Buyer Beware

New York State contract law stipulates that (in most real property cases) buildings be sold “as is.” Caveat emptor, a Latin phrase meaning “let the buyer beware,” is the principle behind this law, essentially stating that the buyer must perform their own due diligence when buying property – relieving the responsibility of sellers after the closing of a real estate transaction.

NY Real Estate ConsultationsHowever, simply because a building must be bought “as is” does not mean that one cannot conduct thorough pre-purchase investigations to help make sure that their purchase isn’t foolhardy. In fact, a thorough inspections process is prudent and highly advisable. While a professional inspector is suggested, we’ve compiled a short checklist of common defects to be on the lookout for, for your referential convenience.

Before entering into a contractually-binding obligation in New York, a buyer is advised to:

  • Flush all toilets to ensure they flush properly / do not clog
  • Open and close all windows and doors (including the garage door)
  • Test all smoke alarms (which must be provided, as per NYS law)
  • Test the heating and air conditioning units
  • Check floorboards for warping and / or holes
  • Run the garbage disposal
  • Run exhaust fans
  • Run all faucets, check all related pipes for leaks
  • Test the appliances
  • Check all lights and electrical fixtures / outlets

We at Kaplan, Kaplan & DiTrapani, LLP suggest bringing along rubber gloves, a flashlight, and spare light bulbs (for testing sockets). We also suggest bringing along a camera for documentation purposes. Remember, a thorough inspection is worth nothing if you don’t take careful and detailed notes.

For more advice on pre-closing walkthroughs, feel free to contact Kaplan, Kaplan & DiTrapani, LLP to schedule a free consultation.