Residential Construction May End in Staten Island Neighborhoods

There are many neighborhoods throughout Staten Island that are especially prone to flooding, many of which saw devastation during Hurricane Sandy a few years ago. Over 300 homes that were in these neighborhoods were bought out from owners by the state to be torn down. Some of the neighborhoods where homes were torn down include Ocean Breeze, Oakwood, and Graham Beach.

The purpose of tearing down these homes and not rebuilding them is to allow the flood zones to restore themselves naturally. If new homes are built in these neighborhoods, the builders will have to follow a set of rules determined by the Department of City Planning. Some of the rules include that the homes can only be single family residences and that the builder needs to obtain a permit through the City Planning Commission. However, the commission is generally opposed to building any new homes in the area so it may be difficult to build a home.

The goal is to allow these sensitive areas to restore themselves through nature as well as keep city residents in locations that are safer in the event of a major storm that may cause similar devastation to Hurricane Sandy.

If you have questions about buying or selling a home in Staten Island or anywhere in New York City, contact an experienced real estate attorney today who can provide you with assistance.

If you require experienced legal representation for any of your residential and commercial real estate, bankruptcy, or family law matters, contact the Mark Scollar Law Office today to schedule a consultation.

What are some of the benefits of owning a home?

Making the transition from being a renter to being a homeowner is a very exciting time but it is also a really big decision for someone to make. Even though purchasing a home can be costly, it may be one of the best investments you can make.

Arguably one of the biggest perks of being a homeowner is the freedom that comes with it. You can do whatever you want with your house, knock down any walls that you want, paint the walls whichever color you want, and make any renovations you want. You have full reign because it is your home.

Another benefit of owning a home is that while rent rates can change, your mortgage payments likely will not. Additionally, when you put money into your home, it is going to make the investment more worthwhile and may actually increase the value of your home.

Aside from the monetary benefits of buying a home, there are also a lot of benefits that yourself and your family can achieve from owning a home. You will be able to truly be apart of the community in which you buy your home. A home is a place you build your life around, raise your family, and will make a lifetime of memories.

If you have questions about purchasing a home, it is important that you consult with an experienced real estate attorney who can provide you with assistance.

If you require experienced legal representation for any of your residential and commercial real estate, bankruptcy, or family law matters, contact the Mark Scollar Law Office today to schedule a consultation.

How do I know if I am ready to buy a home?

Many Americans choose to rent a home for many years before they buy one. There are a lot of different reasons why some people choose to rent a home instead of buy one, most of which are related to cost. Many people automatically assume that they will not be able to afford a home while others think they can afford a home when in reality they can’t. Determining whether you are ready to buy a home not only depends on your financial situation but also whether you truly believe that you are ready to commit to being a homeowner. Remember, owning a home means you are responsible for yard work, around the house maintenance, and other duties that you may not have had when you were a renter.

It is important that before you buy, you determine how the cost of renting compares with the cost of buying. You should also consider some of the unexpected costs of homeownership that you may not have thought about. For example, if you are currently renting a 1,000 square apartment but upgrade to a 2,500 square foot home, you will need to buy enough furniture to fill all of the rooms in that home.

In addition, if you choose to purchase a home that is in a community with a Home Owner’s Association, you will have to pay that fee as well. If you purchase an older home, you may need to do some updates that may become costly.

Your mortgage broker will only approve a home loan if they truly believe you can afford the home after conducting an assessment of your finances. If you need legal assistance when purchasing a home, contact our firm today.

If you require experienced legal representation for any of your residential and commercial real estate, bankruptcy, or family law matters, contact the Mark Scollar Law Office today to schedule a consultation.

How does the Fair Housing Act protect me from discrimination?

The United States has many laws that protect individuals from being discriminated against in situations such as obtaining a job, practicing religion, who you choose to marry, and even where you live. The Fair Housing Act exists to ensure that no one is discriminated against based upon their disability, religion, race, color, sex, or whether they have children. There are a number of acts that are prohibited under the Fair Housing Act.

