I mentioned to Last Liberal Standing that we should share popcorn at a movie together and that got me to thinking. You’d never believe it, but (some) real estate lawyers have a sense of humor, notably, the two Kaye brothers, Joel and Jeremy and their honorary brother, Tom Ward, who was abandoned as an infant on the Kaye doorstep and raised as a Gentile in a Jewish home.
You would expect Tom and Joel to have a wicked sense of humor, and they do, but if you ever have the good fortune to have a closing with Jeremy, as buyer or seller, you really must insist – put it in the sales contract, if need be – that Jeremy agree to tell you both his jury picking/goat f”’ing joke and his popcorn/Parkinson’s Disease story. Not only does the guy have his accents down perfectly, but coming from such a sweet looking, soft speaking guy (unless you’re negotiating with him) the shock of hearing risqué jokes is doubly hilarious.
My real estate tip of the day.
Back when I practiced real estate law, you didn’t close without a release of mortgage from the seller’s lender. That changed when the secondary mortgage market started up, and we all relied on promises that a release would be forthcoming, eventually. Which, sometimes, was true, but I was always glad to have copies of my trustee check to mail out, sometimes years later, showing a full pay off of the mortgage because some lender somewhere had lost the paperwork.
Tom Ward tells me that the title insurance companies have worked a solution to the latest problem: who owns the damn mortgage? First of all, it’s the buyer’s attorney who now pays the mortgagee, eliminating the opportunity for a seller’s attorney to make off with the proceeds (an extremely rare occurrence but, unfortunately, something that happens). Then, the title insurance company will issue a policy with no exception for the mortgage, meaning that the buyer has complete protection against anyone showing up claiming to be owed money. And for $35, the seller gets the same protection, so all parties can sleep at night.
Title insurance was always a good idea but these days it’s essential. and so, by the way, are the services of a competent, experienced real estate attorney. If you’re spending a few million on a purchase, why on earth would you risk it all by foregoing smart advice?
Not Benji, but here's what a 15 lb bass looks like
Benji Ward, chef at the Beach House Cafe, reports that he caught a 15 lb bass in the creek at 1:15 in the morning the other day, after getting off work. I can’t verify this personally – he released it (!) but that’s what he told his dad and my creek neighbor Tom Ward, and it’s been my experience that kids whose parents are honest and honorable turn out the same way ( my own kids learned those virtues through their mom, Pal Nancy). And Tom Ward is all of that (plus an honorary Kaye Brother, placing him in the triad of the bestest real estate lawyers in Greenwich) so I believe Benji. Besides, I’ve hooked, but lost stripers at least that big in the creek, so I know they’re there.
My beef? Tom is a great lawyer but no fisherman, and didn’t bother asking Benji whether he was using bait or a lure and, if a lure, what kind? Good God! If you want advice on real estate, by all means call Tom, but for fishing advice, he’s as useless as his honorary brothers, Joel and Jeremy.