Posts Tagged ‘brooklyn real estate’

Artificial Intelligence is Improving the Real Estate Industry in Many Ways

Monday, January 30th, 2023

AI robot writing a contract

The real estate industry, like the technology industry, is constantly evolving. New uses of technology and trends are reshaping how we buy, sell, and manage the property. Artificial intelligence, or AI, is one of the most talked about technologies to impact what we do. It can automate processes, gain insight through data analysis, and improve customer engagement.

You have probably heard a lot of chatter about AI, but what impact will it have on the real estate industry? Of course, AI is already in use in real estate and other sectors like healthcare and finance, so it is only natural to expect the use of AI to increase.

By understanding how AI will affect the real estate industry in the future, we can better prepare ourselves for the changes that may be coming.

Overview of AI in Real Estate

The real estate industry has already implemented many types of AI programs:

Predictive analytics

Using algorithms to analyze large data sets available in public records can help make predictions. For example, algorithms can be used to identify current trends and make predictions about future prices.

An example of predictive analytics you may be familiar with is the Zestimate. Zillow uses available public data and computer algorithms to analyze sales prices of similar homes in a particular area. Unfortunately, the Zestimate is not always an accurate depiction of the sales price. As AI becomes more refined, it will become easier to analyze public data more accurately.

Automated Document Processing

Before fax machines, a real estate agent, after meeting with their clients to prepare an offer, would have to hand deliver the paperwork to the seller’s agent or personally present it to the home seller and their agent. 

Once fax machines became widely used, a real estate agent could send the buyer signed offer directly to the seller’s agent. This was an innovative step that helped to make the offer process faster.

Now with automated document processing, a contract can be written, signed by the buyer, sent to the agent, shared with the seller, signed by the seller, and returned to both agents without ever printing a document. Utilizing a secure online document processing system has made the negotiation process much easier and quicker than the pre-fax days.

Real estate professionals can manage signed documents easily and quickly share them with lenders, closing companies, and their office personnel, meeting compliance with deadlines and legal issues.

Chatbots

You may have come across a website or two that has a chatbot. They will answer questions and provide customer service for the website.

A chatbot can address inquiries about buying, selling or renting homes in the real estate industry. They can also route you to a real estate agent who can answer your questions, book property tours and appointments, help you to search listings, provide property information, and answer frequently asked questions about the home buyer or selling process. 

Virtual Reality

Virtual reality tools have been in the real estate industry for some time. 3-D tours have been widespread, allowing viewers a better feel for the home’s layout. Virtually touring homes has been a technology used for years in the industry.

Virtual home staging is now available. Virtual staging allows the viewer to get a feel for the size and use of a room by placing furniture on a digital photo. This is a lower-cost way to stage a home without renting furniture and physically taking it to the house.

Architects also use virtual reality to show a building that has yet to be built. Unfortunately, it is hard for most buyers to visualize a property that still needs to be completed. However, you can see a realistic visualization of the exterior and interior of a building through VR.

Drone Mapping

Drone mapping is a newer technology used by new construction developers. A computerized view of the work site can be created through drone imagery instead of more detailed surveys. 

Drone mapping provides multiple purposes throughout the construction development.

AI is an integral part of the real estate industry and helps all parties in a real estate transaction.

How do current and future AI technologies impact the individual parties of a real estate transaction?

Artificial Intelligence creates solutions that simplify and expedite all aspects of real estate transactions. AI technology streamlines the buying or selling experience by leveraging predictive analytics to make faster decisions.

Impact on the parties in a real estate transaction

Real Estate Agents

AI is significant in the emergence of automation in customer service and marketing. This automation will allow real estate agents to provide faster, more efficient services while reducing costs and improving customer satisfaction.

Improved access to customers, better marketing insights, and increased efficiencies in managing their workloads will be available as AI-generated tools evolve. AI can revolutionize the real estate industry providing agents with tools to help them better serve their clients. 

Home Buyers

AI technology has allowed consumers to shop for homes online, view properties remotely, and receive personalized recommendations tailored to their preferences. Soon, home buyers can access virtual reality simulations of potential homes. It will allow them to visualize the property in real life and walk around it as if they are physically there. 

As chatbot technology improves, buyers can get better and faster answers to questions about a particular home.  

Technology will make it possible for home buyers to find their dream home in less time.

Home Sellers

Home sellers will also benefit from improving AI technologies. For example, the same algorithms that help buyers find homes will help sellers find the perfect buyer quicker and easier. In addition, access to pricing information and virtual reality can assist in getting a home sold more quickly and for the best possible price.

