Commercial Real Estate Blog by Madison
Tag Archives: real property

Real Estate Fraud – “Stealing” a Home

By: Debra Smith, Associate General Counsel, Madison Title Agency

An increasingly common type of real estate fraud occurs when someone impersonates the true owner of real property and does one of two things- sells the home or obtains a mortgage on it.

Typically, the wrongdoer first identifies a low risk transaction. The wrongdoer may look for a home nearing foreclosure for unpaid taxes. This is very easy information to obtain because so much data is accessible on the Internet now. The wrongdoer will then visit the property and confirm it is vacant. The ideal target has no mortgages (or only a very small mortgage) encumbering it.

The wrongdoer will obtain fake identification in the true owner’s name. He may then sell the property to a bona fide purchaser. He collects the net sale proceeds and moves on to the next victim. In criminal proceedings against Maria Leyna Albertina in Brooklyn a decade ago, it was alleged that she had identified and purportedly “sold” 32 such properties.

There are many variations on this scheme. Continue reading

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Isn’t it Time to Jettison Adverse Possession Laws?

By Terence Guerriere, Esq., Executive Vice President, Madison Commercial Real Estate Services

Adverse possession is a method of acquiring title to real property by possessing it for a statutory period under certain conditions. The doctrine of adverse possession has been a part of American law since the founding of our country; a precept of western civilization’s legal system for centuries. However, perhaps it is time to recognize that the idea that an owner of real property should lose title to his land, simply because someone else has been using it, is a relic of the past.

The primary reason for the development of adverse possession law was to promote the productive use of property. If an absent owner did not tend to his land, the land would not produce food or other benefits for society. This certainly made sense during the time of an agrarian society. Today, however, there is little fear that we would not be able to feed, clothe and house our citizens by allowing land to lay fallow.
Is it time to lift the burden from the land owner of record and shift it to the possessor of land he doesn’t own?
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Measure Twice, Close Once – The Importance of Accurate Survey Readings

By: Joseph Kipper, Senior Underwriting Manager, Madison Title

The old saying, “Measure twice, cut once”, certainly is useful for carpenters. One should double check measurements for accuracy before cutting a piece of wood, rather than rushing to cut and making errors which waste material. Aside from carpenters and tailors, there are other industries where accurate measurements are of supreme importance. Before purchasing real estate, it is important to obtain and examine the exact measurements of the property. Here’s why. Continue reading

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Air for Sale: Transferring Excess Development Rights is Big Business

By: James Lee, Esq., Senior Commercial Counsel, Madison Title Agency

Real estate developers in New York City seeking to construct a brand new building or to expand on their existing building confront zoning constraints on the size of the buildings that may be built on a particular piece of land. Faced with this zoning limitation, these real estate developers sometimes turn to the adjoining landowners for excess development rights to maximize what they can build on their site. The transfer of excess development rights have allowed NYC developers to build towering residences with enhanced views.

The sale and purchase of these developments rights have become a very big business, particularly in Manhattan. Thanks to a recent feeding frenzy, prices have skyrocketed for these development rights. In the theater district in Manhattan, development rights have sold for $409 per square foot and every indication points to the price of development rights increasing even higher. Continue reading

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Above It All: Buying and Selling Air Rights

By Eli Schon, Esq., Counsel
Madison Title Agency

City life can be expensive. In some cities, even the air costs money. Indeed, air rights are often bought and sold in major cities.
What are air rights and how is it bought and sold? Continue reading

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Applying Continuing Lien Deductions to New York Real Estate Purchases

According to New York Tax Law, Section 1402, a tax is imposed on each conveyance of real property when the consideration exceeds five hundred dollars, at the rate of two dollars for each five hundred dollars. However, with respect to a conveyance of a one, two or three-family house and an individual residential condominium unit, or conveyances where the consideration is less than five hundred thousand dollars, the consideration for the interest conveyed shall exclude the value of any lien or encumbrance remaining thereon at the time of conveyance. Continue reading

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Up, Down and All Around: Where Creative Developers are Looking to Build

Recently, I’ve observed a growing number of real estate transactions involving seemingly fully developed parcels. Instead of the traditional development options of (i) demolishing and rebuilding or (ii) building extensions of the existing structures into the air space above or (iii) simply “repositioning” the use of the existing structures, owners of the real property are choosing or being forced to go in new, creative directions.

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