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Real Estate and Property Law

Real Estate Closings in New York Can Be Downright Dangerous

Posted Apr 30, 2012 1:29 PM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Real estate closings in New York City can be contentious affairs, where fights erupt over small details and imagined slights.

Lawyers and brokers all have their war stories, and the New York Times recounts a few of them.

A spouse, unhappy when she learned the price her husband had negotiated for their property, hurled her keys at his forehead, resulting in a cut and some bleeding. In another instance, a buyer brought his gun to the closing, placed it on the table, and asked if anyone wanted to negotiate his terms. No one did. In yet another closing, a dispute emerged over the seller’s removal of an old washing machine from a $3 million property. One of the buyers was so enraged that he burned his cashier’s check for the down payment. (He later completed the deal.)

Lawyer Stephen Raphael recalled one closing where a lawyer for the lenders showed up an hour and a half late. He explained that he just had minor elective surgery; a bandaged shoulder confirmed the story. By the time the closing finished hours later, the lawyer wasn’t looking well, Raphael recalled in an interview with the Times. Closing participants asked if the lawyer needed a taxi. “That’s all right," he replied. “I’ve got an ambulance waiting downstairs.”

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