New Brooklyn Trend: Brand New Townhomes That Reflect The Past

November 30th, 2015

There’s a new Brooklyn trend in town: new development townhomes. From Red Hook to Williamsburg, developers are looking to fit in and are going back to basics. Instead of residential Manhattan-like glass condo towers, developers are offering classic townhomes that reflect the past and blend in well.

In addition to buyer demand, there are 2 reasons for the sudden surge in the new Brooklyn trend:

  1. zoning restrictions
  2. taxes

Most buyers who come to Brooklyn see themselves living in brownstones and townhomes. They want to buy brand-new townhomes that reflect the past but are updated for the future with modern touches inside. This new Brooklyn trend is very appealing to today’s buyers.

5 new townhome developments that are part of the new Brooklyn trend:

Seven on State

  • Located on State Street in the Boerum Hill neighborhood of Brooklyn
  • Neighbors Downtown Brooklyn
  • Classic, neo-Georgian style exterior, modern interior
new Brooklyn trend

State and Bond Townhouses are part of the new Brooklyn trend


  • Located down the street from Seven on State development
  • 5 modern design townhouses
  • Range in price from $4.49 million to $4.85 million
New Brooklyn Trend

King & Sullivan Red Hook Townhouses

King & Sullivan Red Hook Townhouses

  • Located in south Brooklyn
  • 22 modern design townhomes
  • All 22 townhomes include 5 different types of facades – Corten, Arches, Steel, Brick and Terra
New Brooklyn Trend

2 Strong Place – Classic townhomes part of the new Brooklyn trend

2 Strong Place

  • Located in Cobble Hill
  • 3 classic townhomes
  • Reflect the architecture of the leafy, brownstone and townhome-dotted neighborhood

N. 3rd Street

  • Located on the block between Bedford Avenue and Berry Street in Williamsburg
  • Modernized townhomes
  • Prices range between $1.9 million and $2.24 million

Are you interested in the new Brooklyn trend? Contact Charles D’Alessandro, your Brooklyn real estate agent with Fillmore Real Estate. Call (718) 253-9600 ext. 206 or email, [email protected] for a personal tour. Tour these classic brownstones and townhomes that reflect the past.


3 Steps to Winterize the Outside of your Brooklyn Home

November 15th, 2015
Winterize the outside of your Brooklyn home

Winterize the outside of your Brooklyn home before freezing temps arrive this winter.

In my last blog post, How to Easily Winterize the Inside of your Brooklyn Home, I shared a checklist to help you prepare the inside of your Brooklyn home for winter. Here are 3 steps to winterize the outside of your Brooklyn home:

First, check the roof

If you feel comfortable inspecting the roof yourself, put on a pair of shoes with non-skid soles. Make sure they are tied securely. Quickly check the following:

  • Check for missing or damaged shingles. Hire someone to replace any missing or damaged shingles you find.
  • If you have a chimney, check for leaks in the flashing around it. Check for possible leaks around all projections on your roof. Hire someone to repair every leak as soon as possible.
  • Clean and free gutters and downspouts of leaves and debris. Wet leaves allowed to remain in the gutters over winter add a hefty amount of weight and volume when they get wet and freeze. This will increase the risk of damage to gutters and downspouts significantly.

Second, winterize your sprinkler system

  • Turn off the water supply.
  • Purge the sprinkler lines by blowing compressed air through the lines.

Winterize your sprinkler system now if freezing temps are in your forecast, but hiring someone to do this for you by the end of October is ideal. How to Winterize a Sprinkler System

Third, prepare your yard to winterize the outside of your Brooklyn home

  • Prepare your landscape for winter. Even if you have a small patch of grass, a garden plot, shrubs or deciduous trees, you should prepare them for winter. This link shows How to Winterize Your Landscape on much a larger scale, but the basics can be applied to your Brooklyn home’s landscape and container gardens.
  • Drain the gas from your lawn mower. “Rake” leaves until the lawn mower runs out of gas completely, and you’ll accomplish two items on your winterize to-do list at the same time.
  • Drain water fountains and unplug the pumps for them.
  • Seal the deck with a fresh coat of sealer before winter.
  • Cover patio furniture.

Did you winterize the outside of your Brooklyn home yet? If so, you will be able to rest easy knowing the outside of your Brooklyn home is ready for winter’s freezing temps.

Charles D’Alessandro, your Brooklyn real estate agent with Fillmore Real Estate. Call (718) 253-9600 ext. 206 or email, [email protected] for more information about how to winterize the outside of your Brooklyn home.


How to Easily Winterize the Inside of your Brooklyn Home

October 30th, 2015
winterize the inside of your Brooklyn home

Winterize the inside of your Brooklyn home this fall.

Fall’s glorious colors, cooler temperatures and delicious comfort foods make the season a favorite among many. But winter’s coming. Enjoy fall’s unique and endearing offerings, but don’t forget to winterize the inside of your Brooklyn home for the upcoming and not-so-endearing season. Get it ready to withstand winter’s freezing temperatures before they arrive. You’ll save yourself a lot of worry and expense.

This checklist will help you winterize the inside of your Brooklyn home.

Home heating system

  1. Checking your Brooklyn home’s heating system by the end of October is ideal. Follow these steps to check if it is working properly:
  • Turn the thermostat up to 80 degrees.
  • Listen for the furnace to turn on. Warm air should start warming up your home in just a few minutes.
  • Turn the thermostat back down to its normal setting if the heating system is working properly.

If it is not working properly, take a look at this gas furnace troubleshooting guide. You may be able to fix it yourself. If not, call a qualified service technician.

