Is Your Home Truly Ready to be Listed for Sale?

February 15th, 2018
Ready to be listed

Is your home truly ready to be listed for sale? Home safety checks are important to you as the seller to avoid possible negligent lawsuits.

Think your home is ready to be listed for sale? You may be tempted to list your home before it’s truly ready, for what you think are valid reasons. But don’t fall prey to that temptation. Because of the Breach of Duty regulations, you could be at risk of a lawsuit, if your home is listed before it is truly ready. If there are problems with your house, disclose them during negotiations.

What’s Most Important to Check to Make Sure Your Home is Truly Ready to be Listed for Sale?

Home safety includes everything from in-home to out-of-home safety. Visit ConsumerSafety.org for a thorough Home Safety Guide. Here are three home safety checks that are high on the list.

Important Safety Features in the Kitchen

The kitchen is one of the most hazardous areas in your home because of the high possibility of grease or electrical fires. Is there a working fire extinguisher in your kitchen? What is the expiration date listed on it?  If you don’t have one, purchase a fire extinguisher before you list your home and leave it in the kitchen. This will help you avoid a possible negligent lawsuit if an electrical or grease fire were to happen in that kitchen.

And if you rent out all or part of your home, make sure your kitchen is childproofed. Sharp utensils and harmful chemicals can be found in the kitchen and should be kept out of reach of children or secured with childproof locks.

Fire Safety

According to data collected by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), an average of $16,610 was the average monetary value of property damage caused by fire. And if you are accused of negligence, you will be required to pay for all damages. Take care to properly remove fire hazards in your home to make sure your home is truly ready to be listed for sale.

Damaged plugs and appliances, overloaded outlets, and multiple extension cords are home fire risks. Make sure outdoor grills and other outdoor cooking appliances are a safe distance from your house.

Home Safety Regarding Your Pool, Lawn, and Landscaping, too

Most Brooklyn homes do not have pools, but they are the most dangerous part of any residential home. One child under 14 drowns each day on average. If you happen to own a pool,

  • Install drain covers that are VGB-compliant
  • Store hazardous pool chemicals properly away from the pool, preferably in a locked shed
  • Cover your pool with an adequate safety cover

But what nearly every Brooklyn home does have is a lawn, even if it may be small at best. Potential safety hazards in a lawn, Charles, really? Yes! Make sure your home is truly ready to list by:

  • Removing pet feces and sharp items (rocks, glass, nails) from the yard
  • Check for and remove poisonous or harmful plants like poison ivy for example
  • Again, hazardous chemicals (weed killer and other hazardous lawn chemicals) should be stored properly away from the lawn, preferably under lock and key.

Make sure your home is truly ready to be listed for sale. Avoid a negligent lawsuit and keep the future homeowners of your house safe. Follow these and other guidelines listed in the Home Safety Guide offered at ConsumerSafety.org.


Charles D’Alessandro

Your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with Fillmore Real Estate

718-253-9600 ext. 206

Charles@BrooklynRealEstateSales.com


How Will the New Tax Law Affect You?

January 30th, 2018
New tax law

The new tax law: the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. How will it affect you as a Brooklyn homeowner?

A New Year brings with it new possibilities and changes, even in the world of real estate. Have you heard about the new tax law: the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act? Whether or not you have, you most likely won’t notice the changes that will affect you until you file your taxes in 2019. You may see changes made to next month’s paycheck because of this new tax law and its new tax rate deductions, however.

New Tax Law: How Its Policies Could Affect You as a Homeowner

  1. Capping Mortgage Interest Deduction

On December 15, 2017, the new tax law, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, reduced the amount of mortgage interest rate deduction for new loans from $1,000,000 to $750,000. If you took out a loan before December 15, 2017, you are grandfathered into the previous tax policy.

If you want to refinance your existing mortgage balance and still deduct the interest, you can do so up to $1,000,000, but your new loan cannot exceed the amount of your existing mortgage balance being refinanced.

The capping of the mortgage interest deduction poses a risk to large urban areas with high-priced homes such as those here in New York as well as in Washington, D.C., California, Hawaii, and Massachusetts.

The effect of these changes will not be noticed until you sell your home. But the newly purchased property would then come under the new regulations of the new tax law policies.

By limiting your buyer’s purchasing power and capping mortgage interest rate deduction, the growth of your home’s value could be slowed. This could then affect the profits you as a longtime homeowner would hope to gain when trying to sell.

  1. Introducing the New SALT Deduction Limit

Whether filing as an individual or married couple, taxpayers can itemize deductions up to $10,000 for their total state and local property taxes and income or sales taxes in the final bill. The cap is the same for both.

The new SALT limits will impact households that pay more than $10,000 in combined state and local taxes each year. Alexander Casey, Zillow Group Policy Advisor, says, “On one hand, taxpayers who still itemize deductions and whose total state and local tax liability exceeds $10,000 will get a smaller tax break; however, for other households, the continued availability of those deductions, even if they are capped, may be the deciding factor between whether or not they itemize deductions. This matters a lot in areas where SALT deductions were a relatively more significant reason for itemizing – areas with lower home prices, but higher taxes (e.g., upstate New York, Southern New Jersey, Inland California).”

In the law preceding this new tax law, the SALT deduction was unlimited.

Realtor.com® Senior Economist Joseph Kirchner, Ph.D. says, “The new SALT limit will have the greatest impact on states that provide a large number of services to their citizens by, first, reducing the benefit of tax cuts by disallowing the full value of this deduction, and, second, compounding the issue of the standard deduction vs. the mortgage interest rate deduction.”

