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New York Real Estate Law Blog

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.

What happens when a seller won't leave the home?

You spent a lot of time looking for a new home, did your research, found the right place and made an offer. The seller accepted, and you were thrilled -- until moving day came and you realized that the seller still hadn't vacated the place.

What happens now?

Know what details your offering plan should include

The New York State Attorney General's Office oversees the Real Estate Finance Bureau. That state-government agency determines what information condominium buyers and sellers and respective condo associations or cooperatives (co-ops) should include in their offering plans.

Each offering plan must include a number and description of the units and details about their ownership. It should also list the name and contact information of the person sponsoring the offering plan and the property owner.

Should you use a quitclaim deed in your divorce?

You're getting a divorce, and your spouse wants to keep the family home. You're amenable to that, but you need to find a way to transfer the title of the property to your ex's name alone. Should you use a quitclaim deed?

Maybe. Read on for what you need to know.

How to end a business partnership

You hoped that it would never come to this point, but you now need to dissolve your business partnership. Problems may have been brewing for some time, or perhaps matters only recently came to light that make continuing the partnership not just unwise but untenable.

But breaking up a business partnership is a bit like getting a divorce from a spouse. For instance, when you get divorced, if you had the foresight to sign a prenuptial agreement, that will become essentially the blueprint for the divorce. The same is true with your partnership agreement when dissolving the business partnership.

Rent or rent-to-own: What's the difference?

As a renter, you've always wished that you could own your own home -- but scraping together the money for a down payment is unrealistic. Maybe your credit score has suffered along with the ups and downs of the economy, as well, making it uncertain whether you can even get a conventional mortgage.

Those kinds of situations can make a rent-to-own property very appealing. Before you proceed, however, below is some information you need to know.

Clauses in commercial leases: The top ones to know

Commercial leases are nothing like residential ones. For the most part, it's "renter beware" when it comes to commercial leases. As a business owner, the law generally presumes that you're savvy enough to avoid getting stuck with a bad lease.

That's why it pays to be as informed as possible about key clauses that tend to appear in commercial leases. Here are three you should know about:

Can your HOA stop you from renting out your place?

We'll cut to the chase and answer this one right away: Yes, your homeowners association (HOA) can stop you from renting out your own place as long as the restrictions are reasonable and uniformly applied.

Generally, one of the most common restrictions you may encounter are limits on how many residences in your development can be rented at any given time. This is designed to protect the integrity of the property values since renters may not keep a property up the same way that homeowners might.

What to do when it's a seller's market in real estate

The historically low interest rates right now have would-be homeowners out in droves. Coupled with the fact that many established homeowners aren't selling, the situation is making the median price of a home in New York City soar.

Unless you have deep pockets and plenty of spare cash, a seller's market can be difficult for buyers to endure. Here are some tips that might make house-hunting go a little easier:

  1. Do your research online. These days, sellers don't want to waste their time with buyers who aren't serious. The days of strolling through a dozen homes just to get the feel for what you might like are over. Take advantage of virtual home tours and look carefully at online listings instead.
  2. Get pre-approved for a loan. Sellers may reject a bid on a home simply because they don't want to mess around with a buyer whose finances aren't in shape. A pre-approval from your bank clarifies your buying power and reassures sellers.
  3. Take an inspector with you. If you've finally found a home that you want to look at in person, take your home inspector with you. That way, you can waive the inspection contingency if you decide to make an offer -- which virtually guarantees the seller that you won't bail on the deal over some defect that wasn't noticed.
  4. Make an offer letter. Tell the buyer how much you love the home and why it's perfect for you or your family. It may sound cheesy or strange, but a lot of people have an emotional attachment to their homes and they want to know that the next person who lives there will care for it just as much as they did.

What happens if I didn't secure a construction permit in New York

Many New York City homes are older. It's not uncommon for homeowners to go in and update their house when they first move in or as they live in it. Two of the more common rooms homeowners update are their bathrooms and kitchens. You must take out a permit with the city before starting any work. If you don't, then you could expose yourself to legal liability.

The New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) is responsible for issuing construction permits for Manhattan homes. You'll need to hire both a registered architect and licensed professional engineer to render plans and help you secure permits before you can start performing any renovation work.

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