Archive for May, 2021

10 Brooklyn Homeownership Misunderstandings

Sunday, May 30th, 2021

Confused couple learning about Brooklyn homeownership misunderstandings.

There are many misunderstandings about Brooklyn homeownership that I have heard in my 30+ years of experience. I continue to listen to some of the same myths from homeowners and homebuyers. 

Today I discuss ten misunderstandings that I repeatedly hear about Brooklyn homeownership.

1. Renters don’t have to pay taxes and insurance. 

Although a renter does not directly pay these expenses to the governing bodies and insurance companies, the landlord will consider them in his rent calculation. When a landlord calculates the amount they will charge for rent, they look at several different factors. The home’s current market value is a top consideration. A landlord will also look at what the current local rent is for a similar property. They will also use their expenses as a factor in the calculation. These expenses could include the mortgage payment, taxes, insurance, HOA fees, maintenance costs, and property management costs. 

All renters need to obtain renters insurance. Renters insurance will cover the cost of your belongings should something happen in the home. Getting renters insurance may be a condition in your lease. Read your lease carefully. Protect yourself with renters insurance.

2. You only need a down payment to buy a home.

There are more costs to purchasing a home than just the down payment. You will need to cover expenses such as home inspections, pest inspections, and lender closings costs. Your lender can provide you with an estimate of what the closing costs would add up to when you obtain a pre-approval. Remember, this is just an estimate, and they can vary depending on municipal taxes, homeowners associations, and other factors. 

You must understand all the costs associated with a home purchase before you write an offer on any home.

3. If I have a mortgage pre-approval, I can afford the home.

Investment experts recommend that you do not spend more than 30% of your gross monthly income on a mortgage payment. Your lender may approve you for much more than that when they calculate your current income and expenses. Consider your lifestyle when deciding home much you want to invest monthly in your home. Suppose you like to go on vacations, eat out frequently, or have another big financial investment goal. In that case,l, you should not spend the maximum amount your lender will approve if you have other financial goals in addition to Brooklyn homeownership.

4. You need to put 20% down to purchase a home.

Ideally, you would want to put as large a down payment as possible when you purchase a home. Not only will it lower your monthly mortgage payment, but it will also build your equity quicker. However, many mortgage loan programs do not require a 20% down payment. If you are a veteran, you may qualify for a VA loan with no downpayment requirement. An FHA mortgage downpayment could be as low as 3.5%. Numerous other loan programs offer low down payments. Check with your lender to see what they have available. They can also discuss the advantages of each loan program with you. 

5. You need perfect credit to obtain a loan.

There are many different loan programs, and there are different levels of acceptable credit score per loan program. Credit scores run from 300 – 850. You don’t need a perfect 850 score to obtain a mortgage because there are different loan programs for varying credit score levels. If your credit score is below 580, you may need to work on credit repair before purchasing a home. It doesn’t take as long as you think to improve your credit. Working with a good credit repair professional will help you boost your score and get you into a home of your own sooner than you think possible. A mortgage lender should be able to help you find a reputable credit repair professional.

6. Having a home inspection will guarantee you won’t have problems with your home.

I wish this weren’t a misunderstanding, but it is. A home inspector does the most thorough inspection that they can. However, there are components of the home they can not examine with a typical home inspection. They can not see everything from their visual inspection. Only Superman has x-ray vision. Most home inspectors do a great job evaluating a home, but there may be unforeseen issues they may not be able to detect in a typical home inspection. That doesn’t mean you will have any problems with your home purchase. However, you need to discuss with your real estate agent and home inspector what they can and can not evaluate. If you are purchasing an existing home, you can expect something will arise during your ownership that will require maintenance or repair.

7. A newly constructed home is maintenance-free.

Maintenance requirements for a new home is a misunderstanding that takes many new homeowners by surprise. Owning a home means you will always be required to maintain the house. Unless you have purchased in a co-op where maintenance is part of the package, expect to invest time and money on maintaining your home. Better Homes and Gardens put together this comprehensive home maintenance checklist that is an excellent guide for homeowners. It is important to keep up with regular maintenance to prevent a significant expense for deferred maintenance of your home components.

