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What To Know About Writing Your Will

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Do you keep putting off writing your will? We don’t blame you, writing a will is a way of admitting our mortality, and no one wants to think about passing away. However, it is very important to have a will written properly to ensure your final wishes are carried out when that does happen.

Here are top 7 general things to know about writing a will:

What Is A Will?

It’s a legal document in which you, the testator, declare who will manage your estate after you die.

The person named in the will to manage your last wishes and estate is called the executor. Your estate can consist of anything from a big mansion or a vacation home to trinkets or photographs that hold sentimental value. You can declare who you want to receive specific items that you own, and the person designated to receive any of your property is called a beneficiary.

A will can also state whom you wish to become the guardian for any minor children or dependents.

All wills must meet certain standards such as being witnessed to be legally valid.

Note that some types of property, including certain insurance policies and retirement accounts, generally are not covered by a will.

You should list your beneficiaries when you take out the policies or open the accounts. Make sure it’s all up to date, since what you have on file when you die should dictate who receives those assets.

What Happens If I Die Without A Will?

When there’s no valid will, your estate will usually be settled based on the laws of your state that outline who inherits what. That’s called intestate.

Probate is the legal process of transferring the property to the rightful heirs.

When there’s no named executor, a judge appoints an administrator. This also happens if a will is deemed to be invalid. Requirements vary from state to state.

Since an administrator will most likely be a stranger to you and your family, and they may make decisions that wouldn’t necessarily align with your wishes or those of your heirs.

Do I Need An Attorney To Prepare My Will?

You are not required to hire a lawyer to prepare your will, although an experienced lawyer can provide useful advice on estate-planning strategies such as living trusts, and make sure that your will meets the legal requirements of your state. Consider seeking an estate lawyer free consultation.

While you’re creating or updating your will, think about preparing other essential estate-planning documents, such as financial and health care powers of attorney to ensure that your wishes are carried out while you’re still alive.

Who Should I Name As My Executor?

Your spouse, an adult child, or another trusted friend or relative could be named an executor of your will.

However, if your affairs are complicated, you may want to consider naming an attorney or someone with legal and financial expertise. Also, you can name joint executors, such as your spouse or partner and your attorney.

One of the most important things your will can do is empower your executor to settle any bills or debt you may have, so it’s crucial that your will clearly allows for this.

Where Should I Keep My Will?

It’s important to keep your will in a safe yet accessible place, especially since a probate court usually requires your original will before it can process your estate.

If your will is kept in a bank safe deposit box that only you have access to, your family might need to seek a court order to gain access. A good alternative is a waterproof and fireproof safe in your house.

Also, your attorney or someone you trust should keep signed copies. This would help in case the original is destroyed to establish your intentions; however, the absence of an original will can complicate matters, leaving no guarantee that your estate will be settled as you’d hoped.

How Often Does A Will Need To Be Updated?

It’s really up to you – that your will may never need to be updated, or you may choose to update it regularly.

The only version of your will that matters is the one that is most current and valid at the time of your death.

It may be a good idea to revisit your will at times of major life changes, such as marriage, divorce, the birth of a child, the death of a beneficiary or executor, a significant purchase or inheritance.

Also, you might still need to name guardians if you have any disabled dependents.

Just to be safe, review your will every two or three years.

Who Has The Right To Contest My Will?

Contesting a will means challenging the legal validity of all or part of the document, and a beneficiary who feels slighted by the terms of a will could choose to contest it.

Also, depending on the state, a spouse, ex-spouse or child who believes your stated wishes go against local probate laws may contest your will.

Other reasons a will could be contested include that it wasn’t properly witnessed; you weren’t competent when you signed it; it’s the result of coercion or fraud – and it’s commonly up to a probate judge to settle the dispute. The best defense is always a clearly drafted and validly executed will.

It is never too early or too late to begin thinking about a last will and estate planning, and making one is usually a rather simple and inexpensive process, especially considering that it can give you peace of mind, and save your family time, money and grief.

At the Levin Law Group, our experienced wills and trusts attorneys in New York will assist you in advising and preparing a wide range of estate planning documents. We have supervised and probated thousands of wills for families just like yours.

