To List or Not to List: 7 Strategies To Help With That Decision

January 30th, 2016
To list or not to list

To list or not to list? Together we can help you decide.

To list or not to list? Should you or shouldn’t you? When a new year arrives, the desire for change usually does, too: health, finances, job, home, education, etc. If you’re wondering whether or not you should take on a change of address in Brooklyn this year, here are 7 strategies to help with that decision:

1. Examine the elements of your home to help you decide to list or not to list

Think about the traffic pattern, how dark your home might be and if you could use a mud room that isn’t there, for example. Now, answer these questions:

  • What really bothers you about your home?
  • What’s missing?

Often the perfect changes can be made without adding a single square foot. Simply taking down a wall or partial wall, removing or changing doors and adding or enlarging windows, can convince you not to list. Eliminating an unproductive traffic pattern, brightening up your home or adding a missing feature can increase your home’s value as well. In his book Staying Put: Remodel Your House to Get the Home You Want (Taunton Press, 2011) architect Duo Dickinson “offers guidance on looking before you leap, ways to avoid pitfalls (and money pits), strategies for staying green or going geriatric, and moves you can make so you don’t have to move out.”

2. Study the land your home is sitting on

The landscape, condition and size of the property can’t be ignored. It’s a good decision to list if the land your home is sitting on:

  • property too small for your gardening passion
  • needs more yard for your growing family and summer entertainment (i.e. barbecues, pool, backyard get-togethers …)
  • lack of parking on or around your property

Remodeling can’t fix those issues!

3. Discuss and weigh your neighborhood’s plusses

Remodeling to fix your home’s issues might outweigh the option to list your Brooklyn home if your neighborhood offers:

  • Shopping for every budget
  • Excellent schools
  • Safety and family entertainment
  • Beautiful parks and walkability
  • Special memories (ie: your kids grew up in that house, your daughter got married in the backyard of that house)

4. Think about how long you plan to stay put

If you plan to stay put for at least 5 to 10 years, adding on or finishing a basement, may be worth the time, effort and expense. It will increase your home’s resale value, too. But if empty nesters needing to downsize are more likely to buy in your neighborhood, adding on or finishing your basement probably won’t help you sell in the future.

This is where a good financial planner and a mortgage lender can help. A good financial planner will help you gauge your home’s value in relationship to your assets and the needs of your family. A mortgage lender will discuss the costs of a new mortgage and whether or not you need one.

5. Get estimates from contractors, designers, architects or structural engineers

It’s worth paying to get multiple bids from remodeling professionals. Some even offer free estimates! They will:

  • Listen to what you want
  • Appraise your home’s present condition
  • Point out things you may not have seen or thought about
  • Estimate what remodeling could cost realistically

If your house is over 30-years-old and hasn’t been updated, the wiring, plumbing, HVAC system, roof and insulation may need attention. Whether you decide to list or not to list, these things will need to be updated.

6. Compare the resale price and remodeling costs of your home with other homes in your neighborhood

Yes, remodeling isn’t solely done for resale value, and it shouldn’t be. You should consider how much enjoyment adding on or remodeling will give you and your family, but don’t overbuild for your neighborhood. Think of it a little like this: If you live in a neighborhood full of “Volkwagen Bugs,” don’t try to renovate your VW into a “Cadillac.” Changes made to your home will affect its resale value in comparison to other homes in the area. This must be considered. Most people would rather buy a decent home in a great neighborhood than pay for a nicer house in a not-so-great neighborhood. shares the following great informationThe 2016 Cost vs. Value Report compares, across 100 markets, the average cost of 30 popular remodeling projects with their average value at resale one year later. Average resale value is calculated based on estimates provided by real estate professionals. View the full report, including project descriptions and city-level data, here.

Something else to note here: Improvements can affect the value of your home when it comes to taxes. Depending on whether you are knocking down a wall or adding on to your home, your real estate taxes will or will not change. Look into this before you decide to list or not to list.

