Archive for the ‘Brooklyn’ Category

Can You Create A Stress-Free Kitchen Update On A Budget?

Tuesday, November 30th, 2021

Man working on a kitchen update on a budget.

Many Brooklyn homeowners consider making a kitchen update on a budget. Thinking through the entire process before you begin the work can help create a stress-free experience for you.

The first step is to develop your budget and stick to it. Ask yourself these questions:

  1. How much do I want to spend?
  2. How long do I plan on staying in this home?
  3. What finishes are typical for this neighborhood?

These are essential questions to consider when you are working through your planning process. Don’t spend more than you can afford. The time you plan to live in this home will help you determine how much to spend and what types of finishes you want. If you are only staying in the house for a couple of years, you do not want to over-improve the kitchen by adding finishes that are not typical for the neighborhood. You may not get a return if the finishes are too upscale, or you may take longer to sell if they are lower than typical.

You will find that it is easy to go over budget when you remodel a kitchen. Thorough planning and budgeting will help you avoid the stress of overspending. It is a good idea to budget for any contingencies. Unforeseen expenses often occur.

Next, you will want to gather ideas.

You can gather some incredible ideas through internet searches, Pinterest, and visiting local building supply stores. Estimate the cost of each element you are considering. See if there are less expensive alternatives that will give you the same look. In a budget breakdown, HGTV suggests the percentage of your budget you should spend on:

  • Cabinets – 35%
  • Labor – 20%
  • Appliances – 20%
  • Windows – 10%
  • Fixtures – 5%
  • Fittings – 3%
  • Other – 7%

Keep these guidelines in mind as you make decisions on the design and materials of your kitchen update on a budget.

Before you set everything in motion, consider these points.

DIY or Contractor

With the popularity of home improvement shows, it may be tempting to do it yourself. However, if you are not skilled, you should budget for a professional contractor. Finding a reliable contractor requires some research. The best place to start is with family and friends who may have previously finished a kitchen update. Check references, and try to visit a job they recently completed. If the contractor has a good reputation, you may need to wait to get on their calendar. However, it is often a worthwhile wait.

Space and Layout

If your budget is tight, you may not be able to add additional space to your kitchen or change the layout. Adding space to a kitchen may require tearing down a wall which can be costly. If the change in layout requires relocating plumbing or electrical, you will need to account for extra in your budget.

Schedule

When you want to start the project may be determined by when you need the project complete. If you want it finished by a particular date, you will need to work backward to calculate the best time to start the project. If you plan on hosting any significant events at your home, proper planning can eliminate the stress of meeting deadlines.

Ventilation

Proper ventilation in a kitchen serves several purposes. First and foremost is your comfort. A ventilation system will keep your kitchen from getting too hot. It will also help you to eliminate cooking odors that permeate the home. Ventilation helps keep your smoke detectors from being set off by smoke and steam. Pay careful attention to how you can achieve good ventilation in your kitchen using an exhaust fan such as a hood.

Temporary Kitchen

While your kitchen is under construction, you may need to set up a temporary kitchen to prepare quick meals and snacks. Your time estimate may determine how extensive a setup you need. Going out to eat or getting take out for a few days may not be a problem, but you may want to be able to cook some simple meals as your timeframe extends. 

When you plan a kitchen update on a budget, you want to be sure to incorporate ideas that will help your home sell.

If you are not planning on moving right away, you can enjoy selections that may not necessarily appeal to a broad range of homebuyers. However, if you think there is even a remote possibility of moving within 2 – 3 years, I would recommend selections with a broad range of popularity. Check out other homes in your neighborhood that have recently sold, and take a good look at the kitchens. What sorts of finishes seem to be ordinary?

Some simple ideas that are appealing to a broad range of people are:

Kitchen Island

It may be a wise investment if you have the space for an island, especially with seating. The additional counter space is appealing, along with the extra seating. In addition, the ability to have family or guests sit in the kitchen while you are preparing meals keeps you involved in the interactions and creates some great memories.

Open Shelving

The use of open shelving is helpful to create a sense of space in a kitchen. As a result, this modern touch has become popular.

Pull Out Shelves

Cabinets and pantries that have pull-out shelves are appealing because it creates more efficient use of the space. It is also convenient to pull out the shelf to locate what you need, especially deep and lower cabinets. Corner cabinets with shelves that open out also make great use of that lost corner space.

Lighting

The use of different types of lighting can make an immense difference in the feel of the kitchen. Overhead, recessed, chandelier, task, and under-cabinet options illuminate an area differently and have specific purposes. Planning for a good mix of lighting will help make food preparation and eating meals more pleasurable.

Faucets

Like lighting, there are so many options for kitchen faucets. The price ranges vary drastically. Think of the function of your kitchen and your needs. You may not need a touchless faucet, but having a sprayer may be a necessity.

Coffee bar

Many people enjoy having a designated coffee or beverage bar in their kitchen—a space to house all the equipment and supplies you will need to prepare your favorite drink. Depending on your kitchen, a separate sink may also be an added touch you want to consider.

Appliances

You may not have the budget for top-of-the-line appliances, but updating with the best in your budget is a good idea. A home buyer would be concerned that older appliances will break or waste too much energy. Shop around to find the best deal within your budget.

Paint

A fresh coat of paint does wonders. But, again, if you are considering selling shortly, avoid bold or specific color palates with limited appeal. Neutral tones appeal to a wide range of people. 

