Archive for December, 2020

Do You Want To Buy A House In Brooklyn In The New Year?

Wednesday, December 30th, 2020
Woman buys a house in Brooklyn

Out with the old and in with the new! Are you ready for something new? Is it your time to buy a house in Brooklyn in 2021? 

In light of the pandemic, I think we are all ready for something new. It has been a challenging year. 

You have decided you want to purchase a home, what do you do now? Let’s take a look at the steps you need to take to buy a house in Brooklyn in 2021.

Obtain a Pre-Approval

To begin with, you will want to meet with a mortgage lender and obtain a pre-approval for a mortgage loan. The lender will look at your credit report to determine the amount of a mortgage you qualify to borrow. If there are any credit issues, the lender can direct you to a credit repair agency that can help you boost your credit score to be ready to buy a house within a few months.

Having a pre-approval letter before you start looking will help you in several different ways:
  • You will know the price range you are most comfortable with and target your monthly payments.
  • The seller will require a pre-approval letter to be submitted with your offer so that they know you are qualified to purchase their home before they agree to accept your offer.
  • You will not delay submitting your offer by having to obtain your pre-approval after you find the perfect home.

What information do you need to have when contacting a lender for a preapproval?

  • Income verification. How you get paid will determine what information you will need to provide the lender. 
    • W-2 employee – You will need copies of your W-2 forms and your two most recent payroll stubs. 
    • Self-employed – You will need a year-to-date profit and loss statement and two years of tax records, including 1099s you used to report income. Self-employed includes sole proprietors, partnerships, and S-corporations.
  • Assets. You will need to provide bank statements, retirement, and investment account statements.
  • Debts. You will need a list of all your monthly payments for student loans, auto loans, personal loans, mortgages, and credit cards.
  • Other information. It may be necessary to show any rental income you receive, a divorce decree which would address child support and/or alimony along with property settlements, and down payment gift letters if you will be obtaining your down payment from a parent or family member.

The lender will ask for verification of any other items they may need throughout the process. You must have a paper trail of all sources for the down payment and closing costs. The lender will ask you to provide information on any large deposits found in your bank statements.  Above all, if there are any changes in your financial position you will need to discuss those with your lender.

Here is a previous blog post that will answer some of your mortgage questions.

You do not want to delay your offer because you did not have your pre-approval letter. Other buyers will be prepared with their pre-approval letter and submit an offer before you can submit yours. You wouldn’t want to miss out on the perfect home, would you?

Find a Good Real Estate Agent

When you are ready to buy a house in Brooklyn, you need to find the right agent to guide you through the buying process, whether you are a first-time homebuyer, a move-up buyer, or a downsizing buyer. 

Interview several agents if you do not know one with a good track record and local reputation.

Questions you may want to ask an agent during an interview include:

  • How long have you been an active real estate agent?
  • Do you work full-time in your real estate business?
  • How many homes do you sell per year?
  • How do you stay current on the local real estate market and trends?
  • Do you have references available?
  • Do I have to sign a contract, and can I cancel if I am not satisfied?
  • How do you communicate with your clients and set realistic expectations?

The local real estate market changes frequently, and you need someone in your corner who is knowledgeable and can help you negotiate the best deal possible. You also want a real estate agent who is realistic about the market. Hiring a Buyer’s Agent does not typically cost the buyer, as the seller pays the commission. 

A buyer’s agent is responsible for:

  • Assessing your needs. The buyer’s agent will ask you for your needs and wants in your new home. Example – you need 3 bedrooms, but you want 4 bedrooms. This specific information will help your agent research properties that will best suit your desires.
  • Explaining the buying process. The buying process is complicated. Every home sale is different. An experienced buyer’s agent will be able to handle unique situations to help you buy your Brooklyn home. 
  • Showing you properties. Your agent will find the properties, make appointments, and walk you through the homes. This is where an experienced local agent is most valuable to help point out the positive features and any potential issues they may see.
  • Writing up and submitting your offer. Your buyer’s agent can advise you on pricing and how to structure an appealing offer. They will then submit the offer and communicate with the seller’s agent to begin negotiations.
  • Monitoring the closing process. After your offer is accepted, your agent will coordinate with all parties involved until the closing is completed.

