Archive for the ‘Real Estate News’ Category

Consumer Red Flags When Hiring Your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent

Sunday, February 10th, 2013

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Consumer Tip – Real Estate Red Flags (1)

The majority of Brooklyn licensed real estate agents and brokers are well-trained professionals who can help make the process of buying or selling your home a successful venture rather than a stressful adventure. Occasionally, however, you may run into an unlicensed person posing as an agent, or a licensed agent who is not following the rules of the profession. In either case, your real estate experience can quickly turn sour. Here are a few Consumer Red Flags When Hiring Your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent I hope you find them helpful for your next real estate transaction.

Following are some “red flags” that may assist you in determining if you are NOT working with a legitimate or honest real estate agent. These tips are not intended to provide legal advice in drafting real estate related documents or provide detailed descriptions of the nature of relationships that may be created between agents and buyers and sellers.

Consumer Tip – Real Estate Red Flags (2)

Some “red flags” that may assist you in determining if you are NOT working with a legitimate or honest real estate agent. These tips are not intended to provide legal advice in drafting real estate related documents or provide detailed descriptions of the nature of relationships that may be created between agents and buyers and sellers.

  • RED FLAG – Agents using high-pressure tactics, especially in an attempt to have you sign a purchase or listing agreement
    Tips-

    • Do not be pressured into entering into a purchase agreement based solely on the agent telling you there are multiple offers so you need to make your purchase agreement offer immediately. Multiple offers may exist but don’t be pressured into making a decision you are not comfortable with or if you do not understand the terms of the purchase agreement. If the sellers accept your purchase offer it becomes a legally binding contract. You may have to forfeit your earnest money deposit if you get “cold feet” and later decide that you just don’t want or like the property.
    • Do not be pressured into signing a listing agreement unless you are comfortable with the agent and understand and agree with the terms of the listing agreement including any marketing strategy.
  • RED FLAG – Agents asking for earnest money or a down payment check made out to the agent…or asking for cash
    Tips-

    • Earnest money should be paid with a check or money order and made payable to the real estate company and not to the individual agent.
    • By law, earnest money must be placed in the listing company “trust account” and cannot be mixed with personal funds of the agent. Once the listing company receives the earnest money, it must be deposited within three business days. However, the buyer and seller may agree, in writing, to handle the funds differently.
  • RED FLAG Agents who do not provide answers to your questions about the property or fail to return your calls or maintain communication with you
    Tips-

    • By law agents are required to disclose all material facts they are aware of that may adversely and significantly affect your use or enjoyment of the property, such as existing structural or mechanical problems, water infiltration problems, easements or encroachments, or faulty septic systems.
    • Do not enter into a purchase agreement until your questions are answered. You also have the option of including “conditions” or “contingencies” in your purchase agreement. If your conditions or contingencies were not met, you would not be obligated to go through with the purchase. Some common contingencies are a buyer requiring a satisfactory home inspection report by a certain date and at the buyer’s expense. If the home inspection is unsatisfactory, the buyer can cancel the purchase agreement and obtain a refund of the earnest money.
  • RED FLAG Agents who don’t disclose who they represent
    Tips

    • Whether you are buying or selling, it is important to understand the different types of relationships that can be created between you and an agent. Expect agents to act in the best interests of whomever they represent.
    • Agents must provide a consumer with an “agency disclosure” form at the first substantive contact with the consumer. The agency disclosure is intended to provide a description of available options for agency and nonagency relationships and a description of the role of a licensee under each option. The agency disclosure form is not a contract. If a buyer or seller wants an agent to represent them, a written contract must be entered into such as a listing agreement or a buyer representation contract. Following are the different types of agency relationships in real estate transactions:

    Seller’s Broker: A broker who lists a property of a salesperson who is licensed to the listing broker who represents the seller and acts on behalf of the seller.
    Subagent: A broker or salesperson who is working with a buyer but represents the seller. In this case the buyer is only the agent’s customer and is not represented by that agent.
    Buyer’s Broker: A buyer may enter into an agreement for the broker or salesperson to represent and act on behalf of the buyer. In this case, the agent represents the buyer only and not the seller.
    Dual Agency: Dual agency occurs when one broker or salesperson represents both buyer and seller, or when two salespersons licensed to the same broker each represent a party to the transaction. Dual agency requires the informed consent of all parties.
    Facilitator: A broker or salesperson who performs services for a buyer, a seller, or both but does not represent either in a fiduciary capacity – meaning the facilitator is not obligated to represent the best interest of either party.

