Archive for the ‘Buying Real Estate’ Category

How To Price Your Brooklyn Home To Sell Quickly

Friday, January 15th, 2021

Home price correctly sells for more

It is so important to price your Brooklyn home correctly when you first offer it for sale. It is essential to take advantage of your home’s initial phases of entering the market because this is the time you will see the most activity. 

Some homeowners believe that they will set the home’s price higher than the market value to have some bargaining room. That is an inferior strategy because you create a situation where you are listing your home for more than it might be worth.

Proper pricing will attract the right buyers. 

Overpricing your home by only $5,000 could eliminate the right buyers from seeing your home. When buyers search for a home, they usually look in increments of $5,000 and will not look at houses above the maximum amount they want or can spend. In the recent seller’s market we have been experiencing, buyers feel there is little room for negotiation on the sales price. Multiple offers and sales prices over the asking price deter buyers from looking above their price range.

It is safe to assume that all Brooklyn Home Sellers want to achieve a quick sale on their home. It is stressful to keep your home presentable, leave for showings, and wait for an offer. This pandemic adds another stress level to the risk of having visitors in your home. You have to understand how to price your home because setting a price can determine your home’s length of time on the market. 

Extended time on the market can be a detriment to your sale.

Any home that stays on the market for a long time can raise red flags with buyers. It can also lead to a situation where the longer your home is on the market, the more you’ll end up being forced to lower the price to an amount that is lower than you anticipated. Statistically, a seller who overprices their home because they can “negotiate” a lower price ends up selling their home for less than if they had started with the correct price.

You need to know the actual market value of your home. Hiring a real estate professional with a proven track record of selling homes in your neighborhood is extremely important. The intricate differences from one community to another can make a difference in your price.

Let’s take a closer look at the right way to price your Brooklyn home to sell quickly and fairly. 

These are the components that go into pricing a home:

Comparable home sales

It is essential to carefully select the homes used to value property as an appraiser will. The appraisal can make or break a home sale. An appraiser must select homes within a ½ mile radius of the subject property sold within the last six months. If there are no comparables that meet these criteria, they can then expand the search. Review the homes currently under agreement to understand the price range of homes that have now gone under contract. You also want to know what your current competition will be by looking at the homes that are currently for sale.


Factors like the school district’s quality, comparable homes, and crime rates impact a home’s desirability. Also, the proximity of attractions, entertainment, shopping, and parks are important.


A buyer’s market and a seller’s market are two different situations that affect home value. In a buyer’s market, the supply of houses outweighs the demand making it favorable for a buyer to obtain a good deal on a home. A seller’s market is just the opposite. There is not enough supply to meet the demand.  Other factors that affect the market are interest rates, the local economy, and the national economy.

Size and Style

The size and style of the home certainly have an impact on price. Square footage and the number of bedrooms are a consideration for all buyers. Your home should offer the same or greater square footage and bedrooms than other houses in the price range. The style of home should also be conducive for the neighborhood. If your area is predominately contemporary homes, a log cabin may not appeal to local buyers.


A homeowner may want to raise the home price beyond what it’s worth because they did some remodeling. You’ll have to be careful here because while some upgrades can boost the home value, not all of them do. A buyer is less willing to pay the additional price for an over-improved home. Here is a link to an article that shows you the cost of a home improvement versus its value. When you make home improvements, you should consider the return on investment if you know you will be selling soon. You don’t always receive dollar for dollar back on improvements to your home.

I have found there are three factors that will contribute to a quick sale when establishing a price for your Brooklyn home:

  • Condition
  • Location
  • Price

You can control two of these factors, and one you cannot. You cannot change your home’s location unless you physically pick it up and move it to a more desirable location. 

The two factors you can control are the condition and the price. Making the necessary updates and keeping up the routine maintenance on your home makes a big difference when selling. If you have done all you can to improve your home’s condition and it still does not sell, the only thing you can adjust at this point is the price. 

Check out this blog post for a checklist to prepare your home to sell. 

What may not be a factor when you price your Brooklyn home? 

  1. The price you paid for the home. 
  2. The amount of your Zestimate.
  3. The amount you owe on the home.
  4. What your neighbor or friends say.
  5. The cost to rebuild today.

Sellers will set the price of their home, but buyers will set the value. They will be comparing your home to other properties that have recently sold in the area. Often, a seller will reject an initial offer because they feel it is too low to find out it was the best offer they receive on their house.

As the seller, you need to determine what you are willing to accept. 

In the industry, we have found that the longer your home sits available on the market, the lower the sales price.

When you price your Brooklyn home correctly, the most interest will be when it initially hits the market. You will have the largest number of showings during this initial period if you price at a realistic market value.

If you price your home too high and drop the price later, you miss the initial excitement, and you will not have as much interest in the property. 

Don’t believe the misconception that you can negotiate a lower price. 

f a home sits on the market for too long, buyers begin to think there’s something wrong with the property in the current market climate.

Before you price your Brooklyn home, it is imperative that you consult with an experienced and knowledgeable real estate agent who has a track record of pricing homes correctly. Don’t be afraid to ask the agent for references along with their track record. 

Ask the agent for the following information:

  1. What is the number of homes they sell per year?
  2. What is their list to sales price ratio?
  3. What are the days on the market for the homes they listed for sale?

Other factors to consider when interviewing a real estate agent should include:

  1. How long have they been an active real estate agent?
  2. Are they a full-time or part-time real estate agent?
  3. What is their marketing plan for your home?

But first and foremost, your real estate agent should understand the local market and your needs.

Unfortunately, unskilled real estate agents are willing to list a home at whatever the seller would like regardless of what the numbers show. 

Once you have found the real estate professional you feel is right for you, take heed of their advice on your home’s sale. Many people who do not practice real estate as their profession will want to give you advice.

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 understand the local market and know how to price a home to sell quickly and fairly.

In the event our office is shut down; we are always committed to your safety during the COVID-19 health crisis in compliance with the State of New York public health policies. I can be reached by phone at (718) 253-9500 ext. 1901 or by email at [email protected].

Charles D'Allesandro

Do You Want To Buy A House In Brooklyn In The New Year?

Wednesday, December 30th, 2020
Woman buys a house in Brooklyn

Out with the old and in with the new! Are you ready for something new? Is it your time to buy a house in Brooklyn in 2021? 

In light of the pandemic, I think we are all ready for something new. It has been a challenging year. 

You have decided you want to purchase a home, what do you do now? Let’s take a look at the steps you need to take to buy a house in Brooklyn in 2021.

Obtain a Pre-Approval

To begin with, you will want to meet with a mortgage lender and obtain a pre-approval for a mortgage loan. The lender will look at your credit report to determine the amount of a mortgage you qualify to borrow. If there are any credit issues, the lender can direct you to a credit repair agency that can help you boost your credit score to be ready to buy a house within a few months.

Having a pre-approval letter before you start looking will help you in several different ways:
  • You will know the price range you are most comfortable with and target your monthly payments.
  • The seller will require a pre-approval letter to be submitted with your offer so that they know you are qualified to purchase their home before they agree to accept your offer.
  • You will not delay submitting your offer by having to obtain your pre-approval after you find the perfect home.

What information do you need to have when contacting a lender for a preapproval?

