Posts Tagged ‘brooklyn real estate agent’

Why You Should Declutter Your Brooklyn Home Before You Organize It

Wednesday, June 15th, 2022

Declutter your Brooklyn home before you organize it

You need to begin to declutter your Brooklyn home before you start to organize it. We have been spending more time at home due to the pandemic. Living and working from home may take a toll on the organization you once had. Often when you are working from home, cleaning and organizing have taken a back seat to get out of the house.

If you find it is time to organize, the first step you need to take is to declutter your Brooklyn home.

Organizing and decluttering serve different purposes. If you begin to organize before you declutter, you merely move your clutter from one spot to another. 

Many clients get serious about decluttering before they are ready to sell their homes. However, once they have gone through the process, many remark that it was freeing, enjoyable, or something they wish they had done sooner!

An organizational system will not help you manage clutter. You accumulate clutter when you hold on to things you don’t need, love, or use. So the simple first step is to go through your belongings and determine what you want to keep. 

Organizers like Marie Kondo and The Home Edit have become so popular they now have highly viewed Netflix shows featuring these organizers in action.

You must decide how to tackle the decluttering process throughout your home. Room by room may make the most sense for you. Here are some thought provokers to declutter your Brooklyn home by room:

Living Room

  • Unused decor
  • Used candles
  • Old games
  • Unidentified cords for electronics
  • Broken furniture
  • Magazines and books

Kitchen

  • Expired food and spices
  • Old dish towels, sponges, etc.
  • Unused utensils
  • Broken glass or crockery
  • Plastic food storage without lids
  • Broken or infrequently used small appliances

Bedrooms

  • Unworn clothing and shoes
  • Old bedding, pillows, etc.
  • Unwanted accessories
  • Unused gifts
  • Outdated jewelry

Bathrooms

  • Old toiletries
  • Expired medicine
  • Unused makeup
  • Tattered/stained towels
  • Excess hair products
  • Out-of-date sunscreen
  • Unused personal appliances

Office

  • Old pens/stationery supplies
  • Unnecessary paperwork and receipts 
  • Unused books/CDs/DVDs
  • Unfunctional equipment
  • Old electronics
  • Unused inks/batteries/cords

Garage

  • Unused tools
  • Old paints and chemicals
  • Unnecessary bikes and sports equipment
  • Unused pet items
  • Miscellaneous stored items

Outdoors

  • Broken or unused yard tools
  • Old toys
  • Unused planters and pots
  • Broken furniture

When you organize without thorough decluttering, you are only temporarily solving your issues. Moving the clutter out of sight is not eliminating it. You are just moving the chaos around and temporarily creating the appearance of organization. In the end, this short-term solution does not fix the problem.

When you don’t declutter first, you waste your time, energy, space, and money. 

After you spend the initial time and energy organizing the clutter, you will inevitably need to spend more time reorganizing when the first system fails to provide the desired results.

When items that need decluttering take up space, where do you put the things you actually use? Freeing storage space will allow better storage options for the items you use in your home.

You can save money when you declutter your Brooklyn home by not repurchasing things you already own because you couldn’t find them. You will also save money on purchasing organizing materials such as baskets, bins, and other organizing staples because you have less to store.

Get Started

Start with one small step if it seems overwhelming. Then, when you feel the pleasure of tackling one drawer or one closet, you will be more likely to keep going.

Tips to declutter your Brooklyn home:

  • Start with a small time increment per day to build your momentum.
  • Create three categories: Keep, Donate, Sell
  • Donate items as soon as possible after each decluttering session.
  • If you haven’t worn a clothing item in the past six months, you probably can declutter it.
  • Create a checklist of areas to declutter
  • Before and after photos will help you see the potential for your entire home.
  • A friend may be able to help you discard items if you are struggling.
  • Determine if you should relocate an item to another area of your home.
  • Follow the one-in-one-out rule by removing one item for every new thing you bring into your home.
  • Use clear storage bins to keep you organized.
  • If an item needs repair, schedule it. If you don’t have it fixed in 30 days, you can let it go.
  • Do not multitask during a decluttering session.
  • Look at your home through the eyes of a visitor.
  • Understand that you will make a mess before you get organized.

Do yourself a favor and don’t strive for perfection. Judging yourself and your space against others or, heaven forbid, a television show will create unnecessary pressure. Instead, create a space and systems that work for you.

Mental Health Benefits of DeCluttering

When you declutter, the benefits to your mental health include feeling calmer, happier, and more in control. In addition, the absence of clutter and a tidier space can help you feel more mentally relaxed.

Believe it or not, cluttered environments can increase your stress levels. However, most people find they are more productive and improve their mental and physical health by decluttering. 

Benefits of decluttering include:

Lower the risk of asthma and allergies.

Keeping clutter to a minimum reduces the dust, mold, and mildew that triggers asthma and allergies.

Focus is improved.

Clutter can be distracting and make things difficult to find. It is easier to focus on your tasks when you know where to find needed items.

Self-esteem is affected.

Surprisingly, self-esteem can be improved when your living space is organized by restoring feelings of being in control and pride.

Relationships improve.

Conflicts seem to lessen when clutter is under control in your home.

Find the lost treasures.

You may find items on your shopping list or something you haven’t been able to locate for some time in your clutter.

Studies have shown some characteristics of people who find decluttering challenging:

  • Time management and follow-through are difficult for them.
  • Procrastination tendencies make it hard to get started on a project.
  • Easily sidetracked from their task.
  • Wanting everything to be perfect deters them from tackling the job.
  • Helping others first is more important to them.

Don’t despair; having a clutter issue in your home does not mean you are a hoarder. Only 2.5% of Americans suffer from a hoarding disorder, a diagnosed psychiatric disorder. Hoarders can’t organize or manage their current possessions, yet they collect more.

If you are considering selling your home, this past blog post discusses three tips to get top dollar for your home. Cleaning and decluttering is one of those tips!

Contact me, Charles D’Alessandro, your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with Fillmore Real Estate. As a Brooklyn real estate agent with over 30 years of experience, I help sellers declutter and prepare their homes for sale. Reach me by phone at (718) 253-9500 ext. 1901 or email at [email protected]

Charles D'Allesandro

Real Estate Appraisal: What A Brooklyn Buyer And Seller Need To Know

Friday, April 15th, 2022

Home appraiser

The buyer and seller need to know about a real estate appraisal in any home sale.

