Archive for July, 2010

How to Buy Brooklyn Real Estate after a Previous Bankruptcy

Friday, July 30th, 2010

A past filing of bankruptcy does not mean you can’t buy Brooklyn real estate.  Your real estate agent may be able to help you get a mortgage or find other ways to buy a home, if you do get turned down for a traditional mortgage.

Before you meet with your Brooklyn real estate agent, here are a few ways to prepare:

  • Have a copy of your current bank statement
  • Have written proof of your monthly income
  • Make a list of all your current monthly bills
  • Collect all your recent credit card statements
  • Have a copy of your bankruptcy agreement

Put all this info in a file folder and take it to your meeting.  Your Brooklyn real estate agent will appreciate you doing your homework!

If you have straightened out your credit since the bankruptcy, you are in a much better position to get a mortgage. Hopefully, you are currently paying all your monthly bills on time and rebuilding your credit rating.

The bigger your down payment, the easier it will be to get a mortgage.  So, where can you get money for a down payment?

  • Have you been having money taken out of your checks and put into a savings?
  • Do you have any money market accounts?
  • Do you have money invested in mutual funds?
  • Do you have certificates of deposit about to come due?
  • Will you be receiving a bonus from your employer?
  • How about a friend or relative who would loan you the down payment?

Hopefully, you are now ready to go shopping for your new home. To get started, give me a call today at (718) 253-9600 ext.206 or email me at [email protected]


Charles D’Alessandro

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5 Tips to Creating Stress-Free Brooklyn Homes

Monday, July 26th, 2010

Many people have trouble relaxing, even in their Brooklyn homes. Why?  Frequently, it’s because of too much visual stimuli such as unfinished projects, knickknacks and clutter.

You may think the answer to being able to relax is to move into a “better” home.  However, what usually happens is that you move your unfinished projects and clutter with you.  Instead, if you take the time to get organized, you may find – like many owners who have backed out of a sale – that you don’t need to move, you just need to re-organize.

Take a moment from your busy, stressful life to read these tips and discover how you can improve and de-stress your personal castle:

  1. Add money to your wallet. Unwanted or unused items can be turned into cash. eBay and Craigslist are two heavily-used websites where you can sell your unwanted/unused items.  Make a little cash and clear the clutter.
  1. Be generous. If you don’t want to sell your items, don’t throw them away.  Donate them to places such as Goodwill.  Online, there’s FreeCycle, where you can share your items and give them away to those who really need them.
  1. Keep it clean. Set up a system to decide what to do with mail. Many people end up with piles of mail throughout the house. Rather than letting it pile up, decide the day you get it where that mail goes: trash, take action or file away.
  1. Include your family in the de-clutter process. After all, your spouse and kids live there, too. As well, if others have a chance to give their input, they may be more willing to keep your Brooklyn home organized. Let others in your family have a part in the decision-making process and implementation.
  1. Take stray worry off your mind. You may be subconsciously worried about things in your home. Reduce the potential stress by creating a sense of safety. For instance, make sure your smoke detectors are working, that you have a radon meter (if necessary) and a carbon monoxide detector.

You may be thinking, “Home isn’t what stresses me out.”  Are you sure?  You might be pleasantly surprised how relaxed you’ll be when your home is de-cluttered. Your Brooklyn home can truly become a place where you leave the stress at the door.

If you’re looking for a home to relax in after a hard day, I can help. Call me now at (718) 253-9600 ext 206 or email me at [email protected] for more information.


Charles D’Alessandro

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5 Things I’ve Learned From Brooklyn Real Estate

Thursday, July 22nd, 2010

In my years as a real estate agent, I’ve learned a lot from people and Brooklyn real estate. Oddly enough, the main thing I’ve learned is that homes are a lot like people…

#1. Homes get wrinkles, too. Yes, believe it or not, I’ve seen Brooklyn real estate with sagging plaster, drooping windows and hanging doors. Brand new For Sale signs sit out front, their clean, white sparkle contrasting with the wrinkles. It’s not attractive; the homes may be only ten years old (30 in house years), but they look much older. Be kind to your home – use cosmetic surgery.