We invite you to contact us so we can help you take steps to ensure your wishes, interests and assets are protected. Get a will prepared by a trustworthy trust and wills attorney in NYC.

For an estate lawyer free consultation – contact Levin Law Group today: 1-(800) 517-5240.

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The Levin Law Group Announces New Service, Elder Law

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The Levin Law Group Announces the addition of elder law to better serve clients, their spouses, and children with expert legal guidance affecting senior adults. Elder law includes, but is not limited to, last will & testament, living will & healthcare proxy, living trust, power of attorney, estate planning, elderly guardianship, asset protection, guardianship, and medicaid trust. With convenient locations in Manhattan, Nassau, Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx, Westchester, Suffolk, Staten Island, plus North and Central Jersey, Levin Law now promises clients accessibility and expertise in the area of elder law.

The attorneys at Levin Law Group specialize in elder law, fully understanding the unique legal issues that affect senior citizens and their families. As experts in the field, the team at Levin Law take care in explaining the nuances of elder law from wills to living wills, healthcare proxy to power of attorney, estate planning to asset protection, elderly guardianship to Medicaid planning and more, so that every client can make the appropriate choices for meeting his or her needs and those of the family. At Levin Law, clients can expect expertise as well as understanding in the area of elder law.

In the area of elder law, purported discount services abound, making many wonder if they can “do it yourself” save a bundle, and still get the job done. The truth is elder law is complicated, and when the details are left unattended, senior adults and their families are harmed in the process. At Levin Law Group, clients will find knowledgeable elder law attorneys who work to customize every plan with expertise and understanding and who deliver their services with fees that are reasonable and forthright.

“We are pleased to offer expert Elder Law at Levin Law Group. To us, Elder Law is not just representing elderly clients but is the practice of understanding what elderly clients and their families need and how to accomplish it.” – Yevgeny Levin, Levin Law Group.

The Elder Law team at Levin Law works diligently to listen, counsel, and guide clients through the detailed processes successfully. Call on the well-qualified, professional elder law attorneys at the Levin Law Group (http://www.YLevinLaw.com) and discuss your needs with the expert, experienced attorneys who care and understand the legal issues affecting senior adults and their families.

The original press release can be read here.

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Should I Get a Prenup?

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Nuptial agreements have actually been around for thousands of years, and were necessary for women in the U.S.A. before the Married Women’s Property Act (MWPA) of 1848 – as they ensured women didn’t end up homeless and broke with children in the event of their husbands’ deaths.

A prenuptial marriage agreement, also called premarital marriage agreement or “prenup”, has become a common legal step taken before marriage. It is a contract that clearly states how a couple will handle the financial aspects of their marriage, and determines the property and financial rights of each partner in the event of a divorce.

Do prenuptial agreements put a damper on romance, or – does it present a practical solution to dealing with the challenging topic of finances in a marriage?

While not very romantic, a prenup doesn’t automatically suggest that a couple who is getting married is anticipating a divorce – rather, it puts financial expectations out on the table before their wedding. Having an open and honest financial discussion can be a very positive and beneficial experience, and more and more couples are deciding to sign prenups before they walk down the aisle. Also, the purpose of a prenuptial agreement is to set forth and protect certain assets in the event of a death.

We put together some common examples of when a prenup is strongly encouraged:

  • You own your own business
  • You are bringing significant financial assets to the marriage
  • You have substantially more income than your future spouse
  • You have substantially less income than your future spouse
  • You want to establish a firm foundation for an estate plan
  • You want to protect a gift or inheritance
  • This is your second or third marriage
  • You have children from a previous marriage(s)

If any of the above situations apply to you or your future spouse, entering into a prenuptial agreement may not only be beneficial – it may be crucial. Prenups can sustain family ties and inheritance and protect personal and business assets accumulated before the marriage.

Important aspects of a good prenuptial agreement are:

  • It should be a true arms-length transaction
  • Both parties should be represented and consenting
  • There should be a full disclosure of assets and liabilities going into the marriage
  • It should be fair when it’s signed and entered into, as well as when it’s enforced, whether it’s due to a divorce or death.

