Tagged: Staten Island real estate attorney

Important Tips for First Time Homebuyers

When purchasing a home it is important to remember a few important steps that will help you avoid making a regretable mistake – after all more than likely if you are purchasing a home, especially if you are a first time homebuyer you will want to make sure that you are happy with the home you selected and happy with the professionals that you have hired.

According to a recent article in USA Today by Stephanie Armour titled “5 Steps to Buying Your First Home – Tax Credit or No” five main steps if you are purchasing a home for the first time are as follows:

  • Get financials in order – Make sure you are able to be approved for a mortgage. Your first step should be checking your credit score.  The next step you will want to take is to get approved for a mortgage – not just a general preapproval letter. Lastly, make sure the amount of the mortgage is something you can afford.
  • Find a realtor and start looking – Do not just rely on the sellers realtor for searching for a home – the sellers realtor is exactly what it sounds like – the SELLERS realtor.  While this person may seem helpful their job is to look out for the best intrest of the seller.
  • Investigate the reputation of builders or condos – When purchasing a newly constructed house or a condo you will want to make sure you investigate the person you are buying from.  This includes checking with the Better Business Bureau and if you are purchasing a condo it means obtaining a copy of the condo associations financials.
  • Make an offer and apply for a mortgage – as soon as you make an offer on a home you are interested in get one step ahead of the game and apply for your mortgage so that the process is already started.
  • Prepare for closing – Start preparing for the closing ahead of time ask questions that will help you understand the process that you will be going through at closing and find out ahead of time what you need to do to prepare for this.  One major thing most homebuyers do not know about closing is you hae to bring certified funds to the closing which means getting a bank check or a certified check payable to the appropriate party (usually the Seller’s leinholder or the seller directly).

While these are important steps for first time homebuyers there are a few additional steps that as a New York City real estate lawyer I believe are important:

  • Have a home inspection done – This is one of the most skipped steps that first time homebuyers are not aware can change their home purchasing experience from a seemingly good one to a nightmare.  Hiring a home inspector will allow for you to get a heads up on problems the house has including expensive items such as the roof and hot water heater and many other things. A home inspection is usually only a few hundred dollars but is worth every penny.
  • Hire a reputable real estate attorney – Hiring a reputable real estate attorney is another overlooked professional that is extremely helpful to making sure the home purchasing process runs smoothly and again when compared to the costs that you could incur from not hiring a real estate attorney the cost of hiring one seems low.
  • Read up on the real estate process – Find information by professionals in the real estate field – such as lawyers, real estate agents and other real estate professionals that are experienced and reputable.  Our law firm offers a free no cost, no obligation book written by Steven T. Decker Staten Island New York real estate attorney “5 Myths that Can Ruin the Purchase of Your Home”.  This book is full of useful information.

Lower Mortgage Interest Rates: Should I Refinance or Modify my Mortgage?

If you are currently a homeowner and have a high mortgage rate that you are locked into or if you have an adjustable rate you may be interested in lowering your mortgage rate or locking into the current rate.  Recently the mortgage rates dropped down to under 5% for the first time in months.

The governments efforts to make sure new buyers and current homeowners receive low mortgage rates are not only benefiting the new buyers and homeowners seeking to purchase a new home but it is also benefiting those who are looking to modify or refinance their mortgage (although studies have shown that many people have not been choosing to modify their mortgage but rather prefer to refinance). A study which was done over the past year showed that only approximately 10,000 people modified their mortgages whereas approximately 3 million mortgages were refinanced and on average the people who refinanced their mortgages saved an average of $150 per month.

A lot of people believe that the reason mortgage modifiications are not as popular as refinancing is simply because banks have offered refinancing options to their clients for years and it is a simple process that they are used to doing.  Another reason for mortgage modifications being less popular among homeowners looking to lower their monthly payments is possibly because they are not fully aware of what modification to their mortgage is whereas, similar to the banks, they are used to the idea of refinancing.

To help you understand what mortgage modifications are and what refinancing is here is a description of both:

  • Loan Modification – The process where the terms of the mortgage is modified outside of the original terms of the mortgage agreement (contract) agreed to by the borrower and lender.  The loan may be modified to change the terms of the interest rate, loan terms, loan balances, the length of the loan or any other part of the loan agreement.
  • Loan Refinance – The process where an existing debt obligation is replaced with a new debt obligation with different terms.  You are essentially paying off an old loan with a new loan with different terms.

Refinancing or modifying your loan may be a smart thing for you to consider if you:

  • Currently have a high mortgage rate
  • Have an adjustable rate mortgage (commonly known as ARM)
  • Need extra cash
  • Want to consolidate high interst credit cards

If you would like to discuss the legal side of refinancing with a real estate attorney to make sure your best interest is being looked after contact Steven T. Decker Staten Island real estate attorney at 800.976.4904 or 718.979.4300.

Housing Tax Credit Extension Approved | It is Time to Take Advantage of the Housing Credit

It is finally official after months of protesting to the lawmakers real estate agents, builders and banks finally voiced their concern for the housing market loud enough that their concerns were taken into consideration and were granted the tax credit extension they were looking for.  The First Time Homebuyers tax credit will now be extended until mid 2010 (military members who are deployed will have a longer period of time to take advantage of the tax credit) and will not also include additional housing tax credits for current homeowners looking to sell their house and purchase a new house.

