Paperwork needed to Sell a House in Queens

Documents required for Sale of Property in Queens NYC, by George Herrera, Realtor/Co-Owner of the Queens Home Team at Keller Williams Realty.

If you’re thinking of selling your home in Queens NY, you’ve probably wondered about the documents required for sale of property in Queens and when you will need them by. Fortunately for you there aren’t that many documents required, however, there are some important things you should know about the documents that you do need during the Queens home selling process. Below is a list of the most common documents that are needed in order to sell your Queens’ house. We are starting out with the legally required documents needed in order to go into contract and close on the sale. For a list of documents required in order to get your house on the market, scroll down to the bottom of the page.

If you are selling with an agent, these are the documents you will need in order to get your property on the market:

New York State Agency Disclosure

New York State law requires real estate licensees who are acting as agents of buyers or sellers of property to advise the potential buyers or sellers with whom they work of the nature of their agency relationship and the rights and obligations it creates. This disclosure will help you to make informed choices about your relationship with the real estate broker and its sales agents. As a home seller, your Agency Disclosure should be filled out by your listing agent as “Agent X acting in the best interest of the [ ] Seller as [ ] Seller’s Agent. Make sure that your agent also explains to you the ramifications and considerations regarding Dual Agency & Dual Agency with Designated Sales Agents.

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How to Sell a House when Someone Dies

“How to Sell a House in Queens when Someone Dies”, by George Herrera, Realtor and Co-Owner of the Queens Home Team at Keller Williams Realty. 

We do a lot of property sales related to estates here in Queens, and while they can very sad and sensitive situations, they can also be some of the most fulfilling transactions for us because we get to help family members through a very rough time in their lives. Most of the time we are meeting with sons, daughters, or heirs of the decedent(s) and they are usually still grieving as they are trying to get things in order. In Queens, these sales can get somewhat complicated depending on the situation and probate/administration status. On top of that, many times the heir(s) who are handling everything live outside of Queens so that can also make it very burdensome and overwhelming. Whatever the situation, our goal is always to take the reigns and handle as much as we can for them so that they can grieve and rest knowing that their family member’s estate is being taken care of as desired. For this reason, we set out to create a guide on how to sell a house when someone dies. If you have been placed with the responsibility of handling an estate sale for a deceased loved one, this will help you make sure that you have all your ducks in a row.

The first thing you have to know in these situations is that In New York State, the Surrogate’s Court decides what happens to a person’s property when that person dies. The judge in Surrogate’s Court is called the Surrogate, and the person who died is called the Decedent. That person’s property is called the estate. When a person dies and leaves a Will then they died testate. If the person died without leaving a Will, then they died intestate.

Estate Proceedings

There are three different kinds of estate proceedings in Surrogate’s Court, however, one of them is for descendants who had personal property of $30K or less so for the purposes of this article we will focus on probate and administration proceedings.


  • If the Decedent had a will, then you file for probate.
  • If the Decedent didn’t have a will, then you file for administration.



How to Sell your House in Queens NY

How to sell your house in Queens NY, by George Herrera, Realtor and Co-Owner of the Queens Home Team at Keller Williams Realty.

If you want to know how to sell your house in Queens NY, you’re in the right place. Whether you’re thinking of selling now or in the future, you’ve probably wondered what the steps to selling are and what you should do in preparation for the sale. Fortunately for you we’ve sold over 200 houses in Queens so we’re extremely familiar with the process, and we understand all of the steps involved for different scenarios, situations and property types.

With that said, below are 24 of the most common steps involved with selling a house in Queens NY. Some steps may vary, but most of these will apply every time. If you have any questions or would like some advice on selling, feel free to contact us anytime.

Step 1

Find out How much your Home is Worth

The first step to selling a house in Queens is obviously knowing how much the property is worth. This valuation is vital because it helps you and your family plan for the next steps with a realistic sale price expectation. You can go about this in one of two ways: 1) You can hire an independent appraiser to conduct an appraisal for you (this typically costs about $300-$400). Or 2) You can have a local Realtor come by and tell you what the property is worth (typically free of charge). If you decide to go the Realtor route, make sure you get at least three opinions because some agents are more thorough than others. Either eay, this should give you a good idea of the value. Also, keep in mind that “Appraised Value” is different from “Market Value” so the idea is just to get an idea of the appraised value. Ultimately you won’t know the true “market value” until you hit the market and open the bidding up to all interested parties. This is your first step in knowing how to sell your house in queens ny.

Step 2

Calculate your Net Profit, Potential Tax Burden, Tax Options, etc.

