Archive for January, 2021

Avoid These 10 Mistakes Brooklyn Homebuyers Make

Saturday, January 30th, 2021

Frustrated homebuyer

When buying a home, you want to avoid these ten mistakes that Brooklyn homebuyers make. The home buying process can be confusing if you do not have a real estate agent with the experience to guide you. 

You need to understand that the home buying process should start well before you are ready to go out and look at homes. Saving money and monitoring your credit score will set you up for a smoother experience. 

Like you would build a home on a solid foundation, you need to plan your home purchase with a solid foundation.

As a Brooklyn homebuyer, you can hire an agent to work on your behalf. This is called a buyer’s agency. The buyer’s agency provides the buyer with an advocate representing their interests in a real estate transaction.

Working in the Brooklyn real estate market for over 30 years, I have helped Brooklyn homebuyers avoid these ten buying mistakes.

1. Ignoring their credit rating.

Your credit rating is one of the primary considerations that a lender will use to determine whether you qualify for a home mortgage. It may also affect the amount of mortgage you can obtain. Therefore, it is important to look at your credit report periodically to review your credit score even before starting the homebuying process. In addition to your credit score, be sure there isn’t something on your credit report that doesn’t belong to you. If your credit rating is low, you will need to work on improving your score. You should consult with a financial professional to find out how to improve your score and how long it should take. You can learn more about understanding your credit score here.

2. Skipping the pre-qualification step.

A pre-qualification from a reputable lender is a crucial step for Brooklyn homebuyers. A lender will determine the amount of a mortgage you could qualify to borrow. They will look at your credit score, your income, and your current debts. Most loan programs establish an acceptable debt to income ratio. 28% of your monthly income is a good rule of thumb for housing expenses, including principal, interest, taxes, and insurance. When adding your additional debt payments, a lender generally likes to see the total not exceed 36% of your gross income. Each loan program has established its debt to income ratios, so it is essential to speak with a lender. Your mortgage payment in addition to principal and interest, but also taxes and insurance. Looking at homes in the wrong price range will waste your time if you can not afford to purchase at that price point.

3. Insufficient Savings Accounts.

Brooklyn homebuyers will need to have some cash saved to purchase a home. Even no money down advertisements doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t have to spend money in the homebuying process. We will talk about closing costs below, but you will also have the expense of inspections, moving, and purchasing necessary items for the new house. If you can increase your down payment, you may be able to save on your monthly mortgage payments. It is also important to have adequate savings available to cover any unexpected repairs or replacement of major components of the home.

4. Making a large purchase before closing.

I have seen homebuyers go out and purchase furniture for their new home on credit before closing. Another significant ding to your credit is buying a car right before you close on your home. You should wait until after you have completed your home purchase because the lender will do a last-minute credit check to make sure there were no significant changes to your credit score. A major purchase on credit could change your debt to income ratio that we spoke about earlier. If your debt to income ratio would change significantly, it could disqualify you for your mortgage.

5. Misunderstanding closing costs.

Closing costs cover a lot of different fees that are required to purchase a home. Average closing costs can run between 3% and 6% of the loan amount. The types of closing costs you will pay include lender fees, attorney fees, municipal and state fees, homeowner association fees, and inspection fees. There are loan types that allow the seller to pay a portion of the buyer’s closing costs, but there may be a limit to the amount the seller can cover, which may not cover all costs. Asking the seller to provide a closing cost credit would be part of your negotiations, and you should consult with your lender to be sure it will be acceptable. Many of the closing fees are set on a flat fee or a percentage of the sales price. Bargaining a lower price for the closing costs isn’t possible on most of these expenses.

6. Overlooking repair items.

The excitement of finding your dream home may cloud your judgment on the actual cost to repair things that come up in a home inspection. If there are items in the inspection that you agree to take care of after closing, be sure to get an estimate on what that type of repair will cost you. Sometimes the buyer will think it is an inexpensive item to fix, but once the contractor starts work, the problem is more extensive and more costly than previously thought. 

