Archive for February, 2011

Brooklyn New York Home for Sale:Improve Lighting to Increase Value

Saturday, February 26th, 2011

The right lighting can make your home appear bigger and fresher. It makes a small room look bigger and a large room seem more intimate.  It can also add value to your Brooklyn New York home for sale.

Just like furniture, lighting can be used as home décor to make your home more beautiful and functional.  Done correctly, lighting can positively impact the way buyers view your Brooklyn New York home for sale – and for far less money than other decoration options.

For maximum impact, every room in your home should have three layers of light:

1.      Ambient Lighting: Ambient lighting provides overall illumination for the whole room.  Typical lighting fixtures for this layer include ceiling fixtures such as recessed lights, chandeliers and surface-mounted lights.

2.      Task Lighting: Task lighting focuses on a specific area of the room where activities like playing cards, reading or sewing require additional light.  It can be as simple as under-cabinet lighting in a kitchen or a reading lamp by a chair.

3.      Accent Lighting: Accent lighting creates drama in a room by highlighting architectural features, paintings, statues and other decorative items.  Accent lights should be small and specifically directed toward the decorative piece you want to accentuate.  One of the most popular forms of accent lighting is track lighting.

Thinking of putting your Brooklyn New York home up for sale?  Let me give you a free in-home consultation to determine if subtle changes in lighting, or other home improvements, can improve your sales price or time on market.  Call Charles D’Alessandro of Fillmore Real Estate today at (718) 253-9600 ext.206 or email at [email protected] to schedule your free consultation.

How to Brighten the Rooms in Your Brooklyn Home

Thursday, February 24th, 2011

Ideally, to make a room light and bright you want a lot of large windows that let in natural light. Unfortunately, most of us don’t have large windows in every room of our Brooklyn homes.  So, what do we do to brighten those dark rooms?

Increase Natural Light

If a room has one large window, make the most of this natural light by placing a mirror opposite that window.  The mirror will scatter and reflect the ambient daylight throughout the room.

Add Artificial Light

Another great way to lighten window-challenged rooms in your Brooklyn home is to add artificial ambient lighting.  Ambient lighting, whether natural or artificial, sets the tone and mood of each room. Here are several ways to add artificial ambient light to your rooms:

  • Recessed fixtures: Recessed fixtures throw light downward in a cone shape, so place them in an evenly spaced grid pattern. This allows pools of light to overlap and provide consistent lighting.

  • Chandeliers: A chandelier can overpower a room if it’s too big or seem out of proportion if it’s too small.  To calculate the best size chandelier for your room, measure the width of the room in feet.  Double that number to get the diameter of the ideal chandelier in inches.  For example, a room that’s 10 feet wide should have a chandelier no wider than 20 inches in diameter.

  • Surface-mounted fixtures: Unlike recessed fixtures, surface-mounted fixtures do not disappear into the ceiling or wall.  If you want to achieve a unified look, match the color of the surface-mounted light with the color of the ceiling or wall. Surface-mounted lights come in a wide range of styles.  They can be very functional fluorescent types with white diffusing plastic covers or decorative crystal designs that add sparkle and drama to the foyers and hallways.

The best ambient lighting is subtle lighting that comes from all directions and softens the look of your room, making it more livable.

Looking for a Brooklyn home with a lot of windows or well-place ambient lighting?  I can help.  Call Charles D’Alessandro of Fillmore Real Estate today at (718) 253-9600 ext.206 or email at [email protected]

The Most Important Questions to Ask Brooklyn Real Estate Agents

Thursday, February 17th, 2011

If you’re considering selling your  home in Brooklyn New York, you probably already know most of the questions you should ask Brooklyn real estate agents you’re thinking of hiring, such as:

  • How long have you been a Brooklyn real estate agent?
  • Are you a full-time REALTOR®?
  • Do you specialize in my Brooklyn neighborhood?
  • How would you market my home?

Unfortunately, most sellers forget one of the most important questions to ask  Brooklyn real estate agents:  How many of the homes you listed in the last 12 months actually sold?