Once you have a good idea of the property’s value, the next thing you want to do is find out how much you would walk away with after the sale. This is the number that really matters because your net profit is what you will have left over to proceed with the next chapter in your life. Seller closing costs in Queens include: NYC transfer taxes, NYS transfer taxes, your Attorney fee(s), Listing broker commission, Buyer broker commission, Mortgage payoff(s), Home Equity Loan Payoff(s), Title Fees, etc. Once you have an idea of your estimated net profit, you can then speak with a tax advisor regarding your potential tax burden (i.e. Capital Gains) and different Tax Options available (i.e. 1031 exchange). For a complete breakdown of this step on How to Sell your House in Queens NY, contact us and we can send you a Queens closing costs spreadsheet.

Step 3

Decide whether or not to Sell

At this point, you should have a family discussion and decide whether now is indeed the right time to sell. You should have all of the information you need to make this decision so it ultimately comes down to selling, or holding. Try not to speculate as to where the market is going to be 1 month, 6 months, or 1 year from now because at the end of the day, it is just that, speculation. We tell all of the homeowners we meet, selling is all about timing. Usually when people sell, it is because they are ready to unload their property, take their equity, and move in to a new chapter. Either that, or they are in a situation that requires them to sell. Either way, the decision to sell is usually pretty clear.

Step 4

Get your Ducks in a Row

Once you’ve decided to sell, now you need to get your things in order. A lot of these Queens’ houses are very old, and depending on whether you inherited the property or purchased it, there are a lot of documents that you want to gather in order to streamline the sale. You definitely want to locate your old title report, your property deed, any mortgage records, payoff statements, ownership/transfer documents, violation documents, lien documents, wills, administration/probate documents, surveys, certificate of occupancies, etc.

Tips: If you are handling an estate sale, you will need to make sure that the proper probate or administration proceeding is filed with the surrogates court before listing the house. If the person who passed away lived out of state and the probate was done in that state, you will still need to file an ancillary probate in New York State so you will need to get that filed before listing. If you are a non-resident of New York, you will need to pay capital gains at closing so you should get an idea of the amount from a local CPA. If you have tenants, you should notify them of the sale asap and if they don’t have a lease or the lease has ended, we would advise sending a notice of termination and starting a holdover case if necessary.

We have seen so many issues pop up because these things were not looked into ahead of time. For more advice on this step of how to sell your house in Queens NY, feel free to reach out to us and we can give you some general advice.

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Queens Real Estate Market: 2016 Year in Review + 2017 Market Outlook

tmiqre_headerBy George Herrera, Realtor and Co-Owner of the Queens Home Team at Keller Williams Realty.

Year in Review

When it comes to the Queens real estate market, 2016 was an interesting year to say the least. Interest rates remained very low for most of the year, home sales were consistently below 2015 levels, home prices continued to increase at double digit levels, and inventory remained very tight for most areas of Queens. As you can imagine, demand remained very strong last year, especially with all of the publicity that Queens has been receiving.

Most of the houses/apts we sold last year still had multiple offers and ended up selling at or above asking price so the buyers were definitely out there. Constrained inventory however, made it tough for a lot of buyers to purchase and that is likely why home sales were down even with the still low interest rates.

2017 Market Outlook

It’s pretty evident that entry level buyers are looking for affordability, while investors are following the train lines for good rental income and appreciation. We noticed last year that some of our higher priced listings weren’t getting as many offers as they did the year before which was very interesting. On the flipside of that, some of our listings in less talked about neighborhoods were extremely hot and ended up going well over asking price with multiple offers. We expect that trend to continue this year because based on what we see, most Queens’ home buyers are looking for value rather than just to be in the hottest neighborhood.

All in all, even though prices were still rising last year, it wasn’t at the dramatic pace of 2015 and in our opinion that is healthy for the market. 2016 seemed to be more stable, and towards the end of the year, changes were made which could have a significant impact on the Queens real estate market in 2017. With the new administration in office, it will be important to see what housing policies go into effect because they can obviously have an impact on our local Queens’ market.

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How to find Queens Property Records

By George Herrera, Realtor & Co-Owner of the Queens Home Team at Keller Williams Realty.

Whether you’re a homeowner, absentee owner, estate executor, or potential home buyer, you may need to access your Queens County NY property records for one reason or another. Lucky for you, many property records are public record here in Queens and all you have to know is how to access these records in order to get all of the information you need. Below is a list of sites that we use when researching a property that one of our clients is looking to buy or sell. The legwork upfront is always worth it because there are so many issues and items that can come up once you dive into the history of a property. We hope you find this information helpful and useful in your Queens real estate endeavors!

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Seller Concession: What is it and How does it Work?

by George Herrera, Realtor & Co-Owner of the Queens Home Team at Keller Williams Realty. Supporting content provided by Robert Kaplan, P.C.

What is a Seller Concession?

