Selling a Condo in NYC: Condominium Seller Closing Costs

Real Estate Attorney NYC

Closing Costs for a Sale of a Condominium Unit

Probably the best way of looking at your Closing Costs for a Sale of a Condominium Unit is that they will be divided into four (4) different categories. The four (4) primary categories are:

  1. Brokerage Commission Fees;
  2. Condominium/Managing Agent Fees;
  3. Title Fees; and
  4. Taxes.
1. Brokerage Commission

1. Brokerage Commission Fees

Brokerage Commissions may vary depending on the particular geographical region that you are located and based upon the particular market condition that you are in. For instance, if you are in what is commonly known as a “Seller’s Market Place”, the Brokerage Commission may be a bit less, depending upon the aggressiveness of various Brokers. As a general rule, a Brokerage Commission is 6% of the Purchase Price. When getting ready to sell a property you should count on the Brokerage Commission being 6% of the Purchase Price. From experience, Brokers that are very well versed in the particular area of selling Condominiums, especially those that are well known in the industry generally do not budge from the 6% position of their entitlement to a Brokerage Commission.

Most people agree that having a Broker involved with the particular transaction is a very highly positive maneuver. The Broker may assist in negotiating prices and maximize the potential that a Seller will receive. Regardless, there are many Sellers that proceed with what is commonly known as “SBO” and/or a “FSBO” transaction, which is “For Sale By Owner”. This is dealt with in another section of this website entitled FSBO. It speaks for itself, that a true “For Sale By Owner Transaction”, you do not generally pay a Brokerage Commission. However, this is not always the case.

There are a lot of instances in which although you are selling and announcing that the transaction is “For Sale By Owner”, it may be that the Purchaser that actually visits the Unit is accompanied by a Broker. In such situations the Broker, is entitled to a Brokerage Commission. Sometimes there may be negotiations with that particular Broker so the 6% commission is not 6% but be a lower commission structure. However, under all circumstances, it is imperative to have in writing your Brokerage Commission Agreement. One should never be in a situation where the Brokerage Commission is a debatable proposition. As such, under all circumstances, there must and should be written Brokerage Agreement.

2. Condominium/Managing Agent Fees- Review the Condominium Board Application

2. Condominium/Managing Agent Fees- Review the Condominium Board Application

Many people assume that since they are selling a Condominium that the Condominium itself does not have fees nor the requirement of submitting an application. Both these assumptions are wrong. First, there is a Condominium Application that is required to be submitted by a Seller. Unlike the Cooperative, it is the Seller who is required to submit the Condominium Application. In particular the Condominium has the right to either exercise and/or waive its right of first refusal. Due to this concept, a Condominium has the right to issue or not issue its waiver of the right of first refusal. There will be the requirement of the submission of a Condominium Board Application. It is the Seller who is responsible for the ultimate submission of this particular application, although it is mostly the Purchaser’s information that is required. As such, any good Purchaser along with their attorney will review the Condominium Board Application to understand what requirements and more particularly for this particular Closing Cost Section, what fees are attributable to the sale. Common fees are indicated below.

