Real Estate Law

Tips on How to Sell Your Condo or Co-op Quickly During a Divorce in Manhattan

Divorce in ManhattanAs you might imagine, divorce can be complicated.  It can be challenging to agree upon a visitation schedule regarding your children and dividing up all of your assets.  Often, one of the most instrumental aspects of getting a divorce in Manhattan is handling the sale of the marital home.  In certain situations, divorcing couples may decide to have one person stay in the condo or co-op apartment instead of selling it.  On the other hand, there are instances where both parties cannot come to an amicable decision regarding who stays or whether one of you can buy out the other’s interest.  When both parties cannot come to an agreement, the only solution may be to sell the condo or co-op.

The first step to selling your property is to sit down and discuss the financial aspects of the divorce including the cost of maintaining the apartment until it is sold.  If there is a mortgage, it may be best to sell your condo or co-op quickly and agree to equally divide the proceeds.

But what if pre-marital funds were used toward the acquisition of the home or one of your parents contributed to the down-payment?  What do you do then?

These are questions that may be challenging for you to determine on your own.

Determine the Value of Your Manhattan Condo or Coop

Another aspect of selling your apartment is determining the value and the dollar amount to list it at.  Never make assumptions about the value of your condo or co-op. We frequently see people making the mistake of relying upon popular real estate websites online as the proof of valuation of their apartment and the information on these sites are often inaccurate.  In addition, people believe that the repairs and improvements they made to the property automatically means that it is worth a lot more than what they purchased it for.  This is another misconception.  You can get a more reliable estimate of the value of your apartment by consulting a local real estate agent or real estate appraiser who can advise you based on real data.  There are many different factors that impact property value: location, square feet, building amenities, reserved parking, and types of upgrades. 

In addition, a local realtor would likely make recommendations as to whether additional small improvements could yield a greater return when listing your co-op or condo for sale.  So be prepared to invest in repainting or staging your apartment before listing it for sale. 

Get the Legal Support You Need During Your Divorce in Manhattan

If you need assistance with divorce or your real estate transaction during your divorce, contact Sabra Law Group today at (646) 472-7971.

 

How to Handle Finances When You Are Going Through a Divorce

With divorce, comes many responsibilities.  In addition to handling child support and custody matters, you must also be prepared to deal with finances.  Financial responsibilities during divorce include handling property, cars, stock, 401K, and more. Furthermore, you also need to consider any vacation properties or investments purchased together during the marriage.

If you make smart financial decisions during your divorce, you will be setting yourself up for a stable future.

Consider the tips below on finances when you are going through a divorce:

  1. Have a clear understanding of what Is taxable.  For instance, you should be aware that spousal support is taxable (for any divorces that happen prior to December 31, 2018).  For the person that pays the spousal support, they can classify spousal support as a tax deductible. On the other hand, child support is not taxable to the recipient. 
  2. Do not forget about the change in exemptions.  For married couples, the exemption for capital gains is higher than it is for single people.  When it comes to deciding if you will live in the house for many years or not, it is important to consider the implications.  You must realize that capital gain taxes will be much higher if you keep the house short-term.  
  3. Understand the tax implications for retirement accounts.  It is best to consult with your accountant or financial advisor and determine the best course of action.  Your accountant can help you determine if you should keep your retirement accounts or cash them out.  By making more educated decisions regarding your finances, you will have a better financial outcome. 
  4. Realize that there are no guarantees with stocks.  Because there is really no way to determine, with accuracy, how a particular stock will perform, it may be best to split them in half and equally divide the stock with your spouse.  
  5. Factor in any outstanding debts: make a list of outstanding debts and determine who will be responsible for paying what. 

Do You Have Questions About How to Handle Finances During a Divorce?

This article addresses a small portion of the financial decisions that need to be made in divorce.  Schedule a confidential consultation with an attorney today to learn more about your specific situation and receive a comprehensive list of financial items to be discussed and resolved in your divorce. Sabra is an attorney with almost two decades of experience in both real estate law and divorce mediation.  Contact the office today at (646) 472-7971 and schedule your appointment.

