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

 

Technology has impacted as well as revolutionized the way in which we do business. Not only has it changed what we do and how we do it, it has brought about new and exciting ways for just about every industry, and real estate is no exception.

 

These days, no matter where you are, the majority of people you encounter can be seen with their heads down, looking at their smartphone or some other type of device. That’s because technology has given us access to information right at our fingertips and made it simple to perform just about every necessary task right online. From paying bills, shopping for clothes, food, even a home, it’s as easy as the click of a button.

 

Generally speaking, people spend about 7.6 hours online, with 1% of the time being spent browsing. Whether it’s surfing social media, checking email, watching videos, teaching yourself how to do something with the help of sites like Youtube, shopping online, or reading up on the latest news, a person’s attention is digitally focused.

 

When it comes to real estate, technology has proven to be a powerful tool for the industry. Brokers and agents continue to perform the most essential functions of the business, but with the help of technology, it has made certain areas faster, smoother, and much easier to navigate.

 

In essence, it’s changing the way in which real estate professionals do their job, to a degree. People still want a human connection with expertise in the field and that is something that will not change. The expert advice and knowledge provided cannot be replaced, only enhanced, by the use of technology.

 

With the use of the Internet, it has reshaped the way in which real estate is delivered to the consumer. Between the numerous websites, professional photography, and now virtual property tours, buying and selling a home looks a lot different than it did even 10+ years ago. These days, home buyers are tech-savvy and well-informed, they know exactly what they want, making it the job of the professional, regardless of the sector, to help deliver.

 

 

A few of the most obvious ways in which technology has been impacting the real estate sector include:

 

Transparency

Many websites that provide information to the consumer are free, allowing for the opportunity to educate oneself even before the process begins. These sites provide tools such as data, inventory, availability, and pricing for a potential buyer to browse through. Sly Symons, founder of the Syms company said it best, “An educated consumer is our best consumer.”

 

Marketing

With the aid of technology, marketing just about any type of product has become instantaneous. Broadcasting messages over multiple platforms allows professionals to reach a much wider audience than before. The visibility is not only easier to achieve but more cost-effective. With the use of technology, getting your product out to the marketplace can happen in mere seconds. The easier the platform to navigate, the quicker homes can be listed, which in turn allows potential homebuyers to find what they’re looking for faster. The end result is greater market activity and a pleasant experience for everyone involved.

 

Real-time data

Previously, much of the research and data comprised was focused on what happened in the past as opposed to what was happening in the current marketplace. With the use of technology, outdated data is no longer the case. Now, it’s never been easier to find out information such as pricing and availability in real-time.

 

Virtual Reality

One of the most important steps in the home buying process is the visual inspection of the property, both inside and out, along with the surrounding area. With the use of drone video, it’s possible to not only see the complete exterior of a home but the surrounding neighborhoods as well. Virtual reality (VR) is a relatively newer form of technology used in the real estate industry although there are agents who have already implemented it into their business.

 

Up until now, VR has been a great tool for buyers looking to relocate further away from their current location as well as for people who may be unable to view a property, such as an open house. But now, with the current climate of our country, the chances of VR being used to sell homes is even greater.

 

As we continue to move forward, virtual touring of a home right from a device will allow faster access to a property and the opportunity to narrow down selections. Instead of multiple in-person visits, clients can now scan through places without having to physically be there, making it possible to view numerous homes in a day and make decisions sooner than before.

 

Rich Schulhoff, CEO of the Brooklyn MLS, has also noticed an uptick in the number of listings being posted, which in turn results in using virtual tours. “People are also getting more creative with virtual tours,” says Schulhoff.

 

Social Media

The power of social media is strong and can be felt over a multitude of sectors. The days of buyers opening up a newspaper to look for a home or flipping through a phonebook for a sales agent are long gone. Instead, social media has become the place to go when it comes to finding just about anything you want, including a home, and are a great way for real estate professionals to grow their business. The ability to connect with others is instantaneous; whether it’s connecting with existing clients, potential new ones, or others in the industry, social media sites have made it possible to do so and are important tools to have in your real estate toolbox.

