Real estate considerations

By Jay Mussman

Luxury real estate in the United States rallied in both sales volume and price in the fourth quarter of 2019. Then the coronavirus began, slowing the demand for showings. While deals in the luxury market are still being inked, security remains top of mind for both buyers and sellers in light of this health crisis. As a result, there are a number of considerations for high net-worth individuals when buying a new residence, some of which may also apply when selling.

Jay D. Mussman is senior counsel with Day Pitney LLP

Smart home technology. With the rapid pace of technology being incorporated as amenities in the construction of new residences, it is important to be aware of personal data being captured/recorded and accessible to third parties. Along this line, it is also necessary to understand how your privacy can be compromised if the privacy settings of the systems are not properly set and monitored on a regular basis. Likewise, when moving into a new residence as well as moving out, those systems should be reviewed and cleaned to remove any personal data.

Furniture/fixtures/electronic equipment. When purchasing as well as when selling, care should be taken to list with specificity what items are included and likewise what items are excluded. While real estate contracts typically contain boilerplate wording, that wording does not cover every situation.

  • Insurance coverage should be considered very early during the purchasing decision. Involving the insurance agent prior to the purchase will provide insight on not only the potential insurance premiums but will also allow the insurance agent to facilitate the procurement of an insurance report. The conclusions of the report may be helpful in determining whether to proceed to purchase the property or not.
  • Purchase alternatives. Historically, most high net worth individuals have purchased property. These days, more are considering renting. The rationales for renting include: no long term commitment, marketing lead times to sell million-dollar properties are taking longer to sell, new to the area and want to try it out.
  • Tax/legal/financial guidance. Prior to purchasing a property, it is recommended that you discuss the decision with tax/legal/financial professionals to understand the relevant matters of concern. Each locale may have nuances relating to ownership that may be unique or unclear. As a result, local guidance should also be sought as well as keeping long-term professionals in the loop.
  • Post-closing monitoring of payment/filing deadlines. It is important to monitor any deadlines. Whether paying the applicable real estate taxes on time or filing any required tax returns or annual entity filings, the individual should create a monitoring mechanism or calendar system to keep track of deadlines. The ramifications of failing to comply with payment and/or filing obligations can be costly and problematic. With technology, most payments and filings can also be monitored electronically.


Jay Mussman, senior counsel with Day Pitney, is a certified public accountant and attorney. he assists wealthy individual clients with transactional matters in the areas of domestic and international trust and estate planning, probate, real property and taxation. Email him at jThis communication is provided for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended and should not be construed as legal advice, nor does its distribution or receipt create an attorney-client relationship. This communication may be deemed advertising under applicable state laws. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.




Kevin Gale
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