Archive for the ‘Buying Brooklyn Real Estate’ Category

2 Reasons Why Your Home’s Proximity to Work Matters Most

Friday, April 15th, 2016
Proximity to work

Proximity to work impacts your disposable income, quality of life and the amount of time you have to spend with family at home. Think about it before you buy.

Where are homeowners dealing with the longest daily commutes to work? In New York!

Does it surprise you to know that a New Yorker’s morning commute is longer than anywhere else in the United States? But why should that matter to you? Well, if you are in the market to buy, a home’s proximity to work matters most for 2 reasons: Its effect on your pocketbook and your well-being.

Statista averaged morning commutes for 10 U.S. cities:

  • New Yorkers spend 39.4 minutes commuting to work every day.
  • Jersey City, NJ – 35.6
  • Newark, NJ – 33.9
  • Chicago, IL – 33.7
  • Philadelphia, PA – 32.3
  • San Francisco, CA – 31.0
  • Fremont, CA – 30.5
  • Baltimore, MD – 30.1
  • Washington D.C. – 29.8
  • Los Angeles, CA – 29.6

(If this piques your techy interest, find more morning commute statistics at Statista).

Why your Brooklyn home’s proximity to work matters

  1. It matters to your pocketbook in the long run.

Long daily commutes to work negatively impact your disposable income, quality of life and the amount of time you have to spend with family at home. Yes, there are financial and quality-of-life benefits provided by long daily commutes, but are they worth having less time to spend with your family at home?

There’s not a thing wrong with choosing to buy a home located beyond Brooklyn’s busy city life. However, it is important to avoid the temptation to buy a large home that forces you to stretch your budget and locks you into long daily commutes for a big-city salary in order to pay for that large home. I recommend buying a modest home based on the following Disposable Personal Income (DPI) formula.

Your household’s Disposable Personal Income is what you have available for spending and saving after taxes. Your salary minus the tax rate equals your DPI. For example, $100,000 – $35,000 (35% tax rate) = $65,000 DPI.

Don’t forget about the wear and tear on your vehicle and the cost of filling its tank with gas. Long daily commutes add higher vehicle maintenance costs and more money spent on gas to deplete your disposable income. There are more miles piling on your engine and wearing on your tires, the need for more oil changes and brake replacement, too.

  1. It matters to your well-being in the long run.

Long daily commutes matter to your health in the long as well. Outside of being more than inconvenient, long commutes to work negatively impact both your physical and mental health.

  • Sitting inactively for long periods of time can contribute to weight gain. The farther the commute, the more time you spend being inactive. People who commute every day are more likely to be overweight.
  • Spending long periods of time slumped forward in the driver’s seat can contribute to ongoing neck and back pain.
  • Long periods of time spent commuting affects your mood because you have less time to enjoy daily activities or concentrate.
  • Any amount of time spent commuting causes stress. The longer the commute, the more likely you will have elevated blood pressure.
  • Time spent commuting exposes you to air pollution. The longer the commute, the higher your exposure to harmful air pollution will be.

The decision to commute to work daily is clearly a matter of personal choice. You must determine how long your home’s proximity to work should be based on its effects to your pocketbook and your well-being. With over 30 years of experience in Brooklyn, I can help you determine the best location of a home to buy, a home that will meet the needs of your family. Call me, Charles D’Alessandro, your Brooklyn real estate agent with Fillmore Real Estate at (718) 253-9600 ext. 206 or email [email protected] today.

Home Inspections: Take ‘Em! Don’t Leave ‘Em!

Tuesday, March 15th, 2016
Home inspections

Home inspections are worth every dollar invested because they give the homebuyer peace of mind.

So, you’ve fallen in love with the home of your dreams in Brooklyn. The floor plan and colors on the walls, the flooring, kitchen cupboards and bathrooms … You wouldn’t change a thing. After all, what could possibly be wrong with this home? Everything is perfect!

Finding the perfect home in Brooklyn is a wonderful thing, but don’t allow the love you feel for the home of your dreams cause you to cast a blind eye to problems that may be lurking. A home is one of the largest purchases you will ever make, and a home inspection is a cost-effective way to determine its true condition.

If you’re tempted to waive the home inspection, resist. Here’s why:

  • Home inspections are important to avoid purchasing a home in need of major repairs. It is a home inspector’s job to let you know if something isn’t right. If any safety issues are uncovered, an inspection will help you prioritize the repairs needed. Thoughts: Have you thought about how much time, energy and investment will be required once you’ve purchased the home?
  • You need the facts about a home’s true condition to decide whether or not you should move forward with the purchase. A certified professional home inspector will investigate the home’s electrical wiring, plumbing, roofing, insulation and structural features. Think of a thorough home inspection as taking out an insurance policy against potential operating costs.
  • A good home inspection helps you, the buyer, know exactly what you’re purchasing. Problems with a home that could be costly to fix can be used as a tool in purchasing negotiations with the seller. You could negotiate with the seller to have them pay for repairs before closing, purchase the home as is or back out of the purchase.
  • A home inspection gives peace of mind to you as the buyer and put your mind at ease that the home is in good shape.
  • For buyers, choosing to waive the option to have a professional inspection can cause major repercussions in the future. Sellers like offers in which the inspection is waived because it means they are selling the home ‘as is.’ It means they are not responsible for anything that you cannot see immediately.
  • An inspection allows you as the buyer the right to make requests for additional repairs that aren’t agreed to at the time of signing the initial purchase contract.
  • A home inspection will increase your buyer confidence. A 2012 survey from the American Society of Home Inspectors found that 84% were more likely to purchase a property after a home inspection reported the home in good condition.
  • Waiving a home inspection contingency is never worth the risk. It provides an extra measure of security and helps you plan for the future in your new home.

