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

September 30th, 2018
Prepare for retirement

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And they’re only talking about home debt.

Prepare for Retirement

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prepare for Loss of Independence

Prepare for retirement

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

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

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

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

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

Prepare for Death

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

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

Prepare for Retirement

Help is Available

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

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

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

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

Don’t Delay

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

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

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

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

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

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



Brooklyn Real Estate Agent

 Charles D’Alessandro

Your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent

718-253-9600 ext. 206

[email protected]


Are Reverse Mortgages Really All They’re Cracked Up to Be?

September 15th, 2018
Reverse mortgages

There are two sides to reverse mortgages. Educate yourself well on both sides before choosing to take out a reverse mortgage when you retire.

Like every story, reverse mortgages have two sides, good and bad, pros and cons, benefits and disadvantages.

What are Reverse Mortgages?

You’ve probably heard of reverse mortgages, but do you really know what it is?

According to reversemortgage.org, “A reverse mortgage is a loan available to homeowners, 62 years or older, that allows them to convert part of the equity in their homes into cash.

The product was conceived as a means to help retirees with limited income use the accumulated wealth in their homes to cover basic monthly living expenses and pay for health care. However, there is no restriction on how reverse mortgage proceeds can be used.

The loan is called a reverse mortgage because instead of making monthly payments to a lender, as with a traditional mortgage, the lender makes payments to the borrower.

The borrower is not required to pay back the loan until the home is sold or otherwise vacated.  As long as the borrower lives in the home, they aren’t required to make any monthly payments towards the loan balance. The borrower must remain current on property taxes, homeowners insurance, and homeowners association dues (if applicable).”

Why are Reverse Mortgages a Bad Idea?

Let’s address why reverse mortgages are a bad idea, or what about reverse mortgages some say is a bad idea. Here’s what contributor Marc Lichtenfeld had to say about reverse mortgages for  businessinsider.com in April 2018.

“Taking out a reverse mortgage is almost never a good idea — here’s why, basically:

  • Reverse mortgages are loans available to people over 62 who would like to borrow against the value of their homes.
  • They are often exorbitantly expensive — requiring additional premiums and fees.
  • Instead of interest compounding on a lower number every month, like a regular mortgage, reverse mortgages compound on a higher number because of the additional premiums.
  • In the case of death, your estate will have to pay off the remaining balance — and if you move out of the house, you have a year to close the loan.

In-Depth Reasons Why Reverse Mortgages are a Bad Idea

If a financial product needs a celebrity to convince you it’s a good idea, that’s a pretty good indication that it’s not.

Exorbitant Fees, Costs, and Mortgage Insurance Premiums

Reverse mortgages are exorbitantly expensive loans. Like a regular mortgage, you pay various fees and closing costs that total thousands of dollars. But unlike a regular mortgage, you pay a mortgage insurance premium.

You can avoid paying for mortgage insurance with a regular loan, provided your down payment is 20 percent or more of the purchase price. But since you don’t make a down payment on a reverse mortgage, you pay the premium on mortgage insurance.

The premium equals 0.5 percent if you take out a loan equal to 60 percent or less of the appraised value of the home. The premium jumps all the way up to an exorbitant 2.5 percent if the loan totals more than 60 percent of the home’s value.

For example, if your home appraises for $450,000 and you take out a $300,000 reverse mortgage, it will cost you an additional $7,500 on top of all of the other closing costs.

You’ll also get charged around $30 to $35 per month as a service fee. The total is charged based on your life expectancy. If you are expected to live another 10 years (120 months), you’ll be charged another $3,600 to $4,200. That figure is deducted from the amount you receive.

Most of the fees and expenses can be rolled into the loan, which means they compound over time.

The following distinction between a regular mortgage and reverse mortgage is important to note. When you make payments on a regular mortgage each month, you’re paying down interest and principal, reducing the amount you owe. Because you never pay down your reverse mortgage, the figure compounds month after month.

A regular mortgage compounds on a lower figure each month. A reverse mortgage compounds on a higher number.

When You Pass Away, Your Estate Gets Stuck

If you pass away, your estate pays back the loan with the proceeds from the sale of your house. If an heir is living or wants to live in the house, they’ll have to pay back the reverse mortgage or sell the home.

When You Choose to Move Out of Your Home

If you decide to move out of the home, you have a year to close the loan.

And what if you move into a nursing home? You’ll probably need the equity in your home to pay for the cost of living there. In 2016, the average cost of a nursing home was $81,128 per year for a semi-private room. If you owe a lender a substantial piece of the equity in your home, there won’t be much left to pay for living in a nursing home. Unless your kids step up to pay for it since you can’t, you’re going to a Medicaid facility. And having to live in a Medicaid facility isn’t the least bit ideal.

After All That …

Because of the high costs of reverse mortgages, it’s safe to say they aren’t worth it for most people. You’re better off selling your home and moving into a cheaper place. Keep whatever equity you get from your home and pocket it. This is far better than owing it to a reverse mortgage lender.”

Do you have questions about reverse mortgages? Contact Charles D’Alessandro, your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with Fillmore Real Estate. Call (718) 253-9600 ext.206 or email [email protected] with your questions today.


Brooklyn Real Estate Agent

 Charles D’Alessandro

Your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent

718-253-9600 ext. 206

[email protected]


Now is the Perfect Time to Winterize Your Home

August 30th, 2018

The dog days of summer are definitely upon us. Is anyone thinking frigid, frost, snow, or winter? Probably not. But as we move into fall with its mesmerizing colors, cooler temperatures, and seasonal treats, we should be mindful that Winter. Is. Coming. And now is the perfect time to winterize your home.

How and Why You Should Winterize Your Home Now

If preparing for winter were as easy as pulling your cozy sweaters and fall decorations out of storage, this blog post would be unnecessary. But it takes planning. And planning takes time. And then it’ll be too cold to do what should have been started back in September. You know. Like hanging Christmas lights outside while it’s warm enough to do so. So, as the orange, 5-gallon Home Depot bucket says, “Let’s Do This.” There’s no time like the present.

