Archive for the ‘Buying Real Estate’ Category

What Is A Home Warranty Protection Plan And Do Brooklyn Homeowners Need One?

Tuesday, May 31st, 2022
Computer moniter showing home warranty protection plan.

Have you seen a for sale sign in front of a home with a sign rider hanging from it that says home warranty protection plan included? What is a home warranty, and is it valuable?

I have found some confusion about what a home warranty is and how it works.

A home warranty protection plan is a service contract, not an insurance policy. 

Standard home warranties will cover all or components of a home’s major systems like electrical, plumbing, heating, and air conditioning systems. Coverage of home appliances and other components will vary depending on the company from which you purchase them.

Often you will see a seller offer a home warranty when they list their home for sale. This is because home warranties have become a popular inclusion in the sale of the house. However, if a seller does not include a home warranty with the sale of the property, a buyer can purchase a home warranty themselves. 

Existing homeowners can also purchase home warranties. They are not only for newly purchased homes.

What is the difference between a home warranty protection plan and homeowner’s insurance?. 

Homeowner’s insurance covers your home and personal belongings from significant dangers like fires, storms, and theft. Homeowner’s insurance also covers liability for injury of people who do not reside in your home if something occurs while on your property. In contrast, a home warranty will provide you with a reduced rate of repair expense for the covered systems and appliances defined in the policy coverage.

In this past blog post, you can learn more about homeowner’s insurance.

Although mortgage lenders require home insurance, a home warranty is an optional item. Both home insurance and a home warranty will be a safeguard if something goes wrong with your home but in different ways.

There are benefits to having a home warranty, but you need to understand how a warranty works.

Coverage varies by company. You need to thoroughly evaluate what is covered and what is not before deciding whether it is the right home warranty protection plan for you. You may want to look at several different warranty companies before deciding.

There are several reasons a seller would want to purchase one when they list their Brooklyn home for sale:

  1. They will receive coverage during the listing period.
  2. The seller is responsible for maintaining the property in its current condition until closing.
  3. If a covered item needs repairing before closing, its cost is limited to the service fee.
  4. A home warranty can be an incentive for a buyer, and they will likely ask for one in their offer.

The buyer also has several reasons they want to have a home warranty protection plan included in their home purchase:

  1. It provides buyers with the peace of mind that unexpected repair costs can be minimal shortly after closing a home.
  2. They may have to restore their savings after paying the closing costs before they can begin home repairs.
  3. If they are new to an area, they can access vetted service providers with one call.
  4. They don’t have the DIY experience to handle the repairs.

According to SoFi Learn, the average costs to repair are:

  • Electrical – $141 – $419 for minor repairs, $2,000 – $6,000 for full electrical wiring.
  • Roof Repair – $300 – $2,000 for partial repair.
  • HVAC – up to $577 for A/C repair, $5,000 – $12,500 for replacement.

Rocket Mortgage estimates an average home warranty costs between $300 – $600. One significant repair can cover the cost of the warranty.

Newly constructed home warranties are available.

The majority of home warranty plan purchases are for existing homes. You may not need to buy a home warranty when purchasing a newly constructed home. 

Many builders offer warranties on construction components. The new appliances should also have warranties provided by the manufacturer. Some private contractors may not have a warranty option; therefore, some home warranty companies offer an option for new homes. You can consider purchasing a home warranty protection plan when your builder and manufacture warranties expire.

Coverage under a home warranty will vary from company to company.

It is important to stress that not all home warranty coverage is the same, and you must read and understand the policy offered to you. In addition, if there are older systems in the home, they may not be able to be repaired due to the availability of replacement parts, making the replacement cost significantly higher.

How does a home warranty protection plan work?

Most home warranties have a required service fee. Service fees average around $100 per service call. 

You will need to contact the warranty company to file a warranty claim. Many companies require that you contact them first to receive a qualifying service provider’s contact information. However, many have exceptions for emergencies. Be sure to read the fine print.

When the service provider arrives, you will need to pay the service fee. After evaluating the situation, the service provider and warranty company will determine the necessary action to remedy the issue. Exclusions under warranty can incur additional expenses for the homeowner.

The pros and cons of home warranties include:

PROS

  • Peace of mind of paying for unexpected repairs.
  • Cost is limited to the service fee for covered items.
  • The convenience of using vetted service providers.
  • Reliability on the experience and skill of service providers.
  • The current warranty may be transferable if you sell your home.

CONS

  • Denial of claims due to coverage.
  • Contacting the home warranty company before contacting a service provider is often required.
  • A maximum dollar limit per year could apply.
  • The home warranty company has the authority to decide whether to repair or replace.
  • Appliance coverage is usually an additional cost.
  • Not all components and costs are covered.
  • Terms and conditions may be confusing or vague.
  • There are limitations and exceptions to a home warranty protection plan.

Do your research before selecting a home warranty plan.

Many real estate firms have recommendations based on their experience with home warranty companies. You may also want to check with friends and family to see if they have experience with any home warranty protection plans.

It is good practice to check with the Better Business Bureau rating on any company you consider using. 

The BBB bases ratings on:

  • The number of complaints.
  • The size of the business.
  • How well the company responds to complaints.
  • How quickly the company resolves complaints.
  • Whether the business made a good faith effort to resolve the complaint.

You can also search on the internet by merely typing the company name followed by “complaints” to find additional information.

Conclusion

A home warranty protection plan is often a reassurance to homeowners that they can save substantial expenses of repairs for their home. However, each individual must assess if a home warranty is right for them based on their financial situation, home condition, and knowledge of home repairs. Nevertheless, many homeowners have benefitted from having a policy.

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 help buyers and sellers achieve their real estate goals. Reach me by phone at (718) 253-9500 ext. 1901 or email at [email protected]

Charles D'Allesandro

Why Should You Use A Real Estate Professional To Sell Your Home Now

Sunday, May 15th, 2022
Real estate agent holding house.

It is tempting to forgo the services of a real estate professional when you are selling your home in a hot real estate market. Although we are still in a favorable market, the increasing interest rates will lower the buying pool.

As interest rates increase, buyers who were on the margins of qualifying for a higher mortgage may now have to lower the price range of the home they are looking to purchase. This may reduce the pool of buyers in any given price range.

Along with the higher interest rates, increased inflation can reduce the amount of cash a buyer is willing to invest in their new home. This will begin to decrease the amount of competition for homes.

A real estate professional has the skills, experience, and expertise it takes to navigate the highly detailed and involved process of selling a home. That may be why the percentage of people who list their houses on their own, known as a For Sale By Owner or FSBO, is decreasing. 

Here are five reasons why selling with a real estate professional makes more sense, even in today’s hot market:

1. They Know The Buyer’s Hot Buttons

Before deciding which projects and repairs to take on, connect with a real estate professional. They have first-hand experience with today’s buyers, what the buyer expects, and what you need to do to ensure your house shows well.

If you don’t lean on their expertise, you may spend your time and money on something that isn’t essential. Previously, I discussed the possibility of over-improving your home in this blog post. In today’s low-inventory market, buyers are willing to take on more renovation work themselves. A survey from Freddie Mac finds that:

“. . . nearly two-in-five potential homebuyers would consider purchasing a home requiring renovations.” 