Types of home inspections

Before you purchase the home of your dreams, it is best to hire a certified home inspector for all-encompassing examinations of these types:

  • General or residential inspection – structure, exterior, roof, electrical, plumbing, HVAC, interior, insulation and ventilation. As the buyer, you will receive a report suggesting improvements or repairs needed to bring the home up to current standards.
  • termite/wood destroying organism inspection – structural damage caused by wood boring insects. This inspection is done for an additional cost, or a WDO/WDI inspector could be recommended to the buyer.
  • radon inspection – radioactive gaseous element. Radon is formed by the breakdown of radium. It occurs naturally and is hazardous to health.  Radon gas from natural sources can accumulate in homes, especially in confined areas such as attics and basements. Testing for high levels is important. Ways to alleviate radon could be costly to fix. Radon testing can be done at an additional cost. Ask your inspector for recommendations if he does not perform radon testing.
  • Well water testing, oil tank testing and septic tank testing. Again, these tests and/or inspections may be done for additional fees. Find out if the general home inspector you hire is qualified to perform these tests.

The cost of a home inspection may vary depending upon the size, region and age of the home and may take anywhere from 2-5 hours. An inspector may recommend repairs, but it is not his responsibility to correct or repair any problems found in the home.

Home inspections usually take place at the time of the sale of the home, and it is recommended that you attend your home inspection.

Are home inspections really worth the investment? Absolutely! Money may be tight at the time of closing but what if you were moving in and found out that the air conditioning unit doesn’t cool the home? What if you find out that the electrical system is substandard after you move in? What if you discover the chimney needs work? Don’t forego the peace of mind home inspections give.

But what if you are the seller of someone’s dream home? Is it important for you to get your home inspected and appraised before putting it on the market? Yes, because there are many benefits to you as the seller in doing so.

Pre-home inspections and appraisals benefit sellers in the following ways:

  • They give you a strong selling point. People don’t like surprises. Buyers value the peace of mind of knowing there are no issues they will have to deal with once they are finally moved in.
  • They make way for higher offers by making you an honest seller to the buyer. It reassures the buyer that you are selling exactly what you say you are, and they have the appraiser’s signature to back it up. This trust can lead to higher offers.
  • And MORE offers! When you have had the home inspected, repaired and appraised, more people become interested in your home. Buyers appreciate knowing that you have taken extra steps to ensure that your home is “all that and a bag o’ chips”.  This trust can also lead to more offers.
  • Offering a home which has been pre-inspected, repaired and professionally appraised at the closing of your home tells the buyer you are someone they can trust which makes the closing process smoother.

Many buyers believe that sellers cover up problems with their home, talking or playing up on the home’s best qualities and features. Getting a pre-home inspection and appraisal before you list your home takes away potential buyers’ doubts that your house may not be all that you say it is. It’s just good practice, highly beneficial and powerful for you.

Call me, Charles D’Alessandro, your Brooklyn real estate agent with Fillmore Real Estate at (718) 253-9600 ext. 206 or email [email protected] today. With over 30 years of experience in Brooklyn, I can help you find the perfect home and the best home inspector for the peace of mind you deserve.

Love, Brooklyn and the 10 Best Places for a Slice of Pizza

Sunday, February 14th, 2016
Slice of pizza

New York-style pizza lovers can find the best slice of pizza right in Brooklyn!

 “Love and marriage, love and marriage
Go together like a horse and carriage
This I tell you brother
You can’t have one without the other …”

New York and pizza kind of go together like love and marriage, horse and carriage! New York is known for its superb New York-style pizza and our many unique places to buy it by the slice. But guess what, pizza lovers? You don’t need to go beyond our Brooklyn city limits for an exceptional slice of pizza!

If you love pizza and you’re lookin’ for love, visit one of the following 10 best places for a slice of pizza in Brooklyn:

Best Pizza

33 Havemeyer Street

Brooklyn, NY  11211

(718) 599-2210

Best Pizza is a casual counter-service pizzeria from the Roberta’s team offering brick-oven pies & slices. Totally worth a trip wherever you live in Brooklyn.

“Though it ‘looks like your typical corner pizza shop,’ this Williamsburg joint ‘doesn’t shirk’ from its ‘bold’ name, turning out ‘quality’ brick-oven pies with ‘inventive’ toppings plus a handful of Italian subs; the ‘small, crowded’ space with paper-plate decor does the job for ‘a quick bite.’”

“Grandma pie is amazing and the place has a great atmosphere for a slice shop.”

“Definitely one of the top pizzerias in NYC. NY style, not neopolitan.”


J&V Pizzeria

6322 18th Ave

Brooklyn, NY 11204

(718) 331-0689

J&V Pizzeria is a warm, established joint for traditional pizzas, garlic bread, calzones & chicken rolls. Ask around about people’s favorite slices in the borough and they’ll tell you to try J&V.

