The Most Important Things to Do Before You Sell Your Home

July 15th, 2019
Before you sell
Before you sell your home, there are a few important things to do before you list it.

If selling your home is in your future, you’ve got some important work to do ahead of you. There’s so much more to selling your home than just planting a for sale sign in your front yard. It means more than taking a few pictures of the place to post online, too. Here’s a checklist of nine important things to do before you sell your home.

Before You Sell Your Home

Invest in some curb appeal

The first thing prospective buyers see of your home should entice them to want to see more.

Stand on the front walk and examine your home closely. Look at it through a prospective buyer’s eyes. How does it look? Does it need paint? Are the gutters rusting? If you have a garden, is it overgrown with weeds and grass? These are relatively easy fixes.

Do a clean sweep

You know the saying, “Less is more”? This is so true when it comes to getting your house ready to show.

Declutter all visible areas first. Then move to behind closed doors: closets, drawers, and cupboards. Yes, even behind closed doors. No space is off-limits to curious buyers. Note: Hide or lock up your valuables before your home is shown.

Donate, pack up, give, or throw away excess belongings and stuff. Potential buyers may worry the house won’t have enough space for their belongings and stuff.

Plus, you’ll have less to deal with when it’s actually time to move.

Remove potential buyer distractions

This step goes hand-in-hand with the clean sweep. Buyers need to be able to visualize themselves and their family living in your house. So pack up your personal items, family photos, artwork, and furniture. Anything that could distract potential buyers from visualizing themselves living this space needs to go.

Paint walls with a neutral color

It’s rare that anyone will hate a neutral color. Light, neutral colors allow potential buyers to envision what the walls will look like with the paint color they like.

And while you’re at it, pay attention to the baseboards. Scuff marks and chipping make a home look neglected.

Fix what’s broke

Well, fix loose handles, missing lightbulbs, dripping faucets, and so forth. Buyers tend to wonder what else may be broken if these small things aren’t taken care of.

Clean, clean, clean

And then clean some more. Bathrooms, tile, counters, showers, tubs, windows, and floors should shine.

Invigorate your home with staging

Home stagers evaluate your home’s condition and the belongings inside. Their goal is to make your home appealing to the highest number of potential buyers and selling your home quickly and for more money.

Scope out our neighborhood

Look for houses for sale in your area and search the internet. Visit open houses that are comparable to your home, also. This will help you choose the best selling price for your home.

Choose a great real estate agent

A great real estate agent makes all the difference in the selling process.

Many people think they can sell their home themselves versus paying an agent. But resist the urge to save money and pocket the cash. For Sale by Owners (FSBO’s) almost always turn into disasters, sacrificing both your time and money.

A great real estate agent knows the current market and can suggest the price to list your home for. They have a great marketing plan for the sale of your home.

Charles D’Alessandro, your great Brooklyn real estate agent

Before you sell your home, contact Charles D’Alessandroyour Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with Fillmore Real Estate. Call (718) 253-9600 ext. 206 or email me at [email protected] today. With over 30 years of real estate experience in Brooklyn, I can guide you through each step of the selling process, from listing to closing.


Charles D’Alessandro
Your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent
718-253-9600 ext. 206
[email protected]


Want to Celebrate the American Dream This Year?

June 30th, 2019
American dream
Owning a home is part of the American dream. Start living your American dream this year!

What does the American Dream mean to you? How would you define it? Investopedia defines it as “the belief that anyone, regardless of where they were born or what class they were born into, can attain their own version of success in a society where upward mobility is possible for everyone.” James Truslow Adams described it as “that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement.”

The American Dream, A Home to Call Their Own

When my dad, Charles D’Alessandro Sr. and my mom, Rose, looked for a house in 1954, they were looking for a home. Above all, they were looking for a home to raise their family in an area they could afford to live in. They were looking for a home in an area that was close to friends and family too, The Neighborhood. In their minds, it was not an investment. It was a home they could call their own, their American Dream, their version of success.

They lived through the ups and downs of the real estate and financial markets paying the mortgage, raising their three children. They did as best they could, made sacrifices, and in the end paid that mortgage off.

The Opportunity to Achieve the American Dream

Again, Investopedia states, “The American Dream promises freedom and equality. It offers the freedom to make both the large and small decisions that affect one’s life, the freedom to aspire to bigger and better things and the possibility of achieving them, the freedom to accumulate wealth, the opportunity to lead a dignified life, and the freedom to live in accordance with one’s values – even if those values are not widely held or accepted.”

Ask anybody to define it in their own terms and somewhere in their answer the words “home ownership” will probably pop up. This is because for many of us, owning a home is an essential part of the American Dream.

Benefits of Achieving It

Homeownership conveys a number of economic benefits:

  • the ability to accumulate wealth
  • access credit by building home equity
  • reduce housing costs through the mortgage interest deduction
  • gain long-term savings over the cost of renting

Achieving Your Version of Success

Today interest rates are as low as 3.25 (4.856 APR). View the 10 Best Mortgage Rates of 2019 here. With a good credit score, you can achieve your version of success as a homeowner.

Celebrate the American Dream!

June is National Homeownership Month. And with the 4th of July “popping” up next week, I want to encourage everyone to pursue your version of success, your version of the American Dream.

