Category Archives: General

Biggest Challenges Often Faced Buying a Home in New York

So many people want to live in New York, the younger generation in particular. Whether you want to live within the city, or upstate, you will be faced with challenges. But, if you read about them before looking, you can be a little more prepared.

It is all About Location

The saying “location is everything” could not be more accurate. No matter where you are buying a home, the biggest factor affecting cost and size is the location. The best example of this is buying a home in New York: most people want to live in the city. If it is not the city, then people are considering the suburbs where families tend to live. No matter where you look, location will bring about a big challenge and high prices.

Some Tight Spaces

When buying a home in New York, you are going to find a large number of tight spaces, especially if you are looking for a home within the city. Here you will mostly find apartments and condos, with an occasional townhouse. But, by expanding the search to include areas of upstate New York, though, you will be able to find more living space.

Prices are High

While spaces are tight, prices tend to be extremely high, particularly when it comes to the popular areas of the city. But, just like with space, by going upstate, it is possible to find more reasonable pricing. Take some time to study the market situation, and find the best area in the state for your budget.

These three challenges are ones that anyone can encounter when buying a home, especially in New York. But, with a little digging and some faith, anyone can conquer the housing market.

Do We Need Renovations Before Selling a Home in New York?

Renovating a home is not easy, especially when that home is in New York. While not required for selling a home in New York, renovations can help raise the resell value. Whether it is worth it or not depends on how you feel about renovation, though.

Know the Rules

New York housing is extremely strict, especially if you live within the city itself. Study the rules to find out what sort of renovations are allowed, if there is a certain time frame it has to be completed, and what sort of permits would be needed. It will make considering renovations much easier.

Look at the Numbers

Compare your pre-renovation home to other homes in the area, and see if renovations would actually make a difference. If you find they do, then chose to focus on areas like bathrooms and the kitchen, which bring in the most profit. Also consider whether you will save money and do the project yourself, or higher a contractor to help with the work.

How Far Will You Go?

Renovating before selling a home in New York can be extremely beneficial, but you have to be willing to spend a decent amount of money. New York buyers tend to expect higher-end products for the amount they spend on a home. It is also a good idea to consider if you will do one project or multiple and if it will be a DIY job or not.

It can seem expensive at first, but the payoff for renovating can be a big one. Just make sure you know what you are doing, or hire someone experienced to carry out the job. One good renovation has the ability to add thousands to your resale value.

Is Avoiding Probate Really Advantageous?

blog2One of the most common reasons supporting the use of a living trust is that it can help your heirs avoid probate.  Although this is often mentioned as a big benefit, many people are unaware of some of the negative impacts of allowing their estate to go through probate to begin with.

If you use a valid will to manage your estate instead, the details will enter the probate process.  The executor of your will distributed your assets under the guidance of court proceedings and formal rules.  In some complicated situations, this can take months or even years.

Choosing to use a living trust instead speeds up the process a great deal, meaning that your heirs get access to your assets without having to worry about the headache or delays associated with probate.  As an added advantage, a living trust adds a layer of privacy to your estate.  Wills that go through probate, however, are part of the court’s public record.  Many individuals who choose to hire a Staten Island trusts and estate lawyer want the privacy shield afforded by using a living trust.

You shouldn’t make a final decision about establishing a living trust until you have had the opportunity to communicate with an experienced attorney.  There are many different kinds of estate planning documents that could help you plan not only for your own future but also for the future of your heirs.  Whether it’s a living trust or some other combination of planning tools, thinking ahead can help your heirs avoid the process of probate and obtain access to what you have left for them more quickly.

Get Up to Speed on CEMA: What You Need to Know

blog3In New York, a CEMA loan stands for “Consolidation Extension and Modification Agreement”.  People who opt to use this are generally trying to avoid paying some or all of the mortgage recording tax within the state, and this applies most often to those going through the refinancing process.  If the mortgage tax savings outweigh the fees associated with using a CEMA, a borrower should considering taking advantage of this opportunity.

Each case is unique, but a borrower may be eligible to save based on three factors:

  • The amount the bank may charge for providing an assignment (which is required in the New York CEMA process).  Bear in mind that some banks will not do the assignment, making the borrower ineligible for a CEMA;
  • The unpaid principal balance on the existing loan;
  • The mortgage tax rate, set by each county within the state

When the mortgage is recorded, the mortgage tax is assessed.  In a typical refinance transaction, the previous loan is paid in full.  If you are able to pay off and satisfy an existing loan you will be responsible for the mortgage tax on the new mortgage, unless your bank is willing to assign the mortgage to the new lender.  This is an essential part of the New York CEMA process in order to reap the benefits of this kind of transaction.

Extra time may be required in order to process this loan, because an existing lender has to work with an attorney in person to collect the check and to drop off the original mortgage, the original note, and the original assignment.  If there are savings to be had for you, this kind of transaction can be valuable.  Contact a real estate attorney if you have additional questions on this specific type of real estate transaction.

How Do I Know How Much My Home Is Worth?

If you are a home seller in NYC, it’s critical to understand the three most important factors when it comes to selling a home.  Condition and price are vital for selling your home effectively to the ideal buyer.  Your first step is to properly price the home and investigate whether there any cosmetic defects that can be repaired to make the house more likely to sell.  When price and condition are at optimal levels for selling a home in NYC, the third critical factor is the amount of exposure that your home receives in the real estate market.

In order to truly understand how much your home is worth, you may need to discuss the value with an appraiser as well as a real estate broker who has worked with other home sellers in NYC.  During the appraisal process, an experienced professional will review recent sales for similar properties, the location of the home, square footage, excess land, construction quality, water frontage, amenities, or views.  These factors, combined with the condition of the home, can increase the chances that you will be able to list and sell your home quickly and successfully.

If an appraiser or real estate broker suggests that you can make small changes to improve the value of the home, weigh the cost of making these changes against the possible increase in value for the home sale.  If cosmetic changes are relatively inexpensive but dramatically increase the chances that you will sell the home, plot out a timeline to complete these changes in order to make the house more appealing to buyers.  Working with an experienced realtor and having an appraisal done early can go a long way towards informing you about the value of your home today.