  1. Choose to have the furnace checked by a service technician for seasonal maintenance or do it yourself. If you choose to do it yourself, refer to this seasonal furnace maintenance guide to make sure your furnace is running efficiently and safely.
  1. Replace the air filter with a new one. During cold winter months, filters should be checked monthly. Replacing the air filter is easy to do.
  1. Make sure your propane tank or oil furnace is full of fuel to heat your home.
  1. Clear heating vents of debris like dust, bugs, home construction leftovers, mold, toys, food, etc. Yes, you’d be amazed at all that is in your heating vents!
  1. Test for carbon monoxide leaks in your home. Carbon monoxide test badges or alarms are inexpensive to purchase. They can easily detect whether or not this silent killer is in your home.

Home cooling system

  1. The condensing unit of your cooling system needs to be cleaned of dirt and debris. Spray the fan blades and condensing coils with the highest hose pressure you have.
  1. Protect your condensing unit from damage in the winter season. Wet leaves and debris contribute to rusting and freezing of your unit’s internal components. Use a breathable, waterproof cover to protect and extend the life and efficiency of your unit.
  1. If you have window air conditioners, remove and store them for the winter. If they are not removable, use a breathable, waterproof cover as described above.

Chimney and fireplace or wood burning stove

  1. Clear the chimney of nests.
  1. Check the flue to make sure it opens and closes completely. Is it able to be locked in either position?
  1. Make sure the chimney will draw up the fire and smoke properly.
  • Roll up several sheets of newspaper. With the fireplace damper in the open position, light the newspaper in the fireplace. Does the smoke rise up the chimney? If it doesn’t, call a professional in to clean the chimney of obstruction – creosote, ash and debris.
  • How long has it been since you had your chimney cleaned? If the answer is, “Not in a very long time,” or “Never,” call a professional chimney sweep.
  • Inspect the fire brick in the fireplace for open mortar joints. If you find open mortar joints, have them repaired immediately! Open mortar joints can allow a fire to spread into the stud wall behind the fire brick.


  1. Insulate exposed pipes

Exposed water or drain pipes in an uninsulated crawlspace, attic or outside wall are especially vulnerable to freezing. Insulate them with foam insulation at least. Wrap them with electrical heating tape first, follow with insulation. Burst pipes can cause extensive damage making this home repair one of the most expensive.

  1. Eliminate the possibility of exterior pipe bursts
  • Turn off the water supply to exterior faucets inside your Brooklyn home.
  • Drain the water from exterior faucets, also known as hose bibbs or sill-cocks by opening up the exterior faucet. Consider covering hose bibbs with an insulated cover. Always disconnect your garden hoses from the sill-cocks or outside faucets. If you store your garden hoses outside, drain them, too.

If you are leaving town for several months, winter, spring, summer or fall, drain your whole home’s plumbing system. You will avoid costly damage to the inside of your Brooklyn home while no one is home. See how to drain your home’s plumbing system here.

Easy insulation tips to winterize the inside of your Brooklyn home

  1. Insulate your hot water tank with an insulating blanket. You can buy an insulating blanket at the hardware store.
  1. Insulate exterior outlets and switch plates with an inexpensive foam sealing gasket.
  1. Cut a piece of fiberglass insulation to stuff into the fireplace behind the glass doors to block cold air coming that comes down the chimney. Remove the insulation when you use the fireplace.
  1. Save money on your heating bill. Reduce cold air leaks around doors and windows with weatherstripping. Drafty doors and windows raise your heating bill as much as poor insulation in the walls and ceiling do.

So, if you haven’t already started to winterize the inside of your Brooklyn home, put down that pumpkin spice latte. Check your Brooklyn home’s heating system right away. Then move through this checklist to winterize the inside of your Brooklyn home, and save yourself a lot of worry and expense.

Charles D’Alessandro, your Brooklyn real estate agent with Fillmore Real Estate. Call (718) 253-9600 ext. 206 or email, [email protected] for more information about how to winterize the inside of your Brooklyn home this fall.


For You: A Brooklyn Home Fire Prevention Checklist

October 16th, 2015
Home fire

Testing your smoke alarms every month is an important part of the prevention of a home fire in your Brooklyn home.

A home fire can strike without warning, day or night. A home fire is not subject to a particular season of the year. Are you prepared if a home fire happened in your Brooklyn home? If not, you can be!

October is National Fire Prevention Month, so I visited I found 3 sad home fire statistics:

  •  On average 7 people die every day from a home fire.
  • On average 36 people suffer injuries as a result of home fires every day.
  • Over $7 billion in property damage occurs every year. also states that if a home fire starts in your Brooklyn home, you have only 2 minutes to escape. Can your family safely escape a fire in your home in just 2 minutes? Find out. Religiously implementing the following two steps will keep your family safe if a home fire happens to you:

  1. Plan and practice a 2-minute fire drill with your family twice every year. Knowing and practicing your home fire escape plan regularly can save your lives.
  2. Smoke alarms should be installed on every level of your home, in every bedroom and outside every bedroom. Your children need to hear what a smoke alarm sounds like. They should know what to do when a smoke alarm goes off.

Test your home’s smoke alarms every month. Sixty percent of home fire deaths happen in homes that have no smoke alarms or smoke alarms that do not work. Smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years and never disabled.

Carbon monoxide alarms do not replace smoke alarms. Your home should have both carbon monoxide and smoke alarms. Your family should know the difference between the sounds of each.

My blog post 7 Basics of Home Fire Safety in Brooklyn was written when Brooklyn suffered a great tragedy in March, 2015. It reiterates much of what is mentioned here.

Preparation for the possibility of a home fire in your Brooklyn home is key!

No one wants to encounter a home fire emergency ever! But your best safety measure to take is to prepare as if it were inevitable. When you’re prepared for the possibility, you and your family are less likely to become one of the sad home fire statistics listed above.

