Articles Tagged with “Real Estate”

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Community associations are an important part of New Jersey’s housing environment. There are three main types of community associations in New Jersey: condominium associations, cooperative boards (“co-ops”), and homeowners associations. Condominium associations are the most common.

When a person buys a condominium, they are buying title to the property unit, such as an apartment or townhouse. However, title to the “common elements,” such as the land, the building exterior, recreational facilities, and parking lots or spaces, are held by the buyer together with all the other owners in common throughout the condominium association. When an new owner buys a unit, she automatically becomes a member of the condominium association, which exists to maintain the common elements. This membership is typically not optional.

The association is responsible for the administration and management of the condominium property, meaning the areas and activities of common interest to the unit owners. The operations of the condominium association are run by its board of trustees, made up of owners who are elected by the association membership. The association must maintain accounting records in accordance with generally accepting accounting principles and must be made available for inspection by unit owners at reasonable times. When a condominium association is first created, owner-control of the board is phased in during development of the property, and the owners take after 75 percent of the units are sold.
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Thumbnail image for 1387291_decorative_house_in_sunlight.jpgUnder New Jersey law, a taxpayer feeling aggrieved can appeal a property tax assessment. Obviously, the owner can qualify as a “taxpayer feeling aggrieved.” However, it is not well known that others can also qualify under the statute. Tenants, mortgagees, tax sale certificate holders and even non-owner spouses of a marital residence can, under certain under certain circumstances, qualify as aggrieved taxpayers and thus are permitted to file an appeal of a property tax assessment.

The word “taxpayer” has been interpreted by New Jersey courts to include not only the owner of record of a property but also tenants, mortgagees and holders of tax sale certificates under certain circumstances. The courts have often based their findings upon the belief that the “taxpayer feeling aggrieved” means anyone with a legitimate interest in the property and who pays the property taxes, and is thus adversely affected by an incorrect assessment.

If a lease requires a tenant to pay all taxes for a full tax year, the Tax Court has held that the tenant qualifies as an aggrieved taxpayer. However, the Tax Court required that because the appeal of the assessment could result in an increased assessment, the owner of the property must also be a party to the action. The Tax Court noted that the lease was silent on the issue of whether the tenant was permitted to file a tax assessment appeal.
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In the current real estate market, when obtaining a bank mortgage is difficult and sellers are desperate, buyers should consider negotiating a “seller concession” into their real estate contracts.

In most real estate transactions in New Jersey, the buyer pays most closing costs, which may include title searches and insurance, survey fees, homeowners’ insurance, taxes, document recording fees, inspections, mortgage charges, etc. With a “seller concession,” the seller agrees to contribute funds towards these closing costs, making the transaction more affordable for the buyer. As a result, the buyer has lower closing costs and is in a better position to begin making mortgage payments.

Seller concessions also benefit sellers having trouble selling their property. The offer to contribute a certain, set amount towards the buyer’s closing costs may not only entice a hesitant buyer to agree to the purchase, but also make it more likely that the buyer will be able to obtain a mortgage and close on the property.

The amount of a seller concession depends largely on the lender, the type of loan and the purchase price. With a conventional loan, a seller concession of three percent of the purchase price is typical. With an FHA loan, the concession is likely to be closer to six percent.
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