8. All home improvements add value.

First of all, don’t expect any home improvement to bring back dollar for dollar of the cost. The return on investment varies from region to region. ROI can depend on the local area, weather, and cost of living. You can find many resources to help you calculate what you can expect. Another consideration when deciding on a home improvement is how long you intend to live in the home. Sometimes you just want to add an improvement for your use and enjoyment even if it doesn’t add additional value to the house. Here is a link to a recent blog post on my website addressing the possibility of over-improving your Brooklyn home. You will find some good food for thought as you decide on home improvements.

9. You can do whatever you want on your property when you own a home.

Local municipality regulations, zoning requirements, and homeowner associations can dictate what you can and can not do on your property. Before finalizing the purchase of a home that is part of a homeowner’s association, be sure to get a copy of the governing documents to review. In these documents, you will find their by-laws, rules and regulations, and policies. It is also wise to check the municipality regulations and zoning requirements, particularly if you purchase the property with a specific use in mind. Don’t rely on someone, including your real estate agent, to provide that information to you. Do your due diligence and ask questions. This is not an area where it is better to ask for forgiveness than permission. 

10. Home values always appreciate.

Many factors determine a home’s appreciation. It isn’t easy to predict what will happen in any local real estate market. But you need to know that homes do not always appreciate. One of the main factors is the location of the house. If the home is in a desirable area, you can expect appreciation. If the area is declining, it can have a negative effect. Be wary of buying the most expensive home in any neighborhood, especially when the houses surrounding the home for sale are smaller and less expensive. The economy in the area will also affect the rate of appreciation. If the economy is declining, you probably will not experience an increased appreciation of the home. Also, local development can play a factor in a home’s appreciation. Commercial construction in an area can either be a boost or a detriment to the rate of appreciation.

I hope these explanations clear up a few questions you may have about Brooklyn homeownership. Doing your homework is crucial when you are purchasing a home. And hiring an experienced real estate professional who is working on your behalf is priceless.

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 helped many home buyers and sellers uncover the answers to their questions.

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

Smooth Move For Brooklyn Home Sellers

Monday, May 17th, 2021

Brooklyn Home Sellers resting after packing.

Once a Brooklyn Home Seller accepts a buyer’s offer on their home, it is time to prepare for the move. No rest for the weary when it comes to closing on a home and preparing to move.

Your preparation should begin before you put your home on the market. A big part of preparation is decluttering. Purging the items that you no longer need or use before listing your home for sale can save you time when you start packing your home for the move. You will also save money on moving expenses if you sell or donate your unwanted furniture, clothing, and household items before starting the packing process.

Brooklyn home sellers should consult with the real estate professional to understand the timelines of their sales agreement.

This previous blog post will help you understand the closing process. Now that you know the deadlines to meet, you need to get to work.

Remember that you will need to forward your mail delivery.

 You can find the information to set up your forwarding address on the USPS website. Consider leaving your forwarding address with the buyers if any packages or mail is delivered to the home.

Contact the utility companies that service the home to order a final meter reading and provide your forwarding address for the final bill.

 Your real estate agent will also give the utility company information to the buyer so that they can set up their accounts to transfer into their name upon possession of the home. Don’t forget to set up your new utility accounts for your new home also.

If you are using a professional mover, it is crucial to contact them right away to schedule the moving date you will need.

I would recommend getting quotes from several different companies to ensure you are not overpaying for your move. If you are doing it yourself, be sure to reserve a moving van in advance to ensure you have one available on moving day.

If you are doing the packing yourself, you will need to gather supplies. Some items you will need include:

  1. Boxes – you will need some standard moving boxes, but you may also need some specialty boxes. Dish packs are sturdier to handle the extra weight of kitchen items. Wardrobe boxes have a clothing rod so that you can move clothing on their hangers. You will also need varying sizes of boxes.
  2. Wrap – you will need some type of wrapping to cushion fragile items. You can purchase foam sheets, bubble wrap, or packing paper to cover and protect your items.
  3. Tape – You will need sturdy packing tape to secure your boxes. A tape gun can make the job of handling the tape quick and less frustrating. Purchasing multi-packs of tape can save you some money.
  4. Furniture pads or covers – Your mover may provide these for you, or you may be able to rent them. Using covers can help keep your furniture clean and prevent it from being damaged.
  5. Toolset – Having a toolset handy will help disassemble items. It would be a good idea to carry them with you to your new home to reassemble items as you set up your new home quickly.
  6. Stretch wrap – Using the stretch wrap to secure furniture drawers is a great idea. You can also wrap furniture pieces to protect them from damage.
  7. General cleaning supplies – You will need general cleaning items plus garbage bags, buckets, and brooms. Be sure to clean each room as you finish packing.
  8. Mattress bags – Protect your mattresses from getting dirty with a mattress bag. Your moving company may have them available. Or you can search online to find them.