The following list is lengthy, but every point is important to prepare your family with in case of a home fire.

  • Start preparing by identifying and eliminating fire hazards from your Brooklyn home.
    • Items that can catch fire easily should be kept at least three feet away from anything that gets hot, such as a space heater or burners on a stove.
    • Never, ever smoke in bed.
    • Keep matches and lighters out of reach of your children. Talk about the dangers of fire with them on a regular basis.
    • Don’t go to sleep while a portable heater is on. Turn it off when you leave the room or go to bed.
    • Stay in the kitchen whenever the stove is on and/or food is frying, grilling or broiling. If you must leave the kitchen, turn off the stove, even for a short period of time. Faithfully use a timer to remind you that food is cooking, simmering, baking, roasting or boiling.
  • Download this Home Fire Safety Checklist.
  • Delegate responsibilities to every family member in case a fire starts in your home. Teamwork is vital in an emergency. Yes, different types of fires will require different responsibilities. Discuss all the possibilities, what to do and who will do what.
  • Create an escape plan. Everyone should know two ways to escape from each room in your Brooklyn home.
  • Practice your escape plan at least twice a year and at different times of the day. Practice fire drills after waking everyone up to a smoke alarm.
  • Drill this into everyone’s head: “If a fire occurs in our home, GET OUT, STAY OUT and CALL for help.”
  • Tell your family to never open doors that are warm to the touch. Tell them they should use the second way out of that room. If smoke, heat or flames are blocking their way to escape, they should stay in the room with the door closed. If possible, put a wet towel under the door. Then they should call 911, open a window and wave something bright to grab someone’s attention. A flashlight should be used if the home fire strikes at night.
  • Practice low crawling. A fire’s smoke is deadly and rises during a fire.
  • Practice “Stop. Drop. Roll.” If clothes catch fire, stopping, dropping and rolling will smother the fire and save your life.
  • Decide where you will meet once you get out of your Brooklyn home. Your immediate meeting place should be across the street away from the home fire. Have a point of refuge lined up to stay should a home fire displace you and your family.
  • As soon as you get outside to your meeting place, call 911 for help.
  • Time your fire drills. Remember, you have only two minutes to get out of your burning home! Practice until you get out in two minutes or less.
  • Discuss and decide what to do if any of you get separated while escaping a home fire.

Don’t become a sad Brooklyn home fire statistic. Choose to be prepared just in case. I love Brooklyn and care about the safety of our community. If you have any questions about the safety of a home you own or are looking to purchase, call me, Charles D’Alessandro, your Brooklyn real estate agent with Fillmore Real Estate, at (718) 253-9600 ext. 206 or reach me by email, [email protected].


Could You Be Losing Money On The Sale Of Your Brooklyn Home?

September 30th, 2015
sale of your Brooklyn home

Don’t lose money on the sale of your Brooklyn home. Hire Brooklyn’s best – real estate agent, Charles D’Alessandro of Fillmore Real Estate!

Today’s real estate market is competitive. Houses are selling quickly. Some Real Estate Agents or Brokers are even taking offers before a house hits the real estate market! If your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent or Broker isn’t doing all they can for you, you could be losing money on the sale of your Brooklyn home.

The real estate market today is a seller’s market. This means there are more buyers than there are homes to buy. This also means competition, and the competition is fierce! It is imperative that you hire a Real Estate Agent or Broker you can trust to represent you well or risk losing money on the sale of your Brooklyn home.

Let’s put your Real Estate Agent or Broker you’ve hired to a test of quality. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Is your Real Estate Agent or Broker skilled, knowledgeable and experienced in the Brooklyn real estate market?
  • What do clients to say about your Real Estate Agent or Broker?
  • Has your Real Estate Agent or Broker received great testimonials from happy clients?
  • Have you read past Buyers’ and Sellers’ reviews about your Real Estate Agent or Broker? What are those reviews saying?
  • Does your Real Estate Agent’s or Broker’s track record show they act on behalf of and in their clients’ BEST interest?
  • What is your Real Estate Agent or Broker doing?
  • Is your Real Estate Agent or Broker marketing your property correctly?
  • Are they taking professional photos to market your property well?
  • Are they playing nice with others?
  • Does your Real Estate Agent or Broker spell out what they are going to do for you and the sale of your Brooklyn home and follow through with those carefully laid out plans?
  • Do you understand those strategic plans and the process of selling your Brooklyn home?
  • Has your Real Estate Agent or Broker thoroughly explained the changes in the closing process? Do you understand what is going on in the closing process?
  • Is your Real Estate Agent or Broker doing EVERYTHING they said they would?
  • Are you getting the most you can out of the sale of your house in today’s competitive market?
  • Is your Real Estate Agent or Broker proactive?
  • Are they doing all they can to get your house the proper exposure for the price you deserve?
  • Is your home being exposed to as many Buyers as possible?
  • Are other Real Estate Agents or Brokers showing your home?
  • Is your home getting lots of exposure before receiving offers?
  • Are you being proactive with your Real Estate Agent or Broker?

You trust that the Real Estate Agent or Broker you hired is proactively working for you and the sale of your Brooklyn home. This is the reason you are paying a higher commission. You deserve to get the most out of the sale of your home.

Take a look at your listing once it is up on the Brooklyn real estate market to see what Buyers are seeing. Don’t be timid. If you think your home isn’t represented correctly, make changes. If your Real Estate Agent or Broker isn’t doing all they can for you and the sale of your home for the price you deserve, you are at risk for losing money on the sale of your Brooklyn home.

Wake up. Pay attention. Be proactive. Don’t sell yourself short. Get the well-deserved value of your home, the most “bang for your buck”!  You don’t deserve to lose any money on the sale of your Brooklyn home.

