New York

Real Estate Law

Buying / Selling 



Real Estate Law on Long Island

Residential and Commercial Real Estate Law

The world of real estate impacts us all in different ways. Home ownership is a goal for most people, but real estate law also includes many other aspects of personal investment, and commercial or non-profit sale/ purchase of residential homes, including:

  1. Buying and selling residential or commercial properties, co-ops and condominiums, including non-profit and church properties.
  2. Landlord and tenant evictions, leases and tenancy agreements, private or commercial.
  3. Zoning, variances, and issues with neighbors, towns and
  4. Deed changes, title disputes, and changes of ownership.
  5. Foreclosures.

Real Estate Law: Basic Concepts

Important concepts to understand in real estate law include:

  • Fee simple” ownership.This is when one or several parties own a property.
  • “Tenancy-in-common.”This is where two or more parties own a property, but there is no “right of survivorship.” If one owner passes away, the other owner does not automatically inherit the property. It passes to the dying owner’s estate.
  • “Joint tenancy” ownership.This is when two or more parties own a property with “rights of survivorship.” This means that if one party dies, the others inherit his or her share of the property. In a joint tenancy, one owner may sell his or her share of the property to a third party, thereby creating a “tenancy-in-common.”
  • “Tenancy-by-the-entirety” ownership.This is where married couples own property together, with “rights of survivorship” just like a joint tenancy. Unlike a joint tenancy, however, one spouse may not sell their share of the property to a third party.
  • “Life estate” ownership. This is when someone who owns a residential property and uses it as their primary residence, retains the right to live in the property until they die, even though others are named as owners on the deed.  When the person holding the “life estate” dies, the property passes to the others automatically by “right of survivorship.” However, the property cannot be sold or transferred without the signature of the person holding the “life estate,” and everyone else on the deed.  This is an important way of protecting one’s property in many cases.
real estate law
  • “Home equity.”This is the percentage of the property that you actually own, presuming the property is encumbered by a mortgage or other liens or judgments.  The way of evaluating the equity in a property is to first determine its Fair Market Value, preferably by a licensed appraiser, and then subtract the total amount of mortgages, loans or liens held against the property. The remaining number is your equity in the home, in other words, the amount you get to keep after selling it, and paying the expenses of the sale.

Knowing how property laws work, how mortgages, refinancing and home equity loans can help or hurt your investments are critical to protecting your economic wherewithal. In the often confusing world of real estate law, little details can add up to big savings or big losses. Take the time to consult with an experienced lawyer before you proceed.


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