Why You Should Declutter Your Brooklyn Home Before You Organize It

June 15th, 2022

Declutter your Brooklyn home before you organize it

You need to begin to declutter your Brooklyn home before you start to organize it. We have been spending more time at home due to the pandemic. Living and working from home may take a toll on the organization you once had. Often when you are working from home, cleaning and organizing have taken a back seat to get out of the house.

If you find it is time to organize, the first step you need to take is to declutter your Brooklyn home.

Organizing and decluttering serve different purposes. If you begin to organize before you declutter, you merely move your clutter from one spot to another. 

Many clients get serious about decluttering before they are ready to sell their homes. However, once they have gone through the process, many remark that it was freeing, enjoyable, or something they wish they had done sooner!

An organizational system will not help you manage clutter. You accumulate clutter when you hold on to things you don’t need, love, or use. So the simple first step is to go through your belongings and determine what you want to keep. 

Organizers like Marie Kondo and The Home Edit have become so popular they now have highly viewed Netflix shows featuring these organizers in action.

You must decide how to tackle the decluttering process throughout your home. Room by room may make the most sense for you. Here are some thought provokers to declutter your Brooklyn home by room:

Living Room

  • Unused decor
  • Used candles
  • Old games
  • Unidentified cords for electronics
  • Broken furniture
  • Magazines and books

Kitchen

  • Expired food and spices
  • Old dish towels, sponges, etc.
  • Unused utensils
  • Broken glass or crockery
  • Plastic food storage without lids
  • Broken or infrequently used small appliances

Bedrooms

  • Unworn clothing and shoes
  • Old bedding, pillows, etc.
  • Unwanted accessories
  • Unused gifts
  • Outdated jewelry

Bathrooms

  • Old toiletries
  • Expired medicine
  • Unused makeup
  • Tattered/stained towels
  • Excess hair products
  • Out-of-date sunscreen
  • Unused personal appliances

Office

  • Old pens/stationery supplies
  • Unnecessary paperwork and receipts 
  • Unused books/CDs/DVDs
  • Unfunctional equipment
  • Old electronics
  • Unused inks/batteries/cords

Garage

  • Unused tools
  • Old paints and chemicals
  • Unnecessary bikes and sports equipment
  • Unused pet items
  • Miscellaneous stored items

Outdoors

  • Broken or unused yard tools
  • Old toys
  • Unused planters and pots
  • Broken furniture

When you organize without thorough decluttering, you are only temporarily solving your issues. Moving the clutter out of sight is not eliminating it. You are just moving the chaos around and temporarily creating the appearance of organization. In the end, this short-term solution does not fix the problem.

When you don’t declutter first, you waste your time, energy, space, and money. 

After you spend the initial time and energy organizing the clutter, you will inevitably need to spend more time reorganizing when the first system fails to provide the desired results.

When items that need decluttering take up space, where do you put the things you actually use? Freeing storage space will allow better storage options for the items you use in your home.

You can save money when you declutter your Brooklyn home by not repurchasing things you already own because you couldn’t find them. You will also save money on purchasing organizing materials such as baskets, bins, and other organizing staples because you have less to store.

Get Started

Start with one small step if it seems overwhelming. Then, when you feel the pleasure of tackling one drawer or one closet, you will be more likely to keep going.

Tips to declutter your Brooklyn home:

  • Start with a small time increment per day to build your momentum.
  • Create three categories: Keep, Donate, Sell
  • Donate items as soon as possible after each decluttering session.
  • If you haven’t worn a clothing item in the past six months, you probably can declutter it.
  • Create a checklist of areas to declutter
  • Before and after photos will help you see the potential for your entire home.
  • A friend may be able to help you discard items if you are struggling.
  • Determine if you should relocate an item to another area of your home.
  • Follow the one-in-one-out rule by removing one item for every new thing you bring into your home.
  • Use clear storage bins to keep you organized.
  • If an item needs repair, schedule it. If you don’t have it fixed in 30 days, you can let it go.
  • Do not multitask during a decluttering session.
  • Look at your home through the eyes of a visitor.
  • Understand that you will make a mess before you get organized.

Do yourself a favor and don’t strive for perfection. Judging yourself and your space against others or, heaven forbid, a television show will create unnecessary pressure. Instead, create a space and systems that work for you.

Mental Health Benefits of DeCluttering

When you declutter, the benefits to your mental health include feeling calmer, happier, and more in control. In addition, the absence of clutter and a tidier space can help you feel more mentally relaxed.

Believe it or not, cluttered environments can increase your stress levels. However, most people find they are more productive and improve their mental and physical health by decluttering. 

Benefits of decluttering include:

Lower the risk of asthma and allergies.

Keeping clutter to a minimum reduces the dust, mold, and mildew that triggers asthma and allergies.

Focus is improved.

Clutter can be distracting and make things difficult to find. It is easier to focus on your tasks when you know where to find needed items.

Self-esteem is affected.

Surprisingly, self-esteem can be improved when your living space is organized by restoring feelings of being in control and pride.

Relationships improve.

Conflicts seem to lessen when clutter is under control in your home.

Find the lost treasures.

You may find items on your shopping list or something you haven’t been able to locate for some time in your clutter.

Studies have shown some characteristics of people who find decluttering challenging:

  • Time management and follow-through are difficult for them.
  • Procrastination tendencies make it hard to get started on a project.
  • Easily sidetracked from their task.
  • Wanting everything to be perfect deters them from tackling the job.
  • Helping others first is more important to them.

Don’t despair; having a clutter issue in your home does not mean you are a hoarder. Only 2.5% of Americans suffer from a hoarding disorder, a diagnosed psychiatric disorder. Hoarders can’t organize or manage their current possessions, yet they collect more.

If you are considering selling your home, this past blog post discusses three tips to get top dollar for your home. Cleaning and decluttering is one of those tips!

Contact me, Charles D’Alessandro, your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with Fillmore Real Estate. As a Brooklyn real estate agent with over 30 years of experience, I help sellers declutter and prepare their homes for sale. Reach me by phone at (718) 253-9500 ext. 1901 or email at [email protected]

Charles D'Allesandro

What Is A Home Warranty Protection Plan And Do Brooklyn Homeowners Need One?

May 31st, 2022
Computer moniter showing home warranty protection plan.

Have you seen a for sale sign in front of a home with a sign rider hanging from it that says home warranty protection plan included? What is a home warranty, and is it valuable?

I have found some confusion about what a home warranty is and how it works.

A home warranty protection plan is a service contract, not an insurance policy. 

Standard home warranties will cover all or components of a home’s major systems like electrical, plumbing, heating, and air conditioning systems. Coverage of home appliances and other components will vary depending on the company from which you purchase them.

Often you will see a seller offer a home warranty when they list their home for sale. This is because home warranties have become a popular inclusion in the sale of the house. However, if a seller does not include a home warranty with the sale of the property, a buyer can purchase a home warranty themselves. 

Existing homeowners can also purchase home warranties. They are not only for newly purchased homes.

What is the difference between a home warranty protection plan and homeowner’s insurance?. 

Homeowner’s insurance covers your home and personal belongings from significant dangers like fires, storms, and theft. Homeowner’s insurance also covers liability for injury of people who do not reside in your home if something occurs while on your property. In contrast, a home warranty will provide you with a reduced rate of repair expense for the covered systems and appliances defined in the policy coverage.

In this past blog post, you can learn more about homeowner’s insurance.

