When Should I Hire a Real Estate Attorney in New York?

Posted on November 21, 2022

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New York state law does not require legal representation to complete a real estate transaction. However, the custom in New York City is for both the buyer and seller in a real estate transaction to have legal counsel present for each critical stage of their deal. You may wonder when it would be most appropriate to hire a real estate attorney for your transaction, and there is no single answer to this question because every real estate transaction is different.

Ultimately, a New York real estate attorney can be an invaluable asset to any stage of the purchase or sale process, and you benefit most when you have legal counsel through every part of your real estate transaction. Before you hire a real estate attorney in New York City, however, it’s essential to know how a real estate attorney benefits you during each phase of a transaction.

Preparing for a Real Estate Transaction

Perhaps the most beneficial time to hire a real estate lawyer in New York City is before any formal steps have been taken toward finalizing the transaction. Your real estate attorney can perform several valuable services in the preliminary stages of a real estate transaction, including:

  • Contract preparation. Contracts are vital components of the modern real estate market. Your attorney can help you prepare contracts that are appropriately detailed, comprehensive, and inclusive of all necessary considerations for your transaction.
  • Contract review. If the other party in your transaction presents you with a contract, it’s crucial to have a real estate lawyer review it carefully. Your legal team can identify potential issues with the contract and propose reasonable changes and amendments to ensure a mutually beneficial agreement.
  • Research. The real estate markets of New York City are incredibly volatile and competitive. An experienced New York City real estate attorney will be thoroughly familiar with the local real estate market, the latest trends, and any relevant recent news you should consider before signing off on a real estate transaction.
  • Legal review. The New York City real estate markets pose several legal and procedural requirements to buyers and sellers. Navigating these legal considerations without an attorney is incredibly difficult. Your attorney can help you understand all the rules, regulations, and recent legislative changes that may apply to your transaction.

Ultimately, it is typically best to hire a real estate attorney before taking any formal steps in a transaction. However, if you have already started negotiations for a real estate transaction in New York City, you can still consult an attorney to guide you through the process.

During Your Transaction

Navigating a real estate transaction without legal representation is very risky. While most buyers and sellers will be honest and upfront about the elements of their proposals, the inherent volatility and competitive nature of the New York City real estate market encourages some parties to engage in unethical actions, leading to significant losses for their victims and extensive legal battles that can last months or even years. Hiring a real estate attorney can serve as a check against these eventualities. In addition, in some cases, hiring an attorney while your transaction is already unfolding can encourage the other party to be more transparent in their position and ultimately lead to a more beneficial outcome for you.

After the Transaction

Perhaps you had already completed a real estate transaction in New York City and are just now discovering severe issues with your contract or elements of the transaction that should have been more carefully addressed before it was finalized. A real estate attorney can still be a beneficial asset if you have already completed a real estate transaction, especially if you have discovered any significant issues with your recent transaction that demand formal legal review.

A New York City real estate attorney is essential if you become involved in real estate litigation. You need legal counsel familiar with the laws and regulations concerning New York City real estate. Your attorney must possess a firm understanding of contract law and litigation. In addition, your attorney can provide measured guidance and support that helps you approach your case with confidence, ultimately helping you resolve the issue in a fraction of the time it likely would have required if you were on your own.

What Can a New York City Real Estate Lawyer Do for Me?

Ultimately, no matter when you hire your real estate attorney, you can rely on them for advice and support throughout every stage of your transaction. Some of the situations that should compel you to seek legal counsel from an experienced New York City real estate lawyer include:

  • Residential real estate transactions. If you are buying or selling a home in New York City, your attorney can perform valuable research on the property to ensure the transaction is fair and balanced for both parties.
  • Commercial real estate. If you buy commercial real estate for your business, you must ensure the property is zoned correctly. Your attorney can perform a thorough review of the property to ensure it will suit your needs and serve as a valuable business investment.
  • Co-ops and condominiums. These real estate options offer flexibility and tremendous value in certain locations. If you plan on purchasing a co-op or condo in New York City, you want to have a lawyer carefully review the transaction details so you can purchase the property with confidence.

Ultimately, a real estate attorney is a crucial asset for any real estate transaction in New York City. The right attorney can streamline the entire process significantly, clarify any issues that might arise during the transaction, and ensure every element of the agreement is thoroughly researched and legally valid.

Questions You Need To Ask a Real Estate Lawyer Before Hiring Them

When looking for a real estate lawyer, it is important to put a lot of time and effort into research. Ensuring that the lawyer you are speaking with will be able to handle your transaction well should be your top priority. This is why asking them important questions is crucial for you to have an accurate snapshot of their experience in real estate. 

One question you should ask your real estate lawyer before hiring them is their fee and what services the fee includes. There are no standard fees for attorneys in New York. Depending on the property you are dealing with and the complexity of the transaction, fees vary from one lawyer to another. Fees can also wither be flat-rate or hourly. 

It is also important to ask your lawyer what issues might arise during the closing of the transaction. Before hiring a lawyer, you may need to ensure that they are experienced enough to handle disputes over repairs and deal with the resolution of any title issues.

Lastly, some law firms let juniors handle some of the work or complete the transaction on their behalf. Therefore, it is important that you ask your lawyer about these potential situations. After you find the lawyer for your transaction, it is important to hand them all the documents related to your real estate transaction so that they will have more time to familiarize the details of the deal.

Avenue Law Firm has years of experience representing clients navigating the New York City real estate market. We know the risks, challenges, and opportunities facing anyone in this situation and want to provide the legal counsel they need to complete their transactions swiftly and efficiently. If you are interested in securing legal representation for an impending real estate transaction in New York City, contact Avenue Law Firm to schedule a consultation and find out how our team can assist you.

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