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. 

152,922 Real Estate Agent Stock Photos, Pictures & Royalty-Free Images - iStock

For both sellers and buyers, working with a real estate agent is beneficial for a multitude of reasons. Depending on what side of the transaction you’re on, the reasons why you should work with an agent will differ. What doesn’t change is the invaluable experience a good agent brings to the table. 

 

When it comes to selling, many people think they can save time and money by going at it alone, without a realtor. What’s interesting is that FSBO (For Sale By Owner) sales often are less than the homes sold by real estate agents. Granted, the homeowner saves on paying the realtor’s commission, but that comes with a cost (literally). 

 

Statistics show that only 11% of sellers actually succeed at selling on their own and for the ones that do, their sales are about 26% less on average than properties represented by an agent. 

 

A lot goes into selling a home that you may not even realize. There are many challenges and if you’re going at it on your own, navigating all of the moving parts can be difficult. 

 

Real estate agents do a lot more than just bring potential buyers. They know the in’s and out’s of both buying and selling and are invaluable for a multitude of reasons. Michele Haas, President of the Brooklyn Multiple Listing Service (MLS), points out the following ways in which real estate agents are instrumental in the overall process.

 

Agents have:

Extensive knowledge of the market

Professional networks

Negotiating skills

Understand required documents

Fiduciary responsibility

Can readily find and identify comparable sales

Can recognize possible issues with a property

Must live up to the standards required by their license 

 

Based on the above, we dive a bit deeper into just how working with an agent is beneficial. 

 

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Time Consuming – Selling your home is a full-time job. Between fielding calls and messages for showings, hosting an open house, advertising, and all of the other minutiae that comes with listing a home, it’s an agent’s job to make sure it is taken care of. 

 

Experience – Real estate agents are trained for the job. They’ve studied and taken exams to become an agent and continuously refresh that knowledge with continuing education classes. They know how to navigate the market better than someone who isn’t in the business and their knowledge and experience can be the difference in getting a home sold quickly. 

 

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Pricing Advice – Agents understand the real estate market – they know the value of homes, they know the areas, and how to compare properties, all of which factor into pricing a home correctly. While you may have a certain number in mind, the price may not be reasonable. That’s why having an agent to research the comparable sales can help confirm if you are in the right price range. They know where to look and have access to this type of invaluable information. 

 

What they don’t possess is an attachment. As a homeowner, you’re attached to your home in one way or another. Maybe it is your first home, or where you raised your children. Because of reasons like these, it can be difficult to be objective and for many homeowners, it’s not easy to separate the two. That’s why having a real estate agent is important as they can help you to focus on the bigger picture and not get caught up in the emotional side. 

 

15,000+ Negotiation Pictures

Professional Negotiators – As hard as it can be to price your home correctly when you have an attachment to it, so can negotiating its worth. Real estate agents are removed from all of that. Their main goal is to get your house sold and if negotiations are involved, they aren’t going to hold onto emotional ties that will prevent them from making a good deal. Being removed allows agents to give you better guidance and advice. 

 

When it comes to negotiating, attention to detail is key. Your real estate agent knows what details need to be written into the contract. There are numerous documents involved in the process and having an agent to help navigate all of the paperwork is important, especially when questions or concerns arise, they can advise. This invaluable knowledge is helpful regardless of whether you are the seller or buyer. 

 

152,922 Real Estate Agent Stock Photos, Pictures & Royalty-Free Images - iStock

Fiduciary Responsibility – Agents have a fiduciary responsibility to their clients, they must put your best interest first. Whether they’re working on your behalf to sell your home, or help you purchase one, their loyalty remains with you. 

 

Network of Professionals – It takes a team of various professionals to get you to closing day. From home inspectors, to mortgage brokers, to attorneys, etc, a real estate agent has a trusted network of other professionals to help you every step of the way.  

 

If you are on the other side of the real estate process and are looking to purchase a home, working with an agent is just as important. Buying a home is one of the largest financial transactions you’ll ever make and you want to have an expert on your side. Real estate agents are tapped into their network and have access to various sites, like the MLS, to get the most up-to-date listings. 

 

Whether buying or selling, either side can benefit significantly from hiring a real estate agent. The reasons may be different but the end goal is relatively the same, to ensure as smooth and stress-free process as possible. 