Mortgage Lenders

Improvements in AI technology will also impact mortgage lenders. It will improve and streamline the accuracy of loan processing. Because AI can quickly analyze large amounts of data, it will help lenders make informed decisions. In addition, Chatbots will interface with borrowers to provide a better customer service experience.

Title Companies

Title companies will be able to save time and money by utilizing AI to review documents and contracts accurately. Fraud and risk protection associated with real estate transactions is another way that title companies can take advantage of AI. Through artificial intelligence, title companies can improve communication with their clients and streamline their operations.

Home Appraisers

In 2022, the Federal Housing Financing Agency approved using remote appraisals for purchase loans. This decision allows for using automated valuation models (AVMs) and other desktop appraisals drawn from public records and digital property intelligence.

AI technology is helping appraisers assess the condition of properties. As AI technology continues to evolve, so will its usefulness in assisting appraisers in making accurate assessments quickly and efficiently. You can learn more about the appraisal process in this previous blog post.

As a real estate professional, I have witnessed significant changes in the industry over the years. I expect the future use of AI only to enhance the experience for all parties involved. I believe the one thing that won’t change is the need to create positive relationships with all parties in a real estate transaction.

If you are considering buying or selling a home, contact me, Charles D’Alessandro, your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices – Fillmore Real Estate. As a Brooklyn real estate agent with over 35 years of experience, I help Brooklyn Homebuyers and Sellers with advice and resources. Reach me by phone at (718) 253-9500 ext. 1901 or by email at [email protected].

Charles D'Allesandro

The Use of a Real Estate Contingency Clause Gains Popularity in Market Shift

Monday, January 16th, 2023

real estate contract with contingency

The Use of a Real Estate Contingency Clause Gains Popularity in Market Shift

In the hot real estate market we recently experienced, using a real estate contingency clause was not a common practice. However, with the recent shifts in the market and buyer behavior, we will see a rise in the use of contingency clauses in sales contracts.

Contingent means “depending on certain circumstances.” A real estate contingency clause can be written into a sales agreement so the buyer can explore or satisfy certain conditions before they are ready to move forward with the sale. It provides the buyer with a safe exit strategy preventing them from losing their earnest money.

The common real estate contingency clauses include:

Mortgage Contingency

The buyer has a specific time to obtain the necessary financing approval for the home purchase.

Title Contingency

The title company will do a title search of the property for the buyer’s review. If there are any objections to the status of the property, the seller will have to rectify the issues to close the home.

Home Inspection Contingency

A specified period is allowed for the buyer to have a home inspection and report the findings to the seller, along with any repair requests. The buyer can also terminate the sales agreement. Reasons to terminate might include if the inspection is unsatisfactory or the seller refuses to make or compensate for repairs.

Home Sale Contingency

If the buyer needs to sell their current home to purchase a new home, they may elect to have this contingency written into the agreement. The parties will negotiate a deadline to determine an acceptable date for the buyer to sell their home.

Appraisal Contingency

An appraisal contingency ensures that the home appraises for the indicated sales price or a minimum sales price. If it does not, the buyer can cancel the contract. This contingency is commonly a lender’s stipulation if the buyer is financing.

Homeowners Insurance Contingency

The buyer must apply for and obtain a homeowners insurance policy on the property. Either party can terminate the contract if they cannot attain the insurance. 

Any real estate contingency clause’s requirements must be satisfied before a sale can close. The contingency clauses are included in the buyer’s initial offer or added throughout the negotiation phase.

These contingencies protect either the buyer or the seller by providing a way for a designated party to back out of the transaction if certain conditions can’t be met. 

There are several benefits to using contingencies in a real estate sales contract, both for the buyer and the seller. 

Some of the most common benefits include:

Protection for the Buyer 

Contingencies provide a way for the buyer to back out of the transaction if certain conditions are not met, such as if the buyer cannot obtain financing or if the property inspections aren’t satisfactory. This helps protect the buyer’s investment and ensures they are not stuck with a property that does not meet their needs or expectations.

Protection for the Seller

Contingencies can also protect the seller. For example, a mortgage contingency ensures the buyer can obtain financing approval by a specified date. This helps protect the seller from the possibility of the sale falling through if the buyer cannot secure funding.

Negotiating Tool

Contingencies can be a negotiating tool. For example, a buyer may be willing to offer more for a property if they know they will have a mortgage contingency included in the sales contract, which gives them added protection in case they are unable to secure financing. Similarly, a seller may accept a lower offer if the buyer is willing to remove certain contingencies, such as a home inspection contingency.

