Archive for the ‘Selling Your Home’ Category

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

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

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

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

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

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

SELLER

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

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

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

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

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

BUYER

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

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

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

LENDER

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

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

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

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

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

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

REAL ESTATE AGENTS

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

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

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

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

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

Home Inspection Checkmark

HOME INSPECTORS

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

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

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

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

LAWYER

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

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

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

TITLE COMPANY

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

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

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

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

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

APPRAISER

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

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

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

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

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

UNDERWRITER

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

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

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

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

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

TEAMWORK

Real Estate Team

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

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

Charles D'Alessandro

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

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

How to Ensure Your Home is Appraised for Maximum Value

Tuesday, September 15th, 2020

Are you refinancing your home? If you are, the lender will require an appraisal. Also, did you know an appraised value difference of even a couple thousand dollars can make or break your loan approval? So what steps can you take to ensure your home is appraised for maximum value without getting denied for a loan? Here are a few tips to help know what to expect from a home appraisal and make sure your home comes out on top.

Appraised for maximum value
Getting your Brooklyn home appraised for maximum value is important when you’re refinancing.

What is an Appraisal?

Opendoor.com defines a home appraisal as “the process by which a licensed appraiser conducts a thorough inspection of a property to assess its true worth (which isn’t always the same as the listing price). The appraiser will then compile all of their findings into a report and generate the home’s appraised value.

Make Sure Your Home is Appraised for Maximum Value

Most appraisers perform inspections by:

  • Comparing sales of houses in your neighborhood
  • Determining a sales price per square foot
  • Applying that sales price per square foot to the square footage of your home

The appraisal should equal or exceed the amount you request for your loan in order for the lender to approve it. When home values in your area fall, refinancing becomes more difficult, especially when you have only a small amount of equity in your home.

And since an experienced appraiser has inspected thousands of homes, it’s quite easy for them to assess your home’s amenities quickly. An interior inspection can take about 30 minutes or less. And that’s not a lot of time in a home nor is it much time to make a good first impression.

The appraiser typically drives giving the outside of the house a cursory inspection. They don’t ask to see the inside unless something looks questionable. So it’s a good idea to request a walk-through appraisal from the lender. A walk-through inspection gives you the opportunity to point out the upgrades or improvements made to your home that comparable homes in your neighborhood don’t have.

When an appraiser determines the worth of your home, they take a lot into account. Some of the factors they must take into account can’t be helped, like your home’s location, for example. But there are things you as a homeowner can do to make certain your home is appraised for maximum value. So it’s recommended that you prepare in advance of the appraiser’s visit.

1. Prepare a Packet

Appraisal documentation

Prepare a packet of information to hand the appraiser as they hurry out your door after they inspect your home. Include the basics about your home and anything that helps back up your refinance offer.

Some upgrades that can improve a home’s value include upgraded countertops and flooring, extensive trim carpentry or built-ins, and energy-efficienct upgrades to appliances, windows and insulation.


Fact sheet about your home:

  • Address
  • Year your home was built
  • Square footage
  • Number of bedrooms and bathrooms
  • Size of the lot

List of recent sales:

The appraiser has access to recent home sales. But there’s always a chance they may miss something. Make a list of:

  • Any for-sale-by-owner homes
  • Homes sold to a relative
  • Owners who sold quickly to move out of town

List of improvements and upgrades you’ve made to your home:

  • List improvements and their dates
  • Include contact information each contractor who worked on each improvement

2. Fix What’s Broken

The appraiser assigns an “effective age” based on your home’s condition and how well you’ve maintained it. For example, fix the following (and then some):

  • Cracked windows
  • Thread-bare carpet
  • Missing tiles in the shower
  • Torn vinyl flooring
  • Damaged doors
  • Cracked or mildewed caulk
  • Hairline cracks in drywall
  • Peeling or flaky paint, inside and outside your home
  • Evidence of water damage that has been repaired

You want the effective age assigned to your home to be low. A higher effective age results in lower value. So, make repairs to anything that ages your home in the eyes of the appraiser!

3. Clean Whatever Needs Cleaning

Most appraisers say a clean or dirty home bears nothing on its value. But if a clean home adds to the appearance of a well-maintained home, affects the appraiser’s overall opinion of your home, and makes a better impression, what harm can a good cleaning do? Play it safe and clean up the following really well:

  • Overgrown landscaping
  • Carpet stains
  • Marks on walls
  • Clutter, inside and outside
  • Loose and rotten boards on your fence

Will Your Home Be Appraised for Maximum Value?

Getting your home appraised for maximum value without getting denied for a loan to refinance is possible with some preparatory work. Some things impact your home’s value more than others do. But remember, the inspection process varies by appraiser. And everything you can do to ensure your home is appraised for maximum value and streamline the appraisal process is worth the effort when refinancing your home.