Anyone selling or renting a home is not permitted to use the previously mentioned excuses as a basis for discrimination on matters of:

  • refusing to sell or rent a home to you
  • refuse to give you a mortgage
  • convince homeowners to sell their house (blockbusting)
  • claim that housing is unavailable or purposely make housing unavailable
  • refuse to negotiate with you about cost or accommodations for a disability
  • impose different terms that others don’t have

If you have a disability, there are other factors you are protected from. For example, if you need to make reasonable changes to your home (such as the installation of a wheelchair ramp, etc.) your landlord must allow you to do so. All buildings built after March 1991 must be wheelchair accessible.

It is important that you are aware of your rights under the Fair Housing Act and if you believe you are being discriminated against, you should speak with an attorney.

If you require experienced legal representation for any of your residential and commercial real estate, bankruptcy, or family law matters, contact the Mark Scollar Law Office today to schedule a consultation.

When should I consider downsizing my house?

When parents have children, they may move from a starter home to a home that has a little more room for your growing family. When those kids grow up and go to college, they may move out of the house to start their own lives and the parents are left with a big, empty house. The parents may be nearing retirement age and no longer need a four bedroom house, which may just be costing the money at this point.

Making the decision to downsize can be tough. The seller may have a hard time letting go of the home they raised their children in. Another factor to downsizing is that now you have too many belongings for the size of your smaller home. Some may see this as a great way to get a fresh start. Maybe they will take this as an opportunity to move out of the concrete jungle to somewhere warmer with a slower pace of life. There are a lot of options and of course, it depends on everyone’s situation.

Here are a few signs that you might want to consider downsizing your home:

  • Empty nesters
  • Rising property taxes
  • A home that is just too big for its residents
  • Retirement

If you are considering selling your home, contact an experienced real estate agent and real estate attorney who can help you through the process.

If you require experienced legal representation for any of your residential and commercial real estate, bankruptcy, or family law matters, contact the Mark Scollar Law Office today to schedule a consultation.

Will I really save money if I sell my home without an agent?

Some people wonder whether or not it is worth it to actually hire a real estate agent when it comes time to sell their home. Listing your home as “for sale by owner” does have its pros and cons, and it is important to make sure you do your research before you commit to this decision. One good thing about listing your home for sale by owner is that if you feel it isn’t working out, you can always go back and choose to hire a real estate agent to help you.

However, if you do stick with selling your home without the assistance of an agent, you absolutely should consult with a real estate attorney to make sure all of your legal bases are covered. You have nothing to lose by neglecting to hire a real estate agent but if you are looking to sell your home in a hurry, you may not want to take this on yourself. Sure, you will save the commission fees if you don’t hire a real estate agent but you may run into other financial issues. If you need to move to your new home before you have found a seller for your old home, you may end up paying a lot more than you anticipated.

If you are thinking about selling your home without a real estate agent, you should give it a try for a couple of weeks and if there is no movement, it may be time to consider an agent.

If you require experienced legal representation for any of your residential and commercial real estate, bankruptcy, or family law matters, contact the Mark Scollar Law Office today to schedule a consultation.

What should I know about a real estate contract?

Whenever a person is involved in a real estate transaction, whether they are buying or selling their home, they will have to sign a contract. There are a number of different factors that are involved in a contract. It is important that you have an experienced real estate attorney that can review your contract to make sure all of the verbally agreed upon factors are in the contract as discussed.

Some of the things that are included in a real estate contract include terms regarding the purchase or sale of the home. Within that includes the purchase price of the home, the mortgage rates, interest rates, etc. There are certain other factors that may need to be included in the contract, including whether the buyer is using a VA or FHA loan. In addition to these costs, it is important that you include an agreement about the closing costs, which generally include fees for escrow, title search, title insurance, notary, and anything else. The buyer and seller can negotiate who will pay for which costs. In some cases, closing costs may include the cost of repairs that the home may need.

