Q & A: Renting a New York Condo; Trouble with Liens

Q & A: Renting a New York Condo; Trouble with Liens

Residential News » Q & A with Dottie Herman | By Dottie Herman | October 18, 2013 11:41 AM ET

I am the owner of a condo in Midtown Manhattan. I am shortly relocating abroad for a few years and need to rent out my apartment. How do I go about doing this?

Condos in Midtown Manhattan are in great demand. If you plan to do the leasing on your own, you should request the Leasing Package Requirements from your building's Managing Agent. Check to see if there are any special House Rules for Renters and what fees are involved. Alternatively, hiring a real estate professional may prove to be more expeditious. Your broker should be well acquainted with your condo and can help you procure a credit worthy and qualified tenant in a timely fashion.

I know that before you purchase a house, you should do a title and lien search to protect yourself as the buyer. What are the key factors to look for? What are some "red flags"? What parts of each search document are vital?

You are looking for a few things. First, you should confirm that the seller really owns the property and that you have a valid contract. Sometimes you will discover that there is a co-owner that was not previously disclosed. That co-owner must participate in the sale.

Second, confirm that there are no liens against the property and, if there are, that they get paid off at or prior to closing. If there is an open mortgage, it must be paid in full at the time of the closing. Other liens can be handled depending on the type. A mechanics lien sometimes shows up and the seller must either pay the contractor who filed it, or "bond" it, which makes someone other than the buyer responsible to pay.

Third, a survey is done, or updated, to ensure that the house you are buying is within the plot lines of the property it is built on, and that the fences that surround the property follow the boundary properly. Be sure to have your lawyer review the title report carefully to ensure that each of these items is reviewed and explained to you.

How does owing money on a credit card affect credit scores and how long does it take for the bad credit to clear from your history?

There are many factors that can lower your credit scores. One major factor is a high debt-to-limit ratio--owing too much money on credit cards can dramatically decrease your credit scores. If your balances are more than 7 percent of the card's limit, your scores will start to drop. The closer the balance inches up to the limit, the more your score will drop. Credit scores are sensitive to individual balance-to-limit ratios, but even more sensitive to aggregate balance-to-limit ratios. Your scores will continue to drop until your balance comes down. The rate at which your credit bounces back is dependent on a number of factors.

Dottie Herman is CEO of Douglas Elliman. If you have a real estate question for Dottie, please send it to:

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