In New York, unlike most places in the United States, it is customary for buyers to seek the representation of a lawyer throughout the purchasing process. Although this is not a legal requirement, some longtime real estate agents say they have never witnessed a deal completed without the buyer’s having a lawyers Kanata on hand.
“I would never, never have a situation where a buyer did not have an attorney,” said Deanna Kory, a senior vice president of the Corcoran Group. “Without question, there is too much to understand. You can’t understand it on the fly.”
Buyers in New York City rely upon lawyers because real estate transactions can be extraordinarily complicated. In addition to the usual concerns about contracts, liens and titles, New York’s numerous co-ops have financial statements and meeting minutes that require scrutiny. Buying a condo, and even a single-family home, can be equally knotty. Not to mention that the sellers on the other side of the table usually come armed with their own lawyer.
And then, of course, there is the simple fact that real estate in New York is expensive. Making a bad deal can jeopardize huge amounts of money.
“You’re signing the largest check you’ve ever signed,” said Gary L. Malin, the president of the brokerage Citi Habitats, “and you want to make sure that you’re not missing something. To not engage an attorney — you’d feel naked in the process.”
Lawyers also provide a necessary buffer in what can be an emotional process. Peter Graubard, a real estate lawyer since 1994, said lawyers were able to provide an objective assessment even while advocating for buyers.