 

Facebook – With more than 2 billion users, creating a Facebook page can help attract an audience on a much larger scale than any marketing plan of yesterday could possibly ever do. Facebook posts should focus on both business and the consumer. Along with sharing your listings, share information that is focused on the home as well as the process. Everything from mortgages to DIY tips for decorating is helpful knowledge to an owner or a potential buyer. Share information on your borough or city; establishing yourself as a thought leader in your community is helpful in attracting new clients and followers.

 

Instagram – More than 700 million users can be found on this social media platform, making it another great resource for real estate professionals. Posting photos of available properties can help generate leads as well as showcase listings to available buyers. Another excellent way to engage potential buyers is by sharing short video clips of your listings. In addition, content you’ve published elsewhere can also be shared by providing a direct link in your bio. This is another great way to direct followers to any additional social media accounts you may have.

 

While there are a multitude of social media platforms and technologies available to real estate professionals, it’s important to remember that the tools are only effective if they are used correctly and consistently.

 

As technology continuously changes and reshapes the way in which we live, it’s imperative that businesses follow suit. Customers will find new and exciting ways to use it, that’s why it’s imperative to stay ahead of the curve in such a competitive market. If everyone else is moving forward and your business remains the same, then you’re actually falling behind. Change can be scary but embracing it will help take your business to new heights.

With a new decade under way, the Brooklyn real estate market continues to remain strong. New York City as a whole is one of the hottest housing markets in the United States and from the way the New Year is shaping up, there are no signs of a decline in the borough.

A look at the statistics for both single and multi-family homes, in both price and days on market (DOM), has remained steady. The fact that it has held strong is another indicator of the Brooklyn market’s strength. The bottom line, the borough is booming and people are continuing to put down roots. Not only is it the most populous of the five boroughs in NYC, it is the second largest in size, with an estimated population of 2.6 million people.

Rich Schulhoff, CEO of the Brooklyn MLS, believes that one of the borough’s appeals is the fact that not only is it accessible to Manhattan, it is a great community to raise a family. “It is still a borough of neighborhoods,” says Schulhoff. “And I think that is the difference.”

Within Brooklyn there are many well-known neighborhoods which have gone through a revitalization or gentrification at some point over the years.  With the ever-changing times the process of change and growth promises to continue.

According to Schulhoff, a telltale sign of growth is due in part to new developments opening up within an area. “I’ve always found that when you see businesses, especially restaurants, opening up in areas that have been somewhat neglected, you know the next step is going to be people moving in and communities changing.”

 

One neighborhood in particular Schulhoff predicts is on the verge of exploding in the form of growth and development is East New York. This diverse and growing neighborhood is located in northeast Brooklyn and was once deemed “Little Pittsburgh” due to its many industrial businesses in the early twentieth century.

Settled by Dutch colonists in the 1650’s, East New York was originally founded as the town of New Lots. Unable to find room to farm in the area known as Flatbush, they came here to settle the new lots, hence the origin of the name. Streets such as Van Siclen Avenue and Wyckoff Street were named after farmers and still exist today.

Due to rezoning in 2016, East New York, a neighborhood that has not been as sought after a location as others, we will see many changes over the coming years, which all begins now. The development of affordable housing, new retail shops, community facilities, and a public plaza, will help to invigorate the economy by providing a home for new businesses along with helping families to grow and prosper.