Is homeownership is part of the American Dream for you? Contact me, Charles D’Alessandro, your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with Fillmore Real Estate. Call (718) 253-9600 ext. 206 or email [email protected] today. There is a ton of information out there. But don’t get frustrated or confused by it all. I can help you sort through any confusion you may have. Let me guide you to make an informed and confident decision about your American Dream.


Charles D’Alessandro
Your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent
718-253-9600 ext. 206
[email protected]


Do You Know How to Qualify for a Mortgage?

June 15th, 2019
Qualify for a mortgage
Home ownership is more of a possibility than most people realize. Find out how you can qualify for a mortgage and start shopping.

If you don’t know what it takes to qualify for a mortgage, you’re not alone. This lack of knowledge prevents people from even trying to purchase their first home. Is this you? If so, understanding the whole process better will clear up a lot of confusion. Read on to find out how to qualify for a mortgage and which type of loan is best for you.

Down Payment Requirements

Are you wondering how much of a down payment you need to qualify for a mortgage? Most people are. In spite of all the mortgage information available online, a lot of it is insufficient. So many still overestimate the down payment needed to qualify for a mortgage. The answer used to be 20 percent. But nowadays you can qualify for a home loan with a low down payment. Some types of mortgages even require no down payment! And no, this isn’t some special offer for first-time home buyers only.

Here are some down payment guidelines for different types of home loans:

  • VA loans and USDA loans require no down payment
  • FHA loans are one of the most popular types of home loans. They require 3.5 percent down with a 580 credit score. If your credit score ranks 500-579, your FHA loan will require 10 percent down
  • 203k loans also require 3.5 percent down
  • A Conventional 97 loan requires only 3 percent down
  • Conventional loans require anywhere between 5 percent and 20 percent down.

Credit Score Requirements

How’s your credit score? Do you know the credit score you need to qualify for a mortgage? Again, most people don’t. And many can’t recall what their current credit score is even after checking it recently. Your credit score is one of the biggest factors in determining whether or not you qualify for a mortgage. And of course, an excellent credit score gives you lots of worry-free wiggle room in qualifying for a home loan.

A credit score of 680 or higher is ideal when you’re in need of getting approved for a home loan. Some lenders require a credit score of 640 while others will accept lower credit scores.

Each of the loan programs listed above have a set minimum qualifying credit score requirements.

  • VA loans and USDA loans require a credit score of 620. For VA loans, some lenders may  be able to approve a credit score of 580+
  • FHA loans require a 580 credit score
  • 203k and Conventional loans require a credit score of 640
  • Conventional 97 loans require a 620 credit score

But what if you have bad credit? If you need to improve your credit score to qualify for a mortgage, click here. Learn how to improve your credit score by 100 points in 30 days.

Mortgage Document Requirements

In order for your lender to process your loan, you must produce several documents. So be prepared ahead of time and get the following ready now:

  • W2’s from the past 2 years. You should have at least 2 years of income from the same company or industry documented
  • Pay-stubs for the last 3 months
  • Bank statements for the past 3 months
  • Tax returns for the previous 2 years
  • A list of your debts and assets
  • Divorce decree if you have gone through a divorce
  • Additional income documentation

Basic Guidelines for How to Qualify for a Mortgage

If you want to qualify for a home loan, follow these basic guidelines:

  • Prove your income is sufficient and consistent
  • Have at least 2 years of documented income from the same company or in the same industry
  • If you earn commissions, average your income from the last 2 years of tax returns

What income is considered “qualifying income”?

  • W-2 income/salary income from part-time jobs
  • Income from a second job
  • Overtime and bonuses
  • Seasonal jobs
  • Self-employed income
  • Alimony and child support (Documentation for this is required)
  • Non-qualifying VA income
  • Income from the lottery gambling
  • Unemployment pay
  • Single bonuses non-occupying co-signer income
  • Unverifiable income
  • Income from Rental Properties

Homeownership is a Possibility!

So if you are one of the 20 percent of consumers who believe a down payment of 10 percent or less is not enough to purchase a home, think again! There are mortgage financing options available that don’t require a 20 percent down payment. Providing you are a creditworthy prospective buyer, lenders now offer safe, sustainable loans with as little as 3 percent down. Obtaining a mortgage isn’t as difficult as it used to be. Homeownership is truly a possibility!

Contact Charles D’Alessandroyour Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with Fillmore Real Estate. Call (718) 253-9600 ext.206 or email [email protected] With 30-plus years of real estate experience in Brooklyn, he can answer your questions about how to qualify for a mortgage.


Charles D’Alessandro
Your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent
718-253-9600 ext. 206
[email protected]


Taxes You Need to Pay When Selling Your Rental

May 30th, 2019

Taxes – UGH! Unless you’re an accountant with a love for numbers, the word probably brings with it a feeling of dread when you hear it. Some folks pay them annually to the IRS. Others must pay them quarterly. And we all get to pay them daily when we purchase stuff. Like death, they cannot be avoided! And if you’re selling your rental, there are a couple tax basics you should know. First, your rental is a business asset. So the taxes you need to pay on it are due only when it sells at a profit. But if your rental sells at a loss, you can write off the loss to offset taxable income. The key to knowing the taxes you need to pay is found in correctly calculating the amount of gain or loss on the rental you sold.

