Archive for December, 2010

Do You Consider Brooklyn Real Estate a House or Your Home?

Wednesday, December 29th, 2010

As a life time Brooklynite I have seen times change, but not always for the best.  Consider the change we’ve seen in attitudes toward Brooklyn real estate over the last few decades.

Brooklyn Home Owners used to love their homes because they were their safe havens.  Many now only worry about whether or not their houses will appreciate enough in value to allow them to upgrade to McMansions or refinance to buy luxury vacations in Hawaii.

What’s your stance on the Brooklyn real estate you own or wish to own some day?   Is it a house or a home to you?  There’s no right or wrong answer to this question, simply a varying point of view.

It’s a house if you:

  • Bought it because you want to build equity
  • Value it most because of its monetary value
  • Worry primarily about it because it might lose some of its value in today’s market
  • Appreciate it if it gives you short term profit
  • Like the Brooklyn neighborhood because it increases the Market value of your property
  • Plan to sell when you can make the biggest profit

It’s a home if you:

  • Bought it because you want to build a happy life there
  • Value it most because of its emotional value
  • Worry primarily about it because without it you wouldn’t have a roof over your head
  • Appreciate it if it gives you long term profit
  • Like the neighborhood because of the people who live there
  • Plan to sell when your lifestyle needs change

Personally, I’m nostalgic for the days when a house was called a home because of the love that was inside.

Whether you’re interested in buying Brooklyn real estate as an investment or as a home to raise your family, I can help you achieve your goals.  Give me a call today ask for Charles D’Alessandro your Fillmore  Agent (718) 253-9600 ext 206 or email me at [email protected]

Brooklyn Home for the Holidays: Keep it Simple

Friday, December 17th, 2010

Unless elaborate decorations, gourmet food and mountains of mess are your idea of fun, I have some suggestions for you on how to make your holidays simpler and less stressful this year.

Use Fewer Decorations in Your Brooklyn Home

While National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is a fun holiday movie to watch, keeping up with the Griswolds isn’t something you should aspire to. If you’re not sure what to eliminate from your heap of holiday decorations, here are a few tips:

  • If it flashes or makes a noise, just say no.  Decorations like that increase stress.
  • Display only your most treasured items.
  • This year’s mantra should be “less is more.”
  • Decorate only those rooms in your Brooklyn home that are used during celebrations.
  • Instead of filling every inch of a room with decorations, use fewer items and group them in noticeable spots around the room.

Spending less time decorating your Brooklyn home gives you more time for your friends and family.  It also means wasting less time after the holidays putting away all those decorations.

Entertain Simply

It’s not necessary to spend a lot of money on food or entertainment in order to have a good time.  Some of my most enjoyable gatherings were spent listening to holiday music, playing games and eating a bowl of popcorn with friends and family.

Here are few more ideas to make entertaining easier:

  • Don’t cook all the food yourself.  Host a potluck party or pick up already prepared food from your local grocery store.
  • Reduce the number of guests.  Do you really need to invite the entire neighborhood?  Invite only those few who you sincerely want to spend some time visiting with.
  • Send electronic invitations. It’s free, fast, easy and fun.

The holidays aren’t about your house, food or furniture. They’re about your heart.  Open your heart, relax and truly enjoy your loved ones this holiday season.  Happy Holidays!

Why Use a REALTOR®?

Monday, December 13th, 2010

All real estate licensees are not the same. Only real estate licensees who are members of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® are properly called REALTORS®. They proudly display the REALTOR “®” logo on the business card or other marketing and sales literature. REALTORS® are committed to treat all parties to a transaction honestly. REALTORS® subscribe to a strict code of ethics and are expected to maintain a higher level of knowledge of the process of buying and selling real estate. An independent survey reports that 84% of home buyers would use the same REALTOR® again.

Real estate transactions involve one of the biggest financial investments most people experience in their lifetime. Transactions today usually exceed $100,000. If you had a $100,000 income tax problem, would you attempt to deal with it without the help of a CPA? If you had a $100,000 legal question, would you deal with it without the help of an attorney? Considering the small upside cost and the large downside risk, it would be foolish to consider a deal in real estate without the professional assistance of a REALTOR®.

But if you’re still not convinced of the value of a REALTOR®, here are a dozen more reasons to use one:

1. Your REALTOR® can help you determine your buying power — that is, your financial reserves plus your borrowing capacity. If you give a REALTOR® some basic information about your available savings, income and current debt, he or she can refer you to lenders best qualified to help you. Most lenders — banks and mortgage companies — offer limited choices.