The buyer will have the real estate appraisal completed as part of their mortgage. The responsibility for paying for the appraisal is part of the buyer’s mortgage costs. Determining value is a key factor in the buyer’s ability to obtain a mortgage.

The seller will need to provide access to their property to complete the appraisal. Most sales agreements with a mortgage contingency will be subject to a real estate appraisal. The appraiser will justify the sales price through their assessment process for the buyer and seller.

The property’s fair market value must come in at or above the sales price. A lender will not loan money for the mortgage without a satisfactory appraisal. The buyer and seller will need to revisit their negotiation if the value is below the sales price.

The Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) are the standards an appraiser must follow.

What is an appraisal?

Real estate appraisal or property valuation determines the property’s value based on the highest and best use of the real property (which basically translates into determining the property’s fair market value). 

A buyer and seller can request an appraisal for different reasons:

  1. Transfer of ownership of real property.
  2. Establish a basis for the exchange or reorganization for investors.
  3. Provide a mortgage underwriter a value of the security for a mortgage loan.
  4. Estimate value for tax or other legal purposes.
  5. Determine gift or inheritance taxes.
  6. Estimate the value of real property in an estate.

The person who performs this real estate appraisal is the real estate appraiser.

The value as determined by real estate appraisal is the fair market value. 

The real estate appraiser may use various methods to calculate value. However, a systematic approach will determine the fair market value.

  1. The sales comparison approach is commonly used to determine value based on recent sales of comparable properties in the local real estate market.
  2. An alternative method, the cost approach, would estimate the cost of rebuilding, minus an estimate for depreciation, plus the land value.
  3. The income capitalization approach can determine the net earning power the property will support for investment properties.

The appraiser will collect data on the market area, the subject property, and comparable properties. Once assembled, the appraiser must analyze the data collected. Supply and demand is a factor that helps to understand the competitive position of the property in the current market.

The appraiser will calculate the property’s fair market value from this analysis. A written appraisal report will show the methods used to determine the value and the information used in the analysis. Finally, the appraiser certifies that the report will be completed in an unbiased, objective manner.

Timing

There is no need for the seller to have a real estate appraisal completed before putting their home on the market unless there is an extenuating circumstance. The lender is the most interested party in the appraisal more than any other party in the sale. In fact, a lender is not likely to accept an appraisal done outside their network.

The lender will order the appraisal after the buyer applies for their mortgage. The appraiser will schedule a time with the seller to visit and examine the property based on their availability. 

Once they visit the home, the appraiser will begin the preparation of their appraisal report. It may take several days or weeks for the appraiser to deliver the information to the lender.

Sales Contract

One of the indications of value an appraiser considers is the contract between two unrelated parties, the buyer and seller, for the sale and purchase of the home. Thus, a copy of the executed sales agreement will be provided to the appraiser by the mortgage company.

Comparable Sales

In general, when you are selling your primary residence, the person buying it will make it his primary residence, too. However, if the buyer obtains a mortgage, the lender will require an evaluation of similar houses sold in the same neighborhood to prove the fair market value. The appraiser will generally find homes within a ½ mile radius of the subject property that has sold in the past six months. 

A real estate agent may choose to provide sales comps they used to determine the offering price to the appraiser, but the appraiser cannot just automatically use them in their appraisal. As an unbiased party to the sale, they must determine the comparability to the subject property.

What can a seller do to prepare for the appraiser’s visit?

If you’ve let your hair down, get your home back into “show” condition before the appraiser comes.

Everything you know about preparing your home for sale, well-mulched flower beds, minor repairs addressed, lack of fingerprints, lack of clutter, and all the rest apply.

The age of the home and the “effective age” are needed in the Uniform Residential Appraisal Report form under the “General Description.” Therefore, how well your home appears affects the number under “effective age.

The Uniform Appraisal Report requires information about materials (and their condition) used for floors, walls, trim and finishing elements, bathroom floors and wainscots, and interior doors. For this reason, appraisers train themselves to notice these detail. Provide a good impression by dusting, polishing, and eliminating scratches and fingerprints.

The Report also asks about kitchen equipment (refrigerator, range and oven, disposal, dishwasher, fan and hood, microwave, and washer and dryer). Be sure all appliances are clean and operating well.

Amenities such as fireplaces, patios, decks, porches, fences, and sheds will be included in the report. If an appraiser is going to take note of these things, they should be swept, cleaned, and in good condition. Also, clean out the gutters. If it rains on the day of your appraisal, you want your house to handle the rainwater well.

Here is an example of a  “comments” section of an appraisal: “The subject is well maintained, and no physical, functional, or external inadequacies are noted. Marketability is enhanced by hardwood flooring throughout most of the home, an updated kitchen, fresh interior and exterior paint, transom windows, built-ins, a front porch, a rear patio, large storage shed, and 4 fireplaces, etc.” An appraiser will evaluate your home carefully.

The importance of preparing your property before the listing is not only for potential buyers but also for the appraisal process. Be sure to keep your home free of clutter as best you can until the appraiser has visited.

An experienced real estate agent can help you price a property correctly before listing it for sale. They should use a similar method as the appraiser using the sales comparison approach. Understanding the appraisal process should help you understand why real estate agents place so much importance on pricing the house correctly.

Contact me, Charles D’Alessandro, your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with Fillmore Real Estate. As a Brooklyn real estate agent with over 30 years of experience, I can help you prepare your home for potential buyers and the real estate appraisal. Reach me by phone at (718) 253-9500 ext. 1901 or by email at [email protected]
Charles D'Allesandro

Important Real Estate Terms Brooklyn Home Buyers Or Sellers Need To Know

Tuesday, February 15th, 2022

dictionary of real estate terms for brooklyn home buyers or sellers

Real estate terminology can get confusing for Brooklyn Home Buyers or Sellers. After all, there is a lot of information you receive in the home buying or selling process. It may feel like you have to ask a hundred questions to understand the process clearly. 

Real estate professionals often forget that some of our terms are not common to clients. For this reason, I am sharing a simple explanation of some of the words you may need to know.

Adjustable-Rate Mortgage:

type of home loan with a variable interest rate set for a period of time and then the rate adjusts at predetermined intervals.

Amortization:

the schedule of your monthly payments showing how much of your mortgage payment goes to interest and principal until your mortgage is paid in full with the last payment.