  • RED FLAG – Agents who will only show you properties they have listed
    Tips-

    • A Brooklyn real estate agent who you have entered into an agreement with should be acting in your best interest, not his or her own best interests. Agents should be willing to show you properties that they have listed as well as other company listed property and property that is For Sale By Owner (FSBO’s).
  • RED FLAGAgents who ask you to sign blank or incomplete documents
    Tips-

    • Do not sign any real estate related documents that are blank or incomplete. Most of these documents are legally binding.
    • Be wary if you are told, “Don’t worry about that section, we’ll fill it in later.”
  • RED FLAG Agents who require a listing agreement for extended periods of time
    Tips-

    • Do not be pressured into signing a listing agreement for lengthy periods of time. A typical listing period is six months but you can negotiate a shorter or longer listing period.
  • RED FLAGAgents who are difficult to contact or do not regularly communicate with the consumer
    Tips-

    • An agent who has your best interests in mind should be easy to reach.
  • RED FLAGAgents who do not provide a basis for a listing price
    Tips-

    • The agent should provide a market analysis with documentation to support the listing price.
  • RED FLAG Agents who attempt to talk you out of a home inspection or hiring a real estate attorney
    Tips-

    • Agents are prohibited from discouraging the use of an attorney. Hiring an attorney, while not required, may be desired and it’s your right to do so.
    • If an inspection is discouraged, it might be because there is a defect in the property.
  • Make sure your agent is licensed
    Tips-

Considering Selling Your Brooklyn Home? Get the Scoop on the 3.8 Percent Real Estate Tax in the Healthcare Bill

Monday, September 17th, 2012

If you’re considering selling your Brooklyn home, you may have heard rumors that there is a new tax going into effect in January, 2013. Here’s the rundown on what the tax really is – and isn’t.

The new tax is called the ‘‘Unearned Income Medicare Contribution.” It is a 3.8 percent tax on the net investment income of high-income taxpayers. The tax will apply to those with an adjusted gross income of more than $200,000 ($250,000 for joint filers), with no indexing for inflation.

The Good News

Odds are that you will never pay this tax.

Why You Most Likely Won’t Pay the New Tax

The tax will apply to capital gains, not sale proceeds. Because of the current exclusion of gains on home sales — up to $500,000 (joint) or $250,000 (single) on a primary residence — the vast majority of home sellers will not be required to pay this tax.

 Here’s an example: A couple with an adjusted gross income of more than $250,000 (which qualifies them for the tax — more than 90% of households make less than that) decide to sell their house. They purchased their Brooklyn home long, long ago for $50,000. They sell the house, miraculously, for $549,000. Because that profit of $499,000 is under the $500,000 profit exclusion amount allowed for couples, they owe no tax.

The Bottom Line

There are plenty of other taxes that are worth getting upset about; this isn’t one of them.

If you’re Considering Selling Your Brooklyn Home on selling a Brooklyn home, I can help. Give me a call Charles D’Alessandro Your Brooklyn real estate agent with Fillmore Real Estate a call at 718/253-9600 ext 206 or email me at [email protected].

 

 

Seven Signs Brooklyn Real Estate and Real Estate Nationwide are Improving

Friday, March 9th, 2012

Recently released figures indicate real estate nationwide and Brooklyn real estate are continuing to steadily improve. Here are seven signs that demonstrate the upturn:

Housing affordability has risen dramatically. This is due to a combination of reduced real estate prices and record-low mortgage rates.

