Strategies to make a sound investment in Buffalo

Investing in Buffalo is a good choice. With an Olmsted Park system (the designer of New York City’s Central Park), an expansive arts community, an extensive waterfront, low cost of living combined with high quality of life, world-renown bio-medical research centers and architecture, and numerous colleges and universities.

In making the decision to invest in Buffalo, it is important to have accurate and informed information to protect yourself from the pitfalls of un-informed real estate transactions.

Pre-Purchase:

Understand that Buffalo is no different from all other cities across the nation, in that city assessments are often not “real time” reflections of market value. The areas that are appreciating tend to have lower assessed values than actual value. Similarly, areas that are depreciating tend to have higher assessed values than actual value. Consult a local real estate professional to know which areas are appreciating, about to appreciate, or are in a downturn. Additionally, we strongly recommend that you visit Buffalo and your prospective property.

Better Business Bureau – Work with the Better Business Bureau to learn about reputable businesses. The BBB maintains files on many companies in our service area and even some outside of our service area. A BBB report can help you determine if a company you are considering dealing with has a good record with the BBB. These reports will tell you how long the company has been in business, how long the BBB has known about the company, what the BBB files show about complaint patterns, and whether the company is pre-committed to a dispute resolution program. If the company is a member of the BBB, the report will indicate that fact. The report will also note if the company has been the subject of any enforcement actions taken by a government agency such as the Federal Trade Commission, State Attorney General, etc. The report may also contain general information about the nature of the company’s business. The report usually covers activity for the past three years.

www.upstateny.bbb.org/
Better Business Bureau, Inc.
741 Delaware Ave., Ste. 100
Buffalo, NY 14209-2201
Phone (716) 881-5222 or (800)828-5000
Fax (716) 883-5349

NYS Licensed Real Estate Agent or Broker

Is the person you are buying from a licensed real estate professional? If you are not local and/or plan on buying sight unseen, pay a little money for the services of a real estate professional as indicated below. This could save you thousands of dollars in the long run.

Property Managers must be licensed Real Estate Brokers or be a licensed Real Estate Agent working under the license of a Real Estate Broker (with broker’s permission).

Find out more about the licensing of real estate professionals in NYS:

http://www.dos.state.ny.us/lcns/rebsfaq.html

New York State Department of State
Division of Licensing Services
84 Holland Ave.
Albany, NY 12208-3490
Phone (518) 474- 4429
Fax (518) 473-6648

Certify that the real estate agent or broker you are working with is licensed by NYS: http://appsext8.dos.state.ny.us/lcns_public/chk_load

REALTOR®

Expect a higher level of professionalism from those Agents and Brokers
who are members of the National Association of Realtors. Find a
professional at: www.realtor.com or to find a REALTOR® practicing in
Buffalo, NY:

http://www.realtor.com/FindReal

Find a REALTOR® who is a member of the Buffalo Niagara Association of Realtors:

http://www.bnar.org/

Buffalo

Niagara Association of Realtors
100 Sylvan Parkway
Amherst, New York 14228
Phone: (716) 636-9000
Fax: (716) 636-9121

NYS Licensed Home Inspectors

Find your own home inspector independent from the seller, mortgage broker or appraiser. In other words find your own home inspector so that you can be sure they are working for YOU. Home inspections are necessary to detect and recommend issues of concern. Home inspectors are not allowed to perform repairs found in their home inspections. Referrals for repair from home inspectors should be given the same examination that is due any large contract for home remodeling and rehabilitation.

It is a good idea to find a home inspector professional who is a member of the industry’s professional organization:

The American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI)
www.ashi.org
932 Lee Street, Suite 101
Des Plaines, Illinois, 60016
Phone: (800) 743-ASHI (2744)
(847) 759-2820
Fax: (847) 759-1620

Ensure that the home inspector is licensed by NYS by checking with the NYS Department of State:
http://appsext8.dos.state.ny.us/lcns_public/chk_load

New York State Department of State
Division of Licensing Services
84 Holland Ave.
Albany, NY 12208-3490
Phone: (518) 474- 4429
Fax: (518) 473-6648

Purchase:

Sign a Real Estate Purchase Contract

It is in your best interest to sign a real estate purchase contract even though it is not required by law in New York. In New York once a real estate purchase contract is signed, state law REQUIRES a property condition disclosure, or the payment of $500 from the seller to waive the buyer’s right to a property condition disclosure.

Lead disclosures are also required.

As a buyer, if you waive this right, you have no recourse if the
property is found to be in poorer condition that you thought. Similarly, buying a property “as is” gives no guarantee or warranty of the property condition.

Do Not Accept Financing or a Broker Referral from the Seller

Find your own mortgage broker. Allowing the seller to “hook you up” creates a condition ripe for fraud. There is no guarantee that the seller, broker, and appraiser are not in collusion to defraud you. Play it safe — find a broker on your own. Mortgage brokers are not licensed in New York.

Your best bet is to find a mortgage broker professional who is a member of the industry’s professional organizations:

National Association of Mortgage Brokers (NAMB)
http://www.namb.org/namb/Default.asp

National Association of Mortgage Brokers
7900 Westpark Drive, Suite T309
McLean, VA 22102
Phone: (703) 342-5900
Fax: (703) 342-5905

New York Association of Mortgage Brokers
http://www.nyamb.org/htdocs/index.htm

New York Association of Mortgage Brokers
25 North Broadway
Tarrytown, NY 10591
Phone: (914) 332-6233
Fax: (914) 332-1541

Use Your Own Attorney

Do not accept a referral to an attorney from the seller. As a buyer, you need an attorney working for YOU. An attorney can not look out for your interests as a buyer if they are also working for the seller.