Although no one thinks they’ll get a divorce as they’re getting married, the unfortunate truth is that about half of all marriages in the country end up in divorce proceedings – making it prudent and wise to at least consider a prenuptial agreement.

At the Levin Law Group, our caring and reliable attorneys will assist you in advising and preparing a wide range of legal documents, including drafting, negotiating and finalizing prenuptial agreements.

We invite you to get in touch with us so we can help you take steps to ensure your wishes, interests and assets are protected – contact Levin Law Group for a free consultation today.

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What Do I Need to Know Before Opening a Business?

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If you’re getting ready to start a business, chances are you are very excited, quite possibly overwhelmed, and perhaps even scared. It’s for a good reason – opening a company is a very complex process, since it requires making many decisions, a lot of effort, and typically a lot of resources.

Before you open a business, there are some essential things to know and implement:


Since there are so many highly important business and legal issues to consider, careful planning and thorough preparation are paramount. Consulting a business law attorney during the planning stage will help you learn and understand business laws and avoid legal issues. This can save you time and effort, and most importantly, many potential complications and money down the road.


Requirements for opening a new business will vary from industry to industry, state to state, and founder to founder, but some things they’ll have in common.

Depending on your business, you may or may not need start-up assistance and capital financing options, insurance and licenses; however, most new businesses will typically need research, legal documents, and some kind of legal assistance.

Starting a business involves working with both the State and your local government, and you’ll want to make sure you understand licensing, permitting, and other requirements in your area. Determine all the required insurance your business will need, such as workers’ compensation, liability, and disability insurance, depending on your structure, location and employees, as well as what type of insurance is needed for permits and licenses and to protect you from loss, fines, and lawsuits.

A business attorney will determine if and which regulatory and compliance risks and industry regulations exist for the type of business you’re opening, and ensure your line of business is not subject to some form of scrutiny. Another extremely important thing to focus on is taking steps to ensure company compliance and user/client security.

Legal Structure

Choosing a legal structure for your business should be done with careful consideration. Before you reach important decisions on who will own and be legally responsible for your business, and how to file your taxes, ask questions, such as how much liability and risk would you want to take on as an owner; how do you envision your earnings and the earnings of the business will be affected by the tax codes; should your business operate as a sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company, S-corporation, or C-corporation?

Once you’ve done enough research and sought legal counsel, register your business as a Corporation, Limited Liability Company, or Limited Partnership with the state your business is in. If you decided on General Partnership or Sole Proprietorship, make sure you register with the appropriate County Clerk.

Agreements And Legal Contracts

Protect your business with agreements and legal contracts to help prevent any potential dispute in case of an issue or a disagreement with a client, service provider, or supplier. Enlist your business lawyer to ensure there are no legal omissions or errors, that all the agreements are tight, and that your rights are protected. If applicable, your partner’s obligations will need to be clearly stated.

When choosing your business name and building your brand name, preemptively protect your business from every standpoint from the get-go. You want to make sure no one can sue you down the road, since copyright infringement can be a huge problem. Consider trademarking the unique name of your business or products, and implement plans to protect any trade secrets as applicable.

To protect you and your business further, consider having confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements with anyone your business will come into contact with.

Also, ensure all processes are legally binding and defined in solid, thorough contracts, from sales of services or goods to supplier agreements, terms and conditions.

There are a host of other legal requirements to consider, so one of the most important steps towards assuring you are doing everything to properly set up and protect your business is choosing a reputable and experienced business law attorney.

At Levin Law Group, our proficient corporate and business lawyers are well equipped to assist you with business laws and customs and provide support with legal challenges when planning, structuring, and conducting business transactions within a wide range of industries, a crucial aspect of any successful business.

Take steps today to have a piece of mind from day one of the intricate process of starting a business, make sure your legal bases are covered, and your rights and interests are protected – contact our business law attorneys today.

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What Should I Do If I Lost My Original Will?

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If an original Last Will has been lost, it can lead to all kinds of interesting legal issues. Specific facts and circumstances, and the law of the state in which the will maker resided or still resides will be all taken into careful consideration.