  1. Housing starts are increasing, driven mostly by multifamily starts.
  2. Existing home sales increased in January. That means we’ve now had three months of gains out of the past four months.
  3. Total housing inventory fell to a 6.1 month supply at the end of January. This means that on average it now takes just over 6 months to sell a home, which is an improvement. According to Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, “The broad inventory condition can be described as moving into a rough balance, not favoring buyers or sellers.”
  4. There are plenty of home buyers and investors competing for foreclosure sales in almost all markets.
  5. Purchases of homes are on the rise by all types of buyers, from seasoned investors to first-time home buyers.
  6. Most economists agree that the market is improving. Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist says, “Our outlook anticipates gradual, but steady, improvement in the economy and the housing market, supported by low interest rates and brightening job market prospects.”

This is excellent news for the spring and summer Brooklyn real estate season that’s just around the corner. If you’ve been considering buying or selling a home, now’s the time to start that process so you’re ready for the hottest season we’ve seen in years.

Thinking about buying or selling Brooklyn real estate? Please contact Call Charles D’Alessandro of Fillmore Real Estate at (718) 253-9600 ext 206 or email me at [email protected] . I can help you achieve your goals.

Tips for Successful Brooklyn Short Sales

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

Short Sale  And Your Brooklyn Home

The reality of today’s real estate market means that there are many opportunities to purchase Brooklyn short sales.  While the process can still be confusing, it is increasingly common. Here are a few tips on how to make sure you leap through the extra hoops a short sale requires with ease and grace:

  • Avoid short sales with multiple mortgage lenders: Offers on Brooklyn short sales with two different lenders are at a much higher risk of being declined. The first mortgage lender will likely only allow a small percentage to go to the holder of the second mortgage – who will therefore be likely to veto a deal, on the hope that more funds would be generated in a foreclosure.
  • Check the Real Estate Agent’s Short Sale Track Record: Agents with experience in short sales are much more likely to be able to successfully navigate the system than those new to the vagaries of short sales.
  • Make Reasonable Offers: Short sales can be better deals, but they are unlikely to be magically cheap.  No matter what, the bank isn’t going to give the home away just to avoid foreclosure.  You want to put together an offer that makes the buyer and the bank happy.
  • Follow Up on the Details: With the bank involvement, there will be more negotiation and more detail.  Keep your i’s dotted and t’s crossed to make sure the process doesn’t stall.
  • Allow For Extra Time: Short sales are not a short process, so if you are truly in a hurry to close a deal, consider other options.

If you’re looking for a real estate agent with experience in Brooklyn short sales, give me a call.  I can help you navigate the system and close on your new home. You can reach me at call Charles D’Alessandro Your Brooklyn real estate agent with Fillmore Real Estate a call at 718/253-9600 ext 206 or email me at [email protected]

Preapproval Steps for a Real Estate Home Loan

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

If you’re thinking about taking the plunge into homeownership, before you even start looking, talk to a qualified mortgage professional to get preapproved for a home loan. Armed with that information, you can make better decisions on the type of  Brooklyn real estate you can afford to buy.

Follow these steps to get preapproved for a mortgage:

1)      Get referrals. Ask family, friends, neighbors and your Brooklyn real estate agent for referrals to a lender with whom they have had a good experience. Talk to several lenders to compare service, rates and other options.

2)      Review your credit report. If anything unexpected appears on your report, do what you can to resolve the issues before you apply for preapproval.  Lenders will review your credit report before preapproving you for a home loan.

3)      Provide financial information to the lender. This usually includes documentation of your income, recent statements for all your checking and savings accounts, assets and debt (for instance, credit card debt and car payments).

Even though the preapproval process is rigorous, obtaining a preapproval still does not guarantee that the lender will ultimately fund your loan. Lenders still need to look at property appraisals, verify your information and potentially check your credit again before agreeing to give you a mortgage.

Preapproval helps you narrow the focus of your Brooklyn real estate search to properties that are within your financial reach. It also helps you check out lenders to find one that is the best match for your situation. When you find the Brooklyn real estate of your dreams, you’ll be ready to move to the next step!

If you’re looking for more information on the home buying process, I can help. Give me a call today at Charles D’Alessandro Your Brooklyn real estate agent with Fillmore Real Estate a call at 718/253-9600 ext 206 or email me at [email protected]

How to Sell Your Brooklyn Real Estate this Winter

Sunday, January 22nd, 2012

Charles D'Alessandro your Brooklyn Realtor®

If you need (or want) to sell your Brooklyn real estate this winter, you’ll have to step up your game a bit. People tend to be less likely to buy in the winter because the weather keeps them indoors rather than out house hunting. And let’s face it, most homes just don’t look as good in the brown, drab winter as they do in the spicy spring and summer.

