As humans, we naturally are drawn to other people who share similar interests. When we talk about community, we focus on a common thread used to bring people together to advocate and support one another. In its simplest form, a community is a group of people with something in common. 

 

That sense of belonging that comes along with being a part of a community gives people a supportive group to help them cope with difficult challenges, brings them together to solve problems, as well as celebrate life’s lighter moments. 

 

Whether it be through a physical group where members meet up on a regular basis, or via a virtual space like social media groups, connecting with your community is important, especially when you are new to the neighborhood.

 

Finding common connections with your new surroundings is beneficial to homeowners in a variety of ways. If the area is one that is completely new for you, finding organizations or groups  within your neighborhood will allow for the opportunity to learn all about your new surroundings. 

 

Whether that entails discovering local businesses to shop at, linking up with volunteer based organizations, joining a club. or discovering some of the history behind your town, creating these types of  relationships with other people helps foster a sense of belonging. 

 

One way to get involved is to check out the social events your local neighborhood has planned. Oftentimes seasonal events are organized for residents to get involved and enjoy some local hometown fun. Two upcoming fall events here in Brooklyn –  Blocktoberfest 2022 hosted by the NY Brewers Guild on Satruday, October 1st, at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. The annual fall festival celebrates beer brewed here in NYC.

 

Two weeks later, on Saturday October 15th, there is a Fall Festival taking place at Atlantic Terminal Mall with a host of fun activities for children and families. 

 

 A strong sense of community has also been shown to have positive effects on both mental and physical health. Connecting with your community helps prevent isolation and teaches people how to be more empathetic towards one another.

 

Curious to learn more on how being connected to your surroundings is important to your overall well-being? We’re sharing a few of the ways in which community enriches people’s lives for the better.

 

Community Enhances Your Sense of Belonging

A sense of belonging is one of the most significant needs that humans have. It is what draws us together with other like-minded individuals who we can turn to for friendship and support. It is here where we discover common ground with those around us. When people find themselves as the “new guy in town,” it helps to get to know your neighbors. Lifelong friendships have been made between people who met by chance due to geographic location. 

 

Community Encourages Social Support

Being part of a community enables us to show support to others. If you look within your neighborhood, you’re likely to find organizations that were created for the sole purpose of helping out the community. 

 

In Brooklyn, The Kiwanis Club of Brooklyn is dedicated to helping local children and families through a variety of wonderful programs. Being a part of such an organization means you’re making a difference in the lives of others while helping to build a better community.  

 

Community Reduces Anxiety and Depression

When people feel connected to a part of something bigger, it gives them a sense of purpose and need. Being able to help others, whether it be a nieghbor, or an organization, creates a feeling of accomplishment, and a sense of pride knowing that you have made a difference, no matter how large or small, in someone’s life. Providing support to others will in turn make others aid you in your time of need. 

 

Community Builds Trust 

When we build a strong sense of community, we’re also building trust with people who are not  in our immediate circle. Connecting in a community allows you to step outside your comfort zone. 

 

Oftentimes, when new to an area, it can be difficult to find some of the things we take for granted in more familiar surroundings. Doctors, childcare, petcare, repairmen, you name it, we all have questions when we move to a new location. 

 

Social media is a great resource for connecting with people within your local area. If you search platforms like Facebook, you can find private groups geared towards your particular area. Instagram is another great resource to search for groups. Join and follow the ones you find valuable to obtain a wealth of information. 

 

A great example on Facebook is the public group entitled, Brooklyn Food, dedicated to highlighting all things food related. On Instagram, check out Brooklyn Magazine, a page dedicated to all things for the borough. Whether you pose questions, or take notes on suggestions from other members, you are bound to find some true gems.

 

Social media has proven to be a valuable tool when it comes to connecting to your community. The internet is a great tool when it comes to finding local events and activities taking place in your neighborhood. Brooklyn residents can always check out the website, Happening Next, as well as Patch, to find out what is happening within the borough. 

 

Community Provides Opportunites for Businesses 

When people have a strong sense of community, they want to see their neighborood and its people flourish and one way in which to ensure that is by supporting local businesses. Whether it’s through online communities, or word of mouth, community’s assistance helps business owners interact with customers and gain valuable feedback.

 

There are many reasons why connecting with your community is important, finding a sense of belonging and purpose is truly at the heart of it all. Overall, it enhances our quality of life as well as enhancing our hometown.  

 

Whether this is your first, second, or maybe even third home purchase, each experience likely feels like the first. Regardless of how many times you’ve actually done it, the home buying process creates an array of feelings and emotions. 

 

From excited to scared and everything in-between, buying can be intimidating. That’s why it’s important you’re working with the right realtor who will be able to guide you through each step of the way. 

 

The home buying process really begins before you even step foot into a home, and continues all the way up until the day of closing. There are numerous steps you’ll take with each stage which in turn creates a whole new set of questions. Keep in mind, nothing you ask is silly, if you are unsure about anything, speak up. 

 

Buying a home is one of the largest purchases you’ll make in your life which is why it is important to feel as comfortable, and informed as possible. Part of your real estate agent’s job is to help make the experience as stress-free as they can.