  • Income verification. How you get paid will determine what information you will need to provide the lender. 
    • W-2 employee – You will need copies of your W-2 forms and your two most recent payroll stubs. 
    • Self-employed – You will need a year-to-date profit and loss statement and two years of tax records, including 1099s you used to report income. Self-employed includes sole proprietors, partnerships, and S-corporations.
  • Assets. You will need to provide bank statements, retirement, and investment account statements.
  • Debts. You will need a list of all your monthly payments for student loans, auto loans, personal loans, mortgages, and credit cards.
  • Other information. It may be necessary to show any rental income you receive, a divorce decree which would address child support and/or alimony along with property settlements, and down payment gift letters if you will be obtaining your down payment from a parent or family member.

The lender will ask for verification of any other items they may need throughout the process. You must have a paper trail of all sources for the down payment and closing costs. The lender will ask you to provide information on any large deposits found in your bank statements.  Above all, if there are any changes in your financial position you will need to discuss those with your lender.

Here is a previous blog post that will answer some of your mortgage questions.

You do not want to delay your offer because you did not have your pre-approval letter. Other buyers will be prepared with their pre-approval letter and submit an offer before you can submit yours. You wouldn’t want to miss out on the perfect home, would you?

Find a Good Real Estate Agent

When you are ready to buy a house in Brooklyn, you need to find the right agent to guide you through the buying process, whether you are a first-time homebuyer, a move-up buyer, or a downsizing buyer. 

Interview several agents if you do not know one with a good track record and local reputation.

Questions you may want to ask an agent during an interview include:

  • How long have you been an active real estate agent?
  • Do you work full-time in your real estate business?
  • How many homes do you sell per year?
  • How do you stay current on the local real estate market and trends?
  • Do you have references available?
  • Do I have to sign a contract, and can I cancel if I am not satisfied?
  • How do you communicate with your clients and set realistic expectations?

The local real estate market changes frequently, and you need someone in your corner who is knowledgeable and can help you negotiate the best deal possible. You also want a real estate agent who is realistic about the market. Hiring a Buyer’s Agent does not typically cost the buyer, as the seller pays the commission. 

A buyer’s agent is responsible for:

  • Assessing your needs. The buyer’s agent will ask you for your needs and wants in your new home. Example – you need 3 bedrooms, but you want 4 bedrooms. This specific information will help your agent research properties that will best suit your desires.
  • Explaining the buying process. The buying process is complicated. Every home sale is different. An experienced buyer’s agent will be able to handle unique situations to help you buy your Brooklyn home. 
  • Showing you properties. Your agent will find the properties, make appointments, and walk you through the homes. This is where an experienced local agent is most valuable to help point out the positive features and any potential issues they may see.
  • Writing up and submitting your offer. Your buyer’s agent can advise you on pricing and how to structure an appealing offer. They will then submit the offer and communicate with the seller’s agent to begin negotiations.
  • Monitoring the closing process. After your offer is accepted, your agent will coordinate with all parties involved until the closing is completed.

Your buyer agent is your advocate. They will answer your questions and guide you through the entire process to help you buy a house in Brooklyn.

A common misconception is that working with the seller’s agent will get you a better deal. The Seller’s agent will be working on the seller’s behalf and is contractually obligated to do so. Do yourself a favor and find the right buyer’s agent.

Narrow Your Search Criteria

You most likely have an idea of where you would like to buy a house in Brooklyn. Maybe you are looking for a particular school or proximity to work. Focus on your top area first, and then move out from there if you can not find the right home.

Make a list of the items that you must have in your new home, and be sure to discuss those items with your real estate agent. Think of the things that would be a “deal-breaker” for you and discuss that with your real estate agent also. The more your agent knows about your needs, the better they can zoom in on the right homes for you. A resourceful real estate agent will be able to guide you to the properties that meet your criteria. 

Equally important, you should try to get some input from others who live in the areas you are considering for the pros and cons they can offer. If you don’t know anyone living in the neighborhood, check out some online forums that may be able to provide you insight.

I think it is a good idea to visit the community at different times of the day to get a feel for what is going on in the neighborhood.

Conduct Inspections

Unless you have a thorough knowledge of house construction and components, I do not recommend that you waive the inspections when you buy a house in Brooklyn. Inspections are an important part of the home buying process. 

It is important to note that a home inspector is required to be licensed in the State of New York. You can find answers to frequently asked questions about New York licensing for inspectors here.

The seller will disclose what they know about the property. Be that as it may, it isn’t uncommon that the home inspector will find things in the home that the seller didn’t know.

The home inspector will check the major components of the home starting on the outside. They will look at the foundation and the roof for any defects. The inspector then will start their interior inspection in the basement of the home. They will check the electrical, heating, air conditioning, and plumbing systems. The inspector also checks windows, doors, and flooring.

Ask the inspector what they will and will not check before scheduling your inspection with them. Ask the home inspector to take a closer look during the inspection if there is something you noticed during your tour of the home.

You will also want to have a pest inspection to ensure there are no wood-boring insects such as termites that would be causing damage to the home. Some types of financing will require a clear pest inspection report.

When you initially look at a home, you are looking more from an emotional point of view. You are picturing yourself and your family and friends in the spaces. You may not be looking at the home with a critical eye. Having a third party examine the property is valuable to learn if there are any safety or major ticket items that will need to be addressed.

Loan Application

After you have an accepted offer on a home, you will need to make a formal mortgage application. If you are using the same lender who provided you the preapproval, they may have all your information. Notify them when you have an accepted offer on a home and find out what additional information they require.

The process of buying a house in Brooklyn can seem daunting, not to mention confusing. The key to a successful home search and negotiation is to have the right team in your corner. There are many people involved in the purchase of a home. Check out this blog post to learn more about each party.

When you decide you are ready to buy a house in Brooklyn, you will be full of excitement as well as questions. As a Brooklyn real estate agent with over 30 years of experience, I can guide you through the entire journey.

In the event our office is shut down; we are always committed to your safety during the COVID-19 health crisis in compliance with the State of New York public health policies. I can be reached by phone at (718) 253-9500 ext. 1901 or by email at [email protected].

Charles D'Allesandro helps you buy a house in Brooklyn

Why Was My Offer On A Brooklyn Home Rejected?

Tuesday, December 15th, 2020

Rejected stamp on a contract

You finally found it and you are ready to submit an offer on a Brooklyn home. You have a vision of the perfect home in mind. Knowing what you want and don’t want are the keys to finding your ideal home. Over my years of selling homes in Brooklyn, I can tell by the buyer’s reaction before they say anything when we have found the right home for them.

The signs I see from buyer’s include:

  • They are anxious to get inside.
  • Their excitement level increases as we walk through the home.
  • They start placing their furniture.
  • The buyer will downplay any imperfections that I point out.
  • They want to stop looking at other homes.

Now that you have found the right home, you need to make an offer on the property. What should you consider when making an offer?

  • Price is the most obvious factor to consider when making an offer on a home.
  • The neighborhood sales trends.
  • The type of financing you choose. 
  • The amount of earnest money you put down.
  • The inspections and timeframes you choose.
  • The type of concessions you ask the seller to cover.
  • The closing date.

Submitting an offer on a Brooklyn home is an exciting time! You take the time to consider what you want to pay for the property and most likely have consulted with your real estate professional, friends, and family. 

You present an offer to the seller that you feel is a great starting point. And then you find out the seller of your ideal home has rejected your offer. What went wrong?

There are several reasons a seller may reject your offer on their Brooklyn home. These reasons will vary from seller to seller and offer to offer. 

Let’s take a look at some of the reasons a seller may reject your offer.

The seller received a higher offer.

