I work with people that I believe are the best in all of Manhattan. I do not mean my employees, although they are wonderful and I could not be so successful without them. I mean the Realtors that continue to refer me business. The reason these agents work with me, out of probably 10,000 attorneys they know, is because I deliver on my promises. After almost 20 years and over 2,000 closings, I understand that the slightest delay sometimes is the difference between a signed contract and a deal that dies because a higher offer just came in.
Getting contracts out within one hour of receiving the Broker’s Memorandum is a regular occurrence in our office. While most attorneys are still reading the email, we are busy drafting the contract. There are times when I am at a closing and cannot get to a transaction, but for the most part, my staff is thoroughly trained and while no contracts are sent out without my review, our goal is to send out all contracts within one hour of receiving the deal sheet.
As the buyer’s attorney, we contact the other side to say hello or introduce ourselves if we haven’t met, often within the first five minutes of receiving the email. We provide them with our email and verify all information, politely asking “when can we expect contracts”. The reason we do this is that we understand that we are a team. Anything we can do to make your job easier makes it easier for our clients, which is the ultimate aim we both have in mind.
I frequently have agents and other attorneys ask “how can you do a contract so fast? You can’t do that if you are busy!” The simple truth is that each real estate transaction is a process. If someone is buying a coop, there is a process. If you stop and think about it, almost every coop apartment has specific steps to get you from an agreement to the closing. Some issues may pop up, but at least 97% of all transactions are identical. Likewise, whether purchasing or selling a condo, brownstone, or commercial property, there is a process.
Because there is a process, systems can be developed. These systems can detail each and every step that needs to be taken. If an issue that comes up that is infrequent, say ECB violations on a sidewalk, we simply add this to the list of steps and then future transactions will ensure that this is addressed earlier in the process. In reality, it is NYC, and ECB violations are a part of the process. But even if something completely unexpected should occur, having a detailed system and procedures ensures that a deal gets back “on track”.
Once a process is taken apart and a system developed, drafting a contract, or reviewing a contract with a purchaser should take hours, not days. I believe it is unacceptable to receive a deal sheet (broker’s memorandum for the rest of you) and to take five days (I have seen longer) to send out contracts. The problem is that not all attorneys are real estate attorneys. The criminal attorney who spends his mornings in court, cannot draft contracts for the first half of the day. If he has a trial, he cannot get to the contracts for several days or several weeks. The same can be said for trusts and estates attorneys, bankruptcy attorneys and just about anyone else that does not focus their practice on real estate.
What I do is not rocket science, but paying attention to detail and having a desire to be the best is what motivates me. If there is a way for me to get contracts out in 45 minutes, I want to do it. Because I work with many international investors, I have used online meetings, skype, and a plain old telephone to have a detailed contract review.
I use my prior teaching experience at Westchester Community College to structure a thorough, yet streamlined contract review and answer all client questions. In this way, I am certain that what my client understood the agreement to be is the exact agreement stated in the contract. I often say that I provide the customer service of your favorite fine dining restaurant, complete with Sommelier.
The simple fact is that I grew tired of the high volume, sloppy practice of most law firms. Because they have inefficient staffs and unjustified overhead, they are forced to use non-attorneys in roles they are sometimes not trained for. In working with a clientele that can appreciate a premium level of service, I am able to give that fine dining feel to the legal world. I learned a long time ago from a former employer that “people don’t care what you know until they first know that you care.”
As a thank you, I welcome all questions. I am available to my referral partners by telephone, text, email, and any other means. My referral partners know that they can call with a legal question, even if I am not the attorney on the deal, and I will give my best advice. More importantly, they know that if they refer a deal to my firm that each member of my staff will be aware of the transaction. “I’m not handling that” will never be a response from anyone in my office.
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