Do You Need to Challenge Your Property Tax Assessment?

February 15th, 2019
Property tax assessment
If you decide to challenge your property tax assessment, be prepared.

How high are your property taxes? Do you feel they are too high? Most homeowners pay property taxes once or twice a year. Some get their property taxes amortized into monthly mortgage payments. But before you write that check, consider challenging your property tax assessment. According to the National Taxpayers Union, a homeowner has a fifty percent chance of succeeding if they challenge their local assessor’s office about their property tax bill. So if you want to dispute your property tax assessment, here’s what you need to know.

First, How is the Amount of Your Property Tax Determined?

Your city’s tax rate is multiplied by the assessed value of your property and all of the structures on it. This determines the amount of property tax you pay. The value of the structures can change significantly if you make any improvements, like adding on a family room, for example.

Assessors determine the value of your house in one of three ways:

  • With a detailed inspection
  • By checking real estate documents to see how much you paid for your property
  • Looking at the median price paid for homes in your area and basing calculations on that information

 

Second, Why Would You Want to Challenge Your Property Tax Assessment?

Your reasons for disputing property tax assessments can vary:

  • You suspect that the assessed value of your house exceeds its true market value. (For example, if the assessed value of the house you just bought is higher than what you paid for it, producing the contract of sale could be enough to get the tax reduced without any further ado).
  • Your neighbors, who live in an identical brownstone one or two doors down, are paying less in taxes than you are
  • You’re entitled to exemptions that weren’t taken into account – homeowners renovating historic properties in some jurisdictions, for example.

 

Third, How Do You Challenge Your Property Tax Assessment?

So where do you start when you want to challenge your property tax assessment?

You don’t need a lawyer because most municipalities are more than willing to walk you through the appeals process. But since you might have only sixty days from the time the assessment arrives in your mailbox, you should call and ask about the review process of your local assessor’s office right away. And find out what the important timing points are, too.

Dispute forms are usually included with an assessment by most municipalities. Then, if you question the assessment, you can send the form back. Once you fill out that form and send it back, the process varies.

Most likely you’ll be asked to state your case at an informal hearing at your local assessor’s office. It’s possible to resolve the problem right then and there provided your argument is strong enough. (Like when you suspect that the assessed value of your house exceeds its true market value, for example)

If you’re unable to resolve the problem with a strong argument at an informal hearing, you may be asked to attend a formal hearing. At this second hearing, you must convince a review board of local assessors that their findings are inaccurate. Be prepared for this formal hearing and bring the following:

  • Detailed descriptions of properties similar to yours with comparable square footage, additions, etc. from a local real estate agent
  • Tax records which can be found by researching property rolls at the assessor’s office
  • Photos

 

In Review …

When your property tax assessment arrives in the mail:

  • Make sure all the deductions you’re entitled to were granted
  • Check the assessor’s math and the description of your property. If something looks off, investigate. Human error, like miscalculating square footage or recording an incorrect number of bedrooms, for example, happens.
  • Compare the assessments of at least five properties similar to your own
  • Make adjustments for differences between your property and the five similar to your own
  • If your assessment is too high, make an informal appeal to the assessor. File a formal appeal if the informal appeal doesn’t work.
  • Attend an appeals board hearing. (The National Taxpayers Union’s guide, How to Fight Property Taxes, is available for purchase if you’d like more information on the process and how it works).
  • Write a summary of your case and rehearse your presentation before you appear at your informal hearing

If you’re able to get the property tax assessment reduced, good job! But if you’re not able to get it reduced, you will only be out a $5 to $30 filing fee. In addition to the time spent trying to reduce your property tax assessment, the filing fee really isn’t all that costly. So it really is worth the try.

Remember, your latest property tax assessment bill does not have to be paid without question. So consider challenging it before you write your check. The deadline is March 15, 2019. If you need help disputing your assessment bill, contact Charles D’Alessandro, your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with Fillmore Real Estate at (718) 253-9600 ext.206. Or you can email him at [email protected] He will be happy to assist you.


Brooklyn Real Estate Agent

 Charles D’Alessandro

Your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent

718-253-9600 ext. 206

[email protected]


What Makes Brooklyn a Great Place to Love?

January 30th, 2019
Great place to love
What makes Brooklyn a great place to love for you?

There’s no place like home. And there’s certainly no place quite like Brooklyn, New York. So what makes Brooklyn a great place to love?

6 of Many Reasons Why Brooklyn is a Great Place to Love

Whether or not you still live in the place you grew up, there are things about it that make that place your hometown. But some of us have moved from address to address so many times that “home” is a relative term. We use the word “home” to describe a great place we either loved living once or love living in currently.

Brooklyn is my home. And there are plenty of reasons why others who have moved to Brooklyn call it their home, too. Here’s why Brooklyn is a great place to love and call home.

1. Outstanding Coffee Shops

The coffee here is always served with a good attitude and a smile. Here are our five-star rated coffee shops:

There are many others with four stars, you’ll certainly have a difficult time choosing. But isn’t that fun to have so many choices for an outstanding cup of brew?