Contact me, Charles D’Alessandroyour Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with Fillmore Real Estate. As a Brooklyn real estate agent and broker with over 30 years of experience, I can help you prepare your home to sell even during these challenging times.

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

10 Easy Steps to Follow When You Decide to Sell Your Home

Wednesday, July 15th, 2020

Selling a home isn’t something we typically do very often. So when the time comes, and for whatever reason, you decide to sell your home, you may not know where to start. Here are ten easy steps to follow when you do make that decision to put your home up for sale.

Decide to sell your home
Follow these 10 steps when you decide to sell your home.

Our present circumstances call for better planning and preparation a little more than usual. But this checklist will help guide you in the planning and preparation from beginning to “SOLD.”

When You Decide to Sell Your Home, Hire a Real Estate Agent Right Away

When you decide to sell your home, it’s time to start interviewing real estate agents to handle your listing. I always recommend asking friends and family for recommendations. But it’s also a good idea to research agent reviews while checking out their credentials.

Once you find someone you’re confident will do a great job for you, you will sign a listing agreement. Your agent will work on a plan of action with you and discuss improvements that may be needed as well as remodeling work they believe will pay off.

Your Agent will Help You Select a Date

Opinions on the best times to sell a home are many, and they are varied. And sometimes those opinions don’t even really matter. For example, you retire from your current job in August and find a new place to work in a smaller, slower-paced town in October. Then you start working the new job the first week of December.

In this scenario, the sellers knew they would be moving because retirement would require a smaller, more affordable home. So they started packing and researching agents in August.

They found a great listing agent. And with their help, the sellers selected April 1st as the date to put their home on the market.

Research Your Local Market and Determine a Target Price

Again, a great listing agent will present you with “comps” when you hire them. What are comps? They are comparable properties in the neighborhood or surrounding area where you live. Comparing properties similar to yours that have sold or that are listed near you helps you better establish an asking price confidently.

But there’s nothing wrong with visiting a few open houses, too. This kind of “research” helps you see what’s for sale near you. And it gives you ideas for staging your home.

Prepare Your Home to Sell

Next, your agent will discuss needed improvements and updates as well as remodeling work they believe will pay off.

Allow your agent to be brutally honest with you. Voice your concerns and ideas with your agent. But trust their expertise and experience. They will let you know what to paint, clean, repair, and update or remodel.

An extensive kitchen remodel may not pay off. But replacing worn out old carpet with trending flooring might just do the trick. Oh, and that avocado green dishwasher? Yeah. Replace it with a white or stainless steel dishwasher. And fix anything that is broken or not working.

Now, start painting interior walls with a neutral color. If washing walls is all that is needed, start washing. Update or repair anything that will turn off buyers.

Start Moving Out Four Weeks Prior to Listing

Packing to move

Really. Get a storage pod or unit and start loading boxes you’ve packed into it a little at a time. This helps prepare you for the upcoming move and your house for proper staging. Remember, a well-staged home sells faster! Pack personal items and extra mixing bowls, pitchers, containers, furniture you can live without.

Because the sellers began working in a new town, they rented a storage unit there. Each morning they packed the pickup with whatever was packed the day before and unloaded it into the unit. They started moving out in December and had almost everything moved out by April 1st.

Know Your Financials and Keep Cleaning and Decluttering Two to Three Weeks Before Listing

You need to know your financials. If you need help with this and your agent hasn’t already let you know that this information is needed, ask them for help. They’ll tell you where to go and what information you need to gather from whom.

  • Get your loan payout information for your mortgage
  • Know how much you owe so you can figure out what your sales proceeds will be
  • Clear up liens on the property if there are any

And keep cleaning, decluttering, and packing. You want your home to look as much like a model home as possible. And a good agent will provide the services of a home stager and professional photographer to market your home well.

  • Pack personal items
  • Make sure furniture makes sense for the space
  • Keep painting and/or cleaning

One Week Before Listing, It’s Time to Market Your House

It’s time for your home’s glamour shots! Follow the home stager’s advice before picture day. You want your home’s glamour shots looking so good, they’ll make you have second thoughts about moving.

Your agent will create an engaging, accurate, and appealing description of your home. What made you fall in love with your home when you bought it? Share that in the description.

Listing your home

The Big Day – Listing Day!

Make sure your agent puts the “FOR SALE” sign up in your yard and stocks the flyer box with flyers. Your house should be listed on all the major online real estate sites, too.

Keep It Clean Until There’s a Contract

Until the house is actually SOLD, you must live keep it clean. Keep counters and other flat services free of clutter and put everything put away. Wash, dry, and put away whatever you use at meal time.