 

We know things can get overwhelming with all of the information you need to know beforehand, so to help alleviate some of it, we’ve put together a list of common questions buyers ask to help you navigate the process a bit easier. 

 

What’s the first step of the home-buying process?

Before you even get started in your search, it is important to have your mortgage pre-approval. Some agents will not begin working with potential clients if they don’t have an approval in hand. 

 

Why is this piece of paper so important? Because it tells you, and your agent, just how much you can afford. There is no reason to look at properties that you are unable to afford. It’s not fair to you, your agent, or the seller, to waste time looking at properties out of your price range. Knowing how much money a lender will approve for a loan is an important first step. 

 

How long does it take to buy a home? 

Unfortunately, there is no definitive answer as this timeline varies greatly from person to person. On average, it can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months to find a home. It also depends on the timing, as well as the circumstances. Do you need to move ASAP, or is this your first home? 

 

Once you find your home, it usually takes an additional 30-45 days to close after you’re in contract. Keep in mind this timeline can change for a variety of reasons. 

 

How much do I have to pay my real estate agent to help me find a home?

Great news–nothing! The seller pays the realtor fee/commission on their end. 

 

How much money do I need for a down payment?

The more you put down upfront, the less you will have to borrow from a lender. Generally, 20% of the purchase price is an ideal number for a few reasons. First, it lowers the monthly mortgage payments, avoids paying private mortgage insurance commonly referred to as PMI, improves the nature of your offer, and can help you lock in a better interest rate. 

 

That’s not to say you must put down 20%. The minimum amount depends on the type of loan you are obtaining to finance the purchase. Lower down payment loans, like an FHA loan, requiring a minimum down payment of 3.5%, were designed to make homeownership possible for first-time buyers. 

 

When it comes to the different types of loans available, this is where your mortgage broker steps in. It’s a conversation you should have even before the actual house hunting process begins. Knowing how much you can afford and the type of loans available are all part of the initial conversation you should be having when obtaining your pre-approval.

 

What additional fees are there besides the down payment?

Additional costs include the loan origination fee, which is not a single fee, but a set of lender-specific fees that are part of closing costs, as well as the closing cost itself. These are the fees paid at time of closing to complete the purchase. They may include the survey, underwriting fees, title search fees, documentation fees, legal fees, pre-paid property taxes, HOA, etc. Your mortgage broker will review these with you. While you do have these additional expenses, the down payment is usually the largest cost associated with buying a home. 

 

Do I really need to work with a real estate agent when buying?

It is strongly recommended that you work with an agent for many reasons. First, they have your best interest. Their goal is to help find you a home that fits your needs, and they will advocate on your behalf when needed. Real estate agents are skilled negotiators, and have access to a network of different people you will need throughout the process. Plus, it doesn’t cost anything to work with one.  

 

Can you recommend…..?

Whether you’re in need of a mortgage broker, appraiser, lawyer, moving company, or any other type of professional service associated with the home buying process, your real estate agent should be able to offer some recommendations. Mostly all real estate agents have a network of people they trust to provide the best possible service to their clients. 

 

While every home is different, the steps, especially in the early stages of purchasing, are generally similar. The same holds true for the questions you are more than likely to have. Remember, don’t be afraid to ask, it is part of an agent’s job to provide you with the information needed in order to make the most informed decision. 

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Congratulations, you’ve made the decision to purchase your first home and it’s an exciting time. You’re about to embark on one of the biggest financial decisions you will make in your lifetime so it’s important you understand what it is you’re about to take on. 

 

Information is power and educating yourself on one of the most important purchases beforehand will give you a clear understanding of what you’re getting yourself into before you actually do. The home buying process has a language of its own and taking the time early on to understand will put you ahead of the game when you officially begin your search. Don’t wait until it’s time to sign the contract to educate yourself on the process. 

 

Even if you’ve purchased before, it’s still a good idea to re-educate yourself and discover any new changes that have taken place in the real estate market. It’s a lot to wrap your head around but if you know what to expect then it doesn’t have to be as scary as you may think. 

 

Before you begin the search, it’s a smart idea to start saving early. Having a strong down payment is important. Not only does it lessen the amount of the loan, in some instances, the stronger the down payment, the better your chances of your offer being accepted, especially in such a competitive market. 

 

It’s also a good idea to find out your credit score and clean it up if need be. Credit scores typically range from 300 to 850 and while you don’t need a perfect score to get the best mortgage rates, there are certain credit score requirements you will need to meet in order to obtain a mortgage.  

 

To qualify for the best interest rates, prospective home buyers should aim to have a score of 760 or greater. However, the minimum credit score requirements vary based on the type of loan you’re going for along with who is insuring the loan so speak to your loan officer to find out where you need to be in order to secure funding.

 

Along with putting money aside early and cleaning up your credit, there are additional things to keep in mind as you prepare to jump into the home buying market. 

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How much can you afford? – A common mistake potential buyers make is house-hunting before knowing how much they can actually afford. 

 

“First they should get pre-approved so they know what they can afford,” explains Barbara LaBarca, Director at Brooklyn MLS and Broker/Owner at Coldwell Banker LaBarca.