2. World-Class Eateries

We are home to amazing restaurants such as:

3. Fun Waterfronts

New York has been busy transforming from an industrial wasteland into fabulous green spaces, and it’s taken years. One of three major NYC parks opened in Brooklyn. In Brooklyn Bridge Park, the verdant Pier 3 debuted. If you enjoy panoramic views of the Manhattan skyline, this is the waterfront park to visit.

4. Amazing Parks

You probably don’t think of anything but a concrete jungle when someone mentions New York. But we’re home to a lot of amazing parks and greenspaces where you can get in touch with nature and enjoy the great outdoors.

5. Quiet Streets

Brooklyn is a borough of 30 distinct and unique neighborhoods. They are as diverse as those who live in them and rich with history. And it’s full of quiet streets and safe places to walk about and raise children. There are many excellent public and private schools, too.

6. A Strong Sense of Community

Brooklyn’s neighborhoods have been able to maintain their diversity and unique personalities. Some have even maintained their ethnic personality, like many of Brooklyn’s Italian neighborhoods, for example. They still enjoy their heritage and flavor.

Recent transplants and lifelong residents both share a genuine desire to see their unique neighborhoods thrive to be the best they can be. We care about each other and share important events together, and are hopeful about the future of Brooklyn. When there is a problem, the community rallies together to get it solved.

Much of this strong sense of community is seen in our efforts to provide green markets, community farms and gardens, cultural and historical non-profit organizations. Leaders of our community support and encourage shopping for goods made by local artists and designers.

But Wait – There’s so Much More that Makes Brooklyn a Great Place to Love

Brooklyn is a great place to love. It is a special place with a myriad of reasons to call it home. From community activities, trendy boutiques, lively music venues, amazing rooftop views, fun and diverse nightlife to a culinary scene to rival that of anywhere else in the world. Brooklyn has much to offer that compels us to love calling it our home.

Now that you know why Brooklyn is a great place to love, are you ready to call it your home? Call Charles D’Alessandro,
your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with Fillmore Real Estate at (718) 253-9600 ext.206. Or you can email him at [email protected]



Brooklyn Real Estate Agent

 Charles D’Alessandro

Your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent

718-253-9600 ext. 206

[email protected]


A Fresh Start for a Fantastic Year

January 15th, 2019

Whether you are or are not planning to sell, there’s something about a fresh start each January. Everyone selling, moving, or staying put can appreciate the peace of mind a clean slate offers. So welcome the fresh start decluttering, downsizing, and organizing gives you or a loved one you are a caregiver to. There’s no better time.

Fresh start
Prepare now for a move later or simply enjoy a fresh start at home for peace of mind. Decluttering, downsizing, and organizing offers amazing benefits!

Great Benefits of a Fresh Start at Home

There are three “things” a fresh start at home gives to everyone who pursues this rewarding task: improved relationships, more productivity, and happier, healthier life.

For example, when you come home to clutter, how does that make you feel? If stuff is everywhere, feelings of depression, defeat, anxiety, and irritation usually take hold. Less stuff to push to the side, fewer dirty dishes, and less to trip over makes your home visually appealing and you just simply feel better. And peace of mind is the biggest and best benefit of a fresh start!

Here are some other great benefits you can have when you declutter, downsize, and organize your home:

Money

Simply, if you don’t spend money, you have more money. So, next time you go shopping, if you don’t absolutely love it, put it down and move on. Plus, the less you spend your money on, the less you have to make room for in your home. Storage systems or storage space rentals can cost you a pretty penny and fast.

Space

When you keep only what you need or want to keep, the space you have to store it is ample and sometimes more than enough. And storage space is valuable to the home owner and potential buyer.

Time

The less stuff you have in your home saves time. How? Because you have less to clean and less to clean around. Cleaning stuff takes time. And cleaning around a lot of stuff takes time, too. What about the time you spend just looking for something that you can’t find because there is so much stuff to look past to find it? That’s exasperating! Also, if you’re downsizing, there’s less stuff to pack and move to your smaller home.

Doing What You Love to Do

And that brings us to yet another great benefit of a fresh start. When you aren’t spending valuable time cleaning or unnecessarily looking for things, you have more time to spend doing what you love to do and with those you love to things with.

Stress

Less stuff means less stress. Cluttered homes cause stress, anxiety, and claustrophobia. Clutter also causes feelings of overwhelm, helplessness, guilt, or shame. If your home is a “mess,” how do you feel when someone stops by unexpectedly?

Pick a closet, drawer, one flat surface. Here’s how to get started on your fresh start and a stress free life now. No, you won’t be organized right away. But keep at it, one closet, drawer, or flat surface at a time. And remember, don’t move on to the next project until the one at hand is finished completely. Then before you know it, you’ll be done with your home (or even Mom’s) enjoying more space, time, and peace of mind.

Do you plan to stay in your Brooklyn home or are you thinking of selling? Decluttering, downsizing, and organizing to enjoy a fresh start now also prepares you for a stress-free move later. And that’s another benefit you may not have considered.

For suggestions and referrals for decluttering, downsizing, and organizing, call Charles D’Alessandro, your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with Fillmore Real Estate at (718) 253-9600 ext.206. Or you can email him at [email protected]



Brooklyn Real Estate Agent

 Charles D’Alessandro

Your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent

718-253-9600 ext. 206

[email protected]


How to Declutter Christmas Decor and Store Only the Best

December 30th, 2018

Declutter Christmas decor
Enjoy extra space in your Brooklyn home all year and get yourself a step ahead in the selling process. Declutter Christmas decor now!