How a Profit or Loss is Determined

Your profit or loss is determined by subtracting your property’s adjusted basis on the date of sale from the sales price you receive (plus expenses, such as real estate commissions).

To understand your property’s adjusted basis, you must first know what “basis in property” and “adjusted basis” mean. Basis in property is the amount of your total investment in a property. And it is not fixed. It changes over time to reflect the true amount of your investment. Each change or new basis is called the adjusted basis.

Taxes You Need to Pay When Selling Your Rental Property at a Profit

When you sell a rental property at a profit, you pay taxes on the gain (profit) you realize (earn). These taxes are called Capital Gains Tax.

Reductions in basis increase the gain or profit you realize and therefore increase your tax liability when you sell your rental.

Taxes You Need to Pay When Selling Your Rental Property at a Loss

If you sell at a loss or lose money, you’ll be able to deduct the loss, but not without being subject to important limitations.

Increases in basis are lower your tax liability because they lower your profits.

Here’s an example from Nolo.com:

Viola bought a small apartment building and sold it six years later for $300,000. Her starting basis was $200,000. During the time she owned the property she took $43,000 in depreciation deductions and paid $13,000 for a new roof (an improvement). Her depreciation deductions reduced the property’s basis, but the roof improvement increased it. Her basis at the time of the sale is $170,000. Viola calculates her taxable gain on the property by subtracting her adjusted basis from the sales price: $300,000 – $170,000 = $130,000.

As you can see, when you sell your property, you effectively give back the depreciation deductions you took on it. Since they reduce your adjusted basis, they increase your taxable gain. Thus, Viola’s taxable gain was increased by the $43,000 in depreciation deductions she took. The amount of your gain attributable to the depreciation deductions you took in prior years is taxed at a single 25% rate. Viola, for example, would have to pay a 25% tax on the $43,000 in depreciation deductions she received. The remaining gain on the sale is taxed at capital gains rates (usually 15%, 20% for taxpayers in the top tax bracket).

How to Avoid Taxes You Need to Pay When Selling a Rental Property

Rental properties generate a respectable profit each month, provided you choose the right rental properties. But they can cost you when you sell. Here are three strategies that help ease the burden of a significant tax bite when you sell a profitable rental.

  1. Offset gains with losses
  2. Take advantage of Section 1031 of the Tax Code
  3. Turn your rental property into your primary residence

Offsetting gains with losses through tax-loss harvesting is for those with capital losses in a given tax year. This strategy allows a landlord to subtract those losses from the capital gains from the sale of their rental.

Taking advantage of the IRS Section 1031 “Like-kind” exchange is for those who are able to reinvest the proceeds of selling their rental property in new real estate. This strategy allows them the ability to defer some or all of the taxes on the capital gain.

Converting your rental property into your primary residence is for people who want to do so for better tax treatment when they sell. Landlords who convert a rental into their home to live in are able to exclude as much as $500,000 in capital gains from taxes.

Hire the Right Financial Advisor

When it comes to investments and knowing what taxes you need to pay on the sale of a rental, it’s always best to find and hire the right financial advisor. And it doesn’t have to be hard to find one who fits your needs. SmartAsset offers a free tool to match you with fiduciary financial advisors in your area in five minutes.

Hire the Right Real Estate Agent

If you’re selling a rental property, contact Charles D’Alessandroyour Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with Fillmore Real Estate. Call (718) 253-9600 ext.206 or email [email protected]lestatesales.com. With 30-plus years of real estate experience in Brooklyn, he can help you with all your real estate needs.


Charles D’Alessandro
Your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent
718-253-9600 ext. 206
[email protected]

What Do You Need to Know About Rent Back Agreements?

May 15th, 2019
Rent Back Agreements can be advantageous to both buyers and sellers providing they are utilized judiciously.

Ever hear of rent back agreements? So what are they, and what are the advantages and disadvantages associated with this kind of real estate transaction?

Rent Back Agreements Defined

Wikpedia defines rent back agreements as “a form of property transaction involving the expeditious sale of an owner occupier’s residence to a landlord or property company and renting it back from the new owner.” They are also known as post-settlement occupancy agreements.

This kind of transaction allows a home seller to buy himself extra time to stay in the home after closing.

And why would a home seller need extra time beyond the closing date to stay in the home?

Rent Back Agreements Explained

Here are a couple of home sale stories to help explain what rent back agreements are.

The Story of the Brownstone

My wife and I paid a builder to build a getaway home outside of New York City limits. And now our builder is nearing completion.

We put our brownstone up for sale as soon as the builder broke ground, assuming that it could be on the market for a little while. But guess what? Our custom home isn’t quite finished, and we already have a buyer for our brownstone.

The buyer has come to an agreement on a reasonable closing date with us since our new home is almost built. But again, guess what? As our closing date approaches, the builder has informed us of a major delay. This snag is going to keep us out of our new home for another 30 days past the closing date.

So what can we do? We know the buyer wants to move into their brownstone on closing day. Wouldn’t you? Of course you would!

The Story of the Offer Too Good to Refuse

My friend was selling her condo. And it wasn’t long before she received a very attractive cash offer that was just too good to refuse. The cash offer, however, came with a very short time until closing. She expected and planned on having more time to find a new place to live. But she knew she couldn’t turn down the buyer’s cash offer.