Your buyer agent is your advocate. They will answer your questions and guide you through the entire process to help you buy a house in Brooklyn.

A common misconception is that working with the seller’s agent will get you a better deal. The Seller’s agent will be working on the seller’s behalf and is contractually obligated to do so. Do yourself a favor and find the right buyer’s agent.

Narrow Your Search Criteria

You most likely have an idea of where you would like to buy a house in Brooklyn. Maybe you are looking for a particular school or proximity to work. Focus on your top area first, and then move out from there if you can not find the right home.

Make a list of the items that you must have in your new home, and be sure to discuss those items with your real estate agent. Think of the things that would be a “deal-breaker” for you and discuss that with your real estate agent also. The more your agent knows about your needs, the better they can zoom in on the right homes for you. A resourceful real estate agent will be able to guide you to the properties that meet your criteria. 

Equally important, you should try to get some input from others who live in the areas you are considering for the pros and cons they can offer. If you don’t know anyone living in the neighborhood, check out some online forums that may be able to provide you insight.

I think it is a good idea to visit the community at different times of the day to get a feel for what is going on in the neighborhood.

Conduct Inspections

Unless you have a thorough knowledge of house construction and components, I do not recommend that you waive the inspections when you buy a house in Brooklyn. Inspections are an important part of the home buying process. 

It is important to note that a home inspector is required to be licensed in the State of New York. You can find answers to frequently asked questions about New York licensing for inspectors here.

The seller will disclose what they know about the property. Be that as it may, it isn’t uncommon that the home inspector will find things in the home that the seller didn’t know.

The home inspector will check the major components of the home starting on the outside. They will look at the foundation and the roof for any defects. The inspector then will start their interior inspection in the basement of the home. They will check the electrical, heating, air conditioning, and plumbing systems. The inspector also checks windows, doors, and flooring.

Ask the inspector what they will and will not check before scheduling your inspection with them. Ask the home inspector to take a closer look during the inspection if there is something you noticed during your tour of the home.

You will also want to have a pest inspection to ensure there are no wood-boring insects such as termites that would be causing damage to the home. Some types of financing will require a clear pest inspection report.

When you initially look at a home, you are looking more from an emotional point of view. You are picturing yourself and your family and friends in the spaces. You may not be looking at the home with a critical eye. Having a third party examine the property is valuable to learn if there are any safety or major ticket items that will need to be addressed.

Loan Application

After you have an accepted offer on a home, you will need to make a formal mortgage application. If you are using the same lender who provided you the preapproval, they may have all your information. Notify them when you have an accepted offer on a home and find out what additional information they require.

The process of buying a house in Brooklyn can seem daunting, not to mention confusing. The key to a successful home search and negotiation is to have the right team in your corner. There are many people involved in the purchase of a home. Check out this blog post to learn more about each party.

When you decide you are ready to buy a house in Brooklyn, you will be full of excitement as well as questions. As a Brooklyn real estate agent with over 30 years of experience, I can guide you through the entire journey.

In the event our office is shut down; we are always committed to your safety during the COVID-19 health crisis in compliance with the State of New York public health policies. I can be reached by phone at (718) 253-9500 ext. 1901 or by email at [email protected].

Charles D'Allesandro helps you buy a house in Brooklyn

Why Was My Offer On A Brooklyn Home Rejected?

Tuesday, December 15th, 2020

Rejected stamp on a contract

You finally found it and you are ready to submit an offer on a Brooklyn home. You have a vision of the perfect home in mind. Knowing what you want and don’t want are the keys to finding your ideal home. Over my years of selling homes in Brooklyn, I can tell by the buyer’s reaction before they say anything when we have found the right home for them.

The signs I see from buyer’s include:

  • They are anxious to get inside.
  • Their excitement level increases as we walk through the home.
  • They start placing their furniture.
  • The buyer will downplay any imperfections that I point out.
  • They want to stop looking at other homes.

Now that you have found the right home, you need to make an offer on the property. What should you consider when making an offer?

