Real Estate Frequently Asked Questions

What Are Your Fees?

In most cases a simple residential real estate closing is billed at a flat rate ranging from $795-$1195 depending on the complexity of the transaction. Commercial transactions are billed at an hourly rate. We are happy to work with you on the best fee arrangement to suit your needs.

Do I Have to Use the Bank Attorney if I am a Buyer?

No, all parties involved in a real estate transaction are entitled to their own representation. It can sometimes be confusing when the bank offers you the services of their attorney. The bank attorney represents the best interest of the bank not the buyer. Bank attorney services are often times offered to a buyer at a discounted rate. Testa Law Firm will match the bank attorney rate. We recommend retaining your own attorney who will represent your interests.

How long does the closing process take?

The closing process generally takes 60 days if there is a lender involved. With a cash purchase the closing takes about 30 days. It is important to remember that the contract often gives an elastic “on or about” closing date, this is because there are a variety of factors that can impact the closing time line. Please see Please link this to the Real Estate Closing Process“The Real Estate Closing Process” for more detail.

How is Real Estate Transferred?

The basic mechanism by which real estate is transferred is a deed. In order to be effective, a deed must adequately (and accurately) describe the property being conveyed, and it must identify the person making the transfer, and the person receiving it. In addition, the deed must be signed and delivered to the recipient. In most jurisdictions, there is an additional step: the deed must be recorded. The reason for recording is that most jurisdictions maintain “Official Records” which list the parties to a transfer of real property. This is very important, because it enables owners to be “registered” on the official records and to give notice to the world that a piece of property has changed hands.

In Cayuga County you must file the Deed along with an RP-5217 and TP-584 with the County Clerk. The fee to file a deed is $40.00 plus $5.00 per page, the RP-5217 is $125.00 and the TP-584 is $5.00. These are typically the buyer's expense.

The seller must pay deed stamps which are claimed on the TP-584. The cost of Deeds Stamps is the $2.00 for every $500.00 of the purchase Price.

Click here to view a complete list of Cayuga County Clerk Fees.

What is Title Insurance?

Title insurance is your policy of protection against the loss if a claim is made against your ownership because of fraud, forgery, judgments, unpaid real property taxes, liens, or other defects in title. The title insurance company will, at its own expense, defend the title and will pay losses within the coverage of the policy if they occur.

In most cases the buyer will be required by the lender to obtain a Lender's Policy of Title Insurance in order to obtain financing. In some cases the buyer may also elect to purchase an additional Owner's Policy of Title Insurance. If the property is a foreclosure it is recommended to also obtain the owner's policy.

What is a Mortgage?

A lender making a loan that is to be used in connection with a purchase of real estate wants to be guaranteed the money will be paid back, and they want more than a signature on a promissory note. One security mechanism is for the borrower to use the real estate in question as security for the loan. That is, the borrower agrees that if he/she cannot make the payments on the loan, the lender can “look to the property” for repayment. The legal method by which this is done is called a mortgage. A mortgage is a document by which the borrower agrees that if he/she cannot make the payments on a loan, the lender may step in and sell the real estate and apply the proceeds of the sale to repay the loan. A Mortgage may also be known as a “Deed of Trust.”

The lender will require that the mortgage be filed with the County Clerk. The fee to file a mortgage is $40.00 plus $5.00 per page. You will also have to pay the Mortgage Tax. In Cayuga County the Mortgage Tax is figured as follows:

1% mortgage tax over $10,000.00 ¾% mortgage tax under $10,000.00 One or two family dwelling over $10,000.00 deduct $25.00.

What is Full Disclosure?

In any transaction, the parties should deal honestly and forthrightly with each other. Anything less is a species of fraud – either deliberately lying, or telling half truths when questions are asked. The rule of full disclosure is one that requires the seller of property to disclose fully all he/she knows about the property being sold.

The Seller of a property is required to fill out a property condition disclosure. Click here to view a Property Condition Disclosure.

The Seller must disclose everything they know about the property even if it may prevent the buyer from purchasing the property.

Ex. The basement of the property floods in the Spring. It is November and there are no signs of flooding the seller must still disclose that the basement floods in the spring.

Failure to fully disclose information can result in a lawsuit. The seller and only the seller fills out the Property Condition Disclosure. The seller should not be coached on how to fill out the disclosure. If the seller does not know the answer to a questions on the disclosure the seller much state as much.

Commitment to Community

As an Auburn, NY native, and an active member in the community, Testa Law Firm practitioner Daniel A. Testa III believes that it should be a priority to make the community that we live and work in better. From being a member on the Union Springs school board to sponsoring a travel baseball team, he exemplifies a genuine love for our community that extends outside of his excellent representation.

Free Consultations

To get an initial evaluation of your case by an experienced New York attorney at no cost, contact the Testa Law Firm to arrange a free consultation.

Testa Law Firm, P.C.
315-255-3369 (fax)
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