As the neighborhood begins its transformation, some local spots to check out include:

Maxwell’s Bakery – Serving the community since 1928, the bakery was originally known as “Essential Cheesecake” during World War II but changed names in a bid to secure a contract to provide baked goods to the troops stationed at Fort Hamilton. 2700 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn NY  11207

Highland Park – Created in 1901, this park offers stunning views of Ridgewood Reservoir, the Rockaways, and the Atlantic Ocean. A popular spot amongst residents, the park plays an important role in the community. Designated BBQ areas make it a perfect spot for a picnic with family or friends, and for those looking for some athletic recreation, there are tennis courts, baseball fields, and handball and basketball courts. Cypress Hills Street, Brooklyn NY 11207

 Shirley Chisholm State Park – The park was named after Brooklyn-born pioneer Shirley Chisholm, the first African American Congressman as well as the first woman and African American to run for President. Resting atop the former Pennsylvania and Fountain Avenue landfills, it offers views of landmarks like the Empire State building, Verrazano Bridge, New York harbor, and Jamaica Bay. One section of the park opened up last year, with the expansion set to open up in 2021.

 

In addition to East New York, two additional neighborhoods where continued growth is projected is Greenpoint, which lies right next door to the popular Williamsburg, and Coney Island, a neighborhood that has long been synonymous with Brooklyn.

No longer just Williamsburg’s “neighbor,” Greenpoint is a destination that attracts residents due in part to its close proximity to Manhattan and more affordable housing than some of the surrounding areas.

What was once a quaint countryside is now a bustling community. Like most of the borough, the area was originally farmland and as time progressed, became a popular spot for families and workers to reside because of the abundance of factory jobs. A working class and immigrant neighborhood, it’s not uncommon now to find three generations of families living in the community.

Along with a number of great places to frequent, Greenpoint is also a popular location for both TV and film. Several shows like “Blue Bloods” house their permanent soundstages in the neighborhood’s industrial area between Greenpoint Avenue and Norman Boulevard. Other shows like, “Rescue Me,” “Boardwalk Empire,” and a scene from a music video featuring rapper Jay-Z and basketball legend Lebron James are just a few of the projects filmed here.

When looking for places to go, Greenpoint has no shortage of restaurants, trendy hotels, and watering holes to grab a drink or two. Check out some of the following:

Alameda – This beautiful neighborhood bistro has been serving up delish seasonal new American fare along with classic and modern cocktails since 2013. – 195 Franklin Street, Brooklyn NY 11222

Paulie Gee’s – This cozy pizzeria serves up some of the best pizza, soups, salads, and of course dessert. If you’re looking to grab a quick slice, you can visit their slice shop for takeout or delivery. – 60 Greenpoint Avenue (dine-in only) / 110 Franklin Street (slice shop) Brooklyn NY  11222

The Diamond – One of the few bars in Brooklyn where you can play shuffleboard, video games, grab a bite and a drink, all while keeping it causal and magical. 43 Franklin Street, Brooklyn NY 11222

Sunshine Laundromat and Pinball – Have you ever seen a laundromat that offers up pinball machines and beer? Who says doing laundry can’t be fun! 860 Manhattan Avenue, Brooklyn NY 11222

Henry Norman Hotel – Right in the heart of everything, visitors can stay at this distinct hotel offering unique loft style suites that were once home to a 19th century textile warehouse.

 

A “go-to” neighborhood for a long time, Coney Island continues to attract visitors, especially during warmer weather. During the mid-19th century, the neighborhood was a popular seaside resort town, and on busy summer days drew in millions of people between the beaches and amusement parks.

In 1916, an entrepreneur named Nathan Handwerker took advantage of the increased number of visitors and began selling hotdogs at Coney Island for a nickel each, eventually expanding his business into the world famous Nathan’s Hot Dog chain.

Today, the presence of casual new restaurants and development of hi-rise buildings are all signs Schulhoff says of more people coming into the neighborhood.