Now, if the original will has been lost but there is a true copy of the original, it can serve as means to granting probate. In order for this to happen, the executor of the estate needs to prove that the copy is valid, the will was validly signed and witnessed, and that that the original was not intentionally destroyed by the will maker.

In New York State, a copy of the original will may be presented to probate if the administrator or executor is able to establish the following:

– The will was not revoked

– Execution of the will was proved as required for the probate of an original will

– All provisions of the will are clearly and distinctly proven by each of at least two credible witnesses, or by a copy of the will proved to be true and complete

Basically, a copy of a will is not going to be automatically accepted for probate by surrogate courts. A strong proof of each of the abovementioned components is needed, since the law generally postulates that if there was no original, and the will maker has died, it was revoked by the deceased. The law takes extra steps to ensure that the dead person didn’t intentionally revoke the will, and this may only be refuted by presenting all of the three elements.

Moreover, the presumption of revocation is nearly impossible to overcome if the copy of the will is conformed and it’s an unsigned draft where the witnesses are identified but their signatures are actually not on the document. To establish the validity of the will, the witnesses will have to testify that they observed the testator (will maker) sign the Last Will and Testament and that he or she understood the contents and ramifications of the document and possessed the testamentary capacity. This means that the testator knew what he or she was doing at the time the will was executed.

Additionally, the person offering the copy of the will must prove how the original document went missing, whether it was lost or destroyed, and that the testator did not have the knowledge that the document no longer existed.

If the testators make a new will, once it has been executed, they need to make sure the old copy is destroyed in front of their witnesses.

Also, your attorney or someone you trust should keep signed copies of your will, as this would help to establish your intentions in case the original is destroyed.

Since the laws vary from state to state, it’s wise to consult with a knowledgeable wills attorney in your state.

At the Levin Law Group, our experienced and reliable wills and trusts attorneys in New York will assist you in advising and preparing a wide range of estate planning documents, and have supervised and probated thousands of wills for families just like yours.

We invite you to get in touch with us so we can help you take steps to ensure your wishes, interests and assets are protected.

For a free consultation with an estate lawyer and wills attorney in NYC – contact Levin Law Group today.

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2016 Recap – Home Closings by County

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Whether you are buying or selling your first home, second home, vacation home, or an investment property in NYC or NJ – having a real estate attorney by your side will help you handle the deal efficiently, armed with the knowledge of the relevant laws to ensure a successful closing.

Purchasing or selling a home involves the complex law of real property, and legal consequences that can happen during the real estate transactions can cause not only big headaches, but also major problems.

The Levin Law Group’s skilled and trusted real estate lawyers assist individuals and business entities in a broad spectrum of residential and commercial real estate transactions throughout New York State and New Jersey – here’s your 2016 recap:

The counties where we helped close homes included Kings, Queens, New York, Richmond, Bronx, Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester, Rockland, Orange, and Dutchess.

  • Number of purchaser’s represented: 454
  • Number of seller’s represented: 681

Here’s a map with pins at all the counties in which we closed in 2016 – we’re proud and humbled by how many individuals and families placed their trust into our expertise, dedication, and experience.

As their real estate lawyers, we reviewed and assisted with the contracts and other legal documents, such as the deed, mortgage loan documents, bills of sale legal descriptions, plat of survey, and title and title insurance policy, and made sure that the terms of the deal are properly honored for each of our client.

Additionally, both the buyers and sellers of real estate consulted with us regarding vital questions, such as the tax consequences of the purchase or sale, which is especially critical for a seller. The process of closing in itself can be confusing and complex to all parties involved. We assisted in preparing all intricate negotiations and contracts with expertise, which became particularly critical in cases where one or more parties are corporations, trusts or partnerships.

Consulting with and retaining a NY and NJ real estate attorney to represent your interests and protect your rights pays off in numerous ways. During a real estate transaction, addressing and correcting any legal issue right away will save you time, future expenses and hassle.

Your real estate lawyer will not only negotiate on your behalf, but also take steps to ensure that you are aware of any legal particulars in your state, that the contract follows all state laws, and addresses any specific issues that might affect you or the property.