Appraisal:

an independent evaluation initiated by the lender to determine a property’s value. An appraiser evaluates the home’s condition and comparable sales in the neighborhood. This report validates the purchase price.

Assessed Value:

a public assessor determines the property’s value for tax purposes.

Cash Reserves:

remaining funds after paying the down payment and closing costs. Lenders generally require some reserves to ensure you have the financial ability to make payments.

Closing Costs:

these are fees required to cover mortgage and title expenses for a property transfer. Both buyer and seller are responsible for a portion of the costs. 

Downpayment:

the amount of money paid upfront in a home purchase. Most lenders require a certain percentage based on the mortgage loan program you are obtaining.

Escrow:

a financial account set up by the lender and funded by the homeowner’s mortgage payments to cover property taxes and homeowner’s insurance when due.

Equity:

the difference between the property value and any outstanding mortgage amount owed on the property.

Interest Rate:

the percentage of interest charged for financing a mortgage. The lender determines interest rates.

Fixed-Rate Mortgage:

the interest rate remains the same for the life of the loan.

Loan-to-Value:

this is a ratio used by lenders to measure the loan amount to the value of the property. A larger down payment will lower the ratio and appeal to the lender.

Mortgage Broker:

an individual who acts as an intermediary between borrowers and lenders. Usually works with several different lenders to provide options.

Preapproval Letter:

the letter provided by a mortgage lender verifying the buyer’s financial ability to purchase a property. Sellers generally require this letter as part of the offer process.

Private Money Loan:  

is money borrowed from an individual investor, usually used by real estate investors to finance deals that may not qualify for a traditional loan.

Private Mortgage Insurance:

this fee is a percentage of the mortgage loan when a buyer puts down less than 20% and can be satisfied once the homeowner reaches a certain equity level. It is also known as PMI.

Proof of Funds:

a statement from a financial institution that verifies the buyer has enough funds available to complete a cash purchase offer.

Refinancing:

a homeowner will usually restructure their loan later after closing to either reduce the interest rate or pull out equity.

The first step for a home buyer is to work with a lender to determine the price range of the house they qualify for and the monthly payment that comfortably fits their budget. Understanding the above terms will help you when meeting with the lender. Nerdwallet discusses how to obtain a pre-approval in this article

The real estate purchase agreement or contract offers its terms for Brooklyn home buyers or sellers.

As-Is:

a property offered in “as-is” condition means the seller is unwilling to repair the home. It does not necessarily mean there is anything wrong with the property. The property frequently offers a lower to sell in “as-is” condition. A buyer can still elect to have a home inspection for informational purposes.

Addendum:

a separate form or addendum is used to add any additional terms and conditions included in the sale but not covered in the real estate purchase contract.

Buyer’s Agent:

is a real estate agent who represents the sole interest of the buyer in the home buying process.

Contingencies:

conditions the buyer or seller needs to meet before purchasing a property can close. Typical contingencies are inspections, mortgage approvals, and appraisals.

Disclosures:

sellers are required to complete property disclosures that may reveal various defects or improvements that may affect the home’s condition. Required disclosure varies by market. Typically, the areas covered in a disclosure include general information about the house, known environmental issues, known structural issues, and mechanical systems.

Due Diligence:

This is a time-specific opportunity for a buyer to examine the property thoroughly. Generally, this timeframe is for inspections or performing tests. 

Earnest Money Deposit:

a deposit made by the home buyer typically when they enter into a contract with the seller demonstrating their earnestness in purchasing the home. The amount is held in an escrow account until closing and deducted from the buyer’s cash needed for closing.

Inspections:

a buyer may choose to inspect the property before deciding to move forward with purchasing a home. Typical inspections are general home inspections, wood-boring insect or pest inspections, and radon inspections.

Listing Agent:

is a real estate agent who represents the sole interest of the seller in the home selling process.

Mortgage Contingency:

a condition in the purchase contract that the buyer must receive a mortgage commitment from the lender by an agreed-upon date.

Seller’s Contribution/Seller’s Assist:

the seller agrees to pay a percentage or defined dollar amount towards the buyer’s closing costs if negotiated.

Title Insurance:

usually required as part of the closing process, title insurance protects the buyer from the responsibility of an undiscovered lien after closing on their new home.

an examination of public records to confirm the property’s rightful legal owner and determine if any claims or liens on the property would affect the purchase.

Transfer Tax:

when property transfers from one owner to another in the state of New York, transfer tax is collected and typically paid by the seller.

That is a lot to remember, but your real estate agent can refresh your memory as you review the sales agreement together. This previous blog post will help you to learn more about how a real estate agent can help Brooklyn home buyers or sellers.

There is some miscellaneous terminology you may hear that may need some clarification:

Comparables:

are comparable, similar homes sold in a defined radius of the subject home used to establish a fair market value.

Distressed Property:

property can be in disrepair; an owner may have defaulted on their mortgage payments or property taxes are delinquent.

Fee Simple:

this term describes the most common type of homeownership. A property owner can transfer, or an heir can inherit the property rights at the owner’s discretion.

Flipping:

an investment strategy of purchasing a home, making improvements, and then reselling the property for a profit.

Foreclosure:

a bank repossesses a property due to the owner’s inability to make mortgage payments.

MLS:

the Multiple Listing Service is a database available to licensed real estate agents to view property listings.

Motivated Seller:

a homeowner may be pressed for time, nearing foreclosure, or own property out of state and are open to negotiating a favorable price for a property.

Probate Sale:

If the death of a homeowner occurs and they do not have a written will, the probate court authorizes an estate attorney or representative to hire a real estate agent to sell the home.

Real Estate Auction:

usually, a financial institution will sell repossessed homes through an auction to the public. Privately homeowners may also choose an auction to sell.

Short Sale:  

a homeowner can not sell their property for more than what they owe on the home. The lender must approve a short sale.

Real estate has specific acronyms and terms that can confuse those not working in the field like any other industry. However, when you hire a real estate professional to work on your behalf, they can answer your questions on anything you do not understand.

