Buying Guide

What is the CEMA Loan? And Who Qualify for the Loan

Are you a New York (NY) property owner who needs a refinance or tax relief? You should certainly learn about and consider the CEMA (Consolidation Extension and Modification Agreement) loan.

Let’s go through what this loan is, those who qualify for it, and some of the things you must consider when applying for it.

What is the CEMA Loan?

As most New Yorkers already know, the state is not a tax haven for property investors, especially those who live in the southern part where property values and mortgage tax rates are considerably higher. The CEMA loan can best be defined as a contract between a new lender and an existing lender. Both lenders decide to create a unique, consolidated loan by combining two or more without filing any cancellation on the current mortgage.

After completing this process, the property owner’s credit report will appear in the new CEMA mortgage, and it will show that the existing mortgage has successfully been transferred. Then, the homeowner is allowed to pay the tax calculated on the additional amount above what they initially borrowed (the difference between the two loans), which consequently decreases their mortgage tax.

Who Qualifies for the NY CEMA Loan?

Only residents of New York are eligible for the CEMA loan. In most cases, the loan acts as a refinanced mortgage, even though there is a slight chance that you could use it to buy your dream property. The main challenge that NY residents encounter when applying for a CEMA loan is finding a lender who offers such loans if their current one does not provide such a loan. Besides, changing lenders is not always the best choice because it is time-consuming and it could also be expensive.

Upon realizing that you qualify for a CEMA loan, you must consider a few factors before beginning the application procedure. These include:

  • Time: CEMA loans take time to complete, usually 30-90 days. This could be because you have to switch lenders to get the best deal. The NY regulations may also slow down the approval process. If your case is dire, and you can’t wait that long to get a refinance, think about taking a conventional loan instead.
  • Fees: A CEMA refinance is not devoid of costs. How much fees you pay when applying for this loan boils down to your lender. If they have experience working with CEMA mortgages and are ready to process yours, count yourself lucky. The cost you’ll incur will be much less. With new lenders, you might have to part with a few more bucks than anticipated.

Why Is CEMA Loan Popular?

Hopefully, this piece enlightens you about the popular CEMA loan that can offer the tax relief you badly need as a property owner in New York. Note that CEMA is not an ideal option for loans perceived as second mortgages, Home Equities or HELOCs. CEMA loans also don’t mean that your mortgage will be discharged. Before you make up your mind about applying for this loan, make sure to consult a competent loan officer in the state. They can help you decide if the loan fits your current needs and guide you through the application process.

Buying Guide Rentals

New York City Housing Lottery [2021]

Finding affordable housing is a near-impossible feat in New York City, where the average price for a one-bedroom apartment is $2,980. Therefore, debates have sprung up to determine ways to provide affordable housing in New York City. One way is through the New York City housing lottery (NYCHL). The idea is to provide affordable housing that costs individuals a third or less of their household income as rents. It only applies to buildings whose developers are getting tax breaks for setting aside some affordable apartments.

As we move forward, we’ll discuss the New York City housing lottery guide.

Check If You Qualify

To know if you qualify for lottery programs, check each building’s guidelines. Generally;

  • Your age is a crucial factor as you must be 18 years old.
  • Have a good credit score and a history of paying your debt and taxes in time. If your credit score is low, you can start working on it immediately.
  • Your household income has to lie within a specific range depending on the total number of people in your house.

Apply for The Lottery

You do not pay a broker or developer fee to apply for the lottery. You can either apply online through the NYC Housing Connect portal or offline through the mail. Note that developers will discard incomplete or fraudulent applications online or offline. Make sure you sign the application mail before sending it back. Developers may discard your application if you apply more than once for an apartment in the same building. Also, they will not consider your application if you submit it after the application deadline.

Although your chances of winning the lottery are higher if you have a small log number, there’s a way to improve your chances. Each building has preferred groups of people in the selection process. Some of which include:

  • Current community board residents
  • Veterans
  • Some disabled applicants
  • Municipal employees

If you fall within any of these groups, include this in your application to increase your chances of winning.

Getting The Results

Generally, applicants are contacted roughly 2 to 10 months after the application deadline. A developer may reach out to you for one of many reasons.