How to Prepare for Buying Your First Condo in Manhattan

Buying a condo for the first time, especially in a competitive market like Manhattan, takes an extraordinary amount of planning and dedication. Many people fail to plan, which means that their hunt takes longer and is likely much more expensive than it has to be. When you prepare for buying your first condo in Manhattan, you'll be much closer to making your dream of home ownership a reality.

Start with Neighborhoods

Maybe you already have some ideas about which neighborhood suits you. Whether you're thinking Upper Manhattan or Bed-Stuy, spend some time in all of the communities that are of most interest to you. Get to know the buildings and the layout. Start dipping your toe into the local real estate market by browsing Zillow and similar sites. This gives you an opportunity to narrow your focus to a likely handful of neighborhoods.

Get Pre-Approved for Financing

When you're buying your first condo in Manhattan, mortgage pre-approval makes all the difference. That's especially true because there is a surprising number of cash buyers out there. Also, if you find yourself in a bidding war and the other bidder is pre-approved, then that war might be over before it starts. Things happen fast in the Manhattan real estate market. You have to be ready to strike with pre-approved financing.

Find a Real Estate Broker

In a seller's market, many brokers hardly seem interested in working for buyers. Accordingly, it is vital for you to find a reputable real estate broker who knows the business and is willing to be your tireless advocate. An experienced broker will sniff out promising condos and work fast to ensure that your bids receive the attention they deserve.

Be Prepared for the Long Haul

Ideally, it would be wonderful to find that perfect condo on your first open house expedition. The reality is that that rarely happens. Condo buyers in Manhattan could easily spend months or even a year trying to find the condo that's right for them. Usually, this involves bidding on more than one property. Make peace with the idea that frustration is likely to be your companion many times.

A competent Manhattan real estate lawyer can help you with real estate closings, reviewing contracts and other related matters. Contact Sabra Law Group today at 646-472-7971 to learn more.

For more information, listen to a real estate expert on our podcast, Coffee Break With Sabra: 

 

 

 
 

3 Tips for Quickly Selling Your Condo in Manhattan

Before you put your condo on the market to sell it, it is essential to know the unique selling points and challenges. The right price, marketing strategy and timing will all play a part in a successful sale. 

The best time of the year to sell your condo is usually the spring. The holiday time can be especially challenging in Manhattan due to the brutal winter weather. The holiday time is also a very stressful and busy time for many people; the last thing on their mind is to move on top of all of the other holiday demands.

Appropriately Price Your Condo

Setting the right price will determine the amount of traffic you will get to the condo.  If you price it too high, you may miss out on the optimal opportunity to get the right buyers in.  If you price it too low, then you could lose a lot of money.   Check other comps for your building as well as comparable condos in the neighborhood.   Also, keep in mind that just because you put $100K of remodeling into the unit; does not mean that you can price your unit at an extra $100K.  Your taste in flooring or expensive countertops may not match that of your “potential buyer” who may prefer a more traditional look.  

How to Stage Your Condo

It is important to make your condo stand apart as there may be multiple listings in your building at the same time for the same floor plan.  The first step is to thoroughly clean your condo or hire a cleaning company to do so.  The next step is to declutter and get rid of excess things and any items that may make the condo look cluttered.  Finally, you may want to hire a handyman or contractor to make any repairs that are necessary.  

If you don’t have the time to stage your condo, you can also hire a professional staging company who can handle the entire process for you (some real estate brokerage firms offer this service as well). 

Marketing Your Condo

Marketing is a critical part of getting your condo to sell.  Evaluate what sets your building apart from other buildings in the area and showcase that.  What amenities does your condo have that others would find desirable?  What is unique about your neighborhood? Make a list and gather professional photos of the building, amenities area, and inside of the unit.  It is best to hire a professional photographer; remember the images or video footage is what is going to captivate a potential buyer to come in and view the unit.  

Selling Your Condo in Manhattan? 

For more information, listen to our interview with a real estate expert on our podcast Coffeebreak With Sabra: 

 

If you need assistance with real estate closings or handling real estate legal matters, contact Sabra Law Group today at (646) 472-7971.

