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Homesellers often have more to worry about than buyers because in addition to the paperwork and questions surrounding the sale of their existing home, they must often prepare for the purchase (and move to) a new home. Below is some helpful information to help facilitate the process, and make certain that you maximize your sale. For further explanations or additional information on New York residential real estate sales, contact us.

Be Prepared: Have your Paperwork Ready!

Before you start showing your home to potential buyers, you should be prepared to present the documents that you will need for your sale. They include:

The Deed:  This is the legal document, which transferred title to you when you purchased your home. If verifies that you are the rightful owner of your property, describes the legal bounds of your property, and defines the manner in which you may transfer your property to a third party.

THE REAL ESTATE CONTRACT: In today’’s market, you will be working harder than ever to sell your home. You want to know that once you accept a prospective buyer’’s offer, the burden of selling your home has been lifted from your shoulders. This is why the drafting of your CONTRACT OF SALE is of utmost importance.

The Contract of Sale outlines the terms and conditions by which you have agreed to sell , and the buyer has agreed to buy your home. In particular , it states the basic responsibilities of both the Seller and the Buyer. Once the contract is signed by both parties, you are bound to those terms and conditions. If a contract is not well written, it can lead to problems, delays or even the cancellation of your closing!

The key to the smooth sale of your home is knowing that you have the documents necessary to close the deal before you sign the contract. If a document is not available, or does not exist (as may be the case regarding a Certificate of Occupancy), the contract must be drafted to keep the seller in control by giving you enough time to obtain that document prior to closing. From the Seller’’s perspective, if all the paperwork is in place, the contract should be subject only to the buyer obtaining the necessary financing to complete the sale.

Once the mortgage is approved, there should not be any open issues that the seller cannot control. Since the seller is totally prepared, the parties can proceed to a smooth closing!

The Survey: This is the map outlining the legal boundaries of your property and how you home is situated on your property. The recital of your property lines should match those contained in your deed.

Certificate of Occupancy (C.O.): This is the document which verifies that your home met the requirements of the local building code at the time that it was built. Depending upon the age of your home, you should have a C.O. for each permanent structure on your property. This includes any additions or extensions as well as detached garages, in ground pools, cabanas and certain decks and patios. You may not be able to close on your sale if you do not possess all of your Certificates of Occupancy (or their equivalent.).

Mortgage and Note: In a high interest rate environment, a mortgage which may be assumed by a purchaser is a valuable asset. If your mortgage is not assumable, it will have to be satisfied at closing. A copy of your last mortgage statement will help your attorney obtain payoff figures to satisfy any outstanding mortgages or other obligations.

Tax and Utility Bills: Although these are not critical, an informed buyer may ask about the real estate taxes and fuel charges.

If you have any questions about these documents, please call our offices for assistance.


No matter when you purchased your home, selling it for a profit is always a good feeling. Before you get carried away, don’’t forget there are costs in selling a home. The greatest costs are the real estate broker's commission and the State transfer taxes.

If the property is in New York City, the Seller must also pay NYC Real Property Transfer Tax (RPT). For most properties, the RPT is 1% of the sale price, for sales less than $500,000.00

Although you may have found a buyer for your home- it is still your home until you deliver a deed and move out. You are responsible for the payment of all taxes and utilities until you deliver possession to your buyer. -

The above outlines most of the costs of selling a home- except legal fees. This is a sensitive issue that must be discussed between attorney and client before the contact is drawn- not at closing when it is too late.

The Law Office of Richard C. Hochman can provide you with superior legal services at a reasonable cost. We state our fees and other costs, in writing, prior to taking any work on your behalf.

Please be reminded that the information contained on this site is only an overview. Each individual's needs and situation is unique. We are here to provide you with a free, confidential consultation to review and analyze your situation to determine which options may be right for you.