  1. Preserving the Exclusion of Capital Gains

The previous law stated that homeowners must live in their home for two out of the past five years in order to qualify for the capital gains exclusion. This tax policy hasn’t changed.

Casey also says, “About 10 percent of home sellers last year sold their home after living in it between two and five years. Keeping the status quo means these sellers no longer need to make that difficult choice, and can instead feel more free to list their home on a more flexible schedule without fear of a potentially hefty tax hit.”

An increase to the residency requirement to five of the past eight years was proposed in the Senate bill, but it did not pass to the final version.

Kirchner stated, “Today, homeownership is imperative for middle-class wealth-building and financial stability. It allows people to invest in a long-term asset that pads their retirement savings, provides a safety net for unforeseen circumstances, and equity to back investment in education or small business. The survival of the capital gains exclusion means that the advantages of this type of investment will remain (except, of course, with regard to impact of changes to deductions).”

  1. Deducting on Home Equity Loans

According to the new law, taxpayers will no longer be able to deduct the interest paid on their home equity loans beginning in 2018, unless the funds are being used to improve their residence significantly. This provision expires in 2026 when it reverts back to the previous cap of $100,000 of home equity debt.

“Deductible interest on home equity loans used to provide homeowners another layer of financial security by giving them the ability to obtain low-cost financing,” Kirchner says. “Now, without the ability to deduct interest, owners effectively will have to pay more for their loans, which could put downward pressure on the homeownership rate.”

Casey believes removing this homeownership incentive will not dramatically impact the homeownership rate. But it will affect home renovations instead. About this, he says, “A lot of personal and economic factors matter more. This deduction is more important for financing major home renovations, so eliminating this deduction could contribute to underinvestment in the housing stock, making it more difficult for struggling communities to reinvent themselves.”

  1. Doubling of the Standard Deduction

Also in the previous law, $6,350 was the standard deduction for single taxpayers and married couples filing jointly. In the new law, this amount is nearly doubled to $12,000. The previous standard deduction for married couples filing jointly was $12,700. This has been increased to $24,000.

“A doubled standard deduction will have a big impact on how many homeowners ultimately decide to take advantage of the mortgage interest deduction,” says Casey. “When you combine a much larger standard deduction, with the fact that some itemized deductions have been capped or pared back, many filers may no longer find it financially advantageous to itemize deductions.”

According to Zillow’s calculations, Casey says that under the current tax code, itemizing and claiming the mortgage interest deduction is financially worthwhile on an estimated 44 percent of all U.S. homes. In addition, under the new law, itemizing and claiming the MID is worthwhile on only 14.4 percent of homes nationwide.

“The doubling of the standard deduction changes the equation for homeownership incentives and essentially renders the mortgage interest rate deduction ineffective for the majority of owners,” says Kirchner. “Until now, most households did not itemize their deductions until they bought a home, which added significant tax benefits to ownership. Based on the changes to the standard deduction, this benefit will disappear for all but those homeowners who have mortgages in excess of $550,000, depending on what other deductions they have.”

Location and Timing and the New Tax Law

How much you are impacted by the new tax law will be based largely on where you are located. If you are located in a high-cost state, you may see the biggest changes in how you file, especially with the new $10,000 SALT limit. According to Zillow Research, 51 percent of Americans surveyed last year said they agree with the statement that “the property tax rate in my community is unfair to me.” These sentiments may rise in response to residents of high-tax burdened markets receiving a higher tax bill because of the new limit.

For example, Zillow analysis conducted for the Wall Street Journal states that a top income earner in New York, who owns in the top-third price range of the metro, pays an estimated $23,000 in property and state income tax every year, which is double the amount now allowed for deductions. The analysis also reported $10,000 in similar circumstances for Raleigh, N.C., and $12,000 for a Chicagoan. These are just a few areas where high-earning taxpayers would be adversely impacted by the new SALT deduction cap. According to a Wall Street Journal article, Moody’s Analytics estimates that 80 percent of counties across the country will see a negative impact on home prices in the summer of 2019.

Low-tax states, however, may benefit from the new tax code. According to the WSJ, parts of North Carolina, Alabama, Nebraska, Indiana, and Tennessee may see boosts in their home prices and local economies. And the same Zillow analysis that surveyed high property and income taxes in other states says an individual in a similar financial situation would pay one-quarter of the amount in Nashville, Tennessee. For those that have been on the fence about moving, the tax overhaul may be their deciding factor. But those who live in high-tax states may not see the negative impact from taxes as reason enough to leave their homes.

According to NAR research, here are the five metro areas that will be most affected by the new tax law (based on homes with mortgages valued over $750,000):

  1. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif.
  2. San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, Calif.
  3. Santa Cruz-Watsonville, Calif.
  4. Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, Calif.
  5. Urban Honolulu, Hawaii

The top five metros based on share of owners that pay over $10,000 in real estate taxes:

  1. New York-Newark-Jersey City, N.Y., N.J., Pa.
  2. Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, Conn.
  3. Trenton, N.J. Metro Area
  4. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif.
  5. San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, Calif.

In response to the bill’s passing, NAR President Elizabeth Mendenhall said, “Only 6 percent of homeowners have mortgages exceeding $750,000, and only 5 percent pay more than $10,000 in property taxes, but most homeowners won’t itemize under the new regime. While we’re pleased that important homeownership incentives such as the capital gains exclusion survived in conference, additional changes are required to truly incentivize homeownership in the tax code.”

