Whether you’re a listing agent or a buyer’s agent, there are many things that a real estate agent must look out for to prevent a Staten Island real estate deal from falling apart before the final contract is signed. This might be old news to many of the talented, knowledgeable real estate agents that I frequently work with. For those starting, here are four primary tips from my Staten Island legal firm that I've learned during the years:
1. Be Knowledgeable – Inform and educate yourself so that you are in the best position to inform and educate your clients. Listen Agents – Inform your clients what their potential closing costs will be. Let sellers know about PCDA (agents, contact me for my “pre-closing checklist” for more info about this). Buyer Agents – Inform buyers to get an inspection done ASAP if they are planning on doing so. Be aware of how an “on or about” date works, which allows for an extension of 30 days.
2. Know What "As Is" Condition Really Means - "As Is" condition, in a standard Staten Island residential deal, means substantially the same condition as when the offer was made with subsequent (reasonable) wear and tear. So if a seller puts holes in the wall when they are moving their possessions out, this is not reasonable wear and tear and would have to be repaired by the seller.
One notable exception to this understanding is the main systems in the home and the roof. Most contracts in Staten Island state that the main systems have to be in "working order" and the roof must be "free of leaks." Make sure your clients know this!
3. Be Present For The Inspection – Whether you are the listing agent or the buyer’s agent, be there for the inspection! This gives you a leg up on dealing with potential issues. Don’t shy away from the transaction or leave it to the attorneys at this point. In my experience, many real estate attorneys do not wish to get involved in negotiating repairs (especially practitioners not specializing in Real Estate). Now is the time to work together with the other agent and the respective clients and try to work out any repairs or possible credit or price reduction. This is the part of the real estate deal that is most crucial and can make the difference between a deal that closes or one that dies on the vine.
4. Refer Your Client To A Real Estate Attorney – Many attorneys who are general practitioners or litigators think that handling a real estate transaction is very simple. The fact is that every transaction is unique in its own way and you want your client to be represented by someone who has a vast amount of experience in Real Estate Law. In addition, many attorneys in other practice areas tend to be of an adversarial personality. A real estate transaction requires an attorney who is patient, goal-oriented and calming for the clients. Generally, all parties are working towards the same goal – closing the real estate transaction. So make your referral a good one, and make sure you refer your client to an attorney who practices Real Estate Law.
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This Information, based on New York law, was provided courtesy of The Law Office of Christopher J. Arrigali, P.C. It is intended to inform, not to advise. No one should try to interpret or apply any law without the assistance of legal counsel.