Thursday, June 28, 2012

E-Recording at the County Clerk - Proposed Regulation

For all of you who are as happy as we are about E-Recording coming to your local County Clerk's Office in September of this year, you should take some time to read the Proposed Regulations that will govern the process by clicking here.

Stay tuned for the proposal to be filed in the State Register in order to make your comments and to help shape this important Regulation.

Friday, June 22, 2012

The Origin of the name Lieb at Law, P.C...

Andrew Lieb, reveals how he came up with the name "Lieb at Law, P.C." as featured in CEO Blog Nation answering the question:  HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH YOUR BUSINESS NAME?"

We Chose Something Catchy, Unique & Ethical

I operate a law firm in NY and names for firms in my State cannot be fictitious under ethics rules. Yet, who can remember all of the partners name for a firm? The list is often 3 pages long and says very little to the consumers except that each partner is self-important. So, I decided that we needed something catchy and unique, that said what type of business we are to the consumer, but that also complied with the restrictive ethics rules. Lieb at Law, P.C. is just that and has been approved by an ethics committee opinion letter and all of our clients. Why did you start your business? In my family you only have 1  choice of professions so I became an attorney. Yet, I am very entrepreneurial and wanted to carve my own niche. Therefore, I started a teaching law firm where we are a licensed school in our State with our attorneys serving as the school’s instructors. Just like a teaching hospital, my firm is on the cutting-edge of developments in our field because we teach the topics that we practice in a free educational setting for both attorneys and real estate agents. Our philosophy is that if every student passes on 1 lesson and educates 10 people in their community we have really achieved positive change for society and reduced unnecessary litigation.

Click Here to learn how other Entrepreneurs came up with their business name. 

Thursday, June 21, 2012


The Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives (“HAFA”) Program has been extended through 2013 pursuant to Supplemental Directive 12-02. This extension is coupled with many changes to the Policies governing HAFA, effective June 1, 2012, which servicers shall implement immediately. They are, including but not limited to, the following:
1 )      Occupancy Requirements: None, although the following conditions exist: Borrower(s) must not have purchased another residential property in the previous twelve (12) months, nor can the property be owned or secured by a business entity.
      2 )      Relocation Assistance: $3,000.00 is limited to the primary occupant of the premises at the time of execution of the agreement (short-sale or deed-in-lieu). Occupants must vacate on or before closing. Vacant properties are ineligible for this option.
3 )      Second Lien Maximum: Increased from $6,000.00 to $8,500.00.
      4 )      Debt to Income Ratio: A borrower’s monthly mortgage payments are now permitted to exceed 31% of a borrower’s grossly monthly income, allowing a servicer to accept full payment to keep the borrower current on their mortgage.
5 )      Credit Bureau: If a deficiency is forgiven as a result of a short-sale or deed-in-lieu, the following Base Segment fields may be reported as follows, if applicable: Account Status Codes amended to 13 (Paid or closed account/zero balance) OR 65 (Account paid in full/foreclosure started).
The following amendments to HAFA should greatly improve its goal of assisting borrowers in need. Supplemental Directive 12-02 in its entirety can be found here: .

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Modify Rental Property Mortgages - HAMP Tier 2

Under the Making Home Affordable Program, Rental Property is a property that is used by the borrower for rental purposes only and not occupied by the borrower, whether as a principal residence, second home, vacation home or otherwise.

For rental property to qualify for HAMP, the following conditions must be met as well as many of the prior HAMP conditions:

  • >=2 mortgage payments must be due & unpaid;
  • Borrower owns <= 5 single family properties; 
  • Rental property at issue is currently occupied by tenant as a principal residence or is vacant; & 
  • Borrower certifies intent to rent property to tenant(s) for >=5 years following effective date of the permanent modification.
Interestingly, where a property is occupied as a principal residence by a legal dependent, parent or grandparent of the borrower but the borrower does not charge or collect rent, the property is nonetheless considered a "rental property". 

Also, there are no longer any occupancy / principal residency requirements under the HAFA Short Sale Program. 

These are fabulous additions to the Making Home Affordable Program.

Landlords, be sure to ask your rental home's lender about a possible modification if you are behind on your mortgage. Help is out there. 

