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1.       What can I do to enforce a real estate contract?

If you have a binding real estate contract and the other party has breached it, the first thing you should do is contact an experienced New York real estate lawyer. You may have several options available to you to resolve the legal dispute, but it is important that you quickly retain the services of an attorney who can protect your interests. You may be able to retain the earnest money deposit and terminate the contract, seek specific performance of the contract from the court or pursue liquidated damages and other monetary relief.

2.       What can I do if a seller misrepresented a property?

New York law requires the seller to give the purchaser a disclosure statement. On this statement, the seller must identify known defects with the property. If the seller fails to disclose known defects, he or she may be liable for your actual damages. However, you must be able to show that the seller actually knew about the defect and actively did something to prevent you from discovering it. An attorney can determine if you can establish these elements. Other options may be to negotiate a credit on the sale or negotiate a settlement outside of court.

3.       What are common title disputes?

Title issues can disrupt the sale of a property. A buyer will want a clean title before moving on with the transaction, but there may be title issues that prevent this. For example, a lien may be on the property due to a second mortgage, unpaid contractors who placed a mechanic's lien on the property or an unpaid debt that resulted in a lien. In other cases, a simple error in public records may interfere with the chain of title. Some title documents may have been forged or signed by someone without the authority to sell or transfer the property.

4.       What are my options for a boundary dispute?

Boundary disputes are not uncommon. If you are confronting this issue, it is important that you understand the nature of the dispute. If you or your neighbor believe that the property line is different, a survey may be helpful in establishing the line. You may be able to split this cost with your neighbor. If your neighbor continues to encroach upon your property, you may need to take things further and hire a lawyer who can help you negotiate a settlement or explain your other legal options.

5.       What are the most common purchase agreement problems in New York?

Several problems may arise during the purchase of a property that causes the deal to fall through. The buyer may have included a contingency to sell his or her own name and he or she is unable to do so. A home inspection may reveal issues with the property, such as mold, foundation issues or termites. The purchaser may not be able to obtain a mortgage. The property may not appraise for the value for which it is listed.

6.       What should I do if my house is going to be auctioned?

If you have received notice that your house is going to be auctioned, it is important that you contact an experienced real estate lawyer immediately. He or she may be able to take steps to delay the auction, negotiate a move-out date for you or find other ways to challenge the foreclosure.

7.       What should I do if my tenants are not paying me rent?

If you have tenants who are not paying rent, New York law allows you to take steps to evict the tenants. You should begin by making an oral demand for rent, followed by a written demand. If your tenant still does not pay, you can file a nonpayment petition to evict the tenant. It is possible that you can pursue a remedy in mediation as an alternative.

8.       How do I evict a non-paying tenant?

You must make a demand for the payment of rent. Then, you can file a petition for nonpayment and a nonpayment petition to recover possession of real property. These documents must contain specific allegations and must follow specific procedures, so it is best to have the assistance of an experienced New York real estate lawyer.

9.       What steps should I take if I want to complete a short sale on my house?

Contact your lender and see if this is an option. Get an agreement in writing regarding approval for the short sale and be sure that you work with the lender throughout the process. Then, list your property at the agreed-upon process.

10.   I defaulted on my mortgage, what do I do now?

Keep a good record of which mortgage payments you have paid and when. Check your account for any additional fees that you have been charged off. You may be able to get out of default through a loan modification, repayment plan, and temporary reduction of payments or suspension of payments. Contact your lender to learn about your options. If you believe that you will be unable to keep your home, you may be able to complete a short sale or return the deed to the lender without going through the foreclosure process. Bankruptcy may be an option in some situations that allows the homeowner to keep the home while restructuring the debt.

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