Category: Residential Real Estate

CO-OP BOARD DENIALS: A GUIDELINE*
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CO-OP BOARD DENIALS: A GUIDELINE* | Eric P. Gonchar

© Eric P. Gonchar. All rights reserved. No portion of this article may be reproduced without the expressed written permission of Eric P. Gonchar.

Unfortunately, co-op Board discretionary decisions to approve or deny a Purchaser admission in a coop still exists. Purchasers still face denials for admission to coop buildings. There was a time when many co-op Boards concluded that if a bank would give a prospective buyer a loan, then the Board would consent to the sale of an apartment. Co-op Boards have since become much more concerned and selective about their future neighbors. This article will explore why co-op Boards can deny a Purchaser admission to a co-op and what remedies the Purchaser or Seller may have.

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HIRING A MANAGING AGENT FOR YOUR CO-OP OR CONDO*
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HIRING A MANAGING AGENT FOR YOUR CO-OP OR CONDO* | Eric P. Gonchar

© Eric P. Gonchar. All rights reserved. No portion of this article may be reproduced without the expressed written permission of Eric P. Gonchar.

Hiring or replacing a managing agent or management company for your co-op or condo can have a very significant impact on a building’s operations. Choosing the right management company can be a challenging job. Making the right choice can be time consuming and confusing. The relationship between a co-op or condominium and the management company is probably the most important relationship a board maintains.

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NEW HEATING LAW CHANGES IN NYC*
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NEW HEATING LAW CHANGES IN NYC* | Eric P. Gonchar

© Eric P. Gonchar. All rights reserved. No portion of this article may be reproduced without the expressed written permission of Eric P. Gonchar.

On October 1, 2017, a change to the NYC heating regulations will go into effect when the heating season begins. The new regulations require owners of buildings with central heating to maintain minimum temperatures in residential apartments during heating season. The new rule increases the minimum nighttime temperature in apartments to 62 degrees. During the designated heating season, October 1 through May 31, residential buildings will now have to maintain an internal temperature of no less than 62 degrees Fahrenheit during the night, from 10 P.M. to 6 A.M., instead of the current 55-degree minimum. The new law also eliminates the outdoor temperature trigger during nighttime hours, thereby requiring the indoor temperature level be maintained regardless of the outside temperature.

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FinCEN EXTENDS AND BROADENS REAL ESTATE PURCHASE DISCLOSURES*
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FinCEN EXTENDS AND BROADENS REAL ESTATE PURCHASE DISCLOSURES* | Eric P. Gonchar

© Eric P. Gonchar. All rights reserved. No portion of this article may be reproduced without the expressed written permission of Eric P. Gonchar.

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) is a bureau of the United States Department of Treasury. FinCEN’s mission statement is “to safeguard the financial system from illicit use and combat money laundering and promote national security through the collection, analysis and dissemination of financial intelligence and strategic use of financial authorities.” Their goal is to protect the country against financial crimes, money laundering, tax evasion and terrorist financing by obtaining and analyzing financial transaction data for law enforcement purposes.

FDNY ENACTS NEW FIRE DEPARTMENT REQUIREMENTS*
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FDNY ENACTS NEW FIRE DEPARTMENT REQUIREMENTS* | Eric P. Gonchar

© Eric P. Gonchar. All rights reserved. No portion of this article may be reproduced without the expressed written permission of Eric P. Gonchar.

In June of 2016, the New York City Fire Department (FDNY) adopted new rules requiring apartment buildings to post identification signs along with directional markings and exit signs in hallways. All apartment buildings and hotels in New York City must comply with this new requirement by March 30, 2018. However, if the building contains any duplex or triplex units, the property was required to install these new markings by March 30, 2017.

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THE CERTIFICATE OF OCCUPANCY*
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THE CERTIFICATE OF OCCUPANCY* | Eric P. Gonchar

© Eric P. Gonchar. All rights reserved. No portion of this article may be reproduced without the expressed written permission of Eric P. Gonchar.

We have all heard the term “Certificate of Occupancy” when involved with a real estate transaction but many of us do not the full ramifications of what it is and what the New York City Building Department (DOB) requires. Don’t underestimate the importance of the Certificate of Occupancy. Whether you’re buying, renovating, or in a legal tussle with a landlord, you’ll occasionally hear talk of the “CO,” “C of O,” or Certificate of Occupancy. And while this legal document isn’t exactly the sexiest part of any real estate transaction, there’s a whole lot of power in this little piece of paper, so much so that it has the clout to win legal cases, end negotiations, put the kibosh on your mortgage, and more.