But timing also plays a role. Many of the provisions in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, including individual tax cuts, expire in 2025 and therefore, may lead to tax hikes in the future, according to the Distributional Analysis of the Conference Agreement for the TCJA by the Tax Policy Center. The report states that taxes would be reduced by $1,600 on average in 2018, increasing after-tax incomes by 2.2 percent; however, in 2025, the average tax cut as a share of after-tax income would decrease by 1.7 percent for most income groups.

“The tax bill decreases homeownership incentives, but these benefits are not the only factors in the homeownership decision,” Kirchner says. “In the short run, homebuyers can look forward to more money in their pocket that can be used for a down payment or larger home.”

He adds that cuts in government services and economic development programs, along with the rescinding of tax cuts for individuals in a few years and the impact of tax reform-induced deficit on inflation, will weaken the impact of the after-tax income boost on homeownership.

“The change definitely removes some of the federal government’s preferential treatment towards homeownership,” Casey says. “Ultimately, with these new reforms, households will be more likely to maximize their tax breaks with a standard deduction. And when someone uses the standard deduction, it doesn’t matter if they spent an extra $5,000 on a house, a boat or a vacation—the spending is treated the same when tax season comes.

“It will be interesting to see how the temporary nature of some of these tax cuts shake out,” says Casey. “Will those households on the edge of homeownership make decisions based on what their new take-home income is in February, or will there be some apprehension if they think their taxes will rise down the road?”

According to an NAR statement, “As a result of the changes made throughout the legislative process, NAR is now projecting slower growth in home prices of 1-3 percent in 2018 as low inventories continue to spur price gains; however, some local markets, particularly in high-cost, higher-tax areas, will likely see price declines as a result of the legislation’s new restrictions on mortgage interest and state and local taxes.”

If you have any questions about how the new tax law will affect you, call Charles D’Alessandro at (718) 253-9600 ext. 206 today.

This article was largely taken from RISmedia.com’s article “Tax Reform: Here’s What Could Impact Homeowners Most.”

Charles D’Alessandro

Your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with Fillmore Real Estate

718-253-9600 ext. 206

Charles@BrooklynRealEstateSales.com


How to Get Organized for a Stress-Free Life Right Now

January 15th, 2018
Get organized

There’s no time like the present to get organized and begin living a stress-free life! Plus, you’ll be very prepared for a move if and when you need to. Organization is a win-win!

The year 2017 is history, and the New Year is well underway. (Time stops for no man, right?) But towards the end of the year, during the holidays, in particular, were you hiding stuff in closets or in the garage to keep guests from viewing your clutter? If you were, and you’re one who does New Year’s resolutions, getting organized may be on your list of goals to accomplish in 2018. A there’s no better time than right now to resolve to get organized! But it takes action to actually make a goal happen.

Why You Should Get Organized Now

Disorganization and being surrounded by clutter causes stress. Organization instills a sense of calm. It makes your life easier and more efficient. Think about how stressed you get when you can’t find something you need when you need it. Do you remember the time you couldn’t find your keys when it was time to leave to be on time for an appointment? What about the time when you couldn’t find that report you wrote for school which was due that day? Do you remember how it made you feel? During these times of panic, you produce stress hormones which escalate the situation causing inflammation, more stress, and memory loss.

As you work to get organized, don’t be too hard on yourself. Organization takes work, and it takes time, but a stress-free life is a great reward for your efforts. Instead of wasting time and energy looking for things, you’ll be relaxing or being more productive.

How to Get Organized Now

Not everyone has the same amount or kinds of space to work with. And everyone has different ideas about what organization looks like or means to them. But there are basically five steps to take when you want to get organized.

Before you take the first step, zero in on one small area of one room: a counter, a shelf, a drawer, a closet … you get the idea. Start small. Bring complete order to that one small area before you move on to another.

  1. Purge

Begin to get organized with a good purge. Start off easy. Throw away worn or broken items. Then grab three boxes or make three piles: keep, toss, donate. Keep only what you need, use, and love. If you don’t need it, use it, or love it, why keep it? By the way, keeping something you don’t need, use, and love because it was a gift is not a valid reason to hang on to it.

  1. Sort

Divide like things with like things in the small area you want to get organized. Put items together based on what they are and/or what they are used for. For example, a hammer, screwdriver, nails, and painting tape would all be grouped together, because they are all tools or hardware.

  1. Make a Place

“A place for everything, and everything in its place.” Now that you’ve organized your stuff into categories and thrown away all of the unnecessary stuff, make a place for everything. Knowing how you want to use an area will help you make places for items that belong there and remove items that don’t.

  1. Organize

Most people seem to love this step! Now that you’ve purged, sorted, and made a place for everything, it’s time to purchase containers (baskets, bins, boxes). It’s easier to determine the size and style of your containers now that you can see which items should be stored together.

For kids’ art projects, memorabilia, receipts, tax papers, and warranty information purchase accordion folders, photo boxes, or magazine organizers. When memento boxes become too full, it’s time to purge them.

  1. Label

With everything in its place, you should begin labeling your containers. This step helps you and your family to know how to get organized and stay organized.

Enjoy Less Stress!

“Ahhhh! Now, this is home!” How much easier will it be to care for home and enjoy life once you get organized? Our nervous systems respond negatively to stressful circumstances caused by clutter and disorganization. So say goodbye to stuff that is taking up precious space in your home and say hello to stress-free living.