So there she was, cash in hand and no home to move into at closing time. What could she do?

Benefits of Rent Back Agreements

In both of the stories, the sellers ended up with no place to go on closing day. And in both cases, their real estate agents proposed rent back agreements.

In the case of the condo seller, her buyer was an investor who was planning to rent the condo out anyway. And he readily accepted. For 40 days past the closing date, she paid a daily rate that was equivalent to her mortgage payment plus the condo fee.

Benefits for the Seller

  • Allowed to stay in the home until a specified date past closing
  • Able to put things together to close the deal (if used properly with the appropriate language inserted in the addendum to the contract)

Benefits for the Buyer

  • Extra income can offset mortgage payments and some closing costs, such as broker commissions, appraisal fees, and attorney fees
  • Agreeing to a rent back gets your offer accepted in multiple offer situations in most cases

Benefits for Both the Buyer and the Seller

  • Minimizes stress for everybody involved by wrapping the rent into the closing and delivering it as a single payment
  • Used judiciously, it’s a win-win for all parties

Before Agreeing to Rent Back Agreements

Before agreeing to rent-back agreements, think carefully about the terms. Spell out the details for the record to avoid misunderstandings.

  • Understand why the seller wants a rent-back agreement
  • Charge a fair price
  • Don’t sign a lease that lasts longer than 60 days
  • Charge a holdover fee if the seller stays longer than agreed
  • Collect a security deposit
  • Require renters insurance

Most people do their best to plan ahead. But life happens. When a seller gets an offer with a proposed settlement date, they might ask, “Now, how am I going to coordinate getting out of this house and into another without having movers lined up in the driveway?”

Take note: Rent back agreements should be treated the same as you would treat any other business relationship. Buyers, never let the sellers retain possession of the home without drawing up a formal occupancy agreement, never. Because with terms and conditions of the seller’s stay in the buyer’s new home, both parties are protected.

Have you ever needed rent back agreements? Did a real estate agent you were working with suggest using a rent back agreement? There’s a lot that goes into a good rent back agreement. And in order for it to do its best work for both parties, it must be used properly. I recommend consulting with a real estate lawyer for more information.


 Charles D’Alessandro
Your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent
718-253-9600 ext. 206
[email protected]

Should You Sell Your Home First?

April 30th, 2019
Sell your home

Should you sell your home first or wait until it sells to buy a new one?

If you’re moving soon, you might be questioning whether or not you should sell your home before buying a new one. There are a lot of factors involved in answering this question and making a decision. But hashed out below are the pros and cons of each. Now you can decide whether or not you should sell your home first before buying a one. And you can decide with confidence.

 

Yes, Sell Your Home First If You …

Want to get the most money for your home

If you’re not in any hurry, you won’t be tempted to take a low offer. It’s hard for you as a seller to hold firm on a price when you’re carrying two mortgages. And if you’re not in any hurry, you’ll also have negotiating power.

Can include a contingency clause in your contract of sale

You certainly don’t want to lose a buyer just to be able to stay in your home longer. But you can add a contingency clause to your contract that allows you to remain in your house for a short time after closing. A contingency of 30 to 60 days will give you enough time to close on a new property. It may be difficult to get the buyer to agree to this. But if they do, you’ll have plenty of time to find the perfect new house.

Can handle moving twice

If you sell your home first, you can always live in a short-term rental until you find a new place. This means moving twice, yes. But if you can handle it and are okay with that, it gives you an option.

Don’t want to be stressed about selling

No doubt about it. Selling a home is stressful, no matter how organized, prepared, or easy-going you may be. And carrying a second mortgage is stressful enough to elevate your blood pressure.

 

Yes, Buy a New Home First If …

It’s the Brooklyn home you’ve always wanted

 If you’re absolutely sure you’ve found your dream house, you should buy it now, even if your current house hasn’t sold. You might be full of regret later if you let your dream house pass you by.  Just make sure the house is truly worth it.

You’ve found a deal that’s too good to pass up

If you’ve researched the comps and you know the home you’ve found is too good a deal to pass up,  buy it. Waiting to sell your home might cost you more in the long run if you lose out on a good bargain.

The real estate market is a seller’s market

If it’s seller’s market, there are more buyers than there are houses selling, you won’t have any difficulty selling your Brooklyn property.

You have the money

Talk with Charles D’Alessandro, your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent. Find out how long homes that are comparable to yours are taking to sell these days. Then, do the math. Determine whether or not you have enough in savings to make the down payment and both monthly mortgage payments while you’re waiting to sell.

Do you need to sell your home? Should you buy a new home now or wait until the home you’re selling sells? Call Charles D’Alessandro, your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with Fillmore Real Estate and ask him. Call (718) 253-9600 ext.206 email [email protected] With 30-plus years of real estate experience in Brooklyn, he’s got the answers.

 


 

Brooklyn Real Estate Agent

 Charles D’Alessandro
Your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent
718-253-9600 ext. 206
[email protected]

When You Need to Sell Your House Now But It Isn’t Selling

April 15th, 2019
Sell your house
Renting your home is a great option when you’ve been relocated and can’t sell your house.