 

 

 

Manhattan Real Estate Lawyer Shares Tips for Selling Your Condo in New York

Selling a condo in New York isn't like selling real estate anywhere else. That's because the market moves with lightning speed. If you're not prepared for it, you may miss out on an opportunity to close a deal with a perfect buyer. Use these tips to make certain that you are well-informed about the process, then meet with a Manhattan real estate lawyer who can provide you with guidance throughout the sale.

1. Set the Stage

Before you even think of listing your condo or hiring a Realtor, you need to assess every room with fresh eyes. Now is the time to declutter and get your condo looking spacious and new. Professional stagers can be hired to complete this sometimes monumental task for you, but you also can do it yourself. Consider renting a storage space for excess clutter, and hide away any shabby pieces of furniture. The cleaner and spacious your condo looks, the more attractive it is to potential buyers.

2. Hire an Agent

Real estate commissions in the Manhattan area generally are between five and six percent of the sale price. That seems steep, which is why more people are going the for sale by owner, or FSBO, route. However, it's critical that you think long and hard before deciding you don't need an agent. Without a Realtor, you'll have to become a real estate expert (and financial expert so that you can properly evaluate potential purchasers), and you'll lose countless hours trying to sell your condo. That commission really is a small price to pay for expertise and a faster sale.

3. Review and Negotiate the Listing Agreement

The listing agreement is a contract between you and your Realtor that contains items like the length of the listing period, the desired sale price and the amount of the commission. Many of the items are negotiable, so you may want to discuss the agreement with a Manhattan real estate lawyer before signing on the dotted line.

Using these tips will help you to move along the sale of your condo. Of course, one of the most effective things you can do is to rely on the advice of a Manhattan real estate lawyer at the Sabra Law Group. Call Sabra Sasson today at 646-472-7971 to learn more about negotiating the listing agreement, reviewing contracts, negotiating with potential buyers and other aspects relating to real estate transactions in New York.

For more information, listen to a real estate expert on our podcast, Coffee Break With Sabra: 

Important Factors to Consider When Selling Your Condo in Manhattan

If you are thinking about putting your condo on the market in Manhattan, it is best to be well prepared.  Buyers have many choices in Manhattan and can choose to be discerning.   If you want your property to seem attractive to buyers, you have to accentuate the positive parts of the condo, the neighborhood, and amenities. 

In order to figure out what buyers are looking for, you have to put yourself in their shoes.   First, determine if your condo is ideal for single people or is it also fit to accommodate a small family?  Second, ask your friends what they would want in a condo, if they were in the market to buy?

Furthermore, do your research and look at other comps to see which units in your building sold quickly and if they had any special features.  

Requirements for buying a condo will vary from person to person, however, it is a good idea to keep certain things in mind:

  1. Closet place and storage can be important to many people.   Make sure that your closets are clean and organized before listing your property.   If your building has access to buy or rent extra storage; make sure you mention that to your realtor.  
  2. If your windows are double-paned, make sure to point this out as well.  Double-paned windows reduce noise from the outside.
  3. Security: for many people, living in a secure building in a requirement.  Be prepared to talk about what your condo building does to keep the building secure.  Remember to mention things such as 24-hour concierge/doorman, security cameras in garage, key fob only access to elevators/floors. 
  4. Upgrades to condo:  sometimes upgrades may add more desirability to a property.  The key is that the upgrades must be useful rather than just for aesthetic purposes.  For example: blackout shades are a useful addition as they can block out too much sun during the day or bright lights at night.  Automatic lighting may also appeal to some buyers who like the convenience of controlling their lights from an app on their phone.

Selling Your Condo in Manhattan?

Sabra Law Group can assist you with all of your legal real estate matters.   Whether you need assistance with a real estate closing, or contracts, Sabra can assist you.  Contact Sabra Law Group today for a confidential consultation at (646) 472-7971. 

For more information, listen to our interview with a real estate expert on Coffee Break With Sabra:

 

 

New York Neighborhoods that Yield a Good Return on Your Investment in 2017

Buying a real estate property in Manhattan can come with a hefty price tag as well as a substantial down payment.  If you are thinking of making an investment in New York real estate, it is best to do your homework and determine which neighborhoods will get you the best return on your investment. 

