8pm Call Back…From a Lawyer!

J Philip Faranda February 5, 2010

As many people outside New York may know, lawyers handle the contracts in the purchase and sale of real estate in this market. That little aspect of the industry has created more than its share of animosity because of the extra layer of red tape it adds to a transaction and because, well, they are lawyers

Very recently, on a co op transaction where I was representing the buyer in her purchase, I got a panicked phone call. My client had seen her prospective new home advertised on the Internet as available, when she had, in fact already signed the contract. When I checked the MLS, I saw that the status showed "back on market," and that the contract was cancelled on that very date. It was 8 o'clock in the evening. I put in a call to the buyer's attorney to leave him a voicemail asking him if he knew something I didn't. I also called the listing agent, who had been annoyed with me a little earlier over something trivial. Had they cancelled the transaction over a silly spat? Were we being sandbagged for another offer? Was it an in house offer? My mind raced about having to start over looking again, my client's broken heart, and a thousand other crummy things. 

After I left a voicemail for the listing agent to see what the issue was, I got an unfamiliar number on my caller ID. Thinking it was the listing agent, I answered. 

It was my client's attorney. He was calling me back after 8pm. I brought him up to speed (after thanking him profusely for unprecedented responsiveness) and he explained to me that he was in close communication with the seller's attorney that very day and he knew nothing of any issue. He promised to get me an update first thing in the morning.

It's funny how luck has momentum whether it is good or bad. After I hung up with the attorney, the listing agent called back. It was an innocent issue- the seller had not counter signed yet and they had to change status back from "under contract" until they signed. No crisis, no bad news, mystery solved.

As good as the news was, the thing that stuck with me was that in 15 years I have never had an attorney call me back after 8pm, let alone 5 minutes after I left them a message. This guy will get moved up the speed dial. If you do business in New York and want his contact info, drop me an email.  

Under Contract

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