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DECIDING TO PURCHASE A CONDOMINIUM OR COOPERATIVE APARTMENT*
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DECIDING TO PURCHASE A CONDOMINIUM OR COOPERATIVE APARTMENT* | Eric P. Gonchar

©Eric P. Gonchar. All rights reserved. No portion of this article may be reproduced without the expressed written permission of Eric P. Gonchar.

Before purchasing a condo or co-op apartment, it is imperative that the Purchaser understand the significant differences between the two types of ownership. There are numerous legal and financial differences.

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LEGAL REPRESENTATION FOR REAL ESTATE PURCHASES AND SALES*
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LEGAL REPRESENTATION FOR REAL ESTATE PURCHASES AND SALES* | Eric P. Gonchar

© Eric P. Gonchar. All rights reserved. No portion of this article may be reproduced without the expressed written permission of Eric P. Gonchar.

The selection of a seasoned, competent and communicative attorney may be the single most important relationship in a real estate transaction. Now more than ever choosing an attorney who is sufficiently competent and whose fee is reasonable and customary is not the only two criteria to select a lawyer. A seller or purchaser should retain an attorney who is competent and experienced, who can protect your interests, who understands the market and who can help and not hinder the transaction.  Remember, if your attorney fails to include important provisions or negotiate a provision properly, the only person that will suffer is the client.

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A CO-OP’S GUIDE TO REFINANCING AN UNDERLYING MORTGAGE*
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A CO-OP’S GUIDE TO REFINANCING AN UNDERLYING MORTGAGE* | Eric P. Gonchar

© Eric P. Gonchar. All rights reserved. No portion of this article may be reproduced without the expressed written permission of Eric P. Gonchar.

Refinancing an underlying mortgage of a cooperative corporation is a complex, time· consuming and expensive transaction. There are numerous tasks a corporation can do to prepare for a successful closing. The following is an outline of what can be done by the Board of Directors to pre-qualify the cooperative corporation for an underlying mortgage with a lender.

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SAVING NEW YORK STATE MORTGAGE RECORDING TAX*
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SAVING NEW YORK STATE MORTGAGE RECORDING TAX* | Eric P. Gonchar

© Eric P. Gonchar. All rights reserved. No portion of this article may be reproduced without the expressed written permission of Eric P. Gonchar.

Purchasing a new home can be a very costly venture for a purchaser. The costs involve more than just the price of the property. Purchasers will face a string of settlement costs especially when a loan is involved. These loan costs include everything from loan origination fees to appraisal charges to credit report costs to lender legal fees. Each year closing costs continue to rise because lenders are required to comply with the ever-changing mortgage regulations and stricter lending requirements.

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NEW LAWS AFFECTING AIRBNB STARTING 2017*
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NEW LAWS AFFECTING AIRBNB STARTING 2017* | Eric P. Gonchar

© Eric P. Gonchar. All rights reserved. No portion of this article may be reproduced without the expressed written permission of Eric P. Gonchar.

As most of know, Airbnb is a peer-to-peer online marketplace and network enabling people to list and rent short-term lodging in residential properties, with the cost of such accommodation set by the property owner.

Airbnb was founded in August of 2008 and is based in San Francisco, California. It has become a trusted community marketplace for people to list, discover, and book on-line o from a mobile phone, unique accommodations around the world at any price point and for any type of property (ranging from a small apartment to a large mansion). The company receives percentage service fees from both guests and hosts in conjunction with every booking. In 2006, Airbnb was said to have over 2,000,000 listings in 34,000 cities and 191 countries. While there are other recognized companies like Homeaway, One Fine Stay, For Rent by Owner, Airbnb has been the leading company for people to monetize their extra space and showcase it to an audience of millions.

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REAL ESTATE DUE DILIGENCE (Part 2 of 2)*
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REAL ESTATE DUE DILIGENCE (Part 2 of 2)* | Eric P. Gonchar

©2013 Eric P. Gonchar. All rights reserved. No portion of this article may be reproduced without the expressed written permission of Eric P. Gonchar.

This is part 2 of a 2 section article about conducting due diligence on real estate transactions and should be read in conjunction with the sister article.

Financing The Purchase – While Condominiums generally do not set limitations on how much a purchaser may borrow, co-ops generally do. The purchaser must first determine if the co-op will allow the buyer to purchase the apartment with a loan which is secured by a pledge of the shares of the co-op. Many older co-ops do not allow financing at all. For those co-op’s that do allow financing, it is important to determine what the financing limitations are before the contract is signed. If the purchaser wants to finance 80% of the sales price but the co-op only allows 70%, then the transaction should not proceed.

