Archive for May, 2010

Is a Reverse Mortgage on Your Brooklyn Condo a Good Idea?

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

Did you know that cash could be hiding in your Brooklyn condo?  If you are sixty-two or older, you may be able to qualify for a reverse mortgage, and never have to make a mortgage payment as long as you live in the home.  Let me tell you a little more about a reverse mortgage:

What Is A Reverse Mortgage?

A reverse mortgage uses the equity in your Brooklyn condo to make payments to you.  You aren’t required to make any payments for as long as you live in your home.  The loan doesn’t become due until you have not lived in the home for at least twelve months.  Your home can pass to your descendents if they refinance the loan themselves.  The money can be used for any purpose you want.

Funds are received as a lump sum, a line of credit, or a monthly payment.  You’ll have access to more money with the line of credit, but the interest rate is variable.  If you decide on a lump sum or a monthly payment, you will have a higher interest rate.  The line of credit can be a credit card or like a checking account.  You can buy groceries, gas and pay your bills out of this account.

The reverse mortgage process is similar to the conventional mortgage process.  The property will need an inspection and appraisal.  There are origination fees and closing costs associated with this type of loan.

Who Qualifies for a Reverse Mortgage?

The first requirement is age; only those sixty-two or older are able to qualify.  There are no income or credit requirements to be approved for a reverse mortgage.  Some lenders even let you roll the down payment and closing costs into the loan, so that you don’t have pay any money up front.

The loan is based on the age of the youngest borrower.  The older you are, the more money you will qualify for.  The good news is that the money will not affect your Social Security benefits or Medicare.

There are advantages and disadvantages to a reverse mortgage, so be sure to do your homework before making this important decision.

If you have questions about reverse mortgages, or would like to discuss buying or selling a Brooklyn condo, give me a call today at (1718)253-9600 ext 206 or email me at [email protected]


Charles D’Alessandro

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Dos and Don’ts of Buying a Brooklyn Home in Foreclosure

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

Whether you’re looking for an investment property or a home for your family, a foreclosure might be a good deal for you. However, buying a foreclosure is different from buying a home from a seller and requires different considerations.

Before you sign a contract, consider what you should and should not do when buying a Brooklyn home in foreclosure.

  • DO consider the cost of repairs. Foreclosures are sold “as is.” That means the bank will not make any repairs to the Brooklyn home in foreclosure before closing, so you will be responsible for them. For example, if the home needs a new roof, make sure you have enough money to pay for it.
  • DO get a home inspection. In a traditional home sale, the seller is required to tell you about any defects or problems they’ve had with the home. However, a bank does not have to supply a disclosure statement because they have not lived in the house and do not have any information about defects.  Make sure you hire a professional home inspector to check the structural integrity and condition of the home.
  • DO be prepared to wait. Buying a foreclosure usually takes longer than buying through a traditional sale. You will have to look through and sign stacks of paperwork. In some states, banks are required to go through the court system to sell a foreclosure which can take time.
  • DON’T buy a home just because the price is low. Banks like to sell their foreclosures as close to market value as possible. If the price is exceptionally low, there’s a reason why. Make sure you know it. Home repairs can easily add up, turning what you thought was a bargain into a money trap.
  • DON’T expect to flip the home for a quick profit. Despite what the get-rich-quick-buying-foreclosures crowd tells you, foreclosures don’t automatically mean you’re getting a steal, nor can you always quickly sell them. Buy a foreclosure because it’s an affordable home for you and your family, not as a way to build an overnight fortune.

When you take your time and do your homework, buying a Brooklyn home in foreclosure can be a great bargain.  I can help you find well-priced foreclosures.  Call me today at (718)253-9600 ext 206 or email me at [email protected]


Charles D’Alessandro

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Short Sales: A Viable Option for Distressed Brooklyn Real Estate

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

I know the words “short sale” may scare you.  But please take just a minute to learn why short sales have become a viable option for your Brooklyn real estate if you’re considering foreclosure.

Once deemed difficult to get, hard to close and rough on the credit score, corrective measures have been taken to improve the valued short sale.  And, the winners are those who understand how short sales work in Brooklyn real estate.