I have a confession to make. When it comes to Christmas décorations, I’ve got more than I can possibly use. But I struggle to part with any of it. Some have emotional and sentimental ties. Others I just hate to give away because I bought them on sale, and “they’re just too good to not use.” And what am I rewarded with each year? The feeling of overwhelm. Know what I’m talking about? This year, with the help of family, I am taking the decluttering “bull by the horns.” We will conscientiously declutter Christmas décor step by step.

How and When to Declutter Christmas Decor

Now is the perfect time to declutter Christmas décor. Christmas Day has passed and your favorite decorations are out. So purge what you no longer want, gather proper quantities of properly sized storage containers, and store only your best holiday items.

1. Declutter Holiday Decor You No Longer Want

As you bring your storage boxes back out, declutter the following items:

  • Items broken beyond repair or that you won’t take the time to repair (ornaments, strings of lights, etc.)
  • Anything you don’t love or even like very much
  • Everything you avoid putting out year after year

Check out this list of home storage solutions for even more ideas.

Remember, less is more, especially when it comes to holiday décorations. As you declutter Christmas décor, conscientiously keep only the best and throw out or donate the rest.

Note: Don’t donate broken items deserving of the trash. Also, these steps to declutter Christmas décor can be used when dealing with all holiday and seasonal decorations throughout the year.

2. Categorize Your Best Decorations2

Once you’ve purged and donated the items you no longer want, then categorize decorations into one of the following categories:

  • Decorations for the Christmas tree: ornaments, hooks, beads, lights, tree skirt, tree stand, tree topper
  • Indoor and outdoor light strands: extra bulbs, light clips. Mark each strand with its length.
  • Artificial tree(s), wreaths, and garlands. Mark each garland with its length and where it is displayed (atop kitchen cupboards, upstairs stair banister, etc.) Here are some great storage ideas:
  • TreeKeeper artificial Christmas tree storage bag. This allows you to keep your artificial tree assembled and ready to use next year.
  • And if you have room to do so, hang your garland instead of winding it up in a box or bag. You’ll save yourself a lot of time since you won’t need to fluff your garland.
  • Use WreathKeeper bags for hanging regular to oversized wreaths.
  • Nativity scenes, Christmas villages, and other freestanding decorations
  • Lawn ornaments and outdoor decorations
  • Christmas dishes
  • Candles
  • Miscellaneous

3. Gather Properly-Sized Containers to Store Your Christmas Decor3

Assess the amounts of decorations in each category. Then make sure you have enough of the right-sized containers to store everything properly and safely.

If you’re unable to buy a number of storage containers all at once (especially right after Christmas), keep these ideas in mind and purchase what you need as you have opportunity throughout the year.

How to Store Christmas DecorationsH

  • Pack decorations from the same category in one box. (For example, one box for everything that goes on or with the tree)
  • Don’t overstuff boxes. Everything should fit neatly with plenty of room to keep things from breaking or being damaged while in storage
  • Store all Christmas storage boxes together in one area in your home or garage. Then everything can be found easily next year!
  • Protect decorations from extreme temperatures, moisture, dirt, dust, rodents, and insects

Christmas Storage Solutions to ConsiderC

There are lots of great places to purchase storage containers in stores and on-line. Watch this video from Good Housekeeping for things around your home that can be repurposed into ingenious storage containers.

  • Instead of cardboard boxes, replace them with sturdy, plastic Christmas storage containers. They stack well and protect their contents effectively. “Clear” boxes allow you to view what’s in each box without lifting the lid, too.
  • Purchase tissue paper or newspaper end rolls to wrap ornaments, or use ornament storage boxes with divided containers. Ornament boxes are designed to keep the decorations from banging against each other in storage and getting damaged or broken.
  • Avoid the frustration of untangling Christmas lights next year. This year wrap your light strings around a Christmas light storage reel. You can purchase them or make them yourself.
  • Buy storage items designed specifically for storing large Christmas décor such things as an artificial tree or wreaths.

Store Only Your Best Christmas Decor in the Best WayS

Wherever you store your Christmas items, store the containers so that they are easily accessible when next Christmas arrives. You want to find what you want quickly. That means labeling your boxes with its contents and stacking the boxes so that the label is visible and easy to read.

Apply Patience Now for a Less Hectic Christmas Next Year

Whatever efforts you make to declutter Christmas décor this year will make decorating next year much easier. Yes, it takes time and patience, but the reward of added space and easier Christmas decorating will have you repeating, “I’m so glad I did that last year!” nce you’ve taken these steps this year, each year’s Christmas decoration process from now on will be so much easier. You’ll be able to find all the boxes you need quickly and easily, pull out clean undamaged decorations, and enjoy the process of decorating your home for the holidays.

Declutter Christmas décor now and enjoy the added space in your Brooklyn home all year. And if you decide to sell, you’ll be one step ahead in the selling process and getting your home ready to be shown. It’s another win-win for you and your potential buyers.