You may or may not know that the seller has other offers. I feel that an excellent real estate agent working with their seller’s best interest at heart will notify all interested parties that there are other offers expected on this Brooklyn home. That doesn’t always happen. Telling all buyers will allow the seller to receive the highest and best price for their home. In the hot real estate market we have been experiencing, it isn’t unusual for a seller to receive offers over the asking price.

Your offer may be too high.

When you prepare your offer on a Brooklyn home, you walk a fine line when offering a price over the asking amount. If you have an appraisal, the property must appraise for the sales price for many types of financing. An appraiser will look at the most recent sales in the neighborhood that have sold. If the seller and their agent feel that there are not sales that substantiate the higher price, the seller may reject your offer to avoid a problem down the road with your financing related to the appraisal.

The type of financing you chose.

Some sellers do not want to deal with the additional requirements of certain types of financing. For example, they may feel that FHA’s guidelines for health and safety items are more than they want to address. FHA does have guidelines for the appraiser to follow, but some agents make this a bigger deal than it really is. My advice is to obtain the mortgage that works best for you and make an offer to purchase based on your needs.

You asked for too many concessions.

The seller will always look at their bottom line. If they are asked to pay for unusual expenses, buyer closing costs, or leave items such as not included appliances, they may reject the offer to purchase if it doesn’t meet their expectations. Your agent will help you put together an offer that is beneficial to you and the seller. 

Your offer was too low.

Assuming the seller’s asking price was reasonable, your low bid can be rejected by the seller. If the home has not been on the market for the average number of days it takes to sell a home in their Brooklyn area, they may feel that other qualified buyers will be willing to pay the market value. Other sellers may be insulted and reject your offer based on their emotions. Although it is best to keep your emotions in check as a home seller or home buyer, it is difficult for some people.

You did not offer enough earnest money.

An earnest money deposit is the amount of money you put down at the signing of the offer on a Brooklyn home to show the seller you are serious about buying the home. The seller takes a risk when they accept an offer because once the property becomes contingent or under contract in the MLS, the number of buyers who will look at the home may decrease, reducing the chance the seller will receive potential back-up offers. They want to see that the buyer is serious or “earnest” about purchasing their home.

You don’t have a pre-approval letter.

Most buyer’s agents will not show homes to a buyer until they have gone through the pre-approval process with a lender. There are several reasons, but as far as the seller is concerned, they will not want to take their home off the market until they know the buyer will qualify for a mortgage. A pre-approval letter should be incorporated into your offer to purchase. As a buyer, you will want that pre-approval letter to know that you are looking in a price range that will provide you with a comfortable mortgage payment for your Brooklyn home.

The seller has unreasonable expectations.

The seller sets the price with the guidance of their real estate agent. Sometimes the seller feels their home is worth more than the comparable homes in the neighborhood. They may have a high mortgage balance, and they think they must sell at a higher price. Most sellers are realistic about market conditions and listen to the guidance of their real estate agent. Your buyer’s agent will be able to help you determine if the seller’s asking price is unrealistic.

The closing date doesn’t work for the seller.

The seller may want to close on the home quickly, or they may need extra time to make a move. People decide to sell their homes for many different reasons. If the seller is moving to a retirement community, they may have to wait for an apartment or room to become available. The seller may want to close quickly. If they are testing the market, they may need time to find their replacement home.

The seller had a change of heart.

Although it is rare, I have seen circumstances where a seller just decides they are not ready to sell. They may have received offers much faster than they thought would happen, and it was just too much for them to handle. Selling a home can be a very emotional time. If the seller isn’t emotionally prepared, it is better they back out at this point than wait until you have invested time and money on inspections before they decide to terminate the transaction.

What happens after an offer is rejected? Well, that would depend on why the seller has rejected your offer. 

If the seller has accepted another offer, there is little you can do about losing your bid on the home. Finding out why they accepted another offer over yours will be valuable when you are ready to put in an offer on another home. You can watch the property to see if it does close. If the buyer terminates the offer or is declined for financing, you may have another opportunity to make an offer.

The seller may counter your offer by presenting different terms to you. At this point, you can either accept what the seller is proposing or counter the seller’s counteroffer. This negotiation can go back and forth as often as it takes to reach a mutual agreement.

The seller can reject your offer without countering terms with you. When the seller feels your offer is too far from what they desire, they are likely to reject your bid without making a counteroffer. If the seller has not accepted another offer, you may have an opportunity to restructure and present a new proposal.

When presenting an offer on a Brooklyn home, you need to be careful about submitting an offer that is too low. Each situation will need evaluation. Can you justify your low price? Be prepared that the seller may exclude those areas from your home inspection requests if you site reasons to lower the amount. Because you are dealing with people who may have emotional ties to their home, you may run the risk of offending them to the point they do not want to deal with you. 

When you are re-evaluating your offer to counter the seller, you need to take into consideration the following:

  • How long has the home been on the market?
  • Can you find comparable sales in the neighborhood?
  • What is the condition of the home?
  • Is it in a desirable area?
  • Are there other offers on the home?

The biggest question to ask yourself when crafting an offer on a Brooklyn home is: “If I were to lose this home, how would I feel?”

If you would be devastated, you need to go in with your best offer. If you would be sad but could find another home, you may go in with a lower offer. Check out this blog post to see if you have found the perfect home for you.

There are a lot of factors involved in preparing an offer on a home. There are a lot of emotions involved also. Finding a balance between the financial decision and the emotional decision is one of the values of working with a real estate agent when looking to purchase your Brooklyn home. Your real estate agent is working on your behalf and can help you separate your offer’s emotional and rational sides. 

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 successfully brought hundreds of buyers and sellers together.

In the event our office is shut down, we are always committed to your safety during the COVID-19 health crisis in compliance with the State of New York public health policies. I can be reached by phone at (718) 253-9500 ext. 1901 or by email at [email protected]

Charles D'Allesandro

Charles D’Alessandro
Your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent
718-253-9600 ext. 1901

Selling Your Brooklyn Home During The Winter

Tuesday, December 1st, 2020
Brooklyn Bridge in winter.

Some people may advise you that selling your Brooklyn home during the winter is a bad idea. Sometimes you just need to get the house on the market for various reasons regardless of the season. There isn’t a wrong time to sell a home if you do all the necessary steps to prepare for the sale. 

Houses sell at all times of the year. If you are considering putting your home on the market, I will encourage you to do so. You may be surprised to hear me say that. Let me explain why I would encourage you to consider selling your Brooklyn home during the winter.

Reasons to sell your Brooklyn home during the winter:

  • Competition – The competition from other sellers during the winter is lower because so many believe it is hard to sell a house in the cold winter months.
  • Searches Increase – internet searches are known to increase during the winter. Most home buyers start their searches online.
  • Transient Society – Our society has become more mobile with people continually moving for many reasons.
  • Relocations – Many people who are relocating for their job do not always have a lot of time deciding and getting their family moved. They do not get to select the time of year they make that move either. 
  • Year-End Bonuses – Many people find themselves working from home and now feel their home is just too small. Before 2020, many people invested their year-end bonus in a larger home. This year we may see significant interest in using that year-end bonus to gain the desired space they have found necessary.
  • Serious Buyers – Looking for a home in the colder weather is not for the faint of heart. Although we have seen many serious buyers during the warmer months, we still see some who aren’t quite sure if they want to purchase a home. Buyers who are willing to come out to view a home during the winter are serious about buying.

Preparing your home for sale is essential despite the time of year you choose to list your home. Check out this previous blog post for tips on preparing your home for sale.