Closing Date Protection

Some contingencies also specify the property’s closing date and are helpful for both buyer and seller to protect their interest. For example, a buyer may include a contingency that allows them to cancel the contract if the closing date is delayed beyond a specific date, ensuring they do not lose out on other opportunities. On the other hand, a seller may include a contingency that requires the buyer to close by a specific date, which gives the seller a sense of security in case they have other transactions lined up after this one.

Legal Safeguards

Contingencies also serve as a legal safeguard, legally enforceable in the contract. In addition, they provide a clear understanding of the terms and the requirements of both the buyer and the seller, which can be helpful in case of any dispute.

Contingencies are essential to a real estate transaction and provide valuable protection for buyers and sellers. They help ensure that the transaction goes smoothly and that both parties are satisfied with the outcome.

Contingency Period

Each contingency should have a designated timeframe to complete. The type of contingency determines the time. The requirements will vary depending on the kind of contingency. The responsible party must meet them within the timeframe unless both parties agree to extend. All rights are forfeited if the contingency period expires without a response or an extension.

Why are contingencies coming back?

Before the post-pandemic hot real estate market, a real estate contingency clause was not an unusual addition to any offer. However, because the inventory of homes was so scarce during the past few years, many buyers were excluding any contingency to have their offers even considered in multiple offer situations.

The competitiveness of the market spurred the trend of fewer or no contingencies. With limited inventory, buyers often faced a multiple-offer situation on homes they wanted to buy, causing many buyers to choose to waive many contingencies in their offer. As a result, sellers are more likely to accept an offer with fewer contingencies to ensure the sale of their home.

With interest rates at historic lows, buyers were more likely to secure financing or find finance programs without selling an existing home. In addition, many lenders began offering more flexible underwriting guidelines, which made it easier for buyers to qualify for loans.

As the market is settling, a real estate contingency clause has again gained importance in a real estate transaction. For buyers, a contingency can help ensure they are able to obtain financing and that the property is in good condition before closing. For sellers, contingencies can provide a way to back out of the transaction if the buyer cannot secure financing or is dissatisfied with the home inspection.

What should you know about a real estate contingency clause?

  • Contingencies are conditional. 
  • Contingencies should have a timeframe attached to them.
  • If deadlines pass, the rights to the terms of the contingency can be voided.
  • Depending on the terms, a seller may still be able to market their home during a home sale contingency.
  • Home inspection contingencies can be negotiated after the inspection.
  • Certain contingencies can slow down the purchase process.
  • The more contingencies included in an offer, the more challenging the negotiation can be. 
  • Most contingencies are common and do not derail the homebuying process.

When a seller receives an offer with contingencies, they must weigh the pros and cons of accepting the offer. While taking an offer with fewer contingencies may be tempting, it is important to consider any potential risks and ensure the included contingencies provide adequate protection. Your real estate professional will be able to analyze the offer and help you negotiate to get your home sold. 

To understand the closing process, read this previous blog post.

Fall-through rates

There is no reason for a seller to be alarmed when they do receive a contingency. According to statistics, the cancellation rate of sales agreements is less than 4% of sales contracts, as reported in this recent article.

Contingency clauses will become more frequent and common than over the past few years. A real estate contingency clause can play a vital role in a real estate transaction for both buyers and sellers. Buyers and sellers can confidently enter a real estate transaction when they understand the contingency clause and terms. 

Don’t let real estate contingencies trip you up; contact me, Charles D’Alessandro, your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices – Fillmore Real Estate. As a Brooklyn real estate agent with over 35 years of experience, I help Brooklyn Homebuyers and Sellers with advice and resources. Reach me by phone at (718) 253-9500 ext. 1901 or by email at [email protected].

Charles D'Allesandro

Practical Summer Home Maintenance Tips To Complete Before Fall

Saturday, July 30th, 2022

Woman doing summer home maintenance tips.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure couldn’t be more true when it comes to home maintenance tips. Unfortunately, summer seems to be flying by quickly, and before you know it, we will be inundated with pumpkin-spiced everything!

When you spend the time handling home maintenance properly, you can save money on expensive repairs and extend the longevity of appliances and essential components of your home. 

Regular home maintenance may not prevent things from happening to your home, but it allows you to evaluate and plan for necessary replacement costs in advance. An emergency may cost you a lot for repairs, and your homeowner’s insurance coverage may not include it. To learn more about homeowners’ insurance coverage, you can read this previous blog post.

