My neighbor is interested in buying a piece of property from my yard. What is the process to do this in New York?

A: First speak to your attorney to go over the items needed to allow you to sell a piece. Legally the process of selling a piece of property in New York can be done but it may affect your certificate of occupancy and you will need permission from your lender. You will need to contact an architect to determine the effect of giving up the piece and need to make sure that if you cut off piece you will not affect the legality of your house so you can’t sell it. Also, you will need to find out if it affects your ability to enlarge your house or put up structures in your yard like sheds or a pool. You will also want to ask the ask architect what uses the buyer can put piece to. Will it be used for a garage or pool or just yard space or will it be used to allow him to expand his house? These all affect the value to buyer and the potential cost to you of having a bigger house or pool nearer to your property.

If selling the piece does not affect your use and you are not concerned with neighbors use then contact a realtor to determine what the piece is worth. Is it a buildable lot which makes it valuable to someone other than you and your neighbors. If not what does land go for per foot in your town. Once you have this information you should discuss with your attorney about the effect of selling a piece. If you have a mortgage on your lot you would need your lender to approve the subdivision.

The attorney will also help you with a proposal to the neighbor to sell. A contract would be drawn which should have the price, the buyer’s responsibility to pay all costs including architectural, surveying, subdivision, legal recording and permit fees. If buyer is willing it would not be unreasonable to have a detailed contract executed and to ask for a contract deposit. Once the contract was completed your attorney would need to be involved with the architect and surveyor to make certain of the piece being sold and that you are left with a legal house you can resell. If you decide to put conditions on the buyers use of the piece this would need to be in writing and attached to the deed.

Selling a piece of your property can be more difficult than selling the whole thing so make sure you understand the ramifications, costs and what needs to be done before agreeing to sell.

Steven T. Decker is an experienced real estate lawyer, author and speaker.  With over 20 years of experience, Steven represents individuals and investors in the purchase of residential and commercial real property.  Steven is the author of “The Five Myths that can Ruin the Purchase of Your Home” and he is the publisher of the “New York Real Estate Law Blog”.  If you are buying or selling a home or commercial property in Staten Island, New York City or New Jersey contact Steven T. Decker, Esq. to discuss the services that he offers and how his legal representation will assist you.

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