And when you’re ready to sell, call Charles D’Alessandro, your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with Fillmore Real Estate at (718) 253-9600 ext.206 or email [email protected]



Brooklyn Real Estate Agent

 Charles D’Alessandro

Your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent

718-253-9600 ext. 206

[email protected]


It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year to Sell Your Home

December 15th, 2018

Time of the year

Now is the best time of the year to sell your home thanks to some really great reasons that only the month of December provides.

Is now a good time to be selling a home? When it comes to selling your home, there’s no time like Christmas! It’s true there are fewer buyers looking for a home at this time of the year. But the pros definitely outweigh the cons. So don’t let the holidays keep you from taking advantage of selling your home now. It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

Why Christmas is the Most Wonderful Time of the Year to Sell Your Home

Staging is Simple

Thanks to holiday decorating, you can get by with minimal staging. However, decorate with a light hand.

Buyers are Serious

Buyers at this time of the year are serious about getting into a home. Honestly, there are serious buyers out there at all times of the year. But in December, the tire kickers are eliminated. They’re less likely to waste time viewing anything that doesn’t have what they want and need in a home. What makes many of them serious about finding a home in December?

  • They may have sold their homes in the fall
  • A job relocation before the new year arrives may be their current situation
  • Families with school children may want to get moved and settled a bit during Christmas break

Closings Happen Quickly

Since there are fewer transactions being processed at this time of the year, closings happen more quickly. Home inspectors have fewer inspections to do. Mortgage lenders have fewer loans to process. And attorneys have fewer closings to handle. That’s a whole lotta stress taken outta the picture, too!

Competition Isn’t Fierce

And fewer homes listed at this time of the year is to your advantage. With fewer homes on the market, your home stands a much better chance of selling. Once the holidays are over, more For Sale signs start appearing. And that brings the chances of your home being seen and purchased after January 1 way down.

Are you thinking about selling your home or waiting to list it in the spring? Now is the most wonderful time of the year, and for good reason. If your home has been on the market for a few months, take this time to reassess your strategy for getting your property sold. But don’t give waiting until spring to sell your home another thought. And don’t worry about your kids’ messy playroom or all those dirty dishes you used making holiday goodies. Enjoy the most wonderful time of the year and the serious buyers who want to see and buy your house as is in December.

The Best Real Estate Agent

Charles D’Alessandro won’t tell you that the fall or winter months are a bad time of the year to sell. He’s a great real estate agent who adapts to the time of the year and markets your listing accordingly. Click here for tips on how to sell a home during the fall or winter months. Then give Charles D’Alessandro, your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with Fillmore Real Estate a call at (718) 253-9600 ext.206 or email [email protected]



Brooklyn Real Estate Agent

 Charles D’Alessandro

Your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent

718-253-9600 ext. 206

[email protected]


How to Display the Best Ever Christmas Lights on Your Home

November 30th, 2018

Christmas lights

Hanging Christmas lights is a difficult task. But here are nine tips from lighting professionals that will make the job a little easier.

Simple or extravagant, Christmas lights express welcome Christmas cheer. But hanging Christmas lights tends to bring out, well, let’s just say, not Christmas cheer. If you are an annual do-it-yourselfer, you know how difficult hanging lights can be. You know how much time and patience decorating with lights require. And depending on the height of the peak of that roof, the weather, and even your age, it might be wise to hire a professional.

9 Great Tips for Decorating with Christmas Lights

As with any job around the home, the right tools, products, and proper installation yield the best ever results. Here are some great tips from lighting professionals found on houzz.com that will take some of the difficulty out of this festive endeavor.

  1. Add Lights to Shrubs

If you have a yard with a shrub or two, wrap white lights around them. Just a few lights added to your yard shares a lot of Christmas spirit.

Tip: Net lights work well on shrubs. Bulbs are evenly distributed over a lattice of cords. They come in a square or rectangular shape and in a variety of sizes. You can purchase energy-efficient LED or incandescent net lights. LED net lights give off a true-white or bluish-white color. Incandescent bulbs give off a warm or yellowish color. Make sure you purchase net lights large enough to completely wrap around your shrubs.

  1. Deck the Halls on Your Front Porch Only

Festive garlands, strings of lights, and a Christmas figurine look festive without being overwhelming.

Tip: Concentrate your Christmas decorations in one area only, such as your entryway or a garden bed if you have one. Concentrating on one single spot easily gives off the Wow Factor without presenting an overwhelming theme park feeling.

  1. Illuminate Your Tree(s)

Again, if you have a deciduous tree, wrap the trunk and individual branches with white lights. Add lights to a single tree or a cluster of trees for a best-ever display of Christmas lights.

Tip: Swap regular holiday lights for LED mini lights for energy efficiency and cost savings. LED lights allow you to use many more lights per circuit than incandescent lights do.

  1. Light Your Walkway with Luminarias

Luminarias give off a warm and enchanting glow. And they’re simple to do for the impact they provide. Welcome guests this year with an enchanting walkway lined with glowing luminarias.

Tip: You can purchase luminarias or make your own. Add a handful of sand to the bottom of paper bags. Place a tea light or battery-powered candle inside each one. Light the tea lights or turn on the candles just before your guests arrive.