While the weather remains warm, it is an optimal time to do some outside evaluation of your home. 

Let’s look at some home maintenance tips to address on the outside of your home:

Gutters

A properly functioning gutter system should allow water to flow correctly and exit the downspouts, ideally 5 feet away from the home. Visually inspect the system for signs of wear, damage, or leakage. An easy way to check without standing out in a rain shower is to spray water on the roof and watch how it flows from the house. A blockage may need attention if you witness an overflow in any of the gutters. If you are considering adding gutter guards, now is an excellent time for installation before the leaves begin to fall. Even with gutter guards, mud and debris can build up in the gutters causing issues over time. Recommendations are that gutters be cleaned twice a year, even with gutter guards installed. This article describes the different types of gutter guards and how to clean gutters.

Roof

As a homeowner, you should visually inspect your roof periodically. A pair of binoculars will allow you to look closely at the roof for missing or loose shingles and potential flashing or ridge vent issues. You can also check your roof from the inside in your attic. Look for signs of moisture, discoloration, or mold. These are indicators that there may be water penetration through the roof that a professional roofer should address. While in the attic, check the insulation to see if it is adequate.

Paint

Check your exterior paint to determine if it is time for a fresh coat. Paint can help protect your home from winter leaks. Peeling and chipping paint expose wood elements to wrought. It is essential to paint exterior surfaces when the heat and humidity are lower. The beginning or end of summer is usually a better time to tackle exterior painting for proper coverage and curing. Spending the extra time to prepare the surfaces properly will help extend the life of your painted surfaces. Professionals estimate that a well-painted exterior surface should be good for up to 10 years.

Windows

Check window caulking to ensure they are correctly sealed. While checking the windows, a thorough cleaning is in order. The recommended method is to clean frames first where dirt accumulates. Then, remove the screens, and rinse and dry them. Clean the window and replace the screens when finished.

Decks

Inspecting your deck annually is a good safety habit to adopt. It is crucial if you have an elevated deck. The first thing to check for is mold, mildew, screw pops, and loose boards. Next, check where the deck meets the house for a solid connection. Also, check that handrails and railings are firmly secured. Finally, thoroughly clean the deck frequently. A proper seal will help to extend the life of your deck. Sprinkle water onto your deck; if it beads up, the seal coat is good; if it doesn’t, it is time to reseal it.

Grill

Deep clean your grill at least once per season by cleaning grates of any debris and burned grease. Another good practice is to turn burners on high and let them run with the lid closed to burn off any built-up grease periodically throughout the summer.

Mold

Check your home’s siding for any mold growth throughout the summer. It is more likely to occur in home areas that receive little sunshine. Clean the area with a mold solution or diluted chlorine. Be sure to test for colorfastness before washing with any mold-killing solution.

Gardens

Maintain plants to prevent overgrowth near air conditioners and sidewalks.  Periodic weeding is needed to maintain the appearance and keep plants healthy. 

These home maintenance tips will help to protect your home from unwanted emergency repairs and keep your home looking good. 

There are also areas of the interior of your home to maintain during the summer months. 

Refrigerators

In the summer, refrigerators may need more energy to cool. Keep the coils clean by vacuuming or gently wiping dust away. Check door gaskets for cracks or tears and wash with soap and water. Remember to replace the water and ice filters if you have them.

Sink Disposals

Sink disposals can become smelly and clogged. Ways of cleaning out your kitchen disposal vary from ice cubes to borax. Find the method you prefer, and be sure to clean the disposal to eliminate odors periodically.

Range Hood

The filter of your range hood or over the stove microwave vent needs cleaning to remove built-up grease and grime. You can soak the filter or run it through your dishwasher. Once removed, you can also gently clean the fan blades inside.

Dryer Vents

Keeping dryer vents clean will prevent fires. In addition, a clogged dryer vent can also damage your dryer. A proper ventilation system should include an exterior vent following building codes. You can hire a professional cleaner to do the job thoroughly. Depending on how long or hard it is to reach the vents, you may be able to do it yourself.

Bathroom Fans

Your bathroom fan removes moisture from the bathroom and keeps it from recirculating in your HVAC system. However, it can become clogged with dust and dirt because it draws moisture. Turn off the power to the fan, remove the cover to clean, and gently clean the blades inside.

Ceiling Fans

The blades of a ceiling fan collect dirt and dust. Therefore, periodically clean the fan blades. Keeping fan blades clean is especially important if you or a family member suffer from allergies or asthma. There are many products on the market that make this project easy. 