#2. There’s cosmetic surgery for homes. Only, in home-speak, it’s called “replacements.” If you notice your home has wrinkles and you want to sell it, see what replacements you can afford. Windows? Check. They’re reasonably affordable on most budgets and can make a huge difference in how the house looks. Hanging doors? Check. Not as affordable as windows, but still doable. With $10,000 or less, YOU can give your home a major facelift.

#3. Homes get tired. Have you looked around your house lately? This is one of the first things you want to do before putting it on the Brooklyn real estate market. Is your home tired and worn out? Even relatively young homes can show signs of energy-deficiency. Cabinets start sagging. Doors groan and sigh when you open them. Windows refuse to stay open all the way and slowly slide back down in the tracks. Give your home an energy boost.  Even a little WD40 can make a difference, especially on groaning doors.

#4. Homes can go bald and get age spots. It’s true, they can. What used to be a bright red roof has faded and peeled in places, giving the home an “aged” look. The real kicker is, to keep it bright and pretty, you have to maintain it, dye it or replace it. Take care of your home’s head!

#5. Homes need TLC. To stay happy and healthy, homes need tender loving care. With a steady diet of maintenance, touchups and cosmetic surgery, your house will find a happy home with a good buyer.

Now, maybe it seems a little silly, and maybe it is, but all the above is true. If you’re selling your home, make sure it stands proud above the rest!

Are you looking for a buyer who will care for your home? I can help. Call Charles D’Alessandro @  Fillmore Real Estate now at (718) 253-9600 ext 206 or email me at [email protected] for more information.


Charles D’Alessandro

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Brooklyn Real Estate Blog Preparing Brooklyn Homes for Quick Sale

Preparing Brooklyn Homes for Quick Sale

Sunday, July 18th, 2010

For homeowners getting ready to put their Brooklyn homes on the market, here are a few stunningly-easy tips to help get your home sold faster and maybe even for more money.

Keep in mind that your prospective buyers will most likely be viewing several Brooklyn homes on the same day as your showing. The emotional elements you include will have a profound impact on their memory, and will make your home standout when they review what they’ve seen with their agents at day’s end.

Preparing your home for the perfect showing is essential and comprises three basic elements that will make your home sparkle.

Atmosphere

  • Soft classical music
  • Simmering potpourri
  • Bake an apple pie in the oven.  Or, if you have a bread machine, bake bread.
  • Well-lit rooms and inviting indirect lighting
  • Air conditioning or heating set at a comfortable temperature

Decorations

  • Garden-fresh bouquet of flowers near the entrance or on the kitchen table
  • Fresh neutral-colored paint and cleaned or new carpet
  • Remove family photos or personal items (allows buyer to imagine it is their home)

Cleanliness

  • Meticulously spotless kitchen and bath
  • Walls washed and spackled as needed
  • No clutter whatsoever (uncluttered rooms look larger)
  • No pets – kennel them if needed (buyer may be allergic)
  • Clean closets (yes, people peek in your closets)

Remember it’s the little things in life that matter, and the same is absolutely true when it comes to a buyer looking for a place to call home-sweet-home.

For more ideas on how to sell fast and make the most from the sale of your Brooklyn home, call me today at (718) 253-9600 ext.206 or email me at [email protected]


Charles D’Alessandro

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Brooklyn Real Estate Seller Strategies 101: Common Sense Curb Appeal

Thursday, July 15th, 2010


Advice for home sellers is everywhere!  Turn on the TV, radio, or computer and you’re practically bombarded with ideas on how to prepare your Brooklyn real estate to get it sold.

Curb Appeal: It’s Elementary, My Dear Watson

Sometimes the simplest solution is right under your nose.  Sure, renovations, additions, upgrades and updates are great—and should not be overlooked. But common sense says buyers make their first judgment of homes for sale based on the homes’ exterior.

