Paragraph 14 of the standard form of Residential Contract of Sale in New York states as follows:
“Closing” means the settlement of the obligations of Seller and Purchaser to each other under this contract, including the payment of the purchase price to Seller, and the delivery to Purchaser of a bargain and sale deed with covenant against grantors’ acts in proper statutory short form for recording, duly executed and acknowledged, so as to convey to Purchaser fee simple title to the Premises, free of all encumbrances, except as otherwise herein stated.
What does this mean in plain English? A “bargain and sale deed” is the document that conveys title from the Seller to the Purchaser. A “covenant against grantors’ acts” is a promise in the deed that the Seller did not do anything to encumber title except as set forth in the deed.
Fee simple title to the Premises is the highest form of ownership and provides the Purchaser with the right to occupy the property and exclude others. By contrast, a leasehold estate would allow the Purchaser to occupy the premises for a term of years. An access easement or right of way would allow the Purchaser to enter onto the Premises but may not allow the Purchaser to occupy or exclude others. Therefore, the “fee simple” estate is the highest form of ownership.
*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.
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