If you are faced with a house underwater or considering foreclosure or a short sale option, please understand the game has changed.

Short Sales Before versus Now

In early 2009, the typical short sale had less than a 50% chance of success.  Banks were skeptical, unprepared and unwilling to accept losses.  No longer!

Thanks to aggressive changes made by the Federal Government, the short sale has become the preferred option for distressed buyers, sellers and lenders.

  • The administration has thrown incentives to first mortgage holders, second mortgage holders and new lenders.
  • Primary lien holders in who agree to a short sale can receive as much as $3,000 from the government.
  • Secondary lien holders, who previously were often asked to step away empty handed, now can receive up to $6,000 for formal releases.

Additionally, there used to be more serious credit devastation for the short sale seller.  In some cases, outright releases were not provided.  The administration has stepped in to protect these distressed sellers.  Today’s short sale has less credit impact on the seller as would the credit impact of a foreclosure.

Now that short sales are a viable option, the market has exploded.  Short sales increased by 4% between November, 2009, and February, 2010.  Activity will only continue to increase.

If you would like to find out whether a short sale could benefit your distressed Brooklyn real estate, give me a call now at (718)253-9600 ext.206 or email me at [email protected]


Charles D’Alessandro

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How to Identify Your Perfect Brooklyn Real Estate Agent

Monday, May 17th, 2010

When you begin your search for the perfect house it usually starts with a search for the perfect Brooklyn real estate agent. A good agent can help you with every aspect of buying a home.

They know the proper price ranges, what properties are available that match your needs and all of those pesky legal details required for closing. Your Brooklyn real estate agent will keep things moving and make sure deadlines are met and everything goes smoothly.

Here are four tips to help you choose a real estate agent:

Meet Them Face to Face

Perfect harmony should be as instantaneous as love at first sight. You simply know you hit it off with someone, or you don’t. Don’t fight the feelings if you have doubts. Even the best Brooklyn real estate agent isn’t going to have a connection with everybody.  There will be one that is perfect for you. Keep looking.

Ask Questions

When you do find a real estate agent you have a connection with, ask questions. There needs to be more than just a friendship between you. Make sure the agent has a real grasp of the area, the types of houses that are available, and seems in tune to what you are looking for.

Assess

Do they listen to your needs?  If they’re not listening to what you want, move on.  Did they answer your questions thoroughly?  If they were unable to answer your questions or purposely avoided answering any of your questions, this is not the right agent for you.

Answer Their Questions

Your Brooklyn real estate agent will have plenty of questions for you too. They want to be sure you can afford a new home. Don’t be offended by what may seem like personal questions. They need this information in order to give you the best advice.

If you’re searching for your perfect real estate agent, I’d be honored if you’d interview me for the job.  Call Charles D’Alessandro of Fillmore Real Estate today at (718)253-9600 ext 206 or email me at [email protected] to schedule a face-to-face meeting.


Charles D’Alessandro

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Setting the Right Selling Price for Brooklyn Real Estate

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

The debate is as old as the real estate industry.  Does a low, highly competitive selling price for Brooklyn real estate actually generate a faster, more profitable sale than a slightly inflated price with a willingness to negotiate?  Yes, it is an age-old debate.  Yes, it has never been more important that sellers make informed decisions about their asking price and negotiating strategy.

A seller with an unreasonable opinion of their Brooklyn home’s value is either a wishful thinker or does not have the benefit of an accurate comparative market analysis and a real estate agent who specializes in the area.

Get Real, Know the Facts

When sellers decide to list their home in the Brooklyn real estate market, they usually have an opinion of value based on reported sales of similar properties.  Consciously or subconsciously, most homeowners follow the real estate activity of surrounding homes.

However, every real estate transaction stands independently.  In today’s market, buyers and sellers negotiate to capitalize on tax incentives, green-initiative improvements, closing fees, homeowner credits and local incentives.  Thus, the “neighborhood selling price” may not represent the price you can actually get for your Brooklyn home.

