Category Archives: My Neighborhood

The Right Advice for Purchasing Nice

First-time homebuyersIf you’re fresh at purchasing real estate, you might want to read this over and then recruit the help of reputable real estate agents. Professionals have resources you don’t, including computer software that allows one to effectively search all MLS listings. The MLS tools available to professionals are more detailed than those accessible by the average individual and are able to advise you with greater accuracy and insight. Many first-time home buyers don’t take the time to get prequalified. They also often don’t take the time to shop around to find the best mortgage for their particular situation. It’s important to ask plenty of questions and make sure you understand the home loan process completely.

Getting pre-approved gives the buyer a chance to find out how much home they can afford. A competent loan officer will tell the buyer not only the principal and interest payments per month, but also the estimated taxes, insurance, and mortgage insurance monthly amounts. This gives the borrower a true number to work with in order to decide their comfort zone when looking at potential properties. Also, sellers will be more interested in negotiating with you, and accepting you as their purchaser, if you’re working with a good RE agent, and if you’ve already been preapproved for a mortgage loan. If you are not preapproved, it can lengthen the timeline of the purchasing process and can result in additional costs.

Before buying a home, get an inspector to examine it. You don’t want to have a home that needs tons of renovating. Not only will this cost a lot, you might need to change your living situation until it’s fixed.

One simple way to start the entire real estate buying process is to get organized. You should have a notebook full of the information you get from newspapers, friends, online, and also from your agent. This will avoid confusion and make it easier for you to compare different offerings. Remember that your offer is very unlikely to be the only one on the table, so make a good offer. Do what you can to ensure it’s appealing to a seller.

If you are looking to purchase some of or all of a building in order to open a business, make sure it is in a good neighborhood. When you open a business that is located in a poor neighborhood, most likely you will not have a large pool of customers. Real estate agents will be able to advise you as to the best places to open a business. It’s easy to get wrapped up in your present needs, but you should also think about reselling the home before you buy. The average first-time buyer expects to stay in a home for around 10 years, according to the National Association of REALTORS®’ 2013 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers.

Factor maintenance and repair costs into your buying budget, because even brand-new homes will require some work. Don’t leave yourself short and let your home deteriorate.

When deciding on an agent, it is important to have a list of questions already planned out. You will want to know how many homes were sold during the previous year, as well as the number in your target area. The agent should be prepared to answer all of these questions in a professional manner. It’s absolutely vital that you find a real estate professional who understands your goals and who is ready and able to guide you through the home buying process.
If you’ve made an offer for a house that seller didn’t take, don’t be discouraged, since you might find a better home. See if they might offer to cover closing costs or necessary repairs prior to you moving in.

Request a checklist from your Realtor to put yourself in the best position before buying. There are many Realtors that have a checklist like this already prepared. It covers the entire home-buying process, from choosing a house to getting a loan. Using this checklist can help you make sure that you have completed everything in time to close the sale.

Buying real estate isn’t as difficult as it might seem. You need to take some time to educate yourself and ask lots of questions. If you use these tips, then you’ll be able to make a wise decision on your next real estate purchase. Harriet RobertsonCall me to make your home buying easier ( 917-952-7364 ).
Thanks,   Harriet

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Brooklyn Brownstones are Moving Fast

Brooklyn Brownstone townhouses

Over the course of the next week or so we will be discovering and discussing what are Brooklyn Brownstones, their history, who owns them and their value. There are many brownstones throughout numerous New York City neighborhoods, especially in the Brooklyn neighborhoods of

Park Slope, Clinton Hill, Fort Greene, Cobble Hill, Prospect Heights, Brooklyn Heights, and Bedford Stuyvesant. The Manhattan neighborhood of the Upper West Side, too, retains many brownstones.

Sandstone with a reddish brown color caused by the dissolved iron oxide in the rock, is called brownstone. It was very easy to mine and carve and became very popular in the 19th century. New York and Boston both have a large number of brownstone homes that were built in the form of terrace or row houses with raised entrances. Harlem, Park Slope, and Brooklyn all have large numbers of such homes in varying condition. Brooklyn Brownstones are highly desired.