Increasingly Discerning Buyers in Today’s Brooklyn Real Estate Market

Today’s real estate market is challenging for sellers, all the more reason why every little detail matters. Buyers know they are in a strong buyer’s market and literally won’t put up with any rubbish, when window shopping for homes.

Before a potential buyer even considers stepping a foot inside your home, they want to see curb appeal—and not just any curb appeal, mind you. The discerning home buyer of today wants everything “just so.”

Here’s what buyers are looking for:

  • Precision lawn care: That means weekly mowing and edging in the warm months and snow or ice removal in the cold months.  The perfect lawn features mowing done in precise straight lines resulting in a very symmetrical, uniform look.  Don’t forget to trim around the driveway, stones, garden, trees, and especially the sidewalk.
  • No junk lying around: Pack rats, you know who you are!  Put things in storage.  Don’t have an RV blocking your driveway or bikes and toys strewn everywhere.
  • Beautify: Pick up leaves, weeds, branches and other debris.  Plant beautiful flowers.  You can even buy pre-bloomed flowers and replant.
  • Splash o’ Color: Paint the house, garage, doors and shutters in neutral, updated colors.
  • Fix and Re-Finish: Wooden decks and porch railings should be in tip-top shape.

Shoot for Showroom Shine

Just imagine that you are trying to win a contest for best looking home in the area. Think model-home quality.

You’ve got a Friend!

To help you get the most out of your precious Brooklyn real estate, I’m here for you.  Give me a call today at (718)253-9600 ext.206 or email me at [email protected]


Charles D’Alessandro

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Brooklyn Condos vs. Houses: Which Should You Choose?

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

Brooklyn condos or houses:  that is the question!

You may be thinking of getting a home but wondering how much space you really need. If you opt to look at houses, your choices are vast.  Houses, both large and small, are abundant in today’s real estate market.

Even though Brooklyn condos are typically smaller than most houses, there are large condos available (even condos larger than houses).  And, just like traditional houses, there are a lot of condos available in this buyer’s market.

So, how do you choose?  Your selection should be based on your current and near-future needs.

Let’s demystify the differences and clarify your selection:

  • Space: Is your family large?  Are you planning to add many more?  Do you work from home?  Consider your plans for the next 5 to 7 years, and buy the size that fits those needs.
  • Price: Condos can be more affordable, especially the smaller ones.  But, with condos you have to pay condo association fees.
  • Location: If you want a condo with a great view, close to work, for example, prepare for a premium.  Conversely, many homes with great yards and neighborhoods are quite affordable.  Not choosy?  Competitive pricing awaits you with either choice!
  • Luxury: Lavish Brooklyn condos, much like ideally-located ones, are often steeply-priced.  Luxury houses are expensive, too.  The good news is that whichever style of housing you choose, you’ll find luxurious versions.
  • Availability: There are typically more houses on the market than condos, so, in general, your selection is greater with houses.
  • Privacy: Houses typically offer more in the way of privacy.   But, the trade off is that you also have more responsibilities and maintenance when you own a house.  Want a care-free, low-maintenance lifestyle?  A condo may be your best bet.
  • Acreage: If a smaller yard (or no yard) doesn’t bother you, a condo can offer excellent square footage and lower payments.  Looking for land?  A home is your best way to go.

Still Unsure?

I’d love to assist in your juggling act.  Call me at (718) 253-9600 ext 206 or email me at [email protected] and together we’ll find the perfect home to fit your budget and lifestyle.


Charles D’Alessandro

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Should You Stay in Your Brooklyn Home or Should You Go?

Friday, July 9th, 2010

Have you ever seen a child right after a huge chewing gum bubble pops on his face? A mess everywhere, eyes wide, mouth in an “O” – rather reminiscent of the real estate industry when its own bubble popped. Homeowners panicked and began trying to sell their Brooklyn homes.

As more pushed to unload the instantly unwanted “step child” of homeownership, the real estate market became glutted, resulting in lower sales prices. Two years later, some owners are still trying to sell their Brooklyn homes, still panicking, and still worried about what the future will bring. However, you might be like some homeowners, who are indecisive about selling their homes or who realize they don’t really want to sell.