Real estate agents use differing strategies to secure listings and set sales prices.  Therefore, a seller who requests proposals from three different Brooklyn real estate agents may well get three different opinions of value:

  1. One agent may want the listing at any price and be willing to accept an owner’s requirement for a high asking price just to land the listing.
  2. Another agent may be conservative and encourage a low asking price in the hopes of generating superior demand.  This strategy was effective in the boom years of 2006 and 2007.
  3. A third agent may combine his knowledge about the property, the neighborhood and today’s real estate market to come up with the optimal listing price.

The Optimal Listing Price

Responsible Brooklyn real estate agents view the property from three postures.

  1. First we inspect the property, top to bottom.  We understand its history, the neighborhood, its strengths and its weaknesses.
  2. Next, we do our research.  We compile a complete, relevant list of recent sales, a thorough list of properties on the market and a comparable list of recently concluded Brooklyn real estate transactions.
  3. We balance this information against the cost of new construction.  We factor in what improvements might be necessary to stage the home more effectively.  And, we use this quantitative analysis, called a comparative market analysis, to recommend a strong selling price designed to garner demand.

This is not a whimsical exercise.  This is about establishing the maximum selling price your Brooklyn real estate should achieve.

To further discuss how you can realize the greatest real estate value for your home, contact me, Charles D’Alessandro your Brooklyn Realtor® with Fillmore Real Estate today at (718)253-9600 ext 206 or by email at [email protected]


Charles D’Alessandro

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Brooklyn Real Estate Blog Renting versus Buying Homes in Brooklyn

Renting versus Buying Homes in Brooklyn

Monday, May 10th, 2010


Before you start looking for homes in Brooklyn, you need to decide whether to rent or buy. Each of these options has its own advantages and disadvantages. You need to look at your situation and decide which is best for you.

To help you with that decision, here’s an examination of the pros and cons of renting and buying homes in Brooklyn:

  • Pros of Renting. Maintaining a home properly takes a certain level of time and commitment. When you rent, you are not responsible for the lawn, major repairs or maintenance. If you have to leave the area on short notice, you won’t be tied down to a home that needs to sell in order for you to move.
  • Pros of Buying. Because of low interest rates and house prices, many renters find that their current rent payments are similar to what their mortgage payments would be. Unlike rent payments, mortgage payments add up and create equity in your home. Additionally, owning your own home provides tax deductions.
  • Cons of Renting. The most significant con of renting is the fact that you get no tax deduction. If you have to move suddenly, you may have to pay extra money to break the lease. You may even have decorating restrictions, like not putting nails in the walls.
  • Cons of Buying. To buy a home, you will need a down payment, which can be difficult for some people to acquire. There’s also the possibility that you may lose money on the home if you have to sell it before you’ve built equity in it or if your local market declines in value. Also, it can take considerable time and money to maintain homes in Brooklyn.

After you’ve considered all the pros and cons, there’s one more tool I recommend to help you make an informed decision: Use a free online rent versus buy calculator.

If you’d like help deciding whether buying or renting is right for you, give me a call today at (718)253-9600 ext 206 or email me at [email protected] I’ll put together some current home prices to help you determine what your house payments would be, and I’ll also help you figure out what you can afford.


Charles D’Alessandro

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Why Get Pre-approved for a Brooklyn Home Loan?

Friday, May 7th, 2010

There are a few things you can do to make the process of buying a new Brooklyn home easier and faster.  Getting pre-approved for financing is one of them.  Here are four advantages of loan pre-approval:

REALTORS® Take You Seriously

When you walk into an agent’s office with pre-approved financing, the agent knows he is not wasting his time showing you homes. If you do not have pre-approved financing be prepared for agents to ask a lot of questions and even possibly request that you get financing in hand. They are not trying to be invasive. They are avoiding “tire kickers” while helping you streamline the process.

Home Sellers Feel More Comfortable Dealing with You

When you have pre-approved financing, sellers are more apt to work with you on price, or other needs, in order to close the deal. They know that there are not going to be contingencies on a loan, or waiting and wondering if you qualify for the loan. They know they don’t have to worry about turning other prospects away and then finding out you haven’t been able to get a loan.