 

Winterize Your Home Inside

Schedule Maintenance of Your HVAC System

The end of October is the ideal time to schedule maintenance for your home’s cooling and heating system. So stop what you’re doing right now and pick up the phone. Yes, stop reading and call your HVAC company. Schedule an HVAC appointment with them now so that they can prepare your system for efficiency and warmth when you need it later. And hey! They’re busy people, too. If you drag your feet on this one, folks, you may not see them before the end of October like you need to.

But if you use a window unit, remove it from the window and put it in storage for the winter. If it isn’t removable, then cover it with a breathable, waterproof cover.

Winterize your home

Change Your Filters

Replacing your air filters is easy to do. If your air

filters are dirty and clogged, your house might be costing you more money than it should be. Your HVAC system has a much harder time keeping your home at a comfortable temperature with a dirty air filter. And this will increase your heating bills and shorten the life of your system. How often you should change your filters varies depending on who you ask. But why not change your air filters monthly? Be good to your hard-working HVAC investment.

Fill Your Fuel Tank

If you happen to heat your home with propane or you use an oil furnace, make sure your propane tank or oil furnace is full of fuel. You won’t want to be without heat when it’s dangerously cold outside.

Clean the Ductwork

Your ductwork can be full of debris like dust, bugs, home construction leftovers, mold, toys, food, etc. You’d be amazed. Why not get all that stuff cleaned out before the furnace kicks on and blows even a little of that nastiness into your home?

Check for Drafts

The U.S. Department of Energy says windows are responsible for the loss of 25 to 30 percent of the energy we pay for to heat our homes. That’s a lot of money out the window! But weatherstripping is a simple and cost-effective way to keep your heating costs down and money in your pocket.

Tip:  When you have a draft issue, you need to find where it’s coming from. Close a door or window on a strip of paper. If the paper slides out easily, ta-da! You found it! Make a trip to your nearest home store and purchase weatherstripping.

Apply Insulation Where Needed

This goes for both the inside and outside of your home.

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

Buy an insulating blanket at the hardware store to insulate your hot water tank.

Outlets and switch plates on the outside of your home can be insulated with an inexpensive foam sealing gasket.

Stuffing a piece of fiberglass insulation into the fireplace behind the glass doors will block cold air that comes down the chimney and into your room. Just be sure to remove the insulation when you use the fireplace.

Change Your Batteries

Whenever you choose to change your batteries, you should do it once a year. You can choose to change the batteries in your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide devices every fall, or New Year’s Day, or in the spring when you spring forward for the time change. The key here is to check them consistently once a year every year to make sure your devices are working just in case you need them.

Check Your Chimney, Fireplace, or Wood Burning Stove

Winterize your home

If your chimney hasn’t been cleaned in a very long time or perhaps never, call a professional chimney sweep. But here’s what you can do to winterize your home inside and out in regards to your fireplace or wood burning stove:

  • Clear the chimney of nests.
  • Look for leaks in the flashing around your chimney. Check for possible leaks around all the projections on your roof. If anything looks sketchy, hire someone to make repairs as soon as possible.
  • Check the flue to make sure it opens and closes completely. Can you lock it in either position?
  • Make sure the chimney draws up fire and smoke properly. Roll up several sheets of newspaper. With the fireplace damper in the open position, light the newspaper in the fireplace. Does the smoke rise up the chimney? If it doesn’t, call in a professional to clean the chimney. Something such as creosote, ash, or a nest is obstructing it. And that is not a good thing!
  • Inspect the firebrick in the fireplace for open mortar joints. If you find open mortar joints, have them repaired immediately! Open mortar joints can allow a fire to spread into the stud wall behind the firebrick.

Winterize Your Home Outside

Check Your Roof

Check for missing or damaged shingles. If you find any, hire someone to replace them for you.

Clean or Replace Your Gutters

And while you’re up there on the roof, check your gutters. They drain thousands of gallons of water from your roof every year, and you never give them a thought. Until they’re clogged. And a clogged drain can cost you. Wet leaves left in the gutters over the winter add a hefty amount of weight and volume when they get wet and freeze. This increases the risk of damage to gutters and downspouts significantly. So give your gutters a little TLC before you’re ankle deep in water inside your home. Clean them and check them every year. And if necessary, replace them before the first winter freeze arrives in November.

Drain Your Outdoor Faucets

This is extremely important to do before the first freeze. Open up the outside faucets and drain the water. And turn off the water supply to exterior faucets inside your home. Then disconnect all garden hoses from outside faucets, also known as hose bibbs or sill-cocks. Consider covering hose bibbs with an insulated cover.

Freezing temperatures outside freeze water and burst pipes inside. This spells damage and costly repairs.

If you store your garden hoses outside, drain them, too.

Prepare Your Fountain for Winter

Do you have a fountain in your yard? Drain it and unplug the pump for it.

Winterize your home

Purge Your Sprinkler System

Freezing temps are in your forecast, so hire someone to drain and blow out your sprinkler system. Getting this done by the end of October is ideal.

Protect Your Condensing Unit

Wet leaves and debris can rust and freeze your unit’s internal components. If you’ll cover it with a breathable, waterproof cover through the winter, you’ll protect it and extend its life and efficiency.

Bring Your Outdoor Furniture Inside

Yes, outdoor furniture is meant to be used outside. But if you want it to last longer than one or two summers, don’t put it through snowstorms. Take care of your investment. If you have the room, bring it inside. Or leave it outside with waterproof covers thrown over each piece.

Seal the Deck

Seal the deck with a fresh coat of sealer before winter.

Prepare Your Landscape

You may not have much of a lawn, but since you want to keep it looking great in the spring and summer, you need to fertilize it in the fall before winter. Grassroots are active even when it isn’t growing and needing to be mowed. Fertilizer prevents winter damage. So take care of your lawn now for a greener lawn tomorrow.

