Queens Homeowner Newsletter: MAR 2024

Hi all, hope you’re all doing well! Below is this month’s edition of our Queens Homeowner Newsletter. In this month’s edition we cover recent changes to the Property Condition Disclosure Act, some information about squatters rights in New York, and some information on the recent NAR settlement regarding real estate agent commissions. A lot of interesting things happening lately so we hope you find it interesting 🙂 

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On September 22, 2023, Governor Hochul signed into law an amendment to the Property Condition Disclosure Act (PCDA), affecting sellers’ property disclosure obligations regarding the sale of 1-4 family residential real estate properties in New York. As of March 20, 2024, home sellers must now provide purchasers with a completed property disclosure in accordance with Section 462 of the Real Property Law before signing a contract. The requirement does not apply to co-ops, condos and properties located in HOAs.

There were two changes made to the law. The most important of the two is the removal of the seller’s ability to opt-out of providing the PCDS by giving a $500 credit. The second change provides for the inclusion of questions related to flooding and flood related events. The PCDS is required for “Residential real property” which means real property improved by a one to four family dwelling used or occupied, or intended to be used or occupied, wholly or partly, as the home or residence of one or more persons. 

The PCDS is not required for (a) unimproved real property upon which such dwellings are to be constructed, or (b) condominium units or cooperative apartments, or (c) property in a homeowners’ association that is not owned in fee simple by the seller. The Property Condition Disclosure Act requires the seller of residential real property to provide the PCDS (or copy) to be delivered to a buyer or buyer’s agent prior to the signing by the buyer of a binding contract of sale. Click here to learn more about this recent change. 

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If you’ve been following the news lately then you probably heard about the homeowner who recently got arrested when she was trying to get squatters out of her home. This led our team to have a discussion about what a squatter actually is, when tenant rights actually kick in, and what would have to happen in order for a person to actually gain ownership of a property. The good news is that it is very hard for a squatter to gain ownership of a property, however, it only takes 30 days for a squatter to get tenant rights. Definitely something worth reading up on if you own a property or properties in New York. Click Here to learn more about squatter rights in New York.  

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This one has actually been in the mainstream media lately so you’ve probably heard about it. In short, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently agreed to a landmark settlement which would eliminate the longstanding common practice of sellers offering out compensation for buyer brokers/agents. For example, in the past homeowners would ask an agent what their commission is and the answer would be something like this “Our fee is 4% and of that 4%, 2% is shared/offered out to buyer agents as incentive for them to show the property to their buyers.” The buyer agent compensation was always negotiable, but it was definitely a common practice for sellers to offer out compensation to buyer agents. 

This appears to be going away because the NAR agreed to make some policy changes in order to resolve multiple class-action lawsuits brought on behalf of home sellers across the U.S. Under this new settlement NAR agreed to change its rules so that brokers/agents who list a home for sale on any of the databases affiliated with the NAR (i.e. MLS) are no longer allowed to include offers of compensation for a buyer’s agent.

So what does this mean? In our opinion, it looks like this may shift the payment of a buyer’s agent over to the buyer. In one way it makes sense because if a buyer wants representation on their home purchase, they should pay for it themselves right? However, what some real estate professional argue is that this may actually make it even harder for home buyers to buy a home. For example, now a home buyer may have to pay for their agent in addition to having money for the down payment, money for the closing costs, and most likely money for repairs or renovations since most homes in NYC are pretty old. Add to this the fact that prices have continued rising and mortgage rates remain elevated, and the decision can easily be interpreted as not being good for the home buying consumer. Sellers will still be able to offer buyer agent compensation under the proposed settlement, but just not on the MLS. 

That said, it looks like our industry is in for some changes and that is definitely okay with us. The question we’re asking ourselves is how can we be the real estate team that gets ahead of the trend and what can we do to modernize our approach for assuming these new policies go into effect. Click Here to read an article which breaks down the settlement and the potential implications. After reading it, we would love to hear your thoughts about it and what you think this means for the real estate industry. 

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– Improve indoor air quality – Buy an Air Purifier  

– Clean off the decks and outdoor areas for Spring 

– Wash patio furniture 

– Clean off the grill

Nowon – East Village 

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