HVAC Filters

Checking your filters monthly is a good practice. Recommendations are to replace filters annually to optimize your system. Dirty filters can damage your unit or make it work harder, increasing your utility usage.

It is hard to think about interior home maintenance tips in the summer when we want to be outside enjoying ourselves. You may want to save these for a rainy day, but making the time to handle these tasks will pay off in the long run.

An excellent general home maintenance tip is to keep a checklist of the items you need to do for the season. Then, you can refer to this list and check off the tasks as you complete them. Of course, you will need to refine your checklist yearly.

Contact me, Charles D’Alessandro, your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with Fillmore Real Estate, if you are considering buying or selling a home. As a Brooklyn real estate agent with over 30 years of experience, I help many home buyers and sellers through the entire process. Reach me by phone at (718) 253-9500 ext. 1901 or by email at [email protected]
Charles D'Allesandro

Is Now A Good Time To Buy Your Brooklyn Home?

Monday, July 18th, 2022

Couple considering if now is the right time to buy a Brooklyn home.

Many wonder if now is a good time to buy a Brooklyn Home. The news reports tell us interest rates are rising, and homes are not selling in a flash as they have been.

There is a cooling down in the market. But, this may be the right time for you if you are in the market for a home.

But, first, you need to ask yourself a couple of questions.

  1. Are you comfortable with the monthly payment?
  2. How long do you plan to stay in the home?

The federal government told us they would increase the interest rate late last year to curb inflation. In June 2022, they raised the interest rates by three-quarters of a percentage point. The increase was the most significant rate increase in nearly 30 years.

Inflation occurs when prices increase and purchasing power decreases. The loss of purchasing power affects your cost of living, which will cause a decline in economic growth. To keep inflation within acceptable levels, the federal government manages the supply of money and credit.

Inflation management may create a recession, but not a housing crisis as we saw in 2008. If inflation can be appropriately managed, the federal government may be able to avoid a recession. Unfortunately, economists are not as optimistic in their outlook and predicted a recession, while the Treasury Secretary, Jane Yellen, states a recession is not a certainty. 

Regardless of the expert’s prediction, the best time to buy a home is when you need one. 

I recently heard an analogy that says, “Marry the house, but date the mortgage.”

The analogy simply means if you find a home that is perfect for you and checks all the boxes on your must-have list, don’t pass it up. It may be a long time before you find a similar home. The mortgage rates rise and fall. If you are comfortable with the monthly payment and plan to stay in the house for the long term, you can refinance your mortgage when the rates fall low enough for it to make financial sense.

In the current market, inventory is generally still low, although there are more houses on the market than there were a few months ago. To put it in perspective, the June 2022 Monthly Housing Market Trend Report by Realtor.com indicates in June 2022; inventory was down 53.2% compared to June 2019. 

Although the time it takes a home to sell has increased in some areas, you will find most areas are still selling quickly, with a national average of 32 days on the market. Reports say that 32% of homes under contract in June 2022 had an accepted offer within one week of hitting the market. Additionally, Redfin reported that the average sale-to-list price ratio was 102.2% in June 2022.  Although these figures are down from a year earlier, they are still impressive statistics.

In the New York – Newark – Jersey City, NY, NJ, PA metro area, the median list price was $700,000, representing a 9.4% year-over-year increase. 

Mortgage rates are higher but still not considered high by historical standards. This chart shows the change in interest rates from the 70s. The quick rise in interest rates has caused the market to be in chaos. Typically, interest rates do not increase this rapidly. Rate increases have affected a buyer’s purchasing power.

Home prices do not decline when interest rates climb. As a result, the cost of a home will not drastically drop, but the rate at which prices increase is slowing. As a result, sellers may expect longer sales times. Remember that before the pandemic, it was not unusual to take up to 3 months (not days) to sell a home.

Buyers who were waiting on the sidelines should evaluate their motivations to move. Owning a Brooklyn home is a way to build your wealth; check out this previous blog post to find out how. The rental market has also changed, which may still make purchasing a home desirable.

There are many benefits to owning a Brooklyn home that may outweigh the higher mortgage interest rates.

Some benefits include:

  1. Strengthening credit with a good mortgage payment history.
  2. A fixed monthly payment is not affected by a landlord’s annual rent increase.
  3. Build equity as you pay down your mortgage.

If you determine you are comfortable with the monthly payment at the current interest rate, you will need to ask yourself a few additional questions.

  1. Do you have enough emergency savings in case something happens to the home?
  2. Is your credit score in good standing?
  3. What is your maximum price range?

