Booming New York Luxury Property Sales Emphasize Need for Due Diligence

Manhattan is experiencing an unprecedented boom in ultra luxury real estate sales. City Realty reports that nearly 50 condominium buildings have units priced over $15 million each, and 20 more such apartment complexes are currently under construction.

New York is attracting the wealthiest purchasers in the world - luring them away from properties in London and Hong Kong - and developers are selling units faster than they can build them. The New York Times recently mentioned that a real estate contract is already in place for a $95 million penthouse on the top floor of an 84-story building currently under construction on Park Avenue.

Buying a property in New York

A purchase of real estate - at any price - requires due diligence on the part of the buyer. Whether the purchaser is an individual buying his or her residential condo or a business owner buying a commercial property, a real estate attorney can help avoid potential pitfalls. Any type of purchase may include such issues as the following:

  • Encroachments or easements.
  • Unpaid or prorated property taxes.
  • Confusing purchase contract provisions.
  • Undeclared charges or fees.
  • Insufficient legal descriptions or unclear titles.

Financing your purchase can raise important issues as well. Before commencing your search for the right property, meet with a lender to determine how much you are qualified to borrow. Then, more importantly, decide how much you are willing to spend based on your personal financial situation.

Scrutinize proposed closing statements to ascertain any additional expenses that you may incur. Lenders often charge numerous fees for various services and you are often responsible for prepaid items such as maintenance fees, leasehold costs or taxes.

Commercial property purchases raise additional issues that residential homes do not. For example, zoning provisions may not allow the type of business you intend to conduct on a particular piece of property. Obtain documentation regarding fixtures, improvements, subleases or anything else that may affect your use or resale of the property.

A lawyer can help

When it comes time to finalize the purchase agreement, remember that you are signing a legally binding contract. If you have questions about what the documentation states, check with a real estate professional before you sign. It is important not to rely on oral promises or agreements; typically, only the written word will hold up in court if a dispute arises.

Seek the counsel of an experienced New York real estate lawyer at all stages of your property purchase. An attorney knowledgeable about acquisitions and sales in New York can help you avoid potential pitfalls, possibly saving you a lot of money in the end.