Archive for August, 2010

3 Tips to Protect Yourself from National and Brooklyn Real Estate Fraud

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

A little-known tool that I use to keep updated on national and Brooklyn real estate news is Google Alerts. It’s a handy tool. A few days ago, Google Alerts sent me a list of online links, along with one talking about an individual being indicted for real estate fraud. Today, I received another Alert with a link to real estate fraud. Unfortunately, it turned out to be another case, rather than the same one.

I love being a  Brooklyn real estate represenative. I enjoy being able to help home sellers find buyers, and buyers find their dream homes. With all those trying to sell homes, buy homes or keep the homes they have, I get angry when I see reports of fraud like these:

  • On June 18, 2010, Sacramento Today reported that two individuals were arrested for six counts of real estate fraud, pretending to be licensed with the Department of Real Estate.
  • On July 8, 2010, Fraud News reported that three individuals in New York were found guilty of real estate fraud to the tune of $23 million.

It’s become enough of a major issue, in fact, that the IRS has created a page on their website specifically for information on real estate and mortgage fraud.

Your home is too precious to risk with these con-artists. Don’t take a chance on giving away your savings or your house. The following tips, while few in number, can help ensure that the home you buy is a home you get to keep:

Tip #1: Research potential real estate agents or agency.

Don’t just ask about their credentials, because credentials can be faked. Ask for their client lists. Contact those clients personally to discuss their experiences with the real estate agents. When you do look at their credentials, take it one step further and check with their real estate boards. Are they actually members? Interview them and gather as much information as you can before hiring anyone to sell or find you a home.

Tip #2: Verify details with your lender.

Many agents do the paperwork for you. In fact, it’s one of the big selling points of having an agent. However, an unscrupulous person may provide your lender with a fraudulent amount for the selling price. Before signing any deal, check with your lender and verify the details. Talk with them face to face, if possible, rather than on the phone.  Read everything before signing.

Tip #3: Never use an agent who will “fudge the facts.”

Some agents may be willing to adjust your qualifications to help you get a loan. While this might sound like a great deal if you have a bad credit history, consider this: if an agent is willing to adjust this part, what else are they willing to adjust that they may not tell you about?

While owning Brooklyn real estate can be a dream come true, not doing your homework can turn it into a nightmare. Be careful and, if you suspect fraud, report it!

If you’re trying to sell or buy a home and want a reputable agent, I’d like to apply for the job. Call me at (718) 253-9600 ext 206 or email me at [email protected] to schedule an interview.

Charles D’Alessandro

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

4 Reasons to List Your FSBO with a Brooklyn Real Estate Agent

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

Going it alone and listing your home as for sale by owner can be exciting at first, but there is a turning point where the prospect of losing money makes it necessary to bring in help. Here are four reasons to change your plan and list your home with a Brooklyn real estate agent in order to facilitate a sale.

  1. 1. Speed: If your property has been languishing on the market for more than three months, it is no longer fresh. People will avoid it simply because it hasn’t sold. A Brooklyn real estate agent can give your home wider exposure and get traffic moving through it again.
  2. 2. Knowledge: Fresh eyes on a project are helpful in any business endeavor. You can be too close to your home. You love it and see it in a positive light that can often overlook minor items that will kill a sale. Your Brooklyn real estate agent can help you see the problems you didn’t even know existed.
  3. 3. National Exposure: As a FSBO (for sale by owner) seller, you are not able to list your home on the official MLS (multiple listing service). That exposure alone can get much faster responses and sales. Additionally, a professional real estate agent markets your home on multiple websites which gives your home a virtual Open House 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  4. 4. An Earthly Advantage: Many FSBOs price their homes way over market for two reasons.  First, they love their home and see certain aspects of their home as more valuable than they really are.  Second, they don’t have extensive knowledge of the real estate market nor do they have the ability to do accurate home price comparisons. You ‘might’ know what your neighbor’s house sold for 5 years ago, but do you know what it is worth now?  And even more importantly, do you know exactly how comparable your house is to that one? A professional real estate agent has access to all that information.