The sellers sold their home in just two short weeks, but they had being “on the ready” for a walkthroughs down to a science. They were ready to walk out the door even when a buyer’s agent requested to drop by “in a few minutes.”

Dishes were done. Bathrooms were clean. And everything was wiped down. Floors were swept. Carpets were vacuumed. And a checklist was placed in a laundry basket by the front door. Here are some of the items in the basket:

  • Garbage bags to remind them to take out all the trashes
  • Decorator towels for each bathroom, folded and ready to be hung.
  • Same for the kitchen
  • Clean throw for the overstuffed chair
  • Purse and keys
  • Coupons and snacks to eat while they were out of the house
  • Grocery and errands lists to conquer while they were gone, too

And they never forgot to take the dog with them.

Get Excited About How Quickly the Offers Come In


Your agent will receive feedback following each showing. And the sooner you sell, the higher the price you’ll receive for your house. So if you’re not seeing a steady flow of offers or interest, consider adjusting the price.

Celebrate the Sale!

When you decide to sell your house, there is a lot to do before you list it. But when you follow the plan laid out to you by your listing agent and consider their suggestions, the end result is a SOLD sign soon after it lists.

Before you decide to sell your home, contact me, Charles D’Alessandroyour Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with Fillmore Real Estate. With over 30 plus years as a Brooklyn real estate agent and broker, I can help you navigate the selling process from list to close.

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

How Much Money Will You See From the Sale of Your Home?

Tuesday, June 30th, 2020

Big question, “How much money will you actually see from the sale of your home?” It’s one of the first questions sellers ask when they put their home on the market. But there are a lot of factors that come into play when calculating your home sales profits. And sellers are often blindsided by the closing costs.

Home sales profits
Home seller, do you want to know how much money you’ll see from the sale of your home? Of course, you do!

What are Closing Costs?

In New York, real estate closings are very technical procedures. And when you close on a property, it involves costs.

Closing costs are fees paid by the buyer and the seller when the title of the property is transferred from the seller to the buyer at the close of a real estate transaction. And they are separate from your agents’ commissions.

Buyers pay for more at closing than the seller does. But it’s usually the seller’s responsibility to cover both agents’ commissions. And real estate agent commissions run between 4 to 6 percent of the purchase price.

As the seller, your closing costs are subtracted from the profit you make on the home.

What Fees are Deducted from the Sale of Your Home?

According to Mosheslaw.com, the closing costs you can expect to be deducted from the sale of your home at closing can include:

  • Fees the lender charges you to process and finalize your loan
  • Appraisal fees
  • Inspection fees
  • Credit search fees
  • Title search fees
  • Real estate attorney fees for closing
  • Transfer taxes
  • Prepaid property taxes
  • Prepaid interest
  • Homeowner’s insurance

These costs vary by lender. They also vary depending on what type of property you are purchasing – a house, co-op, or condo. And they equal about six to ten percent of the sale price of your home.

Transfer taxes are a major fee that you as the seller will pay. In New York, transfer taxes depend on the type of property you’re selling. But you can plan on paying 1 percent of the sale price for a residential property selling for $500,000 or less. If the sale price is $500,000 or more, you can expect to pay a transfer tax of 1.425 percent. The State of New York charges the seller $4 for every $1,000 of the sale price.

You should also be aware that as the seller, you may incur a Capital Gain tax when taxes come due at the end of the tax year.

Estimating closing costs

 Mosheslaw.com offers a free consultation for closing costs for sellers in New York.

What are the Average Closing Costs for Sellers in New York?

Closing costs for sellers in New York are slightly higher than costs for buyers. They range from 8 to 10 percent for sellers. It’s crucial to have an experienced real estate attorney with you throughout the entire real estate transaction, but especially during closing. Why? Because simple mistakes made during the property sale negotiation or when the paperwork is being filled out could cost you thousands of dollars. And an attorney who doesn’t practice real estate law, much of the real estate transaction process will be foreign to them. Thus, it is extremely important that you hire an experienced real estate lawyer.

As a seller in New York, you can expect to pay the following closing costs:

  • Attorney’s fees vary depending on the time they spend preparing documents and giving advice
  • County clerks charge $30 to $100 for recording fees
  • Transfer Tax in New York is about 1.825 percent of the sale price
  • Mortgage contracts provide for the repayment of the outstanding mortgage. Buyers won’t take usually take a property unless the mortgage for the property is paid off before closing. This cost depends on the amount of the remaining mortgage, so this amount is impossible to estimate.
  • Your real estate broker’s commission is 5 to 6 percent of the sale price

What You can Expect Before and at Closing

Before closing, a lender is required to list all closing costs in detail on an initial loan estimate when you apply for the loan. And they must update their closing costs estimate a few days before you and the buyer close. These updated closing costs must be disclosed on the Closing Disclosure. This allows you to know what your closing costs will be and allow you to be prepared for them before closing actually takes place.