Stop.

Take a deep breath.

Quit worrying for a moment and ask yourself… Why am I selling?

There are good reasons to sell:

  • Your house has become hard to afford.
  • You’re getting older and need to move somewhere that doesn’t take as much maintenance.
  • You need to relocate for your job.

But there are a lot of not-so-good reasons to sell:

  • You’ve read so much about people who have been unable to sell their homes that you became alarmed and put yours on the market “just in case” you want to sell it later.
  • You’re simply tired of your home.  If that’s the case, all you actually need to do is update or redecorate your home to make it sparkle again.
  • You’d just like to see what you can get for your home.

It may seem strange for a real estate agent to speak against selling Brooklyn homes. However, my first motivation is always doing what’s best for my client, including giving them the best advice I can. So, I urge you to take a moment and think about it:  do you really need to sell your home now?

Even if your home has lost some of its value, there are many ways that your home is still very valuable:

  • Building credit – Home ownership is still a good way to build credit. With good credit you can borrow for other major expenses, such as a new car.
  • Building equity – The average home equity for the U.S. is approximately $38,000. When you consider how much your home costs, that may not seem like much. However, when you are ready to sell, that equity will be there to put toward your next home purchase or your retirement savings.
  • Living well – There’s a reason why homeownership is still called the American Dream.  It simply feels good to live in a home you love.  That you can decorate any way you want.  A home that’s your very own.

Now think about why you bought your home in the first place. Do the things still exist that made you value the home enough to buy it?  If yes, maybe you should stay.

If you do need (or want) to sell your home, I can help. Call me today at (718) 253-9600 ext 206 or email me at [email protected]] for more information.


Charles D’Alessandro

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Remodeling Your Brooklyn Home for Sale: Cost vs. Value

Thursday, July 8th, 2010

When considering a remodeling job for your Brooklyn home for sale in an effort to increase value, it’s hard to decide what should be done. Well, this isn’t exactly true.  If your carpet is old, matted and outdated, for instance, you might want to start there. Grungy wooden kitchen cabinets? That’s another starting place.

However, if your Brooklyn home for sale is in darn good condition (if you do say so yourself) and you’re not being noticed by buyers, you just might be asking, “What can I do to improve?”

Well, for frustrated, confused homeowners, there is good news. You don’t have to guess. Twenty-two years ago, Remodeling magazine, with cooperation from REALTOR® Magazine, began publishing an annual “Cost vs. Value Report.” This report covers 33 possible home remodeling projects over 80 cities.

The recouped cost for many of these projects has been slowly declining since 2006 or, in some cases, rapidly dropping. However, the recently released 2009-10 Cost vs. Value Report for home remodeling shows some surprising increases.

If you just look at the trends from 2008-09 to 2009-10, you might think any type of addition or change would be a waste of money. When looking over the report, though, pay attention to the recouped cost. For instance, a little red arrow says a wooden deck addition is dropping in resale value, while the recouped cost is still 80.6%. Not bad in a hard buyer’s market.

If you don’t want to look at the report, I understand – it’s a lot of numbers. So, I’ve summarized some of the important bits for you:

Recouped cost of 75% or above

  • Attic bedroom – 83% (up from 2008)
  • Basement remodel – 75.4% (up)
  • Wooden deck addition – 80.6% (up)
  • Steel entry door replacement – 128.9% (up)
  • Minor kitchen remodel – 78.3% (down)
  • Vinyl siding replacement – 79.9% (down)
  • Vinyl window replacement – 76.6% (down)
  • Foam-backed vinyl siding replacement – 79.0% (down)
  • Fiber-cement siding replacement – 83.6% (down)
  • Vinyl window replacement – 76.5% (down)

Rising Trends from 2008 – 2009/10

  • Fiberglass grand entrance
  • Roofing replacement
  • Steel entry door replacement
  • Fiberglass entry door replacement
  • Basement remodel
  • Backup power generator
  • Attic bedroom

So, where will you get the best bang for your buck for home remodeling? The trends say replacements. Buyers want security (steel doors), shelter (roofing) and energy savers (windows). They want the exterior to look good for less work (siding) and maybe an extra guest or child bedroom (attic). The great thing for you is:  they’re willing to pay for it.

