Real Estate Law Spotlight NYC
Mr. Wang is a Chinese citizen that wants to buy an apartment in New York City for a budget of $2 mil because he will be traveling often from China to New York. He contacted Law Offices of Corey T. Lee to ask if we can help him. Our firm connected Mr. Wang to a well known real estate broker with many listings. Mr. Wang hired the broker and they set up a whole week to look at apartments in New York City for Mr. Wang’s next trip from China. After looking at over a dozen apartments, Mr. Wang decided to buy an condo apartment in Manhattan near Central Park. He also liked another apartment but did not like that it was a co-op apartment. Mr. Wang did not like the co-op apartment because a co-op building is set up like a corporation with many more restrictions than a condo. He would own shares in the corporation. The co-op board had the power to vote on everything from who can sublet the apartment to what kind of renovations can be done to the apartment to even whether Mr. Wang is allowed to purchase the apartment. Mr. Wang liked the condo apartment because he as the owner would be allowed to make all those decisions without a board needing to approve. Mr. Wang negotiated with the seller and they agreed on a price.
Once the price has been confirmed Mr. Wang hired Law Offices of Corey T. Lee to be his lawyer to close the transaction. Mr. Wang’s broker sent over a deal sheet with all the information of the deal including the names of the sellers broker and the sellers attorney. Our office sent an email to the sellers attorney asking them to send over the contract of sale. We also scheduled a professional inspector to go to the apartment and inspect the apartment for any major problems. After the sellers attorney emailed our office the contract of sale, we reviewed the terms with Mr. Wang. Based on Mr. Wang’s desire, we 1) lengthened the time that Mr. Wang could obtain a loan (because it’s harder to get a loan as a foreign person with no credit): 2) placed a clause that Mr. Wang could buy the apartment under a corporation if he wanted; 3) removed a clause that Mr. Wang needed to buy the apartment “as is” so he could get credit from the seller if Mr. Wang later found anything wrong with the apartment; and 4) removed several clauses that threatened Mr. Wang getting his down payment back of the deal did not go through.
Mr. Wang signed the agreement, prepared a check for 10% of the purchase price, and we overnight mailed the contract and check to the sellers attorney. Mr. Wang insisted on overnight mail because he did not want the seller to show the apartment to any other buyers. The seller signed the contract the next day and took the apartment off the market.
We immediately ordered a title report from a title insurance company. The title insurance company’s job is to make sure that there are no liens against the property, no violations, and that the seller really owns the apartment. Like links in a chain, each previous owner of an apartment must properly hand down title to the next owner. If the title company found a lien against the property or a violation that needs to have a fine paid, the seller must pay these off or decide not to sell the property according to the contract. If the property is transferred to Mr. Wang and he later finds out that another person actually owns the property, the title insurance company must pay Mr. Wang for the whole purchase price of the apartment. That is why Mr. Wang was paying the title insurance company almost $10,000 for his title insurance policy.
Mr. Wang then found a bank through a mortgage broker our firm referred him to that was willing to lend him $1 million. Mr. Wang would pay the rest of the purchase price with his own cash. When the bank finally cleared the loan for closing after almost 60 days, our firm contacted all the parties to the transaction including the brokers and set a closing date.
Mr. Wang flew back from China for the closing, which was almost 4 months from when he signed the contract (please note that all cash deals are much faster). He and his broker did a final walk through of the apartment but found that there was something wrong with the air conditioner. We reported the problem to the sellers attorney and negotiated a credit of $3000 that Mr. Wang would get at the closing.
Finally, at the closing, Mr. Wang signed all the necessary documents for the bank, the title company, and the seller. He was very pleased with our services.