Once the supplies are gathered, Brooklyn home sellers should create a packing plan. An excellent way to tackle this ominous task is to go room by room.

Some things to consider in your plan:

  1. Timeframe – allow enough time to get the job done. Most people underestimate the amount of time it will take to pack. Don’t create a stressful situation by waiting until the last minute to start.
  2. Pack Lightly – Consider what you are putting into each box. Be sure that you are not adding too much weight to any of your boxes. A weighty box could cause the movers trouble lifting the box and potentially damaging the contents if they were to drop it.
  3. Designated Station – Create a designated packing station where you have ample supplies. Ideally, you should have a nice-sized surface to wrap and pack your items.
  4. Packing materials – Don’t spare the packing paper or bubble wrap. Use plenty of packing materials to protect your fragile items and prevent items from moving inside the boxes.
  5. Quality boxes – Don’t be tempted to use free boxes from your local stores. Uniform-sized and sturdy boxes make packing the moving truck much more manageable.

Mark your boxes with as much detail as possible. You may need to access items before you have had a chance to unpack everything at your new home. Having a detailed description of the contents in each box can help you find things quickly.

Labeling and numbering boxes can be beneficial when you arrive at your new destination. The movers can move them into the proper rooms when they are marked.

One great tip I heard was to pack a “First Night” box with items you may need immediately when you reach your destination. Consider what you will need like personal items, pet foods or medications, clothing, towels, etc.

Be sure to double-check your sales agreement for items that are expected to convey with the sale. Mark those items with a post-it note so that they don’t inadvertently get packed.

At this point, our Brooklyn home sellers are ready for moving day. Some tips to keep in mind on moving day are:

  1. Keep your valuable items with you. It is always a wise idea to pack and move these items yourself to prevent any potential loss. Keep your jewelry, cash, expensive electronics, and prescription medications with you.
  2. Hire a sitter. Having small children and pets in the way on moving day can make it stressful for you and the movers. You may want to consider having someone watch them outside of the home on moving day.
  3. Be home on moving day. You need to oversee the process and be available to answer any questions the movers may have. If you can not be there, be sure to have someone you trust to oversee the process for you.
  4. Keep traffic flow clear. Be sure there is a clear traffic flow for the movers inside and outside your home, free of obstacles.
  5. Photograph your furnishings. It is wise to take photos of your precious and expensive to replace items before the movers arrive to prove the item’s condition before being moved.

Once the movers have your home packed up, it is time for one final cleaning. You can either do the cleaning yourself or hire a cleaning service.

Here is a checklist of suggested items:

  1. Check cabinets, drawers, and closets for any forgotten items. 
  2. Remove any remaining personal items.
  3. Sweep floors free of debris.
  4. Wipe down surfaces.
  5. Clean the kitchen appliances, especially the refrigerator.
  6. Give the bathrooms a good cleaning, including sinks, bathtubs, and toilets.
  7. Remove any nails and patch holes.
  8. Touch up any damage caused during the move.
  9. Remove all trash from the property.
  10. Don’t leave paint cans unless the buyer would like the extra paint for touchups.

Brooklyn home sellers often ask “how clean” is clean.  Most sales agreements reference “broom clean.” But, use your common sense and consideration for the buyer when working through the home. Clean as you finish packing a room, then a quick sweep of the floors and a few touch-ups may be all you need to do when the movers finish packing.

Make arrangements with your real estate agent for the keys and garage door openers. 

Whether you are moving out of town or just down the street, these tips will help you experience less stress with your move.

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 answer your moving questions.

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].