Put simply, a seller concession is when the buyer and seller of a property agree on a purchase price and then also agree to an additional amount (the concession) to help the buyer with their closing costs. For example, let’s say a buyer and seller agree to the purchase price of $500K but the buyer also requested a 6% ($30K) Seller’s Concession in order to assist them with closing costs. If the Seller agrees to offer them a concession, the actual contracted price would be $530K, however, the additional $30K would not go to the seller, it would actually go towards the buyer’s closing costs. Now, in Western, Central, and Northern Queens, Seller’s Concessions are not very common. However, in South Central Queens and in Southeast Queens it is not uncommon to see offers come in with seller concessions included as part of the terms.

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What Nobody Tells you About Selling a Coop in Queens NYC

by George Herrera, Realtor and Listing Specialist with the Queens Home Team at Keller Williams Realty.

We sell a lot of properties here in Queens, and being that we’re in New York City, a lot of them tend to be Coops. Whenever we meet with first time Coop sellers, we always let them know, selling a Coop in Queens NY is a whole different animal. There are so many intricacies and things you have to look out for that if you don’t know what you’re doing, you can very well end up with a management, board, or bank denial which then leaves you right back at square one. Trust us, we’ve learned this the hard way…

With that said, we’ve created a list of all the things you should know when selling a Coop in Queens NY. Most of this is not told to you when you buy, but extremely important if you want to sell and close in a reasonable amount of time.

Minimum Sale Prices

No one will tell you about this because it’s pretty much illegal. Nonetheless, it is very common when selling a Coop in Queens… Here’s what happens, a Coop’s management company or board might not want to see apts sell for less than a certain amount, and the reason can be because they themselves are shareholders and(or) they don’t want to see values go down in the building/development… Either way, it’s a big problem because essentially, these Coops are artificially inflating the prices in their development. The good news is that usually the minimum sale prices are realistic and attainable as long as your Coop is in good condition. The problem arises when you have a less than desirable unit, or if there is a lot of competition in your building/development… For example, we’ve had several situations where the Coop had a minimum sale price, however, ALL of the offers were coming in below that. So, we typically would have to work out some type of agreement whereby the owner agrees to offer a credit to the buyers at closing. This allows the contract to state the minimum sale price, when in reality, the actual sale price is less because the buyer is getting a credit at the closing… Moral of the story, find out if your Coop has a minimum sale price. Sometimes it’s not even a clear answer, but they may be looking for apts to sell in a certain price range… Do your digging because you don’t want to have a board rejection due to a price that was considered too low, trust us, we’ve learned this the hard way…

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Management Company/Board Requirements

Most management Companies and(or) Boards have clear requirements that must be met in order to purchase in their developments. So, it’s important that you know what these requirements are before you decide to sell. Why? Because they may have changed since the time that you purchased, and if you don’t know what these requirements are, you can easily put somebody through that ends up getting rejected. Requirements can vary by Coop so you have to inquire with your own mgmt company and board. For example, some Coops require that debt to income ratio be below 36%, some 34%, some require 30%, and some even have a requirement as low as 26%. Some have set income requirements which can be a set amount or a specific formula like 3 years of monthly maintenance plus 12 months of mortgage pmts if buyer is obtaining financing… Some Coops have reserve requirements… Some have employment history requirements… Some don’t like to see that you own other properties, especially other Coops… Etc, etc, etc… Suffice to say, some Coops are more strict than others but you should always check to make sure you know what they’re looking for before you start selling. The last thing you ever want to do is accept an offer with just a pre-approval and think that’s all you need… Maybe with a house or condo, but not with Coops.

How Coop Values are Determined


When we meet with Coop owners/sellers to help them appraise their apt, it is sometimes a surprise how we come to our valuation. Usually Coop owners understand that the best comps are the ones in their development. This is 100% true for a few reasons… 1) A bank appraiser will always look for comps in the same building and those will always weigh the heaviest in an appraisal report. They really don’t like to use comps from outside the building so they will go even further back if they have to find something. 2) Buyers have all the same data as agents, sellers, etc. In other words, they (like you) can see all of the recent sales in your building when they’re on Trulia, Zillow, etc. so it’s very hard to justify a large difference in price for another comparable unit in the same building and which are typically very similar in size. Early in our careers, we tried to help Sellers get more money because apts nearby were selling for more than the ones in their building, however, we ended up learning a harsh lesson that Coop sales in the same development are always the clearest indicator of value.

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Renovations Add Value, but not As Much as they do in Houses


When it comes to Coops, renovations & upgrades add value, but unfortunately, it is usually very limited. In our experience, renovations will not add more than $20-$30K (in most cases). In other words, when we comp out Coops, the sales usually range from the original condition units at one price, and the renovated units at another, typically $20K – $30K higher. As a rule of thumb, try to keep kitchen renovations under $15K and bathroom renovations under $5K, that will ensure that you at least recoup the money you spent.

