House closing in 2 weeks. RE Attorney made a mistake and won't fess up. What to do???

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StevenNJ1
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House closing in 2 weeks. RE Attorney made a mistake and won't fess up. What to do???

Post by StevenNJ1 »

We're closing on a house in 2 weeks. After I told my attorney that I am looking to avoid paying for things I don't have to pay for he said that we don't really need to pay for the Survey which costs $800-900 and instead can get the cheaper version that doesn't show markings and costs maybe $300 or so.

a week later I get an invoice from him for $800 for the survey with markings.

I reach out to him and he comes up with excuses where I can clearly read that he is lying. He first says that we need the full survey to buy the house and that he thought the current owner would have a recent survey (WHY?). Then he says that the survey we got is not the most expensive one and that the full survey would have cost around $1500 and not $800.

What if I push him? This is a gave of he said, she said. We didn't put anything in writing.

Thoughts?
Thank you.
mouses
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Re: House closing in 2 weeks. RE Attorney made a mistake and won't fess up. What to do???

Post by mouses »

I'm worried about the fact that he's a liar. I wonder what else he is lying about. I would review all your current and future documents carefully.

In my area of the country, $1500 is reasonable for a survey. I am not sure what the different flavors of survey mean. If I were buying a property, I would want survey markings.

You may be able to make a complaint to the bar association. but they may rule out billing disputes.
NightFall
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Re: House closing in 2 weeks. RE Attorney made a mistake and won't fess up. What to do???

Post by NightFall »

Surveys in my area cost about $500+ or so. However, if the seller has an old survey and the buyer agrees to use it, the cost can sometimes be avoided. So it is possible he wasn't lying when he said that you really didn't need to have a survey. Whether or not the seller actually has an old survey or not... I have no idea.
livesoft
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Re: House closing in 2 weeks. RE Attorney made a mistake and won't fess up. What to do???

Post by livesoft »

Ask him what else he didn't put in writing. Tell him now that you are not going to pay for those things.

This is in NJ, right? Your extra $1200 is just a drop in the bucket of all the things that will pop up and probably less than 0.1% of the sales price.

PS: Surveyors make mistakes ALL the time and sometimes they are encouraged to do so by the builder or developer. Be sure to have title searched and title insurance.
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Meg77
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Re: House closing in 2 weeks. RE Attorney made a mistake and won't fess up. What to do???

Post by Meg77 »

There is nothing you can do. If you were required to pay for a survey per the contract, then you will be charged $800 for this survey at closing. The fact that he said or thought you could get one cheaper isn't really relevant. He was wrong, or he forgot to order the cheaper one and got the regular one instead, or something. Doesn't really matter now since it's been ordered and obtained. That means you owe the surveyor whatever they charged.

I will say that I've never heard of different types of surveys with different costs. Most lenders/title companies either require a survey, or they don't. Also, it's true that many times in closings the seller has a copy of the survey, so a new one doesn't have to be ordered.

I'm confused as to why you have a lawyer and what his role is in this purchase or closing though. Why is he even involved? Usually the title company and/or lender would coordinate to tell you what is required and take care of ordering things like a survey, an appraisal, a title policy, and loan documents (all of which you'll be charged for at closing). A third party attorney you hired to review docs or something is not likely to have much more of an idea that you do about this stuff, so I'm not surprised he seems mixed up on the survey front.
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livesoft
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Re: House closing in 2 weeks. RE Attorney made a mistake and won't fess up. What to do???

Post by livesoft »

^Whether a lawyer is involved or not is a local thing or custom. In Texas, it would be unusual, but in NY most people would think you would be crazy not to have a real estate attorney involved.
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bigred77
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Re: House closing in 2 weeks. RE Attorney made a mistake and won't fess up. What to do???

Post by bigred77 »

Yeah with real estate transaction you just do the best you can do identify and eliminate fluff as the process moves along. Then go over the closing settlement statement as closely as possible (I've always found at least one minor mistake). Then just know that there is always something that will pop up that involves you eating the cost. It's a drop in the bucket when your closing such an expensive deal. Just life.
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Pajamas
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Re: House closing in 2 weeks. RE Attorney made a mistake and won't fess up. What to do???

Post by Pajamas »

My biggest concern at this point would be that the lawyer doesn't know what he's doing. If he has experience doing closings he should know roughly what surveys cost and not make that type of mistake. The fact that you don't trust him and feel like he's lying is also a concern. You might want to discuss it with him directly and let him know about your concerns.

It is possible that he delegated the task and didn't supervise properly.

$300 sounds too cheap for any kind of survey in NJ.
livesoft wrote:^Whether a lawyer is involved or not is a local thing or custom. In Texas, it would be unusual, but in NY most people would think you would be crazy not to have a real estate attorney involved.
At least one lawyer has to be involved in New York.

http://law.justia.com/codes/new-york/20 ... cle-15/484
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JonnyDVM
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Re: House closing in 2 weeks. RE Attorney made a mistake and won't fess up. What to do???

Post by JonnyDVM »

If your lender required a survey then you need to get one and $800 is about what mine would have cost. Agree with the statement that what you were told is probably irrelevant. Now if a survey wasn't required and one was ordered anyway without your approval- that's a different story. A survey wasn't required when I bought my house and I'm cheap so I skipped it. Also went bare bones on the title insurance. You can save money there too.
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