Although mortgage lenders require home insurance, a home warranty is an optional item. Both home insurance and a home warranty will be a safeguard if something goes wrong with your home but in different ways.

There are benefits to having a home warranty, but you need to understand how a warranty works.

Coverage varies by company. You need to thoroughly evaluate what is covered and what is not before deciding whether it is the right home warranty protection plan for you. You may want to look at several different warranty companies before deciding.

There are several reasons a seller would want to purchase one when they list their Brooklyn home for sale:

  1. They will receive coverage during the listing period.
  2. The seller is responsible for maintaining the property in its current condition until closing.
  3. If a covered item needs repairing before closing, its cost is limited to the service fee.
  4. A home warranty can be an incentive for a buyer, and they will likely ask for one in their offer.

The buyer also has several reasons they want to have a home warranty protection plan included in their home purchase:

  1. It provides buyers with the peace of mind that unexpected repair costs can be minimal shortly after closing a home.
  2. They may have to restore their savings after paying the closing costs before they can begin home repairs.
  3. If they are new to an area, they can access vetted service providers with one call.
  4. They don’t have the DIY experience to handle the repairs.

According to SoFi Learn, the average costs to repair are:

  • Electrical – $141 – $419 for minor repairs, $2,000 – $6,000 for full electrical wiring.
  • Roof Repair – $300 – $2,000 for partial repair.
  • HVAC – up to $577 for A/C repair, $5,000 – $12,500 for replacement.

Rocket Mortgage estimates an average home warranty costs between $300 – $600. One significant repair can cover the cost of the warranty.

Newly constructed home warranties are available.

The majority of home warranty plan purchases are for existing homes. You may not need to buy a home warranty when purchasing a newly constructed home. 

Many builders offer warranties on construction components. The new appliances should also have warranties provided by the manufacturer. Some private contractors may not have a warranty option; therefore, some home warranty companies offer an option for new homes. You can consider purchasing a home warranty protection plan when your builder and manufacture warranties expire.

Coverage under a home warranty will vary from company to company.

It is important to stress that not all home warranty coverage is the same, and you must read and understand the policy offered to you. In addition, if there are older systems in the home, they may not be able to be repaired due to the availability of replacement parts, making the replacement cost significantly higher.

How does a home warranty protection plan work?

Most home warranties have a required service fee. Service fees average around $100 per service call. 

You will need to contact the warranty company to file a warranty claim. Many companies require that you contact them first to receive a qualifying service provider’s contact information. However, many have exceptions for emergencies. Be sure to read the fine print.

When the service provider arrives, you will need to pay the service fee. After evaluating the situation, the service provider and warranty company will determine the necessary action to remedy the issue. Exclusions under warranty can incur additional expenses for the homeowner.

The pros and cons of home warranties include:

PROS

  • Peace of mind of paying for unexpected repairs.
  • Cost is limited to the service fee for covered items.
  • The convenience of using vetted service providers.
  • Reliability on the experience and skill of service providers.
  • The current warranty may be transferable if you sell your home.

CONS

  • Denial of claims due to coverage.
  • Contacting the home warranty company before contacting a service provider is often required.
  • A maximum dollar limit per year could apply.
  • The home warranty company has the authority to decide whether to repair or replace.
  • Appliance coverage is usually an additional cost.
  • Not all components and costs are covered.
  • Terms and conditions may be confusing or vague.
  • There are limitations and exceptions to a home warranty protection plan.

Do your research before selecting a home warranty plan.

Many real estate firms have recommendations based on their experience with home warranty companies. You may also want to check with friends and family to see if they have experience with any home warranty protection plans.

It is good practice to check with the Better Business Bureau rating on any company you consider using. 

The BBB bases ratings on:

  • The number of complaints.
  • The size of the business.
  • How well the company responds to complaints.
  • How quickly the company resolves complaints.
  • Whether the business made a good faith effort to resolve the complaint.

You can also search on the internet by merely typing the company name followed by “complaints” to find additional information.

Conclusion

A home warranty protection plan is often a reassurance to homeowners that they can save substantial expenses of repairs for their home. However, each individual must assess if a home warranty is right for them based on their financial situation, home condition, and knowledge of home repairs. Nevertheless, many homeowners have benefitted from having a policy.

Contact me, Charles D’Alessandro, your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with Fillmore Real Estate. As a Brooklyn real estate agent with over 30 years of experience, I help buyers and sellers achieve their real estate goals. Reach me by phone at (718) 253-9500 ext. 1901 or email at [email protected]

Charles D'Allesandro

Why Should You Use A Real Estate Professional To Sell Your Home Now

May 15th, 2022
Real estate agent holding house.

It is tempting to forgo the services of a real estate professional when you are selling your home in a hot real estate market. Although we are still in a favorable market, the increasing interest rates will lower the buying pool.

As interest rates increase, buyers who were on the margins of qualifying for a higher mortgage may now have to lower the price range of the home they are looking to purchase. This may reduce the pool of buyers in any given price range.

Along with the higher interest rates, increased inflation can reduce the amount of cash a buyer is willing to invest in their new home. This will begin to decrease the amount of competition for homes.

A real estate professional has the skills, experience, and expertise it takes to navigate the highly detailed and involved process of selling a home. That may be why the percentage of people who list their houses on their own, known as a For Sale By Owner or FSBO, is decreasing. 

Here are five reasons why selling with a real estate professional makes more sense, even in today’s hot market:

1. They Know The Buyer’s Hot Buttons

Before deciding which projects and repairs to take on, connect with a real estate professional. They have first-hand experience with today’s buyers, what the buyer expects, and what you need to do to ensure your house shows well.

If you don’t lean on their expertise, you may spend your time and money on something that isn’t essential. Previously, I discussed the possibility of over-improving your home in this blog post. In today’s low-inventory market, buyers are willing to take on more renovation work themselves. A survey from Freddie Mac finds that:

“. . . nearly two-in-five potential homebuyers would consider purchasing a home requiring renovations.” 

 In the hot real estate market we have been experiencing, the home inspection process has been less contentious than before the market fired up.

Familiarity with staging techniques to make your home more appealing to buyers is a strength of most real estate professionals. They tour a  lot of houses and know what makes a buyer light up.

A professional can help you decide what you need to tackle. It’s not canned advice you could find online – it’s recommendations specific to your house, price range, and area.

2. They Help Maximize The Number Of Buyers Who Tour Your Home

Recently, the average home has been getting 4.8 offers per sale, according to recent data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), and that competition is pushing prices up. While that’s promising for you as a seller, it’s essential to understand your agent’s role in bringing buyers to your home.

Real estate professionals have various tools at their disposal, such as social media followers, agency resources, and the MLS, to ensure that most qualifying buyers view your house. According to realtor.com:

“Only licensed real estate agents can list homes on the MLS, which is a one-stop online shop of sorts for getting a house seen by thousands of agents and home buyers. . . . This is certainly one of many good reasons why the majority of home sellers decide to employ the services of a listing agent rather than going it alone.”

The real estate community is well-connected. Real estate professionals network with other real estate professionals sharing information on upcoming homes for sale and the buyers they represent. As a result, a well-connected real estate agent may share information about your home before the house is available to the public with real estate professionals who have buyers interested in homes like yours. 

Without access to these tools and networks, your buyer pool is limited. And you want more buyers to view your house since buyer competition can drive your final sales price higher.