There are a lot of knowledgeable and well-educated Real Estate Agents and Brokers out there who can get top dollar for your home. Charles D’Alessandro is one of those real estate agents. Contact Charles D’Alessandro Your Brooklyn real estate agent with Fillmore Real Estate. Call (718) 253-9600 ext 206 or email [email protected] today. With over 27 years of experience and expertise in Brooklyn, you can be confident about your best representation on the sale of your Brooklyn home.

Book Selling Your Home Does Not Have To Be Stressful Michael S ReinhardtThe sale of your Brooklyn home does NOT need to be stressful. Brooklyn attorney Michael S. Reinhardt, Esq. wrote the book “Selling Your Home Does Not Have To Be Stressful” to help sellers with the sale of their home. Contact me for your free copy!

How To Cultivate A Sense Of Community in Brooklyn

September 15th, 2015
sense of community

Every neighbor, local official, service club and religious organization must do their part to cultivate a strong sense of community in Brooklyn.

“Civic pride is taking responsibility to do the ‘little’ things that make a ‘big’ difference.” – Jane Kampbell

Cultivating a sense of community in Brooklyn is necessary for the quality of life we deserve. Every Brooklynite – neighbors, local officials, service clubs, religious organizations – must do their part to cultivate a strong sense of community in Brooklyn. But first we must understand what a sense of community is.

What is a sense of community?

A sense of community is NOT a collection of buildings and streets in a particular area. A sense of community:

  • Is the feeling of belonging to something bigger than yourself or your family
  • Connects people to each other
  • Is people building each other up
  • Is people supporting each other in good times and in bad

Why should we cultivate a sense of community in Brooklyn?

It is critical to Brooklyn’s future success. When we feel a strong sense of community, we are driven to take action. We desire to take part in improving or supporting the well-being of our community. Those who see a sense of community happening are compelled to do the same. Community improvement and self-sufficiency become contagious. Momentum is created. This brings us together as a community and makes us proud to live, work and play in Brooklyn.

A strong sense of community:

  • attracts new investment in our community and local economy. It keeps local businesses in business.
  • discourages litter, graffiti and criminal activity. It increases the property values of homes and businesses.
  • helps support our education system
  • encourages volunteering and personal responsibility

A community with a strong sense of community believes in itself. It is able to rise above and overcome challenges through the strength and support of its people. A community without a strong sense of community depends on others to take care of its needs. A strong sense of community in Brooklyn is essential for:

  • clean and safe streets and neighborhoods
  • support for local businesses
  • vital community organizations
  • fruitful educational opportunities
  • low crime

How is a sense of community cultivated?

A sense of community in Brooklyn won’t just happen. It must be cultivated or nurtured to make a difference in our Brooklyn community now and in the future. Children, too, must be taught to take pride in their Brooklyn community. A sense of community can be cultivated in the following ways:

  • Take personal responsibility to do simple things such as sweeping walks and picking up trash in your neighborhood
  • Take responsibility for the well-being of your neighbors as well as yourself
  • Keep your home and/or business clean and in good repair. Well-maintained neighborhoods are attractive and inviting for children and families.
  • Keep our Brooklyn streets, sidewalks, paths and parks free of damage and ruin. Discourage litter, graffiti and vandalism.
  • Support local businesses in Brooklyn
  • Participate in local organizations and community events such as dinners, dances, festivals, school functions, service clubs, churches, chamber of commerce, etc.
  • Clear Brooklyn’s vacant lots of trash and debris
  • Work to prevent crime
  • Get involved in the preservation of Brooklyn’s historic sites and scenic areas
  • Volunteer to serve in the education of our students
  • Grow and maintain a garden (How To Grow A Garden In Brooklyn)
  • Appreciate and support local agriculture
  • Emphasize individual responsibility and community solutions
  • Encourage volunteering in schools, churches and community groups
  • Start a “yard-of-the-month” program with local media in Brooklyn
  • Recognize and reward those who do good deeds in our Brooklyn community
  • Promote residents to shop at local businesses and use local services
  • Use volunteer groups for projects that will benefit the beauty and cleanliness of our Brooklyn community
  • Reach out to and encourage commuters to participate in their Brooklyn community and to shop locally
  • Host and share information for clean-up days and volunteer activities
  • Set strong but fair standards for our Brooklyn neighborhoods and stores
  • Host annual clean-up days to give Brooklynites a regular opportunity to rid homes and yards of junk and debris

Cultivating a strong sense of community must start with you. Make the best of what you have. Keep your yard clean and orderly. Paint and touch up your home and/or business. Keep your yard mowed. These are simple ways to begin displaying and building a sense of community in Brooklyn.

If you’d like more information or ideas on how you can cultivate a sense of community in Brooklyn, call Charles D’Alessandro at (718) 253-9700 ext. 206 or email [email protected]. Charles D’Alessandro of Fillmore Real Estate in Brooklyn is proud to live, work and play in Brooklyn.


4 Big Changes For “0” Surprises On Closing Day In Brooklyn

August 31st, 2015

Changes for an easier closing process are coming!

Changes to the new Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) and Truth in Lending Act (TILA) will take effect October 3, 2015. What does this mean to today’s home buyer?

During the housing market crisis, millions of home buyers took on complicated mortgages without understanding them. Many lost their homes in short sales or foreclosure as a result. The U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is imposing changes to address these problems. It is their desire to improve the home buyer’s understanding of the mortgage process in order to help prevent the loss of homes to short sales or foreclosure for home buyers. The changes imposed on the closing process will be significant.

Key highlights of the changes as of October 3, 2015:

2 New Forms

The Good Faith Estimate, Truth-In-Lending Document and HUD-1 Settlement Statement will be replaced as part of the changes established by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) in accordance with the Dodd-Frank Act. Home buyers will see two new forms: loan estimate form and closing disclosure form.