Contact me, Charles D’Alessandro, your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with Fillmore Real Estate. As a Brooklyn real estate agent with over 30 years of experience, I help many home buyers and sellers with their real estate needs. Reach me by phone at (718) 253-9500 ext. 1901 or by email at [email protected]

Charles D'Allesandro

Enjoy The Comfort Of Home By Preparing For The Winter Chill

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

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

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

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

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

Areas to evaluate outside include:

Roof

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

Chimney

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

Gutters

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

Trees

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

Outdoor pipes and water features

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

Outdoor Plants

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

Sidewalks

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

Driveways

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

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

Smoke & CO Detectors

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

Fireplace

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

Window & Doors

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

Heating System

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

Programmable Thermostat

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

Boot Station

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

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

Snow Shovel

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

Ice Melter

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

Ice Scraper

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

Flashlights

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

Back-up Cell Battery

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

Water

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

Pantry Items

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

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

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

Contact me, Charles D’Alessandro, your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with Fillmore Real Estate. As a Brooklyn real estate agent with over 30 years of experience, I like to help my clients with helpful tips and accumulated knowledge. I can be reached by phone at (718) 253-9500 ext. 1901 or by email at [email protected]

Charles D'Allesandro

Can You Create A Stress-Free Kitchen Update On A Budget?

Tuesday, November 30th, 2021

Man working on a kitchen update on a budget.

Many Brooklyn homeowners consider making a kitchen update on a budget. Thinking through the entire process before you begin the work can help create a stress-free experience for you.

The first step is to develop your budget and stick to it. Ask yourself these questions:

  1. How much do I want to spend?
  2. How long do I plan on staying in this home?
  3. What finishes are typical for this neighborhood?

These are essential questions to consider when you are working through your planning process. Don’t spend more than you can afford. The time you plan to live in this home will help you determine how much to spend and what types of finishes you want. If you are only staying in the house for a couple of years, you do not want to over-improve the kitchen by adding finishes that are not typical for the neighborhood. You may not get a return if the finishes are too upscale, or you may take longer to sell if they are lower than typical.

You will find that it is easy to go over budget when you remodel a kitchen. Thorough planning and budgeting will help you avoid the stress of overspending. It is a good idea to budget for any contingencies. Unforeseen expenses often occur.

Next, you will want to gather ideas.

You can gather some incredible ideas through internet searches, Pinterest, and visiting local building supply stores. Estimate the cost of each element you are considering. See if there are less expensive alternatives that will give you the same look. In a budget breakdown, HGTV suggests the percentage of your budget you should spend on:

  • Cabinets – 35%
  • Labor – 20%
  • Appliances – 20%
  • Windows – 10%
  • Fixtures – 5%
  • Fittings – 3%
  • Other – 7%

Keep these guidelines in mind as you make decisions on the design and materials of your kitchen update on a budget.

Before you set everything in motion, consider these points.

DIY or Contractor

With the popularity of home improvement shows, it may be tempting to do it yourself. However, if you are not skilled, you should budget for a professional contractor. Finding a reliable contractor requires some research. The best place to start is with family and friends who may have previously finished a kitchen update. Check references, and try to visit a job they recently completed. If the contractor has a good reputation, you may need to wait to get on their calendar. However, it is often a worthwhile wait.

Space and Layout

If your budget is tight, you may not be able to add additional space to your kitchen or change the layout. Adding space to a kitchen may require tearing down a wall which can be costly. If the change in layout requires relocating plumbing or electrical, you will need to account for extra in your budget.

Schedule

When you want to start the project may be determined by when you need the project complete. If you want it finished by a particular date, you will need to work backward to calculate the best time to start the project. If you plan on hosting any significant events at your home, proper planning can eliminate the stress of meeting deadlines.

Ventilation

Proper ventilation in a kitchen serves several purposes. First and foremost is your comfort. A ventilation system will keep your kitchen from getting too hot. It will also help you to eliminate cooking odors that permeate the home. Ventilation helps keep your smoke detectors from being set off by smoke and steam. Pay careful attention to how you can achieve good ventilation in your kitchen using an exhaust fan such as a hood.

Temporary Kitchen

While your kitchen is under construction, you may need to set up a temporary kitchen to prepare quick meals and snacks. Your time estimate may determine how extensive a setup you need. Going out to eat or getting take out for a few days may not be a problem, but you may want to be able to cook some simple meals as your timeframe extends. 

When you plan a kitchen update on a budget, you want to be sure to incorporate ideas that will help your home sell.

If you are not planning on moving right away, you can enjoy selections that may not necessarily appeal to a broad range of homebuyers. However, if you think there is even a remote possibility of moving within 2 – 3 years, I would recommend selections with a broad range of popularity. Check out other homes in your neighborhood that have recently sold, and take a good look at the kitchens. What sorts of finishes seem to be ordinary?

Some simple ideas that are appealing to a broad range of people are:

Kitchen Island

It may be a wise investment if you have the space for an island, especially with seating. The additional counter space is appealing, along with the extra seating. In addition, the ability to have family or guests sit in the kitchen while you are preparing meals keeps you involved in the interactions and creates some great memories.

Open Shelving

The use of open shelving is helpful to create a sense of space in a kitchen. As a result, this modern touch has become popular.

Pull Out Shelves

Cabinets and pantries that have pull-out shelves are appealing because it creates more efficient use of the space. It is also convenient to pull out the shelf to locate what you need, especially deep and lower cabinets. Corner cabinets with shelves that open out also make great use of that lost corner space.

Lighting

The use of different types of lighting can make an immense difference in the feel of the kitchen. Overhead, recessed, chandelier, task, and under-cabinet options illuminate an area differently and have specific purposes. Planning for a good mix of lighting will help make food preparation and eating meals more pleasurable.

Faucets

Like lighting, there are so many options for kitchen faucets. The price ranges vary drastically. Think of the function of your kitchen and your needs. You may not need a touchless faucet, but having a sprayer may be a necessity.

Coffee bar

Many people enjoy having a designated coffee or beverage bar in their kitchen—a space to house all the equipment and supplies you will need to prepare your favorite drink. Depending on your kitchen, a separate sink may also be an added touch you want to consider.

Appliances

You may not have the budget for top-of-the-line appliances, but updating with the best in your budget is a good idea. A home buyer would be concerned that older appliances will break or waste too much energy. Shop around to find the best deal within your budget.

Paint

A fresh coat of paint does wonders. But, again, if you are considering selling shortly, avoid bold or specific color palates with limited appeal. Neutral tones appeal to a wide range of people. 

Floors

If your floors are damaged or dated material, you should consider an update. If you have a tile floor, simply regrouting can make the floor look fresh. There are many affordable options in flooring. Research to find the best solution for your lifestyle and budget.