Additional suggestions for selling your Brooklyn home during the winter:

  • Curb Appeal – Do not forget about the exterior of your home in the winter. If you have not attended to your landscaping after summer, be sure to take some time now to spruce things up. Pay particular attention to the area that the buyers will be entering the home. While the agent is opening the lockbox, the buyers will be looking and notice any apparent defects.
  • Clear Snow And Ice – Whether you are selling your home or not, it is essential to keep your sidewalks and steps clear of snow and ice for your safety and the safety of others. When selling your home, it is necessary to pay as much attention to the backyard as the front yard. Buyers will want to check out the backyard also.
  • Create A Cozy Atmosphere – When it is cold outside, having the home as cozy and warm as possible will create a welcoming feeling the buyers will remember. Keep the home toasty and play some soft music. Taking the extra effort to make your buyers feel at home may create a good return on your dollar when that awaited offer comes in.
  • Hire a Reputable Agent – You must find the right agent to work for you when selling your Brooklyn home during the holiday and winter months. Any agent can sell a house when the demand is high. It takes an experienced, well-versed agent to guide you when the market is slower.

There is no reason to postpone putting your home on the market due to the holidays if you need to get your home sold quickly. As mentioned above, buyers who look in the winter are more serious about purchasing. That also applies to buyers who are looking throughout the holidays. The buyers may be taking some vacation time during the holidays and decide to do some home searching during their time off.

Tips for selling your home during the holidays:

  • Decorating – You may wonder if you should put up your decorations when selling your Brooklyn home during the holidays. Homes do look beautiful during the holiday season. You will still want to celebrate with your family. You can decorate for the holidays while selling your home. Just don’t go overboard. A tastefully decorated home will appeal to everyone. Some outdoor decorating can make up for the lack of curb appeal due to winter weather.
  • Eliminate Stress – That is a tall order during the uncertainty we find ourselves in this year. Try to give yourself a break and simplify your holiday celebrations while also trying to sell your home.
  • Be Flexible – It isn’t always possible, but try to keep your schedule as open as you can. You do not want to turn away buyers who wish to see your home. Remember that buyers who want to look this time of year are usually more serious about purchasing. If they are out of town, relocating buyers, it may be the only time they can look at your home.

Facing challenges to selling your home can happen at any time of the year. Knowing the market status in your area when you list your home will prevent you from frustration. Your real estate agent will be able to give you an idea of what to expect, so you are not surprised. Having an agent who studies the trends, knows the local market, and updates you will be the most valuable tool you have. 

Some challenges to selling your home during the winter:

  • More Negotiation – During the winter, we see fewer multiple offer situations. If the buyer is not competing with another offer for your property, they may feel they have some room to negotiate. A misguided buyer may think that you are desperate to sell your home because you have it on the market in the winter months and come in with a lowball offer. Try not to be offended if you receive a low offer. Remember they are showing interest in your home. Engage in negotiation with them.
  • Financing And Closing Delays – If a company is closing for a period during the holidays or closings due to inclement weather occurrences, there could be a delay in processing the mortgage or preparing the closing documentation.
  • Curb Appeal – There is no doubt that the spring and summer create a beautiful curb appeal for your home. In the winter, beautiful flowers and lush shrubbery can not be seen. If you have pictures of your home in its prime summer glory, make them available to your agent and potential buyers.
  • Lighting – Not only does the darkness set in earlier than in the summer, but winter days can also be dreary. Check the lighting throughout your home. Take care and effort to be sure each room is illuminated appropriately. Turn on all the lights inside and out (depending on the time of day of the showing) before leaving home for a showing.
  • Snow Boots – Tracking in the snow is a problem during winter showings. Create a spot that will make it easy for the buyers and their agents to remove the snowy or wet shoes before touring your home. If possible, provide a space to sit that will make it a bit more comfortable.

You can achieve an appealing atmosphere with the right staging efforts. Spend some time creating a welcoming environment when buyers are touring your home during the winter.

Ways to set the stage:

  • Scents – The scent of fresh-baked cookies is hard to beat. You can get some slice and bake cookies from the grocery store to bake right before showings. Due to the current Covid status, it is not recommended that you leave treats out for the buyers. But, you can certainly enjoy those fresh-baked treats when you get home.
  • Comfort – What is better than coming home to a warm fire? Although I do not advise leaving a wood-burning fireplace unattended, if you have a self-contained gas fireplace, you may want to set the scene by turning on the fireplace for your visitors. Cozy throw blankets strategically placed will create an inviting setting. Turn the thermostat up, so all areas of the home are warm.
  • Lights – As mentioned, turning on the lights before you leave will not only help make your interior look its best; it will also create a welcoming appearance from the exterior.
  • Gutters – Before putting your home on the market, take the time to clean your gutters. A clogged gutter can cause a water or ice issue that may cause uncertainty for some buyers.

Winter 2020 – 2021 brings some new guidelines to the real estate industry due to Covid-19. Please be aware of the protocols when selling your Brooklyn home. Be sure to discuss this important topic with your real estate agent. The state and board of Realtors® have set guidelines to protect all parties.  Real estate agents, homeowners, and potential buyers have a responsibility to adhere to these guidelines.

Showing guidelines during Covid:

  • Homeowners or occupants of a property can not be present during a showing.
  • All showings should be scheduled in advance by appointment only and allow space between to disinfect.
  • All parties are required to wear face coverings.
  • Maintain a 6-foot distance between individuals.
  • Buyers should only touch necessary surfaces such as handrails. 
  • Showing agents should disinfect high-touch surfaces as they leave each room.
  • Real estate brokers or homeowners should limit showings to one party at a time. 
  • Buyers are encouraged not to bring children or additional people to look at the home.
  • Remote walkthroughs are encouraged whenever possible.
  • Real estate agents should open windows during a showing to improve air circulation.
Number 1 on brick wall

The Number One Tip

Following the above advice is essential when selling your Brooklyn home during the winter. The most crucial, not to be overlooked advice I can provide is to price your home correctly

Helping you establish the right price for your home is where an experienced agent is most valuable. Many considerations go into pricing a home for the current market. 

Although the change of seasons may mean you have fewer buyers, it does not necessarily mean you will get a lower price. 

Your agent should be providing you with comparable sales for the neighborhood to determine the asking price. Pay attention to these comparables. The buyer will be looking at these numbers as well.

Factors that can affect the price of your home are:

  • Previous sales – Real estate agents, home buyers, and appraisers all look at past sales to establish a home’s price.
  • Neighborhood – The neighborhood location of the home will affect the sales price of the house. School systems, crime rates, and previous sales all factor into the desirability of the neighborhood.
  • Market – Being in a buyer’s market or a seller’s market also affects a home’s pricing. Knowing when the shift is occurring is tricky.
  • Condition – The condition of your home is a factor in the pricing. Preparing the house for sale and making the necessary repairs will improve the home’s condition before listing.
  • Size – The size of your home can also affect price and desirability. 

Don’t make the mistake of overpricing to test the market. Statistically, a seller who overprices their home on the initial listing ends up selling the property for less than if they would have listed it at the right price for the current market.

There are pros and cons to selling your Brooklyn home in the winter. It is possible to list and sell your home during these colder months successfully. I know because I have helped many sellers over the years do just that!

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 maneuver the winter real estate market successfully.

In the event our office is shut down, we are always committed to your safety during the COVID-19 health crisis in compliance with the State of New York public health policies. I can be reached by phone at (718) 253-9500 ext. 1901 or by email at [email protected]

Charles D'Alessandro

Charles D’Alessandro
Your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent
718-253-9600 ext. 1901

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Home Inspection Checkmark


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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


Real Estate Team

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

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

Charles D'Alessandro

Contact me, Charles D’Alessandro, your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with Fillmore Real Estate. As a Brooklyn real estate agent with over 30 years of experience, I can help both buyers and sellers coordinate all the details.