Drain the Gas from Your Lawn Mower

If you wait to “rake” leaves with your lawn mower after your deciduous trees lose their leaves, you’ll knock out two to-dos at the same time. “Rake” those leaves until your lawnmower runs out of gas completely. See?

Fix All the Cracks in Your Driveway

If you happen to have a driveway, take the time to fix any cracks that may be developing. Because if water gets into the cracks in your driveway and then freezes, it will expand making the tiny cracks even bigger. Neglect this step and many little cracks will eventually get bigger. And bigger cracks will make your concrete crumble. Again, visit your local home store and purchase some concrete crack sealer (while you’re there getting weatherstripping). Fill up every crack before the weather turns cold and rest easy.

Test Your Winter Equipment

Yes, test your snow thrower now. Fill it with gas and pull that starter cord. What good does a snow thrower do you when it won’t start to throw snow when you need it to? Been there. Done that. But if you don’t have a snow thrower, make sure you know where your snow shovel is and that it doesn’t need to be replaced. And while you’re at it, purchase an ice scraper and snow brush for each vehicle.

So, if you haven’t already started to winterize your home, inside and out, put down that pumpkin spice latte and get busy. Divide this list of to-dos by eight weeks. Then move through this checklist to winterize your home completely by the end of October before the cold winter months arrive.

Are you ready to move? Contact Charles D’Alessandro, your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with Fillmore Real Estate. Call (718) 253-9600 ext.206 or email [email protected] today.


Brooklyn Real Estate Agent

 Charles D’Alessandro

Your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent

718-253-9600 ext. 206

[email protected]


How to Take Care of Our Seniors All Year Long

August 15th, 2018
Take care of our seniors

What do we need to do today to take care of our seniors tomorrow?

Baby Boomers, those who were born from 1946 to 1964, are the largest generation in U.S. history. And they are now surging into what we call their golden years. According to Census.gov, projections of the senior population says that Seniors in the United States surpassed 50 million in November 2016. And this surge in the aging Baby Boomer population presents many challenges for us as a country. Why? Because there will be “more Medicare beneficiaries and higher Medicare spending with fewer citizens paying into the system.” So how will we take care of our seniors?

Plan Now to Take Care of Our Seniors Later

Aging happens. Since aging is inevitable, shouldn’t we take steps to take care of our seniors financially and medically? Shouldn’t we make sure their living needs will be met when it does happen? It’s kind of like Christmas, it comes every year, inevitably, so make a plan in January and start saving to make sure your gift-giving and festivities are not a financial burden.

What about your aging parents? Did they make sure they would be taken care of financially and medically as seniors? Did they make sure their living needs would be met in their golden years? If they didn’t, you need to start planning for their future now.

Start Here

No matter where your parents are in their golden years, plan now to take care of their financial, medical, and housing needs. I recommend you seek the assistance of an elder care attorney. They advise on legal issues and financial arrangements and draw up legal documents for you as well.

Get your parents in to see their doctor for a geriatric medical assessment. This will determine their overall health and whether or not there are any health problems that need to be addressed. Knowing about current health issues or the possibility of those that may occur in the future will help you plan ahead for their care. Your parents’ healthcare team can help you make sure their living arrangements are safe and that they will serve their needs in the years ahead.

Implement 5-Point Personal Security Plan

Seniors face many decisions later on in life. And although it isn’t particularly enjoyable to do, make time to talk about your parents’ money, healthcare, life and death, independence, and their home. Planning ahead makes the future easier for them and you if and when the time comes to deal with the following five issues:

  • Money – Saving for retirement is important. Make sure there is enough money for your parents to live on and enjoy life in their old age. You also want to make sure that their money is protected, that they can get to it if they need it and that they have enough to take care of themselves. Prepare a will or trust document and decide what should happen to their money if they were to die.
  • Healthcare – More healthcare may be needed in their old age than when your parents were younger. Health insurance coverage is important to have. Consider even a second plan to cover costs not covered by Medicare. Make sure you understand the coverage and that there is enough money on hand to cover whatever the plan doesn’t. Store their health and life insurance policy information in a safe place that you can access if necessary.
  • Life and Death – A debilitating illness such as Alzheimer’s disease, heart attack, terminal illness, or a serious stroke can quickly deplete your financial resources. And when they happen is not the best time to make important decisions. Prepare for such health crises in advance. Advance directives and other important documents should be in order before a health crisis hits. Determine your parents’ end-of-life wishes and get them documented legally.
  • Assisted care – One’s independence is priceless and tough to give up, no matter how old you are. It’s hard not to be able to take care of yourself, but that point may come to your parents. While your parents are healthy and able-bodied, encourage them to make decisions about potential living arrangements. Depending on their condition, would they prefer a nursing home or assisted living facility, hospice care, home health care, and some other available care option? They should choose which option they would prefer according to different situations. Then, talk about how each option will be paid for.
  • Their home – Their home may be comfortable and easy to navigate right now, but what if a wheelchair or walker becomes necessary? Are there stairs to the bedroom or laundry room? A house with stairs could become a big problem if your parents were to develop health or physical challenges. Assess their home’s layout. Consider selling their home and buying a ranch-style home with access to everything on one floor. Remodeling or safety modifications may be a possibility. But now is the time to purchase a home with a ranch floor plan or remodel.

Final Thoughts

Your parents might not be physically able to participate in many social events, but always ask,
invite, and keep them in various circles of social life. Depression is easy for seniors to develop if they feel alone and no longer productive. Let’s take care of our seniors today and all year long:

  • Check on them regularly
  • Encourage their independence as long as possible
  • Include seniors in your everyday social activities
  • Encourage them to volunteer and be active in the community
  • Be vigilant! Check for signs of elder abuse

Start planning and taking action today for their best tomorrow.