Through many years of experience and commitment to serving our clients, we have come to recognize that each client has different needs, and each real estate transaction and closing requires a different combination of skills to meet those needs.

Take steps to ensure your interests are protected – contact The Levin Law Group today.

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What You Need to Know About AirBNB in NYC

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Every day, thousands of people come to visit New York City from all over the world. Given the high cost of hotel rooms in the city, NYC is the nation’s largest short-term rental market. To connect people looking for accommodations in the city with locals looking to rent their homes an online community marketplace was introduced – Airbnb.

Airbnb offers a platform to rent your home to people for short periods of time. This home sharing site provides ease of home-living convenience and lower costs of renting.

However, in New York City, Airbnb has disrupted private apartment buildings, cooperatives and homes, and it turns out that most Airbnb-type rentals here are illegal. A recent study discovered that more than half of all private short-term rentals on Airbnb seem to violate both state and local laws.

If you have a room or apartment you’re thinking of renting out, especially with the approaching holidays and even more visitors coming to the city – it’s wise to get educated on the laws and regulations for Airbnb in NYC!

In New York, city regulators have been investigating violations of building and safety codes and tax regulations. Federal litigation and state law making has lead to regulation and court battles, and in at attempt to prevent hosts from running illegal rentals, or hotels, stiff penalties have been enacted as of last year.

Today, it’s crucial to consult a law and tax professional to help determine the liabilities of your Airbnb listing in New York.

One of the laws states that, while hosts can still have listings at different addresses, Airbnb no longer permits hosts to have more than one listing at any single address in New York City.

It used to be un-hosted or hosted renting, however, hosts can now be fined up to $7,500 for listing properties on Airbnb for short-term rentals if the host is not present.

Almost all short-term rental units are now at risk for fines if the host fails to follow the New York City building code.

Airbnb has become a popular online community. If you own a home, and are considering short-term rentals, or boarders, you should stay abreast of the legal regulations and changes in law in your community.

With so many guidelines to keep in mind before listing your space on the website and becoming a host – it makes good business sense to hire a lawyer to review the zoning codes and laws of your neighborhood, town and state, and help you navigate through complex transactions and protect your assets and your rights.

When searching for a New York Real Estate Lawyer, the Levin Law Group is your source. Our experienced, competent real estate attorneys can assist individuals and business entities in a broad spectrum of residential and commercial real estate transactions throughout New York State.

Contact our real estate attorneys in NYC and other nearby areas today for all of your real estate property needs.

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2017 U.S. Population – By State

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How does your state’s population stand up against the rest of the U.S.? Guess how many people live in your state, then check the map to see if you were close.

Click image below to enlarge.


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All About Deeds – What You Need to Know

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If you are wondering about who should be on the deed of a house, and what do you need to know about deeds – you are not alone. The complexity of the real estate transaction and all the legal terms can be rather confusing. Some of the legal concepts that many people mistakenly confuse and think they are the same thing are property deeds and titles.

A deed is a legal document that specifies ownership of property or real estate, and represents a written and signed tool used to transfer the ownership from an old owner to a new owner. A deed also warrants title. It includes a description of the real estate or property involved, the names of the prospective parties, and the signature of the seller.

Here are some things you need to know about deeds that are legally required:

  • The deed must be in writing, and signed by all parties if more than one person owns the property.
  • A deed is created every time a person or a business entity acquires interest in a property.
  • The seller must have legal capacity over the property, and the buyer must be able to receive the property and be able to make a valid contract.
  • The deed must include all of the necessary legal language to transfer the property, and the real estate involved needs to be described in detail.
  • This deed needs to be legally delivered to the person purchasing the property, who must legally accept the deed.
  • There are multiple types of deeds depending on the situation, they are categorized by the type of title warranty provided by the person selling the property.
  • Generally, only condos and houses have a deed, not the coops.
  • You can add a spouse, family member or partner to a deed, remove an individual from a deed.