 

Obtaining a pre-approval ahead of time is essential to the process. Why? Because you need to know the maximum loan amount you qualify for. You don’t want to have your heart set on a house only to find out you’re unable to afford it. Knowing the maximum amount you can spend will allow your agent to search for the homes in your range and save your time from viewing the ones that aren’t.  

 

And second, without a pre-approval in hand, it’s difficult to make an offer. Most real estate agents will not accept an offer to purchase without an accompanying pre-approval, especially in this competitive market. You need to come in strong, and that includes providing the documentation needed to show you can back up the offer you’ve made. 

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Choosing the right realtor – Chemistry is key.  You’re going to spend a lot of time with your agent so you need to mesh. You’re about to embark on one of the biggest purchases of your life and you want to have a trusted real estate agent by your side. Your agent should be able to explain the ins and outs of the home-buying process, be familiar with the area(s) you’re looking to purchase in, as well as understand exactly what it is you’re looking for. Overall, they need to be immersed in the local market.

 

Referrals are a great way to find an agent. Ask around, talk to people you know who have already gone through the real estate process and ask them to give you an honest opinion on what their experience was like. 

 

And mostly importantly, you need to find an agent you can trust. Are they honest, and do they have your best interest at heart? It’s always a good idea to speak to at least three agents before choosing someone to work with. Once you find the right agent, remember to be honest and transparent about what it is you’re looking for so that from day one they can being finding you the right options.

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There is no perfect home – It’s your first home and you’ve more than likely dreamed about the ideal place to put down roots. You don’t want to settle but before you start looking, it’s a good idea to write down the things you want out of your new home. 

 

What are non-negotiables and what are the aspects you can compromise on? No home is perfect and going into your search understanding that will make things easier. 

 

Maybe the home you fall in love with isn’t in the specific neighborhood you had hoped to move to, or the home in your chosen area is a bit smaller than you originally planned. Knowing what your deal breakers are ahead of time will make it easier to accept that the home buying process, and the home you choose, may not be 100% perfect, and that’s ok. 

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Do your homework – Ask yourself, what type of home fits your needs, what are your homeowner goals, and what type of property will best fit your lifestyle. Once you have the answers, start reading up on the different neighborhoods, taxes, schools, local attractions. Anything that is going to impact your life in a direct way once you settle down in a specific home / area, should be a part of your overall search. 

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Understand the buying process – There are a lot of moving parts to the home buying process so having an understanding of each is important. Even before you start looking, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with the different financing options available. Being informed could help you save money on interest, fees, and even your down payment. 

 

Knowing the different types of loans available will prove helpful when you sit down with your lender. Along with the conventional mortgage most people know about, other types of loans include the FHA, VA, USDA, Jumbo, and Adjustable Rate Mortgage loans. Each one has its pros and cons, and while they may not be right for everyone, understanding what is available will be helpful to the process.

 

“Besides their mortgage payment, buyers should consider that they will need to pay bills like 

their water bill, electric, and gas,” explains LaBarca. “Taxes and insurance are included in the mortgage.”

 

Choosing the right loan officer is as important as choosing the right agent. After your offer has been accepted, they will become the person you talk to often as they guide you through the next phase of the home buying process.

 

Whether you are obtaining funding directly from your bank, or working with a mortgage broker who serves as the middleman between lenders and borrowers, they should be able to help you in understanding the loan best suited for you, along with providing you the guidance needed when the application process begins. 

 

After you find a home, there are multiple steps (i.e home inspection, appraisal) that need to be completed before moving forward. This is when having a knowledgeable real estate agent is important. They will be able to explain these processes and continue to put your best interest first while these next steps take place. 

 

Buying a home can be overwhelming with many first time buyers dropping out of the market because they believe it’s going to be too difficult. The process does have its challenges, but with the right team in place, it doesn’t have to be as stressful as you envision. Working with the right people and educating yourself right from the beginning can make all the difference. 

At the beginning of every New Year, most people make resolutions that involve some form of change. Whether that be professionally or personally, it’s a chance to give ourselves a goal to start anew. 

 

For anyone who has had their sights set on jumping into the real estate market then you know how crazy it’s been these past two years as the pandemic turned the home buying process completely upside down. It may be a New Year but is it a new market? 

 

With mortgage rates hitting a historic low, coupled with an inventory shortage, the red-hot real estate market saw homes selling within hours of being listed, bidding wars ensuing, and sale prices closing over asking price.  

 

When it comes to the real estate market, we know anything is possible, but housing experts predict that in this New Year, buyers will likely see similar trends to the last two years which included elevated prices, low-inventory, and fast turnaround. 

 

Another contributing factor fueling home buyers were the extremely low interest rates which hovered near historic lows for an extended period of time, a result of the Federal Reserve buying mortgage backed securities to support the economy. But in 2022, the Fed plans to lessen those purchases to curb rising inflation. As a result, mortgage rates are expected to rise.

 

How much they will increase is not entirely clear, but economic predictions estimate the Fed may raise interest rates three times in 2022. This potential change will have an effect on the home buying process although the new policy isn’t likely to “hurt” buyers in the next few months. Regardless, it’s safe to say anyone looking to purchase are encouraged to act sooner rather than later.

 

While the buyers are out there, it’s the sellers who are slowing down a tad bit.  When the pandemic started, the demand increased and pushed the home prices to an all-time high. And although we have rounded the corner when it comes to the pandemic, the 2022 housing market will likely continue to be costly, with home prices and rents remaining on the higher end of the spectrum.

