An Experienced Long Island Real Estate Attorney Answers the Most Frequently Asked Questions

Serving Families Throughout Melville

Are you considering buying or selling real estate on Long Island, Manhattan, Queens or the Bronx? Like most New Yorkers, you probably have multiple questions and concerns about such a significant transaction. For many, their home is their most valuable asset, but real estate transactions involve risk for sellers and buyers.

With decades of experience in New York real estate law, our real estate attorneys have encountered various scenarios as we helped our clients navigate the process. From title searches to contract reviews, we offer legal representation that ensures the successful completion of complex transactions according to New York laws.

In this blog, an experienced Long Island real estate attorney answers clients' most common questions during a consultation. At Schneider, Garrastegui & Fedele PLLC, we represent buyers and sellers. We help our clients avoid the risk of making a mistake or agreeing to something that can have adverse consequences for their financial or property interests. To schedule a consultation with a Long Island real estate attorney, call us at (631) 519-9831.

Frequently Asked Questions About Buying a Home in New York

Buying a home is a huge milestone. Real estate agents help you locate your ideal home within your budget; a real estate lawyer protects your legal interests. Below are the most frequently asked questions about the legalities of buying a home in New York.

How Much Does it Cost to Buy a Home in New York?

The cost of buying a home in New York varies on the location, size, and type of home you seek. Generally, you can expect to pay anywhere from $500,000 to over one million for a home in New York City. However, there are many affordable neighborhoods outside the city where you can find homes for under $500,000.

How Much Does it Cost to Live in New York?

As the pulsating heart of the world, New York City and its boroughs feature a melting pot of diverse ethnicities, exceptional educational institutions, cutting-edge career opportunities, and cultural enrichment. No wonder New York and its surrounding areas attract people from all walks of life. However, the New York lifestyle comes with a hefty price tag, with the cost of living 31% higher than in Los Angeles and 23% higher than in Boston.

How much will it /does it cost to live in New York? The answer depends on your lifestyle and the borough in which you live, although the cost of living in New York City tends to be higher than the national average, primarily because of housing costs.

  • Mortgage: a family of four can expect to spend anywhere from $2,500 to $4,000 monthly on a mortgage payment, depending on where they live and the type of house they purchase, excluding utilities and other incidentals.
  • Transportation: costs vary depending on how much public transport you use and whether or not you own a car. The Annual Transit Card costs $127 per month, and monthly parking in Manhattan can cost upwards of $570.
  • Infant and Child Care: according to the Economic Policy Institute, the annual infant and child care cost in New York is around $15,394.
  • Food: the amount of money you spend on food varies, depending on how often you eat out and whether you cook at home or order takeout. A family of four can expect to spend an average of $11,180 per year on groceries, the fifth-highest amount among the U.S. states. However, in New York, the typical family earns $87,270 per year, compared to the national average of $80,069. While food costs in New York are higher, so are salaries.
  • Entertainment: entertainment costs will differ depending on your family's interests. The average movie ticket in New York City cost $11.75 in 2022, and the average price of a Broadway show was $132 per ticket in the same year.

Finally, miscellaneous costs such as clothes, laundry, and internet service will add $500 to $1,000 per month to your budget. In New York, you can expect to pay more for housing, transportation, and food than in other parts of the country.

What Are the Property Taxes Like in New York?

There are intriguing contrasts in New York's property taxes, where the iconic metropolis of New York City offers a surprisingly low tax rate of 0.98%, compared to the state’s higher average of 1.62%. In Suffolk County, for example, which has a 2.420% average county tax rate, you would pay $12,100 in annual property taxes for a home valued at $500,000.

The state's average effective property tax rate is 1.84%, meaning you would pay an average of $1,840 in property taxes on a home worth $100,000. However, if applicable, you can reduce your property tax bill by taking advantage of Star exemptions, senior citizen discounts, and Veterans discount.

What is Title Insurance and Who Pays for Title Insurance in New York?

Title insurance protects a home buyer from “issues” with a property that could arise from other parties claiming rightful ownership of your home. If you don’t have title insurance and their claim is valid, they could remove you from your home, and the only recourse is to go after the seller for damages.

