Active Rain March 11, 2009

Choose Your Attorney Carefully

Here in New York attorneys are an integral part of the transaction process. The following occurred this past Monday on a home I listed where an old deal resurfaced from when the home was listed with a prior agent.

I got a call from the attorney’s office of the purchaser of my listing. I was told told that if I could deliver copies of some papers needed that they would give me their deposit check for my client’s attorney to deposit. Due to the fact that this was a transaction that had been canceled by each party once and subsequently reinstated, we would then be able to close as soon as the check cleared. Naturally, I stopped what I was doing and headed straight for White Plains. Trump and Iacocca could wait.

Upon meeting the buyer’s attorney I was pleased to meet a paralegal who struck me as being on her game without being arrogant (a rarity) and a lawyer who was quite down to Earth and eager to make the deal happen after months of drama (another rarity). Since this was the first time we met, I was encouraged that this wasn’t a bait and switch, since real estate agents are cheaper than couriers.

Given the attorney’s desire for expedience, she thought it wise for me to take the check straight to the bank so we could close Friday. We got my client’s attorney on the speaker phone to clear it with her. She was unenthusiastic abut me depositing anything in her account, which I suppose is understandable.

As I watched the buyer’s attorney speak with our lawyer, I witnessed her bury her face in her hands as the conversation deteriorated from an exploration of how to close this sale into a primer on banking in the year 2009. Our lawyer asked what bank the check was drawn on, presumably to ensure it wasn’t an out of state check. “Wachovia!” she squealed. “They take forever to clear.” It became evident in the ensuing, frustrating conversation that this lady was confused between depositing a check from a certain bank and depositing a check to a certain bank. Rather than jump in the deep end of her dementia pool, we agreed to close the next Tuesday the 17th rather than the coming Friday the 13th.

Oh, and one last thing, she said. The closing couldn’t be too late into the afternoon hours. “I have bridge Tuesday.”

Choose your attorney carefully, folks. These are the people who watch your back in the largest transactions of your life.



  J. Philip Real Estate

J. Philip Faranda is the Broker and Owner of J. Philip Real Estate, LLC in Briarcliff Manor, NY. He is a Top 10 Producer for closed single family transactions out of almost 7000 licensees in the Westchester-Putnam MLS in both 2007 and 2008. You can log onto the company Home Page at

You can search the MLS like an agent and find your dream home before other buyers for FREE confidentially & at no obligationat

J. Philip Faranda ranks among New York’s premier short sale REALTORS specializing in short sales in Westchester, Rockland, Putnam & Dutchess Counties. Read Phil’s short sale blog at

J. Philip Serves Briarcliff Manor, Ossining, Croton on Hudson, Pleasantville, Sleepy Hollow, White Plains, Yonkers, Peekskill, Cortlandt, Tarrytown, Yorktown, Montrose, Hawthorne, Thornwood, Valhalla, Hartsdale & all of Westchester County, New York.