 In the hot real estate market we have been experiencing, the home inspection process has been less contentious than before the market fired up.

Familiarity with staging techniques to make your home more appealing to buyers is a strength of most real estate professionals. They tour a  lot of houses and know what makes a buyer light up.

A professional can help you decide what you need to tackle. It’s not canned advice you could find online – it’s recommendations specific to your house, price range, and area.

2. They Help Maximize The Number Of Buyers Who Tour Your Home

Recently, the average home has been getting 4.8 offers per sale, according to recent data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), and that competition is pushing prices up. While that’s promising for you as a seller, it’s essential to understand your agent’s role in bringing buyers to your home.

Real estate professionals have various tools at their disposal, such as social media followers, agency resources, and the MLS, to ensure that most qualifying buyers view your house. According to realtor.com:

“Only licensed real estate agents can list homes on the MLS, which is a one-stop online shop of sorts for getting a house seen by thousands of agents and home buyers. . . . This is certainly one of many good reasons why the majority of home sellers decide to employ the services of a listing agent rather than going it alone.”

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 information about your home before the house is available to the public with real estate professionals who have buyers interested in homes like yours. 

Without access to these tools and networks, your buyer pool is limited. And you want more buyers to view your house since buyer competition can drive your final sales price higher.

3. They Understand The Legal Requirements

Today, more disclosures and regulations are mandatory when selling a house, whether you are using a real estate agent or doing it yourself. Unfortunately, the number of legal documents you’ll need to understand and utilize is increasing. That’s why Investopedia says:

“One of the biggest risks of FSBO is not having the experience or expertise to navigate all of the legal and regulatory requirements that come with selling a home.”

A real estate professional knows exactly what needs to happen, what all the paperwork means, and how to work through it efficiently. They’ll help you review the documents and avoid any costly missteps that could occur if you try to handle them on your own.

There are many timelines to meet after a contract is signed in that fine print! Your real estate professional will make sure everyone meets their deadlines to keep the agreement moving forward, prevent any loopholes for the buyer, and that your home will close on time.

4. Real Estate Professionals Are Trained Negotiators

If you sell without a real estate professional, you’ll also be solely responsible for all the negotiations. That means you’ll have to coordinate with:

  • The buyer – who wants the best deal possible.
  • The buyer’s agent – who will use their expertise to advocate for the buyer.
  • The inspection company – that works for the buyer and will almost always find concerns with the house.
  • The appraiser – who assesses the property’s value to protect the lender.

Instead of going toe-to-toe with all these parties alone, lean on an expert. They’ll know what levers to pull, how to address everyone’s concerns, and when you may want to get a second opinion.

There may be issues that arise during the sale of a home. An experienced real estate professional knows how to put out fires that may otherwise kill the deal.

5. They Know How To Set the Right Price for Your House

If you sell your house on your own, you may overshoot your asking price. That means you’ll leave money on the table because you priced it too low, or your house will sit on the market because you priced it too high. Pricing a home requires expertise.

. . . There is no easy or universal way to determine market value for real estate.”

Real estate professionals know the ins and outs of how to price your house accurately and competitively. To do so, they compare your house to recently sold homes in your area and factor in the current condition of your house. These factors are crucial to making sure your home is appropriately priced to move quickly while getting you the highest possible final sale price.

An experienced real estate professional knows how to price ahead of the market. This means that the price should not necessarily reflect what is happening today but what will happen in the next few weeks or months ahead. For example, if the buyer pool begins to shrink due to increased interest rates, the competition will not be the same as a few months ago. With fewer buyers in the market, sales prices may begin to stabilize. Pricing your home too high is a risk. Traditionally, an overpriced house sells for less than if priced correctly.

For Sale By Owner homes typically sell for 14% less than similar homes listed by real estate professionals. Paying a real estate commission would still yield a for sale by owner more profit than going it alone.

Bottom Line

There’s a lot that goes into selling your house. So instead of tackling it alone, reach out to a trusted real estate professional to make sure you have an expert on your side throughout the entire process.

Contact me, Charles D’Alessandro, your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with Fillmore Real Estate. I can help buyers and sellers achieve their real estate goals. Reach me by phone at (718) 253-9500 ext. 1901 or email at [email protected]

Charles D'Allesandro

Brooklyn Homeownership Is A Step Toward Wealth Building

Sunday, May 1st, 2022
Property investment, house mortgage financial planning and real estate home refinancing concept with piggy bank saving budget and money coin stacks

Brooklyn homeownership is a foundational step to building your wealth.

Wealth building simply refers to increasing the net value of your total assets. Wealth building over time is one of the advantages of homeownership.

The calculation of net worth is simple. You calculate it by subtracting the amount of money you owe (liabilities) from the amount of money your possessions are worth (assets.) 

Net Worth = Assets – Liabilities

Brooklyn homeownership can help you build wealth in two ways. 

First, you build equity by paying down your mortgage. 

A percentage of each mortgage payment goes towards a reduction in the total amount owed. Typically, the first few years of mortgage payments apply to interest, not the principal. However, more and more of each payment is applied to the outstanding principal amount as time passes. Before you know it, your $300,000 loan is down to $50,000, and you’ve gained $250,000 in wealth.

The second way to build wealth through Brooklyn homeownership is appreciation. 

Each year, the value of your home will increase or decrease slightly based on market prices. However, over time, real estate has consistently appreciated. 

Home prices rose 18% in 2021, according to CoreLogic’s Home Price Index. Bank of America predicts a 10% appreciation rate through 2022, even with the expected interest rate increases.

Due to the unprecedented real estate market of 2021, home values rose thanks to low housing supply and high buyer demand. Unfortunately, there were not enough homes to meet this high buyer interest,  so bidding wars began driving home prices up. The rising prices mean your home is worth more in today’s market when you own a home. And as home values climb, your equity does too. 

How Rising Equity Impacts You

In addition to building your overall net worth, equity can also help you achieve other goals like buying your next home. It works like this: when you sell your house, the equity you built up comes back to you in the sale.

In a market where you’re gaining so much equity, it may be just what you need to cover a significant portion – if not all – of the down payment on your next home. So, if you’ve been holding off on selling and worried about being priced out of your next home because of today’s home price appreciation, rest assured your equity can help fuel your move.

As the mortgage interest rates begin to climb, buyers will be more eager to purchase now. So if you are considering selling, now is time to take advantage of the lack of inventory available to buyers.

Equity can be a real game-changer if you’re planning to make a move. 

Wealth Building Example

Let’s see a simple demonstration of how advantageous Brooklyn homeownership can be. Assume you bought a home in 2005 for $400,000 and, for simple mathematics, paid nothing for a downpayment. Over the next ten years, your mortgage payments reduce the outstanding mortgage by $100,000 and the home increases in value to $600,000. The value of your home as a net asset has grown to $300,000 [$600,000 minus $300,000 mortgage balance]! You would have missed out on $300,000 in wealth if you had rented during this period. 

Historically, homeownership is one of the best ways for families to build wealth. However, if you don’t currently own a home, you may want to consider purchasing now.

As inflation rises, the link between financial security and homeownership will become especially important.  As Leslie Rouda Smith, President of the National Association of Realtors (NAR), says:

“Homeownership is rewarding in so many ways and can serve as a vital component in achieving financial stability.”

