Sometimes. If the seller has an existing mortgage, she or he can assign that loan balance to you as the buyer. Doing this will reduce the amount of new loan money which must be originated. Any reduction in the amount the new loan originated will reduce the amount of MRT you need to pay, as the tax only applies to new loans being originated. The act of a seller assigning a loan balance to a buyer is called a Purchase CEMA.
For a Purchase CEMA to happen, the seller must agree to it. The seller also benefits from a Purchase CEMA (Purchase Consolidation Extension Modification Agreement) because she or he does not have to pay the 0.4% NYS Transfer Tax on the loan amount which is assigned to a buyer.
Because the buyer saves more money via a reduction in the MRT than the seller saves by reducing the NYS Transfer Tax bill, the buyer and seller typically negotiate and agree to split the savings equally.