The new loan estimate form:

  • Shorter
  • Summarizes the terms of a mortgage
  • Estimates loan fees and closing costs
  • Clearly states the loan terms and estimated closing costs
  • Explains what the loan terms and estimated closing costs are
  • More user-friendly

The closing disclosure form:

  • Shorter
  • More user-friendly
  • Easier to read
  • Provides a detailed account of the whole real estate transaction, from beginning to end, including loan terms, fees and closing costs

The new documents are designed to make comparing loan options and understanding changes that may occur between the time they applied for a loan and the settlement easier for home buyers.

This is a dramatic and significant change to the old way transactions have been handled. Again, the CFPB’s goal is to make closing easier for home buyers. Make It Easier for Consumers

New 3-Day Rule

Home buyers applying for a home loan after October 3, 2015, will be given three days to review paperwork and ask questions instead of rushing through closing without understanding what is going on in the closing process. This rule is a good one. It is the biggest change to mortgage closings and will have the greatest impact on home buyers.

The 3-day rule gives borrowers ample opportunity to thoroughly read the loan terms and closing documents and avoid surprises at the closing table. If they don’t understand something, they will have plenty of time to call their real estate agent, lender or title company and ask for an explanation.

  • Lenders must provide a loan estimate to borrowers within three business days after they apply for a mortgage.
  • Lenders must provide a closing document three business days prior to closing.

While an official loan estimate is only generated after a loan application for a specific property is made, lenders can generate a “fees worksheet” or similar document to help borrowers prepare for their cash needs at the closing during a preapproval process.

Requiring lenders to provide a loan estimate to borrowers within three business days after they apply for a mortgage redefines what goes into a loan application. A loan application requires the borrowers’ names, the borrowers’ income, the borrowers’ Social Security number, the property address, the estimated value of the property and the loan amount. Once the lender has that information, they have three business days to generate a loan estimate. Then the borrowers must sign an Intent To Proceed form to start the normal underwriting process.

Lenders cannot charge any fees except for a credit report and cannot require verification of any information from the borrowers before a loan estimate is generated and the Intent to Proceed form is signed.

Nothing else can be done and no other fees can be charged until the borrowers sign that Intent To Proceed form. The consumers can shop around during that 10-day period for other loans and use the loan estimate form as a comparison tool.

The new CFPB rule requirements will cause lenders and title companies to work in coordination with each other even though lenders are ultimately held responsible for meeting the standards of the regulation.

Until October 3, 2015, title companies prepared and delivered closing documents to borrowers. Now lenders are being held responsible for meeting the deadline. Lenders are typically taking on the preparation themselves.

These changes should be great for home buyers. They are going to make home buyers feel more confident about understanding their loan terms. However, while the responsibility of implementing these changes falls on lenders and title companies, consumers should be prepared for possible delays. Delays in settlements are to be expected until hiccups are worked out. Home buyers can take the following steps to avoid settlement delays:

  • Be aware of the big changes that will take effect October 3, 2015
  • Work with a lender and a title company who are well aware of and knowledgeable of the big changes
  • Realize what a great opportunity these big changes are for today’s home buyer. They are providing plenty of time to read and understand loan terms and closing documents
  • Review documents right away
  • Compare documents to the loan estimate. Make sure they match. Catching errors soon will help avoid significant delays in the closing process
  • Ask questions. Rely on the lender and real estate agent for help with understanding the documents

Here’s one more thing to consider regarding title insurance. Protecting the equity in a property is important. Title insurance protects the lender in case of a title dispute in the future. Homeowners are usually advised to purchase their own title insurance for protection of the investment they have in their home.

The new forms shared by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and title companies use the term “optional” in reference to the purchase of owner’s title insurance. See this example. Purchasing title insurance has always been optional, but some fear putting “optional” right on the disclosure form may encourage consumers to disregard and pass over it.

Some believe stating “recommended but optional” on the new forms would better encourage consumers to purchase title insurance.

Purchasing a home is the largest transaction in a person’s lifetime, both emotionally and financially. It’s important that consumers educate themselves on the home-buying process. Visit the CFPB site and learn as much as possible about these big changes coming to the closing process on October 3, 2015.

Feel free to contact Charles D’Alessandro, your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent of Fillmore Real Estate in Brooklyn. Get answers to the questions you may have regarding these big changes coming to the closing process on October 3, 2015. Call (718) 253-9700 ext. 206 or email [email protected].


How To Win A Great Home In A Sellers Market In Brooklyn

August 15th, 2015
sellers market in Brooklyn

You can win a great home in a sellers market in Brooklyn!

It’s a sellers market in Brooklyn. What does that mean?

  • there are more buyers than there are sellers
  • finding a single-family home can be difficult for the home buyer
  • great homes sell quickly, just days after listing
  • bidding wars
  • sellers are getting more than their asking price and receiving multiple bids, too
  • home prices increase as time passes by

If you’ve been shopping for a new home in today’s sellers market in Brooklyn, you probably know just how difficult it can be to win a great home. Try these 7 things to win a great home in a sellers market in Brooklyn:

  1. Look at things from the sellers’ perspective.

    To win a great home in a sellers market in Brooklyn, you must appeal to sellers. It helps to look at things from a sellers’ perspective.

