Joseph Treff – The Basics of Real Estate Contracts

With more than a decade of experience in real estate and commercial law, Joseph Treff is a partner in the New York-based law firm of Treff and Lowy. In this capacity, Joseph Treff represents buyers and sellers of properties and handles matters concerning real estate finance, syndication, and litigation.

Some commercial buyers opt to purchase property through the use of a real estate sale contract. This tactic benefits investors who don’t have full funding for a project, as well as those buyers who wish to retain cash and have it available for additional investments or other purposes. Under the usual terms of a real estate sale contract, the buyer takes control of the property while making payments directly to the seller or seller’s representative; the buyer gains an interest in the property, but the seller holds the deed until he or she receives payment in full.

Because of the level of trust involved in a real estate sale contract, sellers and buyers often retain the services of an experienced real estate attorney. The lawyers develop and negotiate a document that protects the interests of their respective clients in the transaction. The buyer’s attorney ensures that the seller upholds promises such as use of land, payment of any taxes or fees, and turnover of the deed once all terms of the contract have been fulfilled. The seller’s attorney often incorporates into the contract such particulars as a payment schedule and provisions for termination and eviction if the buyer fails to make the stipulated payments or to meet other requirements.

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