In the event our office is shut down we are always committed to your safety during the COVID-19 health crisis in compliance with the State of New York public health policies. I can be reached by phone at (718) 253-9500 ext. 1901 or by email at [email protected].

How To Prepare Your Brooklyn Home For Fall 2020

Thursday, October 15th, 2020

Fall has arrived and it is time to prepare your Brooklyn home before winter comes. It seems it was just the beginning of summer, and then I blinked, and we are talking about preparing for winter.

Front steps of Brooklyn home decorated for fall.

An essential part of homeownership is the proper maintenance of your home. Many of the items I see that turn up on home inspections are merely delayed maintenance. I often hear the homeowner remark how they wish they would have done it sooner so that they could enjoy the repairs also.

Proper preparation can save you potential problems later. You have heard the saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” That means taking the time to get things done before they become a problem will save you from the expense and frustration if you must make repairs.

Home maintenance may not be the most exciting way to spend a weekend, but it will be time well invested. Preventative maintenance can save you the unpleasantness of dealing with an emergency and will help prolong the life of the components of your home.

Create a plan, purchase any supplies you will need, and get to work!

There are areas inside and outside your Brooklyn home that will need your attention. Let’s look at some critical areas requiring attention before the cold weather sets in.

You will want to pay attention to the exterior of your home before the temperatures plummet. Completing the exterior work now will save you from freezing when something becomes an issue during the cold winter.

  • Gutters – Watching the leaves change color and fall from the trees is a favorite Fall activity. However, if those leaves fall into your gutter, you will want to be sure to remove them and clean your gutters. Sticks and other debris can also settle in your gutters and lead to blockages. Potential water damage inside and outside your home can result from such blockages. When your gutters are clogged, the water has no way to be diverted away from your house. The result can be rotten wood on the roof or facia. Rodents, insects, and birds can make a home in the leaves and cause havoc for you. If the water is not being diverted away from your home, it can damage your foundation.
  • Roof  – Along with proper gutter maintenance, you need to be sure your roof is ready for the winter weather. Take a good look at the roof shingles to ensure there are no missing or damaged ones. Clear all debris from the roof. Check the flashing to be sure it is not loose or needs to be repaired. As part of the roof maintenance, you also want to check your attic to ensure proper insulation and ventilation. The attic can affect the longevity of your roof. This is one area that you may want to spend the money to hire a professional to avoid the dangers of climbing out on your roof.
  • Outside Faucets and Irrigation Systems – Turn off the water source to your outdoor faucets and sinks. Open the tap and allow the water to drain out of the lines. Outdoor sinks may need an extra step of adding an antifreeze solution. Winterizing your sprinkler system is a more complicated process. It would be wise to hire a professional to maintain your sprinkler system.
  • Walkways – Take a good look at sidewalks and stairs to your home. Are there any cracks or loose areas that could cause a tripping hazard? It is essential to keep these areas clear of snow and ice during the winter months for your safety and others safety. Be sure to make any repairs now before the snow starts falling.
  • Outdoor Furniture – Proper care of your outdoor furniture will extend the life of your purchase. If you have storage space indoors, it is better to move the outdoor furniture inside during the harsh winter months. Cover the furniture with special covers or tarps if you cannot get the furniture indoors. Check throughout the winter that the coverings have not come loose or blown off.
  • Landscaping – Your exterior plants also need attention in preparation for winter. Remove any annual plants that are at the end of their life. Prune other plants as recommended to keep things looking tidy and preventing any unnecessary damage to the plant. Remove any weeds now and fertilize the soil if needed. Divide any perennials that need attention. If necessary, do one final cutting of the lawn. And when finished, clean and store your gardening tools, so they are ready for spring when you are anxious to get back in that garden.
  • Spring Bulbs – You may want to plant spring flower bulbs. If so, be sure to plant before the ground freezes. Getting them in the ground to allow them to establish their roots is important. The extra time spent planting your bulbs will provide you with joy in the spring as you start to see them sprouting. We all look for these signs of life emerging in the spring.
  • Leaves and Debris – Raking leaves is not quite as romantic as portrayed in the movies. Especially after you have performed this task several times throughout the Fall. It is vital to do a final clean up after all the leaves have fallen. Leaves that coat sidewalks and driveways can become a hazard and a haven for insects and unwanted critters. Also, check for other debris that should be cleared throughout the winter.
  • Lighting – Clean the fixtures to make sure that the light can illuminate the outdoors. Replace any burned-out bulbs. Consider replacing your bulbs with LED lightbulbs that are more energy efficient. Check the wiring to be sure there are no exposed or fraying wires. Adjust the lighting fixtures if needed. Time and elements can cause lighting fixtures to become misaligned. This ounce of prevention will keep your home safer, enhance its beauty at night, and keep intruders and vandals away.

Some projects will need to be addressed both inside and outside of your home. Focus on the exterior tasks first, but do not forget to take care of the indoor aspect later.

  • Seal Openings – Finding the gaps, cracks, and openings that allow air to penetrate your home and sealing them will save you the discomfort of drafts. It will also save you money on your heating expenses. Examine areas where different material types meet. A common area is around windows. Also, pay attention to areas where plumbing and wiring enter your home. On the interior, pay attention to areas where water is used. Concentrate on areas where the tub/shower meets the surround, where the sink meets the counter, and where the counter meets the backsplash. Check all doors and windows to be sure the weather stripping is not dry and brittle. Replace any caulking and weatherstripping as necessary.
  • Fireplace – The ambiance of a fire during a cold winter evening creates a cozy atmosphere. To make that relaxing and enjoyable experience, be sure to maintain your fireplace regularly. Whether you have a wood-burning or a gas fireplace, regular maintenance is required. Chimney maintenance may be necessary if you have a wood-burning fireplace or a gas fireplace that is vented through your chimney. Be sure the chimney has a cap to prevent debris and critters from entering. Check for cracks. Hire a chimney sweep to clean your chimney as recommended. Your interior maintenance is dependent on whether you have a wood-burning fireplace or a gas fireplace. Gas fireplaces need to be cleaned and checked periodically.
  • Storage Areas – Storage spaces can quickly become dumping grounds for the items we are not sure whether to keep or give away. Before storing away your summer items, take some time to clean the storage spaces inside and outside your home. Clear the area first and sort things into one of three different categories. The three types are keep, donate or discard, and repair. Next, clean the space. Now you can start placing items back into the area that you have decided to keep. Quickly handle the donate, discard, and repair items so they do not clutter your home.

Turn your attention to the inside of your Brooklyn home after the exterior items are completed. Addressing the interior will help you to maintain a comfortable and safe environment.