A Real Estate Networking Happy Hour at Dockers Waterside

Two of my favorite people in our industry are hosting this fabulous event. If you have not yet experienced Dockers you are in for a treat. The event is hosted by Styled & Sold's Allegra Dioguardi and Mary Thames Louis Photography.

The invite reads:

Join us from 6:00 to 8:00 on Thursday June 21st at Dockers and enjoy the most beautiful sunset on the East End. Good conversation, free hors d'oeuvres and a cash bar with happy hour prices.
We would love a head count by Thursday morning so
Email and just type "I'm in!" Feel free to bring a friend.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

$60 Million Dollars to be Distributed through Foreclosure Prevention Programs

Over the next three (3) years, the office of New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman will spread out $60 million dollars to programs benefiting struggling New York homeowners facing foreclosure. The funds come by way of a settlement reached, as previously mentioned on this blog, between several major banks, the federal government and forty-nine (49) states over foreclosure abuses. The Homeowner Protection Program will use just under half of the $132 million dollar settlement received by New York State to fund housing counseling and legal services offered to distressed homeowners. This measure should ensure that homeowners in need of assistance have additional options available to them for the next three (3) years.

Dual Agency Disclosure - A great resource

At our last class on Conflicts of Interest, there were many confusions about how to fill-out the NY Agency Disclosure form. Fortunately, the Buffalo Niagara Association of Realtors has a great publication with samples on its last page and the Long Island Education Board strenuously recommends that all agents review this publication before they continue in their practice. Click here to access the publication.

Also, LIEB draws your attention to a NYS Administrative Decision, 675 DOS 09, which states:

"The agency relationship disclosure form which the respondent provided to Mr. Alejandro and Mr. Sanchez was improperly completed. The respondent was acting as a dual agent and so indicated on the disclosure form. However, she also completed sections of the form on which she indicated she was acting as agent of the seller and as agent of the buyer. It does not appear, however, that this error in completing the form could have possibly misled either Mr. Alejandro or Mr. Sanchez into believing that the respondent was representing him alone. Thus, while her conduct was a violation of Real Property Law 443 and a demonstration of incompetency, it does not, by itself, warrant the imposition of a penalty greater than that to be imposed for  her other, much more serious, misconduct."

Clearly, to properly fill-out the Agency Disclosure form, a dual agent should only check Dual agent and not also indicate that they are acting as an agent of the seller or buyer.

Friday, June 15, 2012

No one signed the contract, can I still earn a commission?

Last evening at our real estate continuing education course, Conflicts of Interest, we discuss the anxiety that  real estate agents face because an attorney is handed the keys to their commission and must act for them to earn a commission. 

The question then becomes is this a true fact in the first place. Meaning, can a broker earn a commission regardless of what happens when the file shifts to an attorney?

The answer is Yes, but the agent must have evidence that they procured a purchaser on the terms set forth by the seller. Also, this rule is only applicable if the listing agreement does not provide that commission is only due upon contract or closing. Yet, don't fret because most listing agreements utilized in NY permit a commission to be earned when an agent procures a purchaser on the seller's terms. 

As the Court of Appeals has stated:

“The duty of the broker consisted in bringing the minds of the vendor and vendee to an agreement. He could do no more. He had no power to execute a contract, to pay the money for the one side, to convey the land on the part of the other, or to compel performance of either of these duties.”

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Home prices expected to increase, but consumers desire to purchase decreases

An interesting report by the Chicago Tribune and available on Business Insider, click here to read, discusses this peculiarity and attributes this dichotomy to the current jobs data. Fannie Mae, who offers the underlying Monthly National Housing Survey, characterizes consumer sentiment as the "wait and see" attitude in their article, which is available here.

What should real estate agents learn from these articles?
Clearly, the answer is who their target audience is. Consumers in areas and industries with high job security appear to be the best target purchasers. So, the question becomes where to look. Yahoo finance has your answer in a report by US News and World Report on the "Exciting Jobs in the Fastest-Growing Industries", which you can locate by clicking here.

Its postulated that individuals in these industries should be targeted by buyers brokers. Good luck and go make a meeting of the minds and sell that property.