The contract may also include information regarding the home inspection as well as the date in which the official closing date of the home will be.

If you need an experienced real estate attorney to look at your contract, contact our firm today.

If you require experienced legal representation for any of your residential and commercial real estate, bankruptcy, or family law matters, contact the Mark Scollar Law Office today to schedule a consultation.

Things to know about buying in a Homeowner’s Association

One thing that a lot of people take into consideration when they are buying a home is the quality of the neighborhood where the home is being purchased. In some communities, many times they are gated, there may be a homeowner’s association in place that creates rules and regulations about what can take place in the neighborhood. In order to purchase a home in one of these neighborhoods, you will likely be obligated to agree to the terms and conditions of the homeowner’s association. This means that you will have to pay the fees associated with the homeowner’s association. Many times, these fees will range from about $200 to $400 each month depending on the neighborhood.

When you move into a community with a homeowner’s association, you will have to abide by the rules that the HOA has put in place. Sometimes this means regulations on what colors you can paint your house, that you need to keep your lawn in good condition, among other things. Some people feel as though the rules and restrictions imposed by a homeowner’s association are a burden, so if these rules are not something you want to worry about, buying in this neighborhood may not be for you.

If you have questions about what you can expect when thinking about buying in a community with a homeowner’s association, consult with an experienced real estate professional who can assist you.

If you require experienced legal representation for any of your residential and commercial real estate, bankruptcy, or family law matters, contact the Mark Scollar Law Office today to schedule a consultation.

What needs to be included when preparing an offer?

The home buying process can be very complex and it is important that you have an experienced attorney to guide you through. When it comes time to put an offer in on a house, there are a number of factors that must be taken into consideration. Though the home is listed for one price, you don’t necessarily have to make an offer for the full asking price of the home. It is important to take in a few factors when determining what your offer will be. If there are other people also interested in buying the house, you may want to put in an offer for full asking price. If not, there may be room to negotiate a lower cost.

If the home has been on the market for a while, you may also be able to put in a lower offer. Keep in mind, the seller can always come back and request another sale price. Sellers may be more interested in those who can put down a larger down payment. You may also want to consider how you will handle closing costs and whether they will be factored into the total amount of your offer.

You will also be required to include a pre-approval letter and a cover letter that shows you are completely prepared to purchase and close on the house.

If you need the assistance of an experienced real estate attorney to guide you through the legal aspects home buying process, contact the Mark Scollar Law Office.

If you require experienced legal representation for any of your residential and commercial real estate, bankruptcy, or family law matters, contact the Mark Scollar Law Office today to schedule a consultation.

How do neighborhoods impact the value of a home?

By now, you’ve likely heard the phrase “location, location, location,” a million times. There’s a reason that phrase exists. The location of any property is key to determining the value of a home. Example number one: a 1,500 square foot home with 3 bedrooms in Staten Island and a 4,000 square foot new construction home with 5 bedrooms in Alabama might both be valued at about $585,000. This is because property values in New York City are some of the highest in the nation simply because you are located in New York City.

The same goes for homes that are located in other desirable areas, such as in walking distance from a beach. According to the National Association of Realtors, property located within 1 mile of a Walmart may result in a 1-2% increase in a home’s value and property located within 2.5 miles of a professional sports stadium can increase it over $2,000. They also found that a home located near a park or a golf course can increase the value of the property up to 20 percent.

That being said, the New York Metropolitan Area sees some of the highest property values in the country. The New York Metro is also home to some of the highest property taxes in the area, with Westchester and Rockland Counties ranking first and second in the entire United States. Bergen and Essex Counties in New Jersey, also in the NY Metropolitan Area, are third and fourth on the list, with Nassau County following at number five.

Of course, each neighborhood has its own perks, which your realtor will discuss when you are looking to sell your home or purchase a new one. If you think a home is way overpriced, just think again about where you are looking.

If you require experienced legal representation for any of your residential and commercial real estate, bankruptcy, or family law matters, contact the Mark Scollar Law Office today to schedule a consultation.