You will need to contact a lender to evaluate your financial situation and pre-qualify you for a mortgage. A lender’s pre-approval is essential to:

  1. Provide a seller proof that you can afford their home and not take it off the market only to find out you can not obtain a mortgage.
  2. Ensure you are looking in the proper price range.

Talk with your lender about refinancing possibilities when interest rates drop. Be sure you understand any restrictions on your loan that would prevent you from taking advantage of lower interest rates in the future. 

Conventional loans tend to have less restrictive rules on refinancing. However, government-backed mortgages such as FHA, USDA, and VA loans are slightly different. As you discuss the type of mortgage you qualify for with a lender, be sure you understand the refinance rules for each program.

It is important to note that you will be charged closing costs to refinance. However, you may find a no-closing-cost refinance loan, or you may be able to roll the closing costs into your new loan balance.

There are many considerations to refinancing that you should discuss with your lender if you think that will be a future strategy if you are planning to marry the house, but date the mortgage!

Although the media reports a change in the market, it doesn’t mean we are in a lousy market. The unprecedented market that we have been experiencing wasn’t going to last. It lasted far longer than anyone imagined. The current activity in the market is stable and better than some years before the pandemic.

If you are considering a Brooklyn home purchase, Contact me, Charles D’Alessandro, your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with Fillmore Real Estate. As a Brooklyn real estate agent with over 30 years of experience, I help many home buyers understand the home buying process. Reach me by phone at (718) 253-9500 ext. 1901 or by email at [email protected]

Charles D'Allesandro

Check Out These Home & Safety Tips For An Enjoyable Summer

Thursday, June 30th, 2022

Well maintained home followed home & safety tips.

Prepare for an enjoyable summer by following these home & safety tips before you begin celebrating. The term ‘safety first’ became popular through the 20th-century movement to reduce workplace hazards and has been used since 1910 in the United States.

The concept of ‘safety first’ has been with us since then. And I think it is a wise way to approach our homes and summer activities.

It is that time for cookouts, bonfires, outdoor activities, and the lazy, hazy days of summer. But before you start enjoying those favorites, start with preparation for the fun ahead!

Home Maintenance

The best place to start our discussion about home & safety tips is with our home maintenance. Summer’s high temperatures and storms can take a toll on our homes. So begin by thoroughly checking your home to determine any overdue maintenance issues.

Some items that you should check around your home include:

  1. Security

Burglary rates are higher in the summer. Therefore, taking the time to check that locks, doors, and security systems are functioning properly will be time well spent. 

  1. Garage

Clean and declutter your garage. The ability to pull your car into your garage during an expected storm could prevent hail or wind damage to your vehicle.

  1. Weatherstripping and caulking

We don’t often consider the advantages of weatherstripping and caulking in the summer. However, checking and making necessary repairs can help prevent bugs from entering the home and keep your home cooler, lowering your cooling expenses. 

  1. Sump Pump

If your home has a sump pump, take some time to ensure it is fully functioning. Heavy rain can cause a water backup in your home. A functioning sump pump will remove excess water from the home’s interior and lessen the risk of mold growth.

  1. Exterminate 

Seal up any cracks in walls, and find a safe insect repellent to prevent future damage from insects.

  1. Home tech

Smart home technologies allow us to use light timers, motion detection lights, smart doorbells, cameras, and other security measures to keep our homes safe from intrusions.

  1. Tree and Shrub Maintenance

Trim any overhanging branches to prevent damage to your home. In addition, you should trim large shrubs back to prevent intruders from having a hiding place.

  1. Children

Check your home for potential hazards like pesticides, cleaning supplies, electrical wires, etc. Make sure all dangerous chemicals are not within reach. 

  1. Safety equipment

Be sure to have a fire extinguisher, first-aid kit, and emergency contact information accessible.

Fire and Grilling Safety

Whether cooking on the grill or enjoying an evening fire, remember there is a danger if not handled properly.

  1. Flammable materials 

Keep a clear zone of 10 feet of the grill or fire pit for flammable materials.

  1. Supervise

Don’t leave fires or grills unattended. Be sure to extinguish any fire before going in for the night thoroughly.

  1. Children and Pets

Keeping children and pets at least 3 feet from the fire is advisable.

Pool Safety

Relaxing poolside is a summertime favorite. However, precautions can prevent accidents in home pools and hot tubs.

  1. Swimming Lesson

Teach children how to swim and be comfortable around water. Provide water wings or swim vests to new or insecure swimmers. Supervising children in or near the pool is the best safety measure.