To put this into perspective, let’s say you own a 1 BR Coop on the sixth floor of your building, and the highest sale price for a 1 BR in the building (within the last 6 months) is $190K, another 5 units sold from $165K – $185K. As in most cases, that sale probably had a renovated kitchen and renovated bath, that’s why they were able to fetch top dollar. Let’s say that unit was on the third floor (3 floors down), but aside from that, everything was pretty similar. Now, your apt is fully renovated, DIAMOND condition! Quartz counter tops, viking appliances, mirage hardwood floors, marble bath, spa shower, perfectly staged, etc… You spent about $50K to renovate that apt, and it looks amazing! The problem is, that the highest you can probably justify for that apt (in my opinion) is around $200K-$210K. The reason why you are limited to a “max sale price” is because you have to sell it to the bank too. In other words, the deal still has to appraise, otherwise you run into problems. With that said, put yourself in a bank appraiser’s shoes and imagine how hard it would be to justify $50K in added value from an apt that is in the same building and similar in size. The answer, it is very hard. Maybe you can get $10K-$15K for the kitchen and $5K-$10K for the bath, but anything over that may be a reach because appraisers typically classify the condition of properties as “poor”, “fair”, “good”, and “excellent”. There’s no section in an appraisal report for all of your personal preferences, high end materials, etc. Moral of the story, don’t go crazy with your renovations unless your okay with the possibility of not getting the dollar for dollar return. Trust us, we’ve met with owners who put up to $100K into a small apartment only to realize that there is no way they’re getting that back from a sale.

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Certain things can Affect Financing in your Building/Development

Something important to know is the fact that Coop bank deals, like many Residential bank deals, follow certain Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac guidelines. I won’t pretend to be an expert in Coop financing, but I can tell you what issues we run into more frequently so that you can hopefully preempt and avoid them… One of the issues that can affect financing in your development is if more than 50% of the units are rent occupied… Another issue is if over 10% of the units are sponsor owned… And another common issue is if the Coops financials don’t look good. For example, if the financial stmts, reserves, budget, etc. don’t look healthy, banks may not be willing to lend there. These items are important to know because if your Coop is facing any of these issues, you may need to find a cash buyer which means your pricing will need to be more aggressive otherwise you may sit on the market for a while. And contrary to popular belief, cash buyers are not running out in drones to buy Coops. I would say 95% of the coops we sell are to buyers obtaining loans.

Some Things are out of your Control

We sell so many Coops that we unfortunately get to see a whole bunch of different situations which cannot be explained nor justified. For example, we sold an apt in one development where “supposedly” they didn’t want to sell to any single males because they had a problem with people in the past throwing parties and making too much noise. Then there was another one where we heard that the board wanted to change the demographic of the building so they were only selling to a certain demographic and denying all other applicants. We also had one where the board kept denying our buyers because the managing agent owned the apt upstairs from our unit and she wanted to buy it in order to convert it into a duplex. Another Coop supposedly wouldn’t sell to retirees. Moral of the story, when you sell a Coop you are unfortunately at the mercy of the board, and if there are any inner workings going on that you don’t know about, your buyer may get denied. In all honesty though, most Coops run a smooth and non-bias operation. However, there are some developments out there that are doing some shady, discriminatory, and sometimes even criminal activities. Obviously you can’t control that, but when you decide to sell, it’s not a bad idea to talk to some board members and get as much advice as possible before you hit the market. One thing that is always helpful is having a good relationship with a board member and the management company. We’ve seen these type of relationships help Coop owners in many ways during the selling process.

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The Importance of your Original Stock Certificate


This is your proof of ownership and it is very important for you to have the original when you go to sell a Coop. If you have a current mortgage on the apt, than your lender will most likely have the original, however, we have seen cases where the loan was sold or transferred to another bank and then the stock certificate was lost in translation. That deal ended up falling apart because it took too long to track down the original stock certificate. Therefore, it’s a good idea to locate the stock certificate early because if you wait until you find a buyer, you may run into an issue that delays contracts which means risk of losing your buyer altogether…

Your Offering Plan and what Happens if you Don’t Have It

queens-coop-offering-planThe offering plan for your building is the prospectus of the building when it was originally converted into Coops. In short, it’s that big book you received when you bought the apt. If you remember the book but didn’t keep it or don’t know where it is, you will need to purchase one because that, along with the last two years financials, are what most buyer attorneys will ask before going into contract with you. The only exception is if your development was originally built as a Coop in which case there would not have been an offering plan… Also good information to know 🙂

Well, we hope you find this information helpful. If you have any questions or would like some advice before selling your Coop, feel free to reach out anytime…

Blog & site courtesy of George and Abigail Herrera with the Queens Home Team at Keller Williams Realty Landmark II.

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