Owning a Home Is a Building Block for Financial Success

Recently NAR conducted a report that details several homeownership trends and statistics. This information includes the difference between the net worth of homeowners and renters. The report stated that the net worth of a homeowner was about $300,000, while the wealth of a renter was about $8,000 in 2021. Therefore, a homeowner’s net worth is roughly 40 times higher than a renter’s. This report shows how owning a home can be a key factor when building your overall net worth.

Is the gap between a homeowner’s net worth and a renter’s surprising to you?

The net worth gap between owners and renters primarily exists because homeowners build equity. As a homeowner, your equity grows as your home appreciates in value and you make your mortgage payments each month.

In other words, when you own your home, you have the benefit of your mortgage payment acting as a contribution to a forced savings account. And when you sell, any equity you’ve built up comes back to you. But, as a renter, you’ll never see a return on the money you pay out in rent every month.

Additionally, homeownership provides you with a fixed monthly payment that will not increase with a fixed-rate mortgage. Renters expect an increase from year to year. Each annual increase affects your available cash for investing or saving.

If you are interested in buying a home, you need to ask yourself a few questions.

How much home can you afford? 

You need to meet with a mortgage lender to obtain a prequalification letter. The lender will review your financial information to determine your maximum mortgage amount. Your lender can explain the different mortgage options.

Where will you find the money?

Mortgages come at a cost. You most likely will need to have accessible cash for some portion of your purchase. Hopefully, you are actively saving for your home purchase. If you own a home, you may be able to tap into the equity to purchase a new home. In addition, some mortgages will allow you to receive gift money from a relative if you do not have adequate savings.

How can you continue to save money after buying?

Your lender will provide you with an amortization table that shows the total cost of the mortgage for the loan duration. It can be shocking to see the amount you will pay over time due to interest. You can cut the cost by paying your mortgage off early. Making additional payments toward your principal will save you on additional interest costs.

A biweekly mortgage instead of monthly can also save you money, Or simply add an extra payment each year, for a total of 13 payments and designate that it is to apply to your principal balance. This tactic could cut your mortgage by several years.

If you are interested in reducing the length of your home mortgage, speak with your lender and financial planner to see what will work best to meet your financial goals.

If you are a first-time homebuyer, you can find some helpful information in this previous blog post.

According to a recent Gallup Poll, real estate remains ranked top in America’s opinion of the best long-term investments since 2013. One significant advantage to Brooklyn homeownership, as opposed to other investment vehicles, is that you also have a place to live. 

Having a trusted real estate professional to help you, whether buying or selling, is crucial in this current real estate climate. In addition, an agent who knows the area and market well can be a valuable asset to your wealth-building team.

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 buyers and sellers achieve their real estate goals. Reach me by phone at (718) 253-9500 ext. 1901 or by email at [email protected]
Charles D'Allesandro

Brooklyn Homeowners Can Make Small Changes To Help The Climate

Wednesday, March 30th, 2022

Brooklyn homeowners can make small changes to hel the climate

Climate change can begin with Brooklyn homeowners making some small changes. You might think that you need to do something grand to affect climate change. But, if made by most people, there are small changes that we would see a marked effect.

At the end of February 2022, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change published a report, “Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability.”

In all the ominous findings of the report, one thing that stands out is that it is not too late to do something that will help. The information does note that nearly half the world’s population is vulnerable to the threatening climate impacts. The report recommends that urgent action is needed.

Before discussing the small changes a Brooklyn homeowner can make, let’s define some of the terms we hear when talking about climate change.

Carbon Footprint 

The carbon footprint is the total amount of greenhouse gasses (including carbon dioxide and methane) generated by our actions. To reduce the carbon footprint, you must reduce the use of the top three highest emitters of greenhouse gasses, coal, oil, and natural gas.

Each of us has our own carbon footprint. You can calculate your carbon footprint at The Nature Conservancy: https://www.nature.org/en-us/get-involved/how-to-help/carbon-footprint-calculator/.

Greenhouse Gases 

Greenhouse gases are gases in the earth’s atmosphere that trap heat. They let the sun pass through the atmosphere but prevent the heat from leaving the atmosphere. Greenhouse gases are crucial to keeping the temperatures suitable here on earth.

Renewable Energy

Renewable energy comes from natural processes that continuously replenish. Sources of renewable energy include sunlight, geothermal heat, wind, tides, water, and biomass. Therefore, it cannot be exhausted.

Alternative Energy

Alternative energy refers to energy produced by means other than fossil fuels. Non-traditional and have a low environmental impact. 

Fossil Fuels

Fossil fuels come from fossilized plants and animals that lived millions of years ago. Coal, crude oil, and natural gas are all considered fossil fuels.

These are some of the standard terms used when talking about climate change. With this understanding, let’s look at some of the areas where you can make small changes that can make a difference.

According to the EPA recommendations, changing out the five most used light fixtures or light bulbs and replacing them with Energy Star rated products may save approximately $70 per year on your energy bills. Energy Star lighting generates 75% less heat and uses 75% less energy than standard lighting. In addition, this bright, warm light will last 10 to 50 times longer. 

What are some other areas where small changes will make a difference?

Energy Star products. 

Looking for the Energy Star seal will ensure you purchase the most energy-efficient product. Products include appliances, lighting, heating and cooling equipment, electronics, and office equipment. These products reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save you on your energy bill.

Heating and Cooling Habits. 

Simple steps like changing air filters regularly, properly using a programmable thermostat, and servicing your HVAC equipment regularly can help. 

Insulation and Sealing

You may not eliminate all, but you can reduce the number of air leaks through caulking, weather stripping, and insulation.  Properly insulating your home can save you up to 20% on your heating and cooling bills.

The 3 R’s (Reduce, reuse, recycle)

Find a recycling program to recycle newspapers, beverage containers, paper, and other goods in your area. Composting your food and yard waste reduces the amount of garbage you send to landfills reducing greenhouse gas emissions. 

Water Usage

Because it takes a lot of energy to pump, treat and heat water, conserving will reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Simple actions like not allowing the water to run while brushing your teeth or shaving, checking for leaking toilets and faucets, running your dishwasher only when full, watering lawns, and landscaping can help.

Making some small changes in your Brooklyn home is the best place to start. Here are some simple tips that can help. 

Programmable thermostats

Create new heating and cooling habits with a programmable thermostat in your home. Not only does it help the environment, but you will save money on heating and cooling costs. For example, you can program the thermostat to be lower when you are not at home or asleep in the winter. You can do the same in the summer for air conditioning.

Lightbulbs

Above, we mentioned how changing out only the five most-used lights in your home could make a difference. In addition, the use of bulbs like compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) or light-emitting diodes (LEDs) can help save energy and last longer than traditional light bulbs.

Insulation, Caulking, and Weather Stripping

The practice of sealing the air leaks in your home has been recommended for a long time. Preventing the warm or cold air from escaping your home allows your heating system to maintain the desired room temperature more efficiently.

Appliances

When you need to replace any home appliances, look for Energy Star rated products. Products that meet a high level of energy efficiency receive this designation. 

Reducing Water Usage

Some simple ways to reduce water use in the home are to install aerators on your faucets and low-flow showerheads. In addition, choosing native vegetation for your landscaping can help as these plants generally require less water, fertilizer, and pesticides. Another simple change is to wash your clothes in cold water and air dry whenever possible.