 

Along with the demand for homes comes an increase in demand for rentals, especially as we head into the first quarter of 2022. The previous discounts that landlords had been giving out during the height of COVID are practically gone. As these concessions disappear, many renters are finding it difficult to afford their current apartments and will have to move. 

 

As a result, there will be an increase in availability with inventory opening up. The demand for rentals in the neighborhoods chock-full of amenities will also be greater. The areas most desirable are the ones with shopping, restaurants, and nightlife, especially as these sectors have re-opened their doors and welcomed back their customers. For many people, these amenities are an important factor when it comes to deciding where to live. Being close to all of these things, as well as transportation, is a luxury many potential renters, and even buyers, seek out. Areas such as Dumbo, Fort Greene, Bushwick, Gowanus, and Red Hook, will be some of the more attractive places to live for these reasons. 

 

Finding a place to call home, whether buying or renting, is never as easy as we hope it will be. The real estate market will always go through highs and lows, and this upcoming year is no exception. Keeping that in mind, here are a few things to consider for anyone planning to make a move in 2022.

Prices will remain high 

According to economists at Realtor.com and Zillow, the competition isn’t likely to die down this year. Economic trends such as low inventory, elevated demand, and low mortgage rates will continue to give sellers leverage in the market.

 

Buyers will continue to see potential bidding wars, particularly when the market picks up in the spring and summer months. Although it’s hard to predict exactly what’s going to happen, Zillow predicts home values will rise by 11% in 2022. While not as high as in 2021, it’s still a substantial increase. 

 

Increase in interest rates 

With the likelihood of interest rates rising multiple times this coming year means mortgage rates are likely to increase as well.  Home experts predict a 30-year fixed mortgage rate will reach 3.60% by the end of 2022 compared to the average of 3.30% as of now. The upside to an increase in mortgage rates is that buyers scooping up property for investment purposes may lessen, giving the people who buy homes to live in more of an advantage. 

Inventory will remain low 

The number of homes actively for sale fell to a record low at the end of last year, and the etnrance of new listings has been slow moving into 2022. Spring has generally been the time when the market picks up and while there are likely to be more listings come spring and into summer, there may not be enough to meet the demand. It will continue to be a strong sellers market. 

Home buyers, be prepared 

With the way the market is trending, it’s important for buyers to be on their A-game. That means doing research ahead of time, having the proper documents readily on hand, and being ready to act quickly. That includes making an offer almost immediately. For some buyers, purchasing out- of-state has them relying on photos and showings being done via computer and over zoom.  

 

From the realtor side, agents not only have their eye out for new listings, but listings that are “coming soon” to the market. Knowing what a client wants and how much they’re willing to spend allows agents to hone in on the right properties. There’s no sense in taking potential buyers to properties that don’t meet their needs or are out of their price range when the market is this competitive.

 

And while the 2022 real-estate market may not reach the incredible heights it did in 2021, don’t expect it to slow down anytime soon. In the meantime, do what you need to be prepared for when the right home comes along and work closely with your real estate agent who can guide you through the entire process. 

As we prepare to wrap up a record-breaking year for real estate, potential homebuyers are wondering if 2022 will bring more of the same.  Despite the fact there were sellers a bit apprehensive to make a move during the pandemic due to economic volatility, the real estate market in 2021 saw a record setting boom.

Sales were at an all-time high while mortgage rates were at an all-time low. The combination of the two created a favorable sellers’ market with tighter competition amongst buyers. With interest rates expected to remain low in the upcoming year, homebuyers looking to make a move in the coming months should start preparing sooner rather than later.

Being one step ahead of the competition is a good idea especially if inventory remains low. While the housing market may pick up with additional inventory right after the new year to satisfy buyer demand, there’s no guarantee.

One way to stay on top of the real estate market is to work closely with an agent. Buying a home is not as simple as we’d like it to be, but the process doesn’t have to be as stressful as you might believe it will be. While buying a home is no simple task, working with a real estate agent offers you overall support each step of the way. Their knowledge of the local market coupled with the skills to get you where you need to be will alleviate some of the stress that often comes along with buying a home.

Before starting the home search and teaming up with a local real estate agent, there are a few questions to ask yourself so that when you do find the right place to call home you’ll be ready to move forward.

Credit Score

Ask yourself, is my credit score in good shape? If it isn’t, take the necessary time needed to boost it up to where it should be before you begin applying for a mortgage. Your credit score is an important factor when it comes to obtaining a loan. Not only does it affect whether you’ll get approved, it also affects the rate at which you’ll qualify.

The higher the score, the more likely you are to get approved at a more favorable interest rate. There are different types of mortgages, each with their own credit score requirements. It’s a good idea to talk with a mortgage lender ahead of time to gather information on all of the various loan requirements. That way, once you obtain your credit score, you’ll know exactly where you stand.

Boost your credit

Once you obtain your credit score, there may be a chance you’ll need to boost it up. Make sure all bills are paid on time and if possible, pay down as much of your existing credit card debt (if not all) before starting the mortgage process.