The answer to this question gets to the heart of whether the agents are good at selling real estate. They’ll have very few sold homes in comparison to the number of homes they listed, if they:

  • Over-price homes
  • Under-market homes
  • Don’t know how to negotiate
  • Aren’t good at (or simply don’t do) the multitude of tasks knowledgeable real estate agents perform to get homes sold

If you discover that an agent has a higher percentage of listings that are withdrawn or expired and not renewed than other agents in the same area, keep looking.

Searching for an agent who gets homes sold?  Congratulations, you’ve just found one ! Charles D’Alessandro Your Brooklyn Realtor®. I’d be honored if you’d give me a chance to interview for the job of selling your Brooklyn home.  Please call me at (718)253-9600 ext.206 or email me at [email protected] to schedule an interview.

Reverse Mortgage on Your Brooklyn NY Real Estate: Pros and Cons

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

Reverse Mortgage ! Is it Right for you?

Reverse mortgages are a popular option for homeowners who are 62 years of age and older and need additional income.  Credit scores and income are not part of the qualification process for a reverse mortgage, so they’re fairly easy to get.

But is a reverse mortgage right for you, your parents or grandparents?  Here are some pros and cons to consider before making your decision:

Pros of getting a reverse mortgage on your Brooklyn New York real estate

When you get a reverse mortgage, you can:

  • Use the money to supplement social security, pay for home improvements or meet unexpected medical bills.
  • Choose the payment method you prefer:  monthly payment, line of credit or lump sum.
  • Make no payments on the loan (monthly or otherwise) unless you die, move or sell the home.  If any of those events occur, the loan is due in full, plus interest and fees.

Cons of getting a reverse mortgage on your Brooklyn New York real estate

Unfortunately, there are several disadvantages to taking out a reverse mortgage:

  • You pay origination fees that are almost twice as much as origination fees on conventional mortgages.
  • There are a wide variety of reverse mortgages available from a lot of different sources.  This makes an already complex loan even more confusing.   Shop around, compare and attend an information session with an approved HUD counselor before deciding on a reverse mortgage.
  • It may impact your eligibility for Medicaid and other state or federal programs.  For example, if you currently receive any “need based” benefits such as Medicaid or Supplemental Social Security Income (SSI), reverse mortgage payments will have to be structured so that monthly payments will be spent within the month they are received. If not, such payments will be considered income, and may make you ineligible for public benefits. Contact your benefits provider to ask about how a reverse mortgage may affect your eligibility.

If getting a reverse mortgage on your Brooklyn New York real estate, or the home of your parents or grandparents, is the right thing to do, you might want to consider FHA’s reverse mortgage program called The Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM). According to HUD, the HECM is a safe plan that can give older Americans greater financial security.

You can receive additional free information about reverse mortgages by contacting the National Council on Aging at (800) 510-0301.  I’m also available to help you with this difficult decision.  Give me a call today Charles D’Alessandro your Brooklyn Realtor with Fillmore Real Estate at (718) 253-9600 ext.206 or email [email protected].

Brooklyn NY Real Estate: Reverse Mortgage Basics

Sunday, February 13th, 2011

If you watch television, read magazines or surf the net, you’ve probably seen ads for reverse mortgages.  Those ads don’t provide many details, so here are the basics you need to know about reverse mortgages.

Are you eligible for a reverse mortgage on your Brooklyn NY real estate?

To be eligible for a reverse mortgage, you must:

  • Be at least 62 years old
  • Own your home
  • Live in the home and claim it as your primary residence

When does the reverse mortgage loan become due?

As the homeowner, you do not have to make any monthly payments on your reverse mortgage.  The loan becomes due when you:

  • Permanently move out of your home
  • Sell the home or fail to fulfill other conditions like the continued payment of property taxes, homeowner’s insurance and repair and maintenance.
  • Pass away

Should you get a reverse mortgage on your Brooklyn NY real estate?

The Consumers Union, the nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports, suggests you consider all alternatives to a reverse mortgage before taking the plunge.  Alternatives you may want to consider include less expensive programs offering financial assistance, other lower-cost loans or selling your home.

