Estate sales – you will need to make sure all members of the estate are on board with the sale and that all taxes on the seller’s side are done correctly. Be especially careful if you are only communicating with one member of the estate. Often times one member of the estate will be more interested in selling than the other members, and you need to make sure everyone in the estate actually consents to the sale and will show up to closing!
Multiple parties – sometimes a property will be jointly owned by different family members or even different business partners. Similar to an estate sale, you need to be especially careful when your primary contact is only one of the co-owners. You need to make sure that all owners are on board with the sale and will show up on closing day! Be careful even when the co-owner you are dealing with is very confident that his or her partner is on board. Often times that may not really be the case which will mean you end up wasting time and money!
Divorce – it’s important to understand that one or both parties to a divorce may act irrationally and illogically given the emotional trauma associated with a bitter divorce. Therefore, don’t assume that either party will not do something illogical that is actually to their detriment, as sometimes they may want to do just that to hurt their former spouse. An example of this is one party refusing to show up to closing even though they need the money from the sale proceeds. Even though this behavior would seem irrational as they need the money, it may make sense in the moment for the aggrieved party as they believe not showing up to closing will irritate the other party.
Short sale – these are not always the deals you may think they are! Keep in mind that you won’t have control over the timeline in a short sale as you’ll need to wait for the bank to approve the sale, if they ever even get to it! Sellers in a short sale may be motivated to try to cut a side deal with you for their personal property, such as barbecue grills or fixtures, which is not eligible to be repossessed by the bank. Sellers may try to ask for an above market rate for their personal property in return for a good deal on the house itself. Just be careful as most banks will require both parties to sign an agreement saying that they have not entered into any side deals.
Tenants in place – be especially careful if you are looking to move in on closing date yet there are currently tenants in place, even if the seller says the tenants will move out by closing. The seller may ask to delay the closing last minute because the tenants aren’t moved out yet, at which point you are faced with a difficult decision. If you decide to close anyway, you must think about how you’re going to occupy the property. Evictions in NYC are a really difficult and time consuming process, and it’s not something you want to deal with when you’re expecting to start enjoying your new home.