“Great pizza shop on 18th Ave in Bensonhurst. Ideal location as it’s nearby the N train subway station. You can quickly stop in for a quick bite. They even have a street window to order, get, and eat your slice.

“Ample selection of pizzas but the ones that are spot on are the Grandma slice, Margherite, or even a plain slice. Great eggplant slice as well or white pizza with ample dollups of riccotta. Tasty crispy and soft pizza slice with great ingredients for toppings. Also great pies for take out. The margarite pie is thinner crust than their regular pizza but just as great. Also their signature jo jo is awesome. A chicken parm inside their pizza dough. A amped up calzone in my opinion. Definitely must order and large enough to share. Quick and affordable. Friendly neighborhood service and a mainstay in the neighborhood where you’re known by name. One of the best pizza shops in the area.”



207 Avenue U

Brooklyn, NY  11223

(718) 372-9695

Ciccio’s adds sesame seeds to their crust. They add a nuttiness that you’ll not ever want to go without once you’ve tried their pizza.

“Best pizzeria in the neighborhood, their upside down and Sophia slice are to die for.”

“Solid Brooklyn pizza. That’s what’s up. Awesome food.”

“Greatest Pizza ever! Try a Sophia slice!”


Layla Jones

214 Court Street

Brooklyn, NY  11201

(718) 624-2361

Layla Jones is a neighborhood storefront which serves grilled pizzas, calzones & pastas. They also deliver. Your pizza will disappear in seconds, leaving you wanting more.

“I judge a pizza place not by their crazy specialty pizzas, but by their plain pizza. Their ‘Plain Jane’ thin-crust sicilian style slices were delicious and reasonably priced for their quality. Highly recommend!”

“This may be my favorite pizza in Brooklyn. Get a Fast Eddy or a Sweet Jane with whatever you want on it.”


Pino’s La Forchetta

181 7th Avenue

Brooklyn, NY  11215

(718) 965-4020

Pino’s La Forchetta is a no-frills Brooklyn pizzeria.Formica booths & neon adorn this utilitarian pizza staple also serving Italian entrees & heros. If you really, really like cheese, then you’ll love a Pino’s slice. The slices are simple, delicious and filling.

“This is my favorite New York style pizzeria. Always friendly. Over the last 30 years I’ve always loved this place.”

“Favorite by-the-slice pizza in the neighborhood. Extra cheesy!”


Pizza Time

1324 Avenue J

Brooklyn, NY 11230

(718) 252-8801

Pizza Time is your basic local pizzeria chain offering specialty pies, plus carry-out & delivery deals. It is located a block away from everyone’s favorite pizza slice place, Di Fara. Di Fara is frequently closed. Since Pizza Time is a kosher pizzeria and serves a solid slice of pizza for less than $5 a slice, they attract their own followers.

“Kosher no meat pizza joint offering daily pasta specials. Out of the oven slices are crisp and the crust is okay. Caters to the Jewish neighborhood and the kids really hit this place hard when school let’s out. Owner and staff are fast and friendly. Stand outs at this place include the macaroni and cheese and the mac and cheese pizza. Just gotta catch it when they do it. Usually fridays. Oh and they got a white pizza that has a really great tasting ricotta. Five stars to serve m and c daily. I’d mention cash only but it’s NYC. You’ll figure it out.”

“Best pizza in Brooklyn.”


Not Ray’s

690 Fulton Street

New York, NY 11217

(718) 855-8206

Not Ray’s is a classic corner pizza shop with limited seating & a name that references a group of its competitors. It serves a slice that is sure to please both cheese-lovers and sauce-lovers. It’s liberally covered in both.

“Is this the best slice in Brooklyn? Yes. When you’re in the area and someone is ordering pizza, make sure they’re ordering it from here. If you want to make your own pizza, pick up some dough from here. For $5 you get enough for two. Oh, and the buffalo chicken pizza…great stuff.”

“My pizza came out hot and fresh from the oven. It was delicious and the employees were very friendly. I will recommend this pizzeria to friends and family.”

“Comfy spot with good pizza.”


L&B Spumoni Gardens

2725 86th Street

Brooklyn, NY  11223

(718) 449-1230

L&B Spumoni Gardens is known for Sicilian square pizza & ice cream from an old-school Italian counter that opened in 1939. The L&B square slice is everything you want in a piece of pizza. It is pizza perfection.

“Check this place out…your taste buds will enjoy…save room for spumoni..!! We will be going back again to try restaurant in colder months….and mind you we drove to Brooklyn to try this from Nassau County out on the Island…”

“The best square pizza I have ever had! From the dough to the perfect balance if the sauce and cheese… This is a true Brooklyn landmark.”


Front Street

80 Front Street

Brooklyn, NY  11201

(718) 875-3700

Front Street serves slices, heros and calzones which make this corner pizza joint a popular option for takeout. Their slices are great and their sauce is a solid, savory and sweet marinara. Nearby Grimaldi’s and Juliana’s long lines and pricey menu items make Front Street the winner in the battle of the DUMBO slices.

“Even though it’s pretty much just a simple slice place, I think they do the slices really well. The cheese is very gooey and the sauce is just sweet enough with a chewy crust. Mmmm. It can be a little hard to navigate the service line on your first trip, but once you get the hang of it you can be in and out pretty quickly. Their Italian subs are also really quite good and ginormous.”

