How to Avoid Legal Surprises When Selling Your House

Legal fees, selling house
Tracey Murray Kupferberg and Barry Manson
Bob Giglione

When Kupferberg Orlando, a real estate brokerage team at Douglas Elliman, represent sellers, they want to get them the best price. They also want you to get them the best process. Since a contract is a legal document, that means they often work with a real estate attorney who helped resolve a wide array of issues over the years.

“We work with you from your decision to sell right through contract and closing,” says Tracey Murray Kupferberg, an agent at Douglas Elliman specializing in Long Island’s North Shore. “And working with an attorney can avoid surprises you’d rather not have.”

Tracey Murray Kupferberg brings prior experience as a paralegal specializing in real estate law, Lindsay Kupferberg brings creative marketing experience and Terry Orlando brings expert staging skill. Together, they provide most of the services needed for preparing, selling and marketing properties.

Barry Manson, a real estate attorney in Roslyn Heights, has worked with them to resolve issues that, otherwise, could have led to long delays and difficulties. He is a member of the Real Property Law committees of both the Nassau County and New York State Bar Associations. He also is general counsel to the boards of a cooperative and condominium in Manhattan, a condominium in Queens and a homeowners association in Nassau County.

“Tracey’s a very astute broker. She puts her heart into whatever she sells,” Manson says. “She is aggressive in representing her clients and trying to move a property.”

Although each deal is different, he outlined the top legal troubles people run into when selling houses.

“Homeowners in residence for many years tend to make improvements and, more often than not, don’t get permits,” Manson says. “People add bathrooms, which require permits, move laundry rooms from the main level to the basement and put in decks without permits.”

Legal fees, selling house
One of the units at the Ritz-Carlton Residences in North HillsCourtesy of Douglas Elliman

When these come up in seeking a clear title, Manson can step in to resolve issues, working with electricians, plumbers, architects and others who review and sign off.

Recently, the Kupferberg Orlando Team worked with Manson on a sale where the buyer needed a purchase as a 1031 exchange.

“We know when Manson is working on a deal, everything will be taken care of properly and with complete professionalism,” Kupferberg says.

They recently represented a seller in one of their many sales at The Ritz-Carlton Residences and the buyer was purchasing as a 1031 exchange, Manson is proficient in conducting 1031 exchanges in which they use money from one property sale to buy a “like-kind” property, deferring capital gains.

“There are specific rules with respect to getting the IRS to approve a 1031 exchange,” Manson says. “As a seller’s attorney, particular language has to go into the contract.”

While 1031 transactions typically involve commercial not residential properties, exchanges can be done with properties acquired to rent.

Manson also has helped people get tax benefits after they challenged their real estate taxes before sales.

“The refund can go to the person who sold the property based on the refund for the period it covers,” Manson says. “It’s not in what I would call a standard preprinted form real estate contract. It’s something you would put in a rider, which I do all the time.”

Manson spent nearly 15 years as a director of a New York Stock Exchange listed developer of condominiums before in 1990 going into business himself.

“You need somebody who really knows what they’re doing here,” he says of skills he brings to Kupferberg Orlando clients.

Terri Orlando, Tracey Kupferberg advertorial
Terri Orlando, Tracey Murray Kupferberg and Lindsay Kupferberg of Douglas EllimanBob Gigilone

There was the buyer who found an adjoining property owner encroached on the seller’s property by diverting water onto it via a concrete drainage structure. He negotiates a license agreement with the adjoining property owner to satisfy the buyer and the title company and title ultimately closed.

“On occasion, you run into some difficult issues,” he says. “Based on substantial experience, you know how to deal with it and resolve it.”

Sometimes people forget about the Peconic Bay Community Preservation Fund regional tax levied to raise money to preserve open space across much of the East End. “If you haven’t done East End closings, you may be unaware of it,” Manson says. “And sometimes it will surface at the closing with an unprepared attorney.”

Manson typically provides contracts that don’t require negotiated changes, which can lead to delays and disputes.

“They know if they call me and need a contract in 24 hours or 48 hours that I will produce a contract,” Manson says.

“They know I’m experienced, that basically I can handle almost any issue that comes up and get it done, so they get the sales done,” Manson says of Kupferberg Orlando. “If you’re familiar with issues and know how to resolve them, it’s beneficial for everyone involved in the closing of the title.”


This article appeared in the September 2023 issue of Behind The Hedges Powered By the Long Island Press. Read the full digital version of the magazine, click here. For more articles from our various magazines, click here