7. Walk through homes that are available in your price range in neighborhoods you like

You may find a home with a better floor plan. You may discover one with the just the right number of bedrooms and bathrooms, a great kitchen and a great yard, too. It may need some paint, new carpet or a renovated master bathroom, but compared to the costs of remodeling your current home, you should list.

Sometimes it makes better financial sense to list. Sometimes it makes better financial sense not to list. Before deciding to list or not to list, consider the cost and time of remodeling your home and all the facts.

Get estimates. Talk with a financial advisor and mortgage lender. Call me, Charles D’Alessandro, your Brooklyn real estate agent with Fillmore Real Estate at  (718) 253-9600 ext. 206 or send your questions to [email protected]. I’ll provide you with comps for your neighborhood. Together we can help you decide to list or not to list.


Interest Rates, Credit Scores And Down Payments – Should I?

January 15th, 2016
Interest rates

Rising interest rates affect buyers and sellers differently. Find out how!

Interest rates are on the rise. Rates fell from their highest in over five months last week, but home mortgage lending rates are up again this week. They rose from 4.15% to 4.18%. That’s not all that much higher than the 4% rates on a 30-year mortgage a year ago, but the upward path concerns lenders. How does a rise in interest rates affect you as a buyer? How does it affect you as a seller?

How does a rise in interest rates affect you as a homebuyer?

Buying a house involves a large initial expense. It also involves knowing what you’re getting into long-term before you buy. Knowing what you’re getting into before you buy will help you avoid the disaster of foreclosure.

Do yourself a favor and open this free amortization schedule calculator. Plug in the amount you’ll need to borrow and the interest rate at 4%. Repeat what you just plugged into the amortization schedule calculator using the same amount you’ll need to borrow, but plug in an interest rate of 4.15%. See what a difference an increase in interest rates can make in a monthly mortgage payment?

Listed below, are monthly payments for 15-year and 30-year $100,000 mortgages at different interest rates, not including any fees, like private mortgage insurance or property taxes. Notice how a 1% increase in interest rates from 4% to 5% on a 30-year mortgage results in a 13% increase in monthly payments. A 2% increase results in an incredible 26% increase in monthly payments!

Term 4% Interest 4.5% Interest 5% Interest 6% Interest
15-Year Mortgage $740 $765 $791 $844
30-Year Mortgage $477 $507 $537 $600

Source data: Google mortgage calculator

A note on adjustable mortgages here. Don’t fall into the trap of an adjustable mortgage. Adjustable mortgages make it seem like you can afford a mortgage when you really can’t. If you need creative financing in order to afford a house, you can’t afford it. Don’t do it.

Is now a good time to buy?

Answer the following questions to help you determine whether or not now is a good time to buy a home:

  • Is your credit score above 720? A mortgage lender will give you a loan and determine the rate based on your credit score. If your credit score is low, you can expect a higher interest rate. It would be wise to wait to buy a home until you improve your credit score. While you are waiting:
    • Pay down debt
    • Remove inaccuracies from your credit report
    • Make payments on time every month
    • Avoid applying for new credit cards or new loans
  • Do you have money set aside for a down payment? Putting down at least 20% of the cost of the home is ideal. This amount down will help you avoid having to pay private mortgage insurance (PMI). Since PMI protects the bank’s investment in case you default on the loan, it is a huge waste of money.
  • Do you have money set aside to pay the closing costs? The closing costs associated with your mortgage can total several thousand dollars.
  • What are the current interest rates? If interest rates are low, it may be a good time to buy.
  • What are the experts saying about property values? Accurately predicting what interest rates or property values will do can be tough to do. Ask an expert if property values are on the rise, or if they are likely to fall. If property values are falling, it may be a good time to wait on buying a home.
  • Do you plan on staying put for three to five years, two at the least? If not, refrain from buying. Now is not the time to buy a home.
  • Do you have an emergency fund? This is important! If you don’t have at least six months’ worth of your current income tucked away in case of emergency, you should wait to buy a home. You need to have money in the bank to pay your mortgage if a layoff or major medical problem were to happen.
  • when determining whether you should buy a house now or wait until the future. If you have recently changed jobs, if you are thinking about changing jobs, or if you are expecting any major changes to your income, it is not a good idea to buy a house until you are on more solid footing. Banks and mortgage lenders typically require you to have been with your employer for at least a year or two before they will consider you for a loan.