The decision to extend the tax credit to existing homeowners purchasing homes was decided becuase 60% of buyers currently own a home or have owned a home within the past 3 years whereas only 40% are first time home buyers.  Congress figures that by extending this credit to current homeowners it will boost home sales even more, by an estimated 10%, over the next few months.

If you are interested in taking advantage of the housing credit you will want to start your search for a home sometime within the next few months because you want to allow yourself enough time to find a house that you like and can see yourself living in for the next few years.  You will also want to allow enough time to get approved for a mortgage, if you plan on obtaining one, and to make sure the title is clear of all violations.

Finding the best Staten Island or Brooklyn real estate lawyer is key to making sure that your real estate transaction goes smooth and is done properly.  To contact Staten Island real estate attorney Steven T. Decker regarding your Staten Island, Queens, Brooklyn, Bronx, Manhattan or northern or central New Jersey property purchase you can either call 800.976.4904 or 718.979.4300 or you can fill out our form on the web and someone will get back to you about your purchase.

Military Members Looking to Purchase a Home Can Now Take Advantage of First-Time Homebuyers Tax Credit

If you are a military member who is looking into purchasing a home for the first time you may be curious to know if you qualify for the first time homebuyer tax credit that everyone has been talking about this year.  Many service members that purchased a home over the past year using this tax credit have quite possibly had the question run through their head “Will I have to pay back the first time homebuyers tax credit if I have to get re-stationed?” or “I just came back from a deployment – do I have enough time to purchase a house before November 30 when the tax credit deadline is?”.  Thanks to an extension and revision of the bill these questions have now been answered.

The Service Members Home Ownership Act of 2009 was presented not even a month ago for approval and last week Congress approved both the extension of the first time homebuyers tax credit for an additional year for service members who were deployed outside of the U.S. for over 90 days in 2008 and it would also allow service members to not have to pay the $8,000 credit back if they have to get re-stationed before the initial three years of owning their home.

Many military personnel who purchase homes usually either have to sell their homes or rent them out if they are getting changing locations and are no longer going to be able to live in the home.  This was causing a lot of military members to not want to purchase a home and take advantage of the first time home buyers tax credit because more than likely they would have to relocate within the first three years of owning the home and the chances that the new home could remain their primary residence is usually slim.  With the Service Members Home Ownership Act of 2009 military members no longer have to worry about these provisions in the First Time Homebuyers Credit.

Robert Dietz, the director of tax issues for the National Association of Home Builders, predicts that the approval of the Service Members Home Ownership Act of 2009 will probably result in an additional 10,000 home sales.  While he says this won’t have an impacting effect on the national level of the housing market it will have an effect on the local communities, especially the communities that are near Army, Marine, Air Force, Navy or Coast Guard bases.

No matter if you are in the military or if you are not there are certain tips you will want to use when purchasing a house whether it is in New York, New Jersey or anywhere in the U.S.  To get more information on what steps and precautions you should take when purchasing a home get a no cost, no obligation copy of “5 Myths that Can Ruin the Purchase of Your Home” by Steven T. Decker.  This book is being offered free to residents and those who are looking to become residents of New York or New Jersey.

Buying a Short Sale in New York or New Jersey

In the past couple of years foreclosures have hit a record high and short sales became more popular for homeowners trying to avoid a mortgage default going on their credit report.  Prior to short sales becoming more popular most people did not even know what a short sale is.  A short sale is when a seller can no longer afford their mortgage payments and are risking a mortgage default and the lender agrees to accept funds less than what the mortgage is worth.  Short sales can be a great thing for both the seller and the buyer but it may not be an easy road getting there.

Here is a brief description of the process of a short sale:

  1. Purchaser will want to have an engineers inspection or a home inspection done
  2. Contract of Sale must be signed by the purchaser and the seller
  3. Short sale documents requested by the lender must be submitted by the seller
  4. Lender has to approve the short sale and the price the house is being sold to the buyer for – if the bank does not agree on the price they may request that the sales price be raised or they may not approve the short sale.
  5. Purchaser, as with any other real estate transaction, must get approved for a mortgage if they do not plan on paying cash for the house.
  6. Title must be cleared of any violations and liens.
  7. Closing of title must take place at which time the deed is signed over to the purchaser.

Short sales are great for the seller because they do not have to have a foreclosure listed on their credit report; they are great for the lender because it allows them to not lose as much money on the loan as they would if the house was to be foreclosed on; and they are very attractive to the prospective purchaser because they sell for less than a regular sale would be listed for but they have to opportunity to treat the process as more of a home purchase rather than a foreclosure purchase.  Although this may sound appealing to the potential homebuyer, and may turn out to be a great and well worth experience, there are a few things that the buyer should be aware of regarding the short sale process such as the length of time it may take to get the short sale approved, the risk of putting money out for legal fees, appraisal fees, mortgage application fees and the cost of an engineers inspection report.