  • Price is the most obvious factor to consider when making an offer on a home.
  • The neighborhood sales trends.
  • The type of financing you choose. 
  • The amount of earnest money you put down.
  • The inspections and timeframes you choose.
  • The type of concessions you ask the seller to cover.
  • The closing date.

Submitting an offer on a Brooklyn home is an exciting time! You take the time to consider what you want to pay for the property and most likely have consulted with your real estate professional, friends, and family. 

You present an offer to the seller that you feel is a great starting point. And then you find out the seller of your ideal home has rejected your offer. What went wrong?

There are several reasons a seller may reject your offer on their Brooklyn home. These reasons will vary from seller to seller and offer to offer. 

Let’s take a look at some of the reasons a seller may reject your offer.

The seller received a higher offer.

You may or may not know that the seller has other offers. I feel that an excellent real estate agent working with their seller’s best interest at heart will notify all interested parties that there are other offers expected on this Brooklyn home. That doesn’t always happen. Telling all buyers will allow the seller to receive the highest and best price for their home. In the hot real estate market we have been experiencing, it isn’t unusual for a seller to receive offers over the asking price.

Your offer may be too high.

When you prepare your offer on a Brooklyn home, you walk a fine line when offering a price over the asking amount. If you have an appraisal, the property must appraise for the sales price for many types of financing. An appraiser will look at the most recent sales in the neighborhood that have sold. If the seller and their agent feel that there are not sales that substantiate the higher price, the seller may reject your offer to avoid a problem down the road with your financing related to the appraisal.

The type of financing you chose.

Some sellers do not want to deal with the additional requirements of certain types of financing. For example, they may feel that FHA’s guidelines for health and safety items are more than they want to address. FHA does have guidelines for the appraiser to follow, but some agents make this a bigger deal than it really is. My advice is to obtain the mortgage that works best for you and make an offer to purchase based on your needs.

You asked for too many concessions.

The seller will always look at their bottom line. If they are asked to pay for unusual expenses, buyer closing costs, or leave items such as not included appliances, they may reject the offer to purchase if it doesn’t meet their expectations. Your agent will help you put together an offer that is beneficial to you and the seller. 

Your offer was too low.

Assuming the seller’s asking price was reasonable, your low bid can be rejected by the seller. If the home has not been on the market for the average number of days it takes to sell a home in their Brooklyn area, they may feel that other qualified buyers will be willing to pay the market value. Other sellers may be insulted and reject your offer based on their emotions. Although it is best to keep your emotions in check as a home seller or home buyer, it is difficult for some people.

You did not offer enough earnest money.

An earnest money deposit is the amount of money you put down at the signing of the offer on a Brooklyn home to show the seller you are serious about buying the home. The seller takes a risk when they accept an offer because once the property becomes contingent or under contract in the MLS, the number of buyers who will look at the home may decrease, reducing the chance the seller will receive potential back-up offers. They want to see that the buyer is serious or “earnest” about purchasing their home.

You don’t have a pre-approval letter.

Most buyer’s agents will not show homes to a buyer until they have gone through the pre-approval process with a lender. There are several reasons, but as far as the seller is concerned, they will not want to take their home off the market until they know the buyer will qualify for a mortgage. A pre-approval letter should be incorporated into your offer to purchase. As a buyer, you will want that pre-approval letter to know that you are looking in a price range that will provide you with a comfortable mortgage payment for your Brooklyn home.

The seller has unreasonable expectations.

The seller sets the price with the guidance of their real estate agent. Sometimes the seller feels their home is worth more than the comparable homes in the neighborhood. They may have a high mortgage balance, and they think they must sell at a higher price. Most sellers are realistic about market conditions and listen to the guidance of their real estate agent. Your buyer’s agent will be able to help you determine if the seller’s asking price is unrealistic.

The closing date doesn’t work for the seller.

The seller may want to close on the home quickly, or they may need extra time to make a move. People decide to sell their homes for many different reasons. If the seller is moving to a retirement community, they may have to wait for an apartment or room to become available. The seller may want to close quickly. If they are testing the market, they may need time to find their replacement home.