2. Your REALTOR® has many resources to assist you in your home search. Sometimes the property you are seeking is available but not actively advertised in the market, and it will take some investigation by your agent to find all available properties.

3. Your REALTOR® can assist you in the selection process by providing objective information about each property. Agents who are REALTORS® have access to a variety of informational resources. REALTORS® can provide local community information on utilities, zoning. schools, etc. There are two things you’ll want to know. First, will the property provide the environment I want for a home or investment? Second, will the property have resale value when I am ready to sell?

4. Your REALTOR® can help you negotiate. There are myriad negotiating factors, including but not limited to price, financing, terms, date of possession and often the inclusion or exclusion of repairs and furnishings or equipment. The purchase agreement should provide a period of time for you to complete appropriate inspections and investigations of the property before you are bound to complete the purchase. Your agent can advise you as to which investigations and inspections are recommended or required.

5. Your REALTOR® provides due diligence during the evaluation of the property. Depending on the area and property, this could include inspections for termites, dry rot, asbestos, faulty structure, roof condition, septic tank and well tests, just to name a few. Your REALTOR® can assist you in finding qualified responsible professionals to do most of these investigations and provide you with written reports. You will also want to see a preliminary report on the title of the property. Title indicates ownership of property and can be mired in confusing status of past owners or rights of access. The title to most properties will have some limitations; for example, easements (access rights) for utilities. Your REALTOR®, title company or attorney can help you resolve issues that might cause problems at a later date.

6. Your REALTOR® can help you in understanding different financing options and in identifying qualified lenders.

7. Your REALTOR® can guide you through the closing process and make sure everything flows together smoothly.

8. When selling your home, your REALTOR® can give you up-to-date information on what is happening in the marketplace and the price, financing, terms and condition of competing properties. These are key factors in getting your property sold at the best price, quickly and with minimum hassle.

9. Your REALTOR® markets your property to other real estate agents and the public. Often, your REALTOR® can recommend repairs or cosmetic work that will significantly enhance the salability of your property. Your REALTOR® markets your property to other real estate agents and the public. In many markets across the country, over 50% of real estate sales are cooperative sales; that is, a real estate agent other than yours brings in the buyer. Your REALTOR® acts as the marketing coordinator, disbursing information about your property to other real estate agents through a Multiple Listing Service or other cooperative marketing networks, open houses for agents, etc. The REALTOR® Code of Ethics requires REALTORS® to utilize these cooperative relationships when they benefit their clients.

10. Your REALTOR® will know when, where and how to advertise your property. There is a misconception that advertising sells real estate. The NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® studies show that 82% of real estate sales are the result of agent contacts through previous clients, referrals, friends, family and personal contacts. When a property is marketed with the help of your REALTOR®, you do not have to allow strangers into your home. Your REALTOR® will generally prescreen and accompany qualified prospects through your property.

11. Your REALTOR® can help you objectively evaluate every buyer’s proposal without compromising your marketing position. This initial agreement is only the beginning of a process of appraisals, inspections and financing — a lot of possible pitfalls. Your REALTOR® can help you write a legally binding, win-win agreement that will be more likely to make it through the process.

12. Your Brooklyn REALTOR® can help close the sale of your home. Between the initial sales agreement and closing (or settlement), questions may arise. For example, unexpected repairs are required to obtain financing or a cloud in the title is discovered. The required paperwork alone is overwhelming for most sellers. Your REALTOR® is the best person to objectively help you resolve these issues and move the transaction to closing (or settlement).

How to Interview Brooklyn Real Estate Agents

Monday, December 13th, 2010

Interview Brooklyn Real Estate Agents

Choosing a professional real estate agent or a Realtor, ( National Association of Realtors )can be a very imposing task.  This person is responsible for finding your new home or selling your Brooklyn home, guiding you through the home inspection process and negotiating a good price and terms.  These are important tasks that should be taken seriously.  That’s why finding a skilled real estate agent is key to a successful real estate transaction.

Here are several tips for interviewing Brooklyn real estate agents:

·        Interview at least three agents.  Even if you love the first or second agent you interview, promise yourself you’ll interview all three.  You learn more from each interview, and you never know when that third agent is going to be the perfect match for you.

·        Ask all three agents the same questions so you can compare their answers and ability to communicate.  Write out your questions so you don’t forget any, and take notes during the interviews.  You think you’ll remember what they say, but the specifics will begin to blur as you interview the second and third agent.