If you are currently renting and not considering buying a place in New York, it may be surprising that in certain neighborhoods it is actually better to rent than buy.  

As of August 2017, the average price per square foot in Manhattan currently sits at $1,773 (according to NeighborhoodX analysis); which is even higher than San Francisco or Los Angeles.  This can make it difficult for many people to invest in a property in Manhattan, however, doing your research first may expand your search into surrounding communities that may be more affordable.

Insights on New York Neighborhoods 

A real estate platform called Sharestates had some valuable insights based on return on investment (ROI), after repair value (ARV), the increase in demand over the past year (based on real estate loans in the area), and the area’s median sales price. 

They found that Richmond Hill, a neighborhood in Queens, provides buyers with an average return on investment of 12%.  Furthermore, the average sales price was $542,500. 

In Brooklyn, the Bed-Stuy neighborhood followed with an average return on investment of 11% and an average sales price of $745,000. 

Harlem is another neighborhood worth looking into if you are seeking a high return on investment.  In Harlem, townhouse prices have increased 171 percent since 2009 according to a study published by PropertyShark.  They also found that the average price per square foot increased from $237 in 2009 to $642 in 2017.  

Consult a Manhattan Real Estate Lawyer Who Can Guide You

In addition to the sales price of a property in New York, you will also need to plan for closing costs and other fees associated with buying property in New York.  It is best to consult an experienced Manhattan real estate lawyer who can guide you in the right direction. 

If you need assistance with real estate transactions, contact Sabra Law Group today at (646) 472-7971 for a confidential consultation.

Important Considerations When Purchasing Your First Condo in Manhattan

Manhattan has an abundance of properties and therefore condo hunting can be quite a daunting task.  It is best to make a list of your must haves as well as a list of questions to ask that will help you eliminate properties that do not meet your specific criteria. 

Below is a list of questions to ask that you may have not considered: 

  1. Is the garage underground or on floors above ground? With extreme weather conditions such as hurricanes and storm surges, it is important to consider your safety and the safety of your vehicles.
  2. Are there security cameras throughout the premises? Not only should there be security cameras in the elevators or common areas but also in the garage.For many people, safety is a top priority and condo buildings with security cameras throughout may deter criminal activity or at least capture it on camera so it is able to research the situation and resolve the matter.
  3. What are the extra fees/charges to use the private party room or other amenities? If you are an entrepreneur and frequently need to use the private party room for business events, it makes sense to determine what additional costs you will be expected to pay out of pocket to reserve the room.
  4. What do the online reviews disclose about the property? It is important to do your research first and read the reviews about the building prior to setting an appointment to view the building and units.While some reviews are exaggerated; you may see a common theme throughout, which may be an indication of a real problem.
  5. If you are new to Manhattan, it is important to ask questions about the neighborhood?Where is the closest grocery store? Dog grooming place? Nail salon? Public transportation? Restaurants? Dry Cleaning? Parks? Playgrounds? Places of worship? Police station? Hospital?
  6. Consider checking the crime rate in the neighborhood where you are seeking to buy a condo.As we know, a big city like Manhattan can have crime in any neighborhood, there are certain areas that are higher in crime than others.If safety is a high priority, then take the time to do your due diligence prior to signing that real estate contract.

Purchasing Your First Condo in Manhattan?

Whether you have found your dream condo in Manhattan or just beginning your search, contact our office for assistance with your real estate closing and guidance during your search and negotiations. You can count on the expertise and experience of Sabra Sasson, Manhattan real estate attorney.  Contact Sabra Law Group today at (646) 472-7971.

The Guide to Buying Your First Condo in Manhattan

Have you have been saving up for years for a down payment to buy a condo?  If you are going to spend your hard earned money on buying a condo in Manhattan, do your homework first and go into the home-buying process well prepared. 

We have put together some guidelines that will facilitate a smooth real estate transaction and prepare you for the entire home-buying process.

