Kenneth J. Goldberg is a veteran real estate attorney who represents buyers and sellers of houses, condominiums, and other residential and commercial properties.
How I Can Help You
There’s more to real estate transactions than meets the eye. For most of us, buying or selling a home is the largest financial and legal transaction of our lives, subject to the complex workings of Massachusetts real estate law. Buyers and sellers who “go it alone,” negotiating and signing contracts without an experienced lawyer, run the risk of making costly mistakes.
As a real estate attorney with three decades of experience, I am deeply knowledgeable of the law and will look out for your best interests. As a solo practitioner, I will guide you through each step of the process – from the offer to purchase, to the negotiation of the purchase and sale agreement (P&S), to the final closing. I will communicate directly and regularly to help you reach a successful outcome.
One of the most important documents requiring an attorney’s eye is the P&S. This contract is agreed to by a seller and buyer (or their attorneys) and signed by both parties. It states the terms and conditions of sale, including the final sale price, closing date, and other items. The P&S typically binds the buyer to the sale, allowing for common contingencies such as home inspection and financing. When expertly drafted, the P&S protects both sides and reduces risk.
As a seller’s representative, I offer these services:
- P&S review or drafting
- Preparation of deeds
- For Sale By Owner (FSBO) transactions
- Escrow agent (an attorney holding a buyer’s deposit in an escrow account)
> If you are the seller, the primary legal objective is to ensure your protection against future claims by buyers after closing.
Although a standard P&S is written from the seller’s point of view, I fine-tune the provisions to decrease your risk for liability down the line. For example, a clearly drafted P&S should:
- Spell out that the property is being sold “as is.” Most buyers reserve the right to have the property inspected by a licensed home inspector before the P&S is signed. After inspection the buyer is free to negotiate for repairs or a reduction in price.
However, you should be free and clear of any future claims once the transaction closes—which we ensure by including an ironclad “as is” provision in the P&S.
- Define dates and milestones clearly. Ambiguous legal provisions and contingencies can leave you in limbo if problems arise. If repairs are to be made, we should be precise about what will be done. If deadlines are not met or the buyer defaults, the ramifications of those events should be crystal clear.
As a buyer’s attorney, I assist clients with these matters:
- Offers to purchase: I can review the initial offer before it is tendered to the seller. If you want a certain term or condition in the P&S, it should be in the offer as well.
- P&S agreements: I will negotiate revisions to protect your interests.
- Representation at closing
- Short sales
- Referrals to reputable mortgage lenders
> If you are the buyer, the top legal concern is to protect your deposit if you must back out of the transaction.
The standard P&S is one-sided in favor of the seller and can put you at risk for losing your deposit – typically $1,000 at the time of offer and 5 percent of the sale price at the time the P&S is signed. I negotiate to help ensure you can get back your deposit in certain situations—for example, if:
- You cannot obtain a loan commitment letter by a lender (bank, credit union, or mortgage company) by the loan commitment deadline stated in the P&S. You should be free either to negotiate an extension of the deadline before it passes or else terminate the contract.
- You cannot sell a current home by the deadline as stated in the P&S.
- The seller cannot deliver a clear and marketable title. Unless you are buying a bank-owned property, the norm is that sellers must deliver a marketable title showing they own the property free and clear with no liens or encumbrances that could hinder a sale. I make sure the P&S allows you to back out if the seller cannot deliver a clear title.
If you have questions about buying or selling a property, contact me at (508) 588-8300 or firstname.lastname@example.org for a free, no-pressure consultation.