·        Ask the Brooklyn real estate agents how long they’ve been in business and how many homes they’ve helped people buy and sell during the last year.  An agent with experience is a very valuable asset, but with the current fluctuations in real estate, an agent with recent experience is even more valuable.   Also ask how long they’ve been helping people buy and sell homes in the area in which you want to live.  You want a real estate agent who is an expert on that neighborhood.

·        Get at least three references of past clients from each of the Brooklyn real estate agents. Then follow up with those references.  Ask a variety of questions such as:

o       What was it like to work with the agent?

o       Would you work with him or her again?

o       What was your least favorite thing about working with the agent?

o       What was the best thing about working with the agent?

If you’re looking for and professional real estate agent and a Certified Negotiation Expert (CNE), I’d be honored to be interviewed for the job.  Call Charles D’Alessandro of Fillmore Real Estate at (718) 253-9600 ext 206 or email me at [email protected] to schedule an interview.

Myths about Buying Brooklyn Real Estate for Sale by Owner

Friday, December 10th, 2010

There are a few misconceptions about buying Brooklyn real estate for sale by owner (FSBO).

Sellers aren’t Serious

Some buyers think that the seller isn’t serious about selling the house, that they’re just testing the market.  While this is true in some cases, most sellers are serious and will accept an offer that is close to the asking price.

There’s Something Wrong with the Home

Sometimes Brooklyn real estate for sale by owner sits on the market for a while.  Generally, it isn’t because there’s something terribly wrong with the house.

It may be because the owner isn’t open to negotiations on the sale price.  More often, it’s because the owner doesn’t have the experience marketing and showing homes to potential buyers that a real estate agent does.  A typical owner isn’t likely to have the time to properly market the house. If there aren’t enough buyers looking at the house, it’s going to be harder to get a good purchase offer.

Real Estate Agents can’t Help

Some buyers believe that real estate agents can’t help them negotiate the purchase of a FSBO.  That’s not true.  If you find a FSBO you’re interested in, whether you find it because you drive by it or see it in an advertisement, let your Brooklyn real estate agent know.  Real estate agents can represent your best interests when purchasing FSBOs, just like they do when purchasing homes listed with a real estate agency.

If you’re interested in buying a home, whether or not it’s a FSBO, I’d like to help you.  Call me today at Fillmore Real Estate (718) 253-9600 ext.206 or email me at [email protected]

5 Ways to Improve the Odor of Brooklyn Homes

Sunday, December 5th, 2010

Here’s a test for you. Walk outside of your home and take several deep breaths, blowing the air out of your nose. After about five minutes, blow out all the air, hold your breath and walk into your house. In one of the rooms closest to the center of the house, inhale deeply through your nose. What do you smell?

Even the most diligent clean freaks may smell something in their Brooklyn homes other than “clean.” For instance, if you’ve run your air conditioner for several months, you may have problems with mold, insect particles, dust, microscopic carpet particles and other air pollutants.

Once you’re done shuddering, follow these few tips to improve the scent of your inside air:

  1. Replace your Brooklyn home’s air filters on schedule. Pay attention to the manufacturer’s guidelines on the filters you use for your heating and cooling unit and replace them when instructed.
  1. Look for heavy deposits of dust or mold in your air ducts at least twice a year. If you aren’t sure whether your ducts need to be cleaned, ask your heating/cooling provider for advice. Also, the EPA website has a comprehensive informational resource on whether or not you should clean your air ducts. At the very least, vacuum the gratings when dust and dirt collect on them.
  1. Clean your window treatments regularly. They can collect dust, dirt, spores and other pollutants. Cleaning them three or four times a year will keep down the amount that collects.
  1. Keep toothbrushes and other hygiene products in your medicine cabinet. Although this has nothing to do with air quality, it has everything to do with health. As well, make sure you close the lid before flushing the toilet after use.
  1. Regularly check for mold throughout your house, signified by a wet, musty smell. If you find mold and it’s a small amount, you can clean up the mold yourself. If you can’t find it but can still smell it, you may want to have a professional inspect your home and then clean up anything they find.

There are many ways to improve the air quality of Brooklyn homes. These are just a few. If you’re serious about improving the air you breathe, I strongly recommend using the EPA website’s Indoor Air Quality section for more ways to rid your home of pollutants.

If you’re looking for a home that smells great and meets the EPA Indoor airPLUS Program and guidelines, I can help. Call me today at (718) 253-9600 ext 206 or email me at [email protected].