If you would like to know more about how a professional real estate agent can help you sell yourBrooklyn home, I can help.  Give  Charles D’Alessandro of Fillmore Real Estate a call today at 9718) 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

The FSBO Mindset: Successful Ways to Sell Your Brooklyn Real Estate

Saturday, August 21st, 2010

When you first set out to sell your home, you are probably excited by all the possibilities, maybe a little scared, and often thinking about the best ways to save money. Many times saving money when selling Brooklyn real estate means trying to sell it as a FSBO (For Sale By Owner). If you have the conviction, the salesmanship, and the know how you might be able to sell your home yourself and keep the commission in your pocket. There are, however, a few key elements you should be aware of when attempting to sell your own home.

Your House—Not Your Home

The first trick of selling your own home is to immediately stop thinking about it as your home. It may seem like an insignificant change and purely a matter of semantics but as your ‘home’ you will have far less ability to coldly asses its value than simply as a piece of  Brooklyn real estate—a house.

As a ‘home’ it will be harder to handle rejection, off-handed comments by viewers, and a feeling of general violation as strangers traipse through your rooms at all hours of the day interrupting your home life. As a house it is simply a piece of property you have to move. Thinking about your property as just a house, a structure you need to get rid of, will help you detach emotionally enough to have realistic expectations and the ability to handle the stress of selling.

Be Realistic

Carefully assess the value of your Brooklyn real estate. Check out the competition. Know what others have to offer in your same neighborhood and what their prices are.

Prepare and Market

Get rid of personal items. Put them in storage. Eliminate all the clutter of everyday living and make your home sparkle. Also remember that no one will be viewing your house if they don’t know it’s for sale. Get the word out in as many ways as possible.

If you would like help selling your Brooklyn home, give me a call 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

Economy Bringing Families Closer Together in Brooklyn Homes

Sunday, August 15th, 2010

Economy Bringing Brooklyn Families Together

Although the economy has been a catalyst for many issues, some of the trickle-down effects have had positive effects on Brooklyn New York homes. One of the most notable is that families are drawing closer together.

Over the past thirty to forty years, the “steps” to take for growing up were always one, grow up and two, move out. Few parents ever considered that their now adult children might be moving back in to their quiet, empty Brooklyn homes. However, with the economic problems hitting millions of Americans, the number of multi-generational households is growing.

During the Great Recession and more specifically in 1940, approximately 25% of households were multi-generational. Homes often held children, grandchildren, and sometimes even great grandchildren – four familial generations. However, as the U.S. economy began to prosper and the baby boomer generation grew into adults, more homes became single family households. By 1980, only 12.1% of homes held more than one generation.

Now, the percentages are once again beginning to climb. Loss of jobs, foreclosed homes and lack of security has contributed to approximately 49 million Americans, or 16.1%, living in multi-generational homes. While this is far from ideal for those in a hurry to leave the nest, the benefits are many.

I once asked a single mother what it was like moving back in with her parents.  She said, “It was hard at first, redefining the boundaries, but having my parents around has been a blessing in disguise. My kids have a stabilizing influence and extra attention, while I get occasional breaks that I normally wouldn’t get. We eat dinner together too, which helps build the family atmosphere for my kids. It’s not all smiles and roses, there’s a lot of compromise, but it works.”

For those who have been thinking about letting your family move in to your Brooklyn home, try to consider more than just the negatives. Look at the positives as well.  And what could be more positive than closer family ties?

Whether you need to upgrade your Brooklyn New York home to a bigger family home or downgrade to a smaller one, I can help. Charles D’Alessandro your Brooklyn Realtor® with 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

Rising Trend Points a Way to Keep Your Brooklyn Home

Saturday, August 14th, 2010

According to RealtyTrac, 1 in 70 homes have received foreclosures notices since January, 2010 – a total of 1.7 million houses in the U.S. Was your Brooklyn home one of them? In previous blogs, we’ve covered several ways to avoid foreclosure, but a rising trend has brought another possibility to the forefront.

According to a recent Pew Research Center study, many individuals are surviving the economic blues by expanding their households. By the end of 2008, more than 16%, or 49 million, of Americans lived in a household with more than one generation. Although the statistics aren’t back yet for 2009 -2010, experts expect the numbers to be even higher.

