Frequently Asked Questions
Q. How will my closing be scheduled?
A. Our office will work with all parties involved (attorneys, lenders, realtors, buyers, sellers, etc.) to coordinate a closing date. Many schedules must be accommodated so do not assume that any date will become the scheduled date until you hear from us. The date on the contract is a target date only and rarely becomes the actual date. Do not schedule a moving truck or in any way rely on a date to close until you check with us.
Q. When will I, as a buyer, have my cash to close for the closing?
A. You will be provided with a Closing Disclosure (CD) containing the necessary cash to close usually three days before the closing.
Q. Does the seller’s Star exemption transfer to me after I close?
A. No. You must apply for STAR before the end of February by applying online (https://www.tax.ny.gov/pit/property/star/default.htm)
Q. As a Buyer, if my inspection results are unsatisfactory, can I get out of the contract?
A. Maybe. The seller first has a right to cure the problems. If the seller refuses, you probably can nullify the contract
Q. Do I need a survey?
A. Probably not. Most residential transactions can be closed without a survey. However, various circumstances may arise wherein a survey may be advisable.
Q. If I’m selling real estate and cannot find my abstract what will it cost to replace it?
A. The typical cost of replacing an abstract is $400.00-$600.00 depending upon complexity.
Q. Should I buy title insurance for myself (fee title insurance)?
A. There are two types of title insurance: lender and fee. If you are a buyer financing the purchase through a bank you will be required to purchase on behalf of the bank a lender policy of title insurance. That insurance protects the bank from title problems if it has to later foreclose due to the buyer’s default. Examples of such title problems interfering with the bank’s foreclosure process are preexisting undischarged mortgages, judgments, tax liens or improperly handled estate issues.
A lender’s title insurance policy, however, protects the buyer from nothing. If, for example, after closing a neighbor claims that part of the back yard the buyer thought he or she was buying in fact belongs to the neighbor, the buyer must bear the cost of resolving the matter including the cost of litigation. If, on the other hand, the buyer purchased fee title insurance, the insurance company would pay the cost of resolving the matter, including the cost of going to court if necessary.
How much does fee insurance cost? It depends. The buyer gets a break if a lender and fee policy are purchased at the same time, that is, at the time of closing. If the buyer does that the cost is reasonable: in the upstate New York market usually $150.00-400.00 above the lender’s title insurance premium. The premium cost increases as the value of the real property increases. Remember that title insurance is a one time premium. The buyer does not pay annually during the real property ownership as the buyer would, for instance, for auto insurance.
On balance, then fee title insurance represents good value to the home buyer. Purchasing a home is one of the biggest investments a person or family makes. An extra few hundred dollars for the coverage that is provided is well spent.
Please contact our office for further information including a quote for fee title insurance on your specific transaction.
Q. What if I as a buyer (prepossession) or I as a seller (post possession) need to occupy the premises before (after) closing?
A. A pre or post possession agreement may be negotiated with the other party. However, be realistic: the other party may want a substantial escrow to cover any damage occurring during the possession period, as well as a rental for the possession period. Of course, proper insurance must be provided.
Q. I am buying a house with a septic system. On the contract I checked the box indicating I want an inspection of the system. The house, however, has been unoccupied, or it is winter and the ground is frozen. Do I have any recourse?
A. Yes. An escrow at closing can be established in the neighborhood of $8,000-$15,000.00 to ensure that when the house has been occupied or the ground has thawed that a proper test can be performed. Expect, however, rigorous negotiations with the seller since the sellers are reluctant (or economically unable) to commit to such a large escrow.
Q. Some time after I closed and moved into my house my roof and basement leaked. The seller did not disclose either of these conditions on the seller’s disclosure attached to the contract. What can I do?
A. This is a frequently asked question and it is a thorny one. Sellers must disclose what is known about the property. However, if you obtain an inspection by a qualified home inspector you are not relying upon the seller’s disclosure – you are relying upon your own inspection thereby making it doubtful that you have any recourse against the seller. If the seller provided a $500.00 credit in lieu of a disclosure the buyer has no recourse against the seller.
Q. Who in the office will be handling my file?
A. The firm employs several attorneys, paralegals and legal assistants. Any one of them may be handling your file at any given time. If you desire to speak with an attorney, make that desire known to the paralegal or legal assistant who you may be working with and that person will get an attorney to consult with you.