If you’re still wondering whether you’re remodeling the right area of your Brooklyn home for sale, read the report.

If you’d like to sell your home or are looking for a new home that’s already been remodeled (or that you can remodel), I can help. Call me today at (718) 253-9600 ext 206 or email me at [email protected] for more information.


Charles D’Alessandro

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4 Tips for Buying Brooklyn Homes for Sale

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

We, meaning the real estate industry, say, “It’s a buyer’s market!”  Buyers think that means that deals are available out in the big wide world of Brooklyn homes for sale. Although that’s true, it’s not the whole truth. The whole truth is that money pits, bad deals and half-hearted sellers still exist. Without careful consideration, you may not get the deal you expected.

If you’re in the market for one of the Brooklyn homes for sale, follow these tips to help you get a great deal:

  1. Go back to school. In other words, do your homework. Yes, due to the buyer’s market, you have an advantage, but you still need to do your research.  Talk with a real estate agent who specializes in the area and look at the prices of homes sold within the past year. The main point of the research is to find out how much homes are actually selling for in the area in which you want to live, and to determine if you can afford to buy there.
  1. Line up the home team. Be prepared to jump on a deal as soon as you find it. Get pre-approved for a mortgage. Gather your real estate agent, home inspector and insurance agent. By having this team of real estate professionals on hand, the transaction will be smoother and faster.
  1. Look for motivation. There are motivated sellers and not-so-motivated sellers who just “think” they “might” want to sell if “the right buyer” comes along (quotes are so handy, aren’t they?). You don’t have to guess which is which, however. Has the price been reduced? Is the home vacant? These clues lead to a motivated seller, willing to genuinely negotiate to get the home sold.

  1. Don’t buy angry. One of the worst mistakes a buyer can do is to get into a war with the home seller. Emotions grab hold and you find yourself in a fierce competition based on who’s going to WIN WIN WIN! If you find yourself in this situation, learn how to negotiate and listen to your real estate agent’s advice. If you don’t, your great deal can turn into a big mess.

There are plenty of Brooklyn homes for sale out there and great deals to be had, but being cautious is the best way to get the best deal.

Are you a motivated seller or a buyer looking for a great deal? I can help. Call me now at (718) 253-9600 ext.206 or email me at [email protected] to get started!


Charles D’Alessandro

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I’ll Sell My Own Brooklyn Real Estate, Thanks

Monday, July 5th, 2010

As I’m sure you know, the real estate industry is in a down market, and the last thing you want to do is pay commission to a Brooklyn real estate agent. Not to mention that you’re almost positive you can sell your home just fine on your own. Before sticking a “For Sale by Owner” sign up, however, make sure you’re ready for the work and headaches.

  • Time. Yes, you can sell your Brooklyn real estate on your own without the help of an agent, but it takes a lot of preparation and time. How much is your time worth and how much time do you have? Before you step out on your own, make sure you can afford the time and energy investment.
  • Extra services for better value. You’ll lose out on a wide variety of services offered by real estate agents.  For example, many agents now provide home staging services as well as extensive advertising and marketing services both online and off.
  • Dealing with the legalities. Selling a home involves contracts, closings and a multitude of legal issues that can make or break a sale. Real estate transactions have occasionally led to outcomes that were unexpected, including lawsuits. A professional helps ensure that the contracts are legally sound and binding.

  • Knowing the market. Real estate agents have instant access to current market information. We can find an accurate selling range within minutes. Since the real estate market constantly fluctuates, it’s important to know what area homes sell for before pricing your own. Otherwise, your risk underselling or overpricing your home.

These are just a few points. You also need exposure to buyers, experience with legal contracts and excellent negotiating skills.  Can you sell your own Brooklyn real estate? Yes, but can you really afford to?

If you’re trying to sell your home and need professional expertise, 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
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