Why NYC Real Estate Purchases Seriously Require A Lawyer
By: Gregory Stone
August 10, 2022
Real estate attorneys play an important role in helping you get the best deal in buying or selling New York real estate. Learn about what they do, why you need them, and how to find one.
Most first time buyers don’t realize that buying property in NYC not only involves a hefty sum, but a dive into the intricacies of NYC property law. In NYC, a buyer’s agent can help make the process less stressful, but a real estate attorney is also a must.
Technically, it is within your legal rights to buy property without an attorney, but it’s unusual and can be risky. Ninety-nine percent (99%) of real estate transactions in NYC involve legal representation on both the buyer and seller sides of the transaction.
Why do you need a lawyer to buy a property in NY? For the most part, because in New York State, all real estate contracts of sale need to be drawn up by the principle or their attorney.
It is against the law for real estate agents and brokers to draw up any sales contracts (although this is an accepted practice in some other states) or to review them for the purposes of legally advising you in New York.
If you are not an attorney yourself and don’t hire one, as a buyer you run the risk of getting a contract devised by your seller’s lawyer, which will probably not have your best interests in mind.
Why You Need an Attorney When You Buy Real Estate in NY
Before the contract signing, you’ll also want a real estate attorney to conduct due diligence and scrutinize the deal for legal or financial risks to ensure the seller can deliver it cleanly. For example, you’d be better off knowing if the building had a history of bed bugs, lead paint or mold than finding out the wrong way later.
Another reason to start early with legal representation: if you refuse an attorney for the contract signing, you’ll most likely need one down the road anyway. Most banks won’t lend you money for a mortgage without legal representation.
Someone who is very experienced with NY Real Estate—say a house flipper—might waive her right to legal representation, but for the average home buyer, real estate experts wouldn’t advise it. For the biggest purchase of your life, your best bet is to get all the help you can.