3. They Understand The Legal Requirements

Today, more disclosures and regulations are mandatory when selling a house, whether you are using a real estate agent or doing it yourself. Unfortunately, the number of legal documents you’ll need to understand and utilize is increasing. That’s why Investopedia says:

“One of the biggest risks of FSBO is not having the experience or expertise to navigate all of the legal and regulatory requirements that come with selling a home.”

A real estate professional knows exactly what needs to happen, what all the paperwork means, and how to work through it efficiently. They’ll help you review the documents and avoid any costly missteps that could occur if you try to handle them on your own.

There are many timelines to meet after a contract is signed in that fine print! Your real estate professional will make sure everyone meets their deadlines to keep the agreement moving forward, prevent any loopholes for the buyer, and that your home will close on time.

4. Real Estate Professionals Are Trained Negotiators

If you sell without a real estate professional, you’ll also be solely responsible for all the negotiations. That means you’ll have to coordinate with:

  • The buyer – who wants the best deal possible.
  • The buyer’s agent – who will use their expertise to advocate for the buyer.
  • The inspection company – that works for the buyer and will almost always find concerns with the house.
  • The appraiser – who assesses the property’s value to protect the lender.

Instead of going toe-to-toe with all these parties alone, lean on an expert. They’ll know what levers to pull, how to address everyone’s concerns, and when you may want to get a second opinion.

There may be issues that arise during the sale of a home. An experienced real estate professional knows how to put out fires that may otherwise kill the deal.

5. They Know How To Set the Right Price for Your House

If you sell your house on your own, you may overshoot your asking price. That means you’ll leave money on the table because you priced it too low, or your house will sit on the market because you priced it too high. Pricing a home requires expertise.

. . . There is no easy or universal way to determine market value for real estate.”

Real estate professionals know the ins and outs of how to price your house accurately and competitively. To do so, they compare your house to recently sold homes in your area and factor in the current condition of your house. These factors are crucial to making sure your home is appropriately priced to move quickly while getting you the highest possible final sale price.

An experienced real estate professional knows how to price ahead of the market. This means that the price should not necessarily reflect what is happening today but what will happen in the next few weeks or months ahead. For example, if the buyer pool begins to shrink due to increased interest rates, the competition will not be the same as a few months ago. With fewer buyers in the market, sales prices may begin to stabilize. Pricing your home too high is a risk. Traditionally, an overpriced house sells for less than if priced correctly.

For Sale By Owner homes typically sell for 14% less than similar homes listed by real estate professionals. Paying a real estate commission would still yield a for sale by owner more profit than going it alone.

Bottom Line

There’s a lot that goes into selling your house. So instead of tackling it alone, reach out to a trusted real estate professional to make sure you have an expert on your side throughout the entire process.

Contact me, Charles D’Alessandro, your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with Fillmore Real Estate. I can help buyers and sellers achieve their real estate goals. Reach me by phone at (718) 253-9500 ext. 1901 or email at [email protected]

Charles D'Allesandro

Brooklyn Homeownership Is A Step Toward Wealth Building

May 1st, 2022
Property investment, house mortgage financial planning and real estate home refinancing concept with piggy bank saving budget and money coin stacks

Brooklyn homeownership is a foundational step to building your wealth.

Wealth building simply refers to increasing the net value of your total assets. Wealth building over time is one of the advantages of homeownership.

The calculation of net worth is simple. You calculate it by subtracting the amount of money you owe (liabilities) from the amount of money your possessions are worth (assets.) 

Net Worth = Assets – Liabilities

Brooklyn homeownership can help you build wealth in two ways. 

First, you build equity by paying down your mortgage. 

A percentage of each mortgage payment goes towards a reduction in the total amount owed. Typically, the first few years of mortgage payments apply to interest, not the principal. However, more and more of each payment is applied to the outstanding principal amount as time passes. Before you know it, your $300,000 loan is down to $50,000, and you’ve gained $250,000 in wealth.

The second way to build wealth through Brooklyn homeownership is appreciation. 

Each year, the value of your home will increase or decrease slightly based on market prices. However, over time, real estate has consistently appreciated. 

Home prices rose 18% in 2021, according to CoreLogic’s Home Price Index. Bank of America predicts a 10% appreciation rate through 2022, even with the expected interest rate increases.

Due to the unprecedented real estate market of 2021, home values rose thanks to low housing supply and high buyer demand. Unfortunately, there were not enough homes to meet this high buyer interest,  so bidding wars began driving home prices up. The rising prices mean your home is worth more in today’s market when you own a home. And as home values climb, your equity does too. 

How Rising Equity Impacts You

In addition to building your overall net worth, equity can also help you achieve other goals like buying your next home. It works like this: when you sell your house, the equity you built up comes back to you in the sale.

In a market where you’re gaining so much equity, it may be just what you need to cover a significant portion – if not all – of the down payment on your next home. So, if you’ve been holding off on selling and worried about being priced out of your next home because of today’s home price appreciation, rest assured your equity can help fuel your move.

As the mortgage interest rates begin to climb, buyers will be more eager to purchase now. So if you are considering selling, now is time to take advantage of the lack of inventory available to buyers.

Equity can be a real game-changer if you’re planning to make a move. 

Wealth Building Example

Let’s see a simple demonstration of how advantageous Brooklyn homeownership can be. Assume you bought a home in 2005 for $400,000 and, for simple mathematics, paid nothing for a downpayment. Over the next ten years, your mortgage payments reduce the outstanding mortgage by $100,000 and the home increases in value to $600,000. The value of your home as a net asset has grown to $300,000 [$600,000 minus $300,000 mortgage balance]! You would have missed out on $300,000 in wealth if you had rented during this period. 

Historically, homeownership is one of the best ways for families to build wealth. However, if you don’t currently own a home, you may want to consider purchasing now.

As inflation rises, the link between financial security and homeownership will become especially important.  As Leslie Rouda Smith, President of the National Association of Realtors (NAR), says:

“Homeownership is rewarding in so many ways and can serve as a vital component in achieving financial stability.”

Owning a Home Is a Building Block for Financial Success

Recently NAR conducted a report that details several homeownership trends and statistics. This information includes the difference between the net worth of homeowners and renters. The report stated that the net worth of a homeowner was about $300,000, while the wealth of a renter was about $8,000 in 2021. Therefore, a homeowner’s net worth is roughly 40 times higher than a renter’s. This report shows how owning a home can be a key factor when building your overall net worth.

Is the gap between a homeowner’s net worth and a renter’s surprising to you?

The net worth gap between owners and renters primarily exists because homeowners build equity. As a homeowner, your equity grows as your home appreciates in value and you make your mortgage payments each month.

In other words, when you own your home, you have the benefit of your mortgage payment acting as a contribution to a forced savings account. And when you sell, any equity you’ve built up comes back to you. But, as a renter, you’ll never see a return on the money you pay out in rent every month.

Additionally, homeownership provides you with a fixed monthly payment that will not increase with a fixed-rate mortgage. Renters expect an increase from year to year. Each annual increase affects your available cash for investing or saving.

If you are interested in buying a home, you need to ask yourself a few questions.

How much home can you afford? 

You need to meet with a mortgage lender to obtain a prequalification letter. The lender will review your financial information to determine your maximum mortgage amount. Your lender can explain the different mortgage options.

Where will you find the money?

