Column: Ask Jamie

Jamie Heiberger-Harrison

Jamie Heiberger-Harrison is widely recognized as a leading female attorney in the New York real estate industry. Her firm, H&A PC, was founded in 1994 and has offices in New York City and Port Washington, where Jamie lives with her family. Submit your real estate questions to

Dear Jamie, 
How long does it take to close on the sale of my home?
A closing can be a quick as two weeks or take several months depending on whether the buyer is getting a mortgage or paying cash. To close with a loan, you should expect a minimum of 30 to 45 days, although I always advise my clients to leave themselves 60 days just to be safe.

Dear Jamie,
I went to Contract and was told the sale was “as is” but before closing I was told I had to fix a leaking pipe. What does “as is” mean?
“As is” means the buyer must be willing to accept the home exactly as it is and there can be no further requests for repairs or credits for problems with the property. Worth noting that most contracts require plumbing, HVAC, appliances and electric to be in working order at closing.

Dear Jamie,
What does it mean if an offer is contingent on financing?
Having a financing contingency means that in the event the bank does not issue a loan commitment letter within a defined period of time then Buyer would have the right to cancel.

Dear Jamie,
My loan officer told me that my bank documents and loan commitment expire in 5 days, but the seller’s lawyer will not close for seven days, what can I do?
First, you send a Time of Essence (TOE) letter and bring action in Supreme Court. You should also have your loan officer update your documents and ask to extend your rate at no cost. Finally, if closing cash is an option, see if you can do the mortgage post—closing at no extra cost.

Dear Jamie,
We are about to renovate our kitchen and my neighbor just told me that we cannot do the desired work until we get permission from the Town of North Hempstead is this correct?
I can’t say with certainty without reviewing specifics but generally speaking, one doesn’t need DOB approval if you are replacing fixtures. But if you are changing the footprint, piping, electric, or moving walls, then you would need to approved plans from the dept of buildings.

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