Floors

If your floors are damaged or dated material, you should consider an update. If you have a tile floor, simply regrouting can make the floor look fresh. There are many affordable options in flooring. Research to find the best solution for your lifestyle and budget.

Cabinets

Your budget will determine whether you can replace the old cabinets with new ones. If you do not have a budget for new cabinets and your current cabinets need repairing, you can consider painting, stripping, and refinishing the wood or refacing. Using bright white paint can hide outdated cabinets and create a more modern feel. But, again, the solution for you will depend on your budget.

Average estimates for kitchen remodels include:

Low = $5,000 to $15,000

Medium = $15,000 to $30,000

High = $30,000 or more

With good planning and smart shopping, you can accomplish a stress-free kitchen update on a budget.

Caution – be careful not to over-improve for your neighborhood. For more tips, you can read my previous blog post.

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 know what types of updates work to help sell a home quickly. I can be reached by phone at (718) 253-9500 ext. 1901 or by email at [email protected]

Charles D'Allesandro

Why Buyers And Sellers Need A Trusted Brooklyn Real Estate Agent

Sunday, August 15th, 2021

Happy Couple shaking hands with trusted real estate agent

A trusted Brooklyn real estate agent might be the best investment you make in your home buying or selling endeavor. There is a tendency to believe you can do it yourself in a hot real estate market, especially for home sellers. However, having an experienced real estate professional as a partner in the home selling or buying process is a valuable step that can significantly reward you.

A buyer’s agent will genuinely represent the best interests of a homebuyer when they hire a Brooklyn real estate agent to work on their behalf. 

A buyer’s agent will:
  1. Watch the market for newly listed homes that meet your criteria.
  2. Research local sales prices in your neighborhood of interest.
  3. Study the local market for sales trends.
  4. Suggest a pricing strategy based on current sales trends.
  5. Structure an offer reflective of the buyer’s desire to purchase the home based on market demand and agent knowledge.
  6. Negotiate in the buyer’s best interest.
  7. Recommend service providers needed in the transaction.
  8. Negotiate any issues revealed during the inspections and due diligence period.
  9. Coordinate closing timelines with the seller’s agent, lender, title company, and closing attorney.
  10. Communicate with the seller’s agent as the buyer’s liaison.

A Brooklyn real estate agent who is working as a seller’s agent represents the best interests of the homeowner. 

A Seller’s agent will:
  1. Advise seller on preparations needed before listing the home.
  2. Provide a comparable market analysis to price the home correctly.
  3. Research local sales statistics in your neighborhood.
  4. Study the local market for sales trends.
  5. Professionally market the home.
  6. Network with fellow real estate agents to promote your home.
  7. Evaluate buyer feedback from showings to make necessary adjustments.
  8. Review all offers and makes recommendations on counteroffers.
  9. Confirm buyer qualifications.
  10. Provide guidance in any home inspection and other contingency-related issues.
  11. Coordinate closing timelines with buyer’s agent, lender, title company, and closing attorney.
  12. Facilitate any necessary communications with the buyer’s agent and buyer.

It makes good sense to work with a Brooklyn real estate agent to achieve your real estate goals. As a matter of fact, many home sellers and home buyers have found that the investment in hiring a professional was well worth it in the savings they realized by gaining more in seller proceeds or saving money on buying mistakes.

What are some ways a real estate agent can save you money?
  1. Price your home correctly for a timely sale.
  2. Familiarity with staging techniques to make your home appealing to buyers.
  3. Recommendations on what repairs and updates will yield you a return before listing.
  4. Their network of trusted experts can help you save on inspections, repairs, staging, lending, and legal issues throughout the home buying or selling journey.
  5. Negotiation skills and tactics.
  6. Streamline the process, saving you time and money.
  7. Evaluate realistic listing and sales prices.
  8. Position a listing for maximum interest and exposure.

The real estate community is well-connected. Real estate professionals network with other real estate professionals sharing information on upcoming homes for sale and the buyers they represent. As a result, a well-connected real estate agent may share or learn about pocket listings, homes that are not yet available to the public. 

Buying and selling a home can become emotional at some point in the process for both buyers and sellers. Having a neutral party in your corner who can evaluate any situation from all sides of the table can provide that big picture view you may be unable to see at the time. However, you need to be prepared for unexpected emotions to creep up on you. 

How can you prepare yourself emotionally?
  1. Evaluate if the time is right for you to sell or buy.
  2. Research the process to gain a better understanding of the steps involved.
  3. Stay involved in the process of working with your agent, lender, title company, and closing attorney.
  4. Keep an open mind and be flexible.
  5. Create checklists, so you don’t overlook anything.
  6. Focus on your end goal.
  7. Maintain open communication with your real estate professional and other service providers.

A Brooklyn real estate agent who practices full-time has the expertise and market knowledge that buyers and sellers don’t. As a matter of fact, it is their job to stay on top of the market trends. Their expertise and experience in the local market can be the advantage you need to buy or sell a home.

Marketing a home is another area where a Brooklyn real estate agent can be of value.

They know how to get the exposure for your home needed to get it sold. They not only market to the general public, but they also market to their network of real estate agents who may be representing the buyer of your home. Utilizing professional services like home stagers, photographers, and videographers to present the house in its best light is an essential piece of marketing a home because most buyers begin their home search online.