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REAL ESTATE DUE DILIGENCE (Part 1 of 2)*
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REAL ESTATE DUE DILIGENCE (Part 1 of 2)* | Eric P. Gonchar

©2013 Eric P. Gonchar. All rights reserved. No portion of this article may be reproduced without the expressed written permission of Eric P. Gonchar.

This is part 1 of a 2 section article about conducting due diligence on real estate transactions and should be read in conjunction with the sister article.

One of the most important, if not the most important, parts of any real estate transaction is conducting a thorough due diligence review of the property to be purchased. The prospective purchaser should investigate the property thoroughly before signing a contract of sale.

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CLOSING DATES & “TIME OF THE ESSENCE” CLOSING*
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CLOSING DATES & “TIME OF THE ESSENCE” CLOSING* | Eric P. Gonchar

© Eric P. Gonchar. All rights reserved. No portion of this article may be reproduced without the expressed written permission of Eric P. Gonchar.

Sometimes the most negotiated point in a contract of sale for the purchase of real property (including the purchase of a co-op) is the closing date. There are many variables that affect the closing date some of which are in the control of the seller and purchaser and some of which are not.

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LOT LINE WINDOWS – BUYERS BEWARE!*
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LOT LINE WINDOWS – BUYERS BEWARE!* | Eric P. Gonchar

© Eric P. Gonchar. All rights reserved. No portion of this article may be reproduced without the expressed written permission of Eric P. Gonchar.

A “lot line window” is a window that is built on a side of a building that shares a boundary line with a neighboring property.  If the adjacent building is built up to or higher than this window, then the lot line window will likely need to be sealed off. For example, Unit 8A has a living room window that faces North. The adjoining property owner on the North builds a 10 story building blocking the windows of Unit 8A. Lot line windows will not affect an owner as an apartment dweller unless your neighbors build up to the level of your apartment or higher.  The concern for a purchaser is that a lot line window that is never disclosed and years later an adjoining building is constructed resulting in the window being permanently closed. In the event such obstruction occurs, the owner would be required to close up the window (usually at the owner’s own trouble and expense), losing both natural light and view.

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THE BOARD APPLICATION PROCESS*
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THE BOARD APPLICATION PROCESS* | Eric P. Gonchar

© Eric P. Gonchar. All rights reserved. No portion of this article may be reproduced without the expressed written permission of Eric P. Gonchar.

Every cooperative and condominium apartment purchase generally requires some sort of board application. Some applications can be very lengthy (particularly co-op applications) while others can be quite simple. Recently, condo applications have become very cumbersome particularly for luxury buildings. Co-op’s have always had some control as to who buys in the building by requiring a detailed board application from the purchaser. But now condominiums have gotten on the band wagon and have started to require very detailed and lengthy applications.

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POST CLOSING OCCUPANCY AGREEMENTS*
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POST CLOSING OCCUPANCY AGREEMENTS* | Eric P. Gonchar

© Eric P. Gonchar. All rights reserved. No portion of this article may be reproduced without the expressed written permission of Eric P. Gonchar.

Working out the logistics of a seller moving out of one apartment and into a new apartment can be very sensitive and complicated. If the two closings cannot be handled simultaneously, then the seller will need to move out of the existing property, place his or her belongings in storage and stay in a hotel until the purchase can be completed. This can be a very large hassle and expense to the seller.

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Residential Real Estate: Buying vs. Renting
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Residential Real Estate: Buying vs. Renting | Peter Roach

Is it better to buy or to rent? Whether you choose to live in an apartment, a townhouse, or a house is a matter of personal taste. The decision to purchase or rent, however, is a financial matter. Calculating the “cost” of renting is simple - you sign a lease and agree to pay a fixed amount each month until the expiration of the lease.

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The Art of Negotiation
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The Art of Negotiation | Mendy Lipsker

{4:18 minutes to read} Making the deal is all in the negotiation. The job of an agent or broker is basically to be the matchmaker, bringing people together. When people start to feel confident or comfortable with each other, they may be more willing to make concessions on their original proposal in order to work out a deal.

A lot of agents and brokers try to protect their client’s and their own interests by not having the buyer and seller meet. However, at times, the best thing is to bring the buyer and seller together and let them face each other. The broker can then facilitate a negotiation, whether it’s a small deal or a big deal. I have found many times that, if the buyer and seller are reasonable and rational, they’ll find a way to make a deal when they meet each other.

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Doing the Property Flip – Part 2
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Doing the Property Flip – Part 2 | Mendy Lipsker

{3:00 minutes to read} My last blog discussed “flipping” a property, a popular way to invest which allows you to create profit and cash flow in a reasonably short time. We talked about acquiring the property and financing in Part 1 of this series.

In Part 2, we are going to touch on two other aspects of “flipping,” renovation of the property and making a profit.