It is believed that in the late 1800’s Irish Catholics started to appear in Brooklyn, mainly Sunset Park and were soon followed by Polish immigrants. They found jobs nearby in Green-Wood Cemetery and Park Slope’s Ansonia Clock Factory. (photo credit: Brownstone Awaiting A Wrecking Ball, NYC 1959, by Dmitri Kessel, from the Brownstone Revival Coalition)
The Scandinavians began working as shipbuilders. In 1916 they joined together to build ‘apartments’.

Row house developers started using ‘brownstone’ as their material of choice. Brownstone was very easy to excavate and easy to work with as they could ‘form’ or carve it to fit their needs.

Post war the Brooklyn Brownstones were built for influential members of ‘high society’. Condos came into the picture and neighborhoods began to grow. There are hundreds of Brownstone homes enjoyed by families today.

Can you imagine living in a building with so much rich history? Made with love, sweat and I am sure blood and tears, these are some of the most beautiful homes, condos and apartments around.

You can find Brownstones in all areas of New York including NYC, they are also prevalent in New Jersey as most of the stone was mined there.

Brooklyn Brownstones have always been an excellent investment and never stayed in the listings very long. I also noticed how much higher the prices had began to rise. As a Realtor/Broker I am always invested in all areas of real estate but in my own home town I could not believe the phenomenon that was happening. This is the 3rd and final in our Brooklyn Brownstone series.

I began asking around and doing property searches to see why these famous Brownstones were flying off the market and much to my surprise they were being highly sought after by foreign investors, yes foreign investors. I found this really informative article giving the scoop on this hot market topic and I would like to share it with you,  Foreign investors ‘buying up all the brownstones in Brooklyn and pushing prices even higher’

Follow us to learn who desires these properties the most!  Or call me and lets find you one.

What are the Top Tips for Buying a House?

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10 things you should know when buying a home.

1. Don’t buy if you aren’t going to stay for a good long while.

If you’re not committing to residing in one place for more than a few years, then owning your residence probably won’t serve you well, at least not yet. After the transaction costs of buying and selling your home, you’ll wind up losing money by selling sooner.

2. Start by cleaning up your credit.

You will most likely need to secure a mortgage to purchase a house, so making sure your credit history is as good as possible is a must. Months before you start house hunting, be sure to get copies of your credit report. Make sure facts are correct, and fix any problems.

3. Look for a home you can comfortably manage to pay for.

A good rule of thumb is to buy housing that runs about two-and-one-half times your annual salary. You’ll do better using one of many calculators online to get a better understanding of how your income, expenses, and debts affect how much you can afford.

4. If you can’t put down 20%, you may still be eligible for a loan.

There are a number of private and public lenders who, if you qualify, can offer low-interest mortgages that require a smaller down payment.

5. Get professional help.

Though the Internet offers buyers exceptional access to property listings, most new buyers, and many more experienced ones, will do better using a professional real estate agent. You want an exclusive buyer agent in your corner who has your best interests at heart and will help you with better strategies during the bidding process.

6. Buy in a neighborhood that has good schools.

This advice applies even if you don’t have school-age children, because strong school districts are a top priority for most home buyers, and help bolster property values.

7. Get yourself pre-approved before house hunting.

Getting pre-approved and save yourself the grief of looking at houses you can’t afford.  That puts you in a much better position to make an offer you can afford when you do find the home you want. Don’t confuse this with pre-qualification, which is based on a cursory review of your finances, pre-approval from a lender is based on your actual income, debt and credit history.

8. Do your homework before bidding.

Your opening bid should be based on the sales trend of similar homes in the neighborhood. So before making it, consider sales of similar homes in the last three months. If homes have recently sold at 5 percent less than the asking price, you should make a bid that’s about eight to 10 percent lower than what the seller is asking.

9. Choose carefully between points and rate.

When picking a mortgage, you usually have the option of paying additional points — a portion of the interest that you pay at closing — in exchange for a lower interest rate. If you stay in the house for a long time — say three to five years or more — it’s usually a better deal to take the points, as the lower interest rate will save you more money in the long run.

