I wanted to add an update to this Blog post for a recent litigation commenced in the Hudson Valley arising from a transaction in Dutchess County. Buyers need an appraisal contingency– even the famous Steve Miller. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Here’s another Article about the dispute.
Updated Post from 2017- Peter Klose.
By far, the Mortgage Contingency Clause in a New York State Real Estate Contract is the most important, misunderstood, and litigated clause in residential real estate transactions and closings. By this posting, I will try to demystify the clause, and provide a sample of the Rockland County Lawyer’s Contract language which addresses the clause.
To begin with, a “contingency” generally means an event which must occur before an obligation becomes final. In New York, a mortgage contingency is a common provision designed to allow the buyer a proscribed period of time to obtain a Mortgage Commitment from a Bank. The clause can elaborately describe the types of lenders, the time frames, the interest rates permitted to finance a certain amount of money needed to purchase a home in Westchester, Rockland, Putnam, Dutchess, Columbia, and all counties of New York. Depending upon the type of loan, the contingency generally permits 30 to 60 days to complete the process of getting a loan commitment.
A mortgage-contingency provides critical protection in today’s economy, tight lending world and uncertain economic times because it allows the buyer/borrower to avoid (cancel) the purchase contract without penalty if the buyer cannot obtain financing on the terms specified in the contract.
Tip: The borrower must make a “reasonable” or “good faith” effort to apply for and qualify for the Mortgage sought.
Practice: Real Estate Brokers or Agents in New York often encourage the Buyers to be “pre-qualified,” because it gives the seller more confidence that the buyer will earnestly apply for and obtain a Mortgage.
The absence of a mortgage-contingency means that the Buyer has agreed to pay “all cash” for the real estate. Buyers should be very cautious about signing a purchase contract that does not contain a mortgage contingency because the Down Payment or “earnest money” deposit given at the contract signing is “at risk,” should the Buyer not have all of the cash needed to close.
We have provided some sample language for New York State purchasers to read and understand.
The bottom line: If you need bank financing to purchase your new home, you need to carefully understand how a mortgage contingency works. If you or your new york real estate attorney fail to comprehend the risks associated with the transaction and your credit, you are at risk of losing your down payment should you not qualify for the Mortgage.