Resolve Liens & Violations

  • Gene Keyser
  • 05/16/20
Is that deck legal? Did you file permits for that new kitchen? Do you need to? Is your property really a two-family home, or is it possible that you have an illegal conversion? These questions are part of the due diligence process and you’ll need to be able to answer all of them correctly and confidently when they come up with serious buyers. If they come up after you’ve accepted an offer, you’ll find yourself in a terrible negotiating position.
As part of the due diligence process, your buyer’s home inspector will look for any material issues, defects, or code violations. The buyer’s legal team and the bank will look for any violations issued by the DOB and the Environmental Control Board (ECB). There are a few things you can do to avoid unpleasant surprises when they do.
One way to be properly prepared before they discover anything wrong is to go to Here to see details about any open permits or violations on your property. If you’re an owner, you can also go to your borough Department of Buildings office. Though such a visit could take an entire day, it may be worth it to know whether there’s anything to worry about with your property. If you find open permits or violations, you either have to close them (usually with some kind of proof of remediation, and payment of any fines), or get an architect/expediter to describe what’s wrong, how to fix it, and how much it will cost.
You might also consider hiring your own home inspector, a thorough building contractor, or an architect to make sure you are aware of any structural, electrical, or mechanical issues.
In many cases, issues can be easily fixed or cleared up. They may turn out to be small problems when presented to potential purchasers at the right time, or with appropriately prepared statements. Trying to fix all the problems yourself could take a very long time and might turn out to cost too much. With proper guidance and a plan from experienced professionals, and with appropriate and timely disclosure to a serious and educated buyer, you could instead structure even a complicated problem into the selling price, or extend the time to complete a project after closing a sale. There’s a lot of minutiae to wade through, particularly in New York, and the pros have learned all kinds of interesting ways to make things work.
Think of the process as an opportunity to head off future problems and to lay the groundwork for a good relationship with your buyer.
To learn more about how to find buyers who are ready to close, and to understand more about how to make the whole sales process simpler and easier, download our free comprehensive guide to selling your home.

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For 15 years, we’ve helped clients navigate the fast-paced real estate landscape of New York City. We’ve gained a reputation for our hands-on, disciplined approach. From finance to architecture, our deep understanding of New York City’s unique market ensures our clients come out on top when selling their property—and when buying the next one.