Can I Borrow Your Sculptor?

Apartment Renovation

In the land of the bizarre (New York real estate), some phenomena unique to our market raise eyebrows for even the most jaded of real estate experts. Explaining these to potential buyers can be a challenge, so we begin here a series on these unusual issues with a brief primer on each. Can I Borrow …

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Is My Building Really Worth Less Than my Apartment?

Building financial statements have taken on a new found prominence in the age of tough bank underwriting, as institutional lenders are now scrutinizing these reports to determine whether the collateral – the apartment being financed – as opposed to the borrower, are worthy of extending a loan.  But to the non-CPAs in the crowd, these …

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Ten Rules for Successful Real Estate Deals in 2011

Having successfully closed well over a thousand real estate deals, trends develop that separate those deals that are successful, from those that fail.  And in the new reality of post-Lehman markets, the rules of the game are different – sometimes markedly so.  Looking forward to a successful 2011, I offer the following insights that might …

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The Emotional Component of Real Estate

Emotional Cost Real Estate

In 1978 Sony invented a device that enabled people to carry their music with them, and play cassettes (that’s what we called them then) without being tied to their home. The Walkman revolutionized the music industry, and paved the way to mobile music. They were first, and the innovator. Why then do I have an …

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The Bright Side of Tighter Underwriting Standards

Real Estate Transactions

When I first started practicing real estate law many years ago, I remember getting a call from a mortgage broker who was representing my client, the buyer, to give me an update on how the financing was going.   “Well,” he started, “we pulled his credit and it was around 620, and this is a …

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But You Said … !

New York Real Estate

The buyers were assured that a lovely roof deck would be theirs alone. “Private,” the web listing said. But it wasn’t until the board interview—post–contract signing, post–six-figure deposit—that they learned the truth: Only a sliver of the roof was theirs. The rest, including a section that abutted the master bedroom, was common space. It’s an …

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Pretending to Be a Coop: Confessions of a Condominium

NYC Condo

I used to study the violin when I was a teenager.  Home alone in the summer practicing it could get boring, so I would imagine walking onstage to the roar of applause as guest concert master at the Moscow Philharmonic, and having to stand and then sit again three times just to calm the ecstatic …

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A Lawyer’s Guide to Preparing For a Board Interview

Board Review

So you have gotten this far.  Congratulations.  Made it through the search for an apartment, the contract negotiations, the shockingly complex financing application with your bank, gotten reference letters from your third grade teacher and the person who sat next to you on the subway for years when you were an intern on Wall Street …

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Negotiating to Win?: Be Careful

Negotation Real Estate

I spend a good part of my day negotiating real estate transactions, contract terms and resolving disputes that arise in the course of a deal.  It’s one of the few good things that came out of the financial collapse of a few years ago:  it allowed me to dust off my negotiating skills and begin …

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Financing Issues Get Even Trickier


As though today’s real estate financing market weren’t enough of a minefield, add to the mix. New regulations issued by FNMA, and soon to be enacted similar set by Freddie Mac, require lenders planning on selling loans in the secondary market to do a pre-closing credit check on borrowers before funding the loan. What does …

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