Mortgages come at a cost. You most likely will need to have accessible cash for some portion of your purchase. Hopefully, you are actively saving for your home purchase. If you own a home, you may be able to tap into the equity to purchase a new home. In addition, some mortgages will allow you to receive gift money from a relative if you do not have adequate savings.

How can you continue to save money after buying?

Your lender will provide you with an amortization table that shows the total cost of the mortgage for the loan duration. It can be shocking to see the amount you will pay over time due to interest. You can cut the cost by paying your mortgage off early. Making additional payments toward your principal will save you on additional interest costs.

A biweekly mortgage instead of monthly can also save you money, Or simply add an extra payment each year, for a total of 13 payments and designate that it is to apply to your principal balance. This tactic could cut your mortgage by several years.

If you are interested in reducing the length of your home mortgage, speak with your lender and financial planner to see what will work best to meet your financial goals.

If you are a first-time homebuyer, you can find some helpful information in this previous blog post.

According to a recent Gallup Poll, real estate remains ranked top in America’s opinion of the best long-term investments since 2013. One significant advantage to Brooklyn homeownership, as opposed to other investment vehicles, is that you also have a place to live. 

Having a trusted real estate professional to help you, whether buying or selling, is crucial in this current real estate climate. In addition, an agent who knows the area and market well can be a valuable asset to your wealth-building team.

Contact me, Charles D’Alessandro, your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with Fillmore Real Estate. As a Brooklyn real estate agent with over 30 years of experience, I can help buyers and sellers achieve their real estate goals. Reach me by phone at (718) 253-9500 ext. 1901 or by email at [email protected]
Charles D'Allesandro

Real Estate Appraisal: What A Brooklyn Buyer And Seller Need To Know

April 15th, 2022

Home appraiser

The buyer and seller need to know about a real estate appraisal in any home sale.

The buyer will have the real estate appraisal completed as part of their mortgage. The responsibility for paying for the appraisal is part of the buyer’s mortgage costs. Determining value is a key factor in the buyer’s ability to obtain a mortgage.

The seller will need to provide access to their property to complete the appraisal. Most sales agreements with a mortgage contingency will be subject to a real estate appraisal. The appraiser will justify the sales price through their assessment process for the buyer and seller.

The property’s fair market value must come in at or above the sales price. A lender will not loan money for the mortgage without a satisfactory appraisal. The buyer and seller will need to revisit their negotiation if the value is below the sales price.

The Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) are the standards an appraiser must follow.

What is an appraisal?

Real estate appraisal or property valuation determines the property’s value based on the highest and best use of the real property (which basically translates into determining the property’s fair market value). 

A buyer and seller can request an appraisal for different reasons:

  1. Transfer of ownership of real property.
  2. Establish a basis for the exchange or reorganization for investors.
  3. Provide a mortgage underwriter a value of the security for a mortgage loan.
  4. Estimate value for tax or other legal purposes.
  5. Determine gift or inheritance taxes.
  6. Estimate the value of real property in an estate.

The person who performs this real estate appraisal is the real estate appraiser.

The value as determined by real estate appraisal is the fair market value. 

The real estate appraiser may use various methods to calculate value. However, a systematic approach will determine the fair market value.

  1. The sales comparison approach is commonly used to determine value based on recent sales of comparable properties in the local real estate market.
  2. An alternative method, the cost approach, would estimate the cost of rebuilding, minus an estimate for depreciation, plus the land value.
  3. The income capitalization approach can determine the net earning power the property will support for investment properties.

The appraiser will collect data on the market area, the subject property, and comparable properties. Once assembled, the appraiser must analyze the data collected. Supply and demand is a factor that helps to understand the competitive position of the property in the current market.

The appraiser will calculate the property’s fair market value from this analysis. A written appraisal report will show the methods used to determine the value and the information used in the analysis. Finally, the appraiser certifies that the report will be completed in an unbiased, objective manner.

Timing

There is no need for the seller to have a real estate appraisal completed before putting their home on the market unless there is an extenuating circumstance. The lender is the most interested party in the appraisal more than any other party in the sale. In fact, a lender is not likely to accept an appraisal done outside their network.

The lender will order the appraisal after the buyer applies for their mortgage. The appraiser will schedule a time with the seller to visit and examine the property based on their availability. 

Once they visit the home, the appraiser will begin the preparation of their appraisal report. It may take several days or weeks for the appraiser to deliver the information to the lender.

Sales Contract

One of the indications of value an appraiser considers is the contract between two unrelated parties, the buyer and seller, for the sale and purchase of the home. Thus, a copy of the executed sales agreement will be provided to the appraiser by the mortgage company.

Comparable Sales

In general, when you are selling your primary residence, the person buying it will make it his primary residence, too. However, if the buyer obtains a mortgage, the lender will require an evaluation of similar houses sold in the same neighborhood to prove the fair market value. The appraiser will generally find homes within a ½ mile radius of the subject property that has sold in the past six months. 

A real estate agent may choose to provide sales comps they used to determine the offering price to the appraiser, but the appraiser cannot just automatically use them in their appraisal. As an unbiased party to the sale, they must determine the comparability to the subject property.

What can a seller do to prepare for the appraiser’s visit?

If you’ve let your hair down, get your home back into “show” condition before the appraiser comes.

Everything you know about preparing your home for sale, well-mulched flower beds, minor repairs addressed, lack of fingerprints, lack of clutter, and all the rest apply.

The age of the home and the “effective age” are needed in the Uniform Residential Appraisal Report form under the “General Description.” Therefore, how well your home appears affects the number under “effective age.

The Uniform Appraisal Report requires information about materials (and their condition) used for floors, walls, trim and finishing elements, bathroom floors and wainscots, and interior doors. For this reason, appraisers train themselves to notice these detail. Provide a good impression by dusting, polishing, and eliminating scratches and fingerprints.

The Report also asks about kitchen equipment (refrigerator, range and oven, disposal, dishwasher, fan and hood, microwave, and washer and dryer). Be sure all appliances are clean and operating well.

Amenities such as fireplaces, patios, decks, porches, fences, and sheds will be included in the report. If an appraiser is going to take note of these things, they should be swept, cleaned, and in good condition. Also, clean out the gutters. If it rains on the day of your appraisal, you want your house to handle the rainwater well.

Here is an example of a  “comments” section of an appraisal: “The subject is well maintained, and no physical, functional, or external inadequacies are noted. Marketability is enhanced by hardwood flooring throughout most of the home, an updated kitchen, fresh interior and exterior paint, transom windows, built-ins, a front porch, a rear patio, large storage shed, and 4 fireplaces, etc.” An appraiser will evaluate your home carefully.

The importance of preparing your property before the listing is not only for potential buyers but also for the appraisal process. Be sure to keep your home free of clutter as best you can until the appraiser has visited.

An experienced real estate agent can help you price a property correctly before listing it for sale. They should use a similar method as the appraiser using the sales comparison approach. Understanding the appraisal process should help you understand why real estate agents place so much importance on pricing the house correctly.

Contact me, Charles D’Alessandro, your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with Fillmore Real Estate. As a Brooklyn real estate agent with over 30 years of experience, I can help you prepare your home for potential buyers and the real estate appraisal. Reach me by phone at (718) 253-9500 ext. 1901 or by email at [email protected]
Charles D'Allesandro

Brooklyn Homeowners Can Make Small Changes To Help The Climate

March 30th, 2022

Brooklyn homeowners can make small changes to hel the climate

Climate change can begin with Brooklyn homeowners making some small changes. You might think that you need to do something grand to affect climate change. But, if made by most people, there are small changes that we would see a marked effect.