Closing usually occurs between 60 and 90 days after the contract is signed. After the contract is signed, the buyer sends your attorney a down payment. Down payments in the State of New York average around 10 percent of the purchase price. And the down payment is held in an escrow account.

If the buyer walks away from the contract before closing day, they risk losing their down payment without a justified reason, aka a mortgage contingency clause.

In preparation for closing, your real estate attorney will:

1. Order a title report to determine if there are unsatisfied liens or property violations for you to resolve before closing

2. Complete paperwork requested by the lender and deliver the documentation required

3. Help the buyer calculate the amount owed to you at closing

4. Determine how much you will owe to lenders, the title company, and third-parties (co-op boards for example) who are involved in your real estate transaction

5. Represent you making sure the deed, transfer tax returns, and mortgage documents are in order, and that they state what you agreed to previously

At closing, you will pay your real estate attorney and other closing costs.

Assisting You in the Sale of Your Home in New York

There are a lot of additional requirements and local real estate transaction customs in New York City. Again, an experienced real estate attorney will walk you through your real estate transaction making sure everything is correct and without issues.

If you are considering the sale of your home, contact me, Charles D’Alessandroyour Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with Fillmore Real Estate. With over 30 plus years as a Brooklyn real estate agent and broker, I can direct you to an experienced real estate attorney and help you sell your 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

11 Mistakes That Will Keep a Quick Sale From Happening

Wednesday, October 30th, 2019
Quick sale
There are reasons why a quick sale isn’t happening for you. Ask yourself these 11 questions and make it happen.

Were you hoping for a quick sale when you listed your home last spring? Did you invest a lot of time and money into your home in order to attract buyers right away? Are you left wondering where all those potential buyers are months later? Don’t panic if the months have flown by and that coveted SOLD sign isn’t in your yard yet. There are possible reasons why a quick sale isn’t happening for you.

What to Ask Yourself When a Quick Sale Isn’t Happening

If your home isn’t selling, ask yourself the following questions. Then make the necessary changes. The good news is it’s all fixable, so there’s no need to panic.

Is my house overpriced?

If your house is overpriced, it won’t sell. To properly price your home, compare your property to others similar to your own. Look at those in your area that have sold recently. This gives you a much better idea of what your home’s true value is.

Note: Don’t make the mistake of assuming that renovations add value. Renovations don’t always translate into added value.

Does my listing do a great job of attracting a buyer’s attention?

Buyers will skip over poorly written listings. And if yours has only a few images, add more to it. But don’t add just any image! High-quality photographs of the interior and exterior of your home are extremely necessary to attract buyer attention.

Note: Don’t forget to list your home’s unique features in the description as well.

Should I be present whenever my agent shows my home?

Buyers don’t want sellers lurking around while walking through a home – not ever, not even during an open house. Your unwanted presence at showings puts unwanted pressure on them. Having you there in the house makes them feel uncomfortable. Allow buyers the freedom to envision themselves and their belongings in the house. Let your agent handle your showings.

Note: Don’t forget to take your pets and their belongings with you before your agent arrives to show your house.

Do I really want to sell this house?

If a part of you really doesn’t want to sell your house, negotiating with or coming to an agreement with a potential buyer will be difficult.

Note: Come to terms with yourself. Move past the attachment you have to your home or any thoughts that your house is the best on the market.

Is my house clean?

A dirty house leaves a bad impression on buyers. You can scrub a lot of what needs to be cleaned before your agent starts showing your house, yes. But hire professionals to help you with carpets and drapes before the first walkthrough takes place.

Note: If you’ve walked on it or touched it, get it clean. You’d be amazed at how dirty your carpets, windows, doors, baseboards, handrails, cupboards, etc. really are.

Does my home need to be staged?

Stage your house. Furniture and decor give buyers a better idea of how big a room truly is and how it can be used. Staging a home well makes buyers feel at home as they tour through it. And isn’t that how you want them to feel?

Note: Even an empty house needs to be staged. Buyers find it difficult to imagine themselves living in an empty house.

Should I pack more of my personal décor? 

Take everything that is personal down and pack it all away. This includes all of your family portraits. Your personal décor makes buyers feel uncomfortable. It also makes imagining living there more difficult for them to do.

Note: Trophies, award-winning ribbons, your children’s artistic drawings, and even your prized collectibles need to be packed away from potential buyers’ views.

Is my home too personalized? 

This question sounds a bit redundant after that last one. Doesn’t it? But this has to do with bright, loud, bold colors throughout your home. Neutral colors also allow potential buyers to better imagine themselves and their belongings in your house.

