Attorney handing house keys to a couple
Residential Property

Navigating Residential Transactions

Simplify your property transactions with Chaves Perlowitz Luftig LLP. Whether you’re buying or selling, our team of seasoned attorneys and staff offers invaluable support to ensure success in the residential real estate arena. CPL handles transactions across New York State including all burroughs, Westchester, Long Island, and Upstate.

Our team caters to a diverse clientele, where we leverage decades of experience and a track record of completing numerous closings, to provide exceptional legal services and guidance. We seamlessly combine traditional hard work and experience with cutting-edge technology, delivering a hassle-free yet thorough transactional experience for our clients. Join us in simplifying your property transactions and achieving your goals.

Property Real Estate FAQ’S

How much can you afford, and what do you want to spend?

Consult a mortgage broker to help you determine and obtain a pre-approval letter. This letter, issued by your mortgage broker, will not only indicate how much the bank may be willing to lend, but also will help when bidding to show that you are a qualified and serious buyer. This is a good time to select a real estate lawyer who will represent you in your purchase. Be sure to use a lawyer who is extremely knowledgeable of real estate law in New York. CPL offers a free consultation to get started.

Is it wise to commit to one broker, instead of multiple?

Working with one professional broker is best, and having a personal referral can help. If you commit to one broker, they are more likely to deliver their undivided attention and commitment to finding you the best property. Most listings are shared, and a good broker can show you  properties on the market (or off-market) that best fits your needs.

What do you want from your living space?

Think about what makes you happy. Location? Size? Specifics? Do you have pets? It’s important to communicate these needs to your broker and/or attorney so they can confirm that the property follows your wishlist.

What is the longest process in buying a home?

The more you see, the more you learn. By working with an experienced, knowledgeable broker, you could save a substantial amount of time. Look at properties that meet your specific needs/wants, and have your questions answered about the building, location, comparable properties on the market, and recent sales.

What steps are involved in negotiating a real estate purchase?

Negotiability varies from property to property, primarily depending on market conditions. An accepted offer does not necessarily secure the property for you. You do not ‘have’ the property until you have a contract executed by both the seller and the buyer. Your offer will specify a price, along with all the terms and conditions of the purchase you wish to negotiate. Your real estate broker provides a valuable service by explaining the negotiating impact of various terms and conditions. When your offer is presented to the seller, their options are to accept, reject, or counteroffer.

What does it mean to be ‘in contract’?

In New York City, both the buyer and seller must retain lawyers. The seller’s lawyer drafts the contract and requisite documents about the building to the buyer’s lawyer, and the attorneys negotiate any changes. Once the parties’ lawyers approve, the buyer signs the contract and remits a 10% deposit, held in the seller’s attorney’s escrow account. When both parties sign, the contract is deemed executed and both parties are bound. Contingencies may include financing and board approval (if a condo or coop). It is key to work swiftly with your attorney to finalize the contract with the sellers, specifying price, contingencies, and closing date.

What is the difference between purchasing a co-op vs. condo?

When you buy a condominium, your apartment, as well as a percentage of the common areas, belong to you. When you buy a co-op, you don’t actually own your apartment; instead, you are buying shares in a corporation that owns your building.

What is needed to make your co-op/condo application rejection proof?

To bolster your co-op or condo application and enhance your approval prospects, focus on financial stability by maintaining a strong credit score, low debt to income ratio, and a substantial down payment. Ensure your application is meticulous, accurate, and supported by comprehensive financial documentation. Consulting with professionals and adhering to building-specific requirements will further strengthen your application and minimize the risk of rejection.

When is a closing scheduled?

The managing agent, lawyers, lender and title company coordinate a mutually agreeable closing date, time and location. Once title is clear (if you are buying a house or condo), you have been approved by the board (if a condo or house), and your loan is clean (if financing), your broker and lawyer will advise you of the specific details for the closing.

How long does it take to close on a property in NYC?

Generally, closing takes place between 60 to 90 days after a contract of sale has been executed. It includes many steps and will include all the parties involved in the sale – buyers, sellers, lenders, attorneys and real estate agents. The process ends with handshakes, congratulations, and keys to your new home.

What is a co-op?