  1. Hang Snowflakes

Glittering snowflakes are a fun twist to traditional string lights. Hang them below the eaves or along the branches of your tree in the front yard.

  1. Wrap Potted Branches with Christmas Lights

No trees or shrubs in the yard of your Brooklyn home? No problem! “Plant” some branches or twigs in your containers and add Christmas lights to them instead.

Tip: Where can you get branches to “plant” in your containers? Ask a friend with trees in their backyard or a florist. Then fill your containers with sand or gravel. Set the branches upright and wrap them with lights.

  1. Create Some Magic with Twinkling Stars

Twinkling white lights, not flashing Christmas lights, add the sparkle and magic of a starlit sky. Wrap branches that overhang a walkway or hang twinkling lights on a pergola to create a starlit canopy.

  1. Christmas lightsHang a Lighted Wreath

Hang a lighted Christmas wreath or swag under your porch light. A wreath with (or without lights) adds a touch of holiday class wherever you hang it.

  1. Outline the Eaves of Your Home

Perimeter lighting along the eaves and roofline of your Brooklyn home is always classic holiday style.

One Final Tip …

And if purchasing Christmas lights year after year is old, consider purchasing commercial-grade LED lights from specialty retailers this year. Because even the most expensive sets of LED lights offered at box stores are low-quality. You’ll pay more up front for quality lights, but you’ll save time, frustration, and money in the long run.

Tip: Last but not least, attach your Christmas lights to your trim with commercial-grade clips. Because doesn’t everyone want those perfectly straight lines, where every bulb is evenly spaced?

A very Merry Christmas to you, one and all!

Charles D’Alessandro, your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with Fillmore Real Estate. Call (718) 253-9600 ext.206 or email [email protected] to buy or sell your next home in Brooklyn today.



Brooklyn Real Estate Agent

 Charles D’Alessandro

Your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent

718-253-9600 ext. 206

[email protected]

 


The Best Things to Do in New York on Thanksgiving Day

November 15th, 2018

The special day for feasting and giving thanks arrives on the fourth Thursday of November every year. And that fourth Thursday will be here next week! Here in New York, we know how to celebrate. So if you’re hosting Thanksgiving in New York, show your guests how it’s done. Or make some of the best memories with your own. Just look at all of New York’s best things to do on Thanksgiving Day!

 

7 Things to Do in New York on Thanksgiving Day

 

1. Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Balloon Inflation

On Thanksgiving Day Eve, Macy’s plumps up giant balloons for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. And it’s almost as crowded as the parade is! When and where? Macy’s balloon inflation takes place on Wednesday, November 21, 2018, in the streets around the American Museum of Natural History. Inflation begins at 1pm and ends at 8pm. Enter the fray at 73rd Street and Columbus Avenue, then head east to Central Park West, north to 77th Street and make a 3/4 circle of the museum, ending at 81st Street and Central Park West.

Tip: Bring snacks and water since the loop takes at least 45 minutes to complete. Or eat near the balloon inflation at one of the many family-friendly restaurants a few blocks north. Avoid restaurants on Columbus Avenue across from the museum. And call ahead to make sure the one you choose will be open.

 

2. Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

Wow! This year marks the 92nd anniversary of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. And it’s something everyone should have on their bucket list of things to do – at least once. Macy’s always brings a mix of old familiar characters. But this year many new balloons, floats, and balloonicles will be added.

The annual parade takes place in Manhattan. Its route starts at 77th and Central Park West. Then it heads down CPW to Columbus Circle, before making a left heading along Central Park South to 6th Avenue. It continues south until 34th Street, where it makes a right and heads to Macy’s at Herald Square.

 

 

3. Bryant Park Winter Village

Bryant Park is one of New York City’s best parks, and it’s located at 41 W 40th St between Sixth and Fifth Avenues. It’s officially Christmas here in New York since Bryant Park Winter Village opened on Saturday, October 27 at noon. The holiday shops close on January 2, 2019. The Rink and The Lodge will run through March 2019. This 17,000-square-foot outdoor rink is free, but you’ll have to spend $20 to rent skates or bring your own. It’s an absolute winter wonderland you won’t want to miss!

 

4. Radio City Christmas Spectacular

For the past 80 plus years, this famous Christmas holiday event features Santa, wooden soldiers, and the world-famous synchronized precision dancing of the high-kicking Rockettes. This spectacular Christmas event is held at Radio City Music Hall at Rockefeller Center. To get there take the B, D, F or M to 47th-50th/Rockefeller Center, or the 1 to 50th St./Broadway. It runs from November 9, 2018, through January 1, 2019. Get your 2018 tickets on the Rockettes site, at the Radio City Music Hall box office, at the Madison Square Garden, or the Beacon Theatre Box Office. Or you can call Ticketmaster at 866-858-0007. And go see one of New York City’s most iconic holiday shows!

 

5. Double-Decker Downtown Holiday Tour

‘Tis the season to go all out. If you’re really in the holiday spirit, take in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular and a double-decker downtown bus tour. This Christmas holiday combo started on November 14, 2018, but runs through Saturday, December 1, 2018. Tickets are $159.99. And you can book this tour online.