Note: For example, don’t scare off buyers with an incredible mural on the wall in your child’s room. Take a picture of it, and then paint over it with an aesthetically pleasing neutral paint.

Do I have too much furniture displayed?

Your home may be immaculate, but it may still feel cluttered. How? Too much furniture in a room makes the house feel smaller than it is. While your home is being shown, live minimally.

Note: Imagine this – an 11’x10′ bedroom “stuffed” with a King-sized bed, two dressers, two nightstands, and a floor lamp feels cluttered! Pack everything but the smaller dresser and a nightstand over to your storage unit and find a twin or full bed to use until the house sells.

Are there too many repairs that still need to be done?

Most buyers do not want to deal with the cost or take the time needed to make repairs. And the more repairs needed, the more unappealing your home is to a buyer.

Note: Walk through your house. Tighten handrails, replace broken tiles, apply caulking wherever needed. Are there broken pull tabs on blinds or missing fan pulls in the house? You get the picture.

Did I choose the wrong real estate agent? 

Choosing a great real estate agent makes all the difference when it comes to a quick sale. It’s the most important decision you make when selling your home. 

Note: When you list your home, hiring the right real estate professional is the best way to avoid mistakes that prevent a quick sale.

While you shouldn’t panic if a quick sale doesn’t happen the moment you list it, ask yourself why the offers aren’t coming in. Then contact Charles D’Alessandroyour Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with Fillmore Real Estate. Call (718) 253-9600 ext. 206 or email [email protected] 


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

Does a Home Inspection Need to be Stressful?

Sunday, September 15th, 2019

Home inspections

A home inspection is beneficial to the seller as well as the buyer. No need to stress about home inspections.

Your home is on the market. And things are progressing well. You’ve got a buyer! The offer, the terms, and the price are all agreed upon. What comes next? The home inspection. And most homeowners find a home inspection to be stressful. Why?

What is a Home Inspection?

Before you and the buyers actually go to contract (aka escrow), the buyers will pay for a home inspection. Home inspections afford them the peace of mind that the condition of your house is in good order.

A home inspection is a report on the overall condition of a home. They are done by home inspectors who are trained and certified to do so.

The home inspector prepares and delivers a written report of their findings to the buyers. The buyers then use this information to help them make more educated decisions concerning their pending real estate purchase.

What to Expect on Home Inspection Day

No home is perfect. But a home inspection alleviates stress for you as the seller. Because knowing what an inspector looks for, allows you to sort out minor issues in advance.

The home inspector looks at and provides a written report on:

  • HVAC system
  • interior plumbing
  • electrical systems
  • roof
  • attic
  • floors
  • windows
  • doors
  • basement
  • foundation

Home inspections usually take two to four hours, sometimes longer, depending on the size of the house.

While the inspection is underway, you may feel helpless or that at the mercy of the buyer and his home inspector. But just let the process run its course.

What to Expect Following the Home Inspection

Most inspectors are fair and realize that whatever is in disrepair can be fixed. And most buyers understand a house is always in need of some repair. They expect that some things will need their attention after they move in.

Upon completion of the home inspection, it may take a couple of days for the buyer to receive a copy of the report. Exercise patience. Now is not the time to negotiate or fly off the handle. Just wait for the results of the report. If the buyer comes back with a list of repairs, expect to negotiate a compromise that works for both parties.

But remember, the ultimate goal is closing on the house.

Ask for a copy of the report and schedule time with your Realtor to review the following:

  • Small repairs listed that are not necessarily urgent
  • Repairs that were known by both parties in the original negotiations

When it comes to making the repairs listed in the report, what are your options?

  • Agree to do some repairs
  • Give the  buyer a credit
  • Reduce the price of your home
  • Do nothing at all

Remember though when you choose not to fix what needs fixing, you choose to sell your home as is and for a lower price. But this isn’t always the best choice since your ultimate goal is closing on the house.

And if there are major repairs listed, be sure to shop for the lowest cost of repair before you make a decision.

Home Inspections Don’t Have to be Stressful

Remember, home inspections are a normal part of the process. So stay cool.

Michael Reinhardt, a local attorney and Brooklyn real estate lawyer for over 20 years, wrote ‘Selling A Home Doesn’t Have To Be Stressful.’ Ask for your free copy today. There is no obligation, and the book’s information helps alleviate stress you may be feeling about the home selling process.

If you need to sell your home or have specific questions about home inspections, contact Charles D’Alessandroyour Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with Fillmore Real Estate. Call (718) 253-9600 ext. 206 or email [email protected] 


 

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

What Do You Need to Know About Rent Back Agreements?

Wednesday, May 15th, 2019
Rent Back Agreements can be advantageous to both buyers and sellers providing they are utilized judiciously.

Ever hear of rent back agreements? So what are they, and what are the advantages and disadvantages associated with this kind of real estate transaction?