10. Hire a good home inspector.

Sure, your lender will require a home appraisal, but that’s just the bank’s way of deciding whether the house is worth the money you’ve agreed to pay. You should hire your own home inspector, and preferably an engineer with experience doing home surveys in your area. Their job will be to point out problems and potential problems that could require expensive repairs now and down the road.

Give me a call to help you cover all your bases for a smooth home buying experience.
Thanks, Harriet Robertson   Harriet Robertson

New York and the Beautiful People

1new-york-city

It’s often said that the people of New York are uncaring, thoughtless and so many inaccurate things. Thought I would tell you a story about some hard working people who went the extra mile for someone they didn’t even know.

On November 13, 2016, I was scheduled to leave Brooklyn for Albany when I discovered that I did not have my cell Phone. It seemed I must have left it in the nail salon on Saturday evening.  It was early morning Sunday, and I had to leave for an appointment in Albany at 3 pm, so I left.  I was miserable but, on my way to Albany, one of the ladies I was traveling with said that I could transfer my calls to her phone. I did, but it was not easy in that we both got lots of calls, but we managed.  Sunday evening my sister called me and said that she had called my cell phone, and someone answered, and told her to try to reach me because I left my phone at the nail shop.  I felt better because now I knew where my phone was and I would retrieve it on my return on Monday.  On Monday, I arrived back in Brooklyn in time to go to the nail shop to find that my phone was there and that the owner had gone to great lengths to find me. She told me that she looked me up on the web, tried calling my office and found no one. She seemed happy that I was back, and she was able to return the phone, but was also very security conscious and asked me for ID.

That move alone makes that nail shop my favorite and I want to thank them. The shop is the Vip Nails & Spa 269 Kingston Ave.

Harriet’s Go-Green Advice

 


eco-friendly-06There is so much talk of global warming, too much waste and unbridled energy consumption. We all want to do something, right?

It starts right at home and it needs to continue. We are offering you ways to Go Green to Save Green.

Budgets are strained and families find themselves struggling but all the while want to teach their children how to conserve and preserve. Start by doing these small and inexpensive changes around your home and lifestyle.

  •         Use cloth napkins and eliminate 40+ rolls of paper towels
  • Switch to cloth diapers, do you know it can take 200 years to decompose depending on the manufacturer
  • Collect rainwater and use it to water gardens and indoor plants
  • Lower the temperature of your hot water heater
  • Hang your clothes on an outdoor line to air dry, you can then tumble on a short air only cycle for wrinkle removal
  • Wash laundry in cold water instead of hot
  • Fix leaky faucets, easy DIY project that saves money and conserves water (your landlord will appreciate it too) Install low-flow replacements available everywhere.
  • Stop unsolicited mail. Junk mail can pile quickly both in the home and in the landfill. Be sure to destroy your name and address.
  • Turn your computer completely off at night
  • Unplug all those phone and iPod chargers, they do use energy as long as they are plugged in the outlet
  • Walk or ride your bike when available
  • Drive the speed limit
  • Turn off the lights when you leave a room
  • Buy inexpensive reusable drinking bottles instead of plastic bottles of water. We throw away 50 billion water bottles each year (shame)
  • Opt to take your own cloth bag to the grocers and eliminate plastic bag waste. They take forever to decompose.
  • Make a compost bin, less than $20 and easy to make
  • Change filters regularly & clean duct system
  • Insulate, insulate, insulate
  • Use sustainable materials for new floors such as bamboo
  • Your next appliance purchase should be energy efficient. Read up
  • Install programmable thermostats
  • My biggest Go Green is to do a home energy audit. You can lose massive mounts of heat or air conditioning around doors, windows, light switches, in the attic and in the basement. Well worth every dime now and later.
  • Plant trees for shade around your home and they add beauty

Harriet Robertson
We all know there is so much more we could be doing that we could make a very long list. Of course we can’t do it all at once but try just one thing and then another until it becomes a habit to be greener.

Recycle my friends, recycle!