Are you relocating? If you took a new job in a new place, and you just can’t get your house sold, you’re probably feeling like you’re in a bit of a pickle. Whenever a home sells, it’s always our hope to close the sale within a certain amount of time. This is especially true when you’re relocating or need to sell your house before buying another one. But sometimes it takes a lot longer than planned. Don’t fret. You can rent your home.

When You Need to Sell Your House but It Isn’t Selling, Rent It

The people who first came to mind when I started this blog post are those in military service.

Some friends of mine who serve in the Air Force relocated from South Dakota to Wyoming. Since they couldn’t live on base in the military housing provided to Air Force Officers, they bought a home. Then, two years later, the Air Force gave them orders to serve in Wyoming. But they couldn’t sell their house in South Dakota.

So what could they do?

Renting Until You Sell Your House

Renting your home is one way to generate cash flow while you wait for your home to sell. The monthly rent pays all or part of your mortgage costs and therefore, helps you avoid foreclosure. And if the market is slow like it was in 2008, renting allows you to:

  • Sell your home for a profit when the market recovers
  • Keep the mortgage paid until you find a qualified buyer

But you’ve got to weigh your pros and cons with renting.

What to Know Before Renting Your Home

There are important things to consider about renting before you’re a landlord.

  • Costs
  • Rates
  • Tenants
  • Benefits

 

Costs

The costs of becoming a landlord involve Homeowner’s Insurance, Property Management, and Capital Gains.

  1. Your Homeowner’s Insurance needs to change to a policy that covers landlords and rental properties specifically. And landlord policies cost more than a standard homeowners policy since landlords need more protection than the typical homeowner.
  1. Property management could cost you a lot of the monthly rent payment your tenants pay you, especially if you are a remote landlord. Unless you live near the rental, and you are skilled to take care of clogged drains, routine maintenance, or even deadbeat tenants, you will have to hire a property manager. And the cost to pay a property manager is generally around 10 percent of the monthly rent.
  1. Simply, you must live in your home for two of the five years prior to the sale of your home in order to avoid paying Capital Gains Taxes on:
  • up to $250,000 of profit if you are single
  • $500,000 of profit if you are married

However, if you rent your home for longer than three years after you relocate and then sell your house for a profit, taxes on that profit gained are due to the federal government.

Rates

What will you charge your renters to rent your home? What’s appropriate? This alone can be difficult to determine due to all the factors that need to be considered.

  • In general, it is suggested that you charge at least one percent of the mortgage. This should generate enough positive cash flow.
  • Charging one percent of the mortgage must also be reasonable for your neighborhood. Find out what the rental properties near your home are renting for to help you determine what is reasonable. To learn about rates, talk to property management agencies, search for similar rentals online, and check Craigslist, Rentometer, and Rent.com.
  • To get an idea about how much money you can expect to receive from a year of renting, you have to factor in your vacancy rates. It is suggested that investment property owners plan for only ten and a half months of occupancy per year.

What if you find that the rent you should charge, minus the costs and vacancy rate, won’t actually be enough to cover your monthly mortgage? It may still make sense to rent out your home until you sell your house instead of attempting to carry the mortgage all by yourself.

Tenants

After researching the costs involved as a landlord and the rates you should charge to rent your home, you still have to find reliable tenants. How?

  • Advertise – Advertise online, on rental sites like Rent.com and Craigslist, and on social media. And advertise on local relocation firms, HR departments, and local universities, too. Always advertise the good old-fashioned way, too. Put a sign in your yard.
  • Ask questions – Put every applicant through a screening process. Boilerplate applications and lease agreements can be found online, but you must ask your potential tenants about their: income, employment history, rental history.
  • Call all of their references.

Note: You can request Social Security numbers for background and credit checks through a website like E-Renter. Background and credit checks cost around $25, but that’s nothing compared to the number of headaches you could be spared.

Benefits

The benefits of renting your home until you sell your house shouldn’t be overlooked.

  • Capital Loss. Renting your home and then selling it at a loss allows you to claim the capital loss against your income. That can be a huge tax break!
  • Tax Breaks. There are other tax breaks available to you as a homeowner who rents your home. Landlords can deduct almost any expense related to the maintenance and marketing of their rental property. Insurance premiums, repairs, advertising costs, landscaping services, property management services, mortgage interest, and travel expenses related to the rental can be deducted.

 

More Notes Worth Considering Before You Rent Your Home

Renting your home until you sell your home is a great way to generate cash flow, cover your mortgage costs, and avoid foreclosure. But if you choose to rent your home:

  • Plan to rent it for at least one year.
  • Draw up a lease. Most renters prefer the security of a lease. But include a clause in the lease about the home being for sale. And see a real estate attorney for help with making your lease agreement clear, making sure it protects you.
  • Know the rental laws in New York.
  • Save money for repairs. You will have to make repairs before your renters move in and again after they move out. You are responsible for repairing anything major that breaks, such as the air conditioner or refrigerator.

Do you need to sell your home? Call Charles D’Alessandro, your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with Fillmore Real Estate at (718) 253-9600 ext.206. Or email him at [email protected] Charles can help you sell your home or protect your home as a rental property.


Brooklyn Real Estate Agent

 Charles D’Alessandro

Your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent

718-253-9600 ext. 206

[email protected]


How to Overcome the Overwhelm of Buying a Home

March 30th, 2019
Overcome the overwhelm
Overcome the overwhelm of buying a new home. Find out the answers to these 7 important questions before you make an offer on that house.