  • Sellers are spending a lot of money for two real estate agents and closing costs. If another potential buyer has already offered a bid on a great home, don’t offer a lower bid. You won’t appeal to the sellers with anything less than what has already been offered. Give the sellers a fair bid right away.
  • If you’re missing out on great homes because they sell quickly, start looking at homes that have been on the sellers market in Brooklyn for a month or longer. Homes that have been overpriced won’t receive many bids if any. This frustrates sellers. They will be willing to take less than their home is worth and begin dropping the price. This is the time to put in a fair bid!
  • Most sellers will choose the bid that will close the quickest, especially if their home is vacant. When a home is vacant, it’s costly to sellers. They are still paying a mortgage and spending money to move and rent or buy another home.
  • Mortgage brokers can close the offer on a home in 2 or 3 weeks. Banks take 4 to 6 weeks. Let the sellers know that you can close faster than everyone else who is bidding on their home. After you place your bid, have your mortgage broker call the sellers and tell them you can close in 2 or 3 weeks.
  • If the home is not vacant, your Brooklyn real estate agent should ask the sellers when they would like to move. Set the closing date for when the sellers would like to move. Sellers want to move conveniently on their schedule. If it will make the sellers’ move easier, offer to rent the home to them for a few weeks.
  • Consider writing an escalation clause into the contract, but be careful. It can turn around and bite you! Some real estate agents will reject your bid and counter it with your highest stated bid. An escalation clause states that you will pay X number of dollars over the highest bid up to a maximum of X number of dollars if proof of the highest bid is shown.
  1. Show sellers you are serious about your bid on their home.

    Sellers don’t want to deal with glitches or hang-ups when closing on their home. They dread having to pay out-of-pocket to fix a lot after inspections have taken place. Show the seller you are serious about your bid. Choose to opt out of the contingency that states the buyer can have an inspection done and back out of contract for any reason during the inspection period and get their earnest money (or deposit) returned. This shows the seller that you are serious about your bid, because you can lose your earnest money if you back out of the contract. If you do choose to opt out of this contingency, make sure you add this, or something similar, in the contract: “if cumulative repairs are over X number of dollars, the potential buyer may still back out if the seller doesn’t do the repairs.” Give the sellers peace of mind in exchange for a lower price.

  1. Send an approval letter with your bid on a home in a sellers market in Brooklyn.

    A pre-approval or pre-qualification letter states that you can get a loan. An approval means you have already been approved for a loan. All you need is an address to on the loan.

    It’s best to work with a mortgage broker on the following since most banks won’t do this for you. Have your lender send an approval letter with your bid to the sellers. This approval letter should have already gone through the underwriting process. Don’t send a pre-approval letter or worse yet, a pre-qualified letter, with your bid to the sellers. This will not appeal to the sellers. Instead, put in a bid and have your mortgage broker call the sellers’ real estate agent. Your mortgage broker should tell the sellers’ real estate agent that you have already been approved and explain why that benefits the sellers.

  1. Put more money down on the home.

    A larger deposit or escrow money shows you have more to lose if you back out of the contract. It shows the sellers you are a serious buyer. If you don’t back out of the contract, you’ll get back all that is in escrow.

  1. Pay cash for everything.

    An all-cash bid in a sellers market in Brooklyn is very appealing to sellers. Most will go with an all-cash bid over even the highest bidder. All-cash buyers appear serious because they have more to lose. Cash buyers are able to close a deal in two weeks, which makes them even more appealing to sellers. A good mortgage broker and an approval letter let a seller know you can close in two weeks.

  1. Make your desire to purchase a seller’s home personal.

    If you’re just numbers on paper, then you’ll have to be the biggest numbers on paper to win a great home. Write a letter to the sellers. Tell them how much you love their home. Tell them how their home will benefit you and your family to live there. Everyone enjoys feeling like they are helping someone. Sellers want to feel good about the next family moving into their home.

    Here’s an extra-special gesture to help you win a great home in a sellers market in Brooklyn. Have your real estate agent ask the sellers an open question about what they want. You’re looking for something important that will help the sellers and increase your chances of winning the bidding war on their home. What seller wouldn’t want to work with a buyer who cared enough to ask and make changes that would help them? One question could help you win a great home and make the sellers happy you asked.

  1. Find homes before they hit the sellers market in Brooklyn.

    If you can find homes before they hit the market, you’ll save yourself time and money.

  • Drive around neighborhoods in areas you are interested in living. Look for large remodels or construction on existing homes. They may be getting ready to list their home for sale. You may be able to save some money by buying that home early.
  • Ask your real estate agent to send cards to owners who have lived in their homes for 7 to 10 years in an area you are interested in living. Ask if they are interested in selling. Your lender’s contact information should be listed on the cards. Owners who are interested in selling will be able to call your lender and verify that you are a real buyer.
  • Ask your real estate agent to email other agents they work with to see if they have any homes coming up that you might be able to see before other buyers.

No, you don’t have to pay the highest price to win a great home in a sellers market in Brooklyn, although it helps. Just try these 7 things when shopping today’s sellers market in Brooklyn and win YOUR great home!

Time is money. Get the help of Charles D’Alessandro. He has over 25 years of experience and is active in the Brooklyn real estate market. He knows how to help you win a great home in a sellers market in Brooklyn. Contact Charles D’Alessandro of Fillmore Real Estate in Brooklyn at (718) 253-9700 ext. 206 or [email protected].


16 Amazing Day Trips To Take Around Brooklyn

July 30th, 2015
day trips

Amazing day trips around Brooklyn! Enjoy one this summer!

Welcome to sum-, sum-, summertime in Brooklyn! There are about four weeks left of summertime in Brooklyn before the start of another school year. If you’re tired of roasting subway platforms, reeking rubbish and raucous window units, it’s time to get out of town! Take a break from hot, smelly and noisy. Ahhhh, day trips! No planning necessary. Just get in the car (or not), and go!