In a cooperative (co-op), owners hold shares in a corporation that owns the building, rather than owning individual units. Each shareholder receives a stock certificate as proof of ownership, and a proprietary lease which entitles them to occupy a specific unit. The cooperative association manages the property, and shareholders contribute to expenses through monthly maintenance fees. Shareholder board members have a say in governance and abide by established rules, fostering a sense of community living. Co-op structures and regulations can vary, so it’s essential to review governing documents before considering co-op ownership.

What is a board package in NYC real estate?

A condo or co-op board package typically includes an application, signature pages, and a list of required documents for submission. The application seeks basic transaction details (sale price, down payment), contact information for all parties involved including brokers and lawyers, reference letters and financial documents.

A knowledgeable broker will assist you in navigating this process. Most boards necessitate comprehensive financial disclosure, including supporting documents, salary information, three years of federal tax returns, credit history, and personal/business reference letters. While buyers not willing to share this information might fare better with condos, many condos also require such data. If you’re not financing, this process typically takes 2-4 weeks.

What questions are asked during a co-op board interview?

A co-op board interview typically delves into your background, financial stability, and your fit within the community. Expect questions about your income, assets, and debt, as well as your reasons for purchasing. They may inquire about your lifestyle, work, and how you plan to use the property. Prepare to discuss your commitment to the building’s rules and regulations, and any plans you have for renovations or improvements.

Who pays the Transfer Tax on a co-op in NYC?

In NYC, the transfer tax for a co-op sale is typically paid by the seller. However, it’s essential to review the terms of the sale and any negotiations between the parties, as sometimes the buyer and seller may agree to different arrangements.

What steps are involved in selling a co-op?

Selling a NYC co-op involves several steps: Review co-op documents, determine the price, hire an agent, prepare and market the co-op, review offers, handle the co-op board application and approval, and complete the closing process. It’s a complex process due to co-op board involvement, so working with experienced professionals is crucial for a smooth sale.

What is a Proprietary Lease?

A proprietary lease is a legal document that governs the relationship between a cooperative housing corporation or association and its shareholders. In a cooperative housing arrangement, rather than owning real property, shareholders hold a stock certificate and a proprietary lease, which grants them the right to occupy a specific unit within the cooperative building or complex.

What is the relationship between a proprietary lease and cooperative ownership, and how does it grant shareholders the right to occupy their specific unit?

A proprietary lease establishes a leasehold interest for the shareholder. It grants the right to occupy and use a particular unit in the cooperative building as their residence. Shareholders in a cooperative own shares in the cooperative corporation, and as part of their ownership, they are granted a proprietary lease for their specific unit. The lease and ownership of shares are intertwined, allowing shareholders the right to occupy their unit.

What is a Condo?

A condo offers a unique blend of private ownership and shared community living. When you buy a condo, you own your unit, but common areas like pools and gyms are shared among residents. Condo associations oversee maintenance, and rules to ensure harmony. Remember, local regulations may vary, so research your chosen condo’s specifics before buying.

What is a Right of First Refusal?

The Managing Agent usually advises you as to whether you have been approved or not. A Condo Board typically has the right of first refusal to purchase the unit.  However, condo buildings in NYC rarely exercise their Right of First Refusal. However, buyers and sellers must still follow a condo building’s procedure for obtaining a waiver of Right of First Refusal prior to closing. If you’re a purchaser who is trying to make your offer more attractive or you are denied, you can offer options to make your application more appealing to the board, such as 1 or 2 years of monthly common charges in escrow or a guarantor.

What is a Townhouse?

A townhouse is a residential unit typically sharing one or two walls with neighboring units. These homes come with private entrances, front and backyards, and can be owned by individuals or condo associations. Often managed by homeowners’ associations, they may offer shared amenities like pools and parks. Townhouses balance privacy with community living and come in various architectural styles, providing an affordable option for those seeking space and convenience. Regulations can vary, so reviewing homeowners’ association (HOA) rules is essential before purchasing.

Is a Townhouse more expensive when it comes to Maintenance?

Townhouses often offer a cost-effective housing option when it comes to maintenance. While homeowners may have to cover some upkeep expenses, such as landscaping or exterior maintenance, they typically share the cost of common area maintenance with their HOA or similar governing body. This shared responsibility can help keep maintenance costs manageable and predictable for townhouse residents. However, maintenance fees and responsibilities can vary depending on the specific HOA and development, so it’s essential to review the terms before purchasing.

What steps are involved in selling a Townhouse? 