At the end of February 2022, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change published a report, “Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability.”

In all the ominous findings of the report, one thing that stands out is that it is not too late to do something that will help. The information does note that nearly half the world’s population is vulnerable to the threatening climate impacts. The report recommends that urgent action is needed.

Before discussing the small changes a Brooklyn homeowner can make, let’s define some of the terms we hear when talking about climate change.

Carbon Footprint 

The carbon footprint is the total amount of greenhouse gasses (including carbon dioxide and methane) generated by our actions. To reduce the carbon footprint, you must reduce the use of the top three highest emitters of greenhouse gasses, coal, oil, and natural gas.

Each of us has our own carbon footprint. You can calculate your carbon footprint at The Nature Conservancy: https://www.nature.org/en-us/get-involved/how-to-help/carbon-footprint-calculator/.

Greenhouse Gases 

Greenhouse gases are gases in the earth’s atmosphere that trap heat. They let the sun pass through the atmosphere but prevent the heat from leaving the atmosphere. Greenhouse gases are crucial to keeping the temperatures suitable here on earth.

Renewable Energy

Renewable energy comes from natural processes that continuously replenish. Sources of renewable energy include sunlight, geothermal heat, wind, tides, water, and biomass. Therefore, it cannot be exhausted.

Alternative Energy

Alternative energy refers to energy produced by means other than fossil fuels. Non-traditional and have a low environmental impact. 

Fossil Fuels

Fossil fuels come from fossilized plants and animals that lived millions of years ago. Coal, crude oil, and natural gas are all considered fossil fuels.

These are some of the standard terms used when talking about climate change. With this understanding, let’s look at some of the areas where you can make small changes that can make a difference.

According to the EPA recommendations, changing out the five most used light fixtures or light bulbs and replacing them with Energy Star rated products may save approximately $70 per year on your energy bills. Energy Star lighting generates 75% less heat and uses 75% less energy than standard lighting. In addition, this bright, warm light will last 10 to 50 times longer. 

What are some other areas where small changes will make a difference?

Energy Star products. 

Looking for the Energy Star seal will ensure you purchase the most energy-efficient product. Products include appliances, lighting, heating and cooling equipment, electronics, and office equipment. These products reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save you on your energy bill.

Heating and Cooling Habits. 

Simple steps like changing air filters regularly, properly using a programmable thermostat, and servicing your HVAC equipment regularly can help. 

Insulation and Sealing

You may not eliminate all, but you can reduce the number of air leaks through caulking, weather stripping, and insulation.  Properly insulating your home can save you up to 20% on your heating and cooling bills.

The 3 R’s (Reduce, reuse, recycle)

Find a recycling program to recycle newspapers, beverage containers, paper, and other goods in your area. Composting your food and yard waste reduces the amount of garbage you send to landfills reducing greenhouse gas emissions. 

Water Usage

Because it takes a lot of energy to pump, treat and heat water, conserving will reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Simple actions like not allowing the water to run while brushing your teeth or shaving, checking for leaking toilets and faucets, running your dishwasher only when full, watering lawns, and landscaping can help.

Making some small changes in your Brooklyn home is the best place to start. Here are some simple tips that can help. 

Programmable thermostats

Create new heating and cooling habits with a programmable thermostat in your home. Not only does it help the environment, but you will save money on heating and cooling costs. For example, you can program the thermostat to be lower when you are not at home or asleep in the winter. You can do the same in the summer for air conditioning.

Lightbulbs

Above, we mentioned how changing out only the five most-used lights in your home could make a difference. In addition, the use of bulbs like compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) or light-emitting diodes (LEDs) can help save energy and last longer than traditional light bulbs.

Insulation, Caulking, and Weather Stripping

The practice of sealing the air leaks in your home has been recommended for a long time. Preventing the warm or cold air from escaping your home allows your heating system to maintain the desired room temperature more efficiently.

Appliances

When you need to replace any home appliances, look for Energy Star rated products. Products that meet a high level of energy efficiency receive this designation. 

Reducing Water Usage

Some simple ways to reduce water use in the home are to install aerators on your faucets and low-flow showerheads. In addition, choosing native vegetation for your landscaping can help as these plants generally require less water, fertilizer, and pesticides. Another simple change is to wash your clothes in cold water and air dry whenever possible.

Green Power 

Enrolling in a utility provider that uses green power may be an option in some areas. Check with your utility companies to see if there is an option for clean, sustainable energy for your home.

Solar Energy

Converting sunlight into energy is becoming increasingly available for residential homeowners. Do your research to find the right solar solutions for your home should you desire.

Low VOC Products

VOC stands for volatile organic compounds. They can cause headaches, nausea, and irritation to the respiratory system, skin, and eyes. Cleaning products and paints around your home can contain VOCs. Search for no to low VOC options.

Composting

You can minimize greenhouse gas caused by food waste in landfills by composting food wastes (except meat) in a backyard composting bin.

The advantages of these small changes are not only for our environment, but you will also experience economic and health benefits.

Contact me, Charles D’Alessandro, your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with Fillmore Real Estate. As a Brooklyn real estate agent with over 30 years of experience, I can help you buy or sell in the Brooklyn real estate market. Reach me by phone at (718) 253-9500 ext. 1901 or by email at [email protected]
Charles D'Allesandro

Curb Appeal Is Important To Get Buyers To Look Inside Your Brooklyn Home

March 15th, 2022

Your Brooklyn Home exterior with curb appeal.

No matter how beautifully decorated the inside of your Brooklyn home may be, if the outside of the house does not reflect what lies behind the front door, you may quickly lose potential buyers. 

As we begin to see signs of spring, it is time to start to pay attention to the outside of our home. 

Homebuyers frequently make a list of homes from various internet sites, advertisement listings, or through a real estate agent, they wish to see. They then drive by these homes to get a ‘feel’ for the property and the house.  Bottom line, if your home looks unappealing from the outside, there is a good possibility the buyer will cross your home off the list of potential purchases.

You will recoup your efforts when you decide to spend time sprucing up the outside of your Brooklyn home. 

Gather Ideas

Consult with a local landscaper to get ideas for the best ways to spruce up the exterior of your Brooklyn home with minimal cost. In some cases, you might be surprised that hiring a landscaper to beautify your yard or modify a portion of it is more affordable than you thought.

Things to consider would be adding greenery, flowering bushes, trimming existing trees and shrubs, pulling weeds, creating planting beds, and mulching. You may simply need to move some plantings or separate overgrown plants to make the yard look better.

When you are selecting new plants, you will need to consider the local growing season and plants that do well in your area. Bob Vila offers his advice on plants that help you sell your home in this article.

If you don’t have the time to do the work yourself, it may be an excellent investment to hire a landscaper to get the job done before your home hits the market. A professional will have access to the materials and the tools needed that you may not have.

Ask neighbors, friends, and family for recommendations. They may know someone who has a smaller operation or just starting that could help you at a lower fee. You may also do part of the work and have a landscaper do the more challenging tasks to save money.

Buyer’s Perspective

Stand at the curb of your property and look at the yard from the potential buyer’s perspective. Then, drive or walk down the street and see how your property compares to the neighbors’ properties. You can make your property shine by creating a well-cared-for look. If your neighbors’ landscaping is so-so, anything you do will make your home look amazing. Plan your landscape to stand out from the rest, and if your budget does not allow for the extras, then the following rule of thumb is just to make the property look neat.