According to the National Association of Realtors study, 91% of sellers list their homes through the multiple listing service. Your Brooklyn real estate agent has access to the multiple listing service. The multiple listing service is not only where real estate agents learn about the most recent available properties, but they also have access to the most recent home sales statistics. 

Although this database of information may be shared publicly through online portals, not all the detailed information is shared, including price history and sales information. When a property sells, it is recorded in the MLS immediately, but public records may take time to be updated.

The multiple listing service can benefit the buyer by gaining access to the most current information. For example, a real estate agent can set up an email notification system that will alert both the agent and the buyer when a new listing hits the MLS that meets their criteria. In reality, it may take time for this information to appear on online real estate portals. 

From a seller’s standpoint, accessing the MLS allows their property to have the most significant exposure on the market. In fact, 88% of home buyers recently utilized the services of a real estate agent. Buyer’s agents search for homes to show buyers through the MLS.

One of the best reasons to work with a Brooklyn real estate agent is the Realtors® Code of Ethics.

The National Association of Realtors® is the largest trade association in the country. All agents designated as Realtors® must abide by the Code of Ethics and are held accountable to them. 

Under the code of ethics, their duties are to protect their client’s best interest while treating all parties honestly, meet professional standards, implement non-discriminatory practices, and refrain from making false statements against other real estate agents. Duties covered under the code fall into three categories; client and customers, the public, and other Realtors®. 

Disciplinary actions will begin at the local level through the Board of Realtors®. The process of reviewing issues is detailed and accordingly works like many justice systems. 

The code of ethics provides accountability and guidance for real estate agents to conduct their business with integrity.

Hiring a Brooklyn real estate agent provides many benefits to home buyers and home sellers in our area. By all means, you should take the time to interview several agents and check references to be confident you have the right agent in your corner. 

Questions you should ask when interviewing a Brooklyn real estate agent:
  1. How long have you been a real estate agent?
  2. What is your sales history?
  3. What sets you apart from other agents?
  4. How will you help me buy or sell a home?
  5. Do you require a contract? If so, can you cancel for any reason?
  6. What is your marketing plan or buying strategy for me?
  7. What is your commission rate?
  8. Do you charge any additional fees?
  9. How do you communicate with your clients?
  10. What haven’t I asked you that I should?

Your Brooklyn real estate agent should be a trusted partner in the buying or selling process. As a result, you can embark on your real estate journey with confidence that you are well represented. A trusted real estate agent is the foundation of your real estate team. Find out about other parties involved in the process in this previous blog post.

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 am the trusted partner you are looking to find. I can be reached by phone at (718) 253-9500 ext. 1901 or by email at [email protected].

Charles D'Allesandro

Is Your Brooklyn Home Not Selling?

Sunday, November 15th, 2020
Price reduced For Sale Sign

Selling your Brooklyn home can be a stressful time in the best of circumstances. But what happens if your home doesn’t sell as quickly as you had hoped? 

My highest recommendation is to maintain an open line of communication with your real estate agent. Ask questions if you have them. Don’t make assumptions and blame without verification. Your real estate agent is on your team.

Many factors affect the sale of a home. Some factors are in your control, some are in the control of others, and some are not in control of anyone involved in the transaction. 

Your responsibilities to consummate a successful sale of your Brooklyn home are items that you most likely can do something about.

Here are some factors in your control:

Price

The pricing of your home is one of the most important steps in the home selling process. It is a common misconception that you can ask for a higher price for your Brooklyn home and negotiate lower. This strategy frequently backfires, and the final sales price will be less than if the home were listed at the appropriate price.  A savvy real estate agent will find the most recent sales in your area for homes that compare to yours and guide you to a price that is substantiated by those comparable homes. A real estate appraiser will be looking at this information when it comes time for the appraisal. If there are negative factors about your home that you can not change, adjusting your price may be the only option.

Condition

As a seller, you will want to be sure that your home is in the best condition you can afford to present it in. If your home is equipped with the best the 70s had to offer, it may take more time to find the right buyer. If you have deferred maintenance that should be completed, do everything you can to get it ready for the market.

Preparation

Any repairs and preparation should occur before entering the home into the MLS. Preparing your Brooklyn home to sparkle and shine during the showings is always important even in a hot market. You may be wondering why. The buyer will form impressions from the moment they walk in the door. If they feel there are too many repairs or the home has not been well maintained, they will move on to the next home. Here is a link to a previous post that will help you prepare your home.

Limited Showing Availability

Preparing a home for showings can become monotonous if your Brooklyn home is on the market for a period of time. It takes a lot of effort to make sure everything is clean and show worthy. Getting the family and pets out the door can also become a chore. I’m sure there are days you just don’t feel like doing it. But, you never know when THE buyer is going to walk through the door. Understandably, there may be a time when it is not possible to allow for showings. You need to be as flexible as you can to allow the buyers access to your home. If they can’t see it, they won’t buy it. If necessary, ask your agent if it would be possible to request a few hours notice to show. That will give you time to prepare but won’t give the buyer too much time to find another house before they look at yours.

Odors

As the commercial says, we often become nose blind to the smells in our own home. There are many causes of odors that can turn off potential buyers. Pets, cooking, dampness, and mildew can all be factors that affect the smells in your Brooklyn home. Bring in a friend or relative who has a more sensitive nose than yours to do a walk through and point out any potential issues. It is important to eliminate the source of the odor and not just mask it with air fresheners.