Here are 16 amazing day trips and activities to choose from:

  1. Beacon, NY – Dia: Beacon is a 300,000 square-foot art museum. This building used to be a Nabisco factory and is located 59 miles north. It is a delight for the contemporary art enthusiast. If and when you get overwhelmed with its grandness, take a break and grab something yummy at Homespun Foods.
  2. Bear Mountain, NY – Bear Mountain Park is full of activities for every age. There are hiking trails, a carousel, a swimming pool, a zoo, refreshment stands and picnic areas just 45 miles from NYC in the Hudson Highlands.
  3. Brooklyn Bridge Park Brooklyn Bridge Park is a world-class, 85‐acre sustainable waterfront park, and it’s right around the corner! Located at 334 Furman Street, it stretches 1.3 miles along Brooklyn’s East River shoreline, melding seamlessly into DUMBO. Parking is very limited. It’s highly recommended that you get there by subway, bus, ferry, walking or biking.
  4. City Island – Charter a boat, go fishing, eat delicious seafood by the water or tour the Nautical Museum on the island. City Island is very close to The Bronx, but it feels far away from everything. Visit the local Chamber of Commerce for the best guide on what to do here.
  5. Cold Spring On Hudson, NY – The town of Cold Spring On Hudson is located about 80 minutes north. Here you can hike Mt. Taurus and take a stroll in the Boscobel Gardens to view the Hudson in all of its splendor. Hiking works up an appetite, so be sure to stop by and enjoy farm-to-table French fare at Brasserie Le Bouchon.
  6. Coney Island – The one and only Coney Island comes packed with new restaurants, like Wahlburger’s on the boardwalk and its classics: Nathan’s Famous, Beach and Boardwalk, Brooklyn Cyclones, Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park, Luna Park and its Coney Island Cyclone, New York Aquarium.
  7. DUMBO – Raw and charming, DUMBO is Brooklyn’s most buzz-worthy neighborhood. The Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges define its borders. Walk, ride a Citi Bike, take a train or enjoy the glamorous East River Ferry to reach this day trip right here in Brooklyn. Included amenities ABOUND! Stop in for yum at the best eats in DUMBO – Noodle Pudding and Grimaldi’s.
  8. Fort Tilden Beach, Queens – This day trip calls for quiet! Fort Tilden Beach is an island located off of Queens. It used to be an Army base. It’s a very long walk away from the A train and is easiest to reach by bike. There are no lifeguards, snackbars or bathrooms at this beach. Pack it in and pack it out.
  9. Freeport, Long Island – Like to fish, do you? If so, Freeport, Long Island is the day trip for you. Reserve a seat on Captain Lou’s vessel. He knows which fish are biting and the best bait to use to catch them, hook, line and sinker!
  10. Governors Island – Get on a ferry for a quick ride in New York Harbor. Head on over to Governors Island for picnicking, bike riding, eating ice cream, lying in the grass and taking in the views. Little Eva’s opened recently. Have you been there yet?
  11. Mountainville, NY – Storm King Art Center is 500 acres of modern sculptures located an hour north in Mountainville, New York. Picnicking is permitted on the grounds, so bring your basket.
  12. New Haven, CT – There are lots of activities to enjoy in New Haven, Connecticut, just 90 minutes away. Take a cruise on Captain Bob’s 45-minute Thimble Islands cruise. Purchase everything you’ll need for a picnic from Caseus or enjoy a panini there. Watch a play at Long Wharf or Yale Rep Theatre. Eat dinner at Union League Café.
  13. Rockaway Beach, Queens – You can ride Rockaway’s own ferry from lower Manhattan to this hot spot. Rockaway is basically the Brooklyn Flea at the beach. If you’re hungry, Rockaway Beach Club offers artisan food from around 20 vendors on the boardwalk.
  14. Short Hills, NJ – A day trip full of the best people watching ever at The Mall at Short Hills might be just what you need in a getaway. It won’t take much time to get there from New York either. Air conditioning and free parking are nearby! Shop everything from Chanel to Forever 21, and grab a bite to eat at the Ritz Diner on your way home. An out-of-this-world brisket-on-latke sandwich is suggested.
  15. Smorgasburg, Brooklyn – Notice to foodies: try this gastronomic pop-up phenomenon known as Smorgasburg. This is a weekly event that begins in the spring and ends at Thanksgiving. From hot dog maker to popsicle company there are some 100 food vendors to tempt your taste buds. Smorgasburg is held at Pier 5 in Brooklyn Bridge Park.
  16. Warwick, NY – About 75 minutes from the GW Bridge, summer and living are easy at the Warwick Valley Winery & Distillery. How does wine, draft cider or gin (you pick your poison), a brick-oven pizza and sunshine on the patio sound? Top this day trip off with a movie at the Warwick Drive-In before you drive on home.

You don’t need to own a summer house to escape the concrete jungle for day trips and activities. Your sanity can be saved and your spirit refreshed with one of many day trips and activities around Brooklyn.

Are you are looking for a summer house to buy? Would like a few more tips on day trips and activities around Brooklyn? Contact me, your Brooklyn real estate agent with Fillmore Real Estate, Charles D’Alessandro. Reach me at (718) 253-9600 ext 206 or email [email protected]. With over 27 years of real estate experience, I can help you find the perfect summer house to buy or the best day trips and activities around Brooklyn. Enjoy what’s left of your summer!


10 Smart Home Improvement Projects For Your Brooklyn Home

July 15th, 2015
home improvement projects

Smart home improvement projects that will add value to your home

You’ve decided. It’s a great time to sell, and you’re going to list your Brooklyn home. You know your home could use a few upgrades, but which home improvement projects will add value to your Brooklyn home? Which home improvement projects will make your home appealing to buyers? Be a smart seller. Use one or all 10 of these home improvement projects to add value and appeal to your home. Best Home Improvements

Home Improvement Projects #1 – Create Open Space In Your Home

Create spaciousness and a sense of flow in your home. Homebuyers respond well to open floor plans. So go ahead. Take down that non-structural wall between the kitchen and the living room. Create a big space that allows people to be together.