Grass and Patches

When your grass begins to grow, trim the grass. Look for any areas of brown grass or bald spots that may need attention. Invest in a bag of grass seed to plant. Water daily and place a barrier around the area to protect it. 

Fertilizing will make a significant difference in creating a healthy and green lawn. If you do not have grass, you may want to create some grass areas. You may need to consider removing stone and laying some sod or planting seeds. Stone yards will look out of place if neighboring properties have grass lawns. Having a green lawn makes a huge difference in curb appeal. 

A Stager’s trick to consider is spray painting the brown patch if you do not have enough time to plant and grow new grass. You could also create a small container garden if it made sense with the rest of the landscaping.

Planting Beds

Once you have addressed the grass, you can fix up existing planting beds. If you do not have any beds on your property, you may choose to add some in areas that would make sense. Garden beds help soften the hard lines of sidewalks, walkways, and the rigid angle of homes. Begin by weeding the beds. Evaluate whether you need to reshape or connect existing beds for better flow. Consider planting similar plants and flowers to create a cohesive look. Soften any hard angles and create a fluid design. Try to create a gentle flow from one end of the house to the other. You do not need to use a lot of plantings to create a consistent and neat look.

Trees and Shrubs

Existing trees and bushes will also need your attention when creating curb appeal for your Brooklyn home. First, remove any dead branches or trees. Large trees can intimidate a buyer. Not only could it obstruct the view of the home, but fear of it falling and damaging the home is a worry for some buyers. Keep trees that could damage the home trimmed back. Overgrown bushes will also need to be cut or removed. The thought of cleaning out these areas may be overwhelming to many buyers and something they just don’t want to deal with as they are moving into a home. Not only can overgrown bushes affect the appearance of the home, but a safety concern would be the ability of someone to hide behind them who had less than honorable intentions.

Parking

Having cars parked in front of your Brooklyn home is also a concern when it comes to viewing the house from the street. Undoubtedly, you need to park your car somewhere, but if there is an opportunity to park away from the front of the home, it would be a good idea. If on-street parking is your only option, try to have the cars moved when a buyer comes to look at the home. Buyers need to visualize the house as it would be if they lived there and anything which detracts from this thought is a non-plus for you as the seller. Weekends are usually the busiest times for drive-by house viewing. If you can move your car to a neighbor’s driveway or off your driveway for a few hours, do so.  It may make a difference in the curb appeal of your home.

If you have any cars, boats, campers, or trailers parked in front of your home or in the driveway, which you do not need to be there, you should find a place to park them temporarily. If you have an inoperable vehicle, you may find a local charity that would take it as a donation and tow it away for you. You don’t want your property to look more like a car dealership or parking lot than a home.

Backyard Seating

If you have a rear patio or deck, make an outdoor oasis for the buyer to envision themselves relaxing on a summer evening. You can create a dining spot, seating area, or both. Be sure not to draw attention to any unsightly features. If you have a commercial property or have a neighbor who doesn’t maintain their property, try to camouflage the sightline somehow.

Front Porch

Do not forget the front porch! A buyer will spend more time than you realize on the front porch waiting for the real estate agent to open the lockbox to access the key. While they are waiting, they will be looking around. All painted areas should be free of peeling paint and be clean. Porch floors should be free of objects and debris. If you have a large porch, you could create a seating area with chairs, a side table, and an area rug. Don’t forget about the homey touches like potted plants, a throw blanket, and maybe a candle.

Homebuyers rate curb appeal high on their list of positive home features. Creating good curb appeal outside is as essential as staging your home inside. To find more about staging the interior of your Brooklyn home, check out this previous blog post.

Contact me, Charles D’Alessandro, your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with Fillmore Real Estate. As a Brooklyn real estate agent with over 30 years of experience, I can help you sell your Brooklyn home. Reach me by phone at (718) 253-9500 ext. 1901 or by email at [email protected]

Charles D'Allesandro

Five Benefits of Brooklyn Homeownership

February 28th, 2022
Receiving keys to begin enjoying Brooklyn home ownership.

There are many benefits to Brooklyn homeownership. Homeownership has long been considered the American Dream. And it can mean different things to different people. There has been a steady rise in homeownership since the 1900s in the United States.

Let’s take a look at five benefits of Brooklyn Homeownership.

Financial Benefits

The most apparent benefits are financial benefits. A home purchase is one of the most significant financial investments one will make in their lifetime. The benefits to investing in a home are:

Strengthening Credit

Making your home mortgage payments on time consistently will build your credit rating, which allows you to obtain other types of credit like purchasing an automobile or investing in other properties. In addition, as you pay down your mortgage, your credit score will increase.

Fixed Housing Cost

A fixed monthly payment helps you budget your monthly income more consistently. Your landlord can increase your monthly payment at determined intervals when you rent. With a fixed-rate mortgage, your principal and interest payment remains the same throughout the life of the loan.

Equity

Each month, a portion of your mortgage payment goes to paying down the principal amount on your loan. Equity is the difference between what you owe and the current value of your home. Over time, appreciation and lowering of the principal amount will increase the equity in your home. You may be able to leverage the equity for other financial needs. Building equity contributes to your financial stability.

Personal and Emotional Benefits

Home has become our haven, primarily through the pandemic. Unison recently published a report, State of the American Homeowner. This report discusses how homeownership has become more important to us through the pandemic.

Sanctuary 

Through the pandemic, our homes became our office, our schools, our gyms, and even our churches and synagogues, in addition to a place to eat, sleep and be with family.

Security

Many homeowners felt a sense of safety in their homes throughout the pandemic by controlling any potential exposure. As a result, people found refuge in their homes.

Importance

Our homes have gained more significance in our lives. More homeowners admit they love their home more now than they did pre-pandemic.

Health

According to a study by the National Association of Realtors, more people feel they have better health due to homeownership, having more control over their lives, and higher self-esteem.

Social Benefits

Achieving the American Dream has long been associated with success. But, owning your home also provides some social benefits.

Community

Living in a community provides a level of stability. Homeowners have a vested interest in keeping the community vibrant which attributes to maintaining property values. Many become involved in community organizations and government to better the livability of their neighborhood.

Financial Education

As homeowners gain the financial knowledge that comes with homeownership, they are likely to pass this down through the generations. This unexpected benefit of homeownership can change generations as parents teach their children how to handle mortgage payments.

Privacy

Community involvement is part of homeownership, but having a place to unwind in private is also a benefit many homeowners enjoy. You are in control of when you invite others into your home and when you just need an evening of quiet enjoyment.

Tax Benefits

Our tax laws have changed, but some tax benefits are still available for homeowners. The IRS Publication 530 outlines the tax information homeowners need when filing their federal returns. 

You may have eligible deductions if you recently purchased a home. Check with your tax professional to determine what you can use as a qualified deduction.

The capital gains tax exclusion may allow you to exclude up to $250,000 of the gain on the sale of your home or up to $500,000 if filing a joint return and you meet the homeownership test. You can find out more information about the sale of your home on the IRS website.

Homeowners in New York State may also be eligible for some tax incentives. You can find out more information on their website

It is always wise advice to consult with a tax professional to determine if you have taken advantage of all the tax deductions you are eligible to receive. This is because the tax laws change frequently.

Brooklyn Homeownership versus Renting Benefits

Many individuals are not sure that homeownership is right for them. In addition to the benefits above, let’s look at some of the specified advantages home ownership has over renting. 