Green Power 

Enrolling in a utility provider that uses green power may be an option in some areas. Check with your utility companies to see if there is an option for clean, sustainable energy for your home.

Solar Energy

Converting sunlight into energy is becoming increasingly available for residential homeowners. Do your research to find the right solar solutions for your home should you desire.

Low VOC Products

VOC stands for volatile organic compounds. They can cause headaches, nausea, and irritation to the respiratory system, skin, and eyes. Cleaning products and paints around your home can contain VOCs. Search for no to low VOC options.

Composting

You can minimize greenhouse gas caused by food waste in landfills by composting food wastes (except meat) in a backyard composting bin.

The advantages of these small changes are not only for our environment, but you will also experience economic and health benefits.

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 you buy or sell in the Brooklyn real estate market. Reach me by phone at (718) 253-9500 ext. 1901 or by email at [email protected]
Charles D'Allesandro

Curb Appeal Is Important To Get Buyers To Look Inside Your Brooklyn Home

Tuesday, March 15th, 2022

Your Brooklyn Home exterior with curb appeal.

No matter how beautifully decorated the inside of your Brooklyn home may be, if the outside of the house does not reflect what lies behind the front door, you may quickly lose potential buyers. 

As we begin to see signs of spring, it is time to start to pay attention to the outside of our home. 

Homebuyers frequently make a list of homes from various internet sites, advertisement listings, or through a real estate agent, they wish to see. They then drive by these homes to get a ‘feel’ for the property and the house.  Bottom line, if your home looks unappealing from the outside, there is a good possibility the buyer will cross your home off the list of potential purchases.

You will recoup your efforts when you decide to spend time sprucing up the outside of your Brooklyn home. 

Gather Ideas

Consult with a local landscaper to get ideas for the best ways to spruce up the exterior of your Brooklyn home with minimal cost. In some cases, you might be surprised that hiring a landscaper to beautify your yard or modify a portion of it is more affordable than you thought.

Things to consider would be adding greenery, flowering bushes, trimming existing trees and shrubs, pulling weeds, creating planting beds, and mulching. You may simply need to move some plantings or separate overgrown plants to make the yard look better.

When you are selecting new plants, you will need to consider the local growing season and plants that do well in your area. Bob Vila offers his advice on plants that help you sell your home in this article.

If you don’t have the time to do the work yourself, it may be an excellent investment to hire a landscaper to get the job done before your home hits the market. A professional will have access to the materials and the tools needed that you may not have.

Ask neighbors, friends, and family for recommendations. They may know someone who has a smaller operation or just starting that could help you at a lower fee. You may also do part of the work and have a landscaper do the more challenging tasks to save money.

Buyer’s Perspective

Stand at the curb of your property and look at the yard from the potential buyer’s perspective. Then, drive or walk down the street and see how your property compares to the neighbors’ properties. You can make your property shine by creating a well-cared-for look. If your neighbors’ landscaping is so-so, anything you do will make your home look amazing. Plan your landscape to stand out from the rest, and if your budget does not allow for the extras, then the following rule of thumb is just to make the property look neat.

Grass and Patches

When your grass begins to grow, trim the grass. Look for any areas of brown grass or bald spots that may need attention. Invest in a bag of grass seed to plant. Water daily and place a barrier around the area to protect it. 

Fertilizing will make a significant difference in creating a healthy and green lawn. If you do not have grass, you may want to create some grass areas. You may need to consider removing stone and laying some sod or planting seeds. Stone yards will look out of place if neighboring properties have grass lawns. Having a green lawn makes a huge difference in curb appeal. 

A Stager’s trick to consider is spray painting the brown patch if you do not have enough time to plant and grow new grass. You could also create a small container garden if it made sense with the rest of the landscaping.

Planting Beds

Once you have addressed the grass, you can fix up existing planting beds. If you do not have any beds on your property, you may choose to add some in areas that would make sense. Garden beds help soften the hard lines of sidewalks, walkways, and the rigid angle of homes. Begin by weeding the beds. Evaluate whether you need to reshape or connect existing beds for better flow. Consider planting similar plants and flowers to create a cohesive look. Soften any hard angles and create a fluid design. Try to create a gentle flow from one end of the house to the other. You do not need to use a lot of plantings to create a consistent and neat look.

Trees and Shrubs

Existing trees and bushes will also need your attention when creating curb appeal for your Brooklyn home. First, remove any dead branches or trees. Large trees can intimidate a buyer. Not only could it obstruct the view of the home, but fear of it falling and damaging the home is a worry for some buyers. Keep trees that could damage the home trimmed back. Overgrown bushes will also need to be cut or removed. The thought of cleaning out these areas may be overwhelming to many buyers and something they just don’t want to deal with as they are moving into a home. Not only can overgrown bushes affect the appearance of the home, but a safety concern would be the ability of someone to hide behind them who had less than honorable intentions.

Parking

Having cars parked in front of your Brooklyn home is also a concern when it comes to viewing the house from the street. Undoubtedly, you need to park your car somewhere, but if there is an opportunity to park away from the front of the home, it would be a good idea. If on-street parking is your only option, try to have the cars moved when a buyer comes to look at the home. Buyers need to visualize the house as it would be if they lived there and anything which detracts from this thought is a non-plus for you as the seller. Weekends are usually the busiest times for drive-by house viewing. If you can move your car to a neighbor’s driveway or off your driveway for a few hours, do so.  It may make a difference in the curb appeal of your home.

If you have any cars, boats, campers, or trailers parked in front of your home or in the driveway, which you do not need to be there, you should find a place to park them temporarily. If you have an inoperable vehicle, you may find a local charity that would take it as a donation and tow it away for you. You don’t want your property to look more like a car dealership or parking lot than a home.

Backyard Seating

If you have a rear patio or deck, make an outdoor oasis for the buyer to envision themselves relaxing on a summer evening. You can create a dining spot, seating area, or both. Be sure not to draw attention to any unsightly features. If you have a commercial property or have a neighbor who doesn’t maintain their property, try to camouflage the sightline somehow.

Front Porch

Do not forget the front porch! A buyer will spend more time than you realize on the front porch waiting for the real estate agent to open the lockbox to access the key. While they are waiting, they will be looking around. All painted areas should be free of peeling paint and be clean. Porch floors should be free of objects and debris. If you have a large porch, you could create a seating area with chairs, a side table, and an area rug. Don’t forget about the homey touches like potted plants, a throw blanket, and maybe a candle.

Homebuyers rate curb appeal high on their list of positive home features. Creating good curb appeal outside is as essential as staging your home inside. To find more about staging the interior of your Brooklyn home, check out 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 can help you sell your Brooklyn home. Reach me by phone at (718) 253-9500 ext. 1901 or by email at [email protected]

Charles D'Allesandro

Five Benefits of Brooklyn Homeownership

Monday, February 28th, 2022
Receiving keys to begin enjoying Brooklyn home ownership.

There are many benefits to Brooklyn homeownership. Homeownership has long been considered the American Dream. And it can mean different things to different people. There has been a steady rise in homeownership since the 1900s in the United States.

Let’s take a look at five benefits of Brooklyn Homeownership.

