from the co-op board (if buying a co-op), you should inform your attorney and provide her/him with a copy of each.   It's common for a closing date to be scheduled within a few weeks of the receipt of the commitment letter.   To prepare for the closing, you will need the following: Top of Page