533,688 Home Buying Stock Photos, Pictures & Royalty-Free Images - iStock

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. 

Glossary of Mortgage Lending Terminology | Rocket Mortgage

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. 

16,013 Mortgage Securities Stock Photos, Pictures & Royalty-Free Images - iStock

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. 

In this digital world we live in, it’s difficult to grow your business without implementing some form of social media marketing. Harnessing the power of social media allows real estate agents to create a digital footprint and connect with their audience on a personal level. 

 

Effective networking is all about building powerful connections, and the goal for agents is to become well-known within their respective communities as the go-to source for all things real estate.

 

From a marketing standpoint, social media platforms, whether it be Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Youtube, should be a part of your business toolbox. Leveraging social media allows an instantaneous connection with the audience. It opens up your sphere of influence and referral base and allows you to connect with an unlimited number of people. That includes existing clients, potential new clients, and industry peers. 

 

Social media should be the tool you use on a consistent basis to promote your business and build your reputation. Just like the housing market itself, which is competitive, so is the real estate business. Within any city, you’ll find hundreds of agents which is why it’s important to position yourself as an industry leader. 

Maris Callahan, founder and CEO of Social Broker, a full-service content membership based platform that helps entrepreneurs build their brands and grow their business with social media strategies, knows firsthand the importance and power social media has for real estate agents. 

 

“Social media is no longer optional in the real estate industry,” explains Callahan. “As a real estate agent, there is nothing more important than staying top of mind among your sphere of influence so that your clients, friends, and contacts remember that you’re in real estate before they even need you.”

 

Having worked in a real estate brokerage firm as the director of communications, Callahan saw the impact social media could have on individual real estate agents and small teams. Passionate about connecting through social media and recognizing a need for more education and resources in the real estate space, is one of the reasons she decided to launch a business that would help agents grow their business organically by using social media platforms more meaningfully to acquire new business.     

 

Ask any agent and they’ll tell you, a good deal of their business comes from referrals. Reaching out to current and past clients is one way to get referrals while using social media to network is highly effective in generating new business. The more you market yourself, the better your chances are of being successful. 

 

And while every agent should use this type of self-marketing, it is only as effective if you do it correctly. You want to keep your followers interested and engaged so that they will look forward to the next piece of information you share.   

That also includes networking with professionals and peers within the industry. Following other real estate agent’s social media pages and engaging on posts allows you to see how they’re marketing their business, opens up the opportunity to ask questions, as well as gain additional knowledge about the business as a whole. 

 

The use of social media in the real estate business is not new, and many agents have already been utilizing these platforms so standing out can be a challenge. Create a social media plan before you start randomly posting. Map out what you want to share and then look for a social media scheduling tool that will allow you to schedule your content in advance. There are many different ones available so do a little homework before getting started. 

 

Next, decide on a realistic schedule. How often will you be able to post? Is it two, three, or even four days a week? Once you decide, stick with the pattern. Keep in mind, you can always increase the number of days you post content but you don’t want to decrease. As Callahan points out, “As with so many things, you’ll get out of social media what you put in.” 

 

Now, think about your followers. Before you decide on what type of content you plan to share, ask yourself, is it useful to them? Not all of your posts should be listings. You want to be a resource to buyers and sellers in your local market and you can do so by sharing relevant information. 

 

“Social media doesn’t work if you’re only posting your listings, or if you ‘ghost and post’ once a week,” says Callahan. “Social media is a long-term strategy that relies on consistency – posting regularly, having variety, posting different types of content, and a balance between business and personal content.” 

 

A good rule of thumb is to follow the 80/20 rule. Eighty percent of your social media should contain something of interest to your client. Think of it as establishing yourself as an expert. The remaining 20% of your posts can be about your business. 

 

So exactly what type of content should you be posting to garner the most engagement from your audience? Think of the following three pillars when creating something of value for your audience. 

 

Educate – Answer popular questions potential buyers and sellers might have, share a quick tip or a customer review. 

 

Entertain – Pose a fun question to your audience to try and get them engaged in the conversation, create a holiday -themed post, or share a meme that’s relevant to the real estate industry. 

 

Inspire –  Share an accomplishment or an inspirational quote, as well as give your audience a behind the scenes look at what you do. 

 

To help get the creative juices flowing we’ve listed a few types of content you’ll want to start creating. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These types of posts are also conversation starters so be sure to follow up with any comments or messages you receive from followers on your posts. This kind of engagement can lead to a valuable connection with a buyer or seller. 

