Real Estate Tips

What We Stand For

During the holidays we all get invited to parties and appreciation events. We normally end up meeting people we have dealt with in the past, new faces, and hanging out with our favorite groups. Sometimes we accidentally eavesdrop in conversations. It is all fun! It’s the holidays.

Well, this time we didn’t need to eavesdrop. The conversation took place right in front of us as we were sipping cocktails. This overly animated agent was describing how working for this top notch Real Estate company has made her so successful. She can hardly find enough time to breath. She gestures and gasps for air as she disparages that her buyers all come from “the city”. They don’t know anything about the market but they, desperately need to get in a particular school district. She then describes how she refers out all the business outside of her little community because she just can’t be bothered. She goes on saying that her co-league goes around town knocking on doors asking home owners to list their properties with him…and they do, she adds! In the euphoria of the conversation the guy next to me jumps in and states that he does the same thing and he just managed to land a listing in the millions, that he will probably have to refer out because he has a busy life. He adds: “I tell all my clients upfront that I am a family man, I have kids and elderly relatives, I don’t work Saturday or Sunday”. He is not done, “If my buyers don’t purchase a house after I show them 6 properties I fire them”! Me and my associate look at each other and walk away. We heard enough!

Photo taken from the HuffPost: How To Become A Real Estate Agent

Here is where I have to include our mantra. GioHomes Real Estate is a local real estate company founded in 2006  based on a philosophy of customer satisfaction. We believe that success in real estate only comes from understanding the client’s needs and satisfying them. We abandoned the corporate premise of quantity and embraced the concept of quality.

Long gone are the days when the information was in the hands of few. The internet and social media now opens the door to the endless possibilities for buyers and sellers. It has empowered small businesses like GioHomes to step out of the old structure and create a more transparent and efficient market.

Yes, we believe that our clients are well informed buyers and our job is to help them achieve their goals of home ownership. And, our sellers are smart competent home owners with busy lives that require the assistance of a real estate professional to handle the sale of their houses.

Now, you probably have a better understanding of why we are a boutique real estate company. We are always here for you!

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Westchester Real Estate and the New Tax Law

The real estate market in Westchester County, home to one of the country’s largest property-tax
burden, has been on a roll. The approval of the tax reform will more likely have an impact on the market since it punishes
residents with even higher costs. The big question is: can the market continue thriving?

Cracks are already forming. The number of closed sales dropped, the second straight quarter. Purchase contracts are down as well. Those might be the first signs that buyers are wavering,
and that prices may need to adjust to reflect the now-higher
costs of owning a home in the well-to-do suburbs.

Right now everyone’s calling their accountant….. yes, we did it too. We found no answers because the IRS has not been able to create the guidelines to implement the new law.  The situation gets more complicated when we include the Co-op corporations since they have very large underlying mortgages, and nobody seems to know how those will be treated when it comes to taxes and the pass-through effect that will end up affecting the home owner’s pockets.

We would be surprised if this doesn’t apply some downward pressure on the higher side of the
market. We could see a period of indecision on both the sellers and buyer’s side. Buyers will be looking for a formula that allows them to afford their home.

 

In real estate one amenity is king….. LOCATION.  Those of us who love this wonderful county of ours, those who enjoy the proximity to NYC and all the wonderful amenities Westchester County has to offer are going to need to grab our calculators and make sure we run our numbers properly. At the end of the day a change in the tax code is not likely to discourage people from making decisions that are basically lifestyle decisions. People need to live somewhere and more likely we are going to live close to our jobs  and send our children to the wonderful school districts we have. There are going to be adjustments in the market but we don’t know the real impact yet.

At GioHomes we are here to help. To us what really matter is what our client’s needs. How can we maximize their earnings and/minimize their loss? How can we help them transition in a seamless manner.

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At GioHomes we make your goal our goal

GioHomes’ Team Celebrating the Holidays

GioHomes Real Estate is a local real estate company founded in 2006 based on a philosophy of customer satisfaction. We believe that success in real estate only comes from understanding the client’s needs and satisfying them. We abandoned the corporate premise of quantity and embraced the concept of quality.

Long gone are the days when the information was in the hands of few. The internet and social media now opens the door to the endless possibilities for buyers and sellers. It has empowered small businesses like GioHomes to step out of the old structure and create a more transparent and efficient market.

Years of experience, training, and ongoing education give us the tools to offer prospective buyers and sellers an alternative in a market that was once dominated by large corporations. GioHomes offers opportunities where buyers and sellers are no longer a number in the chaos of politics and paperwork but rather a voice that demands to be serviced.