Rent Back Agreements Defined

Wikpedia defines rent back agreements as “a form of property transaction involving the expeditious sale of an owner occupier’s residence to a landlord or property company and renting it back from the new owner.” They are also known as post-settlement occupancy agreements.

This kind of transaction allows a home seller to buy himself extra time to stay in the home after closing.

And why would a home seller need extra time beyond the closing date to stay in the home?

Rent Back Agreements Explained

Here are a couple of home sale stories to help explain what rent back agreements are.

The Story of the Brownstone

My wife and I paid a builder to build a getaway home outside of New York City limits. And now our builder is nearing completion.

We put our brownstone up for sale as soon as the builder broke ground, assuming that it could be on the market for a little while. But guess what? Our custom home isn’t quite finished, and we already have a buyer for our brownstone.

The buyer has come to an agreement on a reasonable closing date with us since our new home is almost built. But again, guess what? As our closing date approaches, the builder has informed us of a major delay. This snag is going to keep us out of our new home for another 30 days past the closing date.

So what can we do? We know the buyer wants to move into their brownstone on closing day. Wouldn’t you? Of course you would!

The Story of the Offer Too Good to Refuse

My friend was selling her condo. And it wasn’t long before she received a very attractive cash offer that was just too good to refuse. The cash offer, however, came with a very short time until closing. She expected and planned on having more time to find a new place to live. But she knew she couldn’t turn down the buyer’s cash offer.

So there she was, cash in hand and no home to move into at closing time. What could she do?

Benefits of Rent Back Agreements

In both of the stories, the sellers ended up with no place to go on closing day. And in both cases, their real estate agents proposed rent back agreements.

In the case of the condo seller, her buyer was an investor who was planning to rent the condo out anyway. And he readily accepted. For 40 days past the closing date, she paid a daily rate that was equivalent to her mortgage payment plus the condo fee.

Benefits for the Seller

  • Allowed to stay in the home until a specified date past closing
  • Able to put things together to close the deal (if used properly with the appropriate language inserted in the addendum to the contract)

Benefits for the Buyer

  • Extra income can offset mortgage payments and some closing costs, such as broker commissions, appraisal fees, and attorney fees
  • Agreeing to a rent back gets your offer accepted in multiple offer situations in most cases

Benefits for Both the Buyer and the Seller

  • Minimizes stress for everybody involved by wrapping the rent into the closing and delivering it as a single payment
  • Used judiciously, it’s a win-win for all parties

Before Agreeing to Rent Back Agreements

Before agreeing to rent-back agreements, think carefully about the terms. Spell out the details for the record to avoid misunderstandings.

  • Understand why the seller wants a rent-back agreement
  • Charge a fair price
  • Don’t sign a lease that lasts longer than 60 days
  • Charge a holdover fee if the seller stays longer than agreed
  • Collect a security deposit
  • Require renters insurance

Most people do their best to plan ahead. But life happens. When a seller gets an offer with a proposed settlement date, they might ask, “Now, how am I going to coordinate getting out of this house and into another without having movers lined up in the driveway?”

Take note: Rent back agreements should be treated the same as you would treat any other business relationship. Buyers, never let the sellers retain possession of the home without drawing up a formal occupancy agreement, never. Because with terms and conditions of the seller’s stay in the buyer’s new home, both parties are protected.

Have you ever needed rent back agreements? Did a real estate agent you were working with suggest using a rent back agreement? There’s a lot that goes into a good rent back agreement. And in order for it to do its best work for both parties, it must be used properly. I recommend consulting with a real estate lawyer for more information.


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

Should You Sell Your Home First?

Tuesday, April 30th, 2019
Sell your home

Should you sell your home first or wait until it sells to buy a new one?

If you’re moving soon, you might be questioning whether or not you should sell your home before buying a new one. There are a lot of factors involved in answering this question and making a decision. But hashed out below are the pros and cons of each. Now you can decide whether or not you should sell your home first before buying a one. And you can decide with confidence.

 

Yes, Sell Your Home First If You …

Want to get the most money for your home

If you’re not in any hurry, you won’t be tempted to take a low offer. It’s hard for you as a seller to hold firm on a price when you’re carrying two mortgages. And if you’re not in any hurry, you’ll also have negotiating power.

Can include a contingency clause in your contract of sale

You certainly don’t want to lose a buyer just to be able to stay in your home longer. But you can add a contingency clause to your contract that allows you to remain in your house for a short time after closing. A contingency of 30 to 60 days will give you enough time to close on a new property. It may be difficult to get the buyer to agree to this. But if they do, you’ll have plenty of time to find the perfect new house.

Can handle moving twice

If you sell your home first, you can always live in a short-term rental until you find a new place. This means moving twice, yes. But if you can handle it and are okay with that, it gives you an option.

