If you are getting ready to buy or sell a house, the process can be overwhelming.

Here are a few points to consider as you go:



  1. Price per square foot – comparable to other homes sold?
  2. How far above assessed value is the price – taxes may go up
  3. Any additions? Permits or C of O should be requested/required
  4. Start your mortgage process early and work hard to get the lender everything they request
  5. Inspection results are negotiable (fixed by seller/credit to do work you yourself) – Don’t call movers until scheduled (Google “inspection checklist” beforehand)
  6. Closing dates in the contract are target dates, often closes a bit after
  7. If selling/buying on the same day, do you have a fallback for where you and your belongings can stay for a day or more?
  8. If you expect to be able to move in early, GET IT IN WRITING. People can and do change their minds.
  9. Is there water nearby? Flood Insurance is expensive if in a flood zone.  Is there already an elevation survey and a letter of map amendment (LOMA) with FEMA?
  10. If important to your family, check: (a) sex offender registry and (b) DEC spill registry
  11. If you have plans to make changes, be sure you are permitted to do so (i.e. knock down and rebuild, is it within current town code?)
  12. At walk-through – all appliances and personal property present? In the agreed upon condition? When and where will keys be delivered?
  13. Never wire funds unless you have verbally confirmed the information with the recipient – using a phone number separate from the wire instructions themselves. Wire fraud is a major problem in the industry.  Bringing a bank check to closing is the most typical form of payment.


  1. Sale price, may want to set a “reserve” for yourself – a “do not go below”
  2. Consider troubleshooting/fixing issues that potential buyers might see
  3. Keep bill/taxes current
  4. Can you locate abstract/survey
  5. Do you have any permits or certificates of occupancy (C of O) or certificates of compliance – should you?
  6. Be ready to provide mortgage and/or home equity line of credit (HELOC) information for payoff, think ahead if the sale price will not cover payoff
  7. Warn your attorney if you have any know title issues – judgments, bankruptcies, tax liens – these may take some time to fix before closing
  8. Name of the bank (attorney you last purchased or refinanced with if old title curatives become necessary)
  9. Stay on track for vacating the house – may not be able to get extra time
  10. If you expect to be able to stay after closing for a period of time, get it in writing.
  11. Spell out any personal property to be left early, do not assume buyer will want or accept extra items (spare paint, work bench, extra wood or building materials)
  12. If you have a pool, recognize on escrow may be requested if you sell during the winter
  13. Inspection results are negotiable, but if it is a problem that any inspector/buyer will find, give serious consideration to fixing it

For both buyers and sellers, if there is something that really matters to you, then it should be in writing!

Article written by: Partner, Cassandra C. Rich, Esq.