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New York Real Estate Law Blog

What's a nonjudicial foreclosure in New York?

When you own a condo and run into problems paying your mortgage, you're protected from a hasty foreclosure by a complicated set of judicial processes. That's not true, however, for those who live in co-ops.

What's the difference? Essentially, it comes down to the fact that condos are real property that are used to secure conventional mortgages. The owner of an apartment in a cooperative, however, doesn't actually own real property. Instead, they own shares in the cooperative itself. What they may call their "mortgage," is actually a loan under the Universal Commercial Code (UCC). The cooperative, which is a type of business entity, actually owns the property. Residents in the co-op are actually tenants.

Can't pay your mortgage this month? Here are some options

Maybe your employer suddenly shut down or there's been a reduction in the workforce that's left you unemployed. Whatever the circumstances, your mortgage payment is looming, and you don't have enough money coming in from other sources to pay the bill.

What can you do? First, it's important to deal with the situation head-on. You have nothing to gain by ignoring the situation. A proactive approach is always the best choice.

Control partnership disputes to protect the company

Individuals who are going into business with each other need to ensure that there are ground rules set for the partnership. This can help to prevent issues in the future because it reduces that chance that there will be disagreements.

When there is a dispute, it must be handled carefully. These issues can cause problems for the business if allowed to fester. Having a plan for addressing times when you and your partner don't see eye-to-eye is beneficial.

It's a buyer's market for real estate in New York

All markets cycle up and down, and real estate is no exception. Right now, commercial real estate in parts of New York is decidedly a "buyer's market" with more retail and commercial properties available than there are interested buyers. If you're an investor who is looking for an opportunity, this may be it.

As a whole, the real estate market all over the nation has been booming, particularly when it comes to suburban family homes and condos. That can't be said, however, for commercial properties. The same shift toward remote work that has been driving residential real estate upward is driving the commercial property rates downward in other areas.

Leasing a warehouse for the first time? Here are some tips

Every business has to start somewhere. When you're first starting out, you probably don't want to invest heavily in any real estate, so that means getting a lease. It's smart to remember that leasing a piece of commercial property, however, is nothing like signing a residential lease. There's a lot more room to negotiate, you have less protection against abuses and the consequences of a mistake are usually bigger.

If you're about to lease a warehouse for your business for the first time, here's what you need to remember:

  1. Understand your operating costs. Rent is just part of what you'll end up paying. You need to understand what kind of insurance you need to carry and what maintenance fees and other expenses you'll have.
  2. Make sure the zoning is correct. Just because the space is a warehouse, that doesn't mean your business is allowed to operate there. Do your research before you dive in.
  3. Look at the layout carefully. Spend some time making sure that the ceilings are the right height, the floor can handle the load you need it to and that there are enough loading docks for your needs.
  4. Look at the parking lot. If you can't provide parking for your suppliers or trucks and your employees don't have enough room to park, that could be a serious issue.
  5. Find out if the HVAC system is right for you. Depending on the nature of your operation, you may need more climate control than the building currently offers. There can also be environmental issues that come into play.

Can you oust someone from your co-op board?

You genuinely appreciate all the hard work that your co-op's board of directors does. The board members clearly take their responsibilities to heart. They're also a pretty diverse lot, so there's a lot of give-and-take on the important issues -- except for that one guy.

One board member always seems to have a specific agenda and doesn't really care about anybody else's perspective. The disagreements no longer seem healthy or reasonable. The board is bogged down with picky disputes that all originate from a single source and that person's behavior has grown increasingly disruptive and offensive.

What are the risks of making a cash offer on a house?

You've noticed that it's a seller's market out there in real estate -- but you've finally found the home of your dreams. You've heard that all-cash offers make up roughly 29% of single-family home sales, and you're wondering if putting cold, hard cash on the table will convince the seller to pick your offer above all others.

Are there any risks to you? Maybe. Just like any other home purchase, you need to proceed carefully so that you don't end up in trouble. Here are some suggestions to consider if you're going to offer a seller cash for their home:

  1. Make sure you have all the money together. If the money is in a number of bank and investment accounts and sitting in a safe deposit box, get it all in one place. You want to be ready when it comes time to transfer the funds to the seller. This will also make it easier to give the seller proof that your offer is valid.
  2. Don't skip the home inspection or title search. It can be tempting to forgo these kinds of steps in an effort to make the buyer take your offer. However, you could put yourself at a serious disadvantage later if there are hidden defects in the home or on the title.
  3. Don't totally tap yourself out. You'll need some money set aside for property taxes, insurance, homeowners association fees and moving expenses. Make sure that you can comfortably manage those bills after you buy the house.

Why do you need a title search on a home purchase?

The title to a home defines your right to ownership, possession and use of your property. Since the person you're buying a home from is already living there and using it, why do you need a title search?

Well, because the title to a piece of property can have hidden problems or "defects" that can suddenly crop up and interfere with your right to enjoy your property in peace down the line. The seller may not have any idea that there's any problem with the title -- especially if a property has been in the family for a while.

How can small businesses collect debts?

The past few months have been hard on the small business community here in New York City as elsewhere. Businesses that might be seeing only a slight summer slump at this point in the year may now be teetering on the precipice of bankruptcy.

While all of these factors may be completely out of your control regarding the health of your small business, one area in which you do have some control is settling outstanding financial accounts.

How do you talk a property seller down in price?

When you find a great piece of property to buy, it can be downright painful to realize that a buyer is asking too much. Sometimes, a seller is just being unreasonable -- other times, they're simply optimistic. Either way, you shouldn't walk away without trying to negotiate a more respectable figure.

Here are some tips that can help you do it:

  1. Don't get emotional. You want the seller to work with you, not get offended and dig in their heels. Don't attack the seller's mindset or sensibilities. Instead, come in with objective market data and ask the seller if they'll work with you to establish a price that fits the facts.
  2. Have money ready. Showing up with a hefty deposit check that you're willing to hand over can often overcome a seller's objection to a lower price. Money in hand tells the buyer you're a sure thing -- and that's often more attractive than waiting around for someone else to pay their price.
  3. Consider paying cash. If you have the money to do it, cash talks -- quite loudly. If you can make a cash deal for the property, the seller may jump at the offer knowing that they won't have to worry about financing contingencies, questions from the bank about values and so on. If the seller is motivated, this could easily get them to take a lower price.
  4. Wait it out. If a seller is being stubborn, focus on facts and make a competitive offer -- even if you know they're likely to refuse. Recognize that they're hoping for something that may never come. There's nothing wrong with coming back around in a month (or several months in a row) and repeating the offer if the property remains unsold.

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