Cluttered home office

Clutter

Clutter is a big problem and should be addressed in your preparation process. Yes, you still have to live in your home, but you have to give the buyer a feeling that there is enough space in the home. Closets are an area where clutter can turn a buyer off. When your closet is jam-packed full of clothing and accessories, you should remove the excess. Removing your clutter has a psychological effect, allowing the buyer to envision their belongings in the space.

Motivation

Your motivation as the seller will determine the trajectory of the sale. If you are listing your home for sale to “test” the market, you may not be open to any negotiation. This type of seller has a tendency to overprice their home. An unwillingness to cooperate with the buyer will make the completion of the sale very difficult.

Your responsibilities have a great contribution to the timing of your sale. Rely on your real estate agent to guide you through these steps. We sometimes put greater value on our own possessions than a potential buyer will. That is why it is so important to get the opinion of a professional who studies and understands the Brooklyn real estate market.

Let’s take a look at factors that someone other than you can control:

Marketing

Your real estate agent will be responsible for the marketing of your Brooklyn home. When interviewing real estate agents, you want to ask about their marketing plan. One of the least successful marketing plans is the three Ps:

  • Put a sign in the yard
  • Put it in the multi-list
  • Pray it sells

A good marketing plan will cover pricing, promotion, analysis of the competition, tracking, and timing adjustments if needed. Ask your real estate agent for their marketing plan before signing the listing agreement. Check out this blog post on marketing a Brooklyn home.

Photographing a room

Photos

Photos should be part of the marketing plan, but it is so important I wanted to mention it separately. First impressions of your home will come from the photos that potential buyers look at online. Most buyers start their Brooklyn home search online before they ever contact a real estate agent. Good quality photos make all the difference. These photos do not have to be done by a professional photographer, but they should be done with good equipment to provide clear, wide-angle shots of the rooms. Not having enough pictures is also a problem. There is a limit of photos an agent can add to the multi-list, but the agent should use all available. Some websites outside the MLS will also allow additional photos to be added. 

Unrealistic Buyers

There are always buyers who want to purchase a home in mint condition at bargain prices. Some buyers do not want to move into the home and make repairs, whether large or small. They will make a low-ball offer based on their feeling of what will need to be done in the home to meet their needs. Sometimes after the home inspections, they will ask for unreasonable amounts of repairs or a large credit.

Inspections

Many buyers are not educated that the home inspection aims to uncover any major ticket items or safety issues. These items are not always known by the seller. If the buyer has cold feet, they may decide to terminate their offer at this stage. Having a pre-inspection by a licensed home inspector is a good way to eliminate any surprises.

Appraisal

As mentioned in the Pricing obstacle, the appraiser uses information on homes that have recently sold in the area compared to your home to determine value. It is often hard to counter a low appraisal. If the buyer is financing through an FHA or VA mortgage, that low appraisal could remain with the property for several months.

 Lender

The lender’s approval of the mortgage can also become an obstacle. A pre-approval letter from a reputable lender is usually a confirmation that the buyer will not have any issues. On rare occasions, the buyer may go out and purchase a large ticket item before the approval of their loan that may change the amount they can borrow. A job loss, relocation, or other buyer’s employment changes have occurred, disqualifying the buyer for their mortgage.

Some factors are not within the control of the seller. Hiring an experienced, professional real estate agent can help you work through issues that may arise with the sale of your Brooklyn home. Coming up with innovative ideas to overcome an obstacle comes with experience.

The last category of factors is not within the control of anyone involved in the transaction. They include:

Location

The location of your home is a big factor in getting a home sold. However, short of picking up the house and moving it, you can not change the property’s location. Whether the location is good, bad, or indifferent is usually defined by each buyer based on their ideal. If your location is an issue, you will need to price accordingly.

Timing

Most markets experience busy seasons and less busy seasons of the sale cycle. If you happen to put your home on the market during a slow season, it may take longer to get your Brooklyn home under contract. That isn’t to say it will be impossible to sell. If fewer homes are coming on the market at that time, your competition will be lower. Buyers enter the market at many different times of the year for many different reasons. Selling during a slower sales season may work out well for you.

Market

The economy, the available inventory, and the interest rates all play a part in the local market. If we learned anything in 2020, things can change quickly. Keeping up on trends and predictions is an important part of a real estate agent’s business practice. But even then, the agent may not be able to predict what is going to happen with the market.

There are so many factors that can affect the sale of your Brooklyn home. A top-notch agent will be able to keep all the moving parts working to the same conclusion, a closing. As I mentioned earlier, it is important to interview the real estate agents you work with before signing the listing agreement.

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 manage the moving parts for both buyers and sellers.

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].

It Takes a Village To Buy or Sell in the Brooklyn Real Estate Market!

Friday, October 30th, 2020
Couple Holding keys to their new home

Buying or Selling a home in the Brooklyn Real Estate market can be a complicated process. Truly it takes a village of people for the purpose of completing just one home sale.

Wikipedia explains the phrase “It takes a village to raise a child” as an African proverb. It means an entire community of people must interact with children to experience and grow in a safe and healthy environment.