7. Buying a house you can’t afford.

Just because a lender will loan you the money doesn’t mean it is wise to borrow the maximum amount. Consider your lifestyle when you decide how much you want to spend on your home. If you enjoy taking vacations, owning a car, or going out to eat, you may want to spend less on your monthly mortgage payment so that you do not have to sacrifice the other things you love.

8. Ignoring hidden costs of homeownership.

There are other expenses related to owning a home that you may not have considered. One is higher utility bills. If you rent or own a smaller house than you are purchasing, you may be paying less for utilities than the new larger home will cost you. You may also have to pay for additional utilities you are not currently paying, such as trash removal or recycling. Costs related to your mortgage also need to be considered. Your mortgage company may or may not collect amounts for taxes and homeowner insurance. If they do not, you will need to reserve these amounts to pay when they become due. Some other costs to consider are outside maintenance, inside maintenance, and the tools required to accomplish the job. And lastly, don’t forget the cost of furniture to fill your space and updates you want to make.

9. Not researching the neighborhood.

Although your real estate agent will share with you what they know about the area, it makes good sense for you to do your research. Is there any development being planned that might affect the neighborhood? What is the community like at different times of the day? I usually recommend that my Brooklyn homebuyers visit the area at various times to get a feel for what goes on throughout the day.

10. Believing that working with the Listing agent will save you money.

The listing agent’s fiduciary responsibility is to the seller. They have signed a contract with the seller to represent their best interest. Essentially, working with the listing agent does not give you an advocate. As I mentioned earlier in this post, the buyer’s agency agreement creates a fiduciary relationship with a homebuyer and the agent. The agent representing the buyer is bound to work in the buyer’s best interest. Wouldn’t it be great if you could have that kind of representation when you made other significant purchases?

As you can see, these mistakes could affect your ability to own a home or cost you considerably after you have purchased the home. Learn from someone else’s mistakes and avoid repeating any of these. You should have a much better buying experience.

Hiring the right agent to work on your behalf is an essential step in the home buying process you don’t want to skip. Check out this past blog post that explains the buying process for you.

As the quote by Stephen Keague states, “ Proper preparation prevents poor performance.” The home buying offer process can be very competitive. When Brooklyn homebuyers spend the time to prepare correctly, they make their dream of homeownership come true!

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 Brooklyn homebuyers navigate the homebuying process.

Charles D'Allesandro

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].

How To Price Your Brooklyn Home To Sell Quickly

Friday, January 15th, 2021

Home price correctly sells for more

It is so important to price your Brooklyn home correctly when you first offer it for sale. It is essential to take advantage of your home’s initial phases of entering the market because this is the time you will see the most activity. 

Some homeowners believe that they will set the home’s price higher than the market value to have some bargaining room. That is an inferior strategy because you create a situation where you are listing your home for more than it might be worth.

Proper pricing will attract the right buyers. 

Overpricing your home by only $5,000 could eliminate the right buyers from seeing your home. When buyers search for a home, they usually look in increments of $5,000 and will not look at houses above the maximum amount they want or can spend. In the recent seller’s market we have been experiencing, buyers feel there is little room for negotiation on the sales price. Multiple offers and sales prices over the asking price deter buyers from looking above their price range.

It is safe to assume that all Brooklyn Home Sellers want to achieve a quick sale on their home. It is stressful to keep your home presentable, leave for showings, and wait for an offer. This pandemic adds another stress level to the risk of having visitors in your home. You have to understand how to price your home because setting a price can determine your home’s length of time on the market. 

Extended time on the market can be a detriment to your sale.

Any home that stays on the market for a long time can raise red flags with buyers. It can also lead to a situation where the longer your home is on the market, the more you’ll end up being forced to lower the price to an amount that is lower than you anticipated. Statistically, a seller who overprices their home because they can “negotiate” a lower price ends up selling their home for less than if they had started with the correct price.

You need to know the actual market value of your home. Hiring a real estate professional with a proven track record of selling homes in your neighborhood is extremely important. The intricate differences from one community to another can make a difference in your price.

Let’s take a closer look at the right way to price your Brooklyn home to sell quickly and fairly. 