Here is a pamphlet describing what an attorney can do when you are buying or selling property:

The Attorney’s Role in Buying or Selling a House (Courtesy of the New York State Bar Association)

Find attorney’s who are members of the Bar Association:

Bar Association of Erie County

http://www.eriebar.org/

The Bar Association of Erie County
438 Main Street, 6th Floor
Buffalo, NY 14202
Phone: (716) 852-8687
Fax: (716) 852-7641

or the New York State Bar Association

http://www.nysba.org/

NYS Bar Association
1 Elk Street
Albany, NY 12207
Phone: (518) 463-3200
Fax: (518) 487-5517

or the American Bar Association
http://www.abanet.org/

American Bar Association
321 North Clark Street
Chicago, IL 60610
Phone: (800) 285-2221

Post-Purchase:

Use Licensed Contractors

It is required by state law that a contract be written in a standard manner and signed before work is begun on a property. Additionally, NO WORK IS ALLOWED TO BEGIN for 3 days after the contract is signed, meaning you have 3 days to rescind the contract. New York imposes civil penalties to those who commit fraud, who perform work without being licensed, and those who perform work without a contract or a correct contract.

To Find a Licensed Contractor in the City of Buffalo:

http://www.ci.buffalo.ny.us
City of Buffalo
Office of Licenses
Phone: (716) 851-4078

To see if the contractor is a member of the (BBB) Better Business Bureau or to report a contractor:
http://www.buffalo.bbb.org/

Better Business Bureau
741 Delaware Ave.
Buffalo, NY 14202
Phone: (716) 881-5222 or (800) 828-5000
Fax: (716) 883-5349

To File Civil Action Against a Contractor:
Contact the NYS Attorney General
http://www.oag.state.ny.us/

Office of NYS Attorney General
Buffalo Office
Statler Towers
107 Delaware Ave.
Buffalo, NY 14202
Phone: (716) 853-8400

Property Managers:

A reputable property manager is vital to conducting an ethical business. As it currently stands, these individuals are licensed under New York State law. A property manager must be a licensed real estate broker, or be a licensed agent and hang their license with a broker in order to practice.

These individuals are regulated by New York Department of State. To file a complaint against a property manager contact:
http://www.dos.state.ny.us/cnsl/complain.html

NYS Department of State
Division of Licensing Services
Complaint Review Office
123 William Street, 19th Floor
New York, NY 10038-3804
Phone: (212) 417-5790

Report Bad Actors:

The Anti-Flipping Task Force (AFTF):

The AFTF investigates EVERY tip that comes to us. We are actively working on investigating these complaints incollaboration with every level of law enforcement: City of Buffalo Prosecutor and Inspectors, NYS Attorney General’s Office, HUD OIG, U.S. Attorney’s office and the FBI.

Contact us at: flipping@wnylc.com

Report concerns about professionals to the appropriate Government office and Professional Organization:

Contractor

Contact the NYS Attorney General:
http://www.oag.state.ny.us/

Office of NYS Attorney General
Buffalo Office
Statler Towers
107 Delaware Ave.
Buffalo, NY 14202
Phone: (716) 853-8400

Agent or Broker

Real estate agents and brokers are licensed by the Department of State and must abide by the conditions set forth. To make a complaint contact:

New York State Department of State
http://www.dos.state.ny.us/cnsl/complain.html

NYS Department of State
Division of Licensing Services
Complaint Review Office
123 William Street, 19th Floor
New York, NY 10038-3804
Phone: (212) 417-5790

and to Buffalo Niagara Association of Realtors
http://www.bnar.org/

Daniel Locche
Government Affairs Director
Buffalo Niagara Association of Realtors
100 Sylvan Parkway
Amherst, New York 14228
Phone: (716) 636-9000
Fax: (716) 636-9121

Property Manager

To make a complaint contact:

New York State Department of State
http://www.dos.state.ny.us/cnsl/complain.html

NYSDepartment of State
Division of Licensing Services
Complaint Review Office
123 William Street, 19th Floor
New York, NY 10038-3804
Phone: (212) 417-5790

Mortgage Broker:

Contact the NYS Banking Department
http://www.banking.state.ny.us/

Superintendentof Banks
New York State Banking Department
One State Street
New York, NY 10004-1417

Attorney:

The Bar Association of Erie County
www.eriebar.org

438 Main Street, 6th Floor
Buffalo, NY 14202
Phone: (716) 852-8687
Fax: (716) 852-7641

Attorney Grievance Committee
http://www.nycourts.gov/

Grievance Committee for the Eighth Judicial District
Ellicott Square Building
438 Main Street, Suite 800
Buffalo, NY 14202-3212
Phone: (716) 845-3630

New York State Bar Association
http://www.nysba.org

1 Elk Street
Albany, NY 12207
Phone: (518) 463-3200

American Bar Association
http://www.abanet.org

321 North Clark Street
Chicago, IL 60610
Phone: (800) 285-2221

Comments are closed.