No one really likes to think about growing old or planning for the life you want to live in those golden years. But putting a plan in place now will give your parents and you great peace of mind later. Do you see how important it is to take care of our seniors today as well as all year long?

Charles D’Alessandro cares about our seniors who live in Brooklyn. Let’s take care of our seniors in Brooklyn now for their best life later. Contact Charles D’Alessandro, your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with Fillmore Real Estate. Call (718) 253-9600 ext.206 or email [email protected] today.


Brooklyn Real Estate Agent

 Charles D’Alessandro

Your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent

718-253-9600 ext. 206

[email protected]


Why It’s Important to Talk About Money Matters Now

July 31st, 2018
Money matters

Money matters matter, a lot. Talk about them with your kids now and prevent the sadness of family discord after you’re gone.

You’re dead and buried. Your adult children are gathered around a table in your lawyer’s office. Fights among your children ensue … Your heart breaks thinking about the possibility of your family being torn apart. And there’s nothing you can do about it. Or is there? What can you do now to prevent bitter arguments over who gets what when “that” time comes? There is something you can do about it, and the solution is simple. Talk about money matters now.

When It’s Most Necessary to Talk about Money Matters

Do you struggle with talking about money matters with your children? Most parents and even grandparents do. But if you want to keep your children from making a scene at your estate attorney’s office, you really must overcome your feelings of discomfort now, while you are “of sound mind and body.” Here are three occasions when it’s important to start the money matters conversations:

  1. At retirement
  2. During health care planning
  3. And during estate planning

How to Prevent Family Feuds Over Money Matters

Michigan estate attorney P. Mark Accettura and Lori Sackler, a senior vice president at Morgan Stanley Wealth Management in New Jersey offer this advice:

  • Draw up an estate plan, and tell your children the basics.

Call a family meeting to discuss any plans that might impact adult children, such as money allotted for grandchildren’s education. It’s time to set children straight. “Sometimes they have a grandiose vision of an inheritance,” Sackler says. But there’s no need to go into detail. “Estate planning is not a democratic process. You don’t need children buying into it, and you don’t want to open a can of worms while you’re alive,” Accettura says.

  • Divide the estate equally.

Resist the temptation to give more to the neediest among your children; it often leaves the more successful kids feeling penalized and causes resentment among siblings, Sackler says. “The will that provides equal distribution is the will that probably provides the least conflict,” she adds. Accettura also is adamant that an estate should be divided equally. “Even getting a dollar less than another sibling can be a psychological blow,” he says.

  • Name an executor.

Try to have some reason for choosing one child over another. Perhaps it’s the oldest child (unless he or she lives too far away) or another child with specific legal or financial skills. Also, think about including a fee for the executor. “Handling an estate can be a lot of work, and if the executor is going to charge a fee, he probably deserves it,” Sackler says. Accettura suggests that parents include everyone in some capacity in the will. “Get people’s names on the pages either as executor or helping in another way.”

  • Specify gifts and loans.

If parents have given adult children money, they should make it clear in the will whether it’s a gift or a loan. If a loan, is it to be forgiven or repaid to the estate? When parents aren’t clear, it can cause conflict, Sackler says.

  • Make a plan for family jewels.

Even if it’s not expensive, Grandma’s engagement ring can cause fights because of the sentimental value attached. “Have a family conversation, and come up with a plan for people choosing and getting on board with the selection process,” Sackler says.

Mark Accettura wrote a book, Blood & Money on how to avoid family feuds. Lori Sackler is the author of The M Word. It is a guide to family financial matters that helps families overcome the difficulty felt when discussing money matters.

Take Care of Your Family Before You Die

Protect your family relationships after you’re gone. Get prepared now. You can prevent feuds over your inheritance by talking through your wishes with your children before you die. But getting prepared now goes beyond overcoming the difficulty of talking to your children and making sure your wishes are known to them. It also means taking care of them after you’re gone by getting your legal documents in order now.

Secure and protect your family assets and your family’s relationships long after you’re gone. Put the uncomfortable feelings you have in regards to talking about money matters with your children and get your legal documents in order today. Doing so will go a long way in keeping the peace tomorrow.

Charles D’Alessandro cares about all of us who live in the Brooklyn area. Do you have questions about getting your affairs in order or how to address money matters with your family before you die? Contact Charles D’Alessandro, your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with Fillmore Real Estate. Call (718) 253-9600 ext.206 or email [email protected] today.


Brooklyn Real Estate Agent

 Charles D’Alessandro

Your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent

718-253-9600 ext. 206

[email protected]


Do You Think Being Organized is a Challenge?

July 15th, 2018
Organized bathroom shelf

Finish this 30-day challenge to get organized and bask in the warmth of a great accomplishment.

In the previous blog post, I challenged you to organize your space in the next 30 days. I also introduced the possibility of being completely organized in one month. How? By spending less than 60 minutes a day organizing your stuff for 30 days. Did you take on the challenge? How organized are you after the first 14 days? Do tell (in the comments below). Organizing your space yields great personal satisfaction. So keep going. Work through the next 16 days listed below to reach that personally satisfying state of accomplishment called “organized.” It will be worth it!

Organized in Less Than an Hour a Day: the Last 16 Days

Take the time to put your plan to get organized into action every day for another 16 days, and you’ll be organized by month’s end. Here are the next 16 steps, one step per day, for less than an hour a day, to reach a personally-satisfying goal.

Organized in the Living Room

Day 15. Gift or Donate Stuff on Your Shelves

Knickknacks, books, and stuff you’ve compiled over the years are probably taking up valuable space on shelves in your home. Donate those books you’ll never read to the library. Get rid of what doesn’t absolutely delight you. Now arrange the few items that do bring joy in ways you’ll love to look at every day.

Day 16. Control Your Cables

Tame the maze of cables behind your entertainment center. It’s easy to do. First, create ID tags made from bread wrapper tags or cable ties for each plug. Then, bundle the mayhem with Velcro strips or run them inside a heavy-duty paper roll center from newspaper end rolls. You could even paint it black to match the cables. Corrugated wire looms are a great idea, too.