  • In case there was a flaw in your application for a lottery.
  • If you submitted more than one application for the lottery, and they have disqualified you.
  • The developer will contact you if you are selected to move on to the interview stage.

In some cases, qualified applicants do not go to the interview stage because of the enormous number of people who apply for this housing lottery.
If the developer randomly selects you after the interview, you may sign some more documents and wait for the HPD’s approval before signing the lease. Or you may be put on the waiting list until there is a vacant apartment. Within the waiting period, you have to write to the developer twice yearly to show your continual interest in the apartment.


NYC Heating Laws & Requirements

Outdoor temperatures are dropping, and NYC residents are doing everything possible to stay warm and healthy. NYC heating laws stipulate that landlords must ensure they keep all residential buildings warm during the heating season. The heating season spans from the 1st of October till the 31st of May. They must provide heat between 6:00 am and 10:00 pm if the outdoor temperature falls below 55 degrees Fahrenheit. They must ensure the indoor temperature is at least 68 degrees Fahrenheit.

When Is Landlord Require to Turn Heat on in NYC?

Also, owners and landlords must provide heat between the hours of 10:00 pm and 6:00 pm. The indoor temperature must be at least 62 degrees Fahrenheit. However, there are no outdoor temperature requirements. Additionally, the law requires that building owners provide hot water at 120 degrees Fahrenheit all year round.

The goal is to keep people safe from the biting cold in autumn and prepare them for freezing temperatures in winter. In this light, the HPD helps landlords and tenants understand the heat season’s requirements for heat or hot water problems.

What to Do if Your Apartment Does not have Heating or Hot Water in NYC

If your apartment doesn’t have hot water or heat during the heating season, let your landlord, managing agent, or superintendent know about it. Go through your lease to see the right way to report damages and the need for repairs. You may call or send an email depending on how urgent the situation is. Note that it is your legal right to seek your landlord’s assistance in case of heat or hot water issues. Keep copies of the emails and record all calls because you may need them as evidence in court.

However, if your landlord doesn’t react to remedy the situation, dial 311 to register an official complaint with the HPD. You can also file a complaint using the 311 mobile app or visit 311 online. If you have hearing difficulties, you can file a complaint using a Touchtone Device for the Deaf at (212) 504-4115. the HPD can sometimes get multiple complaints from the same building signifying the same problem.

What Happens When You Report a Landlord to the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HDP)?

The HPD will try to get in touch with your building owner on the specific issue. After this, they will reach out to you to see if the landlord has solved the problem. You can check your complaint status on the HPD website or through text if you provided a phone number when registering the complaint.

The Department of Housing Preservation will send an inspector to your building within two days tops if your issue is still unresolved. The inspector will carefully assess the entire building to identify the problem. After which, the landlord will have to fix it within a certain period. If not, the HPD will carry out repairs to keep tenants healthy and safe during the heating season. The HPD then levies fees and penalties on uncooperative homeowners through a court order.

Summarily, it is your right as a tenant to have hot water all year round and a heated apartment during the heating season. If you don’t get any of these, you may be subject to hypothermia, dehydration, and other health problems that accompany freezing temperatures.

Buying Guide

NYC Transfer Tax Guide [2021]

The NYC Transfer Tax affects all transfers of cooperative shares or real estate property worth over $25,000 from one party to the next. Condos, single-family homes, and all other residential property are subject to this tax.

It is one of the most expensive parts of the closing costs of a transaction. It is also applicable to transfers of majority shares within corporations.

What is the NYC Transfer Tax Rate?

The NYC transfer tax depends on the sales price of the property or shares.

The NYC transfer tax is 1% if the sales price is below or equivalent to $499,999. For NYC, the transfer tax is 1.425% for properties with a sales price above $500,000.

Who Pays the Transfer Tax?

It depends on the deal between the buyer and seller. Generally, the seller is responsible for covering the NYC transfer tax. Some sellers put this forward to attract buyers and keep them glued. However, the buyer may end up paying the NYC transfer tax if tax authorities do not know the sellers’ whereabouts. For new development property, a buyer may pay this tax if the sponsor demands it. In this case, the buyer has to bring the cash at closing. Buyers cannot finance it through other methods.

What is the Reason for the Transfer Tax?