If you plan to purchase a home in the near future, resist opening any new lines of credit as this will affect your credit score. While the discount many stores offer with the opening of a new credit card may sound enticing, resist the urge to apply. You may save a few dollars today, but long-term this can hurt you when applying for a mortgage.

And lastly, when looking over your credit report, check it carefully for any potential errors. If anything looks incorrect or even suspicious, you’ll want to correct and/or rectify it before starting the mortgage application process.

Save, save, save

With home prices being on the higher end of the spectrum, agents and their buyers are seeing sales for over asking price, whether it be the result of a bidding war or anxious buyers offering higher to secure an acceptance.

To remain in the game in such a competitive market, having a strong down payment shows a strong interest in the property and a commitment to get the deal done. While there isn’t a specific number required to put down, many times buyers hope a larger number will help them get their offer accepted over the competition.

Plenty of lenders will allow you to put down less but on a conventional mortgage you’ll be required to pay private mortgage insurance (PMI).  While mortgage insurance isn’t a bad thing, it’s an additional expense homebuyers tend to try and avoid especially with home prices being falling on the higher side. Why add to your monthly payment if you don’t have to?

Research different neighborhoods

Before heading out with an agent, conduct a bit of research on home prices in the different neighborhoods. This will give you a better idea of which areas are more feasible. Together with your real estate agent you can create a game plan and focus on the properties that fit within your budget. There’s nothing worse than falling in love with a home that exceeds your finances.

It may come as a surprise but yes, there is a day recognizing one of our favorite caffeinated beverages.

In 2014, the International Coffee Organization declared October 1st as International Coffee Day, with National Coffee Day being celebrated two days earlier on September 29th. Both days give coffee lovers an occasion to celebrate their favorite beverage, which just so happens to be the most consumed drink in the world, as well as a great way to learn more about this ancient drink.

With a very long history, the start of coffee can be traced back to around 700 AD. As time progressed, so did coffee itself, receiving more attention and eventually progressing into the drink it is today. These days the caffeinated beverage is regarded as one of the greatest crops. It’s safe to say, coffee lovers have been enjoying their favorite “Cup O’ Joe” for a very long time!

If you are an avid coffee drinker, then you know what it feels like to smell the aroma of a freshly brewed pot. Day in and day out people all over the world wake up anticipating that first sip. Whether you need that first cup the moment you wake up, to get the day started, or even to help you make it through the day, there are so many ways to enjoy all of the different kinds of blends.

Did you know….

Nowadays, there are many different kinds of coffee to choose from. Whether you enjoy a latte, a cappuccino, an espresso, or maybe an Americano, the different blends, strengths, and flavors provide coffee lovers with an array of options.

With National Coffee Day right around the corner, what better way to celebrate than to try a a new coffee inspired recipe, a new flavor, or even a completely different brew than you normally drink.

Along with the larger coffee chains, there are many wonderful local coffee shops where you can grab your favorite brew. Brooklyn is filled with endless choices so ask around, check out your neighbored, or do a search online to discover some of the borough’s popular spots and hidden gems. To help you get started, we’ve compiled a few local shops to help you celebrate the day.

Sey CoffeeLocated in the East Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, the cafe offers coffee lovers a unique experience. With it’s bright and airy atmosphere, this contemporary micro roastery serves a variety of the most dynamic and complex coffee selections.  18 Grattan Street, Brooklyn, NY 11206

Brooklyn PerkServing up peace, love, and unity along with their coffee, this local coffee shop, located in the Prospect Lefferts-Gardens section of Brooklyn offers cool vibes and a wide assortment of caffeinated beverages to choose from, along with a selection of sweet treats. 605 Flatbush Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11225

Cup of Joe Coffee Co. – This vintage-inspired boutique coffee shop offers its customers the feel of a neighborhood cafe with the convenience of a quick service shop. Here you’ll find only the highest quality beans that are freshly roasted to perfection. 7407 5th Avenue, Brooklyn,NY  11209

Social House CafeThis Williamsburg cafe offers not only an array of different coffees (the beans are imported directly from Italy) but their fall lattes, which include Nutella, lavender, and white chocolate, are the talk of the neighborhood. Along with your coffee, you can pick up a delicious French pastry or take a seat and enjoy a dish from their brunch menu. 60 Broadway, Brooklyn, NY  11249

Pep Bakehouse and Coffee Shop – With four locations within Brooklyn, Pep Bakehouse and Coffee Shop is a true artisan bakery, serving up fresh croissants and pastries daily using only fresh, local, and natural ingredients. And when it comes to their coffees, they work with the best Italian and Columbian manufacturers. From the wide assortment of baked goods, chances are you won’t be leaving empty-handed.

To help celebrate this caffeinated holiday, the Brooklyn MLS has teamed up with some local coffee businesses in bringing you some of the finest roasts. From September 29th – October 1st, we’ll be giving away one coffee basket per day. Participants will have the chance to win one of the following three:

To enter, follow the Brooklyn MLS on Instagram and Facebook. Like our post, comment, tag a friend or two (more tags = more entries). Share the post to your Instagram story for extra entries!

 

However and wherever you choose to celebrate, Happy National Coffee Day!

It’s finally here, moving day! Whether you’re heading into a new home or apartment, the excitement, and stress that comes along with the process is one that cannot be avoided.