Day 17. Switch Your Hangers

Slim hangers that grab your clothes well use less space and keep your clothes on the hangers. It’s worth switching all those bulky hangers to skinnier ones. And while you’re at it, go ahead and pitch or donate the clothes you haven’t worn in a year.

Organize your space where accessories are stored

Day 18. Give Your Accessories a Place

Belts, scarves, purses, and hats organize well in bins or clear, stackable boxes with lids. If your belts and scarves have a home in a drawer, you can roll them up and organize them in a drawer lined with dividers. A simple series of hooks will work well, too.

Day 19. Claim the Space Under Your Bed

Storing out-of-season clothing under your bed is ideal. But when you’re not wearing those clothes when they are in season, it’s time to donate them. How much storage space can you claim by booting those old clothes out from under the bed?

Organized in Your Office

Day 20. Declutter Your Workspace

When my workspace has too many things in addition to my to-do list, my thinking gets cluttered. A workspace with minimal items on it helps me gain clarity and allows me to focus on the task at hand.

Day 21. Feed the Shredder

Make sure you’re not wasting space with years of old paperwork. Shred all that is over seven years old. Consider digitizing paperwork to create more space. And don’t just throw your old paperwork in the trash. Shred them to ward off would-be identity thieves.

Organize your space in the office

Day 22. Organize Your Files

Once you’ve shredded all your old paperwork, tidy up your files. It’s the perfect time to do so. Organize and label them clearly. Use colorful folders to help you organize them by theme.

Day 23. Free Up the Drawer Full of Electronic Stuff

Do you own a drawer full of black cords you have no idea what they are for? Does it contain chargers and oddball electronic things, too? Take the mystery out of it and pair the items with what they work with IF you still have what they work with. Otherwise, throw them away. Why let dead and useless stuff take up valuable space?

Organized in Your Bathroom

Day 24. Throw Out Expired Personal Care Stuff

Check for expiration dates on cosmetics, skin care products, medicines, and even hair care products. If they’ve expired, throw them out.

Day 25. Claim Space Under the Sink

Because most of the items that end up under the sink are out of sight, they go out of mind. Pull out everything. Discover cleaners, tools, and gadgets that are still useful and use them. If they’re not useful or you can’t figure out why they were saved, discard them. And when you put what is still useful back under the sink, put it all into bins. It will be easier to take out and put away your under-the-sink stuff.

Day 26. Hang a Shelf

Mom always told me, “Get it off the counter and onto the wall.” There is lots of storage space on a wall that is often overlooked. If there is space for a shelf, and a shelf would solve a storage problem, by all means, hang a shelf there. I like the idea of hanging a ladder with wire baskets hooked on the rungs over the toilet for storing toilet paper, guest items, towels, washrags, and such.

Day 27. Reduce the Number of Towels and Linens

There are the towels you use every day and the towels you use for soaking up spills and cleaning the car. But how many of those old towels and rags do you really need? Donate most, if not all, to a local animal shelter and throw the really bad ones away. Same goes for pillowcases, napkins, dishtowels, pot holders, and such.

Organized in a Closet

Day 28. Install a Shoe Organizer

Hanging shoe organizers solve more than just shoe storage problems in a closet. Scarves, mittens, cleaning supplies, craft supplies are just a few of the things a shoe organizer can be good for. You can even cut them to custom-fit inside a cabinet door.

Organized in Your Garage (if you have one)

Organize your space in the garage

Day 29. Organize Your Tools

Finding the right tool for the right job should be a “piece of cake.” Wasting time looking for a hammer or the right screwdriver is frustrating. Arrange your tools on a pegboard and always put them back in their original spot.

Day 30. Enjoy Your Organized Space!

Now, sit down with your favorite beverage and ponder on what you have accomplished to get and be organized! As you put everything you use back in their places after each use, you’ll find that cleaning is actually easier to do. You’ll also find more time to plan and paint your bedroom or sew curtains for the kitchen window and door or do a bit of landscaping or ….

Space in your brownstone or studio apartment is a precious commodity. Make the most of it. Purge, sort, organize your space and keep it that way.

Organized space helps potential buyers fall in love with your place when selling. If you’re ready to enter the real estate market and list your home, contact Charles D’Alessandroyour Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with Fillmore Real Estate. Call (718) 253-9600 ext.206 or email [email protected] today.


Brooklyn Real Estate Agent

 Charles D’Alessandro

Your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent

718-253-9600 ext. 206

[email protected]


How to Take Action and Organize Your Space in No Time at All

July 15th, 2018
Organize your space

Organizing the place you call home is an action-packed self-improvement project that yields great personal satisfaction.

I challenge you to organize your space in the next 30 days! Organizing the place you call home is an action-packed self-improvement project that yields great personal satisfaction. But how do you move past the feeling of overwhelm and what feels like an insurmountable undertaking? In order to organize your space, you actually need to first organize a plan. For without a plan, you won’t reach that personally satisfying state of accomplishment called “organized.”

Organize Your Space in Less Than an Hour a Day

Say what? Organize your space in less than 60 minutes a day? Uh huh. And when you take the time to put your plan into action every day for less than 60 minutes every day, you’ll be organized in less than a month, too. “How,” you ask? With this 30-day or 30-step plan.

Organize Your Space in 30 Days: the First 14 Days

Day 1. Just Begin

Eat the frog first. Start with whatever it is that annoys or stresses you most. Tackle that paper pile in your office, no matter where it landed. Get rid of or put away the pile of clothes on your bedroom floor. And all that “stuff” on your counter in the kitchen? Pick up just one item, and put it in its place. Then, move to the next item. It’s amazing how simply starting on what feels so overwhelming will set you in motion on a path to completion.