Renovating

Sometimes a property can be sold as is and still make a profit. However, if the property is going to need work, you will want to know how much work it needs and what it will cost. Getting an estimate on the renovation work is an important part of the process. If the renovation required is going to substantially reduce your profit, you may want to bypass that property.

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Enforceability (or lack thereof) of Due-on-Sale and Due-on-Encumbrance Clauses
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Enforceability (or lack thereof) of Due-on-Sale and Due-on-Encumbrance Clauses | Peter Roach

Due-on-Sale Clause The Due-on-Sale clause contained in most mortgages provides that if the property secured by the mortgage is sold to a third party without the lender's consent, the lender has the right to demand full payment of the loan. Lenders require this so that any prospective purchaser will feel compelled to submit a complete application to them, in order to avoid the risk of a foreclosure based upon the default of failing to obtain the lender’s consent.

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Recent Decisions Regarding New York’s Pre-Foreclosure Requirements
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Recent Decisions Regarding New York’s Pre-Foreclosure Requirements | Peter Roach

Failure to strictly comply with two of New York’s recently enacted consumer protection statutes affecting residential foreclosures, RPAPL 1304 and RPAPL 1306, which require a 90-day notice to be sent to the borrower, and specific information contained therein to be filed with the New York State Department of Finance within three days thereafter, have recently been reviewed and interpreted by the New York courts.

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How Can You Keep a City’s Character While Preparing for 21st Century Needs?
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How Can You Keep a City’s Character While Preparing for 21st Century Needs | Curtis Battles

{Time to read: 4:10 minutes} Last year, the City of Stamford, Connecticut began a long journey to update and improve it’s “2024 Master Plan.” This document is a “roadmap” for future real estate development and major infrastructure upgrades in the city. City officials and other interested parties have high hopes that the project will attract more residents, visitors and ultimately, boost the local economy. The timeline calls for the project blueprint to be complete around 2024.

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4 Reasons Design Matters
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4 Reasons Design Matters | Bob Henry

Whether you are contemplating a renovation to your personal residence, your business, or hospitality venue – hotel, restaurant, spa – it’s very important to hire an architect and an interior designer with experience in that area. 1. Design Investment: A construction renovation is one of the most expensive activities one can undertake. It is much more expensive than buying a new automobile. Therefore, hiring an architect / designer is a basic insurance policy, mitigating potential problems and costly overruns.

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What Are You Afraid Of?
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{2:20 minutes to read} True success is overcoming the fear of being unsuccessful. – Paul Sweeney Always do what you are afraid to do. - Ralph Waldo Emerson Only when we are no longer afraid do we begin to live. -Dorothy Thompson The only thing we have to fear is fear itself. - Franklin D. Roosevelt Everybody is afraid at one time or another. We all face frightening decisions both large and small. We all deal with seemingly insurmountable obstacles in every aspect of our lives.

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How to keep your organization attractive to younger generations in the 21st century
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How to keep your organization attractive to younger generations in the 21st century | Curtis Battles

Today, many Congregations, Synagogues and Mosques are seeing a decline in their membership and active participation. This is mainly due to changing demographics where the core membership is aging and attendance is down.A challenge for any denomination is determining how to attract younger members from Gen X and Gen Y to reinvigorate their community. Often these institutions suffer financially as well, as it’s sometimes difficult for people to tithe or make consistent donations due to economic circumstances.

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Everything Old Is New Again in Crown Heights
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[Time to Read:  3.6 mins]

I was born, grew up and still live in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. The area was originally called “Crow Hill” due to a succession of hills running east to west, but the name was changed to Crown Heights in 1916 when Crown Street was cut through.

Historically, Crown Heights was very upscale where many prominent and affluent New Yorkers chose to live, but in the 60s and 70s that all changed.

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Are You a Confident Leader?
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Are You a Confident Leader? | Curtis Battles

Leaders must have the confidence to continue growing and learning if they want their team to follow suit. This was just one of the lessons I took away from a leadership development seminar I attended recently called L2 (Learn, Lead). This seminar was sponsored by leadership guru John Maxwell, who has a new book called Good Leaders Ask Great Questions. It’s about people in senior roles asking great questions to obtain the most information they can, in order to effectively lead their team.

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Is Your Hard Money Lender A “Loan to Own?”
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In a recent article by Karen Freifeld for reuters.com, the Department of Financial Services is looking into 9 “hard money lenders,” to see whether they are intentionally creating hard money loans with terms that might be driving borrowers into default.

What are “hard money lenders?”  I asked my friend and colleague, Assaf Ran, CEO of Manhattan Bridge Capital, Inc., to give us an explanation of this term. Below is his response:

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