Selling a townhouse or condo involves hiring a real estate agent, preparing the property, setting a competitive price, listing it on the market, marketing it effectively, receiving and negotiating offers, and completing the sale. While the basic process is similar, each property type has its unique considerations, such as preparing financial documentation for condos and handling homeowner association charges.

What is Title Insurance?

Title insurance is a vital requirement for purchasers and lenders in real estate transactions, safeguarding against potential title issues. It covers defects, liens, or encumbrances that may affect property ownership, providing protection to both property owners and lenders. There are two types: a lender’s policy, covering the mortgage amount, and an owner’s policy, which insures up to the purchase price. Title examination identifies potential issues before issuance of the policies. Premiums are paid at closing and typically last as long as you own the property. Covered issues may include public record errors, undisclosed liens, or boundary disputes. However, policies may contain exclusions or exceptions, so careful review is essential. Work with experts to navigate the title insurance process and secure your investment.

How long does it take to buy a New Development Condo?

The timeline to buying a new development condo can greatly vary depending on the construction timeline of the building. If you’re in the market for a new development or a pre-construction condo in NYC, you’ll want to know how long these types of deals take from start to finish. The buying timeline for new development differs from established condo buildings because there are variables like construction timelines and sales that can affect the building’s official sign off, which can then impact your financing.

What questions should I ask, when purchasing an NYC Condo?

1. Developer’s Reputation: Investigate the developer’s history and past projects.

2. Offering Plan Approval: Ensure the offering plan, detailing the development, has been approved by the New York State Attorney General’s Office.

3. Completion Guarantee: Know the “Outside Date” for project completion; delays may allow for a down payment refund.

4. Negotiation Possibilities: While direct price reductions are infrequent, you can explore unique negotiation avenues based on market factors and individual circumstances.

What are concessions in new development buildings, and how do they benefit buyers when developers are not willing to reduce prices?

Concessions refer to the additional benefits or advantages that developers may provide to buyers. In situations where developers are unwilling to reduce prices, they offer inducements as an alternative. These concessions have the potential to save buyers a significant amount of money, encompassing various elements such as rebates on closing costs, coverage of common charges, transfer taxes, mansion tax, mortgage recording taxes, as well as complimentary storage or parking spaces.

What should buyers be aware of when investing in pre-construction in NYC, including potential unexpected expenses, negotiation leverage, and the typical timeline for such purchases?

When investing in pre-construction in NYC, buyers should be prepared for potential unexpected expenses that developers may pass on, such as costs related to transfer taxes, the super’s apartment, building insurance for the first year, and attorney fees for the offering plan. These expenses are typically listed in the offering plan, and buyers may have some negotiation leverage, depending on several factors including their timing in the market. New developments can be ground-up construction or conversions of existing buildings, with pre-sales often offering discounts but longer wait times. Final walk-throughs in new construction typically involve two stages: one to develop a punch-list of requested changes and another right before closing to ensure all items are completed by the sponsor.

What is a Punch List?

A punch list is a list of improvements, repairs and touch-ups that a new development condo or co-op buyer wants the sponsor to complete before closing or soon after closing.

How to sell a condo in NYC?

The market determines what your property will ultimately sell for (either higher or lower than the asking price). It is therefore most important to select a broker who has access to far-reaching marketing systems to expose your listing to the widest possible audience.

What are the essential steps involved in marketing and promoting a real estate listing, and how does selective advertising play a crucial role in attracting suitable buyers?

Establish the facts and figures surrounding your apartment, floor plans, photographs, etc, and share the listing with other brokerage companies, so that every professional broker is aware of the listing. Selective, well targeted advertising is the key to success, letting as many appropriate buyers know about your listing. Your broker will identify the numerous options and how appropriate they are for your type of property.

How should you prepare your property for sale, and what methods are commonly used to show it to potential buyers?

Most showings are through private appointments. It’s your agent’s job to help you identify what you need to do to prepare your property for sale in order to command the highest price possible. For most sellers, this involves decluttering and to depersonalize it so that buyers can envision themselves living there.

What role does your broker play in the real estate transaction, particularly in terms of pricing, negotiations, and pre-screening buyers for co-op sales?

The techniques and mannerism of your broker can affect the selling price. Your broker will reach a meeting of minds between you (the seller) and the buyer. Your broker will pre-screen the financial status of the prospective buyer to qualify their chances for passing the board and receiving loan clearance.

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