The seller had a change of heart.

Although it is rare, I have seen circumstances where a seller just decides they are not ready to sell. They may have received offers much faster than they thought would happen, and it was just too much for them to handle. Selling a home can be a very emotional time. If the seller isn’t emotionally prepared, it is better they back out at this point than wait until you have invested time and money on inspections before they decide to terminate the transaction.

What happens after an offer is rejected? Well, that would depend on why the seller has rejected your offer. 

If the seller has accepted another offer, there is little you can do about losing your bid on the home. Finding out why they accepted another offer over yours will be valuable when you are ready to put in an offer on another home. You can watch the property to see if it does close. If the buyer terminates the offer or is declined for financing, you may have another opportunity to make an offer.

The seller may counter your offer by presenting different terms to you. At this point, you can either accept what the seller is proposing or counter the seller’s counteroffer. This negotiation can go back and forth as often as it takes to reach a mutual agreement.

The seller can reject your offer without countering terms with you. When the seller feels your offer is too far from what they desire, they are likely to reject your bid without making a counteroffer. If the seller has not accepted another offer, you may have an opportunity to restructure and present a new proposal.

When presenting an offer on a Brooklyn home, you need to be careful about submitting an offer that is too low. Each situation will need evaluation. Can you justify your low price? Be prepared that the seller may exclude those areas from your home inspection requests if you site reasons to lower the amount. Because you are dealing with people who may have emotional ties to their home, you may run the risk of offending them to the point they do not want to deal with you. 

When you are re-evaluating your offer to counter the seller, you need to take into consideration the following:

  • How long has the home been on the market?
  • Can you find comparable sales in the neighborhood?
  • What is the condition of the home?
  • Is it in a desirable area?
  • Are there other offers on the home?

The biggest question to ask yourself when crafting an offer on a Brooklyn home is: “If I were to lose this home, how would I feel?”

If you would be devastated, you need to go in with your best offer. If you would be sad but could find another home, you may go in with a lower offer. Check out this blog post to see if you have found the perfect home for you.

There are a lot of factors involved in preparing an offer on a home. There are a lot of emotions involved also. Finding a balance between the financial decision and the emotional decision is one of the values of working with a real estate agent when looking to purchase your Brooklyn home. Your real estate agent is working on your behalf and can help you separate your offer’s emotional and rational sides. 

Contact me, Charles D’Alessandro, your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with Fillmore Real Estate. As a Brooklyn real estate agent with over 30 years of experience, I have successfully brought hundreds of buyers and sellers together.

In the event our office is shut down, we are always committed to your safety during the COVID-19 health crisis in compliance with the State of New York public health policies. I can be reached by phone at (718) 253-9500 ext. 1901 or by email at [email protected].

Charles D'Allesandro

Charles D’Alessandro
Your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent
718-253-9600 ext. 1901

Selling Your Brooklyn Home During The Winter

Tuesday, December 1st, 2020
Brooklyn Bridge in winter.

Some people may advise you that selling your Brooklyn home during the winter is a bad idea. Sometimes you just need to get the house on the market for various reasons regardless of the season. There isn’t a wrong time to sell a home if you do all the necessary steps to prepare for the sale. 

Houses sell at all times of the year. If you are considering putting your home on the market, I will encourage you to do so. You may be surprised to hear me say that. Let me explain why I would encourage you to consider selling your Brooklyn home during the winter.

Reasons to sell your Brooklyn home during the winter:

  • Competition – The competition from other sellers during the winter is lower because so many believe it is hard to sell a house in the cold winter months.
  • Searches Increase – internet searches are known to increase during the winter. Most home buyers start their searches online.
  • Transient Society – Our society has become more mobile with people continually moving for many reasons.
  • Relocations – Many people who are relocating for their job do not always have a lot of time deciding and getting their family moved. They do not get to select the time of year they make that move either. 
  • Year-End Bonuses – Many people find themselves working from home and now feel their home is just too small. Before 2020, many people invested their year-end bonus in a larger home. This year we may see significant interest in using that year-end bonus to gain the desired space they have found necessary.
  • Serious Buyers – Looking for a home in the colder weather is not for the faint of heart. Although we have seen many serious buyers during the warmer months, we still see some who aren’t quite sure if they want to purchase a home. Buyers who are willing to come out to view a home during the winter are serious about buying.

