Archive for February, 2010

High Brooklyn Foreclosures Equals Great Deals

Sunday, February 28th, 2010

The extension of the homebuyer’s tax credit, as well as the expansion to include upgrade homebuyers, has a lot of people looking for their dream home. Many are looking for that dream home in the listings for Brooklyn foreclosures. Why?

The Law of Supply and Demand

Quick marketing lesson: every market is dependent on the law of supply and demand. When the demand for a product is higher than the supply, prices go up. When there’s more product than demand, prices go down.

This is what’s happening now, especially with Brooklyn foreclosures. Around the U.S., the supply of homes has doubled in the past two years, reaching as high as a ten-month supply. While Brooklyn homebuyers have been reluctant to buy a foreclosure in the past, people are starting to rethink the situation because:

  • Foreclosures are usually less expensive than traditional homes for sale.  In fact, some buyers have found their dream home and bought it for pennies on the dollar.
  • Foreclosed properties are generally in better condition that they used to be.  In the past, foreclosed homes had a higher than average amount of repairs needed compared to other homes for sale. This is no longer necessarily true. Many foreclosured homes have been lovingly taken care of by their previous owners.
  • Potential buyers of foreclosures have a wider variety from which to choose. They aren’t stuck with just one type of house in one Brooklyn neighborhood. For the careful new homebuyer, the possibilities really are almost endless.

Most foreclosed homes aren’t money pits. To protect yourself, make sure your real estate agent includes in the contract that you want to have the home inspected, and that if the home inspection finds major problems, you then have the right to walk away from the deal.

If you’re looking for a great home at a great price, I can help. Call me at Charles D’Alessandro of Fillmore Real Estate at (718)253-9600 ext 206 or email me at [email protected] for more information.

How Live-In Stagers Can Save Your Brooklyn Home For Sale

Friday, February 26th, 2010

If you have a Brooklyn home for sale and it’s sitting vacant, it’s a perfect target for vandals. The signs are obvious, such as uncut grass and lights that never come on. In fact, a vacant house doesn’t just look vacant; it feels vacant.

Vandals aren’t the only problem for a vacant Brooklyn home for sale, however. The other problem is that a vacant home usually sells for less and sits longer than a well maintained, occupied home. So what’s the solution?

Well, if you live close by, you can visit the home, cut the grass, turn the lights on and keep it maintained. However, if this is more trouble than you’d rather go through, there’s another option – a live-in home stager.

You’ve probably heard or read a slew of information about home staging. If you haven’t, home staging is the practice of making a house look its best and has been proven to bring consistently higher prices for homes. Home stagers are trained to stage a house in the most attractive way to entice buyers.

Benefits of Using a Live-In Stager

A live-in home stager is slightly different from a traditional home stager, but provides several benefits to homeowners wishing to sell their empty houses:

  • No vacancy, no vandals – An empty home brings vandals. However, people are much less likely to vandalize a home that is well maintained and occupied. A live-in stager, as the name implies, stays in the home until it’s sold.
  • Home staging and maintenance – One of the worst turn-offs for a potential homebuyer is to walk up a lane surrounded by tall, uncut grass into an empty, cold home. A live-in stager brings their own furniture to turn that empty home into a visually-appealing, warm living space. They cut the grass and keep the home looking beautiful until it’s sold.
  • Residual income – Best of all, you aren’t paying them; they’re paying you. Now, obviously they won’t be paying full rent. In general, live-in stagers pay 25% – 40% of the normal rental rate. However, a vacant home isn’t doing anything but sitting there until it’s sold.

If you’ve been trying to sell a vacant Brooklyn home for sale, and it’s still on the market, try a live-in stager. It may be the best decision you make this year!

If you’re trying to sell your home, I can help. Call me at Fillmore Real Estate 718 253-9600 ext.206 or email me at [email protected] for more information.

Charles D’Alessandro

[email protected]
tel 718 253-9600
fax 718 253-9573

Selling Your Brooklyn Home – Curb Appeal of the 21st Century and Beyond

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

I can hear you now, “Oh, no! Not another article on curb appeal to sell my Brooklyn home!” To which I reply, “Oh, yes.” One more time around the block, but this time, we’re doing it in style.

The 21st Century Curb

Curb appeal is that thing you do to pretty up the outside of your Brooklyn home. It’s the landscaping, the painting and the checking of the little details. However, many home sellers (and real estate agents, for that matter), don’t take into account that the curb nowadays isn’t just the view from the front of your house. In the 21st century, the “curb” starts right here on the Net.

Your online home listing has only three seconds – three short moments of time – to catch a potential buyer’s eye and turn them into an interested party. Unfortunately, it’s hard not to be biased or become used to the problems and eyesores your home may have. Because first impressions are so crucial and the housing market is glutted with competition, you have to bring it up a notch to get your home sold.