If you’re one of the lucky owners with a home for sale in an area that stays beautiful all year long, you can still find a few tips here to help get your home ready to sell.

Six tips to help you sell your Brooklyn home this winter:

  1. Keep it cozy. You want your home to be warm so people can comfortably take their time viewing your Brooklyn real estate. Saving money on heating costs isn’t worth it if it means freezing out your potential buyers.
  2. Turn up the light. Keep curtains and blinds open during the day. Turn on your lights, both inside and out, at night. Put your lights on timers if you won’t be home until after dark. Use motion detectors to light up in the evening when a potential buyer approaches your doorstep.
  3. Point out cold-weather benefits. Have mass transit within walking distance? That’s a big benefit in bad weather because you don’t have to de-ice or dig your car out of the snow in order to get to work. Have an attached garage? Ditto.
  4. Take advantage of good winter locations. If your home is in a location that people flock to in the winter, say an area with great outdoor winter sports such as skiing or a warm-weather area like Florida, now is the time prime time to promote your house! Put all you’ve got into marketing the benefits of living where it’s always sunny or where winter living is fun.
  5. Set the mood. Play soft, classical music. Toss afghans or throws across the back of your sofa. Hang plush robes in your bedroom or bathroom.
  6. Clear away snow and ice. Shovel a path through the snow so potential buyers don’t have to get out their snowshoes. De-ice your driveway, sidewalk, steps and porch to prevent slips and falls.

If you’re ready to sell your Brooklyn real estate this winter, I can help. Give me a call today Charles D’Alessandro Your Brooklyn real estate agent with Fillmore Real Estate a call at 718/253-9600 ext 206 or email me at [email protected] for more information.

What Do Buyers of Brooklyn Homes Want in a Neighborhood?

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

What Do Buyers of Brooklyn Homes Want in a Neighborhood?

What Do Buyers of Brooklyn Homes Want in a Neighborhood? So, what do they want? Based on the data just in from the 2011 National Association of REALTORS® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, here are what buyers want in a neighborhood in order of importance:

67 percent favor a quality neighborhood

  1. 49 percent of buyers said they want convenience to jobs
  2. 45 percent look at the overall affordability of Brooklyn homes in the neighborhood
  3. 39 percent prefer to live close to family and friends
  4. 28 percent of buyers are interested in having shopping close by
  5. 27 percent want a quality school district
  6. 22 percent ask for a neighborhood that is convenient to schools
  7. 21 percent like to live close to entertainment or leisure activities

Assess your neighborhood. Which of the attributes most desired by buyers does your neighborhood have? Showcase those features in the marketing materials for your home:

Mention the schools, shopping, entertainment and leisure activities that are close to your home.

  • Give statistics on the quality of your school district.
  • Take photos of your neighborhood that flaunt its quality.

Need help marketing your home? I am a Realtor® that specializes  in selling Brooklyn homes in your neighborhood. If you’re ready to sell your home, let me market your neighborhood and home to get it sold now. Please  call me today Charles D’Alessandro Your Brooklyn real estate agent with Fillmore Real Estate a call at 718/253-9600 ext 206 or email me at [email protected] for more information.

Changes in the National and Brooklyn Real Estate Market You Need to Know Before Selling

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

The data from the 2011 National Association of REALTORS® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers is now available. Here are the significant changes you need to know that will help you market your Brooklyn real estate and get it sold:

  1. Most buyers are married: 64 percent of all buyers are married couples (up five percent from 2010), 18 percent are single women, 10 percent single men and 7 percent unmarried couples.
  2. Your property is competing against 12 other homes: Buyers searched a median of 12 weeks and visited 12 homes, both unchanged from 2010.
  3. Multiple bedrooms and bathrooms are preferred: The typical home had 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms.
  4. Most buyers want single-family homes: 77 percent of respondents purchased a detached single-family home, 9 percent a condo and 8 percent a townhouse or rowhouse.
  5. You need to promote your home to buyer’s agents: 60 percent of buyers working with real estate professionals were represented by a buyer’s agent.
  6. Hire a Brooklyn real estate agent to sell your home: 87 percent of home buyers use real estate agents to find their home. 91 percent of buyers who used the Internet to search for a home purchased through a real estate agent.
  7. Market your home online, with yard signs and at open houses: When buyers were asked where they first learned about the home they purchased, 40 percent said the Internet; 11 percent said a yard sign or open house.