Day 2. Create a Give Away Box

Put everything you want to move out of the house in a “give away” box. And set it by the door. As you come across items you wouldn’t miss “if you lost it in a fire,” put them in that box. Once it’s full, donate everything in that box to a friend or places like Goodwill and Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Center here in Brooklyn.

Day 3. Make Holidays Happy

You might have decorations for every holiday. After you decorate for the next holiday, donate anything you didn’t decorate with, and separate the rest of your decorations by holiday. Then, sort the decorations for each holiday in their own clear, stackable box. When it’s time to decorate for the next holiday, you won’t waste time or energy digging through your 4th of July decorations to find your Halloween decorations. Plus, your decorations won’t get tattered, dinked, crumpled, or worn as quickly either.

Day 4. Take Command of Your Entryway

Set up a “command center” at the door your family uses to come and go. Add hooks for coats, bins for shoes, and a mail sorter. Without hooks, bins, or a place to sort everyone’s mail, everything will “land” on the nearest flat spot available. Oh, and don’t forget to save a spot for your give away box.

Day 5. Put Your Pet’s Things in Convenient Places

It makes sense to put leashes, sweaters, water bottle/bowl, doggie waste bags, and other outside activity items in a bin conveniently near the front door. It also makes sense to put your pet’s dishes, treats, and food in their own convenient spot in the room where you feed them.

Organize Your Space in the Kitchen

Organize your space in the kitchen

Day 6. Organize the Spice Rack

Choose to arrange your herbs and spices in one of three ways: alphabetically, by cuisine, or by brand. Whatever works best for you or makes the best sense to you while you’re baking or cooking determines the arranging.

Day 7. Eliminate Unused or Unnecessary Utensils

The longer you’re married or on your own, the more utensils a body seems to acquire. Some are god-sends, and you use them all a lot But do you really need to create space for four of them?! I can’t imagine using fewer than two spatulas or sets of measuring spoons, but four can openers? If you can pare down your kitchen utensils to one or two of each, do. Then organize what’s left with drawer dividers.

Day 8. Organize Your Pots, Pans, and Lids

I speak from experience on this one. Digging around in a pile for the right lid is annoying, inefficient, and very noisy, especially when they fall. If you have pots or pans that you hardly ever or almost never use, donate them. Purchase and install cupboard organizers, like these for lids, to manage the rest.

Day 9. Check Expiration Dates

How often do you use figs or dates? Once a year? What about anchovy paste? Check the expiration dates on whatever is sitting in your refrigerator, freezer, or in your pantry. If it’s expired, pitch it. And when you need it for that annual dish you prepare, buy just enough to use for the recipe and throw the rest away.

Day 10. Sort and Stack Your Staples

Your pantry would be put to better use with airtight, stackable containers. Sort your flour, sugar, pasta, oatmeal, dry beans, rice, noodles, and other staple dry goods. Then put them in containers that are stackable. They’ll be much easier to retrieve when needed, and you’ll be pleased with the added space you now have.

Day 11. Get Rid of Unnecessary Kitchen Gadgets

Yes, that spiralizer. I have one, and I never use it. Maybe if I enjoyed eating zucchini noodles … I’m going to give mine to someone else who needs to discover why they don’t need one either.

Organize your space in the coffee mug cupboardDay 12. Just Say No to Another Coffee Mug

I have a coffee mug fetish. I collect them, on purpose. You can only use so many mugs at a time, right? Like how many times do you entertain coffee or tea drinkers 30 at a time? Keep one or two mugs per coffee or tea drinker in your family, and either donate or pack the rest. I like to change them out once a year.

Day 13. Pair Food Storage Containers with Lids

If you’ve got a container that has no lid, toss it. And if you have any lids that have no container to use with them, toss them, too.

Day 14. Organize Your Junk Drawer

Junk drawers are a necessary evil, and they exist in more than the kitchen. But wherever it is, why not organize it? How? Dump all of its contents onto a sheet in the floor. Then sort everything into piles. Add some drawer dividers to the drawer and place each pile in its own spot in the drawer.

Now that you’ve reached day 14, take time to think on what you accomplished. Wow! And there are only 16 days left to completely organize your space! Don’t let what you’ve done “go to pot,” as some say. If you use it, put it away. You are creating a place for everything, so put whatever you use back in its place. Space in your brownstone or studio apartment is a precious commodity. Make the most of it. Purge, sort, organize your space and keep it that way.

Organize your space and help potential buyers fall in love with your place. If you’re ready to enter the real estate market and list your home, contact Charles D’Alessandroyour Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with Fillmore Real Estate. Call (718) 253-9600 ext.206 or email [email protected] today.


Brooklyn Real Estate Agent

 Charles D’Alessandro

Your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent

718-253-9600 ext. 206

[email protected]


Epic Fireworks to be Seen in Brooklyn, New York

June 27th, 2018
Epic fireworks

Macy’s epic fireworks display on the East River July 4, 2018. It doesn’t get any better than this anywhere else in the USA!

More than 200 years ago, the very first 4th of July fireworks lit up the Philadelphia night sky. Our nation celebrated its first year of independence from England on July 4, 1777. Year after year, communities all over the United States continue this celebration of independence with epic fireworks shows. And it never grows old.

Macy’s fireworks show is an extraordinary American tradition that has wowed 3,000,000 people each year for the past 40 years. It’s the nation’s largest fireworks display and packed with star performances! There are no fireworks shows that surpass it! It’s massive, in a class all its own!

This year’s 25-minute-extravaganza will shoot 3,000 shells and effects per minute in 25 different hues. And Macy’s has added 20 new shells and effects this year!

Not a native New Yorker? We invite you to come to watch the 40th Annual Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks live. Come and celebrate Independence Day in New York fashion. If you’re not able to celebrate the 4th of July in person, tune into NBC’s 2-hour national broadcast at 8pm.