Did you know that moving is consistently rated as one of life’s most stressful events? It ranks right up there with death of a loved one, divorce, job loss, etc. Even if your move is a happy one, it doesn’t lessen the stress that comes along with it. It is still a massive disruption of your routine, combined with all that is familiar to you. And no matter how well you plan, that feeling will not change.

Now, you’ve spent weeks (maybe even months) planning and packing, so when the actual day arrives, you’re bound to be in overdrive. Along with all of things you’re going to have to take into consideration, if you’re a pet owner, add another item to your pre-moving check list.

If you think the process is tough, imagine just how stressful it can be for your pet. Dogs especially can easily become stressed out when there is unexpected activity in the home, or even when introduced to a new environment.

Animals are creatures of habit, and for them, change, no matter how big or small we think it may be, can be both confusing and stressful.

So while you’re planning out the specifics for moving day, it’s important to also plan ahead for your pet. In order to ensure he or she is relaxed, and safe, on the big day, we’ve compiled a few top tips to help make the move a success for all members of your family.

Contact your vet

If you’re moving out of state, or out of the local area, contact your vet to obtain your pet’s medical records along with any current prescriptions. Part of relocating involves finding new doctors and that includes a new veterinarian. Ask your current vet if they can recommend a new doctor before beginning to do so on your own.

Plan Ahead

Prior to moving, it’s a good idea to visit your vet. According to Dr. Rachel Barrack, Founder of concierge veterinary practice Animal Acupuncture, you should make sure your pet is up to date on all vaccinations. If you’re traveling by air, Dr. Barrack stresses the importance of checking with the airline beforehand to confirm all necessary paperwork prior to the day of departure. If traveling by car, make sure your pet is used to their crate and plan ahead for bathroom and water breaks.

Pack An Accessible Bag for Your Pet

Included in your pet’s to-go bag should be a leash, bowls for food and water, food, medications, wee-wee pads or litter box, bed, and favorite toys so when you get into your new home you won’t be rummaging through boxes, Dr. Barrack points out.

Keep pets away from the action

One of the best ways to help your pet remain calm is to keep them in a quiet area although that might not be possible on moving day. You don’t want them getting underfoot or accidentally getting out. A good idea to consider is either boarding for a night or two or doggy daycare. If that’s an option you’d like to explore, Brooklyn is home to a variety of options. A few local places include:

Keep in mind, before your pet is able to board or spend the day in daycare, most animal facilities require the animals go through an evaluation to ensure they’re a fit, and to protect the safety of all the animals already at the facility. All vaccinations will need to be up to date as well so make sure to find out from your veterinarian which ones your pet will need. And lastly, some months may be more popular than others at the facility, so once you have your moving dates, call to reserve your pet’s spot.

Move the house before you move your pet

Set up as much of your new home as best you can before introducing your pet to his or her new digs. Let them slowly adjust to their new surroundings. Re-introduce familiar objects and make sure to give your pup lots of attention in the process. You can even walk them from room to room to take in the new scents they’re sure to pick up on.

Update information

Once you’re settled, make sure to update your new contact information. That includes notifying your vet, ordering new ID tags, and if your dog is microchipped, calling the company and ensuring they have all of the new and most current information.

Stick to a Schedule

Dr. Barrack stresses the importance of sticking to a schedule once the move is complete. Even though you’re in a new place, sticking to their usual eating, exercise, and sleeping schedule as best as possible will help to minimize the stress.

Most pets love predictability and routine, so a move can throw them into a tailspin. Change can be confusing and stressful so be mindful of their needs as you prepare your move.

And most importantly, Dr. Barrack stresses the importance of being patient. Once you arrive at your new home, it will often take even the most well-behaved pets a few days to adjust to their new surroundings.  Consult with your vet as well on the best ways in which to ensure a smooth transition.

It’s that time of year again, and along with the weather getting warmer and the promise of sunnier days ahead, cities around the country have begun to reopen. New York City recently made a full re-open and residents couldn’t be happier.

While it may take some time to fully re-acclimate ourselves into certain activities enjoyed pre-COVID, it’s a breath of fresh air to begin getting back to some form of normalcy. With restrictions lifted, Brooklyn businesses are ready to fully welcome back both residents along with those who live outside the borough, and what better way to do so then through local community events?

Last spring and summer were tough when it came to hosting events, and while some businesses were able to do so on a smaller scale, if at all, this year is looking brighter. Weekends no longer have to only be spent in your own backyard, now they can be enjoyed exploring the fun and unique things Brooklyn has to offer.

If you’re looking to show the borough some love, then what better way to do so then to spend the day (or night) with family and friends enjoying some of these fun-filled outdoor activities? We’ve rounded up some great ways to have a good time without having to travel too far from home.

Skyline Drive-In

Who doesn’t love a good movie and a little nostalgia? The Skyline drive-in movie theatre located in Greenpoint is a bit reminiscent of the popular drive-in theatres from the 1940’s and ‘50’s. As the sun sets and cars get situated in their spots, movie goers can enjoy some of their favorite flicks along with a gorgeous view of the Manhattan skyline. And what is a movie without some popcorn and snacks? Well don’t worry because this cinema experience has got their guests covered with concessions stands filled with drinks, eats, and treats!