Want to work with a Brooklyn real estate agent who knows how to market your home to get it sold? Let me show you my proven marketing plan. Schedule an appointment with me today by calling me at (718) 253-9600 ext 206 or emailing me at [email protected].

Second Mortgages on Brooklyn Homes: What You Need to Know

Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

Second mortgages on Brooklyn homes are used by people who need to access the equity on their homes. Here’s some information to help you decide if a second mortgage is right for you.

What is a Second Mortgage?

A second mortgage is taking out a second loan on top of the existing mortgage on your home. The collateral for the second mortgage is your home. The loan process is similar to getting a primary mortgage, including the need to pay for appraisals and closing costs.

The maximum amount of the second mortgage is determined by the equity in your home. The equity is the difference between what you owe on the home and the current fair market value of your home.

Why Get a Second Mortgage?

People take out second mortgages on their Brooklyn homes to:

What Should I Consider Before Getting a Second Mortgage?

Taking out a second mortgage is a big risk because your home is your collateral on the loan. Second mortgages on Brooklyn homes are riskier for the lender, so they usually have a much higher interest rate than your first mortgage.

According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, almost 40% of homeowners who took out second mortgages are underwater on their loans. This is more than twice the rate of owners who didn’t take out second mortgages.

Make sure that you can afford the monthly payments as well as the costs associated with getting a second mortgage including the appraisal fee, closing costs, etc. Before signing on the dotted line, investigate financially safer alternatives such as refinancing, selling or renting out.

If you’re considering getting a second mortgage, please think it through very carefully and weigh all your options before making a final decision.

If you’d like help determining if refinancing, selling or renting out your home is the best option for you, give me a call Charles D’Alessandro Your Brooklyn real estate agent with Fillmore Real Estate at 718/253-9600 ext 206 or email me at [email protected],

What to do with those Outdated Items in your Brooklyn Home

Sunday, October 16th, 2011

What to do with those Outdated Items in your Brooklyn Home

If your Brooklyn home is starting to look like a landfill, you’re not alone. You’d like to get rid of all the old stuff you don’t use anymore, but you want to be responsible and don’t know where to take it, right?

Here are some of the most common obsolete items and ideas on what to do with them.

·        Technotrash: This is computer-related waste, VHS tapes, cassette tapes, CDs, DVDs and other obsolete accessories.  A company called GreenDisk can handle all your technotrash disposal needs by safely and securely destroying your old data, recovering reusable components, and recycling all of the rest of your accumulated technotrash.

  • Old electronics: Also known as e-waste, this includes old appliances, TVs and monitors that contain valuable metals that can be recycled, along with other hazardous heavy metals that need to be handled responsibly. Many communities sponsor an E-waste Day, when everyone can bring their old appliances in for safe disposal. Some retailers have recycling programs where you can earn gift cards by trading in old electronics.
  • Shoes: Don’t trash those outdated shoes or ones you just don’t wear anymore. Soles4Souls is a charity that wants all gently-worn shoes. You can find drop-off locations near your Brooklyn home. The shoes will be sent to people in need around the world.
  • Old medicines: If you have medications that are past their expiration date or that you don’t want or need any longer, don’t flush them. Drugs are becoming a serious problem in water supplies and groundwater.  You can now buy a postage-paid envelope to responsibly dispose of many prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs. The Dispose My Meds program is an online resource to help you find local pharmacies that will take back expired or unwanted drugs.

Now that you know where to take your old obsolete stuff, you’re well on your way to getting your Brooklyn home clean and de-cluttered. If your next step is to get it on the market, I can help with that too! Contact me call today Charles D’Alessandro Your Brooklyn real estate agent with Fillmore Real Estate at 718/253-9600 ext 206 or email me at [email protected],