The Right Perspective

Most real estate agents park across the street, when they’re showing a home. So, to get the same perspective of your home as potential buyers will have, walk to the other side of the street and stand where potential buyers might stand. Go ahead; walk over there.

Once you’re on the other side of the street, turn around and look at the house for a few seconds. Most buyers don’t look for very long, so don’t stare, just glance. Then, as you slowly walk back to the house, keep your focus close, no more than a few feet out. What are you seeing?

  • Yard ornaments
  • Plain façade
  • Obstructed pathway to the door
  • Driveway stains
  • Yard tools
  • Leaves

These are just a few things that might be detracting from the beautiful home you have to sell. Take one last look around – a long, searching look from the front door – and see if anything stands out. If it does, fix it up!

The Virtual View

Once you think you have your home’s curb appeal perfected, create a video of it for your potential buyers. Take a video camera across the street and start from there. Give your buyers a virtual tour of your Brooklyn home, using your curb appeal to its (and your) best potential. Online IS the new curb – use it!

When you hire me as your real estate agent, I’ll create a professional virtual tour of your home, including its curb appeal.  Your virtual tour will appear on key real estate websites giving your home maximum exposure with a 24/7, world-wide virtual open house.

Give me a call today at (718) 253-9600 ext.206 or email me at [email protected] for more information.

Charles D’Alessandro

[email protected]
tel 718 253-9600
fax 718 253-9573

Rules for Rehabbing Brooklyn Real Estate, Part 2

Sunday, February 21st, 2010

In Rules for Rehabbing Brooklyn Real Estate, Part 1, you received the first five rules for rehabbing. Now, let’s go more in depth about how to rehab a home with the final six rules:

  1. Check out the neighborhood. Before you do any work to the property, walk through the neighborhood and take note of the property exteriors. What kind of landscaping do they have? Which colors do you see on the front doors? What type of siding do most of the homes have?  There is no point in spending extra money for amenities the other homes don’t have.
  2. Start with the exterior. If you begin your work on the outside, you will already create interest in people watching you work. This also tends to be relatively simple work. Trim the shrubs. Replace dead plants. Weed the flower beds. Paint the home’s exterior and window trim.
  3. Tackle the interior. You have two options for working inside: complete specific tasks throughout the entire home or work in individual rooms. Some people like to see the progress of completing a room; others like to see entire tasks, like painting, done at one time. No matter what you choose to do, start by removing the carpet. Take down switch plates. Remove the interior doors. Repair the walls. Fill in nail holes. Paint everything in neutral earth tones.
  4. Update kitchens and bathrooms. Check the plumbing. If you need to, install a new toilet, sink, or bathtub. Replace the fixtures and hardware. Replace or paint the cabinets. Go ahead and install new counter tops. They are worth the minor cost.
  5. Replace or repair floors. After the painting and installation is finished, start working on the floors. Hire a professional to install new carpet and padding. Replace or repair any other floors that are in need of work.
  6. Sell it. You can either move in to the home or put it on the market. If you sell the home, calculate your costs and check with a Brooklyn real estate agent about the home’s market value. Begin advertising it for sale. Hire a real estate agent to help bring buyers to the home.

Rehabbing a home is a great way to create the ideal home for you or to make money as a real estate investor. Call me today at (718) 253-9600 ext.206 or email me at [email protected] for more tips on rehabbing your Brooklyn real estate.

Charles D’Alessandro

[email protected]
tel 718 253-9600
fax 718 253-9573

Rules for Rehabbing Brooklyn Real Estate, Part 1

Saturday, February 20th, 2010

If you watch television home improvement shows, you’ve surely seen shows about rehabbing homes. When you buy Brooklyn real estate that needs repairs, you can get it for a great price and build instant equity once the work is complete. Whether you decide to live in the rehabbed home or sell it, you’ve gotten a good deal.

Here are the first five rules for rehabbing Brooklyn real estate:

  1. Buy low. The good news is that homes needing work usually already have discounted prices. You want to buy the home for as little as possible because you are going to have to spend more money rehabbing the home.
  2. Have a budget. You need to know before you begin the project exactly how much money you have to spend. Include the cost of the house, labor costs, permits, and the price of materials. Don’t leave out anything, and do everything in your power to stick to the budget you set.
  3. Take good notes. Walk through the home with at least a flashlight and a way to write down notes. Count the number of windows, doors, and rooms. Write down anything you see that will need to be replaced or repaired, including flooring, walls and ceilings. Include anything that seems out of the ordinary to you. These notes will help you plan your rehab.
  4. Be realistic. Many buyers underestimate the amount of time and money it will take to rehab a home. Round your expected costs up to the nearest $5000. Set aside part of your budget for problems that may arise during the rehab. You never know when a wall is hiding a structural defect that you will have to repair. Keep your timeline flexible.
  5. Hire professionals. You will be able to do some of the work yourself, but you will need professional help for some of the work. Find a good plumber, electrician, carpenter, and roofer. Negotiate prices with them and never pay them for all the work until the job is completed.