Brooklyn Cyclones

As one of America’s favorite pastimes, baseball stadiums are welcoming back fans and what better way to spend a weekend then rooting on your favorite neighborhood team. The Brooklyn Cyclones stadium, located in Coney Island, is ready and excited to welcome back their fans. Along with in stadium seating, fans can also enjoy a game from the luxury suites or on the rooftop. And to kick off the season, we’re giving away six box seat tickets for a Cyclone’s game in June to celebrate the start of baseball and the beginning of summer. Keep a look out for the giveaway announcement on our Instagram to be entered to win!

 

Spill the Tea Comedy

They say laughter is the best medicine, and what better way to spend a night then attending, “Spill the Tea” an outdoor comedy show located at the only outdoor amphitheater in Williamsburg. Featuring some of the best stand-up comedians in NYC along with comedy professionals, entry into the event is free.

The Tiny Cupboard

If you want to keep the laughter going then head on over to The Tiny Cupboard, an underground/aboveground performance venue located on the border of East Bushwick and Bed-Stuy.  A tiny art studio, comedy church, and a large rooftop is used as a performance space and this summer the rooftop comedy shows are back. In addition, the rooftop comedy festival, hosted by The Tiny Cupboard and Penthouse Comedy Show, is going to be held from August 26 – 29th and will include live stand up shows, podcasts, and lots of laughter.

The Paint Place

If you’re looking for something fun for the whole family, head on down to the Greenpoint Terminal Market for some outdoor painting classes. Hosted every Saturday, experienced artists will help guide you in creating a one of a kind work of art to take home. Fun for all ages and experience levels, The Paint Place hosts a variety of themed events, from bachelorette parties and showers, paint and sip, and private parties for kids, there is a whole host of fun filled classes to choose from.

Brooklyn Symphony Orchestra

If you love music, then the Brooklyn Symphony orchestra should be on your summer to-do list. Founded in 1973, the orchestra is made up of a mix of talented amateur, semi-professional, and professional musicians. On the third Sunday of each month during the summer you can head on over to the BSO for a family-friendly outdoor concert at the Brooklyn Museum. The concerts are free and tickets are not required to attend.

Artists and Fleas

The fleas are back! This creative community of sellers is ready to welcome back shoppers looking for creative and unique finds. With two locations in Brooklyn, Williamsburg and Dumbo, what better way to spend an afternoon then with some shopping. Whether you’re searching for fashion, art, vintage finds, there is something for everyone at the outdoor fleas. With different sellers each week, the treasure finds are endless.

American Princess Cruises

Do you want something unique and different for the weekend? Why not spend the afternoon whale and dolphin watching aboard the American Princess Cruise line which leaves out of Pier 3 in Sheepshead Bay.  Now in its 12thyear, guests can set sail in search of these beautiful mammals and participate in the fun filled adventure. From helping the crew count how many whales and dolphins spotted, to capturing photos and/or video, this unique experience is definitely one way to spend the day.

In addition to these fun events, Brooklyn is filled with beautiful parks, beaches, street fairs, restaurants, and the world famous Coney Island.  If you’re looking to have a good time, you don’t have to go far to do so!

After a long, cold winter, springtime is back and bringing with it bright sun, breezy filled days, and a breath of fresh air. People feel energized and ready to tackle the tasks of cleaning and decluttering.

Spring is long considered the best time to sell a home, but before contacting your local real estate agent, you’ll want to ensure your home is squeaky clean. This goes beyond the general housecleaning chores—you’re going to want to do a deeper dive which is sure to make a huge difference to potential buyers.

Like the saying goes, “you never get a second chance to make a first impression,” and when it comes to your home, you’re going to want to “wow” potential buyers from the moment they arrive.

The outside of a home is just as important as the inside and oftentimes, buyers will have already formed an opinion before they’ve made it to the front door. Which is why landscaping, even if it’s minimal, of the front and back property should be on your to-do list.

Whether you’re looking to put your home on the market now, or just want to clean away winter’s mess, we’ve put together a list of tips to help you get started.

 

Outside Cleanup 

Stage the Backyard

Steam Clean Carpets

 

Let in the Light

Deep Clean Kitchen and Bathrooms

Declutter & Organize

 

Celebrated yearly, Black History Month is a time to learn and understand Black history and culture while going beyond the stories of racism and slavery to spotlight and celebrate Black achievement. It’s an opportunity for Americans to gain a greater understanding of the details surrounding a part of our nation’s history.

 

Many important events in Black history have taken place during the month of February. Prior to becoming a month-long celebration, Black History Month began in 1926 as “Negro History Week.”

 

Celebrated the second week of February, it coincided with Black abolitionist and writer, Frederick Douglas, and President Abraham Lincoln’s birthdays—two figures who played important roles in shaping Black history.

 

By the late ‘60s, thanks in part to the civil rights movement, Negro History Week was celebrated by mayors in cities across the country. By 1970, the event evolved into Black History Month on many college campuses, with Kent State being the first.

 

Six years later, President Ford recognized Black History Month, and in 1986, Congress passed “National Black History Month” into law.

 

It is important for Americans to be aware of and understand the struggle for freedom and equality not just in February, but all year long.