Don’t want to be stressed about selling

No doubt about it. Selling a home is stressful, no matter how organized, prepared, or easy-going you may be. And carrying a second mortgage is stressful enough to elevate your blood pressure.

 

Yes, Buy a New Home First If …

It’s the Brooklyn home you’ve always wanted

 If you’re absolutely sure you’ve found your dream house, you should buy it now, even if your current house hasn’t sold. You might be full of regret later if you let your dream house pass you by.  Just make sure the house is truly worth it.

You’ve found a deal that’s too good to pass up

If you’ve researched the comps and you know the home you’ve found is too good a deal to pass up,  buy it. Waiting to sell your home might cost you more in the long run if you lose out on a good bargain.

The real estate market is a seller’s market

If it’s seller’s market, there are more buyers than there are houses selling, you won’t have any difficulty selling your Brooklyn property.

You have the money

Talk with Charles D’Alessandro, your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent. Find out how long homes that are comparable to yours are taking to sell these days. Then, do the math. Determine whether or not you have enough in savings to make the down payment and both monthly mortgage payments while you’re waiting to sell.

Do you need to sell your home? Should you buy a new home now or wait until the home you’re selling sells? Call Charles D’Alessandro, your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with Fillmore Real Estate and ask him. Call (718) 253-9600 ext.206 email [email protected] With 30-plus years of real estate experience in Brooklyn, he’s got the answers.

 


 

Brooklyn Real Estate Agent

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

When You Need to Sell Your House Now But It Isn’t Selling

Monday, April 15th, 2019
Sell your house
Renting your home is a great option when you’ve been relocated and can’t sell your house.

Are you relocating? If you took a new job in a new place, and you just can’t get your house sold, you’re probably feeling like you’re in a bit of a pickle. Whenever a home sells, it’s always our hope to close the sale within a certain amount of time. This is especially true when you’re relocating or need to sell your house before buying another one. But sometimes it takes a lot longer than planned. Don’t fret. You can rent your home.

When You Need to Sell Your House but It Isn’t Selling, Rent It

The people who first came to mind when I started this blog post are those in military service.

Some friends of mine who serve in the Air Force relocated from South Dakota to Wyoming. Since they couldn’t live on base in the military housing provided to Air Force Officers, they bought a home. Then, two years later, the Air Force gave them orders to serve in Wyoming. But they couldn’t sell their house in South Dakota.

So what could they do?

Renting Until You Sell Your House

Renting your home is one way to generate cash flow while you wait for your home to sell. The monthly rent pays all or part of your mortgage costs and therefore, helps you avoid foreclosure. And if the market is slow like it was in 2008, renting allows you to:

  • Sell your home for a profit when the market recovers
  • Keep the mortgage paid until you find a qualified buyer

But you’ve got to weigh your pros and cons with renting.

What to Know Before Renting Your Home

There are important things to consider about renting before you’re a landlord.

  • Costs
  • Rates
  • Tenants
  • Benefits

 

Costs

The costs of becoming a landlord involve Homeowner’s Insurance, Property Management, and Capital Gains.

  1. Your Homeowner’s Insurance needs to change to a policy that covers landlords and rental properties specifically. And landlord policies cost more than a standard homeowners policy since landlords need more protection than the typical homeowner.
  1. Property management could cost you a lot of the monthly rent payment your tenants pay you, especially if you are a remote landlord. Unless you live near the rental, and you are skilled to take care of clogged drains, routine maintenance, or even deadbeat tenants, you will have to hire a property manager. And the cost to pay a property manager is generally around 10 percent of the monthly rent.
  1. Simply, you must live in your home for two of the five years prior to the sale of your home in order to avoid paying Capital Gains Taxes on:
  • up to $250,000 of profit if you are single
  • $500,000 of profit if you are married

However, if you rent your home for longer than three years after you relocate and then sell your house for a profit, taxes on that profit gained are due to the federal government.

Rates

What will you charge your renters to rent your home? What’s appropriate? This alone can be difficult to determine due to all the factors that need to be considered.

  • In general, it is suggested that you charge at least one percent of the mortgage. This should generate enough positive cash flow.
  • Charging one percent of the mortgage must also be reasonable for your neighborhood. Find out what the rental properties near your home are renting for to help you determine what is reasonable. To learn about rates, talk to property management agencies, search for similar rentals online, and check Craigslist, Rentometer, and Rent.com.
  • To get an idea about how much money you can expect to receive from a year of renting, you have to factor in your vacancy rates. It is suggested that investment property owners plan for only ten and a half months of occupancy per year.

What if you find that the rent you should charge, minus the costs and vacancy rate, won’t actually be enough to cover your monthly mortgage? It may still make sense to rent out your home until you sell your house instead of attempting to carry the mortgage all by yourself.

