Selling Your Home

When selling a home, as in when buying, remember to consult an experienced attorney first before signing anything. If you are going to use the services of a real estate agent, be sure to have your attorney review the listing agreement before signing it.

Once you have found someone to whom you wish to sell your home, it is time to retain the services of an attorney. It is unwise to use an attorney who is recommended by any party to the sale, such as the real estate agent. The proper selection of an attorney is essential. You should be confident at all times that your attorney has only your best interests in mind.   

Our legal fee to handle the sale of your home from start to closing is $3,000. $500 is paid when you retain our law firm and the balance is paid at the closing.

When you first meet your attorney, it will be helpful if you bring your deed, property survey, title insurance, and the latest mortgage statement, if you have a mortgage.

You should inform your attorney of the date on which you would like to close on the sale, which should be when you want to move out of your current home. Although a closing date will most likely be stated in the contract, the date is not exact. It is an approximation of when the closing will take place. Very often, the closing will take place shortly after the projected date or, if both parties agree, shortly before. You should not make firm plans to move based upon the date mentioned in the contract.

If you have an oil tank, shortly before the closing, you must have the oil company measure the amount of oil in the tank and give you a written statement as to how much oil is left in the tank. Without this written statement, you will not be able to be paid for the oil by the buyer at the closing.

Shortly before the closing, you should also call for a water meter reading (if applicable), so that you can get a final bill from the city. Try to pay the final bill and bring a receipted bill to the closing. Have all other meters read before the closing. Contact all utility companies to advise them to switch the service into the buyer's names. However, do not take these actions until you are certain of the closing date and that the closing will actually occur, which is usually after the buyer has received his or her financing commitment and has inspected the property.

After the closing, contact your insurance broker to cancel your homeowners policy, since you may be entitled to a refund of part of your premium. Do not cancel the policy until the sale is final, since, if the closing is delayed unexpectedly, you want your insurance to continue to cover the property.

Your home may be a house, a condominium, or a cooperative apartment. Remember that each of these different types of homes requires different considerations when selling.

The greatest expense for the seller with a mortgage is paying off what is still owed on the mortgage. If the seller has a real estate agent, the seller is responsible for paying the real estate agent's fee at the closing. Typically, the fee will be 3% to 6%of the sale price. The seller is responsible for a transfer fee to New York State of $4 per thousand. For example, the transfer tax on a house sold for $100,000 will be $400. In addition, there is another fee of $100 for coops and $125 for condos and 1-3 family houses. For all other types of property, there is an additional fee of $250.

If the property is located in New York City, there is an additional fee of 1% for transfers of less than $500,000. Thus, on the sale of a home costing $100,000, in addition to the New York State fees outlined above, a transfer fee of $1,000 will be owed to New York City. If the sales price of the property is $500,000 or more, the New York City transfer fee is 1.425 %, which applies to the entire sales amount. For example, if the sales price of the property is $600,000, the New York City transfer fee will be $8,550.

If the property is located outside of New York City, other than the New York State transfer fee outlined above, there are no other transfer fees except that Yonkers has a transfer fee of 1.5% of the sales price, and Mt. Vernon has a transfer fee of 1% of the sales price.

In addition, there may be other expenses, such as a fee to record a satisfaction of the mortgage and fees to the title company. You should figure that these fees will cost several hundreds of dollars. Since the fees and expenses change from time to time, this is meant to give you an idea of what to expect. Consult with your attorney for the latest information.