Generally, taxes play a role in increasing government revenue. No matter how small the figure may look initially, it all adds up. The NYC Transfer Tax helps fill government coffers. Tax payer’s money enables the government to achieve some of its goals and improve the city. New York City officials take the transfer seriously because the government has raised impressive amounts in previous years. Therefore, they do a thorough follow-up on the transfer tax and ensure the buyer or seller makes the complete payment. Failure to do so may attract dire consequences on either party.

How to Avoid Paying Transfer Tax?

Many people seek ways to either reduce the transfer tax payment or to avoid it. Here are some tips on how to achieve any of them.

  1. Assess Closing Cost

    Assess how much of the closing costs the developer of a new development building is willing to shoulder. You need this information because the buyer usually pays the NYC transfer tax for a new development building. However, a developer may pay the NYC transfer tax if they are desperate to get the property out of their hands.

  2. Seller Purchase of CEMA

    Sellers should purchase CEMA to minimize their transfer tax. Sellers can cut costs if they do not hire a real estate agent to put up their property for sale. They can put it up themselves on real estate platforms and still find buyers.

However, you can only avoid payment if you qualify for an exemption. You can be eligible for an exemption if you are using the property as collateral for a debt. Also, you are exempted if you are selling or buying the property for a non-profit organization. Government institutions may not pay the tax for various reasons. You are also eligible for an exemption if you sell or buy the property for some US affiliated international organizations.

To conclude, paying your tax is crucial. It would be best to learn more about all the taxes you need to pay to avoid getting in trouble with the authorities. Failure to pay taxes has severe consequences we all should avoid. Consult a real estate agent to get professional advice before buying or selling property in New York City.

Buying Guide

What is NYC 421-A Tax Abatement?

Are you planning to invest in real estate in New York City? We guarantee that you’ll love the NYC 421-A tax abatement program, especially if you, like most people, are not a fan of taxes. So long as you are a property developer in NYC, you can easily get the NYC 421-A tax abatement, but your goal must be to offer affordable housing for the city’s residents. The program reduces your property tax bill for a specific duration. In most cases, it lasts for ten years, but yours could be 15 or 25 years, depending on the code it is registered with. For instance, codes 5117 and 5110 provide a ten-year term, while code 5114 comes with a 25-year period.

If you’d love to know more about the NYC 421-A Tax Abatement, read on!

We’ll start with the program’s history.

The History of the NYC 421-A Tax Abatement

The NYC 421-A Tax Abatement began in 1971. Its objective was to encourage NYC property developers to make the most out of underutilized land in New York City by investing in affordable residential buildings for families. The program prompted the construction of thousands of condos in Manhattan and other NYC boroughs. Today, the NYC 421-A tax abatement is still incredibly popular. The buildings benefitting from this tax abatement are twice as many as those with other property tax programs.

Home buyers will be delighted to know that the buildings they plan to purchase come with a 421-A tax abatement. Research all the essential information about this program because it has six codes, each offering a different property tax reduction percentage. Some people have often wondered if buying a building with an NYC 421-A tax abatement is an excellent idea. The answer to this is; it depends solely on the buyer’s preference.

What to Expect When Investing In a Property with a 421-A Tax Abatement?

A property with tax abatement is undoubtedly better than one without, but things could get a little complicated. For starters, expect most home sellers to sell apartments with a 421-A tax abatement at a higher cost upfront. They already know that you will spend a lot less on property taxes. While this might not be a problem for real estate investors with a high and flexible budget, those with low, tight budgets may not see it that way. You should always evaluate the home seller’s asking price for a property with tax abatement and the cost of one without. When that’s done, ask yourself the question; Is it really worth it?

When buying a house with tax abatement, you should also anticipate dealing with certain risks. A home seller could choose to sell their co-op or condo because the 421-A tax abatement period is close to expiring. If you purchase the property blindly, you might not enjoy the tax reduction benefits you hoped for.

After reading through this article and understanding the NYC 421-A tax abatement, you could take advantage of it as a real estate investor. The main advantage of purchasing a property with this tax abatement is that your property’s tax bill will be considerably reduced. Ensure that the apartment or condo you are buying is worth it. Before paying for the residential property, ensure that there are a good number of years left in the tax abatement.