  1. Fencing and Gates

Your municipality may have fencing requirements. Even if they do not, installing a gate and fence can protect household members. In addition, consider installing an alarm on the gate or backdoor, so you are alerted when someone opens it.

  1. Safety equipment

Keep a floatation device, pole, and first-aid kit available poolside in case of emergencies. Also, consider having sunscreen available to reapply while swimming.

  1. CPR Certification

Maintaining CPR knowledge can be beneficial in an emergency. Familiarize yourself with the techniques to help someone who may be drowning or in distress. Here are some tips from the American Red Cross to help.

Personal Safety

Add personal safety to your list of home & safety tips for summer. Take care of yourself and others by paying attention to risks brought on by the summer weather. Understanding how to prevent weather-related harm will ensure an enjoyable summer.

  1. Hydration

Drink plenty of fluids. Water is the best choice, but you can also consider sports drinks, tea, coconut water, and fruit juice. Avoid soda, beer, wine, and hard liquor for hydration. If you are under a doctor’s care, ask your doctor for the best practices for your condition.

  1. Body Temperature

Air-conditioned areas are best to help maintain a safe body temperature when the temperatures are high. Locate a cooling center in the community if you do not have air conditioning in your home during high heat warnings. Avoid sitting in a car or leaving children or pets in the car. If you have to be outdoors, take breaks from the heat when possible. Use a cool shower or bath to cool down. 

  1. Protection

Wear sunscreen, hats with a wide brim, and lightweight, light-colored clothing outdoors. Avoid strenuous or high-energy activity during the high heat of the day.

  1. Heat Exhaustion

Familiarize yourself with the signs of heat exhaustion. Muscle pain, cramps, spasms, heavy sweating, paleness, weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea, confusion, rapid pulse, and fainting can all be warning signs.

Weather

Proper weather preparedness is encouraged by the National Weather Service year-round. However, summer weather can turn dangerous quickly and is a big part of our summer home & safety tips.

  1. Air quality

Summer air quality can cause a risk to older adults, children, and people with heart or lung disease. Stay inside if possible. Limit the amount of time spent outdoors to essential activities. Limit the use of cars, gas-powered lawn mowers, and other vehicles during this time. Do not burn during an air quality alert.

  1. Beach

Waves and currents can be affected by the weather. Before heading to the beach, check weather reports, tide, and conditions. Check the beach area for warnings. Familiarize yourself with the location of life stations on the beach.

  1. Drought

Lack of precipitation for an extended period and high heat can cause a drought. Dry conditions can lead to brush fires or wildfires. Comply with all burning restrictions and other directives during this time.

  1. Flood

Floods can occur anytime during the year. Learn what to do before, during, and after a flood to increase the chances of survival for you and your family and protect your property. Also, familiarize yourself with what to do if you are driving and hit a flooded road.

  1. Heat

Heat is one of the leading weather-related killers in the United States. It is particularly hard on young children, older adults, people with medical conditions, and pregnant women. 

  1. Hurricanes

Hurricanes and tropical storms can be devastating. Storm surges, heavy rain, damaging winds, tornadoes, high surf, and rip currents can all result from such a storm. Learn how to protect yourself, your family, and your property before a storm approaches your area. Proper preparation is the key.

  1. Severe Thunderstorms

Hail, wind gusts, and lightning can wreak havoc on property and personal safety. Be cautious and take cover.

Having fun in the sun is one of the greatest joys. I hope these home & safety tips help you have a wonderful, safe summer experience.

If you’d like some tips on transforming your outdoor space, check out this past 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 help sellers and buyers achieve their real estate goals. Reach me by phone at (718) 253-9500 ext. 1901 or email at [email protected]

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

3 Tips To Get Top Dollar When You Sell Your Brooklyn Home

Sunday, January 30th, 2022
Get top dollar when you sell your Brooklyn home

When you are ready to sell your Brooklyn home, I am sure you want to get top dollar for it. Your home may be your most significant investment, so it is an understandable goal. I can provide many tips to homeowners considering selling their homes. I have included three essential tips to help you. 

The winter doldrums have us looking towards spring. Many homeowners decide to sell their homes in the spring. The competition is always high at that time of year. Even in a hot real estate market, it is important to do some preliminary planning before the first buyer walks through your home.

Three main factors determine if a home will sell; condition, price, and location. Although you may not be able to change the location of your home, you can definitely address the condition and price to make it appealing to buyers.

