Legal/Advocacy

The ‘On or About’ Closing Date and ‘Time of the Essence’ Letter

April 2017

Important Elements of The Real Estate Transaction: Real estate closings in parts of New York State do not always go as smoothly as one would like. In many other states, real estate transactions are handled primarily by the real estate agents and not the attorneys, who negotiate the offers between sellers and buyers and primarily…

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BARRISTER'S BRIEFING: What Personal Assistants Can and Cannot Do

April 2017

Personal assistants, although typically unlicensed, can provide an enormous benefit to Brokers and Office Managers in performing necessary administrative tasks. There are instances in which a personal assistant may also be licensed as either a Salesperson or Associate Broker, and work in that capacity as well. However, those types of rare instances invoke tax and…

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LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS: Latest Realtor News from Washington, DC

March 2017

There are many issues of concern to Realtors on the political horizon this year. Congress is currently absorbed considering the nomination of a Supreme Court Justice as well as the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) so, tax reform, while currently not yet at the forefront, has serious implications for Realtors. 1031 exchanges are being targeted in…

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NAR Sounds Alarm on Upcoming Flood Insurance Expiration

March 2017

WASHINGTON—The National Association of Realtors is urging Realtors as well as consumers to the pending expiration of the National Flood Insurance Program on Sept. 30. NAR officials warn that a possible program expiration would harm consumers and threaten the health of the residential real estate market. While NAR is working closely with federal regulators and…

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BARRISTER'S BRIEFING: It’s Time to Talk About Timeshares

March 2017

We see the glitzy advertisements on television all the time. A low-cost timeshare offer beckons you away to a tropical or otherwise desirable location. Realtors and members of the public should always investigate to see if all that glitters is truly gold. The purpose of the article is to describe exactly what are the basic…

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BARRISTER'S BRIEFING: HUD Provides Grants for Lead-Based Paint Abatement

March 2017

On Feb. 8, 2017, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced the availability of grants to help abate lead-based paint hazards in lower income homes. The chief purpose of these grants is to protect young children in these residences. These monies will also give an opportunity for communities to establish programs to control…

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LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS: The Time to Fight for the Mortgage Interest Deduction is Now

February 2017

Reform of the Tax Code is important, but must not eliminate the tax benefits of homeownership. Since its inception over a century ago, the U.S. income tax system has recognized the positive effects of homeownership for families, communities, and society by granting certain tax benefits to homeowners. The result has been a home-owning society that…

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State Lawmakers to Convene Hearing on Indian Point Closure

February 2017

ALBANY—A joint meeting of state lawmakers from the Assembly and Senate will convene a hearing here Tuesday, February 28th at 10 a.m. to discuss and seek answers surrounding the planned shutdown of the Indian Point nuclear reactors in Buchanan by 2021. In January, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced an agreement with Indian Point operator Entergy Corp.…

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LEGAL CORNER: The CFPB: Knocked Down But Not Out

February 2017

On Jan. 31, 2017, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau filed major consent orders against Prospect Mortgage, LLC, a major U.S. lender, and three other parties, including two real estate brokerage firms in California (i.e., RGC Services, Inc. d/b/a ReMax Gold Coast and Willamette Legacy, LLC d/b/a Keller Williams Mid-Willamette) and a mortgage servicer in Connecticut…

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BARRISTER'S BRIEFING: New Department of State Regulatory Changes Affecting Licensees

February 2017

The New York Department of State, which promulgates regulations affecting real estate licensees, recently issued several amendments to existing regulations on Jan. 4, 2017. This article will call attention to those recent amendments and the implications on licensees. To start, there has been a regulatory change to 19 NYCRR §175.1.  That particular amendment is italicized…

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LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS: Redefining Compulsory Arbitration Will Provide Mandate Relief

February 2017

The New York State Association of Realtors has a “Common Agenda for the Common Good” blueprint that calls for mandate relief for local communities. One of those measures that would provide relief would be redefining compulsory arbitration. Currently, the statute does not address ability to pay. It should be amended to require that an arbitration…

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LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS: How Debts and Deficits Could Impact Real Estate

January 2017

Debts and deficits run by the federal government, despite experiencing declines over the past seven years, have been at record levels for several reasons. The lack of revenue to the government, coupled with high federal spending, has contributed to the problem. We also experienced a financial crisis that crippled our economy for many years. We…

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Poll: NY First Home Proposal Overwhelmingly Supported by New Yorkers

January 2017

ALBANY—According to results from a Homeownership Poll conducted by the Siena Research Institute, 84% of New York voters support the NY First Home proposal that would create a tax-free savings account to help New Yorkers save for a first home. Support for the program was bi-partisan and spread across the entire state. Specifically, the NY…

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LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS: New Year Brings New Challenges, Opportunities

January 2017

The 115th Congress has been gaveled into session and the real estate industry has a lot on the line. One of the major sections of the tax code that could be modified or abolished provides for the deduction of state and local property taxes. In New York State, which has experienced an outflow of population…

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BARRISTER'S BRIEFING: Overview of New York’s Eminent Domain Procedure Law

January 2017

Both the New York State Constitution (Art. IX, Sec.1(e)) and the United States Constitution (Amend. V) permit governmental entities to take private real property for public use under eminent domain. The acquisition of real property, also known as condemnation, must give the private real property owner fair compensation, lest the governmental entity opens itself up…

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BARRISTER'S BRIEFING: Key Takeaway From Standard of Practice 3-6

January 2017

In the Realtor Code of Ethics, Standard of Practice (S.O.P.) 3-6 states: “Realtors shall disclose the existence of accepted offers, including offers with unresolved contingencies, to any broker seeking cooperation.” This particular Standard of Practice is illustrative of the overarching requirement of Realtors under Article 3: “Realtors shall cooperate with other brokers except when cooperation…

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