“Pizza! NY Pizza!

This is my go-to spot and always will be.

For the price, the food is great. They offer delivery but eating in always tastes the best. The crust is not the thick and has a slight crunch. The sauce is on spot and the cheese/toppings…mmmm. The slices are really big too. You won’t need more food after this place. They’ve got a variety of other things to try if you get tired of pizza, but I never got tired of their pizza.

All their regular/specialty pizzas are delicious.

If you can’t spend a fortune on Juliana’s pizza, go here! It’s not perfect but you will not be disappointed.”


Smiling Pizza

323 7th Avenue

Brooklyn, NY  11215

(718) 788-2137

Smiling Pizza is a simple parlor offering brick-oven pizzas, basic Italian dishes & hero sandwiches. Their pizza slices are greasy and cheesy, cheap and satisfying, and perfect. Sir Patrick Stewart loves their pizza by the slice!

“This has been around for years. They are right next to the F train stop on 7th Ave. They make pretty good pizza and spinach rolls. I love the plain slices and spinach roll which is well made and fresh. The staff is old school New York attitude which is great for a pizza place.”

Slice of pizzaWere you thinking about pizza on National Pizza Day, February 9th? Will you indulge your love of pizza on Valentine’s Day, February 14th? If not, no worries. National Pizza With Everything (Except Anchovies) Day is coming on Saturday, November 12th.

Moving to Brooklyn? I am your local expert! I know Brooklyn inside and out with over 30 years of experience. Call Charles D’Alessandro, your Brooklyn real estate agent with Fillmore Real Estate at (718) 253-9600 ext. 206 or email, [email protected] today. I’ll help you find the perfect home. Then we’ll celebrate with a slice of pizza to welcome you to the buroughs.



New Brooklyn Trend: Brand New Townhomes That Reflect The Past

Monday, November 30th, 2015

There’s a new Brooklyn trend in town: new development townhomes. From Red Hook to Williamsburg, developers are looking to fit in and are going back to basics. Instead of residential Manhattan-like glass condo towers, developers are offering classic townhomes that reflect the past and blend in well.

In addition to buyer demand, there are 2 reasons for the sudden surge in the new Brooklyn trend:

  1. zoning restrictions
  2. taxes

Most buyers who come to Brooklyn see themselves living in brownstones and townhomes. They want to buy brand-new townhomes that reflect the past but are updated for the future with modern touches inside. This new Brooklyn trend is very appealing to today’s buyers.

5 new townhome developments that are part of the new Brooklyn trend:

Seven on State

  • Located on State Street in the Boerum Hill neighborhood of Brooklyn
  • Neighbors Downtown Brooklyn
  • Classic, neo-Georgian style exterior, modern interior
new Brooklyn trend

State and Bond Townhouses are part of the new Brooklyn trend


  • Located down the street from Seven on State development
  • 5 modern design townhouses
  • Range in price from $4.49 million to $4.85 million
New Brooklyn Trend

King & Sullivan Red Hook Townhouses

King & Sullivan Red Hook Townhouses

  • Located in south Brooklyn
  • 22 modern design townhomes
  • All 22 townhomes include 5 different types of facades – Corten, Arches, Steel, Brick and Terra
New Brooklyn Trend

2 Strong Place – Classic townhomes part of the new Brooklyn trend

2 Strong Place

  • Located in Cobble Hill
  • 3 classic townhomes
  • Reflect the architecture of the leafy, brownstone and townhome-dotted neighborhood

N. 3rd Street

  • Located on the block between Bedford Avenue and Berry Street in Williamsburg
  • Modernized townhomes
  • Prices range between $1.9 million and $2.24 million

Are you interested in the new Brooklyn trend? Contact Charles D’Alessandro, your Brooklyn real estate agent with Fillmore Real Estate. Call (718) 253-9600 ext. 206 or email, [email protected] for a personal tour. Tour these classic brownstones and townhomes that reflect the past.


Now Is The Best Time To Buy or Sell In Brooklyn, Or Is It?

Friday, June 19th, 2015
buy or sell

Now is the best time to buy or sell in Brooklyn!

“I’d like to buy a new home, but is now the best time to buy?” “I’d like to sell my home, but is now the best time to sell?” Is there an urgency to buy or sell in 2015? The answer to each of these questions is, “YES!” Here’s why …

Now is the best time to buy in Brooklyn because:

  1. Waiting could cost you thousands. “With interest rates and home prices expected to climb in the next year, the financial penalties of delaying or forgoing a home purchase in today’s market have become very steep, said Jonathan Smoke, chief economist for®. View the® Opportunity Cost Report market list here:  Opportunity Cost Report
  2. Interest rates are projected to increase in the next 12 months. Your ability to build substantial long-term wealth is decreasing. Each time interest rates increase, monthly mortgage payment amounts increase decreasing your ability to build long-term wealth. A little increase in interest rates can make a huge impact on your monthly budget.
  3. Home prices are expected to continue to rise in the next year.
  4. Homeownership has financial benefits. Buying a home delivers a financial benefit well over$100,000 over a 30-year period. Get the projected wealth increase for almost 100 cities here.