Financial Benefits

The most apparent benefits are financial benefits. A home purchase is one of the most significant financial investments one will make in their lifetime. The benefits to investing in a home are:

Strengthening Credit

Making your home mortgage payments on time consistently will build your credit rating, which allows you to obtain other types of credit like purchasing an automobile or investing in other properties. In addition, as you pay down your mortgage, your credit score will increase.

Fixed Housing Cost

A fixed monthly payment helps you budget your monthly income more consistently. Your landlord can increase your monthly payment at determined intervals when you rent. With a fixed-rate mortgage, your principal and interest payment remains the same throughout the life of the loan.

Equity

Each month, a portion of your mortgage payment goes to paying down the principal amount on your loan. Equity is the difference between what you owe and the current value of your home. Over time, appreciation and lowering of the principal amount will increase the equity in your home. You may be able to leverage the equity for other financial needs. Building equity contributes to your financial stability.

Personal and Emotional Benefits

Home has become our haven, primarily through the pandemic. Unison recently published a report, State of the American Homeowner. This report discusses how homeownership has become more important to us through the pandemic.

Sanctuary 

Through the pandemic, our homes became our office, our schools, our gyms, and even our churches and synagogues, in addition to a place to eat, sleep and be with family.

Security

Many homeowners felt a sense of safety in their homes throughout the pandemic by controlling any potential exposure. As a result, people found refuge in their homes.

Importance

Our homes have gained more significance in our lives. More homeowners admit they love their home more now than they did pre-pandemic.

Health

According to a study by the National Association of Realtors, more people feel they have better health due to homeownership, having more control over their lives, and higher self-esteem.

Social Benefits

Achieving the American Dream has long been associated with success. But, owning your home also provides some social benefits.

Community

Living in a community provides a level of stability. Homeowners have a vested interest in keeping the community vibrant which attributes to maintaining property values. Many become involved in community organizations and government to better the livability of their neighborhood.

Financial Education

As homeowners gain the financial knowledge that comes with homeownership, they are likely to pass this down through the generations. This unexpected benefit of homeownership can change generations as parents teach their children how to handle mortgage payments.

Privacy

Community involvement is part of homeownership, but having a place to unwind in private is also a benefit many homeowners enjoy. You are in control of when you invite others into your home and when you just need an evening of quiet enjoyment.

Tax Benefits

Our tax laws have changed, but some tax benefits are still available for homeowners. The IRS Publication 530 outlines the tax information homeowners need when filing their federal returns. 

You may have eligible deductions if you recently purchased a home. Check with your tax professional to determine what you can use as a qualified deduction.

The capital gains tax exclusion may allow you to exclude up to $250,000 of the gain on the sale of your home or up to $500,000 if filing a joint return and you meet the homeownership test. You can find out more information about the sale of your home on the IRS website.

Homeowners in New York State may also be eligible for some tax incentives. You can find out more information on their website

It is always wise advice to consult with a tax professional to determine if you have taken advantage of all the tax deductions you are eligible to receive. This is because the tax laws change frequently.

Brooklyn Homeownership versus Renting Benefits

Many individuals are not sure that homeownership is right for them. In addition to the benefits above, let’s look at some of the specified advantages home ownership has over renting. 

Building equity for yourself versus your landlord

Each month that you make a mortgage payment, you increase your equity. Likewise, your landlord benefits each month you make your rent payment.

Interest rates are low

With the currently low-interest rates, you are often paying less on a monthly mortgage than you would be paying for a similar home’s rent. 

Stability 

Homeownership is considered a long-term investment. Renting is regarded as a short-term solution. If you plan on staying in an area for the long term, you should consider owning versus renting.

More Freedom

When you rent a home, the landlord dictates what you can and can not do regarding painting, flooring, and updating. You will need permission from your landlord to make any changes. You would be increasing the value for the landlord if you were permitted to make any updates.

Building credit

Showing your ability to pay your mortgage consistently improves your credit rating. However, different types of loans have different weights when evaluating your credit. For example, car loans and credit card payments do not elevate your credit as quickly as a mortgage.

There are some reasons when renting is a better option, and you must decide what is right for you. For instance, if you are a seasonal employee, temporary employee, or expected to be working only short-term in the area, it may not be to your advantage to purchase a home.

So how do you determine if homeownership is right for you?

If you are thinking about Brooklyn Homeownership, ask yourself these questions:
  1. Do you qualify to purchase a home?

The first step is talking to a lender to determine if you will qualify for a mortgage. Many different loan programs require different percentages for down payments. Therefore, finding the right loan program is a significant determining factor.

  1. How long do you intend to live in this home?

When you buy and sell a home, you need to consider the added expenses of closing costs. It may not be an issue if you are in an area with a greater appreciation rate. However, if you are purchasing in an area with a history of lower appreciation, you may need to stay in a home for 3 – 5 years before selling to realize a profit.

  1. What are your total monthly costs?

The costs of homeownership can be more than just your monthly mortgage payment. 

This previous blog post describes some of the hidden costs of homeownership. You need to know your total monthly expenses before committing to purchasing a home.

Everyone needs to decide what is right for them in their current situation. If Brooklyn homeownership is something you would like to achieve, but you are not ready now, saving for your downpayment and closing costs and increasing your credit score will put you in a great position when you are ready to buy.

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 help many home buyers understand the home buying process. Reach me by phone at (718) 253-9500 ext. 1901 or by email at [email protected]
Charles D'Allesandro

Enjoy The Comfort Of Home By Preparing For The Winter Chill

Saturday, January 15th, 2022
Comfort of home - dog on chair in front of fireplace

Enjoying the comfort of home on a cold winter’s day can either be a relaxing experience, or a nightmare. Whether you are a fan of winter weather, or not, preparing your home for the winter chill is necessary to avoid those nightmare feelings. 

Preventative maintenance is a smart practice when you own a home. Spending the time to prepare for colder weather will not only help you save money, but it will provide peace of mind. 

You can even improve the resale value of your home by adding energy-efficient features. As a result, you can save money and ensure your family is safe and healthy.

Items will need to be addressed both inside and outside your home. I recommend you start outside before we are in the deepest, coldest part of winter.

Areas to evaluate outside include:

Roof

Inspect your roof for any broken, damaged, or missing shingles and flashing. Be sure there are no leaves or branches accumulating on the roof. Don’t forget to check inside your attic for evidence of water leakage that will indicate a roof issue.

Chimney

Not only do you want your chimney cleaned, but you also want to have the exterior inspected. Leaky flashing or a deteriorating crown or cap can allow water into your chimney, damaging your home. Obstructions in the chimney can occur from debris or critters that allow harmful vapors into the home. 

Gutters

While you are focused on the roof of your home, be sure to check your gutters. Before the first freeze, clean any debris and leaves from the gutters. A backed-up gutter will freeze over and cause damage to not only your roof and siding but also your home’s interior. In addition, the weight of the ice inside the gutter along with icicles can also cause damage to them.

Trees

Take a good look at the trees in your yard to determine if they need trimming so they are not hanging over your house, driveway, or fence. Branches quickly ice over in a storm. They can then snap and cause damage to your home, cars, and fences. Branches can also fall on power lines causing outages or fires.