Path to Financial Freedom, Hedgerow maze leading to a dollar symbol

Helpful Advice To Use When Purchasing Property

First-time homebuyersIf you’re fresh at purchasing real estate, you might want to read this over and then recruit the help of reputable real estate agents. Professionals have resources you don’t, including computer software that allows one to effectively search all MLS listings. The MLS tools available to professionals are more detailed than those accessible by the average individual, and are able to advise you with greater accuracy and insight. Many first-time home buyers don’t take the time to get prequalified. They also often don’t take the time to shop around to find the best mortgage for their particular situation. It’s important to ask plenty of questions and make sure you understand the home loan process completely.

Getting pre-approved gives the buyer a chance to find out how much home they can afford. A competent loan officer will tell the buyer not only the principal and interest payments per month, but also the estimated taxes, insurance and mortgage insurance monthly amounts. This gives the borrower a true number to work with in order to decide their comfort zone when looking at potential properties. Also, sellers will be more interested in negotiating with you, and accepting you as their purchaser, if you’re working with a good RE agent, and if you’ve already been preapproved for a mortgage loan. If you are not preapproved, it can lengthen the timeline of the purchasing process, and can result in additional costs.

Before buying a home, get an inspector to examine it. You don’t want to have a home that needs tons of renovating. Not only will this cost a lot, you might need to change your living situation until it’s fixed.

One simple way to start the entire real estate buying process is to get organized. You should have a notebook full of the information you get from newspapers, friends, online, and also from your agent. This will avoid confusion and make it easier for you to compare different offerings. Remember that your offer is very unlikely to be the only one on the table, so make a good offer. Do what you can to ensure it’s appealing to a seller.

If you are looking to purchase some of or all of a building in order to open a business, make sure it is in a good neighborhood. When you open a business that is located in a poor neighborhood, most likely you will not have a large pool of customers. Real estate agents will be able to advise you as to the best places to open a business. It’s easy to get wrapped up in your present needs, but you should also think about reselling the home before you buy. The average first-time buyer expects to stay in a home for around 10 years, according to the National Association of REALTORS®’ 2013 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers.

Factor maintenance and repair costs into your buying budget, because even brand-new homes will require some work. Don’t leave yourself short and let your home deteriorate.

When deciding on an agent, it is important to have a list of questions already planned out. You will want to know how many homes were sold during the previous year, as well as the number in your target area. The agent should be prepared to answer all of these questions in a professional manner. It’s absolutely vital that you find a real estate professional who understands your goals and who is ready and able to guide you through the home buying process.
If you’ve made an offer for a house that seller didn’t take, don’t be discouraged, since you might find a better home. See if they might offer to cover closing costs or necessary repairs prior to you moving in.

Request a checklist from your Realtor to put yourself in the best position before buying. There are many Realtors that have a checklist like this already prepared. It covers the entire home-buying process, from choosing a house to getting a loan. Using this checklist can help you make sure that you have completed everything in time to close the sale.

Buying real estate isn’t as difficult as it might seem. You need to take some time to educate yourself and ask lots of questions. If, you use these tips, then you’ll be able to make a wise decision on your next real estate purchase. Call me to make your home buying easier ( 917-952-7364 ).

Brooklyn Night Life

Friends, Please join me at the 2015 Summer Concerts:

Seaside Summer Concerts 2015 Festival at MCU Park – 7:30 pm:
Thursday, July 23rd – Starship featuring Mickey Thomas and The Lord Calverts
Friday, July 24th – Latino Music with Eddie Santiago and N’Klabe

Martin Luther King Jr. Concert Series at Wingate Field – 7:30 pm
Monday, July 27th – Morris Day and The Time
Monday, August 3rd – Gospel Night with Ricky Dillard & New G, Mike Willis & The Called, and Christian Cultural Center Choir
Monday, August 10th – Reggae Night – Freddie McGregor, Christopher Martin, New Kingston, and Ikaya
Monday, August 17th – Old School Night – Doug E. Fresh, Kurtis Blow, and Special Ed
Admission is FREE !
-Eric L Adams, President of the Borough of Brooklyn

BPO events

How To Choose A Neighborhood

By Liz Gray, FrontDoor.com

clear camera 253 (Small)If houses are like spouses, a neighborhood is like the extended family. But while you can have a good marriage and still dread holidays with the in-laws, you’ll never love a house if you don’t like your neighborhood.