You may want to get a reverse mortgage if you:

  • Need additional income and there is no less expensive way to get it.  Use an online reverse mortgage calculator to estimate the amount of money you could get from a reverse mortgage.
  • Want to stay in your home and retain ownership
  • Do not plan to leave your home to your children or others who will inherit from you.

You may NOT want to get a reverse mortgage if you:

  • Want to leave your home, free and clear, to your children or heirs
  • Have a less costly means to reach your financial goal
  • Become ineligible to receive public benefits such as Medicaid or SSI (Social Security Income) by taking out a reverse mortgage.
  • Will have trouble paying your property taxes and homeowner’s insurance.  A 2010 report from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) estimated that more than 20,000 reverse mortgages were in default for nonpayment of taxes and insurance.  You do not want to get a reverse mortgage only to lose your home to foreclosure and eviction because you’re unable to pay your taxes and insurance.

As always, when you consider taking out a loan of any type, do your homework to make sure this is the right move for you, be sure to read all of the fine print and understand exactly what it is you’re signing.

If you’d like some help determining if selling your home, getting a reverse mortgage or some other lower-cost loan is best for you, give me a call Charles D’Alessandro of Fillmore Real Estate call today at 9718) 253-9600 ext 206 or email me at [email protected].

9 Tips for First-time Brooklyn New York Home Buyers

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

Are you a first-time home buyer?  There are a lot of things you’ll want to learn before making that first purchase.  Here are 9 tips to help you get a Brooklyn New York home you’ll love and be prepared for additional costs you may not have considered:

1. Ask yourself if you’re ready. Are you financially ready to buy a Brooklyn New York home?  Do you have a steady job and income?  Do you have money for the down payment?

2.      Get pre-approved. When you get pre-approved for a mortgage loan, your lender checks your credit and lets you know the amount of mortgage for which you qualify.  Having a pre-approved loan will put you at the top of the list when presenting an offer.

3.      Identify closing costs. The cost of closing on the sale of your Brooklyn New York home shouldn’t be overlooked. Closing costs include origination fees, title and settlement fees, taxes and prepaid items such as homeowner’s insurance or homeowner’s association fees.

4.      Calculate your total monthly housing cost. Include taxes and homeowners insurance.  In some areas, what you’ll pay for your taxes and insurance escrow almost doubles your mortgage payment.

5.      Include home maintenance expenses in your budget. Maintaining your investment can be labor-intensive and expensive. Unexpected costs for new appliances, roof repairs and plumbing problems can drain your bank account.

6.      Find a Brooklyn home. Identify the neighborhood, you want to live in.  Hire a full-time REALTOR® who specializes in that neighborhood to help you find and negotiate the purchase of the home.

7.      Get a home inspection. Make sure your agent includes a home inspection contingency in your offer to buy a home. If you’re unsatisfied with anything found in the home inspection, have your agent negotiate with the seller to make repairs, pay for repairs or lower the price.

8.      Make it to closing. You have your financing, your offer has been accepted, and you’re anxiously awaiting the day you close on your home.  Now, you just have to make sure you don’t do anything to jeopardize your credit.  Do not change jobs, buy a new car or apply for credit cards.

9.      Celebrate. Congratulations!  You’re now the proud owner of your first home.

Buying your first home can be exciting, especially if you’re knowledgeable about the process and prepared. Follow me for more Questions &  Answers About Buying a New Brooklyn Home .

If your goal for this year is to be a first-time homeowner, let me guide you through the process of finding and buying a home. For a FREE copy if Michael Reinhardts book “Buying Real Estate does Not Have To Be Stressful, call Charles D’alessandro your Brooklyn Realtor® of Fillmore Real Estate today at (718) 253-9600 ext 206 or email me at [email protected] for more information.

Add a Little Romance to Your Brooklyn New York Home

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to add some romance to your Brooklyn home.  No need to spend a lot of money.  Here are some simple tips to create your own inexpensive, yet romantic, Valentine evening:

Romantic Dinner for Two

A delicious meal is a great way to start off the evening. Many Brooklyn restaurants are over booked and raise their prices on Valentine’s Day, so forego the expensive dinner out. Instead, create a special dinner at your Brooklyn New York home. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Cook Pecan Chicken with Mustard Sauce – Don’t like to cook?  Buy an already prepared meal from your local grocery store; it’s fairly inexpensive these days.  Just be sure to remove it from the containers and put it on pretty plates.