Building equity for yourself versus your landlord

Each month that you make a mortgage payment, you increase your equity. Likewise, your landlord benefits each month you make your rent payment.

Interest rates are low

With the currently low-interest rates, you are often paying less on a monthly mortgage than you would be paying for a similar home’s rent. 

Stability 

Homeownership is considered a long-term investment. Renting is regarded as a short-term solution. If you plan on staying in an area for the long term, you should consider owning versus renting.

More Freedom

When you rent a home, the landlord dictates what you can and can not do regarding painting, flooring, and updating. You will need permission from your landlord to make any changes. You would be increasing the value for the landlord if you were permitted to make any updates.

Building credit

Showing your ability to pay your mortgage consistently improves your credit rating. However, different types of loans have different weights when evaluating your credit. For example, car loans and credit card payments do not elevate your credit as quickly as a mortgage.

There are some reasons when renting is a better option, and you must decide what is right for you. For instance, if you are a seasonal employee, temporary employee, or expected to be working only short-term in the area, it may not be to your advantage to purchase a home.

So how do you determine if homeownership is right for you?

If you are thinking about Brooklyn Homeownership, ask yourself these questions:
  1. Do you qualify to purchase a home?

The first step is talking to a lender to determine if you will qualify for a mortgage. Many different loan programs require different percentages for down payments. Therefore, finding the right loan program is a significant determining factor.

  1. How long do you intend to live in this home?

When you buy and sell a home, you need to consider the added expenses of closing costs. It may not be an issue if you are in an area with a greater appreciation rate. However, if you are purchasing in an area with a history of lower appreciation, you may need to stay in a home for 3 – 5 years before selling to realize a profit.

  1. What are your total monthly costs?

The costs of homeownership can be more than just your monthly mortgage payment. 

This previous blog post describes some of the hidden costs of homeownership. You need to know your total monthly expenses before committing to purchasing a home.

Everyone needs to decide what is right for them in their current situation. If Brooklyn homeownership is something you would like to achieve, but you are not ready now, saving for your downpayment and closing costs and increasing your credit score will put you in a great position when you are ready to buy.

Contact me, Charles D’Alessandro, your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with Fillmore Real Estate. As a Brooklyn real estate agent with over 30 years of experience, I help many home buyers understand the home buying process. Reach me by phone at (718) 253-9500 ext. 1901 or by email at [email protected]
Charles D'Allesandro

Important Real Estate Terms Brooklyn Home Buyers Or Sellers Need To Know

February 15th, 2022

dictionary of real estate terms for brooklyn home buyers or sellers

Real estate terminology can get confusing for Brooklyn Home Buyers or Sellers. After all, there is a lot of information you receive in the home buying or selling process. It may feel like you have to ask a hundred questions to understand the process clearly. 

Real estate professionals often forget that some of our terms are not common to clients. For this reason, I am sharing a simple explanation of some of the words you may need to know.

Adjustable-Rate Mortgage:

type of home loan with a variable interest rate set for a period of time and then the rate adjusts at predetermined intervals.

Amortization:

the schedule of your monthly payments showing how much of your mortgage payment goes to interest and principal until your mortgage is paid in full with the last payment.

Appraisal:

an independent evaluation initiated by the lender to determine a property’s value. An appraiser evaluates the home’s condition and comparable sales in the neighborhood. This report validates the purchase price.

Assessed Value:

a public assessor determines the property’s value for tax purposes.

Cash Reserves:

remaining funds after paying the down payment and closing costs. Lenders generally require some reserves to ensure you have the financial ability to make payments.

Closing Costs:

these are fees required to cover mortgage and title expenses for a property transfer. Both buyer and seller are responsible for a portion of the costs. 

Downpayment:

the amount of money paid upfront in a home purchase. Most lenders require a certain percentage based on the mortgage loan program you are obtaining.

Escrow:

a financial account set up by the lender and funded by the homeowner’s mortgage payments to cover property taxes and homeowner’s insurance when due.

Equity:

the difference between the property value and any outstanding mortgage amount owed on the property.

Interest Rate:

the percentage of interest charged for financing a mortgage. The lender determines interest rates.

Fixed-Rate Mortgage:

the interest rate remains the same for the life of the loan.

Loan-to-Value:

this is a ratio used by lenders to measure the loan amount to the value of the property. A larger down payment will lower the ratio and appeal to the lender.

Mortgage Broker:

an individual who acts as an intermediary between borrowers and lenders. Usually works with several different lenders to provide options.

Preapproval Letter:

the letter provided by a mortgage lender verifying the buyer’s financial ability to purchase a property. Sellers generally require this letter as part of the offer process.

Private Money Loan:  

is money borrowed from an individual investor, usually used by real estate investors to finance deals that may not qualify for a traditional loan.

Private Mortgage Insurance:

this fee is a percentage of the mortgage loan when a buyer puts down less than 20% and can be satisfied once the homeowner reaches a certain equity level. It is also known as PMI.

Proof of Funds:

a statement from a financial institution that verifies the buyer has enough funds available to complete a cash purchase offer.

Refinancing:

a homeowner will usually restructure their loan later after closing to either reduce the interest rate or pull out equity.

The first step for a home buyer is to work with a lender to determine the price range of the house they qualify for and the monthly payment that comfortably fits their budget. Understanding the above terms will help you when meeting with the lender. Nerdwallet discusses how to obtain a pre-approval in this article

The real estate purchase agreement or contract offers its terms for Brooklyn home buyers or sellers.

As-Is:

a property offered in “as-is” condition means the seller is unwilling to repair the home. It does not necessarily mean there is anything wrong with the property. The property frequently offers a lower to sell in “as-is” condition. A buyer can still elect to have a home inspection for informational purposes.

Addendum:

a separate form or addendum is used to add any additional terms and conditions included in the sale but not covered in the real estate purchase contract.

Buyer’s Agent:

is a real estate agent who represents the sole interest of the buyer in the home buying process.

Contingencies:

conditions the buyer or seller needs to meet before purchasing a property can close. Typical contingencies are inspections, mortgage approvals, and appraisals.

Disclosures:

sellers are required to complete property disclosures that may reveal various defects or improvements that may affect the home’s condition. Required disclosure varies by market. Typically, the areas covered in a disclosure include general information about the house, known environmental issues, known structural issues, and mechanical systems.

Due Diligence:

This is a time-specific opportunity for a buyer to examine the property thoroughly. Generally, this timeframe is for inspections or performing tests. 

Earnest Money Deposit:

a deposit made by the home buyer typically when they enter into a contract with the seller demonstrating their earnestness in purchasing the home. The amount is held in an escrow account until closing and deducted from the buyer’s cash needed for closing.

Inspections:

a buyer may choose to inspect the property before deciding to move forward with purchasing a home. Typical inspections are general home inspections, wood-boring insect or pest inspections, and radon inspections.

Listing Agent:

is a real estate agent who represents the sole interest of the seller in the home selling process.

Mortgage Contingency:

a condition in the purchase contract that the buyer must receive a mortgage commitment from the lender by an agreed-upon date.

Seller’s Contribution/Seller’s Assist:

the seller agrees to pay a percentage or defined dollar amount towards the buyer’s closing costs if negotiated.

Title Insurance:

usually required as part of the closing process, title insurance protects the buyer from the responsibility of an undiscovered lien after closing on their new home.

an examination of public records to confirm the property’s rightful legal owner and determine if any claims or liens on the property would affect the purchase.