Have you found THE home? How exciting! Are you feeling overwhelmed with a flood of questions that are coming to mind? If you are, it’s totally understandable since purchasing a home is probably the biggest decision you’ll make in your lifetime. But buying a home doesn’t have to be overwhelming. It can actually be a lot of fun. And obtaining the right information before buying THE home is just what you need to overcome the overwhelm.

Ask Questions to Overcome the Overwhelm

Take your time. Spend a lot of time planning and researching as much as you can. Here are seven great questions to ask to help you overcome the overwhelm you may be experiencing.

“How much money do I need for the down payment?”

You may have been saving money for quite a while, but is it enough? Should you wait another six months till you’ve saved more for a down payment?

In New York, the minimum for a down payment is almost always 20 percent of the selling price. If you secure a mortgage with a down payment of less than 20 percent, you’ll have to get mortgage insurance. But mortgage insurance doesn’t have to be a major stumbling block.

“How much house can I truly afford?”

There are almost always other costs beyond the purchase price of a new home. And first-time home-buyers are often surprised when they see how costs can add up.

  • Fees for other payments beyond the price of the home
  • Renovations
  • Repairs
  • Appliances
  • Blinds
  • Flooring
  • Lawn maintenance supplies
  • Maintenance fees

It’s wise to estimate your monthly mortgage payment first. Then make sure the other costs of items you’ll need beyond the monthly payments. You don’t want to go into more debt than you can pay for.

“Are my finances in good order?”

You need to show that you can close on the home you want to buy. Check your credit score and look for any discrepancies. If you find an error, get it corrected. If your credit history is blemished, you could be disqualified for the lowest mortgage rates. And it doesn’t matter if you show enough income.

Then, before you make an offer, get preapproved for a mortgage.

“What about the loan?”

Terms and differences in mortgages can be overwhelming. There are 15-year loans and 30-year loans, fixed-rate mortgages and variable-rate mortgages. And there is no one-size-fits-all home loan. So find a good lender who is very knowledgeable. They should know about every option that is available to you. And they should be able to show you how to get the most out of the loan process to get you as much house as you want.

“Were any claims filed on this property in the last seven years?”

This question may not have popped into your head, but it’s one you need to ask before you make an offer. What if the house had a termite problem in the past? Or was there damage of any kind to the house in the past? Request a copy of the C.L.U.E. report from the seller. C.L.U.E. is a database that maintains all insurance claims for homes and vehicles for up to the previous seven years.

“How much should I offer on this home?”

This is a good question to know the answer to if you want to overcome the overwhelm of buying a home. If you offer too little, you risk losing the home to someone else who offers more. Yet if you offer too much, you could wind up overpaying.

“Will there be more costs to prepare for at closing?”

Yes. There are closing costs in addition to the down payment. And depending on how you’re financing the home, there are more costs in addition to the one-time closing costs, such as:

  • Commissions fees
  • Appraisals
  • Surveying
  • Inspections and certifications
  • Tax and title services
  • Government record changes
  • Transfer taxes
  • Origination fee
  • Charge for specific interest rates
  • Real estate agent commissions
  • Home inspection charges
  • Title insurance

 And they are due at the time of signing.

Hire a Great Real Estate Agent to Overcome the Overwhelm

To overcome the overwhelm you need to hire a great real estate agent as soon as the house shopping begins. Charles D’Alessandro will tell you what comparable homes in the area have sold for. And he’ll help you make a solid offer the first time. If a counteroffer needs to be made, Charles will help you make one that fits your budget. And if multiple offers need to be made, he’ll guide you through them all. He’s here to help you, answer your questions, and guide you through the whole process from beginning to end.

Want to overcome the overwhelm that comes with buying a new home? Call Charles D’Alessandro, your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with Fillmore Real Estate at (718) 253-9600 ext.206. Or email him at [email protected] right away.


Brooklyn Real Estate Agent

 Charles D’Alessandro

Your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent

718-253-9600 ext. 206

[email protected]


How to Stay Warm Safely in an Emergency Situation

March 15th, 2019
Stay warm
Be prepared. Stay warm. Be safe. Here’s what you can do if winter weather causes a power outage at home.

Spring arrives this month. Aren’t you glad? But it’s still very likely that extremely cold temperatures and severe winter storms will hit us between now and April 30th. Are you prepared to stay warm if the power goes out during a winter storm? Planning ahead is always your best option when it comes to an emergency situation. And here are some great ways to prepare ahead of time and be safe.

Invest in a Home Generator to Stay Warm

A generator is the best way to be prepared to make sure you stay warm in an emergency situation. But there are guidelines for using a generator safely.

Install a Woodstove

A woodstove with a bountiful supply of wood to use as fuel will keep you warm, provide light, and cook your food. There are such things as portable wood stoves that you can set up in your home in an emergency. But they take time to set up. You must set up a portable wood stove by a window and build a pipe chimney. Smoke from the burning wood has to be channeled outside.

Purchase Reliable Sources of Heat Beforehand


Kerosene Heater – Kerosene is a traditional fuel suitable for emergency heating. However, they must be used with caution indoors.