 

6. New York City Ballet

George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker® is performed at W 63rd St at Columbus Avenue in New York. It includes the full New York City Ballet company, two casts of School of American Ballet students, an onstage blizzard, and a Christmas tree that grows from 12 to 40 feet. This enchanting event runs from November 23 to November 30, 2018. The price to attend is $55 to $295 a person. Call 212-496-0600 or visit https://www.nycballet.com to purchase your tickets.

 

7. Turkey Trot – Lakeside at Prospect Park

If you enjoy running through verdant foliage or want to burn off a few calories before your Thanksgiving Day dinner, enter the Turkey Trot of Prospect Park. The 5K Turkey Trot starts at 9am on Thanksgiving Day. The cost to participate is $35 or $40. Call 718-965-8951 or visit http://prospectpark.org to enter.

 

Enjoy Thanksgiving Day and the full New York City experience this year. If you’re a resident, you can enjoy all the fun things to do in New York without the hassle of traffic or travel delays! Take advantage of that and gear up for Christmas in New York with giant balloons, floats, cheerleaders, clowns, marching bands, Broadway performances, and celebrity appearances. (And that’s just the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade!)

 

Happy Thanksgiving Day, Brooklyn, from Charles D’Alessandro, your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with Fillmore Real Estate. Call (718) 253-9600 ext.206 or email [email protected] Ask Charles about selling your home or purchasing your dream home in Brooklyn today.



Brooklyn Real Estate Agent

 Charles D’Alessandro

Your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent

718-253-9600 ext. 206

[email protected]


How to Enjoy a Safe Halloween in the Neighborhood

October 26th, 2018

Safe HalloweenHalloween may or may not be your thing, and for some very valid reasons. But it is a favorite “holiday” for many because:

And if you do plan to enjoy it, plan to make it a safe Halloween.

How You Can Make it a Safe Halloween

With so many out and about enjoying Halloween in the neighborhood, there are some things you can and should do to make it safe and lots of fun, too.

See and be seen in the dark

  • Choose costumes that are bright and reflective
  • Add reflective tape to costumes and trick-or-treat bags
  • Carry a flashlight with fresh batteries installed
  • Instead of wearing a mask, opt to wear non-toxic makeup and a hat
  • Make your route on well-lit streets only and always use the sidewalk
  • If it happens your trick-or-treating route has no sidewalk, walk at the far edge of the side of the road facing traffic

 If you wear it, wear it safely

  • Shoes should fit well and costume length should be short enough to prevent tripping
  • Masks, hats, wigs, and accessories should fit properly so they won’t slide over your eyes
  • Costume and costume accessory labels should indicate they are flame resistant
  • Swords, canes, or sticks should not be sharp or too long. You don’t want your trick-or-treater getting hurt if they happen to stumble or trip.
  • Avoid pain, inflammation, serious eye disorders, infections, and possibly permanent vision loss. (Now that’s scary!) Only wear decorative contact lenses that have been prescribed for you. They are dangerous and illegal if worn without a prescription.

Know your numbers and plan your routes

  • Everybody needs to know how to call 9-1-1 (or their local emergency number) in case of an emergency or if someone gets lost
  • Carry a fully-charged cell phone with you
  • Plan and review a safe route with your trick-or-treaters
  • If your trick-or-treaters are older and going out without an adult, know their route and set a specific time when they should be home
  • Never go trick-or-treating by yourself. Stay in a group and always communicate where you are going.

While you’re out and about

  • Parents or responsible adults should always accompany young trick-or-treaters
  • Never get into a car or walk into a home to get Halloween candy
  • Visit only homes that have their porch light turned on
  • Never cut across yards or use alleys
  • Cross streets in groups and in crosswalks only, not from between parked cars or out of driveways, not ever
  • Always assume motorists cannot see you. Never cross in front of a car until you are sure they see you and have come to a full and complete stop
  • If you see any suspicious or unlawful activity, notify your law enforcement authorities immediately

What to do at home to make it a safe Halloween

  • Instead of carving pumpkins, let young children draw a face on pumpkins with markers. Mom and Dad, you can carve the pumpkin faces for them
  • Flashlights, tiny Christmas lights, or glow sticks can be used in place of a candle inside your pumpkins. But if you choose to use a candle though, a votive candle is safest.
  • Never leave a candlelit pumpkin unattended or near curtains or flammable objects
  • Remove tripping hazards (garden hoses, toys, bikes, lawn decorations) from your porch or the pathway to your front door
  • Replace burned out bulbs in your outdoor lights
  • Remove wet leaves or snow that could cause trick-or-treaters to slip and injure themselves
  • Kennel your pets to keep them and trick-or-treaters safe

Sweet “safely” on Halloween

  • Send your trick-or-treaters on their way to pick up treats (aka sugar) with a good meal in their bellies. This will prevent them from filling their empty tummies with Halloween treats. (Talk about a sugar high/rush! Oh dear!)
  • And if you don’t want to contribute to the onslaught of sugar, consider purchasing coloring books, pens, pencils, or games
  • When trick-or-treaters arrive home, closely examine their loot. Throw away spoiled, unwrapped, or anything that looks suspicious to you.
  • Ration the candy loot over the days and weeks following Halloween

There is a lot of fun to be had around Halloween, especially for our kids. But don’t be a pumpkin head. Strategize and prepare as needed to make this Halloween a safe Halloween for your kids, your pets, and everyone who combs the neighborhood for treats.