Looking for homes to rehab?  I can help.  Call me today at (718) 253-9600 ext.206 or email me Charles D’Alessandro of Fillmore Real Estate at [email protected] for more information about rehabbing Brooklyn real estate.

Buyer’s Guide to Your Brooklyn Home’s Appraisal Terms

Thursday, February 18th, 2010

If you’re getting a mortgage on a home, your lender will require an appraisal. This is performed by a licensed appraiser who evaluates your home and determines its value. Here is a guide to your Brooklyn home’s appraisal terms.

  • Age: The actual age of your home is how long since your home has been built. The effective age is the adjusted age of your home based on improvements and repairs.
  • Adjustments: Comparison Brooklyn homes are usually not exact replicas of your home. The appraiser will make adjustments for things like premium views or swimming pools to bring the home values closer together.
  • Appraisal: This is the estimated value of your home based on the appraiser’s documentation.
  • Comparison approach: A type of appraisal in which your home is compared with others in your area. Most appraisers use this approach because the market determines what your home will sell for.
  • Cost approach:  A type of appraisal in which your home is valued based on how much it would cost to replace it if it was destroyed. This is typically used on newer constructions.
  • Depreciation: Depreciation is a loss in value due to age or condition.
  • Easements: Your electric company or local government may have an easement, or right to use your land.
  • Encroachments: When you or your neighbors have items like fences resting on each other’s property, it is called encroachment.
  • Market value: This is the highest price you could expect to get for your home under normal circumstances.
  • Remaining economic life: This is the time from the appraisal when improvements become useless or valueless.
  • Subject property: Your property is called the subject property.

Let me help you through the process of buying your next Brooklyn home. Call me today at (718) 253-9600 ext.206 or email me at [email protected] for more information.

Charles D’Alessandro

[email protected]
tel 718 253-9600
fax 718 253-9573

5 Tips for Removing Offensive Odors from Your Brooklyn Home for Sale

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

Nothing will turn off a potential buyer quicker than an offensive odor in your Brooklyn home for sale. It may make them think you don’t take care of your home. At the very least, the odor will interfere with their ability to picture themselves in your home.  Take the time to remove odors from your home.

Here are 5 tips to make your home smell fresh and clean:

  1. Clean your carpets. Your carpets are fibers that absorb odor. Have your carpets cleaned by a professional to remove odors stuck in the carpet and pad. Another option is to rent a carpet cleaner and clean them yourself.
  1. Paint. Sometimes odors like smoke can be trapped in your walls. A fresh coat of paint will not only brighten your room, it can seal the walls and mask the offending odors. Just choose a neutral shade and paint at least two coats.
  1. Open your windows. Open the windows to let in fresh air. This will also help eliminate odors from your home.
  1. Replace your attic insulation. Cooking odors can rise to the ceiling and get trapped in your attic insulation. The only way to remove that odor is to remove the insulation and replace it.  If at all possible, do this before you put up your Brooklyn home for sale.

  1. Light candles and bring in air fresheners. If all else fails or as an extra precaution, place candles or air fresheners in each room. Choose light scents that won’t overpower the room. You just want enough fragrance to lightly mask odors.

Get your home in its best shape possible to convince a buyer to purchase your home. Let me help you prepare your Brooklyn home for sale. Call Charles D’Alessandro of Fillmore Real Estate today at (718) 253-9600 ext.206 or email me at [email protected].

Charles D’Alessandro

[email protected]
tel 718 253-9600
fax 718 253-9573

FAQs on Tax Credits for Buying Homes for Sale in Brooklyn

Saturday, February 13th, 2010

Thousands of potential buyers of homes for sale in Brooklyn are now homeowners, thanks to the first-time home buyer tax credit. You could be eligible for a tax credit if you bought a home in 2009 or plan to buy one before April, 2010.  But which one are you eligible for?

If you have two or three hours to spend reading the information about the home buyer tax credit, you’ll be able to figure out if you’re eligible.  But, most people don’t have the time or patience. To shorten your learning curve, here are a few tips, pointers and frequently asked (and answered) questions about the tax credit:

Three Kinds of Homebuyer Tax Credits

There are actually three kinds of tax credits:

  1. The original first-time homebuyer tax credit, enacted in 2008, covers the homes for sale Brooklyn that went off the market between April 9, 2008 and June 30, 2009. Rather than being a true credit, the money received is actually a 15-year, interest-free loan. In other words, it has to be paid back.
  1. The second tax credit, raised from a maximum of $7,500 to $8,000, doesn’t have to be paid back. If you bought a home between January 1, 2009 and November 30, 2009, you may be eligible.
  1. The third homebuyer tax credit, enacted in November 2009, is actually an expansion and extension of the second credit. It extends the deadline of November 30, 2009 to April 30, 2010 and expands the credit to include long-term homeowners who want to buy a new residence.