Fast Closings

Getting pre-approved for a loan means no waiting on the biggest of all hurdles before closing.  Other items needed to close on a Brooklyn home purchase usually move quickly, but loan applications can drag out and require setting a closing date far into the future to allow for the time needed.

Less Stress

Above all else, having your financing in hand before you even begin to look for the perfect Brooklyn home makes the entire process less stressful for you. Knowing you have the money to back you up when you find the home of your dreams is much better than finding paradise and having to worry about getting financed and possibly losing it.

If you would like to find out more about pre-approved home loans, I can help. Contact me at 718 253-9600 ext.206 or email me at [email protected]


Charles D’Alessandro

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5 Tips For Selling Your Brooklyn Home on Your Own

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

Sometimes sellers want to try to sell their Brooklyn homes on their own.  That’s called selling your home “For Sale by Owner” or FSBO for short.

If you’d like to give FSBO a try, here are some tips:

1. Prepare your home for sale. Go through your Brooklyn home and make a list of repairs that need to be done. Clean your carpets. Repair the grout in the bathroom. Remove dead plants from your yard. Paint the interior. Wash the windows. Make sure you home looks as good as possible.

2. Choose a fair selling price. Look at what the houses in your area are selling for to get an idea. You should hire a professional appraiser to assess your home. Of course you want to make as much money as possible, but you also have to have a reasonable asking price if you want anyone to look at your home.

3. Advertise your home. Put a sign in your front yard. Create a flyer.  Place your home in MLS (Multiple Listing Service) through a realty service. Post information online. Spread the word to everyone you know. People need to know your home is for sale.

4. Get help with the legal issues. Selling a house involves several legal documents. You need someone to help make sure everything is complete and correct.  If you don’t want to work with a real estate agent, consider hiring a real estate lawyer to handle the paperwork.

5. Know when to ask for help. At some point selling your home on your own may not be a good idea. When you feel like you’re in over your head or just frustration, call a professional.  A good rule of thumb is to try selling your home as a FSBO for 30 days, then reassess.

If you’re ready to get some professional help selling your home, give me a call at (718)253-9600 ext.206 or email me at [email protected]


Charles D’Alessandro

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Brooklyn Real Estate Agents Sell Ugly Houses, Too!

Saturday, May 1st, 2010
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Charles The Brooklyn Realtor

So, you’ve decided you want to sell your house.  You know it qualifies as one of those “ugly houses,” but you don’t want to do any work to your home.  You especially don’t want to do major repairs or updates like replacing all the windows with broken seals

You may think that means real estate agents will not want to list your home for sale.  Think again. Brooklyn real estate agents sell ugly houses, too!

Here’s what you should expect if you have an ugly house that you don’t want to make improvements to:

  • A lower price:  Maybe you don’t have the time, energy, money or know how to make improvements to your home.  That doesn’t mean it won’t sell, it just means the price has to be low enough to convince a buyer that it’s worth the time and money they’ll have to spend to get it into shape.  An experienced Brooklyn real estate agent can do the necessary research to come up with the right price to get your home sold.
  • A smaller number of potential buyers:  In today’s market, most homebuyers are looking for that perfect home.  The one they can move in to without doing any work.  Since your home doesn’t fit that description, you’ll lose those homebuyers.   Typically, homes like this will sell to Brooklyn  real estate investors or buyers who enjoy fixing up houses.
  • A longer time on the market:  Because of the smaller number of potential buyers, it may take a bit longer to sell your home.  Because of the lower price, you’ll probably have several lookers, but getting someone to purchase it will most likely take longer than normal.

Don’t say you’re going to sell your house someday, when you get all the repairs and upgrades completed, if you know in your heart that isn’t reality.  Sometimes it’s worth taking a lower price and moving on.

Whether your home is gorgeous, ugly or somewhere in between, I can help you get it sold.  Give me  a call Charles D’Alessandro your Brooklyn real estate agent with Fillmore Real Estate at 718/253-9600 ext 206 or email me at [email protected],


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