Preparing your home for sale is essential despite the time of year you choose to list your home. Check out this previous blog post for tips on preparing your home for sale.

Additional suggestions for selling your Brooklyn home during the winter:

  • Curb Appeal – Do not forget about the exterior of your home in the winter. If you have not attended to your landscaping after summer, be sure to take some time now to spruce things up. Pay particular attention to the area that the buyers will be entering the home. While the agent is opening the lockbox, the buyers will be looking and notice any apparent defects.
  • Clear Snow And Ice – Whether you are selling your home or not, it is essential to keep your sidewalks and steps clear of snow and ice for your safety and the safety of others. When selling your home, it is necessary to pay as much attention to the backyard as the front yard. Buyers will want to check out the backyard also.
  • Create A Cozy Atmosphere – When it is cold outside, having the home as cozy and warm as possible will create a welcoming feeling the buyers will remember. Keep the home toasty and play some soft music. Taking the extra effort to make your buyers feel at home may create a good return on your dollar when that awaited offer comes in.
  • Hire a Reputable Agent – You must find the right agent to work for you when selling your Brooklyn home during the holiday and winter months. Any agent can sell a house when the demand is high. It takes an experienced, well-versed agent to guide you when the market is slower.

There is no reason to postpone putting your home on the market due to the holidays if you need to get your home sold quickly. As mentioned above, buyers who look in the winter are more serious about purchasing. That also applies to buyers who are looking throughout the holidays. The buyers may be taking some vacation time during the holidays and decide to do some home searching during their time off.

Tips for selling your home during the holidays:

  • Decorating – You may wonder if you should put up your decorations when selling your Brooklyn home during the holidays. Homes do look beautiful during the holiday season. You will still want to celebrate with your family. You can decorate for the holidays while selling your home. Just don’t go overboard. A tastefully decorated home will appeal to everyone. Some outdoor decorating can make up for the lack of curb appeal due to winter weather.
  • Eliminate Stress – That is a tall order during the uncertainty we find ourselves in this year. Try to give yourself a break and simplify your holiday celebrations while also trying to sell your home.
  • Be Flexible – It isn’t always possible, but try to keep your schedule as open as you can. You do not want to turn away buyers who wish to see your home. Remember that buyers who want to look this time of year are usually more serious about purchasing. If they are out of town, relocating buyers, it may be the only time they can look at your home.

Facing challenges to selling your home can happen at any time of the year. Knowing the market status in your area when you list your home will prevent you from frustration. Your real estate agent will be able to give you an idea of what to expect, so you are not surprised. Having an agent who studies the trends, knows the local market, and updates you will be the most valuable tool you have. 

Some challenges to selling your home during the winter:

  • More Negotiation – During the winter, we see fewer multiple offer situations. If the buyer is not competing with another offer for your property, they may feel they have some room to negotiate. A misguided buyer may think that you are desperate to sell your home because you have it on the market in the winter months and come in with a lowball offer. Try not to be offended if you receive a low offer. Remember they are showing interest in your home. Engage in negotiation with them.
  • Financing And Closing Delays – If a company is closing for a period during the holidays or closings due to inclement weather occurrences, there could be a delay in processing the mortgage or preparing the closing documentation.
  • Curb Appeal – There is no doubt that the spring and summer create a beautiful curb appeal for your home. In the winter, beautiful flowers and lush shrubbery can not be seen. If you have pictures of your home in its prime summer glory, make them available to your agent and potential buyers.
  • Lighting – Not only does the darkness set in earlier than in the summer, but winter days can also be dreary. Check the lighting throughout your home. Take care and effort to be sure each room is illuminated appropriately. Turn on all the lights inside and out (depending on the time of day of the showing) before leaving home for a showing.
  • Snow Boots – Tracking in the snow is a problem during winter showings. Create a spot that will make it easy for the buyers and their agents to remove the snowy or wet shoes before touring your home. If possible, provide a space to sit that will make it a bit more comfortable.

