My elderly mom in New York State is selling her house. My sister (who lives near her) is helping her with that sale. The lawyer my sister retained asked if we had a copy of the abstract of title from when my mom and dad bought the house in 2004. My sister told me that if we are unable to locate the abstract of title, we will be charged $750 for a new abstract. I haven't contacted the attorney about this yet, and I am trying to figure out a few things before I do call him:
1. I assume that the "abstract of title" in New York State the same thing that I would call a "title insurance policy" here in the midwest. When we get a title commitment on a purchase or sale, the property's title is described in detail in parts A and B of the policy commitment.
2. Why would we be charged an additional $750 to generate a new abstract? We are giving the buyers a new owner's policy, and the buyers are getting their own mortgagor's policy for their financing. As far as I'm concerned, all title fees should be wrapped into those policies and there shouldn't be an additional fee just to generate a new abstract.
3. What questions do I need to ask the attorney in New York to verify that he's not just tacking an additional fee onto his bill?
I guess that this issue comes down to "what are reasonable title charges for a house sale in New York State/Western New York?"
Well, your old abstract is really irrelevant. A new title search, typically about $200 here is a separate charge from the actual title Insurance policy. Sometimes one party pays for the Search and the other party pays for the title Insurance, depends on local custom and specifically what is in the purchase contract.