Cabinets

Your budget will determine whether you can replace the old cabinets with new ones. If you do not have a budget for new cabinets and your current cabinets need repairing, you can consider painting, stripping, and refinishing the wood or refacing. Using bright white paint can hide outdated cabinets and create a more modern feel. But, again, the solution for you will depend on your budget.

Average estimates for kitchen remodels include:

Low = $5,000 to $15,000

Medium = $15,000 to $30,000

High = $30,000 or more

With good planning and smart shopping, you can accomplish a stress-free kitchen update on a budget.

Caution – be careful not to over-improve for your neighborhood. For more tips, you can read my previous blog post.

Contact me, Charles D’Alessandro, your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with Fillmore Real Estate. As a Brooklyn real estate agent with over 30 years of experience, I know what types of updates work to help sell a home quickly. I can be reached by phone at (718) 253-9500 ext. 1901 or by email at [email protected]

Charles D'Allesandro

Is It True? Answering Myths About Real Estate Agents!

Monday, August 30th, 2021

real estate agent writing myths or facts

There are many myths about real estate agents floating about; many have been hanging around for years. Since 1900 real estate has been a profession, and many myths about real estate agents still exist.

Having over 30 years of experience in the Brooklyn real estate market, I can address these misunderstandings. In addition, I think I may have answered questions from family, friends, and clients over the years related to all 15 of these myths.

Real estate agents earn a 6% commission.

It is important to remember that commission is always negotiable. But, an average commission would be around 6%. That is a contractual agreement between the seller and the listing agent and brokerage they choose to sell their home. After a home sells, the 6% commission is split between the brokerage representing the seller and the brokerage representing the buyer. Assuming that is a 50/50 split, each brokerage receives a 3% commission.

The commission is split even further between the brokerage and their agent, depending on their agreed-upon split. For example, if that split were 50/50, the brokerage received 1.5%, and the agent received 1.5%. From the agent’s 1.5%, the fees the agent pays the brokerage are deducted. An individual agent in this scenario may only receive 1 – 1.5% of the sales price in commission depending on the brokerage fees they are required to pay. Although it sounds like a high commission, after splitting the commission several ways and paying for fees, you can see the agent only receives a small percentage of the total.

Real estate agents receive a salary.

Real estate agents receive compensation on a commission basis. Agents do not receive payment until the property closes. They work for 2-3 months or more before ever receiving any compensation for their time. If the sale falls through, an agent will not receive payment for their time and effort invested in the transaction.

Lenders, title companies, and inspectors pay real estate agents a kickback.

Kickbacks are defined as “an illegal payment intended as compensation for preferential treatment or any other type of improper services received.” An agent may have a legal arrangement with preferred service providers but must disclose their interest in any partnership to their clients. The U.S. Housing and Urban Development oversees the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), which includes disclosure laws and prohibits kickbacks, referral fees, and unearned fees. RESPA is a highly regulated act. 

Real estate agents get reimbursement for their expenses.

Agents are not reimbursed for expenses from their brokerages. This is because they are running their own small independent business under the umbrella of their brokerage. Therefore, they are responsible for their expenses, including gas, car expenses, insurance, office supplies, office copies, renting a desk within the broker’s office, E&O insurance, MLS fees, etc. 

The real estate agent’s brokerage pays for marketing and advertising expenses.

Many brokerages advertise as a group. It appears that the brokerage is adverting properties, but in actuality, the agent is paying to participate in the ad. Like other general business expenses mentioned above, the real estate agent is responsible for all marketing and advertising expenses. These include professional photos, staging, brochures, advertising online and in print, etc.

Real estate agents get rich quickly.

Real estate sales is not a get-rich-quick career. Having 3-6 months’ worth of living expenses is a good rule of thumb for new real estate agents as they begin their careers. An agent can work with a buyer or seller for months before a property goes under contract. Once under contract, it can take 45-60 days for a home to close and the agent to receive their first commission check. Maintaining a consistent income takes discipline and a ton of effort for real estate agents. There is constant lead generation, contract preparation, listing appointments, showing homes, negotiating contracts, and facilitation of the closing that keep a real estate professional working long hours. Reaching a high percentage of referrals from past clients, friends and family is the goal of all career real estate agents. It takes time to build those relationships.

Real estate agents make too much money.

The National Association of Realtors tracks the average income of real estate agents annually. In 2019, the nationwide average was $49,700. Their study shows that agents with 16 years or more of experience average $86,500. Many find these statistics surprising. The confusion comes from agents advertising they are multi-million dollar producers. Multi-million dollar refers to the total sales price of the homes they sell. If an agent sold $2,000,000 in homes that averaged $250,000 each, they only sold 8 houses and may have only earned around $30,000, but they technically qualify as a multi-million dollar producer. That is a far cry from actually earning a million dollars.

Real Estate Agents are expensive to hire.

Hiring a real estate agent may cost you, but not hiring a real estate agent can cost you more. For example, did you know that sellers who choose to sell for sale by owner usually end up selling their home for less than they could with a real estate agent representing them? Not knowing the legalities of a real estate transaction can also cost you money. A real estate professional understands the local market and stays current on trends and issues that may affect a real estate transaction. If you are not a real estate agent yourself, do you have time to learn all the intricacies of the market?

Signing a contract with a real estate agent means you are stuck with them.

You should understand the terms of any contract before you sign. Most listing contracts and Buyer agency contracts have a defined period that will be effective. Ask the agent questions to understand how you can remedy any issues in your working relationship. For example, many brokerages will allow you to cancel or switch to a different agent within the brokerage to fulfill the contract period if you are dissatisfied with the agent you first contracted.

Working directly with a listing agent will save me money.

As a buyer, working with a listing agent can be a costly move. The listing agent’s fiduciary responsibility is to the seller. They may not have your best interests at heart. Representing both parties in a home sale is a tricky situation. This type of representation is Dual Agency. Some states permit dual agency, and others prohibit it. The states that prohibit dual agency are Alaska, Colorado, Florida, Kansas, Maryland, Texas, Vermont, and Wyoming. Here is a link to a previous blog post that discusses additional mistakes buyers may make.

A real estate agent can’t sell you a For Sale By Owner.