The phrase “It Takes a Village” has been adapted over the years for other references. In fact, it is a great explanation of what the home buying and selling experience is like in the Brooklyn Real Estate Market.

How many different parties do you think are involved in one real estate transaction? You may find it surprising. Let’s take a look.

SELLER

First, you need to find someone ready to sell their home. We often hear the term “Motivated Seller.” What would make a homeowner a “motivated seller?” Motivation to sell a home can come for many reasons.

When a buyer hears the seller is motivated, it may trigger many thoughts.
  • There is room to negotiate the price.
  • The owner may be open to making concessions to consummate the sale.
  • There are material defects to the home or property that the seller doesn’t want to address.
  • The home is near foreclosure.
  • The seller is ready to take the home off the market and wants to see any offer.
  • The seller is in a financial bind.
  • The owner MUST sell now.

Determination, not desperation, may be what motivates a seller.

There are many reasons a seller would want to sell a property that is not related to the desperation thinking above.
  • Job relocation
  • Downsizing
  • Upsizing
  • Retiring to a new location
  • Divorce
  • Settle an estate

Knowing the seller’s motivation would be an advantage in negotiations. However, you may or may not understand the seller’s reason for selling when you place your offer. 

BUYER

Next, you need someone qualified and ready to purchase a new home. Obtaining a pre-approval from a reputable lending institution makes you a qualified buyer. They also have proven they have the necessary funds and qualifications to buy a home in the Brooklyn Real Estate Market. The reasons someone may be interested in purchasing a home vary as much as the reasons a seller would want to sell.

Some reasons to purchase may be:
  • Achievement of “The American Dream”
  • Sound investment
  • Build equity
  • Potential tax benefits

The buyer’s motivation is as important as the seller’s motivation. An apathetic buyer can take a home off the market for some time and then decide to terminate the sale. Your real estate agent can help you vet the buyer’s motivation. Unfortunately, you would need to have a crystal ball to definitely know what will happen.

LENDER

In hopes of financing the home, the buyer will choose a financial institution for their mortgage. Surprisingly, the lowest interest rate is not always the best option. You may want to compare several lenders.

Obtaining an estimate of the lender’s fees can be eye-opening. Some things you will want to compare are:

  • Interest rates
  • Lender fees
  • Cash required to bring to closing

By all means, it is essential to find a reputable lender who is knowledgeable in lending in your area. Out of state or internet mortgage companies may not know the intricacies of a home purchase in the Brooklyn Real Estate market.

The lender should do a thorough analysis of the buyer’s financial situation to determine if they qualify for a mortgage. The buyer should offer evidence of their qualifications when they make an offer on the property.

There is a difference between a pre-qualification and a pre-approval. A pre-qualification provides the buyer with a general estimate of what they can afford. A pre-approval is more valuable because the buyer’s credit has been checked, and documentation has been verified to approve the buyer for a specific loan amount. A pre-approval can be valid for 60-90 days and should be re-verified to confirm no buyer’s status changes.

REAL ESTATE AGENTS

Typically you will find two real estate agents involved in any Brooklyn Real Estate sale. The first agent works on behalf of the seller, helping them prepare their home and price it competitively. The second agent represents the buyer and helps evaluate an offering price and terms once the right home has been found.

The real estate agents work together, bringing the buyer and seller to an agreement on the best terms possible.

You will want to find a trustworthy agent to represent you in either a sale or purchase.

What are the qualities of a trustworthy agent?
  • Local Market Expert
  • Proactive
  • Knowledgeable
  • Good Communicator
  • Educated

Your real estate agent should hold the designation of Realtor®, which means they belong to the National Association of Realtors® and their local Board of Realtors®. Notably, a member of these associations must follow guidelines to ensure they are fair and ethical in their business practices.

Home Inspection Checkmark

HOME INSPECTORS

A critical component of the buying process is the home inspection. The purpose of the home inspection is to determine if there are any major ticket items or safety issues affecting the home. In reality, these are items that the seller may not have been aware of. Nitpicking the seller for trivial issues or updates that were visible upon your visit to the home is not the purpose of a home inspection.

The home inspector will usually look at the following areas of the home:
  • Exterior structure
  • Roof
  • HVAC System
  • Hot Water Heater
  • Electric Panel
  • Outlets
  • Windows
  • Plumbing in kitchen and baths
  • Attic

Be sure to check the credentials of the home inspector you choose. There are certifications required for home inspectors in the Brooklyn Real Estate market.

The home inspector will highlight areas of concern. You will also learn from the inspector the home components that may need to be replaced in the future. With this information in hand, you can make an informed decision about whether this is the right investment for you.

LAWYER

You will most likely need to hire an attorney to represent you either as a buyer or a seller when purchasing in the Brooklyn Real Estate market.

What is the lawyer’s role in a real estate transaction?
  • Write and negotiate the sales agreement.
  • Represent their client’s best interest.
  • Review closing documents.
  • Attend the closing to ensure a smooth transition.

For more information on the importance of real estate lawyers, see this previous blog post that explains it all in detail.

TITLE COMPANY

The title company researches the history of homeownership to determine the buyer receives a clean title to the property when they take possession of the home. In the event that they find any issues on the chain of title, they will resolve them before closing.

They will also research any judgments, liens, outstanding mortgages, or unpaid taxes on the property.

The title company will then prepare a report (abstract of title), revealing all the research findings. This document will validate the title of the property.

