The Seaport Title Agency Blogs

Keep up-to-date on Title Industry and Real Estate news, read about notable transactions we recently completed, and be the first to know about updates to our extensive on-line real estate forms library.

I have known Amy Kelly since 1996, when she was counsel at First American Title Insurance Company. In 2000, Amy started doing business as Seaport Title. We were among her first customers, and I still use Seaport Title to this day. Amy has a thorough and complete knowledge of real estate and land title law. Her business acumen and land title expertise have been a strong factor in her success as an abstract company. Her honesty and integrity are above reproach, and dealing with her company, one has the total feeling of confidence that the title work will be reliable and complete and the escrows processed without error. Samuel B. Freed

Increase in Nassau County Tax Map Verification Charge

Nassau County to Increase Tax Map Verification Charge Posted: 12/20/2016

Effective January 1, 2017, the Nassau County Department of Assessment will be increasing the charge for Tax Map verification from $225.00 to $355.00.

The Department will be assessing the charge to verify the tax lot on documents to be recorded in the Nassau County Clerk’s Office.  The charge will be $355.00 per document per tax lot grouping.

Documents that contain a description and will be recorded against a tax lot will require this charge.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact this office.

Increase in Suffolk County Mortgage Recording Charges

Suffolk County to Increase Charges on Mortgage Related Documents Posted: 11/29/2016


We have been advised that Suffolk County has increased recording charges for mortgages and related documents.


Suffolk County has created a new Mortgage Verification Fee of $300.00 to be collected as an additional recording charge on each mortgage, assignment of mortgage, mortgage modification, mortgage consolidation and satisfaction of mortgage presented on or after January 1, 2017.


Because of the extensive delays in recording documents in Suffolk County, this Company will begin to collect the additional fee for all closings on or after December 1, 2016.  If the fee is not required at the time of recording, it will be refunded to the borrower.


If you have any questions, please feel free to contact this office.




FinCEN Geographic Targeting Order

New Reporting Requirement for Certain Manhattan Properties Posted: 02/12/2016


On January 13, 2016 the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued two Geographic Targeting Orders (GTO) to several national and regional title underwriters, including Stewart Title. One GTO affects residential real property in New York County, NY and the other affects residential real property in Miami-Dade County, Florida. The GTO places a reporting requirement on all covered businesses to report to FinCEN a form 8300 on all covered transactions.



FinCEN was established in 1990 by the United States Department of Treasury “to safeguard the financial system from illicit use and combat money laundering and promote national security through the collection, analysis and dissemination of financial intelligence and strategic use of financial authorities.”  FinCEN is authorized by the Currency and Financial Transaction Reporting Act of 1970 as amended by the USA Patriot Act of 2001. FinCEN can issue orders to institutions like title insurers to assist them in gathering information about transactions.  The GTO places a reporting requirement on the covered business.



The New York County GTO has defined Stewart Title Insurance Company, its employees and its authorized title agents as a covered business.  The GTO defines a covered transaction as any transaction that will close from March 1, 2016 to August 27, 2016 involving:



  1. Residential real property located in the Borough of Manhattan, County of New York, N.Y.;
  2. A buyer that is a Legal Entity as defined under the GTO as a corporation, limited liability company, partnership or other similar business entity whether formed under the laws of New York, any other state, the United States or a foreign jurisdiction;
  3. Consideration of more than $3 million;
  4. No loan or similar form of external financing from a financial institution. The reporting exclusion is only triggered by loans financed by a financial institution,  if financing is provided by a private lender, seller or other business the transaction is reportable;
  5. Any portion of the purchase price being paid using currency, cashier’s check, certified check, traveler’s check or money order. There is no de minimus amount below which the reporting is not triggered.
    1. A personal or business check does not trigger the reporting requirement.
    2. Payment of settlement services by any of the listed methods does not trigger the reporting requirement.



In the event a transaction meets the above criteria, the following must be reported to the FinCEN on a form IRS/FinCEN 8300:



  1. Identity of the individual primarily responsible for representing the Legal Entity;
    1. A description of the identification (driver’s license, passport or other similar identifying document) obtained from the individual primarily responsible for representing the Purchaser with a copy retained in the file;
  2. Identity of the Purchaser and any Beneficial Owner(s) of the Purchaser’s;
    1. A description of the type of identification (driver’s license, passport or other similar identifying document) obtained from the Beneficial Owner with a copy retained in the file;
    2. Any person or entity owning 25% or more of the purchasing entity is a “beneficial owner” and must be reported. If an entity is a member of the purchasing entity, members of that entity must be reported.
  3. Date of closing of the Covered Transaction;
  4. Total amount transferred in the form of a Monetary Instrument;
  5. Total purchase price of the Covered Transaction; and
  6. Address of the real property involved in the Covered Transaction;
    1. Also include the term “REGTONYC” as a unique identifier for this GTO in the Comments section.



Failure to report can subject the company or any of its employees to a fine and/or penalty. Penalties can be assessed any time within six years from the date of the Covered Transaction. Civil actions may be commenced within two years of the date of the penalty or criminal conviction.


Recent Changes to FIRPTA

Recent Changes to FIRPTA Posted: 01/15/2016


There have been recent changes increasing the rate of withholding from 10% to 15% on the sale of real property by non-US citizens who are not permanent resident green card holders under the Foreign Investment in Real Property Act of 1980 (FIRPTA). This increase will not apply to the sale of a principal residence for under $1 million.  The change applies to transactions closing on or after February 16, 2016.



The increase in withholding is pursuant to The Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015 (2015 Path Act).  The new guidelines do not apply to transactions where the amount realized is $1 million or less and the property will be the transferee’s principal residence as defined by the I.R.S. Additionally, the previous exemption to withholding still applies, which states that if the amount realized in the transaction is $300,000 or less and the property will be used by the transferee as a residence, no sums need to be held or remitted.  On all transactions in excess of $1 million, the withholding rate is 15% on the entire amount realized, regardless of the use/occupancy by the transferee.



In summary: On transactions where the transferee WILL BE using the property as a residence, if the amount realized is $300,000 or less, no sums need to be held or remitted. If the amount realized is in excess of $300,000 and less than or equal to $1 million, 10% must be withheld. If the amount realized is over $1 million 15% must be withheld.



On all transfers where the transferee WILL NOT BE using the property as a residence, 15% must be withheld on the entire amount realized.



If you have any questions, please feel free to contact this office.


Changes in the Religious Corporation Law

Changes in the Religious Corporation Law Posted: 01/06/2016


Effective December 11, 2015, the New York State Legislature amended Article 2, Section 12 of the New York Religious Corporation Law to allow a religious corporation to obtain either a Supreme Court Order or Attorney General approval in order to sell, mortgage or lease for a term exceeding five years any of its real property. This changes the prior law which required a Supreme Court Order and did not allow for only Attorney General Approval.


The Attorney General in its discretion may still require that the religious corporation also secure Supreme Court approval.


If you have any questions, please feel free to contact this office.