You can achieve an appealing atmosphere with the right staging efforts. Spend some time creating a welcoming environment when buyers are touring your home during the winter.

Ways to set the stage:

  • Scents – The scent of fresh-baked cookies is hard to beat. You can get some slice and bake cookies from the grocery store to bake right before showings. Due to the current Covid status, it is not recommended that you leave treats out for the buyers. But, you can certainly enjoy those fresh-baked treats when you get home.
  • Comfort – What is better than coming home to a warm fire? Although I do not advise leaving a wood-burning fireplace unattended, if you have a self-contained gas fireplace, you may want to set the scene by turning on the fireplace for your visitors. Cozy throw blankets strategically placed will create an inviting setting. Turn the thermostat up, so all areas of the home are warm.
  • Lights – As mentioned, turning on the lights before you leave will not only help make your interior look its best; it will also create a welcoming appearance from the exterior.
  • Gutters – Before putting your home on the market, take the time to clean your gutters. A clogged gutter can cause a water or ice issue that may cause uncertainty for some buyers.

Winter 2020 – 2021 brings some new guidelines to the real estate industry due to Covid-19. Please be aware of the protocols when selling your Brooklyn home. Be sure to discuss this important topic with your real estate agent. The state and board of Realtors® have set guidelines to protect all parties.  Real estate agents, homeowners, and potential buyers have a responsibility to adhere to these guidelines.

Showing guidelines during Covid:

  • Homeowners or occupants of a property can not be present during a showing.
  • All showings should be scheduled in advance by appointment only and allow space between to disinfect.
  • All parties are required to wear face coverings.
  • Maintain a 6-foot distance between individuals.
  • Buyers should only touch necessary surfaces such as handrails. 
  • Showing agents should disinfect high-touch surfaces as they leave each room.
  • Real estate brokers or homeowners should limit showings to one party at a time. 
  • Buyers are encouraged not to bring children or additional people to look at the home.
  • Remote walkthroughs are encouraged whenever possible.
  • Real estate agents should open windows during a showing to improve air circulation.
Number 1 on brick wall

The Number One Tip

Following the above advice is essential when selling your Brooklyn home during the winter. The most crucial, not to be overlooked advice I can provide is to price your home correctly

Helping you establish the right price for your home is where an experienced agent is most valuable. Many considerations go into pricing a home for the current market. 

Although the change of seasons may mean you have fewer buyers, it does not necessarily mean you will get a lower price. 

Your agent should be providing you with comparable sales for the neighborhood to determine the asking price. Pay attention to these comparables. The buyer will be looking at these numbers as well.

Factors that can affect the price of your home are:

  • Previous sales – Real estate agents, home buyers, and appraisers all look at past sales to establish a home’s price.
  • Neighborhood – The neighborhood location of the home will affect the sales price of the house. School systems, crime rates, and previous sales all factor into the desirability of the neighborhood.
  • Market – Being in a buyer’s market or a seller’s market also affects a home’s pricing. Knowing when the shift is occurring is tricky.
  • Condition – The condition of your home is a factor in the pricing. Preparing the house for sale and making the necessary repairs will improve the home’s condition before listing.
  • Size – The size of your home can also affect price and desirability. 

Don’t make the mistake of overpricing to test the market. Statistically, a seller who overprices their home on the initial listing ends up selling the property for less than if they would have listed it at the right price for the current market.

There are pros and cons to selling your Brooklyn home in the winter. It is possible to list and sell your home during these colder months successfully. I know because I have helped many sellers over the years do just that!

Contact me, Charles D’Alessandro, your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with Fillmore Real Estate. As a Brooklyn real estate agent with over 30 years of experience, I can help you maneuver the winter real estate market successfully.

In the event our office is shut down, we are always committed to your safety during the COVID-19 health crisis in compliance with the State of New York public health policies. I can be reached by phone at (718) 253-9500 ext. 1901 or by email at [email protected].

Charles D'Alessandro

Charles D’Alessandro
Your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent
718-253-9600 ext. 1901