 

We know that getting in the social media game can feel overwhelming. It’s a full-time job and as a real estate agent, chances are you don’t have the time to commit to social media. If that’s the case, don’t let it be the reason why you don’t have one. 

 

If you lack the time or skills to create a polished and professional presence that’s where Callahan and her team come in. With three different membership plans to choose from, they assist real estate agents with the content and strategies needed to excel in the social media space. “If you follow our strategies, use our content and incorporate your personality into your social media presence, you will, over time, generate leads on social media,” says Callahan. 

 

If you still haven’t fully committed to establishing yourself on social media, remember this, you are your best billboard!

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

 

As we head out of winter and into lighter, brighter, and a bit warmer days, just about everyone is ready to step outside and breathe a little of that fresh spring air. This time of year always brings with it a renewed sense of excitement, along with a desire to get outside and enjoy the beautiful afternoons that become more frequent.

 

While thinking about all of the things you’d like to see and do, there’s no better place to look then in your own backyard, figuratively speaking of course. The borough of Brooklyn has so much to offer its residents and tourists alike. From 30 miles of shoreline, to the parks, boardwalks, shops, eateries, cultural institutions, and even the tree-lined streets, there is lots to see and do right here at home.

 

For anyone who loves learning about the history of our country, Brooklyn and its origins will keep you reading for hours upon end. Not only is the borough steeped in history, but each neighborhood has a story to tell.

 

Brooklyn is comprised of approximately 66 neighborhoods, each unique in its own way. Our neighborhood spotlight shines a light on four of the many areas Brooklyn has to offer.

 

Marine Park

Located on the western most inlet of Jamaica Bay, Marine Park is situated around Gerritson Creek, a freshwater stream that once extended about twice as far inland as it does today. In exploring the neighborhood, be sure to check out one of the oldest homes, the Hendrick I. Lott House, located on East 36th Street.

 

Built in 1720, the home is now a historic landmark and in the 18th century George Washington made a stop for several days on the land nearby.

 

The star of the neighborhood is the park which bares the same name. Marine Park is one of the largest parks and boasts 798-acres of land that stretches from Shore Parkway to Avenue U and offers its visitors a plethora of things to do. There are several miles of nature trails, a baseball diamond, cricket fields, tennis, basketball, and bocce courts along with several playgrounds to explore. And if you’re feeling adventurous, you can paddle a kayak out on Jamaica Bay.

 

When it comes to places to eat, there is no shortage of choices in this neighborhood (or any in the borough for that matter). On your next visit to Marine Park, check out some of the following places:

Milk and Honey Cafe – Serving up a variety of brunch/lunch options, Milk and Honey cafe also features a fun take on outside seating with their heated Cinderella Carriage pod. Reservations for the carriage are a must!….1119 Newkirk Avenue

 

The Waffle Box – Home of the “Best Rotisserie chicken and waffles,” this local eatery is serving up comfort food with a Caribbean flare. Salads, milkshakes, and ice cream cones are just some of the delicious offerings you’ll find on the menu….1682 Flatbush Avenue

 

Randazzo’s Clam Bar – Calling all fish lovers!!! A neighborhood staple for over 50 years, the history of how Randazzo’s Clam bar came to be dates back nearly a century. The family has been a part of the seafood business since the 1920’s and since then each generation continues to carry it on. An old school vibe that is causal and comfortable is just one of the many reasons diners keep coming back for seconds, and thirds….2017 Emmons Avenue

 

Park Slope

Located within the area once known as South Brooklyn, the Park Slope neighborhood was mostly farms and woods until the 19th century. Today, historic buildings still remain and it is one of the most desirable neighborhoods in the borough. Top-rated restaurants, bars, shops, organic food markets, the Brooklyn museum, and the Conservatory of Music can all be found when exploring the area.

 

Along with great food and shops, you’ll also find picturesque sidewalks and a neighborhood that emits a small-town vibe; it feels a lot more suburban than some of the other Brooklyn neighborhoods. The tree lined streets are home to beautiful co-ops and brownstones which add to its charm. It truly is “laid back living” here in Park Slope.

