Buyer’s Attorney

Buyer’s Attorney

  • Gene Keyser
  • 08/18/20
Your home is about to come under a lot of scrutiny. Your buyer’s attorney, lending institution, and home inspector will be asking questions, and if you have complete answers ready to go, you can avoid problems that could stop your sale, or force you to consider a lower price. In a market where some properties sell in hours and feverish interest burns off in a matter of weeks, losing a month to an uncommitted buyer will squelch your momentum, and could cost you as much as 5-10% of your asking price.

By being prepared, you will keep the transaction moving quickly, and will keep the ball in your buyer’s court as often as possible, so you can see if they are dragging their heels, a big indication of cold feet or buyer’s remorse.

By the time you hear from your buyer’s lending institution, you should already have obtained an updated building approval from a large bank, and have a solid understanding of any challenges a typical buyer may face. Read more about getting a pre-approval here.

If you can, start by talking with the attorney you worked with when you purchased your home. Ask them if there’s anything that might concern a buyer’s attorney. You will also want to be ready with all of the following documents when your buyer’s attorney asks for them. As a matter of course, these should only be provided to a qualified attorney representing the purchase, once a bona fide offer has been accepted.

Offering plan
This document describes all the physical particulars of a condo or co-op, and its descriptions should match what your buyer will see at the final walk through.

Buyers (and banks) typically ask for all of a building’s financial information going back two years. So be prepared to provide the last three years of financial information, just to be safe.

Buyers will want to know about the rules that will affect them as a resident—they can be a key part of figuring out whether a buyer will be a good fit for the building.

The minutes of a building’s board meetings give a buyer an idea of how well the building works, and provides more detail about the financial picture there. A coop board or a homeowner’s association is legally required to keep minutes for every meeting. Every good buyer’s attorney will want to read these.

Pet policy
You should know what kind and size of pet your building will allow. No buyer will give away their pet to buy your apartment.

Flip tax
A flip tax is a fee charged by a coop or condo, usually a percentage of the net or gross selling price. Find out whether your building charges a flip tax, and how much it is. This is something buyers will want to be able to take into account, because it will affect their plans for the property and could affect the amount of financing that is available to them from a bank.

Alteration agreement
This document will describe in detail the process for making changes to a coop or condo; many buildings require plans from the architect and contractors who will make these changes, as well as all work to be done by permit and by credible licensed individuals.

Once you have all these documents in hand, you’ll be prepared for the questions that come your way. You’ll also want to be prepared for other situations that can delay your sale. To learn about how to make sure buyers can get financing, read our post on bank pre-approval. Or, to learn more about the whole process, download our free comprehensive guide to selling your home.

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For 15 years, we’ve helped clients navigate the fast-paced real estate landscape of New York City. We’ve gained a reputation for our hands-on, disciplined approach. From finance to architecture, our deep understanding of New York City’s unique market ensures our clients come out on top when selling their property—and when buying the next one.