35 Years of Real Estate Experience
Attorneys Jeffrey Steinberg and Frank Cathcart have closed over 20,000 real estate transactions. Our experience means we have the knowledge to answer your questions and make you feel comfortable during this complicated process.
We navigate the history of past owners and make sure you are getting the exact property you intend to buy and that the property is free and clear of liens, mortgages or any other issues.
We work with realtors, lenders and attorneys to schedule your closing, prepare closing documents, and organize all fees, costs and adjustments, so you know what your costs are and exactly what money you may need to bring to the closing or what money you may be getting .
We act on your behalf to professionally resolve any issues that may arise. Real estate transactions can be complicated, time consuming and full of unforeseen consequences. We will keep you both informed and protected.
Real Estate Law FAQ's
If I am buying or selling real estate, at what point do I need to hire a lawyer?
The earlier the better. Because of our experience, we can help you with referrals to real estate agents and lenders who we know and trust.
It is important to hire your attorney to review the contract to sell or purchase, before you sign the contract. In the alternative, be certain there is a provision allowing 5 days for your attorney to review the contract before you are obligated. We will review your contract and give important advice to protect you from issues you may not be aware of.
Must I attend the closing?
Sellers may choose not to attend the closing and typically pre-sign the closing documents, giving a power of attorney to the lawyer representing them. If the Seller does not attend the closing, it is important Seller is available in case unforeseen issues arise at the closing. However, it is uncommon for buyers not to attend the closing since many lenders require a borrower to attend a closing. Exceptions can be made, but only if a lender gives prior permission. If there is no lender, then it is usually acceptable.
What does the Seller of the real estate have to disclose to the Buyer about the condition of the premises?
The Department of Consumer Protection requires full disclosure by the Seller. The Seller must provide a signed property disclosure report prior to entering into the contract. However, the Buyer is still responsible to uncover any and all problems regarding the condition of the property. The Buyer should arrange for a professional building inspection, and review the results of this inspection before the inspection contingency date in the contract. Examples of other common inspections are: pest, radon, septic, well water and lead.
What is title insurance? Why do I need to buy it?
Title insurance insures that you own your home, free of any claim, lien or encumbrance except those noted on the policy at the time it is issued. If this information is incorrect and a claim against your ownership is made, the title insurance company pays the costs of attorney's fees to defend you against this claim and, if the claim is found to be valid, the title company will either pay the claim (up to the amount of the policy) or undertake to correct the defect in title, at their expense. Lenders will require you to purchase a "Loan Policy" which protects their interest in the property, but this policy does not protect you. An Owner's Policy is purchased to protect the Buyer’s interest in the property. Rates for title insurance policies are set by the State of Connecticut and are based upon the mortgage amount and purchase price of the home. In Connecticut, attorneys act as agents for title insurance companies, and we will arrange for the issuance of your title policy.
How does a contingency date protect me?
A contingency date is a date by which you must get your mortgage commitment, or inspections completed, such as building, well, septic, or radon inspections.
An inspection contingency gives the buyer the right to have the home inspected, and in some instances cancel the contract if the condition of the home is not satisfactory. If the buyer requires a mortgage to purchase the property, a mortgage contingency will give the buyer the right to terminate the contract, if the buyer is unable to obtain the mortgage financing.
Unless notice is given to the seller when a buyer's condition is not met, before the contingency date, the buyer can no longer use the failure of the contingency as an excuse to cancel the contract.
What happens if a problem turns up in the home inspection?
Often inspections will turn up problems with a home. Examples might be defects in the mechanical, plumbing, electrical, heating system, or most importantly, the structural soundness of the property. Contracts give a Buyer the right to terminate the contract if there are unsatisfactory inspection items. Provided the Buyer gives notice of the defective items before the inspection contingency date, Buyer and Seller typically negotiate and agree what items Seller will repair.
What are two problems we typically see in the real estate contract?
- Closing dates that are too soon. We recommend at least 6 weeks from the date of the signing of the contract until the closing date.
- Personal property. Be certain all personal property that goes with the home are clearly identified and listed. Personal property means anything that is not permanently attached to the structure such as drapes, microwaves, refrigerators, etc. This avoids disputes at the closing.