Archive for the ‘Buying a Home’ Category

How to Find the Best Mortgage Lender with Confidence

Saturday, February 29th, 2020
Best mortgage lender
Dreaming of buying your first home? Find the best mortgage lender with confidence! Here’s how.

Finding the best mortgage lender on your journey to homeownership is important. But it can be challenging, especially if you are a first-time homebuyer. It’s a big deal because picking a lender is an important part of the home buying process. And finding the best the right mortgage is crucial. Here’s some excellent information from NerdWallet to help you navigate this part of buying a home with confidence.

5 Things You Need to Know to Help You Find the Best Mortgage Lender

NerdWallet says, “The best mortgage lenders for first-time homebuyers embrace government loans, offer low down payment options, charge reasonable fees, and help you find financial assistance programs.”

1. Know Your Credit Score and Financial History

Lenders judge you on your credit score and financial history to determine your ability to get a mortgage and the interest rate you’ll pay. So you need to know it. Knowing your credit score allows you to determine your loan options.

Credit scores of 620 are good, and the higher, the better. Scores of 740 or more will help you get the lowest interest rates. But it’s not impossible to get a mortgage with a credit score that’s in the 500s.

Find out the credit score you need to buy a house here. But keep in mind, you may be able to borrow more than what you can actually afford to pay each month. So don’t overextend yourself from the get-go!

2. Inquire About First-Time Homebuyer Programs in New York

Some lenders and state housing finance agencies partner up in order to help first-time homebuyers. Then they can help you with rate discounts, a down payment, and closing costs, or educational resources to help you get into a home. Isn’t that nice to know? So do your research on assistance first-time homebuyer programs here in New York.

Take note: Not all lenders participate. So be sure to ask.

3. Look for Lenders Who Offer Government-Backed Home Loans

Why? Because most of the time, FHA, VA, and USDA loans offer relaxed income, credit, and down payment requirements. And this allows for easier qualification. But check out this list of homebuyer loans and programs! You could rack up some big savings if you don’t rush through this process.

  • FHA loan
  • VA loan
  • USDA loan
  • Fannie and Freddie
  • State first-time homebuyer program
  • Home renovation loan
  • Good Neighbor Next Door
  • Dollar Homes

And on another note, not all lenders offer FHA, VA and USDA home loans. Their options may be limited. So, when you do your comparison shopping, always ask about availability.

4. Ask for Quotes to Compare Interest Rates

Ask several lenders for quotes (at least three), and let them compete with each other for your business. One of them will rise to the top of your list with a lower rate and lower fees. You’re looking for APRs (annual percentage rates) to get a better picture of what you’ll end up paying over the life of the loan.

You’re also looking for fees when making lender comparisons. Application, appraisal, title, and loan origination fees affect closing costs. And they vary widely depending on the lender.

Again, don’t rush through this process either. Mortgages have pages and pages of details that loan officers know how to get through quickly. Ask for clarification as needed through every step and make sure you have all the facts. Choosing a loan that matches your needs and your budget with confidence isn’t something you should feel rushed through.

5. Get Preapproved

Getting preapproved before you begin house hunting helps you in three ways:

  • Proves a lender is willing to loan you a certain amount of money
  • Signals to the seller that you are a serious buyer who they can rely on
  • Helps you look for homes within your budget

Compare preapproval options, too. Some lenders provide approval online in minutes. Others require a phone call or that you visit a local branch office to pick up your documents in person.

Be prepared. You may run into preapproval barriers. If you have a low credit score or inconsistent income, ask lenders before you apply if they’re willing to work with you on this. Some lenders will gladly help you find errors and discrepancies on your application which could get you preapproved.

Lacking Confidence in Your Search for the Best Mortgage Lender?

Are you stumped trying to find the best mortgage lender? When you’re a first-time homebuyer, shopping for a mortgage lender can get overwhelming. Just take time to compare all your options, no rushing through the process. You’ll buy a home with confidence and save money, too.

Contact me, Charles D’Alessandroyour Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with Fillmore Real Estate with questions you have about finding the best mortgage lender. I can help. Call (718) 253-9600 ext. 206 or email [email protected] today.


Charles D'Alessandro

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

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

The Best Advice for First-Time Homebuyers

Friday, August 30th, 2019
Advice for first-time homebuyers
First-time homebuyer? Here’s some of the best advice for first-time homebuyers!

If you’ve entered the real estate market as a first-time homebuyer, you may be feeling a little overwhelmed. And that’s totally understandable. It is the biggest purchase you’ll ever make after all! But where do you start? What should you know before investing in homeownership? Here’s the best advice for first-time homebuyers. Read on and put your mind at ease.