Other title insurance claims can involve unpaid taxes or work done by contractors for the previous homeowner. A title insurance policy will reimburse the home buyer for any losses incurred up to the policy's limit. Because title insurance benefits the homeowner, the homeowner is generally the party that pays for title insurance in New York.

Who Pays Closing Costs in New York?

Closing costs are critical to New York real estate transactions for buyers and sellers. Navigating this intricate process can be daunting, but understanding who is responsible for these costs can alleviate some pressure. The buyer often shoulders the burden of expenses such as mortgage recording tax, title insurance, attorney fees, and appraisal fees. On the other hand, the seller takes care of the transfer tax, broker commission, and attorney fees. However, the allocation of these costs can also be subject to negotiations, leading to a customized agreement that suits the unique circumstances of the transaction. Gaining clarity on the division of closing costs in advance helps ensure a smooth and successful deal, fostering a positive experience for all parties involved.

Is Title Insurance Mandatory in New York?

The short answer is no. New York does not require homebuyers to acquire title insurance. However, given the relatively low cost of title insurance and the financial ramifications that can occur if your home has an issue that title insurance would have covered, we recommend title insurance to every home buyer. Furthermore, most, if not all financial institutions will require Title Insurance in order for them to issue a loan to a homeowner.

Frequently Asked Questions About Selling a Home in New York

Selling a home in New York can also present challenges. Below are the most frequently asked questions we receive from sellers.

What Is the Process of Selling a Home in New York?

The process of selling a home in New York is relatively simple. First, find a real estate agent familiar with the area in which you live. Once you enlist an agent, they will help you determine your home's fair market value. After you price your home, your agent will list it on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and begin marketing it to potential buyers. When a buyer makes an offer on your home, your agent will help you negotiate the sale terms and complete the necessary paperwork.

How Long Does it Take to Sell A Home in New York?

The amount of time it takes to sell a home in New York varies due to numerous factors, including the location of your home, the current state of the housing market, and your asking price. However, selling a home in New York usually takes two to six months.

How Much Does It Cost to Sell a Home in New York?

The cost of selling a home in New York also depends on several factors, such as the commission rate your real estate agent charges and the closing costs associated with the sale. Real estate agents and brokers will collect a commission on the sale of your home. In New York, the percentage ranges from 4 percent to 6 percent. Generally, expect to pay between five and ten percent of the sale price of your home in commissions, closing costs, home inspections, appraisals, and attorneys’ fees.

Do I Have to Hire a NY Real Estate Lawyer?

Although few states require legal representation, New York is an exception. New York mandates that a NY real estate lawyer prepares real estate contracts and provides representation at the closing.

Can I Sell a House in “As-Is” Condition?

With home prices skyrocketing nationwide, some homeowners want to make cash as soon as possible without investing in repairs or upgrades. An “as-is” property is a home offered in whatever its current condition, including flaws and damage. However, most home sales require the plumbing, heating and electrical systems to be in working order as of closing, along witht he roof being free of leaks.

While a seller can list a property as-is, you will likely get a lower price. Further, you cannot intentionally hide flaws or damage from the buyer.

What Does a Long Island Real Estate Attorney Do for Home Buyers and Sellers?

A NY real estate lawyer will handle the legal details of a real estate transaction and provide legal advice to their clients.

Typical duties include:

  • Preparing or Reviewing the contract (including any riders, which are documents with additional details)
  • Negotiate with the other party’s attorney
  • Review the title report
  • Manage communication with other attorneys, the title company, and the bank attorney
  • Resolve relevant issues before closing, including liens or violations
  • Prepare necessary paperwork and legal documents for closing, including the deed
  • Represent clients at closing
  • Consult and help with refinancing

More Questions? Ask a Real Estate Lawyer in Long Island, New York

The attorneys at Schneider, Garrastegui & Fedele PLLC are experienced in real estate law and can answer any questions about buying or selling your home. To schedule a consultation, call us at (631) 519-9831 or complete our online form.

Copyright © 2023. SCHNEIDER, GARRASTEGUI & FEDELE PLLC. All rights reserved.

The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting based on any information included in or accessible through this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country, or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.

135 Pinelawn Rd #250s
Melville, NY 11747
(631) 519-9831

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