Most sellers who choose to sell their homes For Sale By Owner will pay a commission to the agent who brings a buyer. They are happy only to pay part of the commission. Because buyer agency is so common now, For Sale by Owners know that most buyers want to work with an agent. If they are not willing to pay the commission, they could lose many potential buyers. If you see a For Sale By Owner, it is best to have your real estate agent contact them first. Your agent can discuss the commission issue and set an appointment for you to see the home.

Real estate agents want you to pay higher prices because they earn more.

When you work with a buyer’s agent, their fiduciary responsibility is to you and your best interest. An agent will indeed make a higher amount based on the sales price. But the additional amount they would make would not be an incentive to disregard their duties to you as their buyer’s agent. A $10,000 difference in sales price would only net the agent approximately $150 more based on a 3% commission and a 50/50 split with their broker. A code of ethics governs a real estate professional. They take their responsibilities seriously. Not doing so could end up with a fine or suspension of their license.

Real estate agents can only show you their company’s listings.

An agent who is a member of the local Multi-List Board can show you any property listed in the MLS regardless of which company holds the listing. It is rare to find an agent who is not a member of the Multi-List these days. Therefore, the brokerage that offers the home for sale is statistically not the same brokerage that sells the home.

Real estate agents can work whenever they want.

Real estate agents are independent contractors. They do not have to punch a time clock every day. However, they do need to be available when their clients are available. So what may look for the outside as a flexible schedule may not indeed be. You may see your local real estate agent at the gym in the afternoon, but what you may not see is your local real estate agent working in the evening showing homes to their clients or missing an event because their client needs them.

National website portals are better than real estate agents.

National website portals have changed the way real estate agents do business. But it has not replaced an excellent local real estate agent. Real estate portals are fed through the local MLS. It takes time for a property to upload from the MLS to the website portals. Some days it seems to happen quickly, and other days it takes longer for that to occur. Your real estate agent can set up a search in the MLS to notify you when a new home is listed that meets your criteria. Getting that information quickly has been a definite advantage in the local sales market we have been seeing. Relying on your local real estate expert is the better route to take. Your local expert knows the market and has information that the national website portal may not provide.

I hope this gives you a better glimpse of what it is like to be a real estate agent. Most real estate professionals do what they do because they love helping people. They are great problem solvers and lifelong learners. Every real estate sale is different, and agents are continually honing their skills. 

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 answer your real estate questions. You can reach me by phone at (718) 253-9500 ext. 1901 or by email at [email protected].

Charles D'Allesandro

Why Buyers And Sellers Need A Trusted Brooklyn Real Estate Agent

Sunday, August 15th, 2021

Happy Couple shaking hands with trusted real estate agent

A trusted Brooklyn real estate agent might be the best investment you make in your home buying or selling endeavor. There is a tendency to believe you can do it yourself in a hot real estate market, especially for home sellers. However, having an experienced real estate professional as a partner in the home selling or buying process is a valuable step that can significantly reward you.

A buyer’s agent will genuinely represent the best interests of a homebuyer when they hire a Brooklyn real estate agent to work on their behalf. 

A buyer’s agent will:
  1. Watch the market for newly listed homes that meet your criteria.
  2. Research local sales prices in your neighborhood of interest.
  3. Study the local market for sales trends.
  4. Suggest a pricing strategy based on current sales trends.
  5. Structure an offer reflective of the buyer’s desire to purchase the home based on market demand and agent knowledge.
  6. Negotiate in the buyer’s best interest.
  7. Recommend service providers needed in the transaction.
  8. Negotiate any issues revealed during the inspections and due diligence period.
  9. Coordinate closing timelines with the seller’s agent, lender, title company, and closing attorney.
  10. Communicate with the seller’s agent as the buyer’s liaison.

A Brooklyn real estate agent who is working as a seller’s agent represents the best interests of the homeowner. 

A Seller’s agent will:
  1. Advise seller on preparations needed before listing the home.
  2. Provide a comparable market analysis to price the home correctly.
  3. Research local sales statistics in your neighborhood.
  4. Study the local market for sales trends.
  5. Professionally market the home.
  6. Network with fellow real estate agents to promote your home.
  7. Evaluate buyer feedback from showings to make necessary adjustments.
  8. Review all offers and makes recommendations on counteroffers.
  9. Confirm buyer qualifications.
  10. Provide guidance in any home inspection and other contingency-related issues.
  11. Coordinate closing timelines with buyer’s agent, lender, title company, and closing attorney.
  12. Facilitate any necessary communications with the buyer’s agent and buyer.

It makes good sense to work with a Brooklyn real estate agent to achieve your real estate goals. As a matter of fact, many home sellers and home buyers have found that the investment in hiring a professional was well worth it in the savings they realized by gaining more in seller proceeds or saving money on buying mistakes.

What are some ways a real estate agent can save you money?
  1. Price your home correctly for a timely sale.
  2. Familiarity with staging techniques to make your home appealing to buyers.
  3. Recommendations on what repairs and updates will yield you a return before listing.
  4. Their network of trusted experts can help you save on inspections, repairs, staging, lending, and legal issues throughout the home buying or selling journey.
  5. Negotiation skills and tactics.
  6. Streamline the process, saving you time and money.
  7. Evaluate realistic listing and sales prices.
  8. Position a listing for maximum interest and exposure.

The real estate community is well-connected. Real estate professionals network with other real estate professionals sharing information on upcoming homes for sale and the buyers they represent. As a result, a well-connected real estate agent may share or learn about pocket listings, homes that are not yet available to the public. 

Buying and selling a home can become emotional at some point in the process for both buyers and sellers. Having a neutral party in your corner who can evaluate any situation from all sides of the table can provide that big picture view you may be unable to see at the time. However, you need to be prepared for unexpected emotions to creep up on you. 

How can you prepare yourself emotionally?
  1. Evaluate if the time is right for you to sell or buy.
  2. Research the process to gain a better understanding of the steps involved.
  3. Stay involved in the process of working with your agent, lender, title company, and closing attorney.
  4. Keep an open mind and be flexible.
  5. Create checklists, so you don’t overlook anything.
  6. Focus on your end goal.
  7. Maintain open communication with your real estate professional and other service providers.

A Brooklyn real estate agent who practices full-time has the expertise and market knowledge that buyers and sellers don’t. As a matter of fact, it is their job to stay on top of the market trends. Their expertise and experience in the local market can be the advantage you need to buy or sell a home.

