Active Rain March 7, 2010

You Got an Offer. Now What?

Unlike many parts of the country, home sellers in Westchester and the surrounding counties (all of Metropolitan New York, really) are actually a long way from signing contracts. When I sold in upstate Rochester, we’d go to contract the same day in some cases, with broker prepared templates written and approved by the local Bar Association. There were attorney approval and inspection contingencies, but 24-72 hours was the norm. Once the attorney approval and inspections were done, all contingencies were met except for the mortgage, which is normal anywhere. 

Not so in Westchester County. Once you get an offer here, there are still mountains to climb before buyer and seller sign contracts. 

  1. Meeting of the minds. Obviously, an offer often has to be negotiated, especially in a buyer’s market.
  2. Home Inspection.
  3. Memos or binders.  
  4. Attorneys prepare the contracts. Not as simple as it sounds. 
  5. Once “contracts are out,” then the rain dance between attorneys often (not always) begins. Buyer attorney marks it up and send revision back to the seller attorney, who has to clear the changes with the seller. This has taken weeks in the past. Sellers have to tell their lawyer to get on the phone with the other lawyer and iron out the issues expediently
  6. Once verbiage is agreed upon, the buyer signs and makes their deposit with the seller’s attorney holding the down payment in their escrow account. 
Then and only then can the seller sign the contract and consider the home “under contract.” Westchester and the New York area is different from just about every other place I know of. Good or bad, that is the way it is, and sellers should know this going in.