These are the components that go into pricing a home:

Comparable home sales

It is essential to carefully select the homes used to value property as an appraiser will. The appraisal can make or break a home sale. An appraiser must select homes within a ½ mile radius of the subject property sold within the last six months. If there are no comparables that meet these criteria, they can then expand the search. Review the homes currently under agreement to understand the price range of homes that have now gone under contract. You also want to know what your current competition will be by looking at the homes that are currently for sale.


Factors like the school district’s quality, comparable homes, and crime rates impact a home’s desirability. Also, the proximity of attractions, entertainment, shopping, and parks are important.


A buyer’s market and a seller’s market are two different situations that affect home value. In a buyer’s market, the supply of houses outweighs the demand making it favorable for a buyer to obtain a good deal on a home. A seller’s market is just the opposite. There is not enough supply to meet the demand.  Other factors that affect the market are interest rates, the local economy, and the national economy.

Size and Style

The size and style of the home certainly have an impact on price. Square footage and the number of bedrooms are a consideration for all buyers. Your home should offer the same or greater square footage and bedrooms than other houses in the price range. The style of home should also be conducive for the neighborhood. If your area is predominately contemporary homes, a log cabin may not appeal to local buyers.


A homeowner may want to raise the home price beyond what it’s worth because they did some remodeling. You’ll have to be careful here because while some upgrades can boost the home value, not all of them do. A buyer is less willing to pay the additional price for an over-improved home. Here is a link to an article that shows you the cost of a home improvement versus its value. When you make home improvements, you should consider the return on investment if you know you will be selling soon. You don’t always receive dollar for dollar back on improvements to your home.

I have found there are three factors that will contribute to a quick sale when establishing a price for your Brooklyn home:

  • Condition
  • Location
  • Price

You can control two of these factors, and one you cannot. You cannot change your home’s location unless you physically pick it up and move it to a more desirable location. 

The two factors you can control are the condition and the price. Making the necessary updates and keeping up the routine maintenance on your home makes a big difference when selling. If you have done all you can to improve your home’s condition and it still does not sell, the only thing you can adjust at this point is the price. 

Check out this blog post for a checklist to prepare your home to sell. 

What may not be a factor when you price your Brooklyn home? 

  1. The price you paid for the home. 
  2. The amount of your Zestimate.
  3. The amount you owe on the home.
  4. What your neighbor or friends say.
  5. The cost to rebuild today.

Sellers will set the price of their home, but buyers will set the value. They will be comparing your home to other properties that have recently sold in the area. Often, a seller will reject an initial offer because they feel it is too low to find out it was the best offer they receive on their house.

As the seller, you need to determine what you are willing to accept. 

In the industry, we have found that the longer your home sits available on the market, the lower the sales price.

When you price your Brooklyn home correctly, the most interest will be when it initially hits the market. You will have the largest number of showings during this initial period if you price at a realistic market value.

If you price your home too high and drop the price later, you miss the initial excitement, and you will not have as much interest in the property. 

Don’t believe the misconception that you can negotiate a lower price. 

f a home sits on the market for too long, buyers begin to think there’s something wrong with the property in the current market climate.

Before you price your Brooklyn home, it is imperative that you consult with an experienced and knowledgeable real estate agent who has a track record of pricing homes correctly. Don’t be afraid to ask the agent for references along with their track record. 

Ask the agent for the following information:

  1. What is the number of homes they sell per year?
  2. What is their list to sales price ratio?
  3. What are the days on the market for the homes they listed for sale?

Other factors to consider when interviewing a real estate agent should include:

  1. How long have they been an active real estate agent?
  2. Are they a full-time or part-time real estate agent?
  3. What is their marketing plan for your home?

But first and foremost, your real estate agent should understand the local market and your needs.

Unfortunately, unskilled real estate agents are willing to list a home at whatever the seller would like regardless of what the numbers show. 

Once you have found the real estate professional you feel is right for you, take heed of their advice on your home’s sale. Many people who do not practice real estate as their profession will want to give you advice.

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 understand the local market and know how to price a home to sell quickly and fairly.

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