Title insurance is issued to protect the lender and new owner against any lawsuits or claims undetected on the original title search. The lender will require a title insurance policy.

If you are a cash buyer, it would be your decision to purchase title insurance. Although, if you are purchasing a home with cash it is highly recommended that you purchase the title insurance policy.

APPRAISER

An appraiser will visit the home to prepare an opinion of value for the lender. Do not confuse the appraisal with a home inspection but, the appraiser may note any safety issues that are apparent to them. Requirements for an appraiser and a home inspector are different. An appraisal is not a substitute for a home inspection.

An appraiser will prepare a report called an appraisal that will provide their opinion of value based on several factors.
  • Location
  • Structural Construction
  • Age
  • Bedrooms
  • Bathrooms
  • Condition
  • Square Footage
  • Recent Neighborhood Home Sales

Providing a fair and unbiased assessment of the property can be accomplished by randomly assigning appraiser through a third party.

The cost of the appraisal is an expense the buyer will pay. This is a requirement of the buyer’s lender.

In the event that the home does not appraise for the amount of the sales price, it can trigger a negotiation between the buyer and the seller. If both parties come to an agreement acceptable to the lender, the sale will be completed.

UNDERWRITER

The underwriter works for the lender. Their role is to review the buyer’s information and the appraiser’s opinion of value to determine if the mortgage can be issued for the purchase price agreed upon. The underwriter will evaluate that granting the mortgage to the buyer is a sound investment for the lender.

An underwriter will look at several different areas to determine any risk of the buyer defaulting.
  • Credit and payment history
  • Income and assets of the buyer
  • Downpayment
  • Appraised home value

The underwriter may need to request additional information to clarify any uncertainties that arise to be sure lending the money to the buyer is a solid investment for the bank/lender.

The last hurdle in the process of buying or selling a home is clearing underwriting. The type of loan, buyer’s financial situation, title issues, survey issues, and missing paperwork will all affect the time the underwriter will need to complete the process.

Once they have completed their review, the Underwriter will issue the loan a “Clear to Close” status!

TEAMWORK

Real Estate Team

Buying or selling a home in the Brooklyn Real Estate market involves many parties and this doesn’t include assistants and others within these companies who help. It really does take a village to pull all the pieces of buying or selling a home together.

That is why it is so important to hire the right Realtor® to work for you, whether you are buying or selling a home. Coordinating all these parties takes a thorough understanding of the sale process and experience in the local market.

Charles D'Alessandro

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 both buyers and sellers coordinate all the details.

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].

What I Really Love About Brooklyn, New York

Saturday, February 15th, 2020
Brooklyn, New York
I love my home in Brooklyn, New York!

Since February is all about love, let’s talk about it. Our love for the place we call home, that is. I am a Brooklyn native, a Brooklynite who speaks Brooklynese. This iconic NYC borough has been home to me for 62 years. And here’s what I really love about Brooklyn, New York, my home.

About Brooklyn, New York

There are many reasons to love Brooklyn, New York: colorful assortment of people, culture, food, activities to enjoy!

Size

Of the five boroughs of New York City – The Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island, Brooklyn is the most populous. Also known as Kings County, it is the largest (69.5 square miles). In fact, if Brooklyn were its own city, it would be the third-largest city in the United States with over 2.5 million residents, second to Los Angeles and Chicago.

Cuisine

Brooklyn, New York
The famous Grimaldi’s

I love the food! Brooklyn is particularly well-known for its Italian food – especially its pizza. Anything you have a craving for can be found in Brooklyn! Our borough offers countless ethnic cuisines. And if you can’t quite find what it is you’re looking for, wait until next weekend or next month. New restaurants are constantly opening up for you to try with your date, family, or friends.

Crown Heights serves Jamaican jerk chicken and roti. You’ll find dim sum at Little Fuzhou in Sunset Park. Craving something sticky-sweet? Try the baklava in Sheepshead Bay.

Character

We are a melting pot, a miniature Manhattan, full of rich history everywhere you look. Even our most popular neighborhoods are famous!

Our borough is not the hustle and bustle you might think of when New York City comes to mind. We are a people defined by incredible diversity, creativity, community, and culture, and we’re proud of it. And unlike many neighborhoods in the Big Apple, we’ve maintained that diversity, that personality unique to each area of Brooklyn.

In the Past

We were once our own city until the late 1800s. And we used to be known as one of the more dangerous boroughs of New York.

Today

Brooklyn is a vibrant and peaceful place. It’s also exciting and family-friendly. And this makes many of our neighborhoods ideal for both families and young professionals.

Brooklyn, New York

The Brooklyn borough doesn’t fit any particular stereotype. so it appeals to everyone. We’ve literally transformed into what some say is the hottest, trendiest spot in all of New York City.

I’ve seen a lot of changes over the years, but one thing stays true about Brooklyn, New York. You can go five blocks, and because of the vast diverseness of each of our communities, the vibe totally changes.

Attributes that Make Us a World-Class Destination

We’re proud of Brooklyn, New York! And for good reason. People come from all over for:

  • Lively music venues
  • Trendy boutiques
  • Iconic restaurants
  • Independent artisanal coffee bars
  • Pro sports
  • Immigrant history
  • Diversified culture
  • Family-friendly activities
  • And communities to call home

We offer a large number of amazing parks, walkable sidewalks, and tight-knit communities. And compared to Manhattan, even reasonable rents.