Marketing a home is another area where a Brooklyn real estate agent can be of value.

They know how to get the exposure for your home needed to get it sold. They not only market to the general public, but they also market to their network of real estate agents who may be representing the buyer of your home. Utilizing professional services like home stagers, photographers, and videographers to present the house in its best light is an essential piece of marketing a home because most buyers begin their home search online.

According to the National Association of Realtors study, 91% of sellers list their homes through the multiple listing service. Your Brooklyn real estate agent has access to the multiple listing service. The multiple listing service is not only where real estate agents learn about the most recent available properties, but they also have access to the most recent home sales statistics. 

Although this database of information may be shared publicly through online portals, not all the detailed information is shared, including price history and sales information. When a property sells, it is recorded in the MLS immediately, but public records may take time to be updated.

The multiple listing service can benefit the buyer by gaining access to the most current information. For example, a real estate agent can set up an email notification system that will alert both the agent and the buyer when a new listing hits the MLS that meets their criteria. In reality, it may take time for this information to appear on online real estate portals. 

From a seller’s standpoint, accessing the MLS allows their property to have the most significant exposure on the market. In fact, 88% of home buyers recently utilized the services of a real estate agent. Buyer’s agents search for homes to show buyers through the MLS.

One of the best reasons to work with a Brooklyn real estate agent is the Realtors® Code of Ethics.

The National Association of Realtors® is the largest trade association in the country. All agents designated as Realtors® must abide by the Code of Ethics and are held accountable to them. 

Under the code of ethics, their duties are to protect their client’s best interest while treating all parties honestly, meet professional standards, implement non-discriminatory practices, and refrain from making false statements against other real estate agents. Duties covered under the code fall into three categories; client and customers, the public, and other Realtors®. 

Disciplinary actions will begin at the local level through the Board of Realtors®. The process of reviewing issues is detailed and accordingly works like many justice systems. 

The code of ethics provides accountability and guidance for real estate agents to conduct their business with integrity.

Hiring a Brooklyn real estate agent provides many benefits to home buyers and home sellers in our area. By all means, you should take the time to interview several agents and check references to be confident you have the right agent in your corner. 

Questions you should ask when interviewing a Brooklyn real estate agent:
  1. How long have you been a real estate agent?
  2. What is your sales history?
  3. What sets you apart from other agents?
  4. How will you help me buy or sell a home?
  5. Do you require a contract? If so, can you cancel for any reason?
  6. What is your marketing plan or buying strategy for me?
  7. What is your commission rate?
  8. Do you charge any additional fees?
  9. How do you communicate with your clients?
  10. What haven’t I asked you that I should?

Your Brooklyn real estate agent should be a trusted partner in the buying or selling process. As a result, you can embark on your real estate journey with confidence that you are well represented. A trusted real estate agent is the foundation of your real estate team. Find out about other parties involved in the process in this previous blog post.

Contact me, Charles D’Alessandro, your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with Fillmore Real Estate. As a Brooklyn real estate agent with over 30 years of experience, I am the trusted partner you are looking to find. I can be reached by phone at (718) 253-9500 ext. 1901 or by email at [email protected].

Charles D'Allesandro

Your Kitchen – the Focal Point of Your Brooklyn Home

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

Your kitchen - the focal point of your Brooklyn home

Your kitchen – the focal point of your Brooklyn home

By Charles D’Alessandro | Leave a Comment

Take a look at your kitchen. Is it dated? Are you looking to sell your Brooklyn home? If your kitchen is “way out there”, you may have a hard time selling.

Your kitchen is the focal point of your Brooklyn home. Buyers today are looking for a home with a kitchen that is easy to use, easy to clean and easy to look at. If your kitchen is dated, you many need to invest in a kitchen remodel. Even a minor remodel can recoup most of the cost when you sell. Just remember, consider what will appeal to a future homebuyer. Ultimately, the work you put into a remodel is work you are doing for yourself, but at some point, somebody else will live in the house. Don’t remodel in a way you may regret later. Don’t do something so edgy that you  end up asking yourself, “What on earth was I thinking?”

Here are the top 10 kitchen trends:

1. Chef’s stoves – Even if the buyer doesn’t cook, they want the stove look cool.

2. Eco-friendly features – Appliances and materials in the kitchen are important to a buyer.

3. Granite and quartz countertops – Granite tops the list.

4. Tile backsplashes – Most buyers prefer tile over marble, stone slab or other materials.

5. Floors – Hardwood flooring is hands-down the top choice for flooring.

6. Stainless steel – Well over half of homebuyers today want stainless steel appliances in their kitchens.

7. Islands – Islands aren’t really a must, but they are popular with homebuyers.

8. Transitional style – This is a style combination of traditional and contemporary styles.

9. White cabinets – Almost 75 percent of homebuyers want white or off white cabinets.

10. Gray color schemes – Shades of gray in the kitchen go well with white cabinets.

Kitchen updates are number one for adding value to your Brooklyn home.  Need more ideas for adding value to your home? Subscribe to Brooklyn Real Estate Blog today.

Look no further for a real estate agent with your best interest at heart. 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] when you need to sell your home.

Resource: http://rismedia.com/2013-11-16/10-top-kitchen-remodeling-trends/2/

Consumer Red Flags When Hiring Your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent

Sunday, February 10th, 2013

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Consumer Tip – Real Estate Red Flags (1)

The majority of Brooklyn licensed real estate agents and brokers are well-trained professionals who can help make the process of buying or selling your home a successful venture rather than a stressful adventure. Occasionally, however, you may run into an unlicensed person posing as an agent, or a licensed agent who is not following the rules of the profession. In either case, your real estate experience can quickly turn sour. Here are a few Consumer Red Flags When Hiring Your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent I hope you find them helpful for your next real estate transaction.

Following are some “red flags” that may assist you in determining if you are NOT working with a legitimate or honest real estate agent. These tips are not intended to provide legal advice in drafting real estate related documents or provide detailed descriptions of the nature of relationships that may be created between agents and buyers and sellers.

Consumer Tip – Real Estate Red Flags (2)

Some “red flags” that may assist you in determining if you are NOT working with a legitimate or honest real estate agent. These tips are not intended to provide legal advice in drafting real estate related documents or provide detailed descriptions of the nature of relationships that may be created between agents and buyers and sellers.