Candle Heater – Yes, you should have emergency candles and matches on hand for power outages to use as a source of light. But candles are not a very good source of heat since they don’t produce a lot of it. In spite of the fire hazard candles can be, you can build a candle heater for some heat and light when the power goes out.

Catalytic HeaterCatalytic heaters today are very efficient and safe to use in enclosed spaces. It’s still safest to use them near an open window. Typically, these heaters use propane to help you stay warm and require proper maintenance.

Soapstone HeaterSoapstone is a magnesium silicate that has amazing heat-retention properties. Store a soapstone block next to your stove or heater, and it will radiate heat for hours without the danger of fire.

Dress Warmly to Stay Warm

Did you know it’s more efficient to heat the body than trying to heat a room? When the power goes out, dress in warm layers and wrap up in blankets. Natural down fill works very well to keep you warm. And you can put chemical hand warmers in your pockets to help you stay warm, too.

Designate a Warm Room

A warm room is large enough for everyone to gather and set up mattresses if necessary. When the power goes out, send everyone into the warm room. Cover vents, windows, and doors with blankets. Set up your heat source(s). Don’t forget to bring some games, snacks, and water to drink into the warm room with you.

This is the perfect spot to mention Biofuel.

  • Organic, all-natural, non-toxic
  • Cost-effective – less expensive than traditional cooking and warming fuel. Lasts twice as long as a single can of Sterno cooking fuel
  • Environmentally-friendly – made in the USA with only all-natural, organic and non-hazardous materials. Easily biodegradable. Produces fewer carbon emissions
  • Reusable/Refillable: BioFuel cans can be reused and refilled
  • Great for home, camping, catering, and emergencies
  • Unlimited Shelf Life

And canned heat is the perfect addition to a car emergency kit if you were ever stranded in blizzard conditions on the road.

Prepare to Stay Warm and Be Safe

Stay warm and be safe if your electricity goes out this winter. A working wood, gas, or pellet stove is best for heating and cooking in emergency situations. But if there is no such stove in your home, be prepared with other safe ways to stay warm until the power is restored.

And, always make sure your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working properly.

Charles D’Alessandro cares about his community in Brooklyn, New York. Stay warm and be safe this winter. Contact Charles D’Alessandro, your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with Fillmore Real Estate at (718) 253-9600 ext.206. Or email him at [email protected] for all your real estate needs.


Brooklyn Real Estate Agent

 Charles D’Alessandro

Your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent

718-253-9600 ext. 206

[email protected]


What is the Best Way to Save Money by Going Green at Home?

February 28th, 2019
Going green at home
There are lots of things you can do when you want to go green. Choose a few from this list and start reaping the benefits of going green at home.

What comes to mind when you hear the words, “Going green” – St. Patrick’s Day, spring, being eco-friendly, money? Going green is about being good stewards of what we are given, and there’s certainly more to going green than just recycling. Let’s talk about going green at home and how we can be good stewards of what we have in and around Brooklyn.

What is a Green Home?

A green home is a structure built from recycled, sustainable, natural materials which do not emit toxins into the air inside your home. It also uses energy efficiently. But it can mean living a green lifestyle, too.

How to Be Green to Save Green

In order to achieve energy-efficiency status at home, you must:

  1. Use Energy Efficiently in your Home

  • Use energy-efficient appliances
  • Seal your home well
  • Properly insulate your home
  • Control the use of electricity, water, and fuel in your home

 

  1. Live a Green Lifestyle

  • Reduce the number of items you purchase each month
  • Reuse items for the same or different purpose
  • Recycle everything that can be or at least try to purchase items built with recycled stuff
  • Refuse excess. Start saying no and skip the need to reuse or recycle altogether.

 

Going Green at Home without Blowing Your Budget

You can save quite a bit of green by using less energy and water in your home. And over time, this adds up to huge savings. There are lots of doable suggestions, and I mean lots, for going green at home. I recommend choosing just three for starters and building from there. Here are some going green at home tips that won’t blow your budget:

 

  1. Reduce Pollution

  • Walk, bike, carpool, and use public transportation whenever you can. It will save you money, reduce pollution, keep you fit, and save energy.
  • Get your car serviced regularly. A car in need of a tune-up is a gas guzzler.
  • Drive the speed limit.
  • Run all your errands for one week in one trip.

 

  1. Use Reusable Containers and Stainless Steel Straws
  • Commit to using reusable containers and stainless steel straws instead of drinking bottled water and using plastic straws. Refilling a safe stainless steel water bottle with your own filtered tap water saves money and resources.
  • Bring your own reusable coffee mug to your favorite coffee shop.
  • When getting take out, bring your own food containers. You can even bring your own food containers to a restaurant to put your leftovers in.

 

  1. Cut Back on Water Usage

  • Take shorter showers
  • Install low-flow showerheads
  • Buy and use an energy-efficient dishwasher. They use less water than traditional dishwashing. Hallelujah! If you don’t have an energy-efficient dishwasher to use, switch up the way you wash your dishes so that the faucet runs for less time.
  • Only run your washer or dryer with a full load. And only wash truly dirty clothes.
  • If you have a lawn, ditch it. Grass demands a great deal of water and time to maintain.
  • Plant plants that are native to your soil. They require less care and water.
  • Collect rainwater. This conserves water because you can use the water from the rain barrel to water your garden, lawn, and houseplants or wash your bike or car.
  • Fix leaky toilets, faucets, and tanks. This could save up to 600 gallons of water in a month.
  • Put a bag or bottle filled with pebbles and water inside your toilet tank. Displacing the water in your toilet tank uses less water every time you flush. It saves about 5 to 10 gallons of water per day.
  • Always turn off the water in the sink when brushing your teeth or shaving. You could save up to 4 gallons of water per minute.

