Top Questions about Buying/Selling an Apartment or House in NY

by Robert J. Smith on July 28, 2022


When should I lock a rate?

  • Locking a mortgage rate seems to make sense when, as now, rates are rising. However, you need to weigh that against significant extension fees that you will likely incur if you don’t close before the rate expires, which happens often. Maybe it’s worth it to save that great rate, but be prepared before you lock!

Financing contingency – am I protected?

  • A financing contingency can include a provision that allows you to cancel if your financial condition changes as long as you act in good faith, but it has to be negotiated up front by your attorney. Plus, considerations vary between houses, condos and coops. Let’s discuss! #realestateattorney #realestatelawyer #coops #condos

Can I save $$ on mortgage tax?

  • Buying a condo (or house), if Seller has a mortgage and both lenders are willing to play ball, a CEMA can reduce your mortgage tax and reduce Seller’s NY State transfer tax. Win-win! #realestateattorney #realestatelawyer #condos

Do I need representation in a refinance?

  • Yes. When you purchase, you have an attorney, and the lender has an attorney. Your interests are not the same. That applies to a refinance as well. #realestateattorney #realestatelawyer #refinance


Why isn’t the closing date in the contract firm?

  • Lenders and coop/condo boards and managing agents are not parties to the contract, but they often control the timing of closing. Plus, buyer and seller have the right to a reasonable adjournment of the closing date.

Why do transactions take so long?

  • There are several moving parts in play: Overburdened lenders require time to review financials and appraise the property; Coop and condo managing agents and Boards are often inundated with requests and applications; Surveyors take time gaining access to houses.

Can I adjourn my closing?

  • Most likely yes. I notify my clients from the start that each party has the right to a “reasonable” adjournment, which might be shorter or longer than 30 days, depending on the harm to the other party. Go in knowing what to expect! #realestateattorney #realestatelawyer #coops #condos

Can I close before the Seller moves out?

  • If your rate lock is expiring but the seller isn’t ready to move out, you can close, but you will need a post-closing occupancy agreement that governs when the seller leaves and how much they pay, both now and if they hold over. Questions? I can help!


How do I avoid the Sponsor delaying the closing date for years?

  • If you are concerned that the Sponsor may delay the closing date with no end in sight, your attorney needs to negotiate an “Outside Closing Date” to be added to the Purchase Agreement.  If the Sponsor doesn’t close by that date, you can cancel and get your deposit back. Hold their feet to the fire!

Can I avoid paying the Sponsor’s closing fees?  

  • That depends on the market and who the Sponsor is. Try up front to get them to pay transfer taxes, super’s unit, Sponsor’s legal fee, mortgage tax and mansion tax. Maybe you get some, maybe not, but you have to ask! #realestateattorney #realestatelawyer #coops #condos


What do I look for in the pre-Closing walk-through?

  • What am I looking for in the pre-closing walk-through? You need to make sure before closing that the condition of the unit or house is the same as when you signed the contract, and that the Seller is delivering it in the condition required by the contract. Check all the faucets, appliances, plumbing fixtures and outlets. #realestateattorney #realestatelawyer


Do I need a real estate attorney?

  • Yes! This could be the biggest investment of your life. You want and need a specialist who knows how to keep potential issues that may arise to a minimum, can advise you and will fight for your interests.

Questions? Please e-mail me at

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