These Americans aren’t all young college graduates moving back in with mom and dad, either. Parents have moved in with children, children with parents – somehow, even siblings have managed to live together in relative harmony. This trend spans across the board from single parents to elderly grandparents. According to the report, approximately one in five adults ages 25 to 34 and 65 + live in a multi-generational home.

Are you suggesting I let family members move in?

Actually, yes I am. Now, depending on your family dynamics, I realize this might be the equivalent of inviting World War III to your doorstep. However, if you face losing your Brooklyn home to foreclosure, you might at least stop to consider the possibilities. For instance:

  • More working people in the household means more ability to pay the mortgage and stop the foreclosure.
  • With more family members, you have a stronger family influence on children living in the home.
  • With more people, responsibility is shared more.  You won’t need to do everything on your own.

No, it’s not an ideal situation. However, if you’ve said, “I’d do anything to keep my home,” did you mean it? Does the definition of “anything” include family World War III? Could you sit down with your family members, work out a set of compromises and live in harmony? If you’ve tried everything else, this may be your best bet for avoiding foreclosure on your Brooklyn home.

You never know; you may even come to like it.

If you’re looking for a home to support a multi-generational household, 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

Downsizing Your Demands for a Home for Sale in Brooklyn

Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

Are you tired of looking for a home for sale in Brooklyn ? Have you found any that had everything you wanted, but cost too much? Are you dissatisfied with the selection?

A while back, I had a buyer tell me he didn’t want to spend more than $300,000 on a home for sale in Brooklyn. He gave me a long list of features he felt the house must have – a pool, a big kitchen for his wife, four bedrooms, etc. With it being his market (a buyer’s market), he said, I should have no problems finding a home with those qualifications and that price. He refused to budge on any of it. That buyer is no longer my customer.

You May Have to Compromise

The buyer had read tons of material about it being a buyer’s market. Prices, while not particularly great for the sellers, are great for the buyers. “Thar’s gold in them thar hills.” In other words, there are deals to be had.

It’s all true, but there are limitations to what your money can buy, even now. If you’re getting frustrated due to a lack of fully automated homes with pools and fallout shelters for $35,000, it’s time to ask yourself, “Do I really need a pool?”

Okay, so that’s an exaggeration, but there is a legitimate question in all this. Can you compromise? If you want a pool, can you buy a home with a big backyard where a pool can be built later? Do you have to have a pool right now?

Consider that a home is a long-term acquirement. Think about what you want versus what you need. For example, maybe you want a big kitchen. What you’ve found are smaller kitchens with big dining rooms. Can the two rooms be opened up to create a dining/cooking area? Again, can you compromise?

Before you go house hunting again, examine your expectations. Are they realistic? If not, create a list of needs, and then create a list of wants. Think about where you can compromise on the two lists. Of course, you should be able to get some of your “wants,” but you may not be able to get all of them.

When you look at a home for sale in Brooklyn that you can afford, also look at the possibilities. Can the affordable home be remodeled over time into the dream home you want?

If you’re looking for a Brooklyn home with great potential, I can help. Call me 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

3 Things You Need to Know About the Mortgage Payment for Your Brooklyn Home

Monday, August 9th, 2010

When you look for a mortgage, you want to find one that allows you to buy the biggest house possible for a monthly payment you can afford. This seems simple enough. All you need to do is a little division to determine your monthly payment.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the entire picture of your monthly mortgage payment, and lenders don’t always explain this to you. Here are three things you need to know about your monthly mortgage payment for your new Brooklyn home:

  1. Interest and Principal. Only part of your monthly mortgage payment actually pays down your loan. A portion of your mortgage payment goes toward your loan principal and part of it pays the interest. The longer you have your loan, the more money goes toward your principal. Be aware that at the beginning of your loan term, most of your payment goes toward interest and does little to reduce the amount of money you owe on your home.
  2. Homeowner’s Insurance and PMI. Typically, your lender collects money to pay your homeowner’s insurance premium. This increases the amount of your monthly payment and can change if your insurance company raises or lowers premiums. Depending on your loan amount and property value, you may also have to pay private mortgage insurance (PMI) which protects a lender against loss if you default on your loan.
  3. Property Taxes. In most cases, your annual property taxes will be paid through your lender. The lender collects extra money each month that they pay to your local government at the end of the year. When local taxes increase or decrease, so does your payment.