 

A highlight to the area is Prospect Park, the Central Park of Brooklyn. Due to its vast size, the park is situated between multiple neighborhoods. It spans approximately 526 acres of land and contains dozens of monuments and statues of notable figures.

 

The park officially opened in 1867 and it was during the American Revolutionary War it was the site of the Battle of Long Island (aka the Battle of Brooklyn).

 

After a visit to the park, check out some of the local eateries the neighborhood has to offer:

Union Hall – This 5,000 square foot facility is a bar, restaurant, and live music and comedy venue all rolled into one. Union Hall was originally a warehouse and now offers a cozy indoor atmosphere, along with two indoor bocce courts, a stately library, and a downstairs bar with music and comedy along with outdoor garden seating….702 Union Street

 

Bogota Latin Bistro – Dubbed one of the hottest Latin restaurants in the borough, this popular bistro has been serving up delicious Columbian cuisine since 2005. Along with some of their most popular drinks, margaritas and mojitos, are the signature dishes which include many kinds of Empanadas and Arepas….141 Fifth Avenue

 

V Spot – This Latin vegan restaurant serves up a selection of Latin comfort food based off of owners Danny and his brother Alex’s Columbian roots. A third partner/friend has helped the brothers to develop the business even further.  With a loyal following of customers, the V Spot restaurant is the only one of its kind in the neighborhood….156 Fifth Avenue

 

Brighton Beach

Brighton Beach, often referred to as “Little Odessa,” a Ukrainian city on the Black Sea, is located within the greater Coney Island area.

 

Before being developed, the land consisted mostly of farms, but in 1868, a man named William A. Engelman purchased several hundred acres of beachfront property and named it “Brighton Beach.” Several years later, he built the Hotel Brighton, a 19th century resort for the NYC elite, along with a racetrack and bungalow colonies.

 

Although they are no longer in existence, their history lives on through photos which can be found along the neighborhood’s historic boardwalk. A few blocks from Brighton Beach Avenue you’ll find a few bungalows still remain.

 

When strolling through this waterfront area, be sure to check out some of the following restaurants:

Cafe Volna – Over 30 years in business, this local restaurant has been serving authentic Russian/Ukrainian dishes that will remind locals off their hometown. Situated on the boardwalk, it offers up a spectacular view while dining….3145 Brighton 4th Street

 

Tatiana & Tatiana Grill – Two authentic restaurants, both offering up spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean right from the boardwalk. The menu consists of a combination of Russian, French, and Mediterranean dishes.  Whether dining at the restaurant or grill, patrons can expect an authentic meal.

 

Williamsburg

One of the borough’s most exciting and trendiest neighborhoods, Williamsburg has been loved by artists, musicians, and creatives for quite a long time, especially since rents at one time were low.

 

Since the mid 90’s and the gentrification of this once working-class area, Williamsburg has become one of the city’s most desirable places to reside, especially for young adults.

 

Along with the trendy bars and restaurants you’ll find in Williamsburg, there are also many great experiences the area has to offer. As you explore, check out the following:

Williamsburg Bridge – Named after Colonel Jonathan Williams, the grand-nephew of Benjamin Franklin (also where the neighborhood received its name), the bridge is more than just a connection to the Lower East Side of Manhattan, it’s also a popular spot for people to either walk or ride their bicycle. From the Brooklyn side it offers a great view of the city.

 

The bridge first opened in 1903 to pedestrians, cyclists, and horse-drawn carriages before being able to handle both cars and trains. At the time, it was the longest suspension bridge and was also regarded as one of the ugliest bridges. Its popularity is more so due to its size and usefulness than beauty.

 

Domino Park – Named after the original Domino sugar factory, this 6-acre public park, which debuted the summer of 2018 is situated along the East River. The refinery dates back to 1856 and was once the largest and most productive sugar refinery in the world, producing four million pounds of sugar daily in its heyday.

 

The site was also central to the growth of area surrounding Williamsburg, to the industrialization of the Brooklyn waterfront, and to the rise of New York City as a global economic powerhouse.

Today, visitors to the park can enjoy things like the elevated walkways, the sugar refinery playground, and the splash pad, along with grabbing a bite to eat at Tacocina, an outdoor taqueria. With sprawling views of the Manhattan skyline and Williamsburg Bridge, the taco stand offers a small menu of tacos, apps, and drinks.

 

Now that the weather’s getting nicer, you just might want to head on out and do some exploring!

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