Dire county finances on Long Island have led to a dramatic increase in real estate transaction fees in Nassau and Suffolk Counties. To avoid a 1.2% increase in real property taxes across the board, the counties have instead decided to raise revenue from increased real estate transaction fees, adding hundreds and in some cases thousands of dollars to the cost of selling, buying, transferring or re-financing a home. While the fees vary between Nassau and Suffolk Counties, both have increased substantially, some as much as 300%. Long Island now has the highest real estate fees in the State and even in the metro New York area.
Most, if not all, of our Elder Law and Estate Planning clients will be effected. As part of an asset protection plan, Medicaid eligibility plan or estate plan, we are often transferring title to real property to a living trust or, in limited cases, to a family member, including transferring title after a loved one has passed away.
What to expect:
The increased real estate recording fees vary based upon the documents being recorded (i.e. filed with the county clerk). Every document has a separate fee, such as a deed, mortgage satisfaction, tax map verification, etc. Further, the fee varies within those document classes. For example, it will cost more to record a deed with more than one property block, to record a Power of Attorney with the deed (where an agent has signed the deed on behalf of the owner), and even a deed consisting of additional pages will cost more. As a guideline, recording fees will generally run between $500 and $1,000.
What you should do:
While the new fees add more to the cost of transferring title to real property, such as transfers to a trust, a spouse, a caretaker child, a disabled child or other family member, it is “penny wise and pound foolish” not to do so. Taking steps – and doing so early - to protect your most valuable asset is critically important for your security and the financial health of your family.