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The Facts About Purchase and Sale Agreements: An Interview with Alexander Tsiring of The Tsiring Law Firm

By Alexander Tsiring

Tell us a little bit about your firm and the areas of law that you practice.

The Tsiring Law Firm, P.C. is a boutique New York law firm that is focused on its clients' goals and interests and we are dedicated to provide the best short and long term solutions to every unique situation. Our Law Firm offers a full range of services in an efficient and cost-effective manner. We take pride in our work and in the thorough preparation that we bring to each individual case. Our goal is to find the best solution to your legal issue. At The Tsiring Law Firm, P.C., we provide each client with the personal attention that we know is so important. Moreover, we believe that in order to provide the best possible legal assistance for our clients, a comprehensive team of professionals is needed. Thus, we work with other professionals including process servers, attorneys specializing in particular areas of law, accountants, real estate brokers, mortgage brokers, psychologists and appraisers in order to protect the interests of our clients and assist them in their legal matter. These comprehensive services, in addition to our attentiveness and reliability, show our unmatched dedication to serving our clients. It is our devotion, our extensive experience, and our legal expertise that makes our clients happy.

The Tsiring Law firm specializes in general law practice, with special attention to Real Estate Law. When purchasing or selling a house, condominium, or cooperative apartment in New York, our services include the entire process from Contract of Sale to personal representation at Closing. This includes drafting and/or reviewing the contract of sale, reviewing and examining title reports, preparing tax and transfer documents, and overall making the transaction as pleasant as possible for the clients, up and including closings.

We have the knowledge, the capability, and the years of experience when it comes to dealing skillfully with real estate transactions.

Real estate transactions that we commonly handle include:

  • Purchase and Sale agreements
  • Contract negotiations
  • Closings
  • Lease negotiations
  • Financing arrangements

Whether you are buying or selling, we review contracts with you and advise you of pitfalls or issues that need resolution.

Is there something that most people in NY don't know about purchase and sale agreements that they should know?

Many real estate closings, both residential real estate closings and commercial real estate closings, involve complicated legal issues. Many potential buyers do not know that if a closing goes wrong or certain issues arise because of documents that were already signed at a closing, it will be often too late to protect these buyers from harm. The documents that you sign become binding contracts. If you break a contract it will likely result in serious financial consequences.

Can you briefly explain the main reasons why it's important to have a lawyer prepare and/or review a residential purchase and sale agreement?

When representing sellers we use our expertise to negotiate the contract that will be binding on a buyer, in order to ensure that the contract cannot be cancelled by the buyer except for special circumstances previously agreed and included in the contract.

When representing buyers we ensure that all buyers' rights are protected. We carefully and diligently review the contract to ensure that the buyer will receive exactly what he/she agreed to, at the price he/she agreed to and subject to all buyer's conditions and contingencies.

What is the NY state law regarding working with an attorney at this stage?

There is no legal requirement that a person retains a lawyer for a real estate transaction. However, nobody would ever imagine performing a surgery on him/herself without a doctor. For the same reasons, it is highly advisable to retain services of a professional knowledgeable real estate attorney to ensure smooth transaction.

How reliable is it when a standard "fill in the blank" type of form is used for the agreement?

"Fill in the blank" type of form may be used as a basis for an agreement, however it is of an utmost importance to always add certain provisions to the contract of sale (or even a lease) that address particular details that pertain to this transaction. This is called a Rider to the Contract of sale. Each transaction is unique, and there is no standard form that can cover all the eventualities and all the particular agreements that were reached during the contract negotiations. As such, a typical generic form can be used, but only when coupled with a Rider which addresses particular important points for this particular transaction.

What are some of the most common unfavorable variations/items you've found in purchase and sale agreements?

Each purchase and sale agreement is always closely scrutinized by our attorneys, to ensure that our client is protected. For example, when representing a purchaser who is planning to take out a mortgage to finance his purchase, it is very important to ensure that "mortgage contingency" is included in the contract. This clause protects a purchaser in case a bank refused to give a mortgage for any reason. Otherwise, if a purchaser is refused a mortgage and there is no mortgage contingency clause, the purchaser is still bound to proceed with the transaction even though they have no mortgage, or they lose their deposit.

Also, when representing a seller, it is very important to ensure that the contract does not contain any provisions that allow the purchaser to cancel the contract, except for what have been agreed on. Otherwise, if the purchaser may cancel the contract at any time, the seller will be left with nothing because there is no deal, the property was off market for certain period of time, and the seller has to start looking for a buyer all over again.

Do you have any advice for potential home buyers or sellers before they sign the agreement?

Before signing any legal binding document, whether it is a sale agreement or a lease agreement, consult with a real estate attorney. There are always risks for potential errors or omissions that can be reduced by consulting with an experienced real estate attorney to review/prepare legal documents. An experienced real estate attorney can spot issues that may grow into financially harmful lawsuits in the future. An attorney will protect you from signing documents or entering into a contract that are not in your best interests.

What's the best way for people to contact you and your company?

For a consultation or to discuss the benefits of a real estate attorney to assist in your real estate transaction, you may contact our Brooklyn office at 718-332-5600. Email: info@tsiringlaw.com.

The Tsiring Law Firm, P.C.

1713 Sheepshead Bay Road

2nd Floor

Brooklyn, NY 11235

ph: 1-718-332-5600

fax: 1-718-332-5611

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