Are you truly ready to buy?

How does a rise in interest rates affect you as the seller?

When interest rates rise, even just a little, home prices and home values lower. This happens because higher interest rates reduce a buyer’s ability to pay for a home. Higher interest rates make financing a home purchase a lot more expensive. Low interest rates boost home prices because more buyers enter the market

Is now a good time to sell?

The answer to this question is, “Yes!” Higher interest rates equate to lower borrowing power for the buyer, so the sooner you sell, the better. Interest rates are creeping upward!

Read these blog posts for other insights on why you should consider buying or selling your home:

Whether buying or selling a home, start thinking about how a rise in interest rates will impact you in the future.

Make sure you consider the facts of this important financial decision with your head, not your emotions. You don’t want to struggle making your mortgage payments to find yourself in foreclosure down the road.

Call me, Charles D’Alessandro, your Brooklyn real estate agent with Fillmore Real Estate at (718) 253-9600 ext. 206 or send your questions to [email protected]. I can help you determine whether or not now is a good time to buy or sell your home.

Teaching Kids About Money and How To Build Wealth In Preparation For Homeownership

December 30th, 2015
Teaching kids about money and how to build wealth

Teaching kids about money and how to build wealth early on prepares them for homeownership.

“Mama, don’t let your babies grow up to be cowboys, …” Bring up your babies to be homeowners! Now that the tune is stuck in your head, let’s talk about teaching kids about money and how to build wealth. It’s a critical life lesson that should be taught early on in their lives. Too bad that it isn’t taught in school or college. That means it’s up to us as parents to teach our kids how to take control of their financial futures.

When it comes to teaching kids about money and how to build wealth, start here:

  1. Practice Self-Control

Put one of your kid’s favorite treats to eat on the table, a Rice Krispies treat, a few pieces of their favorite chocolate or candy, for example. Have them sit down where they can see it, touch it, smell it. Tell them they may choose to eat it now or wait 15 minutes while you go work on the laundry or make an important phone call. Tell them that if they choose to wait while you are gone, when you return you will give them another treat or more of their favorite candy.

The sooner a person learns the difference between instant gratification and delayed gratification, the sooner they’ll find keeping their finances in order easier to do. This exercise teaches kids the difference. They are practicing self-discipline to save for something bigger, something they really want later.

Life gives many opportunities to put this important lesson into practice. Watch for them!

  1. Manage Money

Kids need some sort of “an income” in order to learn this lesson. Chores should be completed without payment because that’s how a family works as a team.

Give your kids opportunities to earn money. Set a price for a special paid project. If more than one kid wants to take on the paid project, do a reverse auction and give it to the lowest bidder.

When paid for completion of a special project, help your kids handle their income with the 80-10-10 rule: 10% goes into savings (a non-negotiable emergency fund), 10% is donated (church tithe, for example), 80% can be spent (or saved) as they wish.

This exercise actually teaches two lessons that many adults find difficult to manage: the importance of saving and giving back.

By the way, when a person gets into the habit of saving money and treating their savings as a non-negotiable monthly “expense,” they’ll have retirement money, vacation money and even money for a home down payment before they know it!

  1. Read a Book

There are a lot of books geared towards teaching kids about money and how to build wealth. This is a great reading list to arm your kids with personal finance knowledge: Nine of the Best Money Books for Kids and Teens.

Rich Dad Poor Dad is a great read for barely-teens on up. No matter how old you are, if you haven’t read it yet, get crackin’! It teaches powerful lessons on the difference between liabilities and assets, the importance of minimizing your expenses and introduces the idea of passive income.

  1. Live Within Your Means

Grandparents, church and Rich Dad Poor Dad teach the importance of living within your means. Unfortunately, today’s society does not. People are encouraged to get whatever they want, because after all, they’re worth it, and they deserve it. Learn more about credit here: Understanding Credit Card Interest

Learning to live within your means can be taught to kids every day. It involves delayed gratification, discipline and being told “no.” You’ll need to be on your toes to watch for these teachable moments.