To get top dollar, I recommend:

Deep Clean

Whether your home has some dated features or is updated throughout, one of the most important things you can do is deep cleaning. A neat and tidy home presents well to potential buyers. 

It is easiest to go room by room. Begin by decluttering excess items. It is essential to make each room look as spacious as possible. Don’t forget to declutter your closets also. When a buyer opens an overfilled closet with no room for extra hangers, they believe if there is no room for your clothes, there won’t be room for theirs either. Washing or painting the walls can make a big difference. Finally, take a look at the flooring. Do you need to shampoo carpets and deep clean hard surface floors to make them more appealing?

You will find some great articles on deep cleaning the inside of your home in this Better Homes and Gardens article.

Not only should you concentrate on the interior, but also the exterior. Power washing the siding and decks, cleaning windows, and attention to landscaping go far in creating the curb appeal that buyers are looking to find.  This article addresses the areas to focus on when cleaning the exterior of your home.

Sometimes we don’t see what needs to be done in our own homes because we have become used to living with it. Therefore, it may be helpful to have someone you trust to give you an honest opinion of what they think you need to address as well. 

It may take some effort and expense to prepare to sell your Brooklyn home. However, any money you spend on preparing your home outweighs the payoff you will receive from a quicker sale. 

Price Correctly

Pricing your home correctly starts with thorough research. Your real estate agent will become a valued source in helping you determine the best price to sell your Brooklyn home.

Several factors go into pricing your home. The first is the location of your home. The phrase “location, location, location” comes up in real estate regularly for a reason. The location of your home is one of the most critical factors. As I said, you can not change the location of your home. The contributors to a good or bad location include your lot location, neighborhood, schools, local amenities, and crime statistics, to mention a few. 

Your real estate agent will research comparable homes in your neighborhood. The sales price of homes similar to yours within a certain radius of your home is the first thing to evaluate. These homes should be similar in square footage, age, and lot size. Appraisers try to stay within a half-mile radius of the subject home to determine market value. 

Next, your real estate agent will look at pending homes. These are homes that have sold but have not yet closed. Based on the asking price, the information will indicate whether prices remain the same, increasing or decreasing. It also shows the types of homes buyers were interested in purchasing. You will not know the final sales price until it finally closes, but it does give some clues to the current pricing trends.

An agent will also look at homes currently for sale. These homes will be your competition. Comparing these homes will help price appropriately because buyers will also be looking at these homes in addition to yours. 

It is important to reiterate that the homes you are comparing to yours are of similar size, age, and lot size. Therefore, you need to be comparing apples to apples to determine the correct price for your home.

Overpricing a home can be detrimental to you. Unfortunately, many home sellers mistakenly feel they can negotiate a lower price. However, the truth is, you will lose the right buyers because they are not likely to look outside their price range.

Pricing a home correctly can be a difficult task. In this previous blog post, you can find more information about the importance of pricing your home correctly. With the proper guidance, you will discover the right price for your home to reflect the current pricing trends.

Hire a Real Estate Professional

Selling a home can be stressful. Hiring an agent to guide you through the process can alleviate some of that stress. There is a lot to know about the real estate process to attain a smooth transaction when you are ready to sell your Brooklyn home. 

A real estate professional can do the research and recommend a fair asking price. They know the process and have the negotiating skills to help you obtain the best results. 

They study the market and understand the current trends in the local area that may affect you as a home seller. Then, a real estate agent will guide you in presenting your home in the best possible light based on what the current buyers in your market want.

Your real estate agent will professionally market your home to obtain the proper exposure to the available buyers. Help with staging, professional photography, and internet exposure of the house are all part of a real estate marketing plan they will provide.

Statistically, homeowners who choose to sell their home for sale by owner end up selling their home 10 – 30% less than when using a real estate professional. Many homeowners believe that saving money on the commission will put more money in their pocket. But, if you are selling 10 – 30% more with the help of a real estate agent, you are ahead of the game paying the commission. In addition, you are not responsible for the tasks needed to get a home sold, like marketing, showing the house, writing contracts, negotiating sales price, negotiating inspections, and following the transaction through to closing.

Hiring the right real estate agent can be a process. First, interview several agents before deciding which one is right for you. Unfortunately, there are many misconceptions about real estate agents. I debunk some of those misunderstandings in this blog post.

When you sell your Brooklyn home you need to understand the process. These three tips can help the right buyer find your home.

Contact me, Charles D’Alessandro, your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with Fillmore Real Estate. As a Brooklyn real estate agent with over 30 years of experience, I have helped many homeowners sell their homes quickly and profitably. I can be reached 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