Past fireworks shows have included performances by popular artists such as Kelly Clarkson, Flo Rida, Meghan Trainor, Dierks Bentley and Brad Paisley. This year Kelly Clarkson returns to sing a soulful tribute to the Irving Berlin classic, “God Bless America.” And she’ll be backed by the West Point Band and Glee Club. Other performers hitting the stage include Ricky Martin and Blake Shelton.

The Best Places to View Macy’s Epic Fireworks in New York this Year

This year Macy’s is launching their epic fireworks show from seven barges along the East River between East 23rd and East 40th Streets. Fireworks may be viewed from any area in Brooklyn with an unobstructed view of the sky above the East River.

The fireworks will begin illuminating the New York skyline at about 9:20pm.

Watch the fireworks live from the following vantage points:

  • 42nd Street and FDR Drive
  • 34th Street and FDR Drive
  • 23rd Street and FDR Drive
  • 18th Street and Avenue C
  • Houston Street and FDR Drive

A Family-Friendly Patriotic Celebration in Saratoga Springs

If a family-friendly patriotic celebration is more your style, check out the annual All-American Celebration in downtown Saratoga Springs. It’s a one-of-a-kind event which includes a live reading of the Declaration of Independence.

This annual celebration begins on Tuesday, July 3rd with a children’s program with Benjamin Franklin, a Historic City Tour, and a fireside chat with General Burgoyne. After the Firecracker4 Road Race on Wednesday, July 4th, there will be an All-American Parade and Patriotic Pooches down Broadway, All-American BBQ and Dessert Fest, All-American Classic Car Show, and more.

Get to the best rooftops and open views of the skies to enjoy the spectacular views of red, white, and blue this 4th of July! NYC celebrates this patriotic holiday with a bang like no other place in the USA. There are plenty of options for great views of displays in other parts of the city and throughout the tri-state.

Let freedom ring with epic fireworks shows in New York! Have a safe and happy 4th of July, Brooklyn!

Charles D’Alessandro is a Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with over 30 years of experience in real estate.  Contact Charles D’Alessandroyour Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with Fillmore Real Estate at (718) 253-9600 ext.206 or email [email protected] today.


 Charles D’Alessandro

Your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent

718-253-9600 ext. 206

[email protected]


Which One of the 5 Types of Home Loans Will Work Best?

June 15th, 2018
Home loans

Knowing the pros and cons of home loans can alleviate the overwhelm financing can cause.

Buying a home is an exciting endeavor! The financing, however, can be a little overwhelming. But knowing the “in’s and out’s” of home loans can help subdue or even eliminate the overwhelm financing brings. So do your homework. Find out about the five types of home loans, and the different upfront and long-term costs of each. Then you’ll be able to confidently choose which loan will work best for you.

5 Types of Home Loans and Their Pros and Cons

  • Conventional loans
  • Jumbo loans
  • Government-insured loans
  • Fixed-rate loans
  • Adjustable-rate loans
  1. Conventional Loans

There are two types of conventional loans: conforming and non-conforming. Neither are insured by the federal government. Conforming means the loan amount falls within maximum limits set by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. Non-conforming means the loan amount doesn’t fall within the maximum limits set by these government agencies.

When you put down less than 20 percent of the sales price on a conventional loan, lenders require you to pay private mortgage insurance (PMI).

If you have strong credit, a stable income and employment history, and a down payment of at least three percent, a conventional loan is ideal for you.

Pros

  • Can be used for a primary home, second home, or investment property
  • Overall borrowing costs tend to be lower than other types of mortgages, even if interest rates are slightly higher
  • Can ask your lender to cancel PMI once you’ve gained 20 percent equity
  • Can pay as little as three percent down for loans backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac

Cons

  • Minimum FICO score of 620 or higher is required
  • Must have a debt-to-income ratio of 45 to 50 percent.
  • Must pay PMI if your down payment is less than 20 percent of the home’s purchase price.
  • Documentation is required to verify income, assets, down payment, and employment.
  1. Jumbo Loans

Jumbo mortgages are conventional home loans with non-conforming loan limits. This means the home price exceeds federal loan limits. For 2018, the maximum conforming loan limit for single-family homes in most of the U.S. is $453,100, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency. In certain high-cost areas, the price ceiling is $679,650. Jumbo loans are more common in higher-cost areas and generally, require more in-depth documentation to qualify for one.

If you are an affluent buyer purchasing a high-end home, a jumbo home loan makes sense for you. To qualify for a jumbo loan, you should have good-to-excellent credit, a high income, and a substantial down payment (well above 30 percent). Many reputable lenders offer jumbo loans at competitive rates.

Pros

  • You can borrow more money to buy a home in a pricier area
  • Interest rates tend to be competitive with other conventional home loans

Cons

  • Down payment of at least ten to 20 percent is required
  • A FICO score of 700 or higher is required, although some lenders will accept a minimum score of 660
  • Debt-to-income ratio cannot be above 45 percent.
  • Must show you have assets that equal ten percent of the loan amount in cash or savings accounts 
  1. Government-Insured Loans

Although the U.S. government isn’t a mortgage lender, it does help Americans become homeowners. Three government agencies back loans: The Federal Housing Administration (FHA), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) are three government agencies that back loans.

  • FHA loans

FHA loans are popular among mortgage borrowers. They help make homeownership possible for those with small down payments and less than pristine credit. A minimum FICO score of 580 is required to get the FHA’s maximum 3.5 percent financing. However, a credit score of 500 is acceptable with at least 10 percent down. If a homeowner puts less than ten percent down, the FHA requires two mortgage insurance premiums. One mortgage insurance premium is paid upfront and the other is paid annually for the life of the loan. Note: This can increase the overall cost of a mortgage.

  • VA loans

VA loans provide flexible, low-interest mortgages for active duty and veterans U.S. military members and their families. They do not require a down payment or PMI. Closing costs are generally capped and may be paid by the seller. To help offset the VA loan program’s cost to taxpayers, a percentage of the loan amount, known as a funding fee, is charged on VA loans. This fee, as well as other closing costs, can be rolled into most VA loans or paid upfront at closing.

