Q: I own a business and would like to rent an apartment under my corporation. Is this possible?
A: Provided your corporation's by-laws permit the leasing of real estate (typically by-laws do) then renting under a corporate name is possible. But not all landlords are willing to do this without assurances about who will reside in the unit, and confirmation that no business activities will be conducted out of the residential unit. In addition, many landlords may likely require some personal guarantee about payment on the rent.
Q: We are trying to refinance our home and we think the appraisal value is too low. How can I tell?
A: While the Internet provides a lot of information at your fingertips, being objective about the value of your home is difficult because you are so close to it. You might ask the local real estate agent you have worked with in the past to look at the "comparable" sales used by the bank appraiser to see if they are appropriate. Have a conversation with them about homes you both think are most similar and why they sold for more or less than what you think your home is worth. Second opinions can be insightful. You might even consider getting your own appraisal, but remember that the bank can't rely on that report. In today's market, banks rarely disagree with their appraisers' results. If you are confident there has been an error that you can't get corrected, you might consider going to another bank.
Q: Why do condos sell for more than co-ops?
A: If a co-op and condo apartment have identical interior and exterior amenities and the only difference is their property type, the condo would sell for more. In a co-op, the board has more control over your rights as a homeowner than a condo association, and therefore more restrictions in a co-op allow condos to generally achieve higher prices. Manhattan has, for example, three times as many co-ops as condos. This does not mean that one type is better than another, just different.
Q: I recently had the home we wish to purchase inspected. They found a number of items that need to be fixed and it will total over 100K. Can we ask the sellers to contribute?
A: If the total cost of the repairs that need to be made is a deal breaker for you, you should probably reduce your offer, and/or stipulate that the seller repair any vital systems that may be among the repairs required, prior to closing.
Q: My home has been on the market for 9 months. I have had a few showings but not a single offer. It is a very nice home, updated, clean - but we have high taxes. Is that why? We have priced it well so that we can compensate for the taxes, but we don't know what else to do?
A: It is important for you to check the comparable homes for sales in your area to see if there have been recent sales so that you can adjust your asking price accordingly. In addition, you may want to offer paying a percentage of the taxes to a buyer for the first year or two, as part of a deal.