Part 13*: In a Residential Contract of Sale What are the Seller’s Obligations Regarding Condition of the Property?

Paragraph 12 of the standard form of Residential Contract of Sale in New York states as follows:

“Purchaser acknowledges and represents that Purchaser is fully aware of the physical condition and state of repair of the Premises…” That same paragraph goes on to say that the property is being sold “as is” except that the building systems and appliances shall be in working order.

New York is known as a caveat emptor, or “buyer beware” state. This means that Purchasers are expected to complete their due diligence before they sign the contract. Once a Purchaser signs a contract, it is very difficult to request repairs or cancel the contract because the purchaser is not satisfied with the condition of the property. The broker will typically facilitate the home inspection and, where applicable, the septic inspection. Some items such as drinking water and radon will be completed after the contract is signed, but for those items the rider to the contract will typically protect the purchaser.

Paragraph 16(e) of the Contract protects the Purchaser by stating that all building systems and appliances shall be in working order as of the closing:
“All plumbing (including water supply and septic systems, if any), heating and air conditioning, if any, electrical and mechanical systems, equipment, and machinery in the building(s) located on the property being in working order as of the date of Closing. All appliances which are included in this sale being in working order as of the date of Closing.”

The Purchaser’s Rider may also state that the premises must be delivered free of any roof leaks or standing water in the basement.
If the purchaser’s inspection reveals a condition that the Seller is willing to repair, such as a broken door or window, a missing baffle on the septic system or a water leak, the attorneys will address these items in a repair addendum to the contract.

Based on the foregoing, it is important for a residential Purchaser in New York to perform a thorough inspection of the property before signing the contract and if the Seller is willing to make any repairs, include that in the contract.

*Thank you for taking the time to read this article. This article is part of our “From Contract to Closing; Demystifying NY Residential Real Estate” Series. Other aspects of residential real estate transactions in New York are discussed in other Parts of this series.

For questions about residential real estate law, or general information about our firm, please contact us at (914) 338-8050 or send an e-mail to 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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