If you are a homeowner, the following reasons and life events would prompt you to make changes to your deed:

  • Purchasing or selling a home
  • Transferring ownership to a Corporation, LLC or Trust
  • Getting married or getting divorced
  • Refinancing a mortgage
  • Taking equity out of a home
  • Getting a home equity line of credit
  • Gifting a home
  • Executing the last will and testament of a relative

If you need to do a deed transfer, it’s crucial to understand that a poorly executed transfer can turn into a costly mistake. Real estate transactions involve real property law, so make sure your interests and rights are protected – have a real estate lawyer to guide you and help prevent many legal consequences that can happen during the process.

An experienced and trustworthy real estate attorney can advise you on the best type of deed to use, whether a deed transfer would violate the terms of your mortgage, tax consequences of transferring your deed, which deed to use to avoid future liability and the best way to take title (ex: tenants in common or joint tenants with right of survivorship).

At Levin Law Group, our skilled and dependable real estate attorneys have handled numerous deed transfers, and will be happy to assist you.

When searching for top New York State and New Jersey real estate law firms, trust the Levin Law Group to assist you with a wide spectrum of residential and commercial real estate transactions.

We invite you to contact us today and receive a free consultation.

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10 Mistakes First Time Home Buyers MUST Avoid

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Purchasing a home is a long-term financial investment, and most likely one of the most expensive ones you’ll ever make. Also, if you’re a first time homebuyer, even if you’ve saved enough for a nice down payment, buying real estate may be a much more complex transaction then you may know.

Your dream of owning a nice home could turn into a financial nightmare, so knowing the dangerous mistakes of the buying process may help you prevent them and turn your dream into reality.

Here are 10 of the costliest mistakes you could make as a first time home-buyer, and tips on how to get the most out of your purchase:

1. Not Budgeting for Your Loan

The truth is, what you know you can afford or are comfortable with paying and what the bank determines you can borrow are not necessarily the same. If you haven’t already, create a budget now. Make a list of all your monthly expenses, minus rent, and include vehicle costs, student loan payments, credit card payments, groceries, health insurance, retirement savings, and major expenses that only occur once a year (any insurance premiums you pay annually, annual vacations, etc.). Subtract this total from your net earnings and you’ll know how much you can spend on your new home each month. Using a mortgage calculator to research current interest rates will give you an estimate of what your total mortgage payments will be.

Often times, people look at homes that are outside of their price range, and end up desiring something they cannot afford – which can put some in the dangerous position of trying to stretch beyond their means financially, or cause them to feel unhappy with what they actually can afford. It’s much wiser to stay realistic, and work with what you are truly comfortable with at this point of your life.

2. Not Getting Pre-Approved

Since what you think you can afford and what the bank is willing to lend you may be quite different, especially if you have poor credit or unstable income, make sure to get pre-approved before putting an offer on any homes – even if they sound like the best deals. If you sign a contract only to discover that the bank won’t lend you what you need, or that they’re only willing to give you a mortgage that you find unacceptable, it will be a huge disappointment and a waste of everyone’s effort and time.

Also, know that even if you have been pre-approved, your loan can fall through at the last minute due to a change in your credit score, such as financing a car purchase. If you cause the deal to fall through, it may cost you the several thousand dollars that you gave when you went under contract.

3. Not Considering Additional Expenses

Once you become a homeowner, expenses you’ll be responsible for will arise in addition to your monthly payment, such as property taxes, insuring your home against disasters and making any repairs the house needs (which can include costly items such as a new roof or a new AC system).

If you’re buying a condo, you’ll be part of a homeowner’s association and you’ll have to pay monthly maintenance costs regardless of whether anything needs fixing. This can amount to a couple of hundred dollars a month in the form of condominium fees, and not budgeting for this can have a great impact on you.

4. Not Being Flexible Enough

As a first-time homebuyer, you often have to make compromises because your funds may be limited, or there may be time constraints. While you can create a lovely long wish list of things you’d like to have in your new home, don’t make a mistake of being inflexible and as a result continuing to rent for significantly longer than you really want to, and can realistically afford to. Being flexible may mean that you initially accept outdated decor, or say yes to a place without that extra room or bathroom.

