Commercial Real Estate Blog by Madison

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Real Estate Trends

Servicing Investors in a Global Economy: The unique challenges facing foreign investors in the U.S.

By: Daniel Kasten, CPA, Chief Financial Officer, Madison Commercial Real Estate Services

This year’s reports issued by the Association of Foreign Investors in Real Estate (AFIRE) and the National Association of Realtors (NAR) indicate a marked increase in foreign investors and foreign investment in the U.S. real estate market. On a recent trip to Israel, I had the opportunity to speak personally with several principals and related parties researching investment opportunities in U.S. real estate.

While the US is currently viewed as a sound global investment opportunity, it was clear that buying real estate in the U.S. is not exactly easy. What are the unique challenges that foreign investors face who want to expand their real estate portfolios in the U.S. real estate market? Continue reading

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Silver Lining – A Positive for the Real Estate Refi Industry from the Government Shut-Down.

By Elliot Zaks, Principal, MCRES

All eyes are on Washington, as President Obama signs a bill ending the 16-day partial government shutdown. While it’s back to business for furloughed federal employees, and reopened national parks, what other impact might the government’s shutdown have on the daily lives and businesses of most Americans? Continue reading

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IRC §1031 Like-Kind Exchanges and the Mexican Land Trust

By Lee David Medinets, Esq., MCRES General Counsel

Non-Mexicans are not permitted to own land in certain “restricted zones” within Mexico (i.e., within 100 miles of that country’s international borders or within 50 miles of the ocean). Nevertheless, foreigners may own a beneficial interest in land within restricted zones through a fideicomiso or Mexican Land Trust (“MLT”). In order to acquire land through an MLT, the foreign national must first obtain permission from the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs. If permission is granted, then legal title to the land can be held by a Mexican bank as trustee of the MLT, and the foreign national can have all of the benefits and burdens of real estate ownership as a beneficiary of the MLT.

In the recent Rev. Rul. 2013-14 (released June 7, 2013), the IRS determined whether an MLT can be swapped in an IRC § 1031 like-kind exchange. Continue reading

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In Borough of Harvey Cedars v. Harvey Karan and Phyllis Karan, New Jersey Supreme Court Addresses How Awards for Property taken by Eminent Domain should be Calculated

A recent New Jersey decision addressed how a condemnation award should be calculated in the event of a partial property taking.

In Borough of Harvey Cedars v. Harvey Karan and Phyllis Karan, 2013 WL 3368225 (N.J.), the Supreme Court of New Jersey analyzed this issue in the context of a partial taking for an easement for sand dunes part of which was over a portion of the defendants’ property. It is easy to see that there would be some diminution in the value of an oceanfront property resulting from an obstruction of the view because of the sand dunes. The harder question, and the one the Court addressed, is whether any increase in the value of the home resulting from a reduced risk of storm damage, should also be factored in the calculation. To read more, go to

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A Flood of Questions about Flood Insurance

By Pat Anarumo

Flood insurance has been a hot topic lately in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Most people aren’t aware – or weren’t until after the storm — that their homeowner’s insurance policy does not cover flooding. Flood insurance is a separate policy issued by the government through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). A flood insurance policy is required by lenders if the property lies within a flood zone as determined by maps drawn up by the Army Corps of Engineers.

A standard issue flood insurance policy is a ‘one peril policy’ that pays for physical damage to the insured property up to the replacement cost or actual cash value of the damages or the policy limit, whichever is less. There are two types of coverage: Building Coverage and Contents Coverage. Contents Coverage must be purchased separately. The amount of coverage varies by type of property. Here are some basics on flood insurance coverage limits for residential and commercial property and a brief breakdown of what is and isn’t typically covered. Continue reading

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IRS Issues Extensions on 1031 Exchanges for Hurricane Sandy Victims

By Esther Rozsansky, Certified Exchange Specialist
Madison Exchange

As expected, the IRS extended the 45-day identification period and 180-day exchange period on active IRC 1031 like kind exchanges for victims of Hurricane Sandy. This tax relief is granted on a county-by-county basis. It is possible, but unlikely, that the IRS may add additional counties to its current list. Click here to learn which area are covered and the criteria that must be met to qualify for the extension. Continue reading

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Recent NY Case Expands Application of Equitable Subrogation in Second Department

By Debra Smith, Esq.
Associate Commercial Counsel

A recent case in the Second Department in New York has expanded the long-standing position held on the issue of equitable subrogation. Before delving into the details of the specific case, it may help to explain the concept. Equitable subrogation is a doctrine recognized in most states and a common issue in the world of real estate and lending. This doctrine enables a lender that pays off an existing loan to stand in the shoes of the lien holder it paid off for priority purposes. This is an equitable remedy that allows, in certain circumstances, for the lien holder (lender) to change its priority position to the extent of the lien paid.

How does equitable subrogation work? And how does the recent NY case expand the application of equitable subrogation in the Second Department?
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Lease Renegotiations in any Economic Cycle – Knowledge is King

Economic cycles come and go. It is important for commercial real estate professionals, as a prelude to lease negotiations, to know and understand the economic picture and prospects related to the general economy. Regular contact with business leaders and corporate … Continue reading

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New Title Insurance Alliance – Is It A Game Changer?

By Michael Donini, Esq.
Senior Commercial Counsel, Madison Title

Earlier this summer, five regional title insurance underwriters reported their decision to join forces and form the American Title Reinsurance Alliance (ATRA). The Agents include National Title Insurance, Alliant National Title Insurance, Attorneys’ Title Guaranty Fund, Connecticut Attorneys Title Insurance, and Security Title Guarantee—and more may be joining the fold.

What’s behind this alliance, and what are the pros—and cons? Is it a game changer? Continue reading

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Big Reversal: Title Insurance Underwriter Fidelity Repeals Decision on Mechanic’s Lien Coverage

By Samuel M. Shiel, Esq.
Director National Title Services / Senior Underwriting Counsel
Madison Title Agency

In my May 31, 2012 blog post, I wrote of the decision by the Fidelity Title Insurance Group to stop offering coverage over mechanic’s liens effective June 15, 2012. Yet, within six weeks of the May 10th announcement, Fidelity reversed its position and decided in fact to continue to provide coverage. Read on to learn what led to this major reversal in such a short period of time. Continue reading

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