Getting organized can be an overwhelming task, and life happens. But when you’re organized, the unpredictables life throws at us will be easier to deal with.


Charles D’Alessandro

Your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with Fillmore Real Estate

718-253-9600 ext. 206

Charles@BrooklynRealEstateSales.com


Is the Electrical Wiring in Your Home Up to Code?

December 30th, 2017
Electrical wiring

Maintain the safety of your Brooklyn home and family. Bring the electrical wiring in your house up to code, and start today. It’s that important!

If your Brooklyn home was built more than 35 years ago, as most were, bringing your electrical wiring up to code is worth serious consideration. Not only will you maintain the safety of your home and family, your house will meet updated building codes and national requirements for residential homes. Today’s households utilize more gadgets, devices, and appliances than ever before. And that means easily overloaded electrical systems and possible danger to families living in older homes with outdated and insufficient electrical wiring.

Indications Your Electrical Wiring is Not Up to Code

How do you as a homeowner know whether or not the electrical wiring in your home needs updating? Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do the lights in your home flicker?
  • Are breakers constantly tripping or fuses frequently blowing?
  • In order to use one appliance, do you need to another appliance off?
  • Have you discovered melted electrical wiring?
  • Do you have faulty circuit breakers that don’t trip causing shocks, overheating and fire?

The issues caused by outdated electrical wiring are easily resolved with the installation of a new electrical panel.

Tell-Tale Signs Your Home is in Need of a New Electrical Panel

Just as old electrical wiring needs to be brought up to code, your electrical panel needs to be updated or replaced. Look at and listen to your panel box.

  • Do you hear crackling sounds from your panel box?
  • Is there corrosion or rust on the breakers or panel?
  • Are any of the electrical service conductors overheating?

More Signs Your Electrical Panel Needs to be Replaced

Now take a walk through your house to look for and consider the following:

  • Do any appliances run at less than full power?
  • See any two-pronged outlets? Two-pronged outlets are non-grounded.
  • Are your kitchen and bathrooms equipped with GFCIs (ground fault circuit interrupters)?
  • How many extension cords do you own and how often must you use them?
  • Do you need surge protectors to protect the appliances in your home?
  • Was your home built with a 60-amp electrical service? Does it still run on that 60-amp electrical service?
  • Is your electrical panel a fuse block panel or split-buss panel? A split-buss panel is an electrical panel with no main breaker.
  • If your home has a 100-amp electrical service, is it sufficient to run necessary appliances?

Other Reasons You Need a New Electrical Panel

  • Kitchen renovation
  • Home addition
  • Installation of a major appliance: HVAC system, stoves, spas, power equipment, etc
  • More outlets are needed
  • Homeowners insurance requirements have to be met
  • A 240-volt circuit is needed
  • A sub-panel needs to be added

What is an Electrical Panel?

Your electrical panel is a painted or gray metal box mounted on a wall inside your home. It is easily accessible and usually located in a utility room, laundry room, garage, basement, or closet. In rare instances, an electrical panel may be located outside the home.

Your utility company provides power to your home via your electrical panel. Power is systematically distributed throughout your home through major and minor electrical wiring which branch out from your electrical panel. Thus a properly functioning electrical panel is essential for home safety and the use of your gadgets, devices, and appliances.

Just Because You’re Living in a Newer Home Doesn’t Mean Your Electrical Panel is Safe

Fuse boxes were designed before the 1950’s. And they were built to handle only 30-60 amps of power. Our appliances today require 100-200 amps or more. This is why fuse boxes pose huge fire and electrocution safety risks. If your home uses a fuse box or any of the following electrical panels, have a new electrical panel installed immediately:

  • Federal Pacific Electric Electrical Panel
  • Zinsco Electrical Panel
  • Pushmatic Electrical Panel

Is your electrical wiring in dire need of an update? Does your Brooklyn home need a new electrical panel? Schedule an electrical inspection of your older home. Update your electrical wiring in steps, if necessary, but start today. Prevent electrical emergencies, and protect your home and family.


Charles D’Alessandro

Your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with Fillmore Real Estate

718-253-9600 ext. 206

Charles@BrooklynRealEstateSales.com

 


5 Great Reasons to Go House Hunting During the Holidays

December 15th, 2017
House hunting

House hunting in December provides a buyer numerous advantages. Take advantage of each one and start looking for your dream home today!

The kids return to school, trees lose their leaves, pumpkin-flavored everything hits the stores, and we don our favorite warm sweaters. Some celebrate Halloween and put candy makers in the black for another year. Then, before we know it, it’s time to plan a bountiful Thanksgiving Day feast and start decorating for Christmas. Are the holidays really a viable time to buy a home? With all the festivities and merrymaking taking place until New Years, who even has time to sell a home? But the holidays are the perfect time for house hunting, and here are five great reasons why it makes good sense.

Merry Christmas! Let’s Go House Hunting!

Because everyone else is planning feasts and vacations or checking off gifts from their gift list, house hunting during the holidays can pay off in a big way for a buyer.

  1. There are fewer buyers

Most people are busy celebrating, attending, hosting, and opting out of house hunting. I mean, who wants to be out in cold, snowy weather anyway? And fewer buyers means less competition and less stress for you.

  1. Home sellers are highly motivated

Since home sellers are highly motivated to sell in December, they are open to negotiations. The number of homes available to choose from may be small, but sellers are much more flexible. And you might get a better deal!