Outdoor pipes and water features

Winterize outdoor pipes to prevent them from freezing and bursting. In addition, outdoor spigots, sprinkler systems, ponds, pools, and other outdoor lines need attention to prevent damage. Also, you need to know the location of your emergency water shut-off valve if you have a leak.

Outdoor Plants

Some of your outdoor plants may need some special attention to make it through the cold winter. First, check the types of plants in your yard to determine what they need to survive the colder temperatures. Some types of plants may need wrapping, covered, or mulched. If you want to save potted plants, you should bring them indoors before temperatures dip below 45 degrees Fahrenheit.

Sidewalks

For your safety, the safety of your family, delivery drivers, or guests, keep your sidewalks clear of ice and snow. Check with your municipality for snow removal requirements. For example, some municipalities dictate that owners or tenants are responsible for cleaning the exterior walks and possibly even fire hydrants. Depending on when the snow stops falling, these requirements may also be time-sensitive. Failure to meet these requirements may be finable.

Driveways

Keeping your driveways clear of snow and ice is also a necessity. Parking in a driveway with accumulated snow is not only a personal safety issue, but it can damage your vehicle as well. As you expose the underside of your car to moisture, it can cause rusting. When the snow melts and refreezes, you can also have issues with safety. The melting and freezing snow can damage the driveway widening cracks as the ice expands.

Now that the outside has been taken care of, you can move inside to handle some additional items to ensure you and your household members remain comfortable throughout the winter.

Smoke & CO Detectors

You should check your smoke & CO detectors every six months and replace the battery. Many find the daylight savings time change an excellent time to schedule this task. However, if you do not have that as a regular maintenance item for your home, be sure to check them now. Carbon monoxide is tasteless and odorless but can be deadly. Also, check the municipality requirements for smoke & CO detectors and the placement required throughout the home. 

Fireplace

We discussed having the chimney inspected on the outside of the home. You also want to have the fireplace inspected from the inside. Wood burning fireplaces and gas fireplaces can both pose issues to personal safety, and you should have them both checked. If you are using a wood-burning fireplace, be sure the wood is dried correctly and appropriate for burning in a fireplace. Creosote build-up in your chimney is the cause of many house fires.

Window & Doors

You can lose a lot of your heat through poorly insulated windows and doors. According to the energy.gov website, it is possible to lose 25%-30% of residential heating and cooling through windows. Some solutions to improve energy efficiency include caulking or weatherstripping around window seals and door frames, insulated window coverings, or allowing sunlight in during the day then covering windows at night.

Heating System

Maintaining a comfortable temperature is crucial to the comfort of home. A poorly maintained heating system can cost you more money to heat your home as well. Having an annual inspection of your heating system will prevent surprises from occurring in the dead of winter. Carbon monoxide can be emitted from gas furnaces. Proper maintenance of your furnace can avert this danger.

Programmable Thermostat

A programmable thermostat can help save heating costs. Programming the thermostat to lower while you are not at home or sleeping will prevent you from heating your home when you are not there or snuggled under blankets sleeping. You can set the temperature to rise before you arrive home or wake in the morning.

Boot Station

Creating a designated place for everyone to take off their wet shoes and boots as they enter the home will save you from having to clean up snow and ice melt from your floors. The deicing materials brought in on shoes can damage the flooring. Create a simple spot with a boot tray or rug to place boots and shoes.

Your winterization would not be complete without gathering supplies you should have on hand. Some items to consider having on hand include:

Snow Shovel

Snow shovels come in many styles. Be sure your snow shovel is sturdy and in good repair before the first snowfall. The prices and materials of snow shovels vary greatly. Be sure to choose one that is easy for you to use and gets the job done!

Ice Melter

There are many types of ice melting products on the market. Choose one that will not damage your sidewalks and driveway. If you have pets, you may also consider a pet-friendly product that does not irritate your pet’s paws when they walk on it.

Ice Scraper

If you own a car, you need to have an ice scraper and snow brush in the car during the winter. You need to remove the snow and ice from your vehicle for the safety of yourself and others.

Flashlights

If you have a power outage, you will need some light. Although our cell phones have flashlights built into them, you will use up a lot of the battery using that as your light source. So buy some emergency flashlights and batteries to have on hand. 

Back-up Cell Battery

An external power bank is a good idea to have ready. If power outages due to storms are widespread, it can take some time to restore the power. You can keep your cell phone and other electronics charged with a power bank.

Water

Having a supply of water on hand is a good idea. You may need water for drinking, cooking, and even flushing toilets.

Pantry Items

Having some easy-to-prepare pantry items can be a lifesaver. For example, you can eat canned foods such as tuna, vegetables, and fruit without cooking. Other things you may want to have on hand include peanut butter, crackers, cereal, juices, and granola. 

Maintaining the comfort of home is well worth the effort to complete preventative maintenance. Not only will you save yourself the stress of dealing with an emergency, but you will also save yourself money by not paying for expensive emergency repairs. 

You may be dreaming of warmer weather. Now that your home is ready for winter, you can start thinking about your outdoor space for spring and summer. Check out this previous blog post to spark your ideas.

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 like to help my clients with helpful tips and accumulated knowledge. I can be reached by phone at (718) 253-9500 ext. 1901 or by email at [email protected]

Charles D'Allesandro

Can I Get A Deal On A Home Like They Do On Reality TV?

Thursday, December 30th, 2021

Reality TV Deal on a home

Many ask, “Can I get a deal on a home like they do on reality TV?” And the answer is one of the most famous answers in the real estate industry, “It depends.”

Reality TV has brought the real estate industry to the forefront, with buyers, sellers, and investors eagerly watching. As a result, searching for a deal on a home has become the quest of many.

The real estate market has been one of the best we have seen in a while. However, this makes finding a bargain harder. Prices escalate during a hot market, even on the fixer-uppers. This may make it difficult to find a deal that is worth the investment.

Reality TV has changed some aspects of the real estate industry as we know it.

Condition

Buyers expect homes to be immaculately decorated and presented well. Sellers feel the pressure of preparing their homes even to renovate before putting their homes on the market. Find out more about staging a home in this previous blog post.

Vision

Buyers may have difficulty seeing a home’s potential that needs renovation. This is not a new phenomenon in the real estate industry. Many buyers have trouble envisioning the possibilities of a home. We also see this issue in new construction. As buyers walk through a model home, they see perfectly decorated rooms. Walking into a finished undecorated model can feel very different to them. But when they walk into an unfinished model with the same layout, they can’t envision what it will look like finished.

Timeframe

In most reality shows, there is not enough time to show the actual number of homes the buyer looked at before settling on one to purchase. Most of these shows depict the buyer looking at three houses and deciding on the one they want to buy. Statistically, that is not what happens in the real world. It would be fantastic if that were the norm. Several factors can affect the time it will take to find a home. The number of homes may vary depending on the local market, the time you can dedicate to looking, and the number of buyers looking for similar homes.

Finishes

Many buyers expect homes to have high-end finishes due to the television shows they watch. The type of finishes in a home can depend on the age of the house, the length of time owned, what is typical for the neighborhood, and other circumstances. Reality TV can lead one to believe all sellers update their homes.

Location

You have probably heard location is important. Location is vital for many reasons. If the home’s location is in a down-turning neighborhood, it may be a bargain but not a good investment. If a house is in a desirable area, the cost may be much higher. Often buyers will decide to move further out than the initial area they choose. If a long commute is involved, it may quickly become a decision they regret. 

