New York Real Estate Attorney Fees 

By PropertyClub Team
Feb 9th 2022
Purchasing a home can get expensive, especially in New York. Not only do you have to take stock of the closing costs, but you also have to pay your real estate attorney a hefty fee. If it's your first time purchasing a home, you may not know exactly how much the total cost of hiring an attorney will be. Here is a look at what New York real estate lawyers charge.

hash-markHow Much Will You Pay in Legal Fees When Buying a Home in New York?

On average, New York real estate attorneys charge between $2,000 to $3,000 per transaction. However, fees depend on the attorney, the deal's complexity, and what part of NY the property is. Each attorney has different rates, and there is no set amount that every homeowner must pay. Prices can range from as little as $1,200 for a flat-fee lawyer to $5,000 per transaction if the deal is more complex.  

If you're purchasing a luxury property or have a complex transaction that requires more time and attention, you should expect a higher legal bill. But in general, expect to set aside a few thousand dollars in your overall budget to pay legal fees. 

hash-markDo Real Estate Attorney's Charge by the Hour or Per Transaction?

Real estate attorneys will typically charge by the transaction to oversee the closing of a sale. They may charge you an hourly rate if you require legal advice on another matter or if the deal is very complex. But when it comes to a straightforward home purchase, it's typically a one-time fee paid at the closing of the sale. If the sale does not close for whatever reason, you usually won't have to pay the legal fee.

If a lawyer does charge you an hourly fee, this may be a sign that they are not experienced with real estate transactions. Just because someone is a licensed attorney does not mean that they have the requisite knowledge to handle the sale of a property. So be sure to find an attorney specializing in real estate – otherwise, you may end up with issues down the line.

hash-markWhen are Legal Fees Paid? 

Legal fees are typically paid at the closing. Your attorney will typically prepare a closing statement – which lists all the costs due upon the signing of the contract, including their own fee.

Depending on the attorney, they may ask you to pay a certain portion upfront. This could be as much as half of the total fee, with the remainder paid at closing. But it's rare for an attorney to require the full payment before the contract is signed.

hash-markAttorney Fees for New Developments in New York

New developments in New York City typically carry higher legal fees, which can be as much as double the normal cost. These are newly constructed units and have yet to be lived in. Developers typically require the buyer to foot some of the closing costs, including transfer taxes and the sponsor's attorney fees.

The sponsor is the person or business entity who created the development. With a brand-new unit, the buyer will typically be required to pay the sponsor's attorney fees. This is not always the case, but it's something to be aware of if you're looking for a condo in NYC.  

hash-markDo You Need a Lawyer to Close on a House in NY? 

According to New York State law, you must have a licensed attorney conduct the closing. This is because lawyers are needed to negotiate the contract and ensure that the ownership is transferred correctly. Many states don't require an attorney to handle the closing, but it's almost always suggested.

Buying a home is one of the most significant purchases most people will make in their entire lives. So, you want to be sure that the contract is executed correctly and the ownership is transferred correctly. 

If something goes wrong and the transaction is not handled correctly, it may cost you far more to undo the damage. Plus, lawyers can provide advice and help you negotiate the terms of the contract, which can help save you money in the long term.

So, while no one likes paying additional costs on top of the expenses needed to close on a home, hiring an experienced attorney is essential. As long as the fee is reasonable, they will protect you from the myriad of things that can go wrong during closing and ensure that the process is as smooth as possible.