What makes a home seller so motivated to sell in December?

  • Relocation

If they have school-aged children, they may want to get into a new home before the last half of the school year begins.

  • Their Home was Listed in the Fall

Sellers may be feeling anxious that their home is still on the market after Thanksgiving after having listed it back in September. And they may have grown weary of staging and leaving their home each time strangers want to walk through it.

  • Tax Advantages

– A contract in hand before the end of the year can be beneficial to a seller for two reasons.

– A landlord incurs a loss on a rental property and wants to claim that loss as a deduction for the same calendar year.

– A seller expects a salary raise after January 1. This could subject them to a higher capital gains tax on the sale of their home if it sells for a large profit. It would be financially advantageous to sell the home before their raise in salary kicks in after the first of the new year.

3. Buying before year’s end brings tax perks in April

Homeownership allows you to deduct mortgage interest and property taxes in April. And that can add up to a lot in dollars saved. Property tax deduction caps at $10,000. Homeowners are allowed to deduct the interest on mortgages up to $500,000. This is down from the current $1 million.

And if you itemize your taxes, many closing fees are tax-deductible. Check with your accountant about this.

  1. You’ll get a more accurate idea of what you’re going to live in

Houses for sale in the spring always look irresistible due to their curb appeal. Newly-planted flowers, lots of natural light, budding trees, warm temperatures, and fresh air make house hunting an encouraging endeavor. But cold, dreary weather has a way of revealing things about a home that need attention. Ask yourself, “Can I live with this draftiness or poorly lit kitchen next year?”

Cold weather also reveals issues to inspectors that they wouldn’t normally find if the home was being inspected in a warmer season. But make sure your home inspector checks how well the air conditioning unit works and what condition the roof is in if it’s covered with snow.

  1. Professionals are more accessible

December is a slow month for movers, inspectors, and mortgage brokers, too. This makes them available to help you move right away.

Real estate agents and lenders usually have fewer clients in December which makes them eager to get your home purchase closed before December 31. And because they have fewer clients in December, they’ll be more readily available and have more time to answer questions.

House hunting during the holidays is advantageous for buyers because of the season’s activities. So, go ahead. Avoid overwhelm and ring in the New Year with the purchase of a lifetime! And don’t worry. Santa will find you in your new home!

Call Charles D’Alessandro to start house hunting in Brooklyn this month.  Contact Charles D’Alessandro, your Brooklyn real estate agent with Fillmore Real Estate, at (718) 253-9700 ext. 206 today or click here now.


Charles D’Alessandro

Your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with Fillmore Real Estate

718-253-9600 ext. 206

Charles@BrooklynRealEstateSales.com


Top Improvements that will Help Your Home Sell Quickly

November 30th, 2017
Home sell quickly

Want to know what improvements and upgrades will help your home sell quickly?

It never fails. Those selling their homes always ask, “What improvements or upgrades will increase the value of our home and help our home sell quickly, Charles?” To which I answer, “Improvements or upgrades that increase storage and maintain your home’s unique features.”

And according to the pros, there are eight.

8 Improvements or Upgrades that will Help Your Home Sell Quickly

  1. Kitchen Updates

An updated kitchen can sell a home quickly, and today’s buyers favor simple in the kitchen. Simple backsplashes like subway tile and subdued colors will help a home sell quickly. Consider painting your cabinets with a subdued color. The installation of inexpensive stainless steel appliances will update your kitchen like new in a snap. Buyers appreciate a modernized kitchen.

  1. Bathroom Upgrades

Replace your vanity. Change your shower/tub insert into a free-standing claw-foot tub. Consider a trendy frameless shower door and free-standing sink. Even a fresh coat of paint, new hardware, and re-glazing and re-caulking the tub will upgrade your bathroom to help your home sell quickly.

  1. Lots of Storage

Built-in bookshelves used to be home decorating no-nos. But today’s buyers are looking for practicality and charm. Built-in bookshelves, window seats with storage, closets with extra shelves, hooks, and rods are hot items and will help your home sell quickly. Buyers are looking for a place for everything so they can put everything in its place.

  1. Paint

A fresh coat of paint works wonders and “covers a multitude of sins.” Besides, the average person isn’t well-versed in the latest color trends anyway. All you need is a fresh coat of neutral, light, and bright paint throughout your home.

  1. Flooring Upgrades

Hardwood flooring (or flooring that looks like hardwood such as ceramic wood planks) transforms a home as well as a fresh coat of paint. It’s so much easier to clean and is extremely aesthetically pleasing to the eye.

  1. Improvements to Your Home’s Curb Appeal

Manicuring your landscape is a simple upgrade that comes with a big return on investment. Depending on the time of year, make sure your lawn is in great shape. Trim bushes and low-hanging branches, plant flowers or native plants, or place potted flowers around the front door. Add new mulch. Improving your home’s curb appeal works as many wonders as a fresh coat of paint throughout your home.

  1. Room Conversions or New Additions

Buyers are looking for heated and cooled square footage in a home. If you want to boost your sale price and score major brownie points, consider converting your garage, attic, or screened-in porch into heated and cooled square footage. You might even want to build a new addition. Buyers are looking for the most house for their money.

  1. Your Home’s Uniqueness

If your home has historical value, maintain its authenticity and integrity. Upgrade or improve your home with projects such as restoring original window casements and hardware.

These improvements and upgrades are guaranteed to pay off when your home is sold. And they will certainly help your home sell quickly.

