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Columbian Lawyers Association gets updated in real estate law at monthly CLE

October 8, 2019 Rob Abruzzese

The Columbian Lawyers Association of Brooklyn hosted its monthly meeting on Wednesday at Gargiulo’s Restaurant in Coney Island where attorney and past President Lawrence Moringiello gave a continuing legal education lecture on real estate law.

“Why would a group of personal injury lawyers sit here and listen to a title guy talk about real estate?” Moringiello asked jokingly. “One of the things I don’t want to do is to discourage you from handling a real estate transaction.”

Moringiello, who is counsel for the title insurance company Heights Abstract, explained that he got involved with real estate law when he first started coming to Columbian Lawyers meetings. He said it was Richard Cerchione, father of Gregory Cerchione, who encouraged him to attend meetings which ultimately helped him to get into real estate law.

From left: Lucy DiSalvo, RoseAnn Branda, Hon. Dawn Jimenez-Salta and Hon. Ellen Spodek, president of the Brooklyn Brandeis Society.

“The landscape of the real estate practice has changed dramatically since then and especially over the past 10 years,” Moringiello said. “What was simply a process of filling in the blanks, reading the title report, going to a closing, is no longer the case.”

Moringiello stressed that he didn’t mean to scare anyone away from doing real estate work but cautioned that there are often necessary and required steps that can grind any deal to a halt if they are not followed.

“FIRPTA deals with situations when a buyer purchases from a person from a foreign country,” he said. “FinCen deals with transactions that are purchased by an entity with no financing and the new Department of Financial Services regulations deal with a title company’s relationship with the attorneys it deals with.”

Yolanda Guadagnoli and Hon. Donald Kurtz.

Part of the reason things have changed so much, Moringiello explained, is that after the real estate collapse in 2008, the county, city and state began much more thorough record-keeping practices.

For instance, deals involving non-New York State residents require a form called IT-2663, which Moringiello explained needs to be filled out by an accountant to calculate the capital gains tax.

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“I’ve had closings where they don’t have that form and I tell people to adjourn the closing,” he said. “That’s difficult when there is a moving truck outside, but I tell attorneys never to fill out an IT-2663.”

Hon. Bernard Graham (left) and Joseph Rosato, president of the Nathan R. Sobel Inns of Court.

While going through the various forms that are necessary under various scenarios, Moringiello explained that the entire process is actually not very complicated and that attorneys shouldn’t be turning down potential sales.

“If you don’t do real estate on a regular basis, and you are asked by a family member, you should absolutely take the file, but simply call one of the many real estate lawyers sitting in the room today,” he said. “You can speak with people like Mark Caruso, Charlie Emma, Dom Napoletano or Stephen Chiaino. These people know their stuff and would be happy to walk you through a real estate transaction

“It’s not magic, but trust and estates work, and a lot of the other work you do is more difficult,” Moringiello continued. “You just need to know the ins and outs.”

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