Real Estate Law

  • Buying or selling a home is one of the most important financial decisions you will make during your lifetime. Attorney representation can help buyers and sellers navigate through any complicated real estate transactions. 
  • The Law Office of Eric C. Puma, P.C. is equipped to prepare and review documents relating to either residential or commercial real estate such as purchase agreements, mortgage documents, title documents and transfer documents.  Most importantly we are here to help ensure that the contract of sale is fair for all parties especially our clients.  We are always present at closings and ensure that both the buyer and seller have all required documents and payments ready to guarantee a smooth closing process

Frequently Asked Questions

A: In New York State and New Jersey, it is customary for both the Seller and Purchaser to have their own independent attorney in a real estate transaction. The responsibilities of the seller’s attorney include: preparing and negotiating the terms of a real estate contract, prepare seller transfer documents, address title issues and existing liens, order final water readings, prepare a closing statement and represent the seller at the closing. The purchaser’s attorney will review and negotiate the terms of the seller’s contract, order a title search and title insurance, review title matters (including easements, restrictions and rights-of-way), review assessment and property tax figures, discuss the option of obtaining a new property survey, coordinate a closing with the mortgage company’s attorney, prepare a closing statement and represent the purchaser at the closing.

A home inspection is when a paid professional inspector — often a contractor or an engineer — inspects the home, searching for defects or other problems that might plague the owner later on. They usually represent the buyer and/or is paid by the buyer. The inspection usually takes place after a purchase contract between buyer and seller has been signed.

When selling residential property in New York, a seller is normally required to either give the purchaser a Property Condition Disclosure Statement; or, provide them with a $500.00 credit in lieu of this Statement. However, providing this Statement to a purchaser creates post-closing liability for the seller and it is always a good idea to discuss these options with your attorney to determine which option is best for you.

A title report ensures there are no liens, no encroachments, and no easements placed against the prior owners or any documents that will restrict your use of the property. The title report will also identify the rightful owner and vesting interests in the property.

The preliminary title report may reveal title defects and other issues which must be dealt with in order for a seller to convey a clear and marketable title and issuance of a title insurance policy. Additionally, a preliminary title report provides you with an opportunity to review any impediment that would prevent a clear title from passing to you.

While a survey is not legally required, a current survey can be very helpful, especially if the property has never been surveyed before. A survey will clearly delineate boundary lines, identify corners and determine total acreage, as well as identify possible title issues that otherwise would not be apparent from the public record. The survey will also locate easements, rights of way and encroachments that affect the property. A new survey can be certified, referenced in your new deed and then filed, thereby establishing clear and unambiguous title in the name of the new owner.

A lien is any legal claim on real property that acts as a security for the payment of a debt or other obligation. If the debt is not repaid as promised, the lender or the lien holder can foreclose its claim on the property and force a public sale to pay the debt.

The most common form of a lien on property is a mortgage. While all mortgages are liens, not all liens are mortgages. Other types of liens are commonly encountered and part of the work of the real property attorney is to check for outstanding liens at the time a real estate transaction closes. These include such things as judgment liens resulting from a court judgment against the owners, mechanic’s liens resulting from recent improvements to the property, liens for unpaid taxes, and liens for unpaid municipal utilities such as water and sewer.

An easement allows another person the right to use your land for a specific purpose. The most usual easements are those granted to public utility or telephone companies to run lines on or under your private property and to neighboring houses to use a common driveway to give access to their home.

Closing costs are the fees for services, taxes or special interest charges that surround the purchase of a home. They include upfront loan points, title insurance, escrow or closing day charges, document fees, prepaid interest and property taxes. Unless, these charges are rolled into the loan, they must be paid when the home is closed.

The closing is a final meeting of all the parties involved in the real estate transaction. Attorneys for buyer, seller and bank convene with sellers and buyers to sign and officially transfer title to the buyers. A representative of the title insurance company will also be present to facilitate the transfer of title. The title company is also responsible for recording the new deed.

Final walk-throughs are not home inspections. A final walk through is not the time to begin negotiations with the seller to do repairs. A final walk-through is an inspection performed by the buyer before the closing to make sure the property is in the condition you agreed to purchase it. Before the closing, the buyer should visit the property to assure that everything is in working order. That means turning on the heat and air conditioning and checking for leaks and other problems.