Tag Archives: realestate

Wills,Estates and trusts part 2

This is the continuation of my interview with James Striar, a real estate attorney that specializes in wills, estates and trusts.

Brian: What things do you usually see that might be left out of a will or do you ever see any cases where a will was maybe prepared by someone other than yourself, that doesn’t specialize in this area of practice, and maybe leads to issues later?
James: A couple of things, one is that somebody may forget to name a specific bank account if they wanted to go to one particular person and obviously that account doesn’t already have a designated beneficiary on it. Probably the wills that I see that haven’t been necessarily prepared by an attorney are the online wills. It could be legal zoom, a variety of different online platforms that are fairly generic. They definitely fit for certain situations where it’s a very basic will but sometimes they can lead to more issues or possibility of a will contest if they haven’t been comprehensibly completed. Also, the execution of the will under New York state law, the will has to be witnessed by two people. There’s a very specific protocol that has to be met in order for the will to be probatable in Surrogate’s Court after the person passes away.

Brian: Interesting. Just as an aside, how often do you see people that come to you and they’re coming to probate an estate and there was no will.

James: I see that a lot. It’s probably more often that there is not a will than there is a will. In New York state if there is a will, you go through the process which is called probate. If there is no will then the person is deemed to have passed away intestate and you go through a very similar process but it’s called administration. In that case, one family member, and there’s a sort of priority. It goes, the assets will pass to the spouse. If there’s children and a spouse it goes 50 percent to the spouse, 50% to the children. If there’s no spouse and no children it goes to the parents. If no parents then it goes to the siblings. If there’s siblings, or nieces and nephews of predeceased siblings, so there’s a whole family tree priority that you have to go through. In different situations, you have to get what’s
called jurisdiction over all of the interested parties who may be participating in the estate. I’ve had estates where there’s no will so we go to administration and there’s 28 cousins. We have to get jurisdiction, meaning, serve all 28 people with what’s called a court citation to even begin the process of administering the estate just to get somebody appointed. That could become quite a lengthy proceeding. Sometimes you have family that’s overseas, international, so you have to then get jurisdiction over them. In an ideal world, having a will that lays out who you want your assets to go to, how you want them to go, and who’s gonna be the person that you’re appointing in charge of the estate would be the ideal situation.

Brian Silvestry is a licensed real estate broker working in NYC since 1999. You can find him on all social media channels.

NYC Real Estate Market predictions post pandemic Part 2

Picking up on the market conversation and likely scenarios that we will see in the real estate market once the economy opens up…

I do not think that we will see the same thing in the same respect
as we saw during the financial crisis. Right now, I am seeing people that are
contacting me, investors who are contacting me, and asking about property that’s for sale. There are buyers who have purchased already from me and they are looking for property for friends. We are able to go out there and some of these people are out there actually already looking at property in the sense of virtually, so to speak.As a matter of fact, the other day, we even had an offer on a property.

Closings for properties that were already in the pipeline from before the pandemic are continuing. We have virtual closings. I had a property that we were in contract or setting up the closing. The attorney mailed the documents to the seller. He sat in his car, in the driveway of the seller’s house, and waited for them to sign it. Then retrieved it from the mailbox probably with gloves and mask and everything. Then they got those documents brought over to the buyer’s attorney. The buyer’s attorney or their assistant met in a separate room with the buyer. That’s how (one of the ways) the closings are happening these days.

What can we see or what can we reasonably expect going forward in the real estate market, as the economy starts to re-open in different phases? I think that just like everyone else, its going slowly start to happen that the market starts to open. Real estate is phase 2 of the re-opening of the economy. I think that over the next few months or year, the only people really that are gonna be selling property are people that really, really want to sell. I think that a lot of people will just decide to wait it out and not sell because the property values will be going down at least some percentage over the next few weeks, the next year or so. I can definitely see a buyer’s market assuming no second wave of the pandemic. Assuming the stock market doesn’t crash and break though thresholds the buyer market might be limited in duration to 12-24 months.

Definitely, opportunities will be there for people that have been sitting on the sidelines waiting with cash. I don’t think it’s going to be the same type of situation that we were dealing with at the time of the financial crisis. I think that we’ll see buyers be able to take advantage of some depreciation.

However, the X factor that could really fuel depreciation is fear and a destructive 2nd wave. If sellers flee the city, liquidating their properties because of the lack of restaurants, and fear of getting sick, this can hit harder than the financial crisis. Working against this force is very low interest rates and condos can be rented out so do not have to be sold. Co-ops normally choose people that are even more financially secure and these parties may be insulated more to an economic downturn.