  • Furnace – The furnace is the most essential appliance in your home during our long Brooklyn winters. Make sure your furnace is running in tip-top shape before you are dependent on it for the full-blown heating season. Many homeowners choose a do-it-yourself approach. Be sure to refer to your owner’s manuals for the right way if you decide to DIY it. Hire a licensed professional to clean and check your furnace. Be sure to change the filters as needed throughout the heating season.
  • Smoke and CO Detectors – Smoke detectors and Carbon Monoxide detectors are known to save lives. Add any necessary devices throughout your home. Recommended areas include sleeping areas, common hallways, and living areas and should be installed on every level of your home. Be sure to test your alarms monthly. You can find a tip sheet on the New York City Fire Department website.
  • Ceiling Fans – Why do so many of us procrastinate cleaning those ceiling fan blades until we turn them off as the weather cools down? Your ceiling fan should be running in a clockwise direction to help pull the warm air from the ceiling down in the winter. Using a pillowcase to clean the blades is a genius idea. Simply slip the pillowcase over the fan blade and gently wipe it off. The dust remains in the pillowcase! Use a dust-repelling furniture spray to help prevent build-up. Clean the motor housing, light bulbs, and glass globes as well.
  • Thermostat – Consider installing a programable thermostat if you do not already have one. You will save money because you are not heating your home when you are not there or sleeping in the winter months. Recommendations are to lower the heat by 10 degrees when you are not home or are asleep. Program your thermostat to lower the temperature 20 – 30 minutes before you regularly leave home or 60 minutes before you go to bed. Set the thermostat to increase the temperature 30 minutes before you return home or wake up, and you will enjoy a comfortable home.
  • Entry – Create a spot by your front door and any other access your family uses to enter the home for shoes. This will save your floors from tracking the mud, water, snow, and ice our shoes bring in with us. Adding a drip tray to the entry can prevent you from cleaning floors quite as often. You can purchase a drip tray in many home stores. Add a decorative touch to your entryway by filling the drip tray with pebbles or stones to prevent the shoes and boots from sitting in the wet slush.

And lastly, there are a few items that will provide you with peace of mind. These are items that we often overlook but are well worth the investment of your time.

  • Pantry – We have learned to expect the unexpected. Take time to organize your pantry and restock non-perishable items you may need throughout the winter. Keep your frequently used staple items on hand. Consider stocking canned and dried beans, canned vegetables, canned or jar sauces, broth, rice, pasta, dehydrated fruits or vegetables, flour, sugar, shortening, canned meats, and condiments. Avoiding a trip to the store when an impending storm is announced will be a welcome relief. Remember to stock items such as matches or lighters, candles, flashlights, and batteries.
  • Medicine and First Aid Supplies – Unfortunately, we rarely get a warning when we are going to need first aid items or catch a common illness. Check your supply of bandages, ice packs, pain relievers, cold medicine, throat lozenges, vitamins, and supplements. After you have completed your inventory, restock the missing or low items. Do not forget to stock for your children’s and pets’ needs also.
  • Fire Escape Plan – A fire escape plan is also an important step. If you have not created a plan for your household, take some time to examine your home’s layout. Determine if you need to purchase any equipment such as fire escape ladders. Be sure all members of your household are oriented to this plan.

Bonus Tip

Don’t forget to prepare your car for the winter months. Regular maintenance of your vehicle is a given. You will need to stock your vehicle for unexpected winter weather. Create an emergency kit to keep in your car. Include flashlights, blanket, hand warmers, water, snacks, shovel, cat litter or sand, tool kit, jumper cables, and an extra set of clothing. Hopefully, you never need to use these items. It is always wise to be prepared.

I am sure this seems like a lot to add to your “to-do” list. You will find it to be time well spent in the long run. Regular maintenance around your home will help to keep everything running smoothly.

If you do not feel you have the expertise to address some of these items, professionals can certainly help you with these tasks. Do your research before hiring any professional. Ask friends or coworkers for references to someone they can recommend who has done satisfactory work for them. You can find some great advice on the Better Business Bureau’s website concerning hiring a contractor.

Plan your winter activities after your “to do” list is complete. You will enjoy the fruits of your labor by having the time for the things you “want” to do with friends and family. Enjoy your Brooklyn home this winter!

Contact me, Charles D’Alessandro, your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with Fillmore Real Estate. As a Brooklyn real estate agent with over 30 years of experience, I can help both buyers and sellers achieve their real estate dreams.

Our office is completely shut down and committed to your safety during the COVID-19 health crisis in compliance with the State of New York public health policies. I can be reached by phone at (718) 253-9500 ext. 1901 or by email at [email protected].

Charles D'Alessandro

Charles D’Alessandro
Your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent
718-253-9600 ext. 1901

Is Now the Best Time to Consider Purchasing a Home

Wednesday, April 15th, 2020
Is this spring really the best time to purchase a home?

According to real estate experts, springtime is the best time to purchase a home. But this year, spring is different. It is anything but typical or ordinary. Many real estate agents are now working remotely and conducting most of their business online. And buyer and seller consultations are done virtually. But many home shoppers are wondering if now is really the best time to consider purchasing a home.

Coronavirus or Not, Always Weigh the Factors

Social distancing because of the coronavirus is attempting to cripple our economy in many ways. And to offset the negative effects this virus is having, the FED lowered interest rates significantly. But even as wonderful as that is, it’s still wise to weigh all the factors, negative and positive, before purchasing a home.

Exercise Caution When Purchasing a Home Now

It makes sense to pay less to borrow money, of course. And you should always exercise caution before taking on a mortgage. But since the possibility of a recession is at hand, it’s even more important that you purchase a home you can truly afford.

Caution: Can You Really Afford the Monthly Payment?

Amanda Abella, millennial business coach and author of Make Money Your Honey: A Spirited Entrepreneur’s Guide to Having a Love Affair with Work & Money says, “Assuming you can afford a mortgage and the other costs involved and your job is not in danger of being cut, then yes. Smart investors and people who are financially savvy know these times are ridden with opportunity because the general public is going to contract. But every individual situation is different. Unless you’re sitting on pretty hefty savings and know your industry won’t be impacted by what’s going on, then you should err on the side of caution.”

Amanda made two valid points.

1. “Assuming you can afford a mortgage and the other costs involved …”

With or without all that dealing with the cornonavirus has thrust upon us, low interest rates don’t have much to do with all of the costs associated with purchasing a home. There are property taxes, homeowner’s insurance, and closing costs, with every home purchase. The closing costs alone can cost you anywhere from one to five percent of the closing price. You must calculate your home-buying budget accurately, beyond the monthly mortgage payment alone.

2. “ … and your job is not in danger of being cut …”

Caution: Can You Secure a Mortgage?

Mortgage rates are low, but they’re not at zero percent. Here’s what Drew DeWitt, senior vice president of investments for Ivy Equities, a Greenwich, Connecticut-based real estate private equity firm has to say.

“Lower interest rates mean lower monthly mortgage payments on your home loan; therefore, you technically can pay more since your monthly costs are lower. However, it also means that there is greater risk in the economy in general. The FED drops rates to spur growth when there is risk of unemployment and people not being able to make their monthly mortgage payments. As a result, banks will tighten their lending standards, and it may be harder to actually secure a mortgage despite the lower rates. This is where people get confused.”

Caution: Are You Taking Logistic Difficulties into Consideration?

Danielle Lurie, a licensed real estate sales person with Compass sheds perspective on logistical issues that also need consideration. There are government agencies, such as notaries and title offices, which are now closed.

“Even if you could buy a home at a steal right now, most buyers would wish to physically go and see the property, bring a home inspector to assess the property, and—assuming you get an accepted offer and arrive at the virtual closing table—you will need to hire movers to move into the property. Depending on what amount of time is needed to contain this virus, those three things are all difficult if not impossible to do right now.”

Look for Win-Win Opportunities

If you’re determined to buy a home now, and you’re willing to walk through homes virtually instead of the traditional way, there is opportunity for a great deal out there. Some agents say now is the best buyer’s market they’ve ever seen!