Call Charles D’Alessandro for more information on improvements and upgrades that will help your home sell quickly. He has 30+ years of real estate experience, and he knows what it takes to sell your Brooklyn home quickly. Contact Charles D’Alessandro, your Brooklyn real estate agent with Fillmore Real Estate, at (718) 253-9700 ext. 206 today or click here now.


Charles D’Alessandro

Your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with Fillmore Real Estate

718-253-9600 ext. 206

Charles@BrooklynRealEstateSales.com


The Best Way to Update Your Cabinets with Paint

November 15th, 2017
Update your cabinets

You can hire a professional to paint your cabinets, but if saving money is a priority, do it yourself.

The kitchen is the heart of the home and the second major selling point of any house. And it costs a pretty penny to update especially when it comes to replacing cabinets and appliances. If you need to update your cabinets in the kitchen or in the bathroom, but you’re not financially able to replace them, think paint! Paint works wonders. But if you want crave-worthy cabinets with professional-style results, it’s imperative that you follow each step carefully. No skipping or skrimping. Remember, “haste makes waste” when it comes to painting.

How to Update Your Cabinets Yourself

You can hire a professional to paint your cabinets, but if saving money is a priority, do it yourself. Need some ideas to help you update your cabinets? Here’s an awesome list from HGTV:

1. Choose the Best Paint

If you’re going to save the cost of a professional and update your cabinets DIY, look for paint at your local paint supply store. The staff of a reputable paint supply store will help you pick the best products for your cabinets. Ask for paint that is non-blocking so it won’t stick when cabinets and drawers are closed. It needs to be able to stand up to a lot of wiping and cleaning. You don’t want the paint coming off whenever you’re scrubbing or wiping down your cabinets and drawers.

Choose your paint color and finish keeping in mind that oil paint is hard to work with. Choose a latex satin finish paint instead. It’s also important to know that dark colors tend to show imperfections in the paint and cabinetry and highlight dirt more than light colors do.

2. Prepare to Update Your Cabinets

First, decide if you want to paint your cabinets with a paintbrush and foam roller or spray paint them with a spray gun. Rolling the paint on won’t look as good as spraying the paint on, but it takes less skill. Spray painting will get the job done quicker than painting with a paintbrush and foam roller, but in order to get that professional-looking finish, you’ll need a good paint spray gun.

Now that you’ve decided the paint method to update your cabinets with, prepare for painting:

  • Clear counters
  • Empty cabinets
  • Cover backsplash and appliances
  • Remove hinges, hardware, doors, and drawers
  • Put hinges and hardware in plastic bags
  • Label each door with masking tape
  • Set up a worktable or prop 2×4’s on buckets or boxes

Purchase your paint and primer along with any of the products you need to prepare your cabinets for primer. Don’t forget the angled brush and mini foam roller if you’re not spray painting the cabinets.

3. Prep Your Cabinets

Before you begin painting, look at the existing finish. Is it pealing, greasy, dirty, etc.? If the existing finish is pealing, strip it off. Think of it as rust on a car. You wouldn’t paint over the rust because the rust will just fall off taking the paint with it. If the existing finish is in good shape, skip the stripping step and begin cleaning. Prepping all doors and drawers properly makes sure the paint will stick.

  • Furniture normally doesn’t have grease on it, but cabinets often do. Scrub them thoroughly using a clean, soft rag and mineral spirits or trisodium phosphate (TSP) to remove every drop of grease and grime, every drop. Don’t just wipe them down. It’s crucial that old oils, waxes, and grime are removed. Paint covers a multitude of sins, but it refuses to abide dirty, greasy surfaces. Daniel Jones of Wehrli Furniture Company in Naperville, Illinois, says, “We use a product called Wax Wash to clean furniture. But for greasy cabinets, we use something similar to 409 and then Wax Wash. You have to get all the grease off or the paint won’t stick.”
  • Fill dents, grooves, or holes with a good wood filler.
  • Lightly sand surfaces using 100-grit sandpaper to scuff every inch. This creates grooves so the paint has something to adhere to. This step isn’t anything you need to be crazy particular about. You just need to create a scratch pattern that paint will stick to.
  • Wipe cabinets and drawers with a tack cloth to remove dust before drilling new holes for new hardware.
  • Fill in gaps or seams with caulk

4. Apply Primer to Your Cabinets

If you want professional-looking results, don’t skip the primer. It’s imperative to prime every part of your cabinets – boxes, door fronts, drawers before you start applying paint. Use a stain-blocking primer designed for glossy surfaces.

5. Start Applying Your Paint

Once the primer that you applied to every part of your cabinets is completely dry, apply the latex satin paint. Work in sections using the angled brush and go over what you’ve painted with the brush with the mini foam roller. Applying the paint in this way provides that professional-looking finish you’re looking for.

If you chose to use a paint spray gun, the process is the same as it would be if working with a brush and roller. Just apply the spray paint to your cabinets outside where there is adequate ventilation.

Apply at least two coats of paint. Let the paint dry thoroughly and lightly sand between coats.

Once everything is painted and the paint is completely dry, use very fine grit sandpaper to give everything a final sanding. Use tack cloth to remove sanding dust and apply a couple coats of satin polycrylic for added durability.

6. Reinstall Doors and Drawers

Once all the paint is dry, put your cabinets back together. And now you get to install your new hardware or the old hardware you stored systematically in plastic bags.