  • Add Music – Turn the radio to your favorite station and enjoy. Or, download some romantic music to your MP3 player.

  • Use candlesticks and cloth napkins – Candles are always romantic, and, when lit, eliminate the need to clean your Brooklyn home thoroughly. Your sweetie won’t be able to see the dirt in the glow of candlelight.

After Dinner

Valentine’s Day is about spending time with the one you love.  Instead of going out, rent a romantic movie and stay in.  Wine (or sparkling juice), a movie and snuggling on the couch can do wonders for your love life!

  • Wine or sparkling grape juice – Call for your favorite take out!
  • Movie – Rent a Netflix Movie .

The Bedroom

Go on vacation – in your own bedroom!  Get that “new room” feeling by washing your bed linens, fluffing up the pillows, and spraying the pillowcases with lavender essential oil. Put one rich chocolate wrapped in foil on each pillow.

Wishing you and your loved one a sweet Valentine’s Day!

Is it Time to Switch to a New Brooklyn Real Estate Agent?

Friday, February 4th, 2011

For some frustrated sellers, the answer to “Why isn’t my Brooklyn home selling?” is “It’s the agent’s fault!”  If your immediate instinct is to drop your Brooklyn NY real estate agent for a new one, you might want to take a deep breath and consider the following:

1.      Do you think agents are like lottery tickets? Going through Brooklyn real estate agents as fast as scratch-off lottery tickets isn’t going to get your home sold faster.  In fact, it usually slows down the process.

2.      Is your Brooklyn home priced correctly? That’s probably the number one difference between homes that sell fast and homes that sit on the market.  A poorly priced home could be your real estate  agent’s fault.  Then again, you could be partially to blame.  Did you insist on a specific price even though your agent strongly recommended a lower price?  Did you refuse to lower the price when your agent suggested lowering it?  If you’re inflexible about price, switching agents will not help.

3. Did you make the home improvements recommended by your Realtor©? If your agent suggested you paint, clean carpets, reduce clutter or complete any other inexpensive, easy-to-accomplish task, and you didn’t do it, you’re greatly reducing your opportunity to get your home sold.  You chose to work with your agent because he is a knowledgeable professional.  Take his advice and get those home improvement tasks done now.

4.      Has your listing agreement expired? If your listing contract has expired, this is the perfect time to consider switching agents.  Go back to the start, identify 3 new agents and interview the agents.  If you find one that fits your needs better than your current agent, let your agent know you won’t be renewing your contract.

5.      Did your agent market your home? If your agent has not done all the marketing he promised, point this out and ask him when he’ll get the marketing in place.  Follow up to be sure it’s done on time and professionally.  If he still doesn’t market your home like he said he would, it may be time to switch agents.

6.      Are you being impatient? If you made all the home improvements recommended by your agent, your home is properly priced, and all marketing tasks are completed, you may just need to have a little patience.  This is a slow real estate market.  That means your home isn’t going to sell overnight.  Ask your agent the average number of days it takes a home to sell in your area, then wait that length of time before thinking about changing agents.

Don’t replace your agent just because you don’t know what else to do.  You’ll be wasting time and effort.  Instead, work with your agent to determine what else can be done to get your home sold.

If you decide to search for a new Brooklyn real estate agent, I’d be honored if you’d allow me to interview 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.

Brooklyn Realtor Interview’s With a Mortgage Professional

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

One of the biggest challenges for Brooklyn’s first time home buyer is the financing . Here in this video is Charles D’Alessandro of Fillmore Real Estate a Brooklyn New York real estate agent and Tony Cetta  a mortgage professional with Continental Home Loans discussing the challenges for first time home buyers in today’s market.

Thinking of buying a home?  I can help you ,if you are a first time Brooklyn Home buyer or looking to relocate. I will help you and find a home that fits your values and lifestyle.  Give me a call today Charles D’Alessandro of Fillmore Real Estate at (718) 253-9600 ext 206 or email me at [email protected]