Click here for other Halloween events happening in our Brooklyn neighborhood. Although some of these 25 events started as early as the 22nd of October, many are still happening on the 31st.

Have a safe Halloween!

Charles D’Alessandro, your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with Fillmore Real Estate knows Brooklyn. Call (718) 253-9600 ext.206 or email [email protected] and ask him where the best homes in the best Brooklyn neighborhoods are today.



Brooklyn Real Estate Agent

 Charles D’Alessandro

Your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent

718-253-9600 ext. 206

[email protected]


What are the Advantages of Virtual Home Staging?

October 15th, 2018

Virtual home staging

Virtual home staging offers two advantages over traditional home staging: time and cost

Home staging is nothing new. And staging your home for sale is remarkably beneficial. It’s also necessary if you want to sell your home quickly because today’s market is much more challenging than it used to be. You may already be aware of traditional home staging. But have you ever heard of virtual home staging?

What is Traditional Home Staging?

Wikipedia defines it as “the act of preparing a private residence for sale in the real estate marketplace. The goal of staging is to make a home appealing to the highest number of potential buyers, thereby selling a property more swiftly and for more money. Staging techniques focus on improving a property’s appeal by transforming it into a welcoming, attractive product that anyone might want. People usually use arts, painting, accessories, lights, greenery, and carpet to stage the home, to give potential buyers a more attractive first impression of the property.”

2 Types of Traditional Home Staging

There are two types of traditional home staging:

  1. Owner-occupied staging – seller is living in the home while it is on the market; stager uses the homeowner’s belongings to prepare the home for sale
  2. Vacant staging – the most expensive for sellers; stager rents furniture and accessories to dress up an empty space

How Does Home Staging Benefit the Seller?

Many confuse staging with decorating. And many fight against the process and recommendations of their home stager because the process calls for detachment. It requires detaching yourself emotionally from your home. But if you know the benefits of staging your home for sale, the transformation of your home with home staging is fun.

  • Potential buyers can picture your home as their home more easily
  • Home staging sells your home faster, 75 percent faster than homes that are not
  • You can get a better price for the sale of your home

The job of a home stager is to present your home in its best possible light. They work with what you have, rearranging and reallocating. Sometimes they instruct you to move or pack or store furniture. And sometimes they even bring in furniture and decorations to enhance the selling points of your home.

So don’t cause your home stager grief. Work with them. Your home stager has the biggest benefit at heart, to sell your home quickly and for the best price.

What is Virtual Home Staging?

Now that you know what home staging is and the benefits it provides to you as a home seller, what is virtual home staging, and how does that work?

Virtual home staging creates digital, realistic images of furniture in graphic editors and adds them to empty rooms in your home for sale. This helps potential buyers to better visualize your home and the spaces inside it once they’re furnished. This is extremely helpful to potential buyers when used in brochures or flyers. Potential buyers are able to view rooms empty and compare those empty rooms when they are furnished digitally.

Benefits of Virtual Home Staging

In addition to the benefits of traditional home staging, there are two major advantages that virtual home staging has over traditional home staging: time and cost.

  • Empty listings that are stuck on the market sell quickly after virtual home staging
  • Virtual home staging is more than ninety percent less expensive than traditional home staging
  • Your listing is more professionally represented and generates more interest when it is staged virtually

BoxBrownie.com offers competitive rates for professional virtual home staging. Their outputs are photorealistic, so you aren’t able to tell whether a property is physically staged or not.

Every home can benefit from some form of staging. And you can be as involved as you want depending on your needs and budget.

And although professional is inconvenient and a bit unnerving, selling your home in the shortest amount of time and for the most money is worth it.

Is your home empty? Has it been sitting on the market for a while? Want it to sell quickly? Call Charles D’Alessandro, your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with Fillmore Real Estate at (718) 253-9600 ext.206 or email [email protected]. He will advise you on virtual home staging and give you an action plan to follow to move your home from “For Sale” to SOLD!



Brooklyn Real Estate Agent

 Charles D’Alessandro

Your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent

718-253-9600 ext. 206

[email protected]


Why You Need to Prepare for Retirement, Loss of Independence, or Death Now

September 30th, 2018

Prepare for retirement

If you fail to plan for retirement, loss of independence, and death, you plan to fail your family. Get prepared!

Death, it isn’t a favorite topic of conversation for most people. But it is an event all must face someday, some sooner than later. And what about your retirement? Have you taken the time to prepare for retirement? Are your affairs in order for those who must go on without you? What if you were to lose your independence? Have you made your wishes known, written them down, so your loved ones can handle your affairs as you want? Sadly, many people don’t or haven’t.

Why Should You Prepare for Retirement, Loss of Independence, or Death?

Before the housing market crash of 2008, paying off the mortgage was what Americans did as they reached retirement. And being debt-free or largely debt-free was part of that plan.

But nowadays, people aren’t prepared for retirement, the possibility of their loss of physical independence, or even death. And it causes a lot of unnecessary trouble for their families who are left behind.