Tenants

After researching the costs involved as a landlord and the rates you should charge to rent your home, you still have to find reliable tenants. How?

  • Advertise – Advertise online, on rental sites like Rent.com and Craigslist, and on social media. And advertise on local relocation firms, HR departments, and local universities, too. Always advertise the good old-fashioned way, too. Put a sign in your yard.
  • Ask questions – Put every applicant through a screening process. Boilerplate applications and lease agreements can be found online, but you must ask your potential tenants about their: income, employment history, rental history.
  • Call all of their references.

Note: You can request Social Security numbers for background and credit checks through a website like E-Renter. Background and credit checks cost around $25, but that’s nothing compared to the number of headaches you could be spared.

Benefits

The benefits of renting your home until you sell your house shouldn’t be overlooked.

  • Capital Loss. Renting your home and then selling it at a loss allows you to claim the capital loss against your income. That can be a huge tax break!
  • Tax Breaks. There are other tax breaks available to you as a homeowner who rents your home. Landlords can deduct almost any expense related to the maintenance and marketing of their rental property. Insurance premiums, repairs, advertising costs, landscaping services, property management services, mortgage interest, and travel expenses related to the rental can be deducted.

 

More Notes Worth Considering Before You Rent Your Home

Renting your home until you sell your home is a great way to generate cash flow, cover your mortgage costs, and avoid foreclosure. But if you choose to rent your home:

  • Plan to rent it for at least one year.
  • Draw up a lease. Most renters prefer the security of a lease. But include a clause in the lease about the home being for sale. And see a real estate attorney for help with making your lease agreement clear, making sure it protects you.
  • Know the rental laws in New York.
  • Save money for repairs. You will have to make repairs before your renters move in and again after they move out. You are responsible for repairing anything major that breaks, such as the air conditioner or refrigerator.

Do you need to sell your home? Call Charles D’Alessandro, your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with Fillmore Real Estate at (718) 253-9600 ext.206. Or email him at [email protected] Charles can help you sell your home or protect your home as a rental property.


Brooklyn Real Estate Agent

 Charles D’Alessandro

Your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent

718-253-9600 ext. 206

[email protected]

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year to Sell Your Home

Saturday, December 15th, 2018

Time of the year

Now is the best time of the year to sell your home thanks to some really great reasons that only the month of December provides.

Is now a good time to be selling a home? When it comes to selling your home, there’s no time like Christmas! It’s true there are fewer buyers looking for a home at this time of the year. But the pros definitely outweigh the cons. So don’t let the holidays keep you from taking advantage of selling your home now. It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

Why Christmas is the Most Wonderful Time of the Year to Sell Your Home

Staging is Simple

Thanks to holiday decorating, you can get by with minimal staging. However, decorate with a light hand.

Buyers are Serious

Buyers at this time of the year are serious about getting into a home. Honestly, there are serious buyers out there at all times of the year. But in December, the tire kickers are eliminated. They’re less likely to waste time viewing anything that doesn’t have what they want and need in a home. What makes many of them serious about finding a home in December?

  • They may have sold their homes in the fall
  • A job relocation before the new year arrives may be their current situation
  • Families with school children may want to get moved and settled a bit during Christmas break

Closings Happen Quickly

Since there are fewer transactions being processed at this time of the year, closings happen more quickly. Home inspectors have fewer inspections to do. Mortgage lenders have fewer loans to process. And attorneys have fewer closings to handle. That’s a whole lotta stress taken outta the picture, too!

Competition Isn’t Fierce

And fewer homes listed at this time of the year is to your advantage. With fewer homes on the market, your home stands a much better chance of selling. Once the holidays are over, more For Sale signs start appearing. And that brings the chances of your home being seen and purchased after January 1 way down.

Are you thinking about selling your home or waiting to list it in the spring? Now is the most wonderful time of the year, and for good reason. If your home has been on the market for a few months, take this time to reassess your strategy for getting your property sold. But don’t give waiting until spring to sell your home another thought. And don’t worry about your kids’ messy playroom or all those dirty dishes you used making holiday goodies. Enjoy the most wonderful time of the year and the serious buyers who want to see and buy your house as is in December.

The Best Real Estate Agent

Charles D’Alessandro won’t tell you that the fall or winter months are a bad time of the year to sell. He’s a great real estate agent who adapts to the time of the year and markets your listing accordingly. Click here for tips on how to sell a home during the fall or winter months. Then give Charles D’Alessandro, your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with Fillmore Real Estate a call at (718) 253-9600 ext.206 or email [email protected]



Brooklyn Real Estate Agent

 Charles D’Alessandro

Your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent

718-253-9600 ext. 206

[email protected]