Call me today at (718) 253-9600 ext.206 or email me at [email protected] to help you find the home (and mortgage provider) of your dreams.

Charles D’Alessandro

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

Owe More than Your Brooklyn Home is Worth?

Sunday, August 8th, 2010

Owe More than Your Brooklyn Home is Worth?

If you’re a homeowner who is unable to refinance to a lower interest rate because your Brooklyn home’s value has decreased, there’s hope.

A program called the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) has been extended for another year.  This program, intended to help borrowers whose homes have fallen in value, was due to expire as of June, 2010.  Fortunately, HARP has been extended and will now stay in effect through June 30, 2011.

How does HARP help?

The program allows qualified borrowers who owe more than their homes are worth to refinance at lower interest rates.  It’s projected to help 4 to 5 million homeowners with loans owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

If you’re a Brooklyn home owner whose mortgage interest rate is significantly higher than the current market rate, you could see an immediate reduction in your payments.  However, some homeowners may not see their interest payments go down if they refinance to a fixed rate and payment.  Those include homeowners who are:

·        paying interest only

·        have a low introductory rate that will increase in the future

·        face a balloon payment

If you are one of these homeowners, you should still consider refinancing because it could save you a great deal of money by reducing the amount of interest you pay over the life of your mortgage.

Who qualifies for HARP?

You may qualify if:

  • You own and live in your home.
  • The loan on your home is owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.
  • When you apply, you are current on your mortgage payments.
  • The amount you owe on your mortgage does not exceed 125% of the current market value of your property.
  • You’re able to pay the new mortgage payments.
  • The refinance improves your ability to pay your mortgage long term.

If you have questions about HARP or any other  questions,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]

Charles D’Alessandro

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

10 Things to Do While Waiting for Your Brooklyn Home to Sell

Monday, August 2nd, 2010

Selling a home is sometimes a long process. You can sit around worrying and wondering when you’ll have a buyer, or you can get busy to help the time fly.  Here are 10 things to do while waiting for your Brooklyn home to sell:

  1. Clean. I’m sure you’ve already cleaned every part of your Brooklyn home to prepare it for sale. Make a game of it this time.  Time yourself to see how fast you can clean one room or one drawer.  Or, take out every type of cleaner you have and use it in each room.
  2. Plant a container garden. The best part of a container garden is that you can take it with you. Plant some herbs or easy to grow vegetable plants, like tomatoes or cucumbers.
  3. Sort through your magazines. Now you have the time to read all those magazine articles you’ve been saving.  Cut out coupons and recipes.  Send articles to your friends to let them know you’re thinking of them.  Throw out the magazines when you’re finished.
  4. Clear the pantry and freezer. You don’t want to take all your excess food with you when you move. Clean out the pantry, and donate supplies to your local homeless shelter or food pantry.  Eat something from your freezer every day until it’s all gone.
  5. De-clutter and eliminate. Clean out your makeup stash. Weed through the kids’ toy box. Do any small task that will lighten your moving load.  Ask yourself, do I really want to pack this item, move it and then unpack it?  If the answer is no, pitch it or give it away.
  6. Finish crafts. Go ahead and finish the quilt or scrapbook you’ve been working on. This will help clean out your craft closet and will make packing your craft supplies that much easier.
  7. Empty your medicine cabinet. Do you really need that bottle of medication from your surgery 12 years ago? Toss anything that’s out of date or that you no longer need to keep.
  8. Save your digital photos to a disk. Choose only the photos you want to keep and save them to a CD or flash drive. You never know when your computer is going to crash.
  9. Have a yard sale. You need to clean out your closets anyway. You might as well make some money off the items.

10.  Throw a barbeque. Take the proceeds of your yard sale and have a barbeque for you and your neighbors. Think of this as a going away party.

Take advantage of the time you have while waiting for your Brooklyn home to sell.

Need help selling your home?  Call me 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