A recent announcement by the Treasury Department said that they are looking to approve a widened incentive program for short sales that would entice lenders to be more likely to consider the approval of a short sale instead of allowing the property to be foreclosed on.  If approved, the program, which is part of the Obama Administrations Home Affordable Modification Program, would offer $1,000 to the lender for going through with the short sale, up to $1,000 if there is a second lien holder and would offer the borrow $1,500 towards closing costs.

Here are a few things you may want to consider before purchasing a short sale in New York or New Jersey:

  • Hire an experienced real estate agent.  Hiring an experienced real estate broker for your purchase will help
  • Check public records. You can check the public records for the property to see if there was a foreclosure notice filed yet and to see how many loans the seller has open.
  • Be aware and open minded. If you decide that you are willing to take the chance associated with a short sale purchase be aware that the seller is awaiting bank approval keep and open mind to the fact that the seller may not end up getting approved for the short sale and if they do you could possibly be asked to pay an additional amount of money for the purchase price.
  • Be sure to have a home inspection done. When you are purchasing a short sale you are purchasing the home as is so it is important to have a home inspection (engineers inspection) done to determine if there are any major property defects in the home.
  • Hire a knowledgeable and experienced New Jersey or New York real estate attorney.  Hiring a knowledgeable and experienced real estate attorney is a critical asset to your home buying process, especially if you are purchasing a short sale.  Whether you are purchasing a short sale in Staten Island, Brooklyn, Manhattan, the Bronx, Queens, New York or New Jersey you will want to make sure you select a lawyer who has experience in short sales.


Staten Island & Brooklyn New York Real Estate Attorney | New Senior Housing Units for Staten Island Residents

A recent Staten Island meeting between private developers and public officials resulted in a project to bring 345 Senior housing units to Staten Island.

The project will be two fold – the first half of the project will provide assisted living for senior citizens and the second half of the project will provide for sale independant condominiums for moderate to middle income Staten Island senior citizens.

The project is scheduled to break ground in 2010.  The project will result in 213 independant living unit condominiums, 70 of which will be affordable with sales prices below market value for senior citizens with low to moderate income.

The project was started up with by the Staten Island Borough President, who provided $5 million, and the Economic Development Corporation, which provided $45 million.

If you are interested in purchasing a condominium in Staten Island contact an expert Staten Island Real Estate Attorney to assist you in your real estate transaction.  Purchasing a home or a condominium is a major life choice and requires the assistance of a real estate lawyer who is experienced, well rounded and looks out for the interests of his clients.  If you would like to speak with Steven T. Decker regarding possibly purchasing a home or a condominium call 718.979.4300.


Staten Island & Brooklyn New York Real Estate Lawyer | Staten Island Real Estate News | Builders Request for Congress to Extend First Time Homebuyer Credit Through the End of December 2010

SIREN (Staten Island Real Estate News) is reporting that the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) has decided to ask Congress to extend the $8,000 first time homebuyer tax credit for an additional year.

Joe Robinson, the Chairman of NAHB, says that if congress approves the credit extension it would result in more home sales and create more jobs for builders.

The request to extend the first time homebuyer credit through 2010is so that the recent spark in the real estate market will not die out before it fully gets started.   We need to do everything we can to make sure the real estate market does not stop improving.

The NAHB has launched a campaign to focus congressional attention on their request to have the tax credit extended.  Builders who are members of the NAHB and would like to get involved in this campaign can go to www.nahb.org/revivehousingnow.

If you are a first time homebuyer looking to buy a home in Staten Island or Brooklyn New York contact an experienced Staten Island real estate lawyer.  Contact Steven T. Decker to discuss the purchase of your new Staten Island home at 718.979.4300.

Recent Study Shows Increase in New Constucted Homes | Real Estate Lawyer in Staten Island New York

Ever since the recession started there was a major decline in newly constructed homes being built and sold.  But a recent study shows that new construction home sales rose in June and as a result construction spending rose due to builders constructing more new homes to be sold in the months to come.

Th Commerce Department said that construction spending rose by a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 0.3% in June which went against analysts original estimates which predicted a 0.5% drop in spending.

The rise in existing home and new construction sales is a ripple effect of the many resources and opporitunities that home buyers have access to such as low interest rates, affordable sales prices and the federal tax credit for first time homeowners.

Benefits to mortgage modifications

Homeowners who are struggling to pay their mortgage are now having a chance to have their mortgage modified under the new foreclosure prevention program which went into effect on March 4, 2009.   This prevention program was created to help homeowners who are considered delinquent or an at-risk mortgage.  The lenders are encouraged to offer their current borrowers a lower interest rate.  One of the provisions under this foreclosure prevention program is to make sure the interest rates being offered to borrower who is struggling to pay their mortgage does not exceed 31% of the borrowers gross monthly income.

Since President Obama put the foreclosure prevention program into effect JP Morgan Chase has reported to have issued more than 15,000 loan modifications.  Bank of America did their part by sending out letters to over 100,000 eligible borrowers letting them know of the potential opportunity to do a mortgage modification.

If you would like to discuss having a mortgage modification done or regarding any other real estate matter you can contact Steven Decker, Staten Island real estate attorney.