NYC Real Estate Market predictions post pandemic Part 1 of 2

Being that I am a real estate broker for the last 21 years working mostly in Manhattan and all over pretty much New York City, I am in unique position to comment on what we can expect potentially coming up as the economy opens up.

I have been through many ups and downs throughout the real estate market including 2001,the financial crisis, and now of course we are all going through this. I thought it would be interesting to give you some observations from my perspective, of someone that’s dealing with this on a day to day basis. For the last 16 years, I have handled foreclosed properties for banks. Just prior to the financial crisis hit, I was evaluating a lot of properties for them. I saw the evaluations I was doing ramp up and then all of a sudden, the financial crisis hit and we got a lot of foreclosures in the market. So, I found myself, as well, selling a lot of those properties.
When the pandemic was really hitting its height in early April, Real estate, a lot of people may not realize, was declared essential services. We were only allowed to work from home though and do virtual showings. So pretty much the same thing that a lot of other people are doing – working from home and doing our job as best as we can from there.

I am allowed to, as of now virtually show property. I can go there if it’s an empty property and I can do a face time with a potential buyer or client. We can do virtual tours or videos and of course through zoom meeting. Like many other people, we’re not allowed to do a face to face. We’re not sitting down and meeting with clients in person and we are not going physically to a property with a client.

What’s interesting about that is that the real estate industry usually lags behind most advanced technology but all of a sudden, we have virtual tours on practically all properties. All of a sudden, we have videos on most properties. You have that available now so a lot of positive innovations have come out of it.
Once the financial crisis hit, we found ourselves with a lot of foreclosures. The market did take a step back and we saw longer times on the market if we talk about prime neighborhoods in Manhattan. We saw depreciation.

To be continued in next Part 2 (next blog post)

How making a low offer can backfire on a Manhattan property

Not that long ago, I showed an apartment on the Upper West side and the asking price was $1,975,000. The buyer asked me after seeing it what I thought of the price. I thought the price was right at the market price. They were asking pretty much exactly what the price per square foot in the building was for similar apartments. She decided to make a low offer starting at $1,800,000. Surprisingly, after a bit of back and forth, the seller negotiated the price down to $1,890,000 and accepted her offer. At that point, my buyer was very excited. But then hours after accepting our offer, the seller’s agent called to tell us that there was a full price offer now and they would be moving on to the new buyer. At which point, my client who was purchasing cash also offered the asking price. But the other party went higher. So we went higher. Thankfully in the end my client did get the apartment but she had to pay over ask and considerably more than the originally, agreed upon offer.

I think the lesson here is that you have to really understand the value of the property that you are offering. Even though it’s a buyer’s market, certain segments are still in demand and sell quickly if priced right. Also, the deal is never done until the seller signs the contract. For many reasons, starting too low may leave the door open for another buyer.

The Author-  Brian Silvestry , a licensed real estate broker, has been selling residential and commercial real estate since 1999. He has sold in every Manhattan market from Battery Park City to Washington Heights.

Jennifer Lopez and ARod have an apt on Upper west side

According to Architectural Digest, Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez have been renting an upper west side apartment in 15 Central Park west, the limestone condo near Lincoln Center on Manhattan’s upper west side. Apparently, the lease will be up and the apartment,  will be for rent for $11,500 come September 1.  The apartment is 1,079 sqft with a 111 sqft private terrace.

The Author-  Brian Silvestry , a licensed real estate broker, has been selling residential and commercial real estate since 1999. He has sold in every neighborhood from Battery Park City to Washington Heights.

What type of Manhattan apartment is the best investment in the current market?

This is the 2nd in a series of articles for buyers who are considering buying a Manhattan apartment as an investment. 

According to the latest data, Manhattan apartments with the least price vulnerability continue to be affordable luxury. Depending on what market segment and neighborhood you look in, the price range is different. On the Upper west side, where I live, that would amount to $3 million and below. In the townhouse market on the Upper West side, it’s roughly $6 million and below where sales still occur. Above $10 million is a different story. In Harlem, affordable luxury is probably closer to $1.5 million and down for apartments and about $2.3 million and below for townhouses.

Mansion Global takes a look at the Manhattan market as a whole and asserts that the affordable luxury market makes up a large portion of Manhattan apartments. Year by year, property at $5mm and below accounts for more than 90% of the sales. The eight figure deals are the outliers but tend to get the headlines. One interesting point that they bring up is that larger apartments change hands less frequently so are more difficult to price, remain on the market longer, and eventually discount their prices more.