Links to help you get it done

Home Improvement Projects #2 – Landscape Your Yard

Landscaping could make a significant difference in the price of your home. It is one of the top three smart home improvements that bring the biggest return on investment. It could very well be the most important home improvement investment a seller can make. According to a survey conducted by HomeGain, an investment in landscaping can bring a return of four times what you investment in it originally.

Links to help you get it done

Home Improvement Projects #3 – Let The Sun Shine Into Your Home

Enhance your home’s appeal to buyers with light and lots of it.

  • Create moods with dimmer switches
  • Add warmth to empty spaces with soft lighting
  • Make small spaces appear larger with high wattage bulbs
  • Fix broken panes
  • Make certain each window opens and closes
  • Add motion-sensor lights that turn themselves off

Links to help you get it done

Home Improvement Projects #4 – Address Home Repairs and Maintenance Now

  • How’s the insulation in the attic?
  • Does your home need plumbing leaks repaired?
  • Are the rain gutters rusty and bent?
  • Have you had the furnace and septic system inspected lately?
  • Do your windows need to be replaced or repaired for leaks?
  • What kind of shape are your storm doors in? Do you even have storm doors?
  • Has the flower garden been weeded?

Investing in home repairs and maintenance is smart, because it could be crucial to the sale of your home. Homes that get buyer attention are in tip top shape. Address basic home repairs and maintenance now before investing in that kitchen upgrade. These simple home improvement projects don’t cost much, but they add a lot of value. Two or three hundred dollars invested here could add a few thousand dollars’ worth of value to your home.

Links to help you get it done

Home Improvement Projects #5 – Go Green To Save Green

Buyers ask about the cost of utilities. If you’ve invested in and taken care of the home repairs and maintenance in #4, it’s time to think about investing in green efficiency. It’s been reported that energy savings add twenty times their yearly savings to the value of your home. For example, investing in new heating or air conditioning systems can save up to 30 and 40% of what your old systems are costing each month. You could invest around $7,000 in a solar-powered water heater, get back $2,100 in green tax credits and save as much as 80% on your water-heating bills!

Links to help you get it done

Home Improvement Projects #6 – Welcome People To Your Home With Impressive Curb Appeal

There’s power in your front door, and you have eight seconds to use it. You’ve got eight seconds to impress potential buyers with the curb appeal of your front door or porch. Make sure your porch has an awning or overhang to protect you from the weather while you’re fumbling for the key to your front door. Then, step back onto the sidewalk in front of your house and look at your front door through a buyer’s eyes. Or take a picture of the front of your house. See anything that needs to be repaired or enhanced? What would it look like with a flower box or two?

But don’t forget about the curb appeal of your back yard. A deck, even a small one, will add value to your home in the buyer’s eyes. You’ll get back dollar for dollar with the deck you put in as long as the right material is used.

Links to help you get it done

Home Improvement Projects #7 – Spend Some Money On Your Floors

It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money, but 94% of real estate pros recommend spending some money on flooring. To give you an idea, investing an average of $600 to $900 on flooring could bring an estimated $2,000 in value to your home.

Fix those creaking boards, too. Well-placed nails, repairing broken tile, patching damaged floor boards and getting rid of wall-to-wall carpeting doesn’t cost much for the huge impact it can make on potential buyers.

FYI, homes with a mixture of flooring – carpet, tile and hardwood, are appealing to today’s home buyer. Waterproof flooring at each entrance is smart flooring upgrade.

Links to help you get it done

Home Improvement Projects #8 – Spiffy Up The Kitchen And The Bathroom

Adding value to your home is a sure bet when you spiffy up the kitchen and bath. Ask any broker. They’ll tell you the condition of the kitchen is tops with buyers. The condition of the bathroom is a close second.

Most kitchen and bath upgrades are costly. You may not want to invest as much as an upgrade could take since you want to list your home right away. However, some bathroom upgrades may only cost about $500 to take a bathroom from “ugh” to “AWESOME!” Consider these spiffy upgrades:

  • Replace clear glass with frosted glass
  • Clean the grout
  • Remove rust stains
  • Apply fresh caulk
  • Update doorknobs and cabinet pulls
  • Replace faucets
  • Install a low-flush toilet
  • Buy a new toilet seat

Links to help you get it done

Home Improvement Projects #9 – Paint Neutral Colors On Your Walls

Since you’re listing your home, walk through your home and look for chipped paint. If you find any chips, pull out the plaster and paint and take care of it now. If more than touch ups are needed, go with neutral paint colors on your walls. Potential buyers want to see themselves in your home. Neutral paint on those walls will help them be able to do this a little easier.

Links to help you get it done

Home Improvement Projects #10 – Fix It Or Remove It From Your Home

If anything causes a potential buyer to ask, “What’s that,” fix it or remove it, and do so before they ask. Things like 1980’s wallpaper, a broken front step, a cracked threshold, pink and grey vinyl flooring are huge deterrents to potential home buyers. If you need help, ask a friend for their impartial advice on what needs to be fixed or removed. Then, get it fixed or removed pronto.

Links to help you get it done

Bonus – Get The Help Of A Trusted Professional

Get the help of real estate agent Charles D’Alessandro. It’s a sellers’ market, but you need his experience to get your home sold quickly. He is active in the Brooklyn real estate market and has handled many transactions. He is familiar with terms and conditions of individual home sales beyond the prices published for those home sales. He knows how to market Brooklyn homes, negotiate and close transactions. He can provide all the assistance you need in listing your home and for the best price. Call him today.

Links to help you get your home sold

  • Contact Charles Through His Website
  • Call Him At The Office: (718) 253-9700 ext. 206
  • Email Him At: [email protected]