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Homebuyer Mistakes | New York Real Estate Lawyer

Norman M. Carniol

New York Real Estate Lawyer


For New York Home Buyers.

The following information is what I generally include in my letters to new home buyer inquiries. It is not legal advice. Just a few of the practical reasons thoughts as to why a home buyer should attend a consultation with a real estate attorney before they begin the home shopping experience.


“In order to avoid unintended financial risk or actual loss of money today, a home shopper/buyer needs a lawyer’s advice even before he meets with a real estate broker.  Recently in New York the laws and regulations have changed: For a buyer, possible legal obligations and financial responsibilities can be incurred by the buyer, the first time they meet with either a seller or the buyer’s real estate broker.  It is important to first meet with your real estate attorney to obtain legal advice about how to protect yourself from unintended obligations to either the real estate broker or the seller.

 The moment  the homebuyer (shopper) signs a real estate broker disclosure, or finds the home he (she) wants and signs an offer that is accepted by the seller, a number of potential issues may be created:

1.       When a buyer’s written offer to purchase real estate is accepted by the seller,  it may become  “binding” upon both parties, and cause a “lawsuit”  between them; many important issues that would have been negotiated and agreed upon  in a contract of sale are not settled by mutual agreement at the time of the offer.  A written buyer’s offer and seller acceptance, creates more potential for disagreement between buyer and seller as the transaction goes forward, loss of significant time, substantial money expenses to be paid to the lawyer and maybe to one of the parties, and interference in achieving the parties goals in a mutually agreed upon real estate transaction.


a.       It is usually best to meet with your attorney for a consultation Before beginning the search for a home.  I offer my clients a Free Office Consultation to review basic homebuyer  purchase and sale procedures that will help protect them while shopping for a home, and answer other questions that will assist my clients in achieving their goals, while minimizing the risk of a lawsuit. Often, buying a home is a family’s biggest investment, with a total expense equal to the combined expense of the purchase price + closing costs + 6 figure interest on their mortgage loan. Your lawyer will only work for your interests, not for the seller’s interest, and not to earn the broker’s commission.


2.      Do you, Mr. Home Buyer, want to avoid any  legal responsibility to pay a commission to the real estate broker?  In New York today, a Buyer may become obligated to pay a real estate commission to the broker, when he offers to buy and the seller accepts his offer.


a.      Recent changes in New York Law require a real estate broker to obtain your signature on papers Before he show you his real estate listings “for sale”. These papers may make the buyer responsible to pay the broker a commission (Instead of, or in addition to, the seller paying a commission).


3.       A written offer to buy a home may create a legal responsibility to purchase the property, even though you cannot obtain a bank mortgage loan to provide the money you need. In this situation you may be sued by the seller.


4.      You can become obligated to purchase the seller’s property, even though you don’t have the legal protections afforded to You in a Contract of Sale (Negotiated by your attorney). This includes legal contract terms to protect you against becoming obligated to purchase a home with a defect in title to the property, loss of your money before closing (and after closing too)


a.      You will also need a contract’s protection to ensure your lawyer can protect your legal rights to:

                                                              i.      Receive from the seller,  valid and marketable ownership to the home; the seller will be required to deliver clear title to the real estate.

                                                           ii.      Remember, if your property ownership is defective, or the seller didn’t provide you with clean ownership of the property (No liens, judgments, unpaid mortgages, defects in the chain of title such as claims of another person to the legal title of the home, etc.), you may be unable to sell it in the future. You could lose all the money you paid and invested in the property.


5.      You don’t want any surprise tenants. Discover an unknown tenant in the property after you close, and it may interfere with your family moving in – costing lots of money and time trying to evict him. If the tenant has years remaining on a lease, you may be stuck for years being unable to occupy the home you purchased.

a.      The formal contract of sale can provide the property to be delivered vacant at closing.


6.      You want to close on a home that is substantially in the same condition as the day you first looked at it (Less normal wear and tear). What are your legal rights if there is subsequent unrepaired fire damage to the property and the seller insists that you close anyway? The formal contract of sale can provide protection for you.



7.      You want a home that is a legal structure with your family’s lawful occupancy. You don’t want to buy a home, and then find out the government is requiring it to be torn down or altered at your expense, because the building occupancy is illegal. The formal contract of sale can provide protection in its terms.


8.     What if the person at the closing who signs the deed is not really who he says he is, and therefore not the owner of the property?


a.       What happens to the money you paid him?

b.       Who owns the house you thought you purchased and paid for?

c.        We can discuss this issue at your Free Consultation.

In today’s fast moving society, as early as possible it is advisable to retain the advice of an experienced real estate lawyer of your choosing,  at the very beginning, before looking at homes or doing business with either a real estate broker or a seller.

I provide to my clients legal advice, excellent negotiating skills, and lots of practical advice.  I want to protect my client from the very beginning of the real estate shopping experience, through the mortgage application to firm loan commitment  process, and until the closing is completed.

For a home purchase in Queens, Brooklyn, Nassau, Suffolk, Manhattan, Bronx,  and Westchester County of New York:

My Clients can Receive a Free Office Consultation.


 I want my clients to understand how to protect themselves when shopping for what frequently becomes the biggest family investment of a lifetime: a house, or condominium, or cooperative apartment.

My legal fee structure is very competitive.

 House Contract Legal Representation Fees are from $500.

 Purchase and sale legal retainer agreements are in writing.

At your Free Consultation we can discuss what I call the “stages” of a homebuyer’s property purchase experience:

1.       At the very beginning of your home shopping, from a legal viewpoint - What to do, and what not to do, while shopping for your home.


2.      What types of legal protection are available to you  “before-during- after” contract signing, and what additional practical steps you may take to avoid disagreements with either the seller or the seller’s real estate  broker.


3.      How to find a lender with the most competitive loan terms, including: the lowest total loan cost, and the lender’s documentation requirements and qualification requirements for your mortgage loan. What should you expect from the first mortgage loan application step,  to the firm mortgage commitment step, to setting up the mortgage loan closing with the bank?


4.      What is a closing?


a.      What happens at the closing?

b.       What should the buyer do to protect myself at the closing?

c.       How should the buyer prepare for the closing?

d.      What will the lawyer do to help me complete the closing process successfully?

e.      What happens after closing?

f.        How much will it cost me to close my home purchase?


5.      How can my ownership (title) to the house be protected, so that title is secure and  protected for the long term ?”

To sit down together and discuss your home purchase, and the answers to the above questions, call me for a “Free Office Consultation” Appointment at:

(347) 551 – 0800 , or

Email me at:  .


Direct 7 day Convenience Number:  (347) 551-0800,


我们讲中文  Chinese Language spoken at:    (347) 886-9778,


Office Phone Numbers:

                              (718) 591-2400     or     (516) 487-0220


Office Address:

179-14 Union Turnpike

Flushing (Fresh Meadows), New York 11366



¾ mile South of Long Island Expressway’s Utopia Parkway Exit, and 1 block East. Near Surrey Place, on Union Turnpike.

½ mile North of Grand Central Parkway. Union Turnpike and Utopia Parkway, and 1 block East.


Note: None of the information provided on this website  is to be construed as legal advice. Legal advice can only be provided after a retainer agreement  between the client and Norman M. Carniol, Esq. has been signed by both parties. This page contains only gratuitous examples of legal information, not legal advice.

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