More from Mansion Global

The Author-  Brian Silvestry , a licensed real estate broker, has been selling residential and commercial real estate since 1999. He has sold in every neighborhood from Battery Park City to Washington Heights.


How to pick a real estate attorney

Let’s assume you are doing a residential purchase or sale and need a Manhattan real estate attorney to represent you. How do you find one and what should your criteria be? Let’s take a simplified look at what they do first to assist the process.

On a purchase, your attorney will review the proposed contract and examine the financial information of the co-op or condo building which might entail going to the building to read the minutes of the Board meetings. If there is some project coming up or a noisy neighbor that is wrecking havoc,  it might show up in these minutes.  Your attorney will meet you to sign the contract and fedex/messenger the contract and deposit check to the seller side. After that, assuming it’s not a complicated transaction that will be about it until you go to closing and then he will reconcile the numbers at the closing table and provide you with a closing statement.

On a sale of a Manhattan co-op/condo, the attorney or assistant will prepare the NYS contracts, then will negotiate any changes proposed by the buyer side. You will meet your attorney once the buyer signs and counter sign the contract. If there are issues with the mortgage or closing, the attorney will intercede and if not your attorney will attend the closing and reconcile the numbers with the other side.

Attorneys charge generally as low as $2000 for this transaction and generally an average fee is closer to $3000 or more.

The easiest way to find a good real estate attorney is to ask a friend, family member or your real estate broker for the name of someone that they have used and had a good experience.

You want to make sure that any attorney you use specializes in real estate so that you have a true expert on your side. Sometimes your family attorney also “does” real estate transactions but if there is an issue along the way, experience in doing many transactions may be an asset that you are happy that they have or may hurt you if they do not. So choose someone with experience.

Find out if there is an assistant or someone that you can speak to in case you need a quick question answered. If your attorney spends all day in court and is unreachable by phone/email, it may add stress unnecessarily to the process. Most attorneys will have staff and in some cases they will be able to answer your questions.

Lastly, while you might be recommended to a big name law firm, ask who will be the one handling your transaction. A big name firm that delegates you to a junior attorney or paralegal may not be the wisest choice. Much in the same way, a big name real estate brokerage that passes you off to the 3rd assistant may also leave you feeling that you are not receiving the service you expect.

So while the description I have given of what an attorney is very simple, it is not easy and you never what bumps you will hit on the way so it’s always best to have an expert on your side. To find the right person may take a little bit of research.

The Author-  Brian Silvestry , a licensed real estate broker, has been selling residential and commercial real estate since 1999. He has sold in every Manhattan market from Battery Park City to Washington Heights.

How long does it take to go from contract to closing for a Manhattan property

Once you have an accepted offer, the contract review process begins. In an ideal world, this will take about a week but can often take longer, as the lawyers haggle over details of the contract like as is versus working condition or closing dates or what happens if there is a title issue…Once the contract is signed by the buyer and the deposit (normally 10% of the purchase price) is sent to the seller’s attorney, the seller can sign the contract.

At that point, the buyer will give their documents to their lender for their loan application. Within about a month, the buyer will have a loan commitment and from there the bank can be ready in about another month or so to close the transaction.

If this is a condo or co-op in Manhattan, there will be Board application to be submitted and reviewed first by management and then the Board. In the case of a condo, they grant a waiver of the right of first refusal which is the Building’s right to buy an apartment if they so choose. If it’s a co-op then they will review the application and first decide to interview or not, then interview and give an approval or rejection. This can add another 1-2 months total to the process.

Lastly, the lawyers will set the scheduled date for closing when all parties are available. From contract to closing, can average about 3 months, less if a cash transaction and more in the case of co-op.

The Author-  Brian Silvestry , a licensed real estate broker, has been selling residential and commercial real estate since 1999. He has sold in every neighborhood from Battery Park City to Washington Heights.

Thinking of moving- Common moving mistakes to avoid

If you are in the process of moving from or to your Manhattan property,  there are many common mistakes to avoid. One of the most common ones is to take everything and sort it out later. If you are downsizing, take the time to sort through everything prior to packing and throw away what you do not need so as not to move unnecessary items.

I think it’s important also to decide what service level you need. Some clients want to have everything packed and unpacked for them and others want to do a DIY move. Take it from someone who once moved himself with two friends about 15 years ago, it was the most difficult work I have ever completed in my life. Also many fragile items did not survive the move. So think twice about that.

More common moving mistakes

The Author-  Brian Silvestry , a licensed real estate broker, has been selling residential and commercial real estate since 1999. He has sold in every Manhattan market from Battery Park City to Washington Heights.