  • USDA loans

USDA loans help moderate- to low-income borrowers buy homes in rural areas. To qualify for a USDA loan, you must purchase a home in a USDA-eligible area and meet certain income limits. There are even some USDA loans that do not require a down payment for eligible borrowers with low incomes.

If you have low cash savings, less-than-pristine credit, and cannot qualify for a conventional loan, a government-insured loan is ideal. Compared to other types of loans for military borrowers, VA loans tend to offer the best terms and most flexibility.

Pros

  • Help you finance a home when you don’t qualify for a conventional loan
  • Credit requirements are more relaxed
  • A large down payment is not required
  • Available to repeat and first-time buyers

Cons

  • Expect to pay mandatory mortgage insurance premiums that cannot be canceled on some loans
  • Higher overall borrowing costs
  • More documentation is required, depending on the loan type, to prove eligibility
  1. Fixed-Rate Loans

Fixed-rate loans keep the same interest rate over the life of your loan. This means your monthly mortgage payments always stay the same, and that’s a great thing! Fixed loans typically come in terms of 15, 20 or 30 years.

If you plan to stay in your home for seven to ten years, the stability with monthly payments make a fixed-rate mortgage ideal for you.

Pros

  • Monthly principal and interest payments stay the same throughout the life of the loan
  • Precisely budget other expenses month-to-month

Cons

  • Pay more interest with a longer-term, fixed-rate loan
  • Takes longer to build equity in your home
  • Interest rates typically are higher than rates on adjustable-rate mortgages
  1. Adjustable-Rate Mortgages

Adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) lack the stability of fixed-rate loans. Their interest rates go up or down with market conditions. ARMs may start out with a fixed interest rate, but after a few years will reset to a variable interest rate for the remainder of the term. If you are considering an ARM, look for one that caps how much your interest rate or monthly mortgage rate can increase. This will help you avoid financial trouble when the loan resets.

There is a certain level of risk associated with an ARM. You must be comfortable with that risk before obtaining one. An ARM may be ideal if you don’t plan to stay in your home for many years, saving you a lot in interest payments.

Pros

  • Lower fixed rate in the first few years of homeownership
  • Substantial amount of money on interest payments saved

Cons

  • Monthly mortgage payments could become unaffordable, resulting in defaulting on the loan
  • Home values may fall in a few years, making it harder to refinance or sell your home before the loan resets

It Pays to Know the Pros and Cons

From the very beginning of your house hunting efforts to closing day, then on to the day you sell your home or pay off your mortgage, it pays to know the pros and cons of home loans. The type of home loan you choose to obtain will make a big difference in costs upfront and long-term.

With over 30 years of experience in the Brooklyn real estate market, Charles D’Alessandro is a Brooklyn Real Estate Agent you can trust. He’ll help you understand the differences and benefits of home loans so you can choose one that’s best for you. Ready to enter the real estate market in search of the perfect home? Contact Charles D’Alessandroyour Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with Fillmore Real Estate at (718) 253-9600 ext.206 or email [email protected] today.

Resource: 5 Types of Mortgage Loans for Homebuyers at Bankrate.com


 Charles D’Alessandro

Your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent

718-253-9600 ext. 206

[email protected]


How to Afford the Most House Your Money Can Buy

May 30th, 2018
House your money

Before you begin searching for a new home, you need to know how much house you can afford to buy. Here are a few things to consider to help you prepare yourself for buying a home.

Since you are new to owning a home, you’re probably wondering how much house you can afford to buy? Everyone does. And it’s a great question to ask and get answered because if you get this wrong, you could end up foreclosing on your new home. And who wants that? No one. Certainly not me, and certainly not you. Here’s what you need to know to afford the most house your money can buy.

There is more to the cost of a house than what meets the eye. Long-term costs are there as well and must be calculated to find out how much house your money can buy. You need to fully understand how much a house will cost upfront in order to get into it and how much it will cost to live there month after month.

To Determine How Much House Your Money Can Buy

Have you saved enough for a down payment?

The down payment needs to be at least 10 percent of the price of the home you want to purchase. But the best loan terms are given to homebuyers who have at least 20 percent to give for a down payment. If you’re looking at a $300,000 home, a down payment of 10 percent is $30,000. A down payment of 20 percent is $60,000.

Will the housing costs exceed 28 percent of your monthly income?

In addition to the amount you have for a down payment, lenders look at the cost of housing in comparison to your income. Your monthly mortgage payment, taxes, and home insurance should not exceed 28 percent of your monthly income. If you bring home $5,000 a month, these housing costs should not exceed $1,400.

What is your debt-to-income ratio?

Successful, long-term homeownership depends a lot on a great debt-to-income ratio. Simply stated, this means more savings, less debt. Because the greater the amount in your savings account and the smaller your total debt, the more home buying power you’ll have.

Note, qualifying for a loan and being able to afford that loan are two very different things.

Lenders look at your total debt (credit card debt, car loans, student loans, personal loans, etc). If they see that you earn $5,000 a month gross, they’ll expect that you can afford to pay $1,400 a month on taxes, mortgage, and insurance. But if you don’t have additional debts, they’ll expect that you can afford to pay $1,800 a month on taxes, mortgage, and insurance.

Do you have a good credit history?

Paying your bills on time and paying more than the minimum gives you a good credit history. Get into the habit of paying more than the minimum on time month after month while building your down payment savings before you start looking for a home, and you’ll be off to a terrific start!

With over 30 years of experience in the Brooklyn real estate market, Charles D’Alessandro is a Brooklyn Real Estate Agent you can trust. He’ll help you find and purchase the most house your money can buy and guide you every step of the way. Contact Charles D’Alessandroyour Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with Fillmore Real Estate at (718) 253-9600 ext.206 or email [email protected] for your best start in the homebuying process.


 Charles D’Alessandro

Your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent

718-253-9600 ext. 206

[email protected]