A few “staples” to check out the next time you’re in Coney Island include:

Coney Island Cyclones game at MCU park – What better way to watch a baseball game then with a view of the water. 1904 Surf Avenue, Brooklyn NY 11224

Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog eating contestHeld annually on the Fourth of July at Nathan’s world-famous establishment. 1320 Surf Avenue, Brooklyn NY 11224

Mermaid Parade – Since 1983, this annual event, invented by artists, showcases over 3,000 creative individuals from the five borough and beyond. Starts at West 21st & Surf Avenue

Luna ParkHome of the world famous cyclone, one of the oldest wooden rollercoasters still in operation. Making its debut in June of 1927, this all-time American classic ride is not for the faint of heart. Additional rides, shops, games, and dining make this amusement park the place to be. 100 Surf Avenue, Brooklyn NY 11224

Totonno’s Pizzeria Napolitano -For the past 93 years, Totonno’s has been serving the Coney Island community. Recognized as the best pizza in New York City, this neighborhood staple went through a “rebirth” after Hurricane Sandy. 1524 Neptune Avenue, Brooklyn NY 11224

Rubys Bar & Grill – Family owned and operated since 1972, Ruby’s is the oldest bar and grill on the boardwalk, and the only place where you can still walk under the original boardwalk. No visit to Coney Island is complete without a stop at this nostalgic establishment. 1213 Riegelmann Boardwalk, Brooklyn NY 11224

Margarita Island – Open all year round, this indoor/outdoor hot spot features live music, DJ, and a place to catch the latest game on TV. During the summer grab a drink at the outdoor Tiki Bar. 1105 Bowery Street, Brooklyn NY 11224

As neighborhoods such as these, as well as others, continue to prosper, Brooklyn remains a place where people want to live and the demand for property holds strong.

It’s the year of the White Metal Rat and beginning January 25th, the people of the culture, and others as well, will take part in celebrations for Chinese New Year (often referred to as Lunar New Year globally).

“The Lunar New Year means new beginnings, incoming good luck, and wiping away any ill fortune and bad luck from the prior year,” says Delton Cheng, Board of Director for Brooklyn MLS.

This time of celebration includes dinners, dragon and lion dances, lantern festivals, firecrackers, and lucky red envelopes (hongbaos) filled with cash. The dragons are a symbol of China’s culture and believed to bring good luck, therefore, the longer the dragon is in the dance, the more luck it brings to the community.

Cheng, who was born and raised in Flatbush, recalls New Year’s celebrations filled with fireworks, all types of Chinese candies, and the elders giving out the “good luck money” to unmarried young ones. Homes were also decorated with plum blossom and pussy willows as they are the most sought after flowers of this season.

“It’s all about gathering with family and enjoying a reunion dinner, the most important meal of the year,” says Cheng.

These festivities take place throughout the various Chinatown communities within NYC, including Sunset Park, the largest Chinatown in Brooklyn (and all of New York).

 

 

In research conducted back in 2017, it was shown that New York City is home to the largest Chinese-American population with over half a million people. In the city of Brooklyn alone, not only can Chinatown communities be found in Sunset Park, the next biggest areas are located in Bensonhurst and Sheepshead Bay (Avenue U), along with smaller, yet burgeoning communities within Bay Ridge, Borough Park, Coney Island, Dyker Heights, Gravesend, and Marine Park.

Dating back to the earlier part of the 20th century, Sunset Park, which got its name from the park itself, was then known as “Little Norway” due to the influx of Norwegian immigrants who comprised most of the neighborhood.

But by the 1950s things had changed; the people were moving out and the area increasingly turning sparse. It wasn’t until the 1980s, when Chinese immigrants started to settle into Sunset Park that one of the city’s most vibrant and thriving Chinatowns began to develop.

A few years later, the first Chinese-American grocery store, Winley Supermarket, laid down roots on the corner of 8th Avenue and 56th Street (34 years later they’re still serving the people of Brooklyn). While many storefronts remained abandoned, more and more immigrants began moving into the area, escaping the higher cost of rent in Manhattan’s Chinatown for the one that was beginning to grow right here in Brooklyn.