Budgets

Budgets for renovations are not always accurately depicted. The television show can often get materials at lower costs than the average consumer. Local markets may also experience different contractors’ fees, inspections, and building permits. This article by Ramsey Solutions provides a guide for renovations. It is wise to obtain estimates for any anticipated work you would like to do to a home before purchasing.

Geography

The area of the country you live in will dictate the affordability of homes. If you are looking to find a home in a high-cost area, you will have to spend more on housing costs.

Investors are also affected by reality TV’s depiction of getting a deal on a home to flip.

Some shows falsely depict the possibility of purchasing, repairing, and re-selling a home in a matter of weeks for incredible profits. Unfortunately, these shows are very appealing around the globe to folks who want to become investors.

Although many viewers can accomplish these renovations, television does not accurately depict how hard the work may be. There is a lot of blood, sweat, and tears to complete a project successfully. Also, they rarely show a renovation that was a complete frustration or failure for the investor.

By no means is every project doomed to failure. But, things may not be as rosy as television makes them appear. Flipping a home requires a lot of hands-on work or a large budget to hire the contractors to do the job. It is hard to realize how much work goes into renovating a successful house flip. 

It is possible to turn a substantial profit in a relatively short amount of time if you keep your cool, use your head, and buy and sell in the right conditions. The problem is that many people do not consider the big picture and find themselves in over their heads and out of money before the project is anywhere near completion.

The popularity of these television shows has made the competition for flippable homes more fierce, making it difficult to find a deal on a home. The early bird in this business gets the worm. The cheapest houses are not always the best candidates for a flip. The apparent goal is to buy low and sell high. Right now, the problem is being able to buy low. 

Television has dramatically changed the way people invest in real estate.

I don’t think we can say whether it has been good or bad for the real estate industry. However, real estate is still one of the best investments you will make if you do your homework and invest wisely.

Fortunes can be made and lost in real estate. The trick is to always place your bets on the right property at the right time. Having the right team supporting you is equally as important. Your team should include a financial advisor, contractors, and a local real estate professional who knows and understands the local market.

Using the services of a real estate professional is important, even in reality TV.

Realtors are used frequently in reality shows to help locate properties, evaluate the feasibility of the purchase, determine a realistic offer based on needed updates, and help determine the final value after renovations.

The interest in these shows has inspired many people to obtain their real estate licenses. 

Although, not all shows accurately depict the real life of a real estate professional. There is a lot of behind-the-scenes work not reflected in these shows to accurately represent the time and effort to make these deals happen. Researching the properties, area, and local trends to identify a good investment is crucial whether the home is for a personal residence or a flip.

Reality TV is great entertainment.

The popularity of these shows speaks for itself. Needless to say, before you start your search for a deal on a home, be sure to do your homework. Work with a professional to help guide you through the process.

If you are ready to find your deal on a home, I can help you.

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 study the local market and trends. I can be reached by phone at (718) 253-9500 ext. 1901 or by email at [email protected]

Charles D'Allesandro

Is Downsizing Your House The Right Move For You Now?

Wednesday, December 15th, 2021

Downsizing your house, couple with moving boxes.

Downsizing your house can come at any stage of your life. Many people consider downsizing when they become empty nesters or have trouble maneuvering their big old house. We hear a lot about the popularity of tiny houses too. The thought of downsizing is not an age-specific thought anymore.

Before you can downsize your house, you must think through many options.

If there is a safety issue that may prevent you from easily moving around your home, you need not look any further for a reason to make a move. It is best to make a move before you are forced to make one and cannot take your time to make the right decision.

Another reason can be that you just don’t use all the rooms in your home. This could be because your kids have graduated and moved out on their own, or your needs have changed,  and you no longer need a home office, workshop, or other spaces that you may have.

Sometimes a downsize is necessary for financial reasons. The expenses for your home may be high due to utility costs, upkeep, or even increasing taxes. You may have had an adjustment in your income that no longer affords you the extra income required to maintain your home.

You need to write a pros and cons list to determine whether you are ready to make this move. 

Downsizing Pros:

  • You will have less upkeep in a smaller home.
  • Bills for utilities, maintenance, and taxes may be lower.
  • You will save time by having less to maintain.
  • Your quality of life will improve.
  • The new home may be better suited for your needs.
  • You may have more free time for travel.
  • Aging in place is possible with the right choice of home.
  • You can relocate closer to family or friends.

Downsizing Cons:

  • You can’t find a home in your desired area.
  • Uncertain whether you can live in a smaller place.
  • Can’t find the right floorplan to accommodate your needs.
  • Not enough storage for the things you want to keep.

Before you make a final decision, I suggest you look at the available options to replace your current home. You may be looking for a single-family home, a townhouse or condominium, or even a retirement community. Do you want a place that provides exterior maintenance such as grass cutting and snow removal?

Some things to think about when looking for the right new home are:

  • Which floor plans are the right size for you?
  • Do you need one bedroom and one bath, or something bigger?
  • Will you need a kitchenette or a full-sized kitchen?
  • Is a balcony or patio space important to you?
  • What views would you prefer from your new home?
  • Do you need a washer/dryer in your home, or will a shared laundry be suitable?
  • Would you like to be close to the community activity or further out?
  • Do you want to be in a walkable community?
  • Is additional storage space needed?
  • Will you need a parking space?
  • Do you want/need to customize your residence in any way?
  • Will you need space for visitors, or is there a guest room available on-site?

When looking at a new home, you need to be sure you understand the total expenses required to live there and sell your home. These expenses may include:

  • Preparing your home for sale.
  • Moving expenses
  • Homeowner’s insurance and property taxes for a new home.
  • Homeowner’s association fee, if any.
  • Purchasing new items for the new home.
  • Modifications to the new home.
  • Storage unit, if needed.

Once you have decided that downsizing your house is the right move for you, you must start the sorting and packing process. 

Be sure to allow plenty of time to accomplish the move.

This can be a difficult process for many, especially if you have been in your home for a long time.

The first step is sorting through your belongings and determining what you want to take with you. 

The things you do not want to take with you can be passed to loved ones, sold, donated, or trashed. The easiest way to work through this process is one room at a time. Set a realistic timeline to sort through the entire house and break that down into daily goals to go through each room one by one. You will find different methods for decluttering in this article.

To determine what you want to keep and move to your new home, you will need to know the square footage of the house and the dimensions of the rooms, if possible. Ask if there is an available floor plan for the home. If not, you may want to measure the rooms yourself to know what will fit.

Another consideration is determining if the items you want to take with you will fit your new lifestyle. 

If you do not have a formal living room, you may not want to take the traditional pieces that aren’t comfortable for everyday use. If you plan to travel more, do you need to keep every small kitchen appliance you own when you aren’t home to cook?

It is helpful to set ground rules for your declutter. 

If you are going through your clothes and have not worn anything in a couple of years, it might be a good idea to get rid of them. Paring down is often tricky, but it is necessary to move to a smaller space.

Sentimental items are the hardest to part with for many people. 

Offer them to family members or friends who may also have a sentimental attachment to the item. If there is no one interested in taking the things and you can not take them with you, take photos of the items to look back at the pictures when you want to reminisce. You can create a memory book of your home as a keepsake.

