Before our clients sign contracts for the purchase or sale of commercial real estate, we confirm with local counsel what the real estate tax adjustment or proration will consist of. Many parties will stick to a general boilerplate provision in a contract providing that real estate taxes will be adjusted as of the closing date. However, the standard boilerplate provision may not work well in certain jurisdictions depending on when taxes are assessed and what the local custom is. For example, we recently worked on a sales contract in the Midwest where it is customary for only taxes that become delinquent in the year of closing to be adjusted. Additionally, in some cases there may be special assessments or other unique local features of the real estate tax law you want to address specifically in the contract. If the parties desire, it may be helpful to include a “for example” sentence or two in the proration paragraph outlining exactly how taxes will be adjusted at closing. At closings, the best surprise is no surprise.
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