Before entering into a real estate transaction in NYC, it is advisable that you, the buyer or seller, are informed as to the approximate real estate attorney fees.

There is much variation among lawyers as to what they charge for a transaction and there are many factors that impact the fees buyers and sellers can expect to pay, but lawyers are subject to anti-trust laws, so you will be pleased to know that price fixing is illegal.

In New York City and surrounding communities, flat fees are the norm with residential deals, although some transactions (more complex ones) may be handled by hourly billing. For example, here are some issues that can affect the costs:

  • Is the purchase for “all cash,” with no bank financing, or will a mortgage be obtained?
  • Will the lender be a bank, or is private financing contemplated?
  • Are all buyers local and available, or will one or more be involved from afar, either in another city or country?
  • Is the transaction for a single-family home, or co-operative, condominium, or multiple-family dwelling?
  • Will the buyer be attending the closing, or will a power of attorney need to be prepared and approved?
  • Does the buyer have a local bank, or will they need to use their lawyer’s attorney trust account into which to wire funds?
  • Are there anticipated title issues?
  • Is the sale one where one or more mortgages have to be paid off?
  • Are the sellers local and available? Will the seller be attending the closing?
  • Are there anticipated title issues?

This list is hardly exhaustive, but the point is, there is no “standard” fee. That said, buyers and sellers in and around New York City may expect to pay between approximately $1,800-3,000 and sometimes more, depending on the above considerations.

Always ask your lawyer upfront what their fee and anticipated disbursements will be. You should request a retainer agreement that spells out the fee arrangement. And you should expect to pay a retainer fee, at the beginning, before work is commenced.