Our Parks

Park near Brooklyn Bridge

There are over 40 parks in Brooklyn. The top four being Prospect Park, Brooklyn Bridge Park, Fort Greene Park, and Owl’s Head Park.

Means of Transportation

Subway

Brooklyn is incredibly walkable, especially within the neighborhood you call your own. Brooklyn offers many beautiful and safe walking routes.

And here, walking beats owning a vehicle and paying to park on the street, hands down. In fact, according to Tri-State Transportation, more than half of us live in car-free households. Owning a car isn’t necessary when you live in Brooklyn, because you can get anywhere you need to go by subway.

There are other means of public transportation here in Brooklyn, but the subway is still the fastest and most reliable way to get around.

Tight-Knit Communities

Brooklyn has an undeniably strong sense of community. And it is this sense of community that makes our borough not only unique but also popular for families and young professionals.

Also, we Brooklynites tend to define ourselves based on which neighborhood we settle into. We are loyal patrons to the shops, cafes, restaurants, and bars that are local to us.

I remember, as kids, we played street games one block against another. And we built friendships that have lasted a lifetime.

Brooklyn Heights, New York
BROOKLYN HEIGHTS, NY: Classic late 19th Century brownstone homes with stoops and arched doorways on Joralemon Street

From Coney Island, Sheepshead Bay, Midwood, and Flatbush to Bedford- Stuyvesant, Sunset Park, Park Slope, Red Hook, and so many others, each of our neighborhoods has a distinct history and personality all their own.

Reasonable Rents and the Cost of Living

According to a Streeteasy report put out in October 2019, the average price for a house is around $700,000. And the average cost to rent a place is about $2,700 a month. So compared to other places in the United States, Brooklyn is one of the most expensive places to live. But food, rent, clothing, and a lot of other things are less expensive here than they are in Manhattan. And this makes Brooklyn ideal for you if you’re beginning a career.

Brooklyn, New York
Colorful residential and commercial real estate for rent in Brooklyn

With plenty of searching (and a little help from your friend, Charles D’Alessandro), you can find a great place that suits your personality, home life, interests, and your budget.

Brooklyn, New York – Something for Everybody

Brooklyn grows on. People come from all over to be part of it. And I’m proud to be part of that on a daily basis.

We continue to attract new-comers and families from all over with our excellent schools, booming job market, and that strong sense of community we like to own.

But more than anything, we are proud of and celebrate our diversity, our people. There really is something for everybody in Brooklyn, New York, even you!

Moving to Brooklyn

If you plan to move to Brooklyn, you need to experience the unique personalities, charm, amenities, sense of community, and price tags of each one to find “your” place. There’s one that’s just right for you, one that best suits your needs.

Working as a real estate professional for over 30 years, I have seen the transformation of my home. Like the Beatles sang in “In My Life,”

“There are places I’ll remember
All my life, though some have changed
Some forever, not for better
Some have gone, and some remain …”

Brooklyn has grown. Our borough has changed. Some changes have been for the better, others, not so much. But I love her, and I’m proud to share my home, Brooklyn, New York, with you!

Want to build a life you can love in Brooklyn, New York? Contact me, Charles D’Alessandroyour Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with Fillmore Real Estate at (718) 253-9600 ext. 206 or email [email protected]. I’d love to help you find the area that’s just right for you!


Charles D’Alessandro
Your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent
718-253-9600 ext. 206

Spring Time Have the Best Garage Sale at Your Brooklyn Home

Sunday, April 21st, 2013

Have a Garage Sale at your Brooklyn Home

Have a Garage Sale at your Brooklyn Home

Spring time is here. It’s that time of year again… time for spring cleaning, and to have a garage sale at your Brooklyn home!  This year, you can have your most successful garage sale ever.  Here are a few tips to help:

·        Advertise your sale in local newspapers and online.  Many of the habitual Saturday morning garage patrons use the paper to plan their morning.  They do this to make sure they hit all of the sales in certain neighborhoods.  In the ad, mention your  Brooklyn home address, date and time of your garage sale and big or hot items you have for sale. 

·        Open early.  It’s best to open early, around seven in the morning.  Sales tend to taper off in the afternoon.  Don’t disappoint early shoppers who are typically your best buyers.  They have a busy schedule and a lot of sales to hit.  Open on time, or even a few minutes before the time you advertised.

·        Make plenty of signs pointing the way to your Brooklyn home.  If your yard is difficult to see, or is not on a main road, post signs pointing the way.  If allowed, post the signs near a main road and attach a few balloons to it.  This will catch the attention of the passing motorists.

·        Have everything clearly labeled with reasonable prices.  Keep in mind that these shoppers are looking for a bargain and price accordingly.  You can individually label each item, or use an easily readable color-coded chart.  For instance, a blue sticker means 25 cents, red stickers mean 50 cents, yellow stickers mean $1, etc.

·        Offer specials at different points during the sale.  You can offer a “two-for-the-price-of-one sale” hour or a “twenty percent off during the next hour” special.  Make sure to list your planned specials and their times at the bottom of your signs and newspaper ads.  At the end of the day, you may want to have an unadvertised special such as “fill a bag for $1” to get rid of as much as possible.