5. Not Having a Vision

Hand in hand with not being flexible, many homeowners make a mistake of not having a vision, so remember that it might be worth it to live with the undesirable style for a while in exchange for getting into a house you can afford. If a home meets your needs in terms of the big things that are difficult to change, such as location and size, don’t let physical imperfections turn you away – instead, see the possibilities and potentials. Plus, doing home upgrades yourself, even if you have to hire a contractor, is often cheaper than paying the increased home value to a seller who has already done the work for you, and may provide even more freedom for getting things done just the way you want.

6. Not Considering Home Re-Sale Value

First time homebuyers are often too swept away to think about the home’s resale value. Instead of paying extra for a home that had minor upgrades and cosmetic fixes and ends up costing you much more, consider homes whose full potential has yet to be realized, especially if you’re on a budget. First-time homebuyers should always look for a house they can add value to, and think about if or when the time comes, will your house be easy to sell, and will selling it provide a nice sum to put down on another home?

7. Not Focusing on the Crucial Things

While you’ll probably have to make some compromises in order to afford your first home, they should not be on the very important things. For instance, unless it’s a very temporary place or bought as an investment, don’t get a two-bedroom home knowing you’re planning to have kids and will need three+ bedrooms; or, don’t buy a condo just because it may be cheaper when one of the main reasons you’re over apartment life is because you hate sharing walls with neighbors.

8. Not Hiring Home Inspection

It’s alluring to think that you’re a homeowner the moment you go into escrow – but before you close on the sale, make sure you know what kind of shape the house is in. While a place may look nice, you want to ensure you’re not getting stuck with a money pit or with the expenses and inconvenience of needing to do a lot of unexpected repairs. Hire a licensed, independent home inspector to get a full picture of the house’s physical condition, it will help you avoid making a serious financial mistake.

9. Not Hiring Your Own Agent

Get an experienced agent to represent you before you start seriously shopping around. Given the complexities associated with the process of buying a home, it’s hard to know and understand all the ins and outs of the market, effectively compete with aggressive bids, and stay protected financially and legally.

Since so much can go wrong with a home purchase that can result in long-term financial consequences, it’s wise to also hire an experienced real estate attorney, who is up to date in current real estate laws of your state. He or she will review all the terms of such an important transaction and may be able to alert you to potential issues with the deal.

10. Not Thinking About the Future

While you cannot perfectly predict the future of your new neighborhood, paying attention to the available information can help you avoid unpleasant surprises down the road.

Seek answers about your prospective property to find out what kind of development plans may be in the works for your neighborhood, what are the zoning laws in your area, if your street is likely to become a major street or a rush-hour shortcut, if a highway is likely to be built too close, what is likely to get built on the nearby undeveloped land, if home values in the neighborhood have been declining, what is the proximity of schools, shops, hospitals, etc. If you’re aligned with the answers, then your house’s location is likely to be in the neighborhood that you will enjoy living in.

Buying a first home can be very exciting, and also stressful, with potential pitfalls – do your best to protect yourself from costly mistakes and shop with more ease and confidence.

At the Levin Law Group, our real estate lawyers are here to help you navigate the complicated waters of buying a home.

Take steps to ensure your interests are protected – contact the Levin Law Group’s experienced and dedicated real estate attorneys today.

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Brooklyn Office°

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Queens Office*

3537 36th Street
Astoria, NY 11106
(718) 554-5652

Westchester Office*

199 Main Street, 4th Floor
White Plains, NY 10601
(914) 274-2045

Staten Island Office*

837 Father Capodanno Blvd
Staten Island, NY 10305
(718) 554-5687

Rockland – Orange – Putnam*

Rockland - Orange - Putnam
Please use Westchester Office
(914) 274-2045

Suffolk Office*

445 Broad Hollow Rd., Suite 25
Melville, NY 11747
(631) 306-0057

Manhattan (Harlem)*

8 W 126th Street
New York, NY 10027
(212) 365-0934

Office Disclaimer

° Principal Office
* By Appointment Only
(shared office space)

New Jersey Office*

50 US Highway 9 North 125
Morganville, NJ 07751
(732) 474-6410|