The cost of living is increasing. The costs of gas, taxes, insurance, etc., everything is going up.  You only make so much. You can only qualify for so much. Find out how much house you can actually afford. Can you really afford to live in the neighborhood you want to live in? Find out. Also, find out how rising interest rates will affect your ability to build wealth long-term. Take time to do the math. Reach out to a mortgage specialist. You can calculate your monthly mortgage payments using this online calculator.

Buyers, don’t get boxed out because you are waiting. You’ll miss out on significant, long-term financial gains if you choose to stand on the sidelines waiting. The longer you wait, the farther those financial benefits will distance themselves from you. Get started on the road to homeownership now!

Now is the best time to sell in Brooklyn because:

  1. Job growth is increasing. More than 3 million jobs have been created in the past year. As job growth increases, demand follows.
  2. Homes are selling more quickly.
  3. The supply of houses is down making it predominantly a seller’s market. A tight inventory puts the ball in the sellers’ court driving home prices upward helping you build additional equity in your home.
  4. There are fewer cash buyers. The increase in home prices has slowed from its recent growth. Moderate increases are still expected this year, but with fewer cash buyers.
  5. Interest rates are heading upwards. Since mortgage rates are still low, more buyers are expected to move into the market in the not-too-distant future because of the projected increase in interest rates.
  6. Rents are rising, too. Rising rental costs are encouraging renters to take the plunge into home ownership.

It’s a great market for sellers! Here are a few more reasons to consider listing your home in today’s sellers’ market:

If you’ve built up equity in your home, now is a good time to sell. Find out how much equity you’ve built up in your home. Ask your Brooklyn real estate agent, Charles D’Alessandro, to run a free comparative market analysis (CMA) to find out what the approximate value of your home is.

It’s worth selling your home if you’ve built up enough equity to provide 20% equity to purchase a new home. A down payment of 20% or more will keep private mortgage insurance (PMI) down.

If you’ve paid off all your non-mortgage debt and have saved 3-6 months of monthly expenses in an emergency fun, now is a good time to sell. It’s a good time to look for a new home that may be more accommodating to your current lifestyle. Read more about reasons for considering selling right here.

Now is a great time to buy or sell in Brooklyn. Take a good hard look at your finances. Then, partner with your Brooklyn real estate agent,  Charles D’Alessandro with Fillmore Real Estate. He puts service before a sale. He knows how to get things done when it’s time to sell your home or buy a new home that is better suited to your current needs. Call at (718) 253-9600 ext 206 or email [email protected].


Homebuyers Are Different in Brooklyn

Thursday, April 30th, 2015
Homebuyers are different

Homebuyers are different. To sell your home, you must understand the different types and their specific needs.

 Homebuyers are different in Brooklyn . There are basically two categories of homebuyers: Baby Boomers and those mysterious Millenials.

Millenials are today’s first-time homebuyers. They dominate today’s housing market. Baby Boomers are your trade-up homebuyers, down-sizers and empty nesters. Gaining an understanding of these two groups and the different types of buyers represented, will help you market the unique and special features of your home to appeal to buyer’s needs and help you sell your Brooklyn home.

Millenials know how to turn a profit on everything they touch. They are known for their research, assessments and decisions during the homebuying process. In the next 10-15 years we will see more for-sale-by-owner properties (FSBOs). Millenials will be selling their own homes, and they’ll be good at it. Millenials will be better at listing a property than most real estate agents will be. And because there will be such a great demand to accommodate FSBO sales, we will see technologies surface, helping Millenials do what real estate agents do for their clients.

So, what value does a real estate agent bring to the table now or in the future?

  1. A valuable real estate agent will not sell Brooklyn, just a specific neighborhood in Brooklyn. He won’t be a one-size-fits-all real estate professional. He’ll go deep into the neighborhood you’re interested in, not broadly into Brooklyn.
  2. A valuable real estate agent is completely transparent, all the time. What you see is what you get, no surprises. He draws no lines between himself personally or as a real estate professional. His values, work ethic and interests don’t change with the crowd. His honesty and transparency make him refined and successful.
  3. A valuable real estate agent hustles on your behalf, and then hustles some more. His skills as a buyer’s agent are sharp. This means he puts in the smart work for custom, automated property searches. He’ll find coming soon listings before they hit the market or before they even become coming soon listings (think neighborhood FB pages, etc).

It is for these valuable reasons more and more of today’s homebuyers choose to work with professional real estate agents. Selling a home without a real estate agent puts you at a great disadvantage.

As with all types of buyers, earning your trust is important. Everyone wants to work with  someone they trust, someone who will match them with the perfect home or sell their home. Charles D’Alessandro provides his clients with outstanding care by crunching the data, running reports, walking you through a contract, negotiating inspection repairs, etc. He hustles on your behalf exceeding your expectations. If you’re ready to list your home or buy the perfect home for the type of buyer you are, Charles D’Alessandro, your Brooklyn real estate agent with Fillmore Real Estate, is your agent. Contact Charles D’Alessandro at (718) 253-9600 ext 206 or email [email protected]. You can trust him for your home buying and selling needs.



