When deciding to purchase a house, many people wonder what type of agreement is best to use. A contract for deed is a popular choice, especially for properties located in New York, because it provides an alternative to traditional mortgage loans. While contracts for deed can be beneficial, it is essential to understand the laws governing these agreements and what questions you should ask during the contracting process.

To give readers in New York a better understanding of contracts for deed and how to draft an agreement that is legally binding, this article will explain the different components of such agreements and address relevant laws. At the end of this discussion, readers should have a better idea of what questions to ask when engaging in a contract for deed in New York State.

What Is a Contract for Deed?

A contract for deed is a legally binding contract between a seller, called the grantor, and a buyer, called the grantee, in which the grantee makes payments to the grantor for the purchase of real estate. Under this type of agreement, the buyer has legal possession of the property, but the seller retains ownership and continues to pay the property taxes until the debt is paid in full.

Details of a Contract for Deed

When drafting a contract for deed, it is important to include all relevant information important to the transaction. This includes the name of the grantor and the grantee, a detailed description of the property being purchased, the purchase price and terms of payment, and any conditions of the agreement (e.g., whether the grantee is responsible for making improvements to the property).

It is also important to include information regarding a lien. A lien is a legal claim to the property in case the grantee fails to make payments on time or otherwise defaults on the contract. The parties involved in the contract should also include other contractual provisions such as a title search, attorney fees, and inspections of the property.

New York Contract for Deed Laws

New York laws govern the use of contract for deed agreements and dictate how such agreements should be written. Under New York law, buyers and sellers are required to complete specific paperwork when engaging in a contract for deed transaction. This includes the following:

Deed: The deed must be prepared by the grantor’s attorney and contain all necessary details related to the property, such as the address, legal description, and any conditions applicable to the sale. The deed must also be signed and acknowledged by both parties.

Acknowledgement: The buyer (grantee) must acknowledge receipt of a deed and the buyer’s full understanding of the contract.

Real Estate Transfer Tax: The seller (grantor) must file the required real estate transfer tax when a contract for deed is recorded with the county recorder.

Buyer’s Rights: The buyer must receive a written disclosure of their rights prior to entering into the contract.

Title Insurance: Title insurance is required to protect the buyer in the event of any title problems that may exist.

Questions to Ask Before Signing a Contract for Deed

When considering a contract for deed in New York, it is important to understand the potential risks and ask questions to ensure the agreement is legally sound. Before signing a contract for deed, potential buyers should ask the following questions:

What is the seller’s creditworthiness? It is important to understand the seller’s financial history to make sure they can make payments on time and honor the contract.

Are there any liens on the property? It is important for buyers to understand any liens that may already exist on the property.

Is the seller adequately insured? It is important for buyers to know if the seller has adequate insurance for the property in case of any unforeseen issues.

What is the timeline of payments? It is important to understand the terms of the payments and when they are due.

What is the seller’s right of repossession? This is relevant in the event the buyer fails to make payments as agreed.

Final thoughts

In New York, contracts for deed can be used as an alternative to traditional mortgage loans. However, it is important to understand the relevant laws and to ask the right questions before entering into a contract for deed agreement.

The information provided in this article should help potential buyers in New York understand their rights. Additionally, it should provide the necessary legal information to draft a contract for deed that is legally binding and provides adequate protection to both parties.


Contract for Deed,

New York Laws,

Questions to Ask