  • Condominium Attorney Fee: The Condominium’s Attorney fee is approximately $ 500.00. The Condominium that you are involved with may need to retain an Attorney to review documents or prepare or take other further necessary action that may be deemed necessary by the Condominium. Generally, unless negotiated differently, this fee falls upon the Seller.
  • Flip Tax/Transfer Fee: The Flip Tax/Transfer Fee is 1% to 3% of the Purchase Price. However, sometimes this fee is also called a capital contribution to the working capital fund of the Building. It is very important to determine who this fee is imposed upon. Sometimes this fee is imposed upon a Seller and sometimes it is imposed upon a Purchaser. This fee is one of the most highly overlooked fees. It should be noted that the term “fee” is used here as opposed to the term “tax”. A lot of individuals think that the flip tax is a Governmental Tax imposed by some Governmental Authority. However, this is incorrect. The authority that is imposing the particular tax in this particular instance is the Condominium itself. There is a valuable reason as to why Condominiums have flip taxes. This is also discussed later in this website in another section. However, it is imperative that one knows the particular flip tax that may be imposed by the Condominium. Flip Taxes are set by the Board of Managers of the Condominium. The amount is, indeed, a set fee. As such, one does not need to guess as to the particular fee but rather should know it from the governing documents of the Condominium.
  • Move-out Deposit/Move-out Fee. Approximately $ 500.00 to $ 1,000.00. First, in this category, it is very important to distinguish a fee from a deposit. If it is a deposit, then it is money that is being placed with the Managing Agent and should be returned to you after the Closing. In fact, a lot of times, if you have already moved out of the Building/Condominium, you should not need to pay this deposit at all. However, a lot of times, this is a required fee by the Managing Agent and the Managing Agent does indeed pick up the fee and you are charged for it. You will be able to determine whether it is a “fee” or a “deposit” and what amount the Managing Agent charges for the move-out deposit or fee based upon the Board Application. To continue with the thought as to whether or not it is a deposit and/or fee, if it is a move out fee, then this is a charge that is charged to anyone who is moving out of the Unit at any time. A lot of times Sellers have already moved out on the Premises/Unit/ Condominium prior to the Managing Agent collecting the fee. As such, the Managing Agent at the time of the Closing is able to collect this fee even if you did not pay it prior to your actual time of moving out.
  • Managing Agent’s Processing Fee: The Managing Agent’s Processing Fee ranges between the amounts of $ 250.00-$ 750.00. Sellers may contact their Managing Agent to obtain from the Managing Agent specific information from how much fees/charges are. Many individuals ignore this particular fee when it should not be. Sometimes, rarely, this fee may be relatively high. This fee is sometimes negotiated between the Seller and the Purchaser as to who is responsible for the ultimate payment of the Managing Agent’s processing fee. Arguably, it is the Purchaser who should be responsible for this fee but most of the time it falls upon the Seller as it is the Seller who is requesting the Condominium to take action in regard to waiving its right of first refusal.
  • Adjustments: Adjustments technically are not fees at all. They are exactly what they stated to be “adjustments”. Adjustments are made to common charges. A Seller should be entitled to get paid back for any time that they have prepaid any common charges for the particular month or months that they do not own the property i.e. after the Closing. For instance, if you close on February 2 of any particular calendar year and have already paid your February and March common charges, you should be entitled to a credit/adjustment from the Purchaser commencing from February 2 through the end of March.  This is assuming that you have paid both the February and March common charge fees. It is, however, imperative that in order to do an appropriate adjustment that you keep very accurate record of all common charge payments that you have made. This means, that you need to demonstrate that you are entitled to the adjustment in question. You may do this by either having a written letter from the Managing Agent attesting to the fact that the common charge has been paid or, which may be more likely, a check marked paid that the common charge has been paid.
  • Miscellaneous Condominium Charges: This is essentially a catchall provision in which Managing Agent/Condominium may charge to a Seller additional fees to review the documents or perform some other function. This will vary by Building.
3. Bank Fees

3. Bank Fees.

  • Pay-off Bank Fee: This Fee is generally $ 250.00 to $ 750.00. This Fee applies when a Seller has a mortgage. The Seller is required to coordinate a payoff to its lending institution and/or obtain a satisfaction of mortgage. The Bank charges a certain fee to issue the payoff.
4. Taxes