Interest.com says, “Today, more of us are carrying home loans into our golden years, or even taking on new mortgage debt by tapping our home equity to pay the bills.

Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates 30% of Americans ages 65-74 still hold a mortgage, and even 14% of us who are 75 and older are saddled with home debt.

Those numbers have risen dramatically since 2001, according to an earlier study by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, as has the average mortgage balance older Americans are carrying.”

And they’re only talking about home debt.

Prepare for Retirement

Save. That’s pretty simple, huh? Start saving money to prepare for retirement and pay off debt now. When it comes to saving money for retirement, the sooner you start the better off you’ll be in retirement.

Okay, so save for retirement. But how much? And when should I start?

The question, “How much should I save,” is typically answered with “As much as you can.” But many financial planners recommend saving ten percent to fifteen percent of your income for retirement. And when should you start? In your twenties.

But let’s get real and little more specific. I mean, how many of you reading this post are already past your twenties? And how many of you started saving ten to fifteen percent of your income in your twenties?

You need to establish a savings goal that shows you how much to set aside now in order to reach your retirement goals. Use an awesome online calculator to help you determine a realistic savings goal for your retirement at your age now.

CNN Money also states: “As a general rule, you’ll need at least $15 to $20 in savings to cover each dollar of the annual shortfall between your income and your expenses. So for example if your projected retirement expenses exceed Social Security and pensions by $20,000 a year, you might need a nest egg of $300,000 to $400,000 to bridge the gap.”

Fisher Investments offers a FREE downloadable 15-Minute Retirement Plan™. This pdf will help you develop a retirement investment strategy for your goals and your financial situation.

Prepare for Loss of Independence

Prepare for retirement

Just like saving your money for retirement, preparing now for the loss of independence is best. No, loss of your independence may not happen. But what if it does? Shouldn’t you be prepared for your own sake and the sakes of your family members as well?

Planning early for the loss of independence is important because disability can happen at any age, even before you hit 70. Believe it or not, this includes conditions such as dementia or Alzheimer’s. And yes, before the age of 70.

Also, establishing a plan for care involving dementia or Alzheimer’s differs greatly from establishing a plan for care due to physical limitations or disabilities. This is another important reason to prepare for retirement early.

Both mental disability and physical disability must be considered and planned for early for the sakes of those who will care for you. Many times assistance and care are needed for a long time. If this kind of care becomes necessary, your family could struggle greatly financially to pay for your care. And why would anyone want to do that to their family? Early preparation is vital.

Think about it. If you become mentally disabled, how will you make your desires for your care known to your family? How will they make decisions on your behalf if they don’t know what you want? They need your plan to guide them.

Prepare for Death

This hard to type and read, let alone think about. But are you prepared for death? I’m not talking about a diagnosis. I’m talking about estate planning. I’ve interacted with many families whose parent(s) has died, unprepared. Their affairs were not in order. Homes are going into probate or their heirs must deal with reverse mortgages. There are so many issues between family members created because of a lack of planning.

Investopedia has put together a 16-point checklist of things you need to do before you die. Why? Because “You must implement your plan and make sure others know about it and understand your wishes. As Benjamin Franklin’s famous quote goes, ‘By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.’”

Prepare for Retirement

Help is Available

Planning your estate is difficult. But you don’t need to plan alone. You have two very good options available to help you prepare for retirement, loss of independence, or death. Consider hiring a mediator and/or an elder law attorney.

Mediator or care manager – Mediators are experienced professionals who help families work through their decisions for the care of a parent or loved one. They also help families work through emotions they may be struggling with any issues that arise with different individual “agendas.”

Elder law attorney – Elder law attorneys are equipped to handle a wide range of legal matters. They can handle issues related to your health care, long-term care planning, guardianship, retirement, Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid, and more. You can hire them to help you write your will, trust, advance medical directive, or financial power of attorney so that your documents are legally valid. State laws are very specific about what can and cannot be included in a will, trust, advance medical directive, or financial power of attorney.

Hiring an elder law attorney is good for establishing some form of checks and balances for your family in the handling of your money. And in the case of elder abuse, because it does happen, they are able to handle such challenging situations.

Don’t Delay

Are your important documents in order? Do you still need to prepare for retirement, loss of your independence, or even death? I cannot overemphasize the importance of early planning.

Don’t delay. Have these unpleasant conversations with your heirs about your care of you as you age. Consider your financial situation and your range of care options if assistance becomes necessary. Then, execute those plans.

I have helped a lot of clients deal with homes that are going into probate and reverse mortgages lately. There are so many issues between family members because the elderly were not prepared. They didn’t have things in order.

Speak to an accountant or elder care lawyer. We all work so hard to get to a certain point in life. We must learn how to protect everything, especially our families after we’re gone.

I will continue to help people through issues with their families. It is important to me to focus on the whole family, not just the sale.

Contact me, Charles D’Alessandro, your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with Fillmore Real Estate. Call (718) 253-9600 ext.206 or email [email protected] with your questions about how important it is to get prepared for retirement, loss of independence, or death today.



Brooklyn Real Estate Agent

 Charles D’Alessandro

Your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent

718-253-9600 ext. 206

[email protected]