STEP ONE: Finding the Right Property

  • Decide what neighborhood fits best with your lifestyle and your budget.  Remember to factor in your commute time to work, your non-negotiables, and if you prefer a more happening part of town or a more quiet and serene location.
  • If you choose to live in the heart of the city, you have to be willing to sacrifice space.
  • Monthly common charges and assessment fees are not negotiable and can rise from time to time.
  • If you are interested in a hot property, be prepared to move quickly or risk losing it to another buyer.

STEP TWO: Financing

  • Have your financing in place before you start the condo search because if your financing is not in order, you could lose your dream condo in the process of waiting for approval.
  • When trying to determine what amount you can afford prior to going through the official approval process, a practical guideline that you can use is to estimate that you may be able to afford a purchase price up to three times your annual income (of course there are other considerations such as existing debt, financial obligations and credit score, to name a few).
  • It is beneficial to try to lower your debt prior to applying for financing as lenders will subtract any debt payments from your income; thus, resulting in a smaller property or lower priced property than you initially hoped for.

STEP THREE: Making an Offer

  • Remember that the market dictates the value of the condo
  • Research what other condos have sold for in the same neighborhood and building and how long they were on the market.Also assess the type of amenities when comparing prices.
  • Instead of focusing on the total price of the property, look at it in terms of monthly payments as that is what will matter the most when it comes to determining if you are comfortable paying that price point. For instance, the purchase price may be higher than anticipated, but the common charges lower than comparable properties.

OTHER THINGS TO CONSIDER:

  • Use a mortgage calculator to determine your monthly payment
  • You must have enough income to also pay property taxes and homeowner’s insurance in addition to the mortgage and monthly common charges payments.
  • Consider reserving some funds to maintain the property and to pay for repairs as they arise.
  • Good credit history:a good credit history and record will increase your chances of getting approved and at a lower interest rate.

Buying Your First Condo in Manhattan? 

Contact Sabra Law Group for assistance with your real estate closing or questions regarding the purchasing and closing process (646) 472-7971. 

Manhattan Real Estate Lawyer Shares Tips for First-Time Homebuyers

You’ve spent years saving money and finally the time has come to invest your money in buying your first home. As a first time homebuyer this is an exciting time but with the excitement of buying your first property also comes the reality of taking the right steps to ensure that your transaction goes smoothly. 

If you have questions about the real estate closing process or how to best protect yourself when purchasing a property in Manhattan, it is best to consult a knowledgeable Manhattan real estate lawyer who can guide you. 

There are also some simple tips that you can follow below: 

  1. Check your credit score:It is important to check your credit score before you start the home buying process to make sure that there is no inaccurate reporting on your credit report and to also have an idea of what type of interest rate you may qualify for based on your credit score. Use the time to clear up any blemishes on your credit report, and to improve your credit score.You can obtain a free credit report once a year from each of the three credit reporting agencies – Experian, Equifax and Trans Union. The higher your score, the better your interest rate on a mortgage will be.
  2. Avoid any activity that would require a hard inquiry on your credit:Doing so may bring your credit score down, so plan on purchasing that car after your mortgage loan is approved or way ahead of time.
  3. Determine how much you can actually afford:use a home affordability calculator to determine how much home you can afford prior to searching for your dream property.  There is no point in getting your hopes up only to find out later that you cannot afford your dream property. 
  4. Save up for closing costs:You can research closing costs when the time comes, however, usually between 2%-5% of the loan amount will be the investment needed for closing costs.
  5. Intra family loans:If there is a family member who promised to help you out with your purchase financially, there are important steps you can take to ensure that any money transfers don’t create a roadblock for you as you go down the road to home ownership.
  6. Request a pre-approval letter:Requesting a pre-approval letter from a lender in advance will set you apart when the time comes to make an offer on a property you love; it gives the seller an indication that you are a serious buyer, and, in the event of a bidding war or just even to ensure that the seller takes your offer seriously it may give you an advantage.

Are you a first time homebuyer who has questions have the real estate closing process?  Contact an experienced and savvy Manhattan real estate lawyer who can protect your best interests and ensure that you are well prepared to have a smooth real estate closing. 

Contact Sabra Law Group today at (646) 472-7971 today for a confidential real estate consultation.