Advice for First-Time Homebuyers

In a seller’s market, inventory is low. That means bidding wars are going to happen. And the seller ends up selling for a higher price than what the house was initially listed for. That’s great for the seller! But this means you as a buyer need to be prepared and available to act quickly. You should also be prepared to lose out on a few homes before purchasing the home you really want.

1. Find Out How Much Home You Can Afford

Speak with a mortgage broker (preferably several) and find out how much you can afford to pay for a home. And don’t forget to allow for the monthly costs of homeownership. There’s more to owning a home than paying the monthly mortgage. Owning a home means electricity, water, gas, sewer, and maintenance.

2. Know Your Credit Score

First-time homebuyers need to know their credit score before doing anything. Lenders set their own credit score requirements and may require a minimum score higher than 580.

3. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage Loan

While knowing how much you can afford is your very important first step, sellers will be much more receptive to potential buyers who have been pre-approved. You’ll also avoid being disappointed when going after homes that are out of your price range.

With pre-approval, the buyer actually applies for a mortgage and receives a commitment in writing from a lender. This way the seller knows immediately that you are a serious buyer for that property.

Costs for pre-approval are generally nominal and lenders will usually permit you to pay them when you close on your loan.

4. Hire a Buyer’s Agent

Reach out to and hire a buyer’s estate agent, someone who is looking out for your interests, not the seller’s. It’s free.

5. Communicate Clearly Your Lists of Needs and Wants

Make two lists. And be as specific as you can be. The more specific you are, the more your real estate agent can help you in finding the home that’s perfect for you.

The first list should include items you must have (the number of bedrooms you need for the size of your family, a one-story house if accessibility is a factor, etc.).

The second list is your wish list, things you would like to have (pool, den, etc.) but aren’t absolutely necessary. Realistically, you probably won’t get everything on your wish list as a first-time homebuyer. But the lists will keep you on track for what you are looking for.

6. Stay Focused and Be Organized

Keep the following items handy. They’ll help you maximize your home search efforts.

  • Maps – One or more detailed maps with the areas you’re interested in highlighted
  • File – A file of the properties your agent has shown to you and ads you have collected
  • Notebook and Pen – Take notes on each home you walk through
  • Camera – A camera or video camera will help refresh your memory on individual properties, especially if you’re visiting more than five homes

7. Look at a Property with the Eyes of a Seller

Look at a potential property as if you are the seller. Would a prospective buyer find it attractive based on school district, crime rate, proximity to positive and negative features of the area? Think access to shopping, parks, freeways or abandoned properties, garbage dumps, noise, heavy traffic.

8. Visualize the House Empty and with Your Décor

Will the home meet your needs now as well as three to five years from now? Are the rooms laid out in a way that the home will accommodate your family? Is there enough light? What about outlets and storage space?

9. Be Objective

Instead of thinking with your heart when you find a home, think with your head. Too often, first-time homebuyers succumb to their emotions and allow themselves to become attached to a less than desirable property.

Spend time researching the local market trends and make sure your finances are suitable for a home purchase.

Purchasing a property should never be a rushed process. There are many houses on the market. Don’t make a hurried decision that you may regret later.

10. Be Thorough

A few extra dollars well spent now will save you big expenses in the long run.

  • Include inspection and mortgage contingencies in your written offer
  • Have the property inspected by a professional inspector
  • Request a second walk-through to take place within 24 hours of closing (Check to see that no changes have been made that were not previously agreed upon. For example, a nice chandelier that you assumed came with the sale has been replaced with a cheap ceiling light).

11. Know the Home-Buying Process

 Review the home-buying process with your real estate agent

  • timing of a purchase
  • costs you need to be prepared for beyond closing costs
  • whether the market is a seller’s market or buyer’s market

The Most Important Advice for First-Time Homebuyers

Above all, the best piece of advice for first-time homebuyers is to choose a real estate agent with these three qualities:

  • Trustworthiness
  • Excellent communication
  • Quick responsiveness

Charles D’Alessandro is a real estate agent you will connect with personally and professionally. You feel comfortable confiding in and trusting him with the most expensive purchase of your life.

Need advice for first-time homebuyers? Contact Charles D’Alessandroyour Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with Fillmore Real Estate. Call (718) 253-9600 ext. 206 or email [email protected] and get your questions answered. He is the Brooklyn Expert connecting clients with Brooklyn homes for over 30 years. He knows the Brooklyn area inside and out.


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