If you’re stumped about how to upgrade your cabinets in your home, whether selling or buying, call Charles D’Alessandro. His 30+ years of real estate experience in the Brooklyn area has given him an eye for what is truly needed. He also knows the best people to contact for help. Contact Charles D’Alessandro, your Brooklyn real estate agent with Fillmore Real Estate, at (718) 253-9700 ext. 206 today or click here now.


Charles D’Alessandro

Your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with Fillmore Real Estate

718-253-9600 ext. 206

Charles@BrooklynRealEstateSales.com


Why It’s Best to Make Upgrades Before You Move In

October 30th, 2017
Upgrades

Before you move into your new home, make upgrades that will add functionality and value.

If you’re able to, make upgrades before you move in. And there are five great reasons to make them before you do:

  1. Upgrades add value to the investment you’ve made in your new home
  2. They improve the function of your home
  3. Upgrades help you convey your personality
  4. They make your new home feel like home right away
  5. And inconveniences, later on, are brought to a minimum

Which Upgrades Should You Make Before You Move In?

  1. Kitchen

The kitchen is the most expensive room in the house. A great one meets your family’s needs. And upgrades that improve the quality and function of your kitchen add value. You’ll gain a deep appreciation for your home, too.

  • Replace the old appliances with high-end, energy-efficient, or water-saving appliances.
  • Most breakfast bar counters or islands are 42” high. Lower yours to 36 inches to make it more accessible.
  • Change the countertops to quartz.
  • Brighten up the countertops. Add lighting under the cupboards to illuminate your workspaces.
  • Make fixtures match your hardware. A brushed bronze faucet should match your brushed bronze cabinet pulls.
  1. Bathroom

When updating your new bathroom(s), think about the needs you have currently as well as those you’ll have in the future. Will your family grow? Do you plan to entertain often? The answers to these questions and others like them will help determine the upgrades you will want to make in your bathroom(s).

  • Install a double sink
  • Build walk-in showers
  • Use decorative shower, floor, or wall tile.
  • Add custom lighting or fixtures
  • Hang lots of shelves for more storage
  1. Kitchen and Bathroom

Cabinets in both the kitchen and bathroom affect the function and appearance of your home in a big way. Installing new cabinets before you move in and start unpacking helps you get and stay organized right off the bat. But don’t throw out the old cabinets. Hang them in the garage or attic to help you get and stay organized there, too.

  1. Floors

I’m sure it goes without explanation, but it’s definitely easier to upgrade flooring while the new home is empty. There’s no furniture to contend with!

  1. Electrical Wiring

Older homes usually have outdated wiring. We discovered the need for additional outlets throughout our 80-year-old home. There aren’t many, and the ones we do have are in odd places.

Walk through your house and plan updates for the electrical wiring. Then, hire an electrician. Discuss adding outlets and light switches for better function. There may even be some light switches that need to be rewired to properly connect with the right light fixtures.

  1. Internet Service

Research and find a company that will improve security and internet speed in your new home. Also, consider having the internet wired throughout the whole house. This will allow you to install electronics such as security cameras, for example, in any room. And when the internet is wired throughout the whole house, you’ll keep outside users and hackers from accessing your network. Full-house internet is a plus for home security!

  1. Storage

If your new home is light on storage, you might want to seriously consider installing closets throughout your house. Storage helps you unpack completely and organize your home the way you want at a pace you want. You can never have too much storage!

  1. Laundry Room

If your new house includes a laundry room rather than a laundry closet, turn it into a pantry, drop zone, and/or mud room. Utilize it fully! Rearrange the washer and dryer hookups to make room for pantry storage and a utility sink. If it’s located close to the garage door where your family enters the house, add a bench, boot tray, hooks for shoes and umbrellas, and cubbies for backpacks.

Do yourself a huge favor. If you’re able, make upgrades before you move in. As you can see, the benefits are extremely homeowner-friendly. You’ll enjoy them right away and long-term.

Need more suggestions on what to upgrade in your new home? Ask Charles D’Alessandro. With over 30 years of real estate experience in the Brooklyn area, he can tell you which upgrades will give you “the most bang for your buck” and those that will serve you and your family well. Contact Charles D’Alessandro, your Brooklyn real estate agent with Fillmore Real Estate, at (718) 253-9700 ext. 206 or click here.


Charles D’Alessandro

Your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with Fillmore Real Estate

718-253-9600 ext. 206

Charles@BrooklynRealEstateSales.com


5 Steps to Ease the Stress of the Sale of Your Home

October 15th, 2017

Ease the stressSince you’re convinced that the fall is a good time sell, here are some often overlooked steps to take to ease the stress of the sale of your home. Staging is one of them. Here are another five that will help you sail through the sale.

Ease the Stress of the Sale of Your Home

  1. Make a list of improvements you’ve made and any issues you’ve experienced while living in your home

Highlight and disclose improvements you’ve made in addition to any issues you may have experienced while living in your home, especially if you’ve owned your home for a while. For example, chimney fires, water damage, a flooded basement, or the addition of a French drain system, too.

  1. Be aware of how your listing appears online

Get online and Google your address. Why? Because almost all buyers search online for homes these days. And you need to be aware of how your listing looks on the Internet. For example, not all of your recent home improvements show up on Google Maps’ street view. You need to flag each one of those updates that aren’t showing up.

And what does the site give as an estimated value for your home? It may be very different from the asking price you’ve put on your home. Sometimes tax records have the wrong information about the number of bedrooms or bathrooms in your home. Not to worry. Just be aware and get it fixed. It’s easy to do.