Want to Buy a Home in Brooklyn? Answer These 7 Key Questions First

Saturday, February 28th, 2015
buy a home in Brooklyn

First-time home buyers, answer these 7 key questions before you buy a home in Brooklyn

First-time home buyers, now is the perfect time to buy a home in Brooklyn. Interest rates are low, historically low. It makes sense to start the home-buying process now before those attractive interest rates start creeping up and before the real estate market picks up speed in the spring.

Are you lacking confidence about the home-buying process? Does taking on one of the largest, long-term purchases of your lifetime make you anxious? With a little planning, research and a solid game plan, you can be confident you’ll find the best home for the best price when you buy a home in Brooklyn.

Get answers to the following questions from your Brooklyn real estate agent, Charles D’Alessandro, for a smart home-buying process.

1. Do you know you want in a home versus what you need in a home?

Before you buy a home in Brooklyn, you must be clear on features you need in a home and which features you can live without.

Will your aging parent be living with you? Do you have a physically challenged child? If so, handicap accessibility is a must you will not compromise on.

Ever say, “Oooooo,” when thinking about granite countertops and stainless steel appliances in the kitchen? These extras are probably wants that you should be willing to compromise on.

Help yourself make logical choices over emotional ones before you begin shopping for a home. Write down your top five needs and top five wants on a wish list before you buy a home in Brooklyn.

Knowing the costs of what you want versus what you really need, will help you negotiate a better deal and help the home-buying process run smoothly.

On a side note here, if you are thinking about buying furniture, don’t. At least don’t buy it yet. Buy your furniture after you buy a home in Brooklyn. Your furniture should fit the house. The house should not have to fit your furniture.

2. Which neighborhoods do you want to live in?

Thanks to the internet, information abounds at your fingertips, and that’s a good thing when it comes time to buy a home in Brooklyn. Get online. Learn about different neighborhoods in Brooklyn.

Are commute times, schools, crime or recreational facilities a priority for you? What about noise levels? Select three to five neighborhoods you want to live in and focus on them only. Your Brooklyn real estate agent can help you identify and target Brooklyn neighborhoods based on your priorities.

Use your priority list to evaluate each property, and remember, there’s no such thing as the perfect home.

3. Have you created a budget to buy a home in Brooklyn?

You don’t want to waste time looking at houses you really cannot afford when it’s time to buy a home in Brooklyn. Creating a budget before you begin shopping for a home is part of a solid game plan.

To get an idea about what you might be able to afford, start here: If you earn $100,000, with a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, for example, you might be able to afford a one-family Brooklyn home between $500,000 and $550,000. This figure may increase when looking at a two-family home with an income-producing unit.

Now, figure monthly expenses and debt into a monthly budget – property taxes, insurance, maintenance, utilities, student debt, car loans, HOA fees if applicable and even day care if needed. Now you will have a better idea how much of a monthly house payment you can handle each month.

Read about home affordability here: Average U.S. Family Can Afford 63% of Homes

4. How is your credit?

Lenders look at your credit report and credit score to decide whether or not to lend you money to buy a home in Brooklyn. They use your credit report and credit score to determine how much and at what interest rate to lend you money for a home.

Lenders also use the 43% rule when considering your overall debt to determine whether or not you will have trouble making monthly mortgage payments. Your monthly mortgage payments, which include your home loan, principal, interest, taxes and insurance, plus your car loans, utilities and credit cards, etc., should not exceed 43% of your gross annual income.

If your credit is bad or your credit score is low, clean it up before purchasing a home in Brooklyn. Your credit score can be improved easily by paying every bill on time and paying down high credit card debt.

By the way, think twice before getting caught up with long-term 0% financing furniture offers. This kind of financing will affect your credit rating in a poor way which will affect your ability to get a mortgage.

Order free copies of your annual credit reports from the major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Read over them and make sure the information reported on each credit report is accurate. If you find errors, get them corrected.

5. How much should you save when you plan ahead to buy a home in Brooklyn?

Have you saved enough money to qualify for a mortgage and down payment to buy a home in Brooklyn? Saving and setting aside 20% of a home’s purchase price for down payment is ideal.

A small down payment means money in the bank for unexpected emergencies, which is comforting. Some lenders may take as little as 5% down, but the cons seem to outweigh this pro.

  • The smaller the down payment, the higher the mortgage you’ll need to qualify for.
  • If you do qualify with a down payment of less than 20% and a higher mortgage, your monthly payments will be higher.
  • A larger down payment can influence your interest rate and the type of loan you can get.
  • With a down payment of less than 20% of the purchase price, you’ll be required to purchase private mortgage insurance (PMI). PMI can add hundreds to your monthly payment depending on the size of your loan. If you’re a first-time home buyer, check with the state of New York and our local government for mortgage and down payment assistance programs.

6. Are there other costs involved?

Meet with your lender while interest rates are low. But before you begin shopping for a home, you’ll want to know what it will really cost you. Ask your lender:

  • How much house can I afford?
  • What will my rates be?
  • What will my monthly payment be for different home price amounts?

Then ask your Brooklyn real estate agent:

  • How much will home inspections cost?
  • Will there be any attorneys’ fees?
  • What about transfer fees?
  • And taxes?

Be aware of the costs of extras you’ll want to buy once you move-in such as window coverings, patio furniture, a lawn mower, garden hoses, etc.