Tax Credit Qualifications

Just because you buy a home between April 9, 2008, and April 30, 2010, doesn’t mean you automatically qualify. Each homebuyer tax credit has its own eligibility requirements. For instance, the home has to cost less than $800,000, if bought after November 6, 2009. Long-term owners have to have lived in the same home for five consecutive years of the past eight. There are also income requirements, as well as other factors.

Automatic Ineligibility

To receive the home buyer tax credit, there are a few things you absolutely cannot do. For example, the home you buy has to be a principle residence, which means it’s the one you live in most of the time. You can’t buy it for business. As well, the home you buy has to be in the U.S.

Another “can’t do” is selling the home or converting it to rental property. You have to live in the home as your permanent residence for at least three years. If you don’t, Uncle Sam will want the money back.

There are many great homes for sale in Brooklyn, and one of them might just be your dream home. However, if you plan to purchase and claim the home buyer tax credit, make sure you know the facts first.

Have questions about the home buyer tax credits?  I can help. Call me at (718) 253-9600 ext.206 or email me at [email protected] for more information.

Charles D’Alessandro

[email protected]
tel 718 253-9600
fax 718 253-9573

Emotional Aspects of Selling Your Brooklyn Home

Friday, February 12th, 2010

Solving the Puzzle of Selling Your Brooklyn Home

Selling your Brooklyn home is more than just setting a sale price and placing a sign in your front yard. It is an emotional process that can be stressful and frustrating. Here’s what you can expect to face:

  • Putting your Brooklyn home on the market. You may have a difficult time deciding to put your house on the market even if you are being forced to move because of work or family situations. Your home holds memories that can be difficult to leave behind. You may even second guess your decision. This is a normal reaction.
  • Showing your home to potential buyers. As buyers walk through your home, you may begin experiencing a new set of emotions. Your home will usually be cleared of excessive family mementos and seem lifeless to you. Keeping your home clean for a showing can also take away precious time and increase your stress load.
  • Negotiating an offer. You obviously want to make as much profit as possible. As you review buyers’ offers, you may wonder if you are asking too much or too little. You may feel insulted by a too low offer. Even after signing a contract, there is still fear that the deal may fall through.
  • Closing on your home. Walking away from the closing table, even with a check in hand, can be stressful. At this point you have probably already moved out of your home and now must face the process of settling in a new place and learning a new area. Once again, this is a normal part of selling a home.

If you’re looking for an experienced, energetic, resourceful  Brooklyn real estate agent guide you through the process of selling your Brooklyn home,I’m happy to help. Give me Charles D’Alessandro your Brooklyn Realtor® with Fillmore Real Estate a call at (718) 253-9600 ext.206 or email me at [email protected]

Valentine’s Day and Brooklyn Homes for Sale – How Much Is Too Much?

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010

Not everyone decorates their home for Valentine’s Day, but enough do that it brings to mind the question, “How much decoration is too much when your Brooklyn home is for sale?”

Decorations, although beautiful to you, are a matter of personal taste and style. Since this is a buyers market something as simple as the wrong decorations can push a potential buyer from saying “Yes!” to saying “No.”

Rules for Decorating Brooklyn Homes for Sale

Here are a few tips on decorating for Valentine’s or any other day when you’re trying to sell your Brooklyn home:

  • Choose decorations that are small and unobtrusive. Large decorations put too much emphasis on themselves. When you’re trying to sell your home, these take away from the overall appearance of the interior.
  • Finding buyers is all about allowing them to see themselves living in the home. When choosing your decorations, or deciding to decorate at all, keep this firmly in mind. Ornamentation made of bright colors may be fun, but can also be overwhelming.
  • If you’re ever at a loss on how to decorate or stage a home for sale, take a trip through furniture stores. Stores that sell furniture often have furniture set up in “living” displays so people can see what the pieces look like together. Look at the displays, take pictures and notes, and then apply the knowledge you gain to make your own home look like a display.

Decorating and staging correctly can make a huge difference on how buyers see the Brooklyn homes for sale. The few tips above can help make your home shine.

Ready to sell your home?  I can help.  Call Charles D’Alessandro of Fillmore Real Estate at [718] 253-9600 ext.206 or email me at [email protected] for more information.

Charles D’Alessandro

[email protected]
tel 718 253-9600
fax 718 253-9573