  • RED FLAG – Agents using high-pressure tactics, especially in an attempt to have you sign a purchase or listing agreement
    Tips-

    • Do not be pressured into entering into a purchase agreement based solely on the agent telling you there are multiple offers so you need to make your purchase agreement offer immediately. Multiple offers may exist but don’t be pressured into making a decision you are not comfortable with or if you do not understand the terms of the purchase agreement. If the sellers accept your purchase offer it becomes a legally binding contract. You may have to forfeit your earnest money deposit if you get “cold feet” and later decide that you just don’t want or like the property.
    • Do not be pressured into signing a listing agreement unless you are comfortable with the agent and understand and agree with the terms of the listing agreement including any marketing strategy.
  • RED FLAG – Agents asking for earnest money or a down payment check made out to the agent…or asking for cash
    Tips-

    • Earnest money should be paid with a check or money order and made payable to the real estate company and not to the individual agent.
    • By law, earnest money must be placed in the listing company “trust account” and cannot be mixed with personal funds of the agent. Once the listing company receives the earnest money, it must be deposited within three business days. However, the buyer and seller may agree, in writing, to handle the funds differently.
  • RED FLAG Agents who do not provide answers to your questions about the property or fail to return your calls or maintain communication with you
    Tips-

    • By law agents are required to disclose all material facts they are aware of that may adversely and significantly affect your use or enjoyment of the property, such as existing structural or mechanical problems, water infiltration problems, easements or encroachments, or faulty septic systems.
    • Do not enter into a purchase agreement until your questions are answered. You also have the option of including “conditions” or “contingencies” in your purchase agreement. If your conditions or contingencies were not met, you would not be obligated to go through with the purchase. Some common contingencies are a buyer requiring a satisfactory home inspection report by a certain date and at the buyer’s expense. If the home inspection is unsatisfactory, the buyer can cancel the purchase agreement and obtain a refund of the earnest money.
  • RED FLAG Agents who don’t disclose who they represent
    Tips

    • Whether you are buying or selling, it is important to understand the different types of relationships that can be created between you and an agent. Expect agents to act in the best interests of whomever they represent.
    • Agents must provide a consumer with an “agency disclosure” form at the first substantive contact with the consumer. The agency disclosure is intended to provide a description of available options for agency and nonagency relationships and a description of the role of a licensee under each option. The agency disclosure form is not a contract. If a buyer or seller wants an agent to represent them, a written contract must be entered into such as a listing agreement or a buyer representation contract. Following are the different types of agency relationships in real estate transactions:

    Seller’s Broker: A broker who lists a property of a salesperson who is licensed to the listing broker who represents the seller and acts on behalf of the seller.
    Subagent: A broker or salesperson who is working with a buyer but represents the seller. In this case the buyer is only the agent’s customer and is not represented by that agent.
    Buyer’s Broker: A buyer may enter into an agreement for the broker or salesperson to represent and act on behalf of the buyer. In this case, the agent represents the buyer only and not the seller.
    Dual Agency: Dual agency occurs when one broker or salesperson represents both buyer and seller, or when two salespersons licensed to the same broker each represent a party to the transaction. Dual agency requires the informed consent of all parties.
    Facilitator: A broker or salesperson who performs services for a buyer, a seller, or both but does not represent either in a fiduciary capacity – meaning the facilitator is not obligated to represent the best interest of either party.

  • RED FLAG – Agents who will only show you properties they have listed
    Tips-

    • A Brooklyn real estate agent who you have entered into an agreement with should be acting in your best interest, not his or her own best interests. Agents should be willing to show you properties that they have listed as well as other company listed property and property that is For Sale By Owner (FSBO’s).
  • RED FLAGAgents who ask you to sign blank or incomplete documents
    Tips-

    • Do not sign any real estate related documents that are blank or incomplete. Most of these documents are legally binding.
    • Be wary if you are told, “Don’t worry about that section, we’ll fill it in later.”
  • RED FLAG Agents who require a listing agreement for extended periods of time
    Tips-

    • Do not be pressured into signing a listing agreement for lengthy periods of time. A typical listing period is six months but you can negotiate a shorter or longer listing period.
  • RED FLAGAgents who are difficult to contact or do not regularly communicate with the consumer
    Tips-

    • An agent who has your best interests in mind should be easy to reach.
  • RED FLAGAgents who do not provide a basis for a listing price
    Tips-

    • The agent should provide a market analysis with documentation to support the listing price.
  • RED FLAG Agents who attempt to talk you out of a home inspection or hiring a real estate attorney
    Tips-

    • Agents are prohibited from discouraging the use of an attorney. Hiring an attorney, while not required, may be desired and it’s your right to do so.
    • If an inspection is discouraged, it might be because there is a defect in the property.
  • Make sure your agent is licensed
    Tips-

  • Tip-
    If you’re thinking about selling your Brooklyn real estate and would like more tips on how to get it ready, please call 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], for more information and a Free Market Price Evaluation without obligation!

Considering Selling Your Brooklyn Home? Get the Scoop on the 3.8 Percent Real Estate Tax in the Healthcare Bill

Monday, September 17th, 2012

If you’re considering selling your Brooklyn home, you may have heard rumors that there is a new tax going into effect in January, 2013. Here’s the rundown on what the tax really is – and isn’t.

The new tax is called the ‘‘Unearned Income Medicare Contribution.” It is a 3.8 percent tax on the net investment income of high-income taxpayers. The tax will apply to those with an adjusted gross income of more than $200,000 ($250,000 for joint filers), with no indexing for inflation.

The Good News

Odds are that you will never pay this tax.

Why You Most Likely Won’t Pay the New Tax

The tax will apply to capital gains, not sale proceeds. Because of the current exclusion of gains on home sales — up to $500,000 (joint) or $250,000 (single) on a primary residence — the vast majority of home sellers will not be required to pay this tax.

 Here’s an example: A couple with an adjusted gross income of more than $250,000 (which qualifies them for the tax — more than 90% of households make less than that) decide to sell their house. They purchased their Brooklyn home long, long ago for $50,000. They sell the house, miraculously, for $549,000. Because that profit of $499,000 is under the $500,000 profit exclusion amount allowed for couples, they owe no tax.

The Bottom Line

There are plenty of other taxes that are worth getting upset about; this isn’t one of them.

If you’re Considering Selling Your Brooklyn Home on selling a Brooklyn home, I can help. Give me a call 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].