Transfer Tax:

when property transfers from one owner to another in the state of New York, transfer tax is collected and typically paid by the seller.

That is a lot to remember, but your real estate agent can refresh your memory as you review the sales agreement together. This previous blog post will help you to learn more about how a real estate agent can help Brooklyn home buyers or sellers.

There is some miscellaneous terminology you may hear that may need some clarification:

Comparables:

are comparable, similar homes sold in a defined radius of the subject home used to establish a fair market value.

Distressed Property:

property can be in disrepair; an owner may have defaulted on their mortgage payments or property taxes are delinquent.

Fee Simple:

this term describes the most common type of homeownership. A property owner can transfer, or an heir can inherit the property rights at the owner’s discretion.

Flipping:

an investment strategy of purchasing a home, making improvements, and then reselling the property for a profit.

Foreclosure:

a bank repossesses a property due to the owner’s inability to make mortgage payments.

MLS:

the Multiple Listing Service is a database available to licensed real estate agents to view property listings.

Motivated Seller:

a homeowner may be pressed for time, nearing foreclosure, or own property out of state and are open to negotiating a favorable price for a property.

Probate Sale:

If the death of a homeowner occurs and they do not have a written will, the probate court authorizes an estate attorney or representative to hire a real estate agent to sell the home.

Real Estate Auction:

usually, a financial institution will sell repossessed homes through an auction to the public. Privately homeowners may also choose an auction to sell.

Short Sale:  

a homeowner can not sell their property for more than what they owe on the home. The lender must approve a short sale.

Real estate has specific acronyms and terms that can confuse those not working in the field like any other industry. However, when you hire a real estate professional to work on your behalf, they can answer your questions on anything you do not understand.

Contact me, Charles D’Alessandro, your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with Fillmore Real Estate. As a Brooklyn real estate agent with over 30 years of experience, I help many home buyers and sellers with their real estate needs. Reach me by phone at (718) 253-9500 ext. 1901 or by email at [email protected]

Charles D'Allesandro

3 Tips To Get Top Dollar When You Sell Your Brooklyn Home

January 30th, 2022
Get top dollar when you sell your Brooklyn home

When you are ready to sell your Brooklyn home, I am sure you want to get top dollar for it. Your home may be your most significant investment, so it is an understandable goal. I can provide many tips to homeowners considering selling their homes. I have included three essential tips to help you. 

The winter doldrums have us looking towards spring. Many homeowners decide to sell their homes in the spring. The competition is always high at that time of year. Even in a hot real estate market, it is important to do some preliminary planning before the first buyer walks through your home.

Three main factors determine if a home will sell; condition, price, and location. Although you may not be able to change the location of your home, you can definitely address the condition and price to make it appealing to buyers.

To get top dollar, I recommend:

Deep Clean

Whether your home has some dated features or is updated throughout, one of the most important things you can do is deep cleaning. A neat and tidy home presents well to potential buyers. 

It is easiest to go room by room. Begin by decluttering excess items. It is essential to make each room look as spacious as possible. Don’t forget to declutter your closets also. When a buyer opens an overfilled closet with no room for extra hangers, they believe if there is no room for your clothes, there won’t be room for theirs either. Washing or painting the walls can make a big difference. Finally, take a look at the flooring. Do you need to shampoo carpets and deep clean hard surface floors to make them more appealing?

You will find some great articles on deep cleaning the inside of your home in this Better Homes and Gardens article.

Not only should you concentrate on the interior, but also the exterior. Power washing the siding and decks, cleaning windows, and attention to landscaping go far in creating the curb appeal that buyers are looking to find.  This article addresses the areas to focus on when cleaning the exterior of your home.

Sometimes we don’t see what needs to be done in our own homes because we have become used to living with it. Therefore, it may be helpful to have someone you trust to give you an honest opinion of what they think you need to address as well. 

It may take some effort and expense to prepare to sell your Brooklyn home. However, any money you spend on preparing your home outweighs the payoff you will receive from a quicker sale. 

Price Correctly

Pricing your home correctly starts with thorough research. Your real estate agent will become a valued source in helping you determine the best price to sell your Brooklyn home.

Several factors go into pricing your home. The first is the location of your home. The phrase “location, location, location” comes up in real estate regularly for a reason. The location of your home is one of the most critical factors. As I said, you can not change the location of your home. The contributors to a good or bad location include your lot location, neighborhood, schools, local amenities, and crime statistics, to mention a few. 

Your real estate agent will research comparable homes in your neighborhood. The sales price of homes similar to yours within a certain radius of your home is the first thing to evaluate. These homes should be similar in square footage, age, and lot size. Appraisers try to stay within a half-mile radius of the subject home to determine market value. 

Next, your real estate agent will look at pending homes. These are homes that have sold but have not yet closed. Based on the asking price, the information will indicate whether prices remain the same, increasing or decreasing. It also shows the types of homes buyers were interested in purchasing. You will not know the final sales price until it finally closes, but it does give some clues to the current pricing trends.

An agent will also look at homes currently for sale. These homes will be your competition. Comparing these homes will help price appropriately because buyers will also be looking at these homes in addition to yours. 

It is important to reiterate that the homes you are comparing to yours are of similar size, age, and lot size. Therefore, you need to be comparing apples to apples to determine the correct price for your home.

Overpricing a home can be detrimental to you. Unfortunately, many home sellers mistakenly feel they can negotiate a lower price. However, the truth is, you will lose the right buyers because they are not likely to look outside their price range.

Pricing a home correctly can be a difficult task. In this previous blog post, you can find more information about the importance of pricing your home correctly. With the proper guidance, you will discover the right price for your home to reflect the current pricing trends.

Hire a Real Estate Professional

Selling a home can be stressful. Hiring an agent to guide you through the process can alleviate some of that stress. There is a lot to know about the real estate process to attain a smooth transaction when you are ready to sell your Brooklyn home. 

A real estate professional can do the research and recommend a fair asking price. They know the process and have the negotiating skills to help you obtain the best results. 

They study the market and understand the current trends in the local area that may affect you as a home seller. Then, a real estate agent will guide you in presenting your home in the best possible light based on what the current buyers in your market want.

Your real estate agent will professionally market your home to obtain the proper exposure to the available buyers. Help with staging, professional photography, and internet exposure of the house are all part of a real estate marketing plan they will provide.

Statistically, homeowners who choose to sell their home for sale by owner end up selling their home 10 – 30% less than when using a real estate professional. Many homeowners believe that saving money on the commission will put more money in their pocket. But, if you are selling 10 – 30% more with the help of a real estate agent, you are ahead of the game paying the commission. In addition, you are not responsible for the tasks needed to get a home sold, like marketing, showing the house, writing contracts, negotiating sales price, negotiating inspections, and following the transaction through to closing.

Hiring the right real estate agent can be a process. First, interview several agents before deciding which one is right for you. Unfortunately, there are many misconceptions about real estate agents. I debunk some of those misunderstandings in this blog post.

When you sell your Brooklyn home you need to understand the process. These three tips can help the right buyer find your home.

Contact me, Charles D’Alessandro, your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with Fillmore Real Estate. As a Brooklyn real estate agent with over 30 years of experience, I have helped many homeowners sell their homes quickly and profitably. I can be reached by phone at (718) 253-9500 ext. 1901 or by email at [email protected]

Charles D'Allesandro