  1. Take a look at your home from the curb

What do you see? Cosmetic repairs, even minor ones, can cost you the sale if they’re not taken care of. First impressions are that important and can make all the difference when it comes to a sale. When your home is well-kept, it gives a good first impression. It shows you take great pride in your home. The buyer sees the care you have taken and translates that into less energy and cost for themselves as they prepare to move in.

  1. Clean every nook and cranny

Potential buyers look everywhere! They look inside drawers, cabinets, closets, even the dishwasher and washing machine. Potential buyers judge how clean everything is as part of that first impression mentioned in step three. Spending the time and money needed to deep-clean your home will come back to you ten-fold.

  1. Let your agent know which items aren’t to be included in the sale

From custom window treatments to appliances, if they’re not included in the sale, tell your agent. Unless specifically excluded in the contract, the law says that anything bolted to the wall or ceiling goes to the buyer. If you want to take your flat-screen TV, chandelier, or custom pot rack, play it safe. Pack it, replace it, or label it as soon as you list your home on the market. Don’t let buyers bank on owning the items and be disappointed when they move in. Read Fixture Feuds for a little insight on potentially bad situations.

As I like to say, look at your house through the eyes of a buyer. Would you want to buy your house? What needs to be repaired or updated? Fix clean, update, and get the clutter you see outta there before you list your home. Selling a home is stressful, but you can ease the stress with these five simple steps.

Charles D’Alessandro is a great agent who will help ease the stress of selling your home. With over 30 years of real estate experience in the Brooklyn area, he knows just what to do to prepare your home for sale. Contact Charles D’Alessandro, your Brooklyn real estate agent with Fillmore Real Estate, at (718) 253-9700 ext. 206 or click here for suggestions and tips on how to prepare your Brooklyn home for sale now.


Charles D’Alessandro

Your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with Fillmore Real Estate

718-253-9600 ext. 206

Charles@BrooklynRealEstateSales.com


Is Now a Good Time to be Selling Your Home?

September 30th, 2017
Good time to be selling your home

Many homeowners believe that the fall and winter are not a good time to be selling your home. This simply isn’t true. Find out why now is a good time!

Are you trying to determine whether or not now is a good time to be selling your home? Maybe you’re wondering if it would be wise to wait until spring? After all, a lot of folks claim spring is when the real estate season is at its peak, right? Many of the reasons listed in 10 Reasons Why House Hunting in the Fall is a Wise Move carry over into why selling your home in the fall is wise, too. Here are six that will encourage you not to wait and go for it now.

6 Reasons Why Now is a Good Time to be Selling Your Home

1. Homes are Bought and Sold Year-round

Most homes are listed and sold when the real estate season is at its peak in the spring and summer. For this reason, many homeowners believe that the fall and winter are not a good time to be selling your home. This simply isn’t true. Because life constantly brings major changes that require downsizing or relocating, homes are bought and sold year-round.

2. There is Less Competition for Buyers

Less competition is a good thing! And it’s a great reason to sell your home now instead of waiting to sell it in the spring. When there are fewer buyers, the competition for properties lowers. When there are fewer homes for sale, there are fewer for buyers to look through. Less competition increases the likelihood of buyers walking through your home, you receiving an offer, and you getting the maximum amount of money for your home, too.

3. Mortgage Rates Are Low

When mortgage rates are low, buyers are able to purchase homes that cost more. Even a slight increase in mortgage rates can push a monthly mortgage payment beyond what a buyer can afford. Also, when mortgage rates increase, sellers are usually faced with lowering their asking price in order to sell their home. Waiting to list your home in the spring runs the risk of mortgage rate increases during the fall and winter. This means less demand for your home which means less money for you. Don’t wait until spring. Take advantage of lower mortgage rates by selling your home now.

4. There are Fewer Real Estate Transactions

When the real estate season is at its peak in the spring, there will be more real estate transactions taking place. During the fall and winter season, when there are fewer real estate transactions, mortgage lenders have fewer loans, attorneys have fewer closings, and home inspectors have fewer inspections. Fewer real estate transactions mean quicker loan transactions and closings for everyone and less stress for you!

5. You get to Stage your Home for the Holiday Season

This may not seem like a great reason for selling your home now, but for some buyers, it really could be. Many know that staging a home sells a home. It certainly helps more than it ever hinders! The reason for staging a home is to help potential buyers envision themselves living in the home. Some buyers can’t envision themselves in any place staged or not. But others can be sold on a home because it smells warm, inviting, and homey. Staging a home with just a little seasonal décor can go a long way with some potential buyers, and you get to enjoy the seasonal festivities a little as well.

6. Real Estate Agents are Even More Willing to Go the Extra Mile

Since real estate agents are busiest in the spring and summer, it makes sense that they are not as busy in the fall and winter. And because they have more time on their hands, they have more time to devote to helping you list, sell, and close your home quickly.

Charles D’Alessandro knows now is a good time to be selling your home. He is always up for the challenge of adapting to the slower real estate season and marketing his listings to reflect this for you. Contact Charles D’Alessandro, your Brooklyn real estate agent with Fillmore Real Estate, at (718) 253-9700 ext. 206 or click here for suggestions and tips on selling your Brooklyn home now.


Charles D’Alessandro

Your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with Fillmore Real Estate

718-253-9600 ext. 206

Charles@BrooklynRealEstateSales.com