According to Homelight’s recent poll of 600 top real estate agents across the country, you will have to work hard to find a great deal. Their poll found that “22% of respondents say sellers are taking their homes off the market in response to coronavirus concerns.” And there were reports of a housing shortage before life as we knew it changed, too.

Unmotivated and uncommitted buyers have dropped off which means less competition for you as a buyer. And that’s a good thing. With fewer home buyers out there looking, you have less competition to contend with. But the window of opportunity for buyers won’t stay open like it is right now forever.

Seize the Opportunity While Minimizing Your Risk

Once the quarantine guidelines are lifted, a strong rebound will likely follow the soft real estate market we’re now seeing. And the high demand of a strong rebound could push home prices up. And as Roger Ma, a New York-based financial planner and owner of lifelaidout, says, “Recession or not, it’s impossible to time the market, whether for buying stock or buying real estate.”

Yes, current market conditions offer incredible opportunities for you as a homebuyer since you can lock in a historically-low interest rate. But rates are actually going up, and quickly, too! Why? Because so many people are refinancing.

Prepare to Buy a Home Now

So, if you’re still employed, have the necessary resources, and want to take advantage of the low interest rate opportunities, do these things now:

1. Start browsing online

2. Get yourself familiar with the market

3. Look through your finances and prepare for the time when you are ready to buy

4. If you’ve already found your dream home, put in your offer and lock in your rate

5. Get pre-approved for a mortgage

Confused About Purchasing a Home Now?

Do you need help with your decision about purchasing a home now? Sellers are selling. Interest rates are low. And there are great deals to be had. Right now you can own a home for less per month than you can rent in most areas. But is now really the best time to consider purchasing a home?

Contact me, Charles D’Alessandroyour Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with Fillmore Real Estate. I can help you weigh economic concerns and help you determine if now is a good time for you to consider purchasing a home.

Our office is completely shut down and committed to your safety during the COVID-19 health crisis in compliance with the State of New York public health policies. I can be reached by phone at (718) 253-9600 ext. 1901 or by email at [email protected].

Charles D'Alessandro

Charles D’Alessandro
Your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent
718-253-9600 ext. 1901

What You Need to Know About Reverse Mortgages

Sunday, March 15th, 2020
About reverse mortgages
Before you sign any papers, it’s very important that you understand everything you need to know about Reverse Mortgages.

Seniors, are you having trouble getting through retirement? Have you’ve heard about Reverse Mortgages and how other seniors have pulled the equity out of their homes to help them get through retirement? Does all this Reverse Mortgage information confuse you?

It’s important to understand what a Reverse Mortgage is as well as the benefits and risks of this type of loan before you sign any papers. Banks offer information on these types of loans, but you may find attending a workshop to be more helpful.

What Is It? defines a reverse mortgage as “a loan. A homeowner who is 62 or older and has considerable home equity can borrow against the value of their home and receive funds as a lump sum, fixed monthly payment or line of credit. Unlike a forward mortgage – the type used to buy a home – a reverse mortgage doesn’t require the homeowner to make any loan payments.

”Instead, the entire loan balance becomes due and payable when the borrower dies, moves away permanently or sells the home. Federal regulations require lenders to structure the transaction so the loan amount doesn’t exceed the home’s value and the borrower or borrower’s estate won’t be held responsible for paying the difference if the loan balance does become larger than the home’s value. One way this could happen is through a drop in the home’s market value; another is if the borrower lives a long time.”

How Do Reverse Mortgages Work?

When you take out a reverse mortgage loan, you basically pull out the equity you have in your home to help you through retirement. You can choose to take out that equity in one of two ways:

  • One lump sum
  • Monthly payments

The loan does not need to be paid back until you either sell your home or stop living in it.

Your homeowner’s insurance needs to be maintained and the taxes on your home paid.

If you choose to, you can make payments on your reverse mortgage. But these payments are not required.

What Benefits Does a Reverse Mortgage Offer Seniors?

Most people who are over the age of 62 have half of their net worth tied up in their homes. A Reverse Mortgage allows you to cash out your equity when you need it while still living in your home. This is the most appealing feature of this type of loan. With a Reverse Mortgage, it’s quite possible to live comfortably in retirement.

Are There Risks Involved?

This all sounds great, but are there risks involved? Yes. A Reverse Mortgage puts your home at risk because it limits the amount of money you can pass on to your children when you die. How?

  1. When you die and your children inherit your home, they must either pay off the mortgage themselves or sell the property to pay off the loan.
  2. If you can no longer live independently in your home and must move into a nursing home, the reverse mortgage must be paid off. This usually means you must sell your home.
  3. The interest rates on a Reverse Mortgage loan may be high depending on your credit.
  4. If you put your home up as collateral and then borrow money against your home, you risk losing it.

Also, be aware of other possibly risky scenarios. For example, if you sign the reverse mortgage and go into a nursing home while your spouse lives in the home, the terms state the loan must be paid back. This means your spouse may no longer have a home to live in.

Risks can be reduced by limiting the amount you borrow on the loan. If the loan is smaller than the total equity, you can sell the home and still have enough to buy a smaller place live.

And since the risks could involve and affect your children greatly, talk with them when you take out a reverse mortgage.

Knowing About Reverse Mortgages

Maintaining your independence and solving a cash flow problem if your retirement benefits don’t cover your expenses is ideal. So carefully review all available information as well as the terms on a Reverse Mortgage. And once you understand the benefits as well as the risks of Reverse Mortgages, you can decide whether or not it’s good for you.

Many government agencies caution seniors to review the terms and consider all their options before taking out a Reverse Mortgage.

Are you confused about Reverse Mortgages? Contact me, Charles D’Alessandroyour Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with Fillmore Real Estate with your questions. 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

How Much Should You Offer for a Fixer-Upper?

Wednesday, January 15th, 2020
Don’t make an offer on a fixer-upper until you’ve counted the cost of the renovations it needs first!

Are you thinking about buying a fixer-upper?

Can you really afford to buy it and fix it up, too?

How much will fixing it up really cost you?

These are key questions that need to be answered. It’s extremely important that you assess the real cost before you buy it. For without that information, you won’t know how much to offer for a fixer-upper.

But don’t fret about it. These seven steps will help you figure that out.

Step 1 – Determine What You Can Honestly Do Without Help

We all do it. We watch our favorite TV shows and YouTube videos and think we can do it all. All those home improvement pros make every project look super easy to do. But in reality, it just ain’t so.

Take that “simple” plumbing project you tackled. Remember it? How many times did you have to run to the hardware store to purchase something else that you needed to complete the job?

No, moving a staircase or even bringing wiring up to code requires much more time or skill than most folks can tout. They’re not a fix-it job like that leaky little toilet valve was.

So, since every project always takes longer than you think it will be brutally honest with yourself. Are you really able to DIY that project? Do you even want to do it yourself? And are you willing to accept the less-than-professional results that you could end up with? Less-than-professional results won’t increase the value of the home you’re working on.

Be Wise – Leave It to a Professional

Some fixes need to be left to the professionals. Remodels or updates can be dangerous when you aren’t trained or certified to do them, like electrical work, for example.

And one more thing. Will you be stressed out while you live in a demolished house month after month? You’ll most likely have time to complete home projects on the weekends only.

Step 2 – Determine the Cost of All Renovations and Then Some

Here’s a great tip! Ask your contractor to do a walk-through in the house you want to purchase and fix up. Then he can give you a written estimate on the cost of all he needs to do to bring the home up to par.

If you decide you can do the work yourself, price all the supplies needed for every renovation and upgrade.