7. Should you get pre-qualified or pre-approved before you buy a home in Brooklyn?

Sellers want to know that buyers are approved when they buy a home in Brooklyn. Plan ahead here. Get a mortgage and get pre-approved before you buy a home in Brooklyn. By the way, getting pre-approved is more important than getting pre-qualified. Know the difference.

mortgage pre-qualification is simply a determination that may be obtained through calling the lender. It states whether or not you will qualify for a loan within the lender’s current programs and standards. It states the amount of the loan for which you will qualify.

A mortgage pre-approval carries a little more weight. To obtain pre-approval, fill out an application with the lender, verify employment and income with W-2 forms, pay stubs and 2 to 4 months of bank statements. If you are self-employed, verify employment and income with your current profit and loss statement, a current balance sheet and personal and business income tax returns for the last 2 years. The lender will run your credit report after gathering this information about your employment and run your application through an automated underwriting process.

Being financially prepared could make the difference between being able to buy a home in Brooklyn or not, but buying or selling in Brooklyn does not have to be stressful. Visit Michael Reinhardt Brooklyn Attorney at for a free booklet regarding the process of home ownership.

If you’re first-time home buyers who want to buy a home in Brooklyn without anxiety, call Charles D’Alessandro Your Brooklyn real estate agent with Fillmore Real Estate. Call (718) 253-9600 ext 206 or email [email protected] today. With over 27 years of experience and expertise in Brooklyn, you can be confident about the home-buying process with Charles.

Resources: tips

Why Rent? Now is the Perfect Time to Buy a Home in Brooklyn

Sunday, February 15th, 2015
Buy a home in Brooklyn

Why rent? Now is the perfect time to buy a home in Brooklyn!

Mortgage Rates are Low

Are you looking to buy a home in Brooklyn? Are you qualified? If so, now is the perfect time to buy. Interest rates are at historical lows!

Mortgage rates are approaching the lows of May, 2013. Mike Fratantoni, MBA’s Chief Economist, explains, “The US economy and job market continued to show signs of strength, but weakness abroad and tumbling oil prices have led to further declines in longer-term interest rates.”

Should You Rent or Buy a Home in Brooklyn?

Because interest rates are so low, many are wondering if they should continue to rent or dive into homeownership. These lower interest rates make monthly rent payments about the same as what you would pay monthly to buy a home in Brooklyn.

It Makes Sense to Buy a Home in Brooklyn Now

It makes a lot of sense to buy a home in Brooklyn now since mortgage interest rates, rents and home values are projected to rise in the last 6 months of 2015. Here are a few articles from those who agree that buying now makes sense:

 “If you have been thinking about purchasing a home, the first half of 2015 might be a good time.”  Consumer Affairs

 “As rent increases, it simply makes more sense to buy a home.”  Fox Business News

 “Economists see several reasons why 2015 might be a banner year for homebuying — and not just in San Francisco and Miami.”  NPR

The clock on these low mortgage rates is ticking. Those who wait to buy a home in Brooklyn will be priced out of the market. Home buyers need to move fast if they want to spend less.  “Delayed purchases will only result in higher monthly mortgage payments as prices and rates rise,” says Jonathan Smoke, chief economist at®.

If you are renting or if you’ve been waiting to buy a home in Brooklyn, call Charles D’Alessandro Your Brooklyn real estate agent with Fillmore Real Estate, at (718) 253-9600 ext 206 or email [email protected] today. Now is the perfect time to buy. Don’t wait and be priced out of the market!


The Popular VA Loan in Brooklyn

Saturday, January 31st, 2015
VA Loan

What is a VA Loan? Sellers, find out! You don’t want to miss out on this huge consumer market.

In the previous blog post, Don’t Overlook Buyers With a VA Loan in Brooklyn, we looked at misconceptions home sellers may have about a VA loan and how they could be missing out on this huge consumer market. But what is a VA Loan? A VA Loan is a flexible, government-backed mortgage loan supplied by an approved lender (Veterans United Home Loans, for example). The military loan guaranty program was created by the U.S. government in 1944 to help military service members purchase homes after returning from the field. Since then the VA Loan program has helped more than 20 million veterans and their families purchase homes by providing home financing options that are within their means. The VA Loan program is the most powerful home loan program on the market for veterans and their families. Because of the significant benefits a VA Loan offers to veterans who might otherwise struggle to obtain financing, home ownership is a reality.

Because of the loan program’s definite advantages over traditional mortgage, the VA Loan is increasing in popularity. Those advantages are:

  1. No Down Payment – This is the number one advantage! Service members who are constantly on the move may have difficulty saving money and building credit. But with VA-guaranteed financing, borrowers don’t have to put any money down.

The limit is sometimes much higher in some places, but in most, veterans can borrow up to $144,000 without putting up any cash of their own. Buyers can go above the limit, of course, but for every $4 borrowed after that limit, lenders typically require a down payment of $1.00. For example, if a veteran is trying to borrow $200,000, they would need $14,000 as a down payment. ($200,000 less $144,000 equals $56,000. $56,000 divided by 4 is $14,000).

