Anyone who gives you an answer from out of New York State is probably going to give you misinformation. The bottom line is that in New York State all real estate contracts of sale have to be drawn up by the principle or their attorney. Real estate agents in New York are prohibited by law to author a contract. In my 20 years of selling homes in Brooklyn, I have never witnessed a seller author their own contract, it has always been the seller's attorney. I have done thousands of transactions and I have never had a deal where the buyer did not have an attorney as well.
If you were to actually read a contract of sale, you would see why you need an attorney. This link will show you what a standard contract of sale would look like in Brooklyn:
Most people would have a hard time understanding all that, not to mention the fact that the actual contract in a deal will also have a rider added to the contract with even more details and stipulations based on the individual deal criteria.
If you do not have an attorney, there is no doubt in my mind that the seller's attorney will draw up a very lopsided contract favoring the seller and you would not even know it. I have never done a deal with a buyer or seller not being represented by an attorney. Even if I did, I would make sure I had a disclosure form signed by the buyer indicating that I advised the buyer that "I have been advised that it would be in my best interest to have an attorney represent me but I am electing to represent myself". The seller's attorney would also want you to sign a similar disclosure. The reason for that is because there are legal presidents set where buyers without an attorney got very hurt and went so far as to try and sue the real estate agent, sellers and or seller's attorney crying fraud.
Although having an attorney is not required by law, the reality is that if you do not have an attorney you are opening yourself up to getting hurt. If I can be of further assistance please contact me direct. Good luck!
Mitchell S. Feldman
Associate Broker/ Director of Sales
Madison Estates & Properties, Inc.
Office: (718) 645-1665/ Cell: (917) 805-0783