And, whether you hire a contractor or choose to do the work yourself, tack on an additional 10 to 20 percent to the cost total. This prepares you for the surprise costs that inevitably pop up when fixing up a house.

Step 3 – Factor in Time, Costs, and Aggravation for Getting Permits

It’s a fact. Doing a home renovation without a permit saves money. But when it comes to selling the home you renovate, you could be asking for trouble. Play it safe. Ask your local officials whether or not you need a permit for the work you’re going to do. Be sure you ask about the cost of the permit you need, too.

If you decide to go with a contractor, they can make arrangements for the permits you’ll need. But if you decide you want to get the permits yourself, know this: getting permits can be time-consuming and frustrating. How? Before home inspectors give you the necessary permit for a particular renovation, they can force you to do additional work or change the way you want to do a project. Yeah …

Step 4 – Budget for Structural Work on the Fixer-Upper

Does the fixer-upper you’re looking to buy need major structural work done to it? Do a double-check. If it does, you’ll need to hire a structural engineer.

They charge $100 to $236 per hour just to inspect the house. But before you put in an offer, you’ll be confident all structural problems have been uncovered and conservatively budgeted for to the fullest extent.

Before you commit to buying a home with structural problems, get written estimates for the repairs.

A home that needs major structural work should be offered with a steep discount. So don’t commit to the purchase of a fixer-upper with structural problems without these three things:

  • Knowledge of the full extent of the problem
  • The certainty that the problem can be fixed
  • A binding written estimate for the cost of the repairs

Step 5 – Make Sure You Have Enough Funds Available to Fix a Fixer-Upper

Before you make an offer, do this:

  • Make sure you have enough money for a downpayment, closing costs, and all necessary repairs
  • If you’re going to fund the renovations with a home equity or home improvement loan, get pre-approved for both loans. Then make sure the deal is contingent on getting both the home equity loan and the home improvement loan. This safeguards you from being forced to close the sale when you have no loan to fix the house.

Have You Looked into an FHA Section 203(k) Program?

You might want to take a look into the Federal Housing Administration’s Section 203(k) program. It’s designed to help homeowners who are purchasing or refinancing a home that needs rehabilitation.

The FHA Section 203(k) program bundles purchase/refinance and rehabilitation costs into one monthly mortgage payment. But in order to qualify for this type of loan, the total value of the property must fall within the FHA mortgage limit for your area.

A 203(k) program is streamlined and much simpler to obtain than a standard 203(k) is. And it provides an additional amount for rehabilitation, up to $35,000, on top of an existing mortgage. It’s worth looking into, for sure.

Step 6 – Determine a Fair Purchase Price to Offer

Market value

This step isn’t a hard one. Just take the fair market value of the property and subtract the upgrade and repair costs. The fair market value of the fixer-upper is what it would be worth if it were in good condition with up-to-date remodels.

Let’s say the fixer-upper you’re considering has outdated design features such as:

  • Dark wood paneling
  • Beige walls
  • Popcorn ceilings
  • Pastel fixtures
  • Laminate countertops
  • Shiny gold fittings
  • Avocado green appliances
  • Built-in media cabinets
  • Chintz wallpaper
  • Millennial pink everything
  • Tile counters
  • Linoleum floors
  • Wallpaper border

And it has high levels of radon in the basement.

How to Determine a Fair Market Price

A comparison house or “comp” in the same Brooklyn neighborhood, sold last month for $490,100. That house had an updated kitchen with new appliances, no wallpaper, was recently re-carpeted, and has a radon mitigation system in the basement.

The cost to remodel the kitchen, remove the wallpaper, carpet the house, and put in a radon mitigation system is $100,000. Your fair purchase price bid for the fixer-upper should be $390,100.

As your real estate agent, I will let you know if it’s a good idea to share your cost estimates with the sellers, to prove whether or not your offer is fair. Be sure to ask!

Step 7 – Hire Pro Inspectors to Properly Assess Your Fixer-Upper

Hire pros to inspect your fixer-upper. This is key in helping you properly assess the value of the house and the cost of its repairs.

Home inspectors look for and uncover hidden issues in need of replacement or repair. You want to replace those 1980s kitchen cabinets, but the home inspector detects the water leak behind them.

What they don’t do:

  • Lead-based paint inspection
  • Well and septic system inspection
  • Sewer issues
  • Pest or termite inspection
  • Chimney inspection
  • Asbestos testing
  • Mold inspection
  • Lot size survey
  • Radon testing

Include Inspection Contingencies

Most home inspection contingencies allow you to go back to the sellers to ask them to do the repairs or when you close on the house, give you cash to pay for the repairs.

If the inspection turns up something major you don’t want to deal with, you or the seller can simply back out of the deal. If you or the seller back out of the deal, it’s okay. It just means this fixer-upper isn’t the right house for you.

Contact Charles D’Alessandro for Help

If you’re determined to find a fixer-upper to fix up, but you aren’t sure if you’re ready to take one on, call me. I’m Charles D’Alessandroyour Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with Fillmore Real Estate. You can reach me at (718) 253-9600 ext. 206 or [email protected] today. I’d love to help you find the perfect house to make a home.

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

How to Find a Home Quickly and Conveniently in the Cold

Saturday, November 30th, 2019
Find a home quickly
Take advantage of the cold when house hunting. Here are 4 ways to find a home quickly in the cold winter months.

Baby, it’s cold outside! And you need to relocate now?! Here’s how you can find a home quickly and conveniently even while it’s frigid in Brooklyn.

4 Ways to Find a Home Quickly When It’s Cold Outside

Yeah, who actually wants to bundle up and tromp through biting cold temps and wind? Nobody does. Sometimes it’s necessary because you don’t really have a choice. But here are four ways to warm up to the process and find a home quickly in spite of the cold.

First, Do Your Research

When it’s cold outside, it’s the perfect time to get some quality research done. Grab a cup of your favorite hot beverage and read a few home inspection reports. I know it’s monotonous and boring to do, quite honestly. But it is a part of the moving process that needs to be done, especially when finding a home quickly matters.

Second, Check ‘Em Out

Wintertime is the best time to check out houses that are up for sale for two really good reasons.

  • Cold temperatures and freezing winds reveal gaps, drafts, and leaks you don’t think to look for in the spring or summer months
  • A home’s systems are working extremely hard to keep up with frigid temperatures allowing you to check them out, too

Third, Attend Open Houses

If there are open houses in the Brooklyn neighborhood you’re interested in moving to, attend as many of them as you can. Not only do you get to inspect a home you really want, but you also create opportunities to mingle and learn of other available homes nearby.

Chances are you won’t like every house you visit. But checking them out in person allows you to see what a house is like during the colder months. And that’s a real plus in your favor!

Fourth, Check Out Parking and Other Possible Problems

Parking close matters when it’s cold and snowy outside. So check out available parking near that perfect Brownstone you’ve got your buyer’s eye on.

Also, when there’s snow on the ground, you see problems such as poor access, poor drainage, and the lack of snowplowing that occurs.

Warm Up to Winter House Hunting

‘Tis the season to warm up to winter house hunting. So put on your boots, bundle up, and head out to those showings when the ground is white with snow and the cold air bites your nose!

The cold offers several advantages making the winter season better than others for you to find a home quickly. But to top it all off, if you don’t want to go out in the cold weather, then neither do other potential buyers. And that means less competition for you.

Happy house hunting!

When you need to find a home quickly, contact Charles D’Alessandroyour Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with Fillmore Real Estate right away. Call (718) 253-9600 ext. 206 or email [email protected] when the weather’s cold in Brooklyn.

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