How can you choose the right community? Become a neighborhood detective. Figure out what you’re looking for, do research and find a neighborhood that fits your description. You don’t even have to wear a trench coat — but it probably wouldn’t hurt.

STEP 1 — Profile Your Perfect Neighborhood

Before you start scrutinizing neighborhoods, turn the magnifying glass back on yourself.

Think about what you’re really looking for in a new neighborhood. Remember, you’ll probably have to make compromises, so put the “must-haves” at the top and the “would- like-to-haves” at the bottom. Not sure what fits your lifestyle? Here’s a list of 12 types of neighborhoods to get you started.

Here are some things to consider:

  • Do you have children or are you planning to have children anytime soon? Parents know that the first thing to do when looking at a neighborhood is to research the school system. Even if you’re single, living in an area with a much sought-after school system raises your property value. If you have kids, you’ll also want to live close to parks and community centers.
  • What type of home do you want? Are you interested in a single-family home or an apartment, townhouse or co-op? Read more about the different types of homes.
  • How far are you willing to commute? Do you plan to drive, walk or take mass transit to work? Do you have a car or would you be willing to get one?
  • Do you want to be in a historic neighborhood or a new development? Historic neighborhoods have tons of character, but often require lots of repair work and are governed by community associations with strict standards. Newer developments have more modern features, but are typically far from the city center. Read more about the different types of architecture styles.
  • What is your current community lacking? If you’re currently landlocked, but have always wanted to live on the waterfront, put that at the top of your list. If you’re a coffee junkie, having a Starbucks down the street may be a dream come true.
  • Do you want to be able to go places on foot? Would you like to be within walking distance of shops, restaurants and bars? Or would you be willing to drive to nearby businesses?
  • Think about what you don’t want in a neighborhood, too. If you can’t stand late-night noise, you’ll probably want to steer clear of the college area or an area with a lively bar scene.

Continue reading

Make-HERstory Coming To The LaMamaTheater

BPO Make HERstoryThe compelling Alisa L Brock is bringing Make HERstory to the LaMama Theater. One of seven children, this artist has put her talent into a breathtaking performance not to be missed.

A Work In Progress Theater Company presents Make HERstory~ its a one woman show written and performed by Brock. Her imagination embarks on a journey of self love and self acceptance.  It is a tale of abuse, hidden secrets and the growth of “the black sheep heroine.” It is reality’s laughter, a GUMBO of true stories that never had the chance to be told – until now.
Emotions will stir as you hear this bold, sassy artist tell her story.

A Work in Progress(AWIP) mission is to produce professional theatrical works while providing a haven for talented artists whose works are grounded in passion, and present dynamic perspectives of social issues that spark progressive conversations while recycling funds into communities.

Appearing at LaMama Theater
74 W 4th St
NY, NY
August 29th @ 7:30 pm
August 30th @ 2:00 pm and 7:30 pm
Purchase tickets at www.Make-HERstory.com

For more information about the show call 347.850.0262

 

BBQ vs Brooklyn Realtor

leesbbbq_0001 I am a busy Realtor/Broker but I could not wait to blog about the most scrumptious, melt in your mouth BBQ I have ever had.The meat just fell off  the bone and was very moist, tender & yummy. G Lee’s Smokin’ BBQ has only been in the area for a short time but they are quickly becoming a big hit with their delicious meats like St Louis ribs  & Cajun catfish. An array of side dishes, I had jalapeno mac-n-cheese and coleslaw, combined with a full service bar and a fast and fun staff has made G’ Lee’s my go to place for dinner. As you can tell their BBQ won me over so you have got to give these guys a try, they’ll win you over too! They are located at 813 Nostrand Ave & Union St in Brooklyn and they are open for dinner every night of the week!347-413-8680 Meet the Pitmaster and check out there full menu here.