·        Donate leftovers.  Make your life easier and do something good for others by donating any items that don’t sell.  If you plan carefully, you can schedule a pick up by your local charitable organization at the end of your garage sale.

With these tips, you’re well on your way to having your best garage sale ever.

Want more money saving ideas like this one?  Subscribe Brooklyn Real Estate Blog get home improvement tips ?

Give me a calll 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].

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].

 

 

Using Comparables to Sell Your Brooklyn Home Like an Olympic Athlete

Thursday, July 5th, 2012

With the London Olympics kicking off this month, athletes from all over the world are putting their competitive strategies into place to be one step ahead of the competition and go for gold. Channel the world’s champions this summer to establish a game plan, analyze what’s worked in the past and beat out the competition by presenting your Brooklyn home at its best!

Athletes constantly stay informed on the statistics of their biggest competitors, and so should you when it comes to selling your Brooklyn home. Below are the basic components to consider when using comparables to price your real estate:

Make sure the comparable house has sold. Before using a property as a comparable, it needs to have sold so that you know the selling price. Consider the original listing price as compared to the selling price of the home, when developing your winning strategy. Pay close attention to price reductions and how many months the house was on the market. These are essential indicators to pricing your property right the first time.

  • Look to see if it is the same type of home as yours. Find comparable sales that are similar to your home in square footage, style, construction material, number of bathrooms and bedrooms and other amenities.
  • See if it’s in the same location. Real estate pricing is largely based on location, so make sure any houses you consider as comparables are close to your own house or in proximity to the same conveniences.
  • Double-check the research. Just because someone hands you papers that they claim to be comparables doesn’t mean they actually are. You know your house best, so do your own research and read the fine print to make sure that the comparables you’re using to determine your property’s resale value are a good match.

Starting off on the right foot might help you sell your house faster than an Olympic track star. Dedicate yourself to researching comparables so that you can contribute educated facts when discussing the list price of your Brooklyn home.

If you need help pricing your property or need a real estate agent to help you beat out the competition, please 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].for more information.

 

 

 

Buying or Selling Brooklyn Short Sales Can Be Tricky

Sunday, June 24th, 2012

Call Charles for help with your Brooklyn Short Sale

Whether you own a property in distress or you’re looking to make a good investment. Buying or selling Brooklyn short sales can be tricky ,and a frustrating process. The best-case scenario is that sellers reduce their debt and buyers get a great deal, but that outcome is ultimately up to the bank.

Below are some standard short sale trials that both sellers and buyers should be aware of before getting their hopes up:

Sellers need to prove hardship. As a seller, you should talk with your bank and then gather all of the documents they require to put together a hardship portfolio to apply for a short sale. These usually include tax returns, employment status and other personal and financial information. Be quick about it, because the bank has the final say, and you don’t want to leave them hanging.

  • Everyone needs to get used to the waiting game. This is probably the most frustrating part, so don’t plan your life around a bank’s approval. They could take anywhere from a couple days to a couple years to make a decision.
  • Banks are waiting on banks. Not only are you waiting on the bank that has the mortgage, but there could also be other liens taken out against the short sale. Those third parties also have to sign off on the debt.
  • Buyers should get a thorough home inspection. If you’re considering buying a short sale property, make sure you hire a professional home inspector.
  • The home could go into foreclosure. Sometimes [city] short sales take so long that the owners cannot keep paying their mortgage and the home goes into foreclosure. Then the bank takes it over and starts a new waiting game.

If you’re considering buying or selling short sales, you’ll want to enlist professional help to navigate the tricky waters. As an expert on Brooklyn short sales, I can help. Please call me  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.

 

Pricing Your Real Estate Right is Essential

Monday, June 4th, 2012

Pricing your real estate right is essential to a quick sale

Pricing your real estate right is essential to a quick sale

Pricing for your real estate right is  essential it is the most important factor to get it sold quickly and at a price you’re happy with. Why is it so important?

A high price can turn people away. Pricing doesn’t just influence how much money you’ll make off the sale of your Brooklyn real estate, it also dictates whether buyers will even take the time to look at your home. Price your home too high and it could sit on the market for months until you lower your asking price. Identify your home’s true value in today’s market, and set the price slightly under that price if you want to sell your home as quickly as possible.

    • Your home’s appeal drastically decreases after the first two to three weeks of showings. The amount of traffic that a listing gets in its first week is five to seven times higher than it gets in the following weeks. Buyers are wary of a home that’s been on the market for a long time. They suspect that something’s wrong with it.
    • Buyers shop by price brackets. If your home is priced one hundred dollars too high or too low, it can move your home into a different price bracket and exclude an entire set of potential buyers from even seeing that your home is for sale. Being in the wrong price bracket can reduce traffic to your listing by as much as 7%. Price brackets vary by market and by price. An experienced agent will know the best price bracket for your Brooklyn  real estate.
    • There’s a lot of competition. With so many homes for sale, yours has to stand out as a good value immediately or buyers will move on.
    • Dropping your sales price can be the kiss of death. If you need to lower your price, you’d better make it a reduction that counts. Small reductions give buyers the idea that you might drop it again a month from now. Buyers will realize you’ve dropped the price. The best listing sites show how many times a price has been reduced and by how much.

 

Pricing your home right is essential when it first hits the market is the key. Let me help you set the right price and position your home in the best price bracket to get it sold. 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]..