  1. Invest In Passive Income

Think gumball machine or vending machine here. Then, be prepared to practice patience. It will take time for your kids to mature to the point of understanding passive income.

Show your kids how to buy a gumball machine with say $100 of their own. Suggest a busy store to place their gumball machine in. Now, research together what it will cost to purchase gumballs for their machine. Once your kid guesses how many gumballs they think their machine could sell in a week, help them calculate a profit and loss projection. You’ll need to discuss how much time this passive income business will take and whether or not you will be in a position to purchase a second machine. What Constitutes Passive Income?

  1. Play Games

You should be teaching kids about money and building wealth as early as possible. Many of them are more easily taught and caught when they are older. No matter when you start teaching kids about money and how to build wealth, make it fun. Play games like Cashflow for Kids or Monopoly. Help them learn about business with a lemonade stand, lawn job, babysitting, snow removal, poop scooping or dog walking business. Any one of these businesses can teach kids (and adults!) planning, investing, marketing and executing.

Understanding how money works is the first step toward making money work for you. Kids don’t need a fancy degree or special background to learn how to manage money, nor do you in order to teach them.

Teaching kids about money and how to build wealth while they are very young will help them learn to manage money before they go out into the real world. They will know how to:

No matter what the age of your kids, start them on the right path financially today. If you’d like more in depth resources on managing money, enjoy the following great reads:

Charles D’Alessandro, your Brooklyn real estate agent with Fillmore Real Estate | 718-253-9600 ext. 206 | [email protected]


Should A Seller List Their Brooklyn Home In December?

December 9th, 2015
List their Brooklyn home in December

If someone must list their Brooklyn home in December, the holiday decorations need to be nixed.

Nobody wants to list their Brooklyn home in December. I mean, who in their right mind, would add selling a home to their Christmas to-do list, right? You’re already very busy and doing your best to keep up with the chaos of going to parties and family get-togethers, shopping, mailing Christmas cards, wrapping and preparing lots of Christmas goodies through New Year’s Day. Well, life happens, and it usually happens when we least expect it.

Most people do not choose to list their Brooklyn home in December

Most who list their Brooklyn home in December must sell due to a major life change. Death, divorce, a birth or a change in job status, can take someone by surprise and turn them into a “forced seller.”  You’ve seen the signs, “Everything must go,” or “Moving Sale.”

Ideally, a Brooklyn listing should be on the market for only a few days. But it’s quite possible a December listing could remain on the market through spring. If that happens, what pictures will potential buyers see of that December listing as time passes? The pictures they see must look as fresh in May as they did when they were taken in December. That can’t happen if the pictures posting in the spring show a home’s halls decked with boughs of holly.

If a home must list in December, efforts should be put into pre-inspections, repairs, cleaning, staging, photographs and marketing with any time of year in mind. Potential buyers should be moved by the house itself, not by the way a home is decorated for the holidays.

For example, let’s say you love Halloween. A lot of people do. But you wouldn’t go to a job interview dressed in your favorite Halloween costume, right? The human resources person holding your interview will see your costume (or decorations) rather than you and your resume.

People should not list their Brooklyn home in December with pictures of decorations

Selling a home takes skill. Sellers should work to present their listing in such a way that they bring a potential buyer to a decision to buy. Posting pictures of your home in July with fall leaves and fall decorations may cause a potential buyer to think, “What’s wrong with this house? It’s been on the market since last fall.”

If a seller is forced to list their Brooklyn home in December, the house should be prepared to sell at any time of year. Decorations for a specific time, year or holiday will date a home in an unfavorable way.

So, if you must list your Brooklyn home in December and a Christmas tree in the home is a must, put it up on December 24th and take it down on December 26th. Decorations can nix a sale faster than you can say “Price Reduction”!

If someone you know must list their Brooklyn home in December, call Charles D’Alessandro, your Brooklyn real estate agent with Fillmore Real Estate. at (718) 253-9600 ext. 206 or email, [email protected].


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.