For many people, real estate transactions seem incredibly complex and even overwhelming. The financial obligations, dedication of time and general sense of uncertainty can make the process feel like an impossible undertaking. However, when you break it down into its individual components, real estate transactions are not as daunting as they may initially appear.

For sellers, the process naturally begins with the decision to sell the property. After that, the seller must decide on a listing price. Real estate agents are an invaluable source for pricing information, as most professionals agree to perform a market analysis without requiring a commitment from the seller.

Once the listing price is determined, the seller needs to decide whether to list and attempt to sell the property with or without the aid of a realtor. Although realtors often charge commissions of between 4percent and 6 percent, engaging a professional through what is called a “listing agreement” can usually speed up the process — and often may aid the seller during price negotiations with the buyer. Sellers are also required to provide the buyer with a Property Condition Disclosure Statement, which provides a detailed description of the property’s condition, however this requirement can be avoided in certain cases.

For buyers, the process starts with a careful assessment of the expected mortgage limit. Upon finding a property within this projected budget range, buyers prepare and present a purchase offer with the help of a real estate agent or with an attorney, if there isno real estate broker involved . Once the purchase offer is submitted, the seller reviews it and either accepts, modifies or rejects the offer.

If the seller chooses to accept the offer, an attorney submits a purchase contract for review and approval. After this, the buyer is usually required to immediately apply for a mortgage on the property, as failure to do so can constitute loan fraud contract default. The buyer’s attorney examines the property title, and if it is acceptable to all parties, the buyer and the seller engage in the closing process, through which all necessary documents are finalized and filed with the county clerk’s office.

When taken step-by-step, real estate transactions do not have to be particularly complicated. Speak with a Staten Island real estate lawyer if you have questions.