You can sell items you decide you do not want to take with you.

Many online sites are great for reselling items. If you have a considerable amount, you may hire someone to handle an estate/moving sale for you. You can also do it yourself with a good old-fashioned garage sale. If things do not sell, donate them to an organization that can use them.

Sometimes you can repurpose items for different use in your new home.

Do you have a dresser you love that will not fit in a bedroom space? Can you use it as hallway decor and create extra storage for hats and gloves? In addition, you can make special clothing items into quilts, pillows, or stuffed animals.

Bringing in some help may be necessary. 

You may have family or friends who are willing to help. If not, some companies that specialize in organizing often offer services to people moving. They may also have some great resources for you to sell or donate items, along with packing tips. This blog post will provide you with some good advice for packing and moving.

Most importantly, you need to pace yourself. 

You will not be able to do it all in one day. Some rooms will take less time than others. You will want to have this decluttering done before putting your home on the market, so work with your real estate professional to determine a realistic timeline.

Prepare yourself for the emotions of downsizing your house. 

You will experience many emotions as you work through this process. Some of the things that may pop up are:

  • Memories
  • Fear of the Unknown
  • Stress
  • Family Pressure
  • Overwhelm

As these emotions start to sink in, remember you are making this move to change your life positively. No matter why you have decided to make this move, you have decided now is the right time. Once you are moved in and enjoying your new home, these emotions will subside.

If you consider downsizing your house, I’d be happy to consult with you to determine if this is the right move for you.

Contact me, Charles D’Alessandro, your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with Fillmore Real Estate. As a Brooklyn real estate agent with over 30 years of experience, I have helped many people downsize their existing homes. I can be reached by phone at (718) 253-9500 ext. 1901 or by email at [email protected]

Charles D'Allesandro

What Makes You Grateful For Your Brooklyn Home?

Monday, November 15th, 2021

Grateful for Your Brooklyn Home

Your Brooklyn home may not be the picture on your vision board, but what makes you grateful for your current home? Whether you own your home or rent, there is a reason or two to be thankful.

According to the Oxford Languages dictionary, the definition of GRATITUDE is; “the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.”

As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday, our thoughts turn to gratitude and giving thanks. Even if your current home is not your dream home, there are reasons to express gratitude for your Brooklyn home.

Think about what your home provides for you. If coming up with a list of reasons to be thankful for your Brooklyn home is difficult, think about what drew you to your home in the first place. Also, what do visitors say about your home?

There is always a reason to be grateful, and it is a good practice to appreciate what we have all year, not just during Thanksgiving. 

What are some ways you are grateful for your Brooklyn home? Here are some prompts to get you started.

A place to call home. 

Our homes have always been our refuge, never more than during the pandemic. A home provides the space to relax, entertain, sleep, and fuel ourselves. But, a home is more than an address. Home is a feeling, not a structure. Whether you own or rent, there is no place like home.

The location of your home.

The location of our homes is one of the top criteria people consider when buying or renting. It may be near your work, family, friends, or the things outside your home that you love to do. What drew you to your location? Why was that important to you?

The people and pets that share your home.

Your housemates may be other humans or a beloved pet. They are an integral part of your household. Whether they care for you, you care for them, or you simply co-exist, the fact you have these people or pets in your life provides you with a level of belonging, love, and joy. Of course, there are probably trying days but focus on the days with your housemates that put a smile on your face.

The sense of safety you experience.

A home not only shelters you from the weather elements but also provides you with protection from violence and mental stress. Brooklyn weather can be brutal at times. Having a home to protect you from the wind, rain, snow, and cold is undoubtedly a reason to be thankful. A home is a place where we can feel secure from the nefarious activities found out on the streets. It is also a place to keep and secure our belongings. There is so much peace of mind we experience knowing we have a place we belong. Although we need to take precautions to keep our homes safe, we can experience that peace of mind with the proper safeguards. For more information on protecting your home, read this article.

The functionality of your home.

Again, the place you occupy may not be the dream home, but it is functional. You have the spaces that allow you to attend to your needs. You may love the layout of your Brooklyn home that provides you the ability to move freely throughout. Having the flexibility to use a space for dual purposes, such as a guest bedroom as a home office when you don’t have guests, provides additional functionality. Windows that provide you with natural light and hopefully a pleasant view and storage options to store your favorite things but keep them accessible are other benefits of function.

The mechanicals of your home.

The hidden heroes of your Brooklyn home are the mechanical elements. Your plumbing, electrical, and heating & cooling systems are essential to the comfort you have at home. These systems can be costly to repair, which makes preventative maintenance a good investment. We sometimes take these systems for granted, but they are a significant reason for being thankful for your home.

The kitchen in your home.

Whether you have a large or small kitchen, you can keep and prepare foods that nourish your body and keep you healthy. A kitchen is often the heart of the home, where everyone seems to congregate. Not only are fantastic meals created here, but memories with your loved ones.

The bathroom in your home.

We are far from the days when indoor plumbing was considered a luxury. But, really think what it might be like without it. Indoor plumbing is a reason to be thankful whether you have a spa-like bathroom or simply a functional one to care for your needs. If you have more than one bathroom within your home, I am sure there are moments you express gratitude for that!

The improvements you have made.

Making your home your own is a common desire. If you are renting, you can add your style through furnishings and paint. You will need to follow your landlord’s rules, but you can still make your space your own. As a homeowner, it is sometimes frustrating to go through the home improvement process. However, when the project is complete, the value you added is far more than the frustration experienced through the process. Be careful when improving your home. This previous blog post discusses the possibilities of over-improving your home.  Be grateful for the improvements you have made, which probably added value to your home, and enjoy!

Your furnishings you have collected.

The furniture, artwork, and accessories that fill your home are a reason to be thankful. These carefully chosen items not only provide function but express your personality. For example, the sofa in your living room is a place to sit and reflects your style. So profess your thanks for what you have, whether you have everything you want or saving for your next purchase.

Outdoor spaces to enjoy.

Living in an urban setting, having outdoor spaces is often a cause for gratitude. Although there is a lot of maintenance in a yard, having that space to enjoy the outdoors is truly something to appreciate. You may not live in a home with a yard, but a patio or balcony can also be a respite when you just want to be outdoors. Living in a walkable community, having a park nearby, or having a neighbor who enjoys conversation over the fence can be sources of joy in your outdoor spaces.

Affordability of your home.

Living in a home, you can afford is one of the greatest blessings. Living within your means allows you the freedom to do other things you enjoy and still have all the comforts of home. In simple terms, affordability means subtracting your rent or mortgage payment from your monthly income and still having money for other financial obligations. Remember to include savings in those financial obligations.

Part of gratitude is returning kindness. The way to return kindness to your home is through regular maintenance and care. 

The regular practice of expressing gratitude will bring you joy and appreciation. It not only affects your personal life but can help you stay on track in your business life as well. I hope you consider adding a gratitude practice to your daily routine if you don’t already. This article from Mindful.com can get you started. 

I would be remiss if I didn’t let you know how grateful I am for you. My family, friends, clients, readers, and colleagues are on my gratitude list regularly.

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 you with your real estate needs. I can be reached by phone at (718) 253-9500 ext. 1901 or by email at [email protected].

Charles D'Allesandro