4. Taxes

  • New York City Transfer Tax: The New York City Transfer Tax is a specified amount. For any Condominium Unit where the Purchase Price is less than the amount of$ 500,000.00 the fee for the New York City Transfer Tax is 1% of the Purchase Price. As such, if you are selling a Unit for $ 400,000.00, you will be paying 1% of $ 400,000 i.e. $ 4,000.00. As such, for any amount below $ 500,000.00, the amount to calculate the New York City Transfer Tax is rather straightforward. However for any sale of a Unit in the amount of $500,000.00 and above, the New York City Transfer Tax changes to 1.425% of the Purchase Price. Needless to say, this is a dramatic difference. If the Purchase Price for example is $750,000.00, you will be paying to New York City for the New York City Transfer Tax the amount of $10,687.50. As such, the additional .425% is a very large difference and must be recognized by any potential Seller. Many people govern their Purchase Price based upon this particular calculation. If the particular Unit’s Purchase Price is close to $ 500,000.00 some Sellers intentionally keep the Purchase Price at $ 499,000.00 to avoid having to pay the additional 0.425%. This should be carefully analyzed and scrutinized with your Attorney as not to make any mistakes and to ensure that the correct tax is being applied. It should be noted, to avoid confusion and full transparency, that New York City charges a filing fee of $50.00. As such, whatever your calculation may be to your ultimate New York City Transfer Tax, please add an additional $50.00.
  • New York City Commercial Transfer Tax: Another section of the New York City Transfer Tax is the New York City Commercial Transfer Tax for Commercial Condominium Units. This may apply when one Unit owner is selling two separate units if the Units have not been appropriately and properly combined as deemed by the New York City Department of Buildings and the New York City Department of Finance. As such, if you have a combined Unit, it is very important to make a determination as to whether or not you have properly combined the Units. This is a discussion to have with your Attorney and a very important one. For Commercial Units if the Purchase Price is up to $500,000.00 the tax rate is 1.425%. If the Purchase Price is anything over $500,000.00 the tax amount is 2.625%. As such, there is a dramatic difference and it is very important if you have a combined Unit to discuss this matter in great detail with your Attorney to determine what tax applies.
  • New York State Transfer Tax: The New York State Transfer Tax is 0.4% of the Purchase Price. This is a straight calculation by simply multiplying your Purchase Price by 0.4%. As such, if your Purchase Price, for example, is $ 690,000.00, you would go $ 690,000×.004% to equal $2,760.00.
  • Mansion Tax: The Mansion Tax is indeed a New York State Tax. It applies to the sale of any property one million dollars or more. However, this is not a generally a Seller paid tax. This is being included in this particular section so that there is a careful analysis to make certain that the Seller does not get stuck with this particular tax. As such, it gets back to the careful drafting of the Contract of Sale to ensure that this tax will not be applicable in your transaction.
  • The New York State Non-Residency Tax: The New York State Non-Residency Tax is very highly overlooked on deals with those that are not full-time residents of New York State. The definition of who is not considered a full-time resident may be determined via conversations with your Attorney or Accountant. However, if you are a Non-Resident, you must calculate this Tax as it is a rather hefty tax which must be paid at the time of the Closing. This Tax is approximately 7.8% of your net profit from the proceeds. Note: This is not gross profit. As such, there is and needs to be a calculation as to what your net profit is and the amount of the tax that must be paid at the time of Closing to avoid penalties/taxes. If you are a resident of New York State, you need not worry as this fee does not apply. If you are not a resident of New York, then this is a fee and must be discussed in detail with your Attorney and/or Accountant one may see, the fee may be rather large depending upon your profit. This is one of the few taxes that depend upon the net profit that you are actually making at the time of the Closing.
  • FIRPTA Non- Foreign Status Certification by Individual Transferor/Seller: FIRPTA is a tax is applicable to not only Nonresidents of New York State but also those who are deemed to be “Foreigners” as that term is defined by the Internal Revenue Service. Generally, while the withholding tax needs to be calculated by an accountant, the bottom line is that for a Foreign Seller is that there will is a 10% withholding of the Purchase Price at the time of Closing. This tax needs to be submitted to the Internal Revenue Service. As such, while the ultimate tax that may be due to the Internal Revenue Service is less, at the time of the Closing, unless you have received other appropriate documentation that would indicate that less of an amount is due and owing. You will and should calculate that 10% of the Purchase Price will be withheld at the time of the Closing.

As can be seen, Closing Costs are unique and need to be carefully analyzed. Only through the assistance and expertise of Kishner Miller Himes may one fully understand the ramifications and obtain a true total of Closing Costs.