John is a seasoned real estate attorney with an expertise in residential and commercial real estate transactions, mortgage loan transactions, commercial real estate finance transactions and title clearance. Recognized as an authority in New York and New Jersey real estate law, John frequently counsels lending institutions and other attorneys in complex real estate transactions and his firm was selected by the State of New York to serve as settlement agent for the State’s purchase of hundreds of properties damaged by Hurricane Sandy.
Since his ownership of an electric screwdriver allowed him to finish putting together his desk three days before anyone else in the office, John considers himself the senior partner of Merlino & Gonzalez, a firm he co-founded in 2001 with Kenneth A. Gonzalez. Their goal was and remains to create a small firm which produces a high quality “big firm” work product that adds real value to their clients.
John is a fierce advocate and the office guru for problem solving and brainstorming. He guides clients through every stage of a real estate transaction from offer to contract, navigating through nerve-shattering home inspection and title clearance concerns, maintaining constant contact with lenders, conducting the actual closing, and continuing to advise clients with regard to any post-closing concerns. John brings a practical and fair-minded approach to the process which has earned him the respect of his clients and peers. Let’s face it, he’s got the goods.
A seasoned traveler who once, out of sheer bravery or due to a lack of friends, went solo on a cattle drive in Montana; John also handles all of the firms real estate and estate planning matters for clients who venture to the far-off-land of New Jersey. Insisting that the “old man” pants he wears to church on Sundays are a disguise, John is actually clinging to both his youth and the concerns of his clients.
Most important to John is that together with his wife Nicole they are the parents of five children. When not demanding that she give him a sixth child because he won’t stop until “one of them likes him”, not many firms can boast having a partner with the ability to work long hours sustaining himself on nothing more than a steady diet of Seinfeld references he artfully works into every conversation. He’s nostalgic and approachable, with a single minded dedication to every clients unique situation.
John earned his B.A. from the University of Albany and his J.D. at New York Law School. He has served as a Director of the Richmond County Bar Association and is a member of the NYSBA. He’d love to talk to you about his work on the YMCA Counseling Service’s Committee of Management and his involvement with the SIEDC, where he remains an enthusiastic advocate for increased entrepreneurship in Staten Island.