Are You Looking to Sell Or Buy A Property In New York State?

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Buying and selling a piece of property in New York State, especially a home, should be an exciting time. For many, buying a home is one of the most expensive investments they will ever make. For sellers, however, the property represents a large sum of money that may help them purchase a new home themselves or provide them with much needed financial assistance.

When it comes to buying or selling property, New York State requires that all contracts of sales must be drawn up by the principle or their legal counsel. That means the buyer’s or seller’s attorney will likely write up the initial contract. However, the real estate lawyer plays a much bigger role in the entire transaction than you may realize.
If you or a loved one is considering buying or selling a property, contact The Law Offices of Michael H. Ricca P.C. today to learn more about how we can help you throughout the entire process.


You may be familiar with the role of the real estate agent, but the need for a lawyer may not seem as apparent. Real estate laws and processes can be extremely complex. Buyers and sellers alike have a unique stake with every transaction. Because of this, it is extremely important that both parties retain their own legal counsel to help assist throughout the entire real estate transaction process.

  • Seller’s Real Estate Lawyer: The seller’s real estate lawyer will likely be the first to initiate the contract of sale. In fact, they have likely begun drawing up a contract of sale as soon as the seller contacted them regarding the property to be placed on the market. For the seller, it is in their best interest to have a lawyer that takes initiative and creates this document early on. For many, it starts as a standard template that the seller’s real estate lawyer personalizes through the addition of a rider. This document allows them to customize the form and provides the terms that are negotiable with the buyer.
  • Buyer’s Real Estate Lawyer: As the buyer’s representation, the real estate lawyer’s responsibilities are to protect the best interests of their client. They may draw up a rider on the buyer’s behalf as well. The buyer’s real estate lawyer needs to understand their client’s needs and specific financial situation in order to thoroughly protect their interests and negotiate the most favorable terms on their behalf. It is extremely important that a buyer’s real estate lawyer is diligent and experienced in this field of law.

Both the buyer and seller want the best deal possible. For one, that typically means more money. For the other, however, it typically means less. Striking an agreement will likely include hard negotiations by both lawyers and some concessions on both sides, making it even more important that you do not attempt to buy or sell a piece of property on your own.


A real estate lawyer does more than just finalize one document. They are an essential part of the entire buying and selling process. In fact, they can help you deal with almost all aspects of the transaction. This includes:

  • Brokers
    A real estate broker is an individual who typically works in tandem or over a real estate agent. These individuals typically have more training and are the behind the scenes experts. Like the real estate agent, however, these individuals are there to make a commission. Brokers work with the buyer to market and sell their property. Without the help of a qualified and experienced real estate lawyer, however, a seller may find themselves committing more than they bargained when working with certain brokers. A real estate lawyer can ensure your brokerage agreement meets your terms. For example, what happens if you do not sell the property? If you enter into an agreement, are you forever stuck with that one broker should the property not sell immediately? Do you have the right to seek the help of a new broker? An experienced real estate lawyer can help to ensure your interests are protected and a broker does not take advantage of your naivety and excitement.
  • Closings
    The entire real estate process culminates with the closing event. During this final step, the deed is transferred between parties, the title is passed, and the mortgage loan (if applicable) is provided to the seller for the full value of the property. As the name implies, a closing is the final step in your real estate transaction and the point of no return. Final documents will need to be signed and having an experienced real estate lawyer go over the process, as well as any questions you may have, can ensure you do not regret the terms of your agreement as you sign the final pages. Both buyers and sellers typically find the closing process to be complex and confusing, so having a lawyer there with you can ensure everything goes smoothly. Documents need to be copied and recorded, funds need to be appropriately deposited, and all last minute disputes need to be resolved. The Law Offices of Michael H. Ricca P.C. is proud to be a part of your closing process and strives to ensure this final step goes as smoothly as possible.
  • Contract of Sale
    The contract of sale is arguably the most important document of the entire real estate process. This is the formal written contract that supports and defines the sale and purchase of a piece of property. Having a formal understanding between the buyer and seller is essential. This is exactly why a real estate lawyer should be there to assist both parties throughout the entire process. There are dozens of questions both buyers and sellers may have; with personal interests at stake, retaining your own real estate lawyer means the contract of sale covers everything you find important. In fact, an experienced real estate lawyer can help you identify things that are vital which you may not have even thought of! Let The Law Offices of Michael H. Ricca P.C. use our experience to help you identify everything that may affect your purchase or sale.
  • Financing Arrangements
    Real estate is not cheap. For many buyers, the only way to make such a large purchase comes through the help of a mortgage loan. These loans, which often come from a bank or lending institution, come with their own set of requirements and contractual agreements. Having an experienced real estate lawyer to represent you while you secure a mortgage loan can ensure you do not commit to terms that can cost you big in the end. A real estate lawyer who thoroughly understands the process and terms used in mortgage agreements can help you fully recognize the ramifications of every commitment contained within the contract. What happens if you default? Is there any relief if you find yourself falling behind on payments? Is the mortgage loan fixed rate or adjustable rate? Knowing the answers to these critical questions can significantly affect your repayment options, as well as the amount of money you feel comfortable with paying back.
  • HOAs, Condominiums & Cooperatives
    Homeowners Associations (HOAs), condominiums, and cooperatives have their own special laws. Treated as securities by New York laws, these types of properties will have additional documents that need to be reviewed. Bylaws, mandatory requirements, and other such understandings need to be thoroughly assessed before you commit to a real estate property with these types of declarations. Can you cut down trees? Are you able to install a fence? Is your family dog allowed on the premises? These types of questions need to be addressed before you sign your name at closing and a real estate lawyer can help you find the answers you need to ensure your real estate purchase is the best possible fit for you.
  • Taxes & Other Issues
    A real estate transaction will come with tax consequences that should be addressed. As a seller, you will be collecting an extremely large payment when you sell your property. What income tax consequences may the sale generate? Will you be able to claim an exclusion of capital gains under the particular circumstances of your sale? The buyer may have questions of their own. What, if any, obligations does the seller have should an issue be found with the home? What property taxes will likely be incurred on the property? These types of questions must be worked out prior to signing a contract of sale and having an experienced real estate lawyer by your side can ensure they are answered.
  • Titles
    After signing the contract of sale, it is very important that the parties establish the state of the title. An experienced real estate lawyer can help ensure the buyer’s expectations are met and the title is in good standing. For example, is there a lien or violation against the property? Knowing this is extremely important for both parties. In many cases, the title is obtained through a title insurance company. However, not all jurisdictions in New York State require this. If this is the case, a real estate lawyer can help inform you of any options you may have in lieu of a title insurance policy.
  • Zoning & Survey Reviews
    Zoning and survey reviews are often overlooked. However, both can benefit from the use of a real estate lawyer. Zoning laws may affect your future plans as a buyer; however, they may also affect you financially much sooner than that. If the seller has a deck that violates current zoning laws and you buy the property, you may be left to pay any fines or expenses that result from a violation.Survey reviews are also important. A site survey will provide you with the exact boundaries of the property in question. Having the property’s survey thoroughly reviewed by an experienced real estate lawyer can help you identify any potential problems before you sign the closing papers. Has the neighbor built a fence through your property? Will surrounding encroachments affect your ability to secure a mortgage loan? These types of documents require an absolutely thorough understand of zoning, real estate laws, and much more. An experienced real estate lawyer is highly recommended and can be an asset when it comes to verifying the property meets everyone’s expectations.


Finding the right lawyer for your real estate transaction is important. After all, they are there to act on your behalf and must be able to provide the knowledge, experience, and focus you deserve. Some of the most important things you should inquire about include:


Your real estate lawyer should be as committed to the sale or purchase of your property as you are. They should take the time to work with you to fully understand and appreciate exactly what you find important. They should also be available to help address any concerns you may have when you need them. The Law Offices of Michael H. Ricca P.C. is happy to provide this service. We understand buying or selling a property, especially a home, can be both exciting and stressful. We strive to answer your calls as soon as possible, providing support and knowledgeable answers throughout the entire real estate transaction process.


Experience should never be overlooked when it comes to a real estate transaction. You are not buying a cookie, so why should you settle for cookie cutter documents and a one-size-fits-all approach? At The Law Offices of Michael H. Ricca P.C., we tailor our support to meet your needs. Because we understand the nuances of a real estate transaction, we can better negotiate on your behalf to ensure your needs and terms are met.


A real estate lawyer should be open about any fees associated with your transaction. No one works for free, but with The Law Offices of Michael H. Ricca P.C. we know every penny counts when it comes to a real estate transaction. We do our best to remain conscious of the enormous investment of each property and provide transparent fee schedules so you know exactly what you pay for with us.

If you or a loved one are looking to buy or sell a piece of real estate, contact The Law Offices of Michael H. Ricca P.C. today at (516) 500-1647. We stress over the details of your real estate transaction so you don’t have to!