Encountering the Stark Difference Between NY and VA Real Estate

Real Estate Agent with Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA VA License # 0225089470

Encountering the Stark Difference Between NY and VA Real Estate

Practicing real estate in the Commonwealth of Virginia since 2005 I have learned the various ins and outs of transactions in our state.  However, when you have someone selling in another state, whose home purchase in Virginia is contingent on the sale of a home in another state, it's a good idea to pick up the phone and call the listing agent in the other state and get a feel for how things work.

This was the case when my brother and I got the offer on our mom's condo.  It was a buyer who had a coinciding settlements contingency for the sale of his home in New York, but would be paying cash from that sale.  For starters, the buyer's agent representing him in Virginia was one that I knew.  His reputation was solid.  He assured me that things were great and running on schedule in New York.  He backed that up with providing me contact information for the New York listing agent, Mary.  He also gave me the proof of funds that would be applied to the Virginia condo purchase from the New York purchase.  

Prognosis was good.  Mary said all the inspections were done and survey had just been completed.  Settlement was happening within a week or two.  Our settlement was for three weeks out.  That all sounded great.

Unlike Virginia real estate where lenders and title companies are tasked with making a settlement date that the buyer and seller have agreed too, and pushed by agents to make that date, New York is all about attorneys.  Everyone has an attorney.  And deadlines are, as it turns out, suggestions.  Settlement happens when all the attorneys are ready to schedule it.  Also unlike Virginia real estate, crazy things like decks that were build without a permit can halt a transaction.  Evidently, a certificate of occupancy MUST be issued before the lender will fund the loan.  

When this issue came out, it was the week before our December 21st settlement.  I called our buyer's agent and he said that in New York, as he was told by Mary, there is an automatic thirty day extension for this title issue.  So the assumption was this problem can't go more than thirty days.  We agreed on a January 16th settlement date.  Well, that's out the window now too.  The attorneys have all the information, but haven't yet scheduled settlement and a Closing Disclosure still hasn't been made to the buyer up there in New York.

In representing my Virginia home sellers in the future, any coinciding settlement contingency from a New York home sale is going to come with this story about how a three week settlement became a sixty day settlement (if it ends up closing that quickly at this point.)  Virginia and New York could not be more different in how they conduct business, and how uninvolved in the process the agents are.

Meanwhile, my brother and I are being asked if we give this buyer more time.  It seems he is near the finish line in New York, but that's also what were told thirty days ago.  Decisions, decisions.


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Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Realtor Top 1%
RE/MAX Gold - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

Good morning, Chris Ann, well, afternoon to you. I would make them release their earnest money deposit through escrow as non-refundable. That way if it can't close, at least you've got the deposit and you don't have to sue to get it. Talk is cheap. Buyers should put their money where their mouth is, in my opinion.

Jan 14, 2018 10:30 AM #1
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Good afternoon Chris - New York is full of attorneys.  I could not believe how easy it was when I closed on my house in Florida.

Jan 14, 2018 11:57 AM #2
Silvia Dukes PA, Broker Associate, CRS, CIPS, SRES
Tropic Shores Realty - Ich spreche Deutsch! - Spring Hill, FL
Florida Waterfront and Country Club Living

Hi Chris Ann, I've had a similar experience last Fall with buyers from NY who were buying in Florida and needed to close on their NY home. Unfortunately, it fell through because of an issue that the NY attorneys weren't able to solve. 

Jan 14, 2018 03:44 PM #3
Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy

Chris Ann,

Each state differs in its real estate practices.  We wish you the very best of outcomes.  A

Jan 14, 2018 04:03 PM #4
Scott Godzyk
Godzyk Real Estate Services - Manchester, NH
One of the Manchester NH's area Leading Agents

It is tough when you get in that deep, meaning to start over, would be 45-60 days anyway. So sticking with what you got is often best. I heard this too about NY and that would drive me crazy Chris Ann Cleland 

Jan 15, 2018 12:10 PM #5
Nina Hollander
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Charlotte, NC
Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor

Oh yes, been there and done that with NY closings (New Jersey isn't too different). I've yet to see a NY sale close on time.

Jan 21, 2018 02:28 PM #6
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Chris Ann I feel your pain, I was licensed in Boston, MA and it was an Attorney State having practiced in Beverly Hills CA for the past 20 years I have not forgotten what it was like... so when Diane's parent's house had to be sold I was very actively involved with the sale... took an all cash, non contingent offer over the higher priced loan contingency offer...Endre

Jan 21, 2018 06:09 PM #7
Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD
ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
REALTORS® in Clark County, WA

First two things I thought when reading this post - release of EM deposit and non-refundable to extend. And, try to get a backup. Sounds like you've got it covered. Sorry to hear about your mom - keep looking for the sunny moments. :) D 

Jan 25, 2018 03:05 PM #8
Curtis Van Carter
Better Homes & Gardens Wine Country Group - Yountville, CA
Your Napa Valley Broker Extraordinaire

Chris Ann

Nice post about how things work in other states. It was an adventure selling my mom's house in Virginia when she left there to go to Ohio. cheers cvc

Jan 26, 2018 10:12 AM #9
Curtis Van Carter
Better Homes & Gardens Wine Country Group - Yountville, CA
Your Napa Valley Broker Extraordinaire

Chris Ann

Especially from your biggest critic. She was sweet but still tough. Never said a bad thing about the event but there were a few days, her eyes said maybe. Again, she was my mom, my best buddy who I miss more than ever even 8 years later. cheers cvc

Jan 26, 2018 04:29 PM #10
JL Boney, III
Coldwell Banker - Columbia, SC
Columbia, SC Real Estate

I am always amazed by how different things can be from 1 state to another and having only practiced here, I just don't know that much about other spots until friends fill me in.

Jan 27, 2018 07:27 AM #11
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

At every corner of the country, there are stark differences somewhere from what I’ve seen. Local culture is the name of the game in some places.

Jan 27, 2018 10:35 PM #12
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Chris Ann Cleland

Associate Broker, Bristow, VA
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