  1. No Private Mortgage Insurance – Private mortgage insurance (PMI) is insurance that protects lenders in case of a borrower default. If a borrower is not able to put down at least 20%, many conventional lenders will require them to pay private monthly mortgage insurance. This is difficult for many veterans. With a VA Loan, however, there is no PMI. The federal government backs all VA Loans and shoulders the risk on behalf of the borrower typically covered by PMI. This VA Loan advantage allows a veteran to build more and more equity in their home, actually saving them thousands of dollars over the life of their mortgage.
  1. Competitive Interest Rates – Home loan interest rates are based on risk assumed by a financial institution to finance a loan. Because the VA backs each VA Loan with a guaranty, financial institutions carry less risk and can, therefore, offer interest rates of 0.5 to 1 percent lower than conventional interest rates. The savings add up significantly when a veteran is able to combine the advantages of no money down, a very low interest rate when purchasing a home, and no PMI.

Two additional benefits which add to the popularity of a VA Loan are:

  1. Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) – Lenders can count BAH as effective income, which means a veteran can use BAH to pay some or all of their monthly mortgage costs. Pay grade, geographic location and number of dependents determines BAH. Learn more about Basic Allowance for Housing here:
  1. No Pre-Payment Penalty– Paying off a home loan before it matures results in a pre-payment penalty with many different types of loans. When a homeowner pays off a home loan early, lenders miss out significant amounts of interest. Pre-payment penalties are a financial institution’s way of recouping some of that interest money. An added benefit of a VA Loan allows for a home loan to be paid off at any time without a pre-payment penalty. Without pre-payment penalties, borrowers have the freedom to consider future home purchases and refinancing options.

Many states and many localities offer additional benefits over and above what the government provides. The types of programs vary from place to place, too. To find out what New York state offers for veterans, visit

Look into government programs and the benefits Brooklyn or the county you live in offers. It’s to your advantage. Failing to do so could mean leaving money on the table when you purchase a home.

Since there is no central repository for local information, you’ll have to do some digging. I suggest you start with New York’s VA department.

As your Brooklyn real estate agent, I take my responsibility of service to you as a veteran with a VA Loan very seriously. If you are looking to purchase a Brooklyn home with a VA Loan, please call me, Charles D’Alessandro Your Brooklyn real estate agent with Fillmore Real Estate, at (718) 253-9600 ext 206 or email [email protected] today.



What is a Real Estate Seller’s Agent?

Thursday, July 31st, 2014
Real Estate Seller's Agent

Charles D’Alessandro, your Brooklyn Real Estate Seller’s Agent

In a previous blog post I explained what a Buyer’s Agent is and what this type of real estate agent does for his clients. This week let’s talk about what a Real Estate Seller’s Agent is and what he does for his clients.

A Real Estate Seller’s Agent is a professional real estate agent, also known as a listing agent. He acts solely on your behalf and in your best interest as the property seller in a real estate transaction. His loyalties are with you. It is his duty to share with you all information about potential buyers that may help you make decisions regarding the transaction. He is legally obligated to represent you and your financial interests as a seller.

What does a Real Estate Seller’s Agent do for you as the seller? From the moment you sign a listing contract, (a legally binding agreement that usually gives your Real Estate Seller’s Agent the exclusive right to sell your property usually within 60 to 90 days), your Real Estate Seller’s Agent:

  • advises you on the best ways to present and prepare your home to sell it and may even help arrange a home inspection. Your Seller’s Agent knows how to highlight your home’s amenities from its curb appeal to emptied closets. He knows what buyers want.
  • researches the market for recent sales of comparable homes to determine the best asking price.
  • prepares a marketing plan: schedule for listing, showing, and advertising your property.
  • provides you with a real property condition disclosure and other necessary forms.
  • places a “For Sale” sign with information flyers describing your home on-site. He markets your home to buyers on the internet, in classified ads, in real estate magazines, pamphlets, direct-mail flyers and newspaper ads.
  • lists your property for sale to the public on the Multiple Listing Service (the MLS, a searchable list of homes for sale).
  • takes other real estate agents on a walkthrough of your home, so they know what to tell their clients about your home.
  • serves as a contact to answer any questions about your home and schedule showings.
  • holds an open house to show your property.
  • makes sure buyers are pre-screened and that they are financially suitable to buy your home.
  • acts as a trustee for you. This could include preparing a standard real estate purchase contract for you.
  • finds a buyer for your property for the highest possible price on the best terms for you as the seller.
  • presents buyers’ offers to you
  • shares all information about potential buyers that will help you make decisions regarding the sale.
  • negotiates the price of your home on your behalf as the sellers as well as the terms of the sale. He is your representative in all negotiations.
  • is your messenger, manager, counter offer and contingency issues handler once an offer is made. He follows the paper trail from the initial offer from the buyer through to the final closing. He processes all the paperwork necessary to complete the transaction.

You pay for your Real Estate Seller’s Agent’s services with percentage commission of 4 to 6 percent or a flat fee. This is stated in your listing contract. The buyer’s agent can be paid from that fee.

Do you have more questions about what a Real Estate Seller’s Agent is? Subscribe to the Brooklyn Real Estate Blog or contact me to ask those questions and get them answered.

I am the Brooklyn Expert! I have been connecting clients with Brooklyn homes for over 27 years. I know the Brooklyn area inside and out. I am honest, and I know the right way to connect buyers with your Brooklyn home. Give your Real Estate Seller’s Agent, Charles D’Alessandro Your Brooklyn real estate agent with Fillmore Real Estate, a call at (718) 253-9600 ext 206 or email me at [email protected].