5 Documents to Send to Your Lawyer Before Selling Real Property

An experienced listing agent understands how much work is required simply to have the MLS listing go live. Information gathering, market research, decluttering, staging, photographs, etc. Once the listing goes live, the next goal is to have contracts signed as soon as possible. If the number of days on the market begins creeping up, a property can be stigmatized. Experienced real estate attorneys understand this market reality and coordinate with the listing agent and Seller to send, negotiate, finalize, and execute the Contract of Sale as soon as possible.

Can the listing agent expedite the Contract of Sale? Absolutely. Here are five (5) documents the broker can ask the client to provide to their attorney even before the property is listed for sale:

  1. Deed: The Seller’s name on the Contract of Sale should match the name on the vesting deed. If the Seller has their vesting deed, this saves the attorney time. If there is an issue with the deed this also helps increase the likelihood that the attorney will identify the issue early in the process.
  2. Title Policy: The Seller’s title insurance policy, also commonly known as the “Owner’s Policy,” can save time by expediting the purchaser’s title search and resolving potential title issues. For example, if an old mortgage was cleared when the Seller purchased the property, that information can help clear the same mortgage should it appear in the new Purchaser’s title search.
  3. Survey: Survey issues are all too common in Westchester. Delivering a survey to the Purchaser can help save them time, if the Purchaser decides to rely on Seller’s survey or simply update it as opposed to ordering a new survey. A new survey can take a long time to prepare, especially during the winter months when the ground can be covered in snow.
  4. Letters Testamentary: If the Seller is an estate, the executor must have either Letters of Administration (if Seller died intestate, or without a Last Will and Testament), or Letters Testamentary, if Seller died with a Last Will and Testament. The Letters of Administration or Testamentary must have been issued within six (6) months of the closing. Filing a Petition to obtain Letters Testamentary can take time for the Surrogate’s Court to process. Providing the Letters to the Seller’s attorney before drafting the Contract of Sale can help identify and resolve any issues, such as no Letters or expired Letters.
  5. Organizational Documents: If the property is held by a business entity, then the title company will generally require the organizational documents for that business entity. For example, if the property is owned by a limited liability company (LLC), the title company will generally request the LLC’s Operating Agreement and Articles of Organization. The title company will also require the names and addresses of all owners of the LLC. This can get complicated and time consuming when there are multiple layers of ownership. For properties that have been owned by the family for many years, the organizational documents may be difficult to obtain. For example, the attorney and accountant who represented the owner has since retired. Providing the organizational documents to the attorney early in the process helps identify and resolve these potential issues early in the process.

Based on the foregoing, a broker can help ensure a timely closing by encouraging the Seller to get organized early in the process and provide the necessary documentation to their attorney.

For questions pertaining to residential real estate or general information about our firm, please contact us at (914) 338-8050 or send an e-mail to keith@betenskylaw.com. We look forward to hearing from you.

Betensky Law PLLC
118 N. Bedford Road, Suite 302
Mount Kisco, New York 10549
(914) 338-8050

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