 

  1. Use Less Electricity

  • Don’t leave fans or lights on when you leave a room or leave home. Turn them off when not in use.
  • Always use free sunshine during the day. Don’t turn on your lights for as long as you can. Pull back the curtains or blinds and let the sun shine in.
  • If you’re going out of town, consider turning off your refrigerator.
  • Turn off all electronic gadgets at night. Many electronics consume energy even when they’re not actively “on.” This is called phantom energy because when they’re on standby mode, they are still using electricity. Always unplug chargers, microwaves, and computers, etc when not in use, or invest in “smart” surge protectors. They disable power when electronics aren’t in use.
  • Replace CFL and incandescent light bulbs with LEDs. It’s hard to beat the value offered by modern LEDs. Their prices get more affordable every day, and they last decades longer.
  • Buy properly sized appliances that fit your needs and save energy. Large appliances guzzle energy and require more space for installation.
  • Switch one appliance to an energy-efficient model. Look for the “energy star” label. If you’re buying a refrigerator, don’t buy one below 4 Energy Stars.
  • Line dry your laundry, inside or outside instead of using a dryer.
  • Consider using renewable energy sources such as a small solar power plant on your roof or a small wind turbine in your backyard.

 

  1. Responsibly Recycle E-Waste

  • Recycle your e-waste through a verified recycler. E-waste can contain all kinds of pollutants, including lead, mercury, beryllium, polyvinyl chloride, and flame-retardants. A verified recycler can break down an item into reusable or recyclable pieces. Toxic materials are appropriately handled. Look for recyclers on the EPA’s website.

 

  1. Eat Less Meat

  • Believe it or not, meat has a big impact on the environment. A study led by Gidon Eshel of Bard College suggests that meat has a bigger impact on our carbon footprint than cars do! Being a vegetarian isn’t for everyone, but you could try eating one meatless day each week. You’d save a little on your grocery bill by doing so.

 

  1. Buy Secondhand and Repurpose Items

  • Donate to and shop at thrift stores.  You’ll support your local economy, save money, and prolong the life of a perfectly usable item that may have otherwise gone to the landfill.
  • Before buying anything new, check your local Craigslist or Freecycle. Repurposing can be fun.

 

  1. Compost

  • Invest in your own backyard compost or see if Brooklyn has a compost program in your neighborhood. Many are cheap or even free to join. Composting reduces waste that is sent to landfills and transforms organic wastes into nutrient-dense soil for your garden beds.

 

  1. Streamline Your Mailbox

 

  1. Reduce Your Paper Towel Consumption

  • Use dishtowels for drying hands while cooking or washing up.
  • Consider using cloth napkins at dinnertime.
  • Use cloth instead of paper to clean your kitchen. Make rags out of old towels and t-shirts.

 

  1. Other Green Choices

  • Invest in home items like natural-fill and organic cotton bedding.
  • Cook with pans covered with lids. This saves energy and money and emits fewer gases into the air.
  • Buy non-chlorine-based bleach and detergents in your home.
  • Replace chemical cleaners, most of your bathroom cabinet, air fresheners, and even some personal care items with essential oils. Make your own household cleaners.
  • Avoid plastic bags. Instead, carry your groceries in reusable bags.
  • Reuse jars in your kitchen. Store bulk items in them. Repurpose glass jars as leftover containers and bulk storage.
  • Stop using disposable bags. Order reusable bags such as Flip & Tumble or make your own.
  • Paint with no-VOC paint. VOC paint emits harmful gases into the air and affects your health and surroundings negatively.
  • Reuse scrap paper for drawing, coloring, or calculating math.
  • Reuse toilet paper rolls to grow seedlings or stuff with dryer lint to make fire starters.
  • Plant an herb garden.
  • Eat local, organic Support your local economy and shop at your farmer’s market. Support local restaurants that use food derived less than 100 miles away. Learn more about the benefits of eating locally.
  • Research whether you can sign up for green power from your utility company.
  • Conduct a quick energy audit of your home.
  • Lower the temperature on your hot water heater.
  • Wash your laundry in cold water instead of hot.
  • Switch to cloth diapers or at least do a combination with disposables. Using one cloth diaper per day means 365 fewer disposables in the landfill each year.
  • Switch to shade-grown coffee with the “Fair Trade” label.

 

Going Green at Home Intentionally

Going green at home is just good economics. But it takes thought and effort. You must commit to being eco-wise to reap the benefits of good stewardship – saving money, energy, and passing on these important values to the next generation.

Contact Charles D’Alessandro, your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with Fillmore Real Estate at (718) 253-9600 ext.206. Or email him at [email protected] for help with going green in Brooklyn.


 

Brooklyn Real Estate Agent

 Charles D’Alessandro

Your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent

718-253-9600 ext. 206

[email protected]