Fast forward to 2020 and the neighborhood has become one of the city’s most diverse, and “coolest” areas.  Along with beautiful brownstones are the breathtaking views of downtown Manhattan, downtown Brooklyn, Staten Island, and even some parts of New Jersey.

The community has seen a transformation since those earlier days when 8th Avenue was lined almost entirely with empty stores. Now, the main drag, which runs from 49th to 60th Street, is the heart of Brooklyn’s energetic Chinatown, having transformed the area into a bustling destination. It’s here you’ll find open air markets, selling things like fresh Chinese vegetables and seafood, a variety of specialty Asian foods and ingredients, especially at the Fei Long supermarket (which also has a food court on the third floor, offering a selection of nine different stalls serving up distinctly different styles of Chinese cuisine), along with numerous Chinese, Vietnamese, and Malaysian restaurants.

And while the community is consistently lively, things are about to kick into high gear as residents of Sunset Park prepare for one of their biggest and most anticipated events, the Brooklyn Chinese-American Association’s Lunar New Year Parade which will take place on Sunday, January 26th. The parade will begin at 50th Street and 8th Avenue with performances starting around 11am, although it’s a good idea to arrive earlier to ensure a good spot along the parade’s route.

Established in 1988, the “joyous celebration held on a dreary street brought together people of diverse ethnic backgrounds and successfully marked a turning point for Sunset Park,” according to the BAC’s website.

 

In addition, Brooklyn is also home to some of the best Chinese cuisine. With the New Year right around the corner, there is no reason why you will need to go any further then Brooklyn in search of excellent eats!

Mister Hotpot – One of the tastiest spots for Hong Kong-style hot pot, diners can dip a variety of meat, vegetables, and noodles into a bubbling broth (think fondue). Along with the food, you’ll also find pop music pumping throughout this trendy hot-spot. (5306 8th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11220).

Grand Sichuan House – It’s been called the best in Bay Ridge, serving up authentic spicy Chinese food.  This traditional Sichuan- style cuisine offers up choices like Dan Dan noodles, soup dumplings, and cumin flavored beef, to name just a few. (8701 5th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY  11209).

Lucky 8 – This Cantonese style cooking focuses on both fresh meats and seafood, some of which you can see swimming in the restaurant’s tanks. Caught live and cooked on the spot, diners can choose from numerous types of fish. Whether you’re looking to take out or dine- in, it’s a great spot to enjoy the Chinese New Year. (5204 8th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY  11220)

Park Asia – Offering both dim sum and traditional Cantonese dishes, the restaurant offers diners two floors of beautiful dining space, making it a great location for events as well. (6521 Eighth Avenue, Brooklyn, NY  11220)

East Harbor Seafood Palace – Although this dining spot is located in Brooklyn, you’ll feel like you’re eating in a Manhattan hot-spot when you sit down at this wildly popular and always crowded Chinese restaurant. Offering a huge selection of classic dim sum dishes, diners will also find an extensive menu to choose from. (714 65th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11220)

Buntopia – If it’s low calories dishes you’re looking for, look no further than this vegan friendly sushi spot serving up fusion and healthy cuisine for everyone.  (994 Broadway, Brooklyn, NY  11221)

Kathy’s Dumplings – Whether you choose to dine in or take out, it’s here you’ll find both a variety of dumplings and a modern interpretation of classic Chinese dishes.  (7924 3rd Avenue, Brooklyn, NY  11209)

Joe’s Bakery – If you’re looking to get your dum sum fix on, this Chinese style bakery is the perfect choice. (8517 18th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY  11224)

As Brooklynites and the neighboring boroughs come out to enjoy and embrace the beauty of the culture, Cheng is proud, and thrilled to see the Chinese community flourishing in New York City. “Home ownership is the American dream and with support and contributions of Brooklyn MLS, the growing Chinese and Asian community here in Brooklyn can obtain that dream!”

 

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