 

During this dedicated month in our country to celebrate the achievements of African Americans, one of the ways to do so is by supporting Black-owned business owners. The past year has been especially hard for small businesses trying to stay afloat during the pandemic and being able to show your love and support is extremely rewarding.

 

In a multi-cultural city like Brooklyn, our neighborhoods are filled with many wonderful small businesses. In an effort to turn the spotlight on these innovative owners, we’ve put together a selection of businesses you’ll want to support today and every day!

History & Culture

Weeksville Heritage CenterThis historic site and cultural center situated in central Brooklyn is rich in history. Founded in 1838, Weeksville was a free African American community, the 2nd largest in the pre-civil war era.

 

By the 1850’s, Weeksville was a farming village that was home to 525 families who lived in wooden framed houses. Today, there are three remaining homes which sit on what was once known as Hunterfly Road.

 

It wasn’t until the 1940’s that most of the homes were taken over by urban renewal plans. The Kingsborough Housing projects were built and Weeksville was absorbed in Bedford-Stuyvesant.

 

In 1968, a historian re-discovered what was left of historic Weeksville, and through his work, the Hunterfly Road Houses were declared NYC landmarks and the Weeksville Heritage Center was born.

 

Their mission is to inspire, educate visitors on the history of Weeksville, and illuminate a pivotal aspect of Black history. 158 Buffalo Avenue, Brooklyn NY  11213

Food & Drink

Cuts & Slices Located in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood, this local pizzeria is the vision of owner Randy Mclaran, who took his passion for food and a decade of restaurant experience to open up Cuts & Slices in 2018. Offering an array of innovative toppings (think chicken and waffles, jerk shrimp, and even a vegan daily special), customers regularly line up outside for a cut or slice. 93 Howard Avenue, Brooklyn, NY

 

Happy Cork Wine & Spirits The brainchild of Sunshine Foss, the entrepreneur has created a unique and different type of business for Black and minority owned wines and spirits. Happy Cork, located in Bedford-Stuyvesant, gives off a boutique feel with its charming decor. Along with wine and spirits, the store also features a small marketplace of specialty items from local makers of color and women artists.

51 Buffalo Avenue, Brooklyn NY  11233

Home & Design

BLK MKT VintageFounded in 2014 by Brooklyn-natives, Kiyanna Stewart and Jannah Handy, the two entrepreneurs took their love of vintage wares along with their experience and opened a brick-and-mortar shop that specializes in heirlooms, cast-offs, and curiosities that represent the richness of Black history and lived experiences. While their store is currently closed due to the pandemic, their online shop is open for business. 465 Marcus Garvey Blvd., Brooklyn, NY  11216

 

Rituals + Ceremony A home goods and lifestyle store located in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn, Rituals + Ceremony is the dream of entrepreneur Sarah Williams. Filled with unique and aesthetically pleasing products, Sarah wanted to create the kind of space she herself had been looking for; one filled with all things zen. Having found most of these kinds of places owned by white people, her vision was to have a similar spot she could walk into and see a familiar face. As many businesses have faced struggles due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the store is currently closed, but the online shop is open. 717B Nostrand Avenue, Brooklyn, NY  11216

Heath & Wellness

HealHausFor anyone looking to nurture their mind, body, and soul, HealHaus offers a wide range of holistic practices that will help guide you on your journey. With a shared passion for healing and a desire to create a therapeutic and inclusive space inviting for all genders, good friends Elisa Shankle and Darian Hall designed a wellness center and cafe that is warm and welcoming. With an a la carte menu of experiences like Vinyasa yoga, mindful breath mediation, and couples therapy, people can explore different experiences that will help guide them in the healing process, all while feeling supported by those around them. 1082 Fulton Street, Brooklyn, NY  11238

 

Brooklyn BraisedThis farm-to-table meal delivery service is the brainchild of Christa Lynch that provides seasonally inspired menus offering healthy food options. Using ingredients sourced through a network of local farmers, the meals are prepared from their commercial kitchen and delivered to all parts of Brooklyn. Seeing a need in her Bed-Stuy community for healthy food options that fit into busy lifestyles, Brooklyn Braised is a proud minority, woman-owned and operated business that supports local and minority owned vendors across the country.

Style & Beauty

Papa Rozier FarmsThis Bushwick boutique specializes in all-natural beauty products, while serving as a vehicle toward a more radical mission, to help build up Haiti. Owned by siblings Rubens Amedee and Fredeline Amedee-Benjamin, the two felt helpless after the 2010 earthquake that devastated their birth country. After starting an organic farm on rural land owned by their late grandfather, the natural, handmade beauty products are made from primary crops grown on Papa Rozier Farms in Haiti. While temporarily closed until May, all of their products can be found on their website.   96 Knickerbocker Ave, Brooklyn NY  11237

 

Free Edge Beauty Studio – With extensive experience, Raven Voorhees runs Free Edge Beauty which takes a personalized, diligent approach to nail care. A Coney Island native, Raven provides her clientele with a natural approach to nail care, as well as educating them with her extensive knowledge. In addition to understanding what’s in the products used, clients can find designs that are unique and fun. Appointments are required and can be made directly online. 567 Nostrand Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11216

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