Please let us know how we can help you.

GioHomes Real Estate LLC.

914-946-1067 – info@giohomes.com – www.giohomes.com

In the picture Lloyd Mascarenhas, Michael Turner, Annette Zito, Phyllis Marcus (legal counsel), Giovanni Gonzalez and Vivian Chen.

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Smart features that will take your home to the cutting edge of living

CUTTING EDGE OF LIVINGSeveral years ago, “smart features” for home were considered somewhat of a fad. However, in a survey conducted by Coldwell Banker Real Estate, almost two-thirds of the company’s agents discovered that today’s home buyers are showing more interest in homes equipped with smart features, compared to two to five years ago.

Due to the increasing demand for smart homes, it’s also essential for buyers to figure out which smart features will really give them their money’s worth. Want to know what smart features most buyers are looking for today? Take a look at our list below:

Lutron Caseta Wireless

Designed by Pennsylvania-based Lutron Electronics, the Caseta Wireless is an automated lighting system that controls your home’s lighting, including shade position and temperature. The system can be controlled using an app downloadable on tablets, smartphones, and smartwatches.

Sengled Pulse Smart Bulb

Created by Chinese company Sengled, the Pulse Smart Bulb is both a functional lighting system and an entertainment device rolled into one. Each bulb also functions as a wireless speaker, allowing users to stream music from their smart devices into the bulb.

iSmart Alarms

The iSmart Alarm system allows homeowners to check on their homes just by using a smart device. The system comes with door and window sensors, motion detectors, and cameras connected wirelessly. The app used to control the system also gives users control over the home’s thermostat, lighting, and smoke detectors.

Kwikset Kevo Smart Lock

With the Kevo Smart Lock, there’s no longer a need for a set of keys – you can unlock every door in your house just by using your smartphone. With this system, homeowners can grant access to certain people (like neighbors or house cleaners) for a certain period of time, without the need to hand them an actual key.

For more helpful home tips, visit this page.

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Stage your Home Using These 12 Tips

Home StagingBefore you sell your home it’s important to whip it up into shape. Follow these 12 tips and your property will be catching major attention for prospective home buyers.

  1. Get rid of grime. Nobody likes grimy bathroom walls. To get rid of surface mold, mix one part water and one part bleach, then spray it on the walls. You can also do a minor upgrade and apply a fresh coat of paint for an updated look.
  2. Paint your bathroom tiles. Instead of replacing your bathroom’s outdated tiles, a low-cost alternative would be to apply a coat of high-adhesion primer and brush a special ceramic epoxy covering.
  3. Make your master bedroom gender neutral. It’s of paramount importance to appeal to both sexes when selling a home. Stick to a neutral paint color, and complement the walls with bedding that matches the color scheme. If there’s a his-and-hers closet, you can add items that are gender-specific.
  4. Consider getting a pedestal sink. Vanities are bulky and take too much space. To show more square footage in your bathroom, invest in a pedestal sink.
  5. Transform an outdated fireplace into a modern beauty. You don’t have to tear down your old, outdated fireplace. Turn it into a selling feature by getting rid of outdated elements like brass screens. Give it a good scrub, use a stone color enhancer, and polish the bricks until they shine as if they are brand new.
  6. Stain old kitchen cabinets. Instead of replacing your outdated kitchen cabinets, give them a new look by staining them in even strokes. Add some stylish hardware for some pizzazz.
  7. Invest on granite countertops. It can be expensive, but granite countertops are a great investment and a huge selling feature as they add character and depth to any kitchen.
  8. Buy new kitchen equipment. According to recent studies, new appliances yield high investment returns from sellers. You don’t have to replace everything – replace key pieces that will instantly upgrade your old kitchen into a new one.
  9. Add built-in bookshelves. Storage is one of the factors that can make or break a sale. Add built-in bookshelves and dress them up with neutral yet attractive items in clusters.
  10. Improve your curb appeal. The best way to attract a potential home buyer’s attention is to stop some traffic. Give your home’s exterior walls a fresh coat of paint that will invite home buyers to check out your place. Flowers in bloom are a great addition as well.
  11. Renovate your outdoor deck. Sand the wood of your outdoor deck and use a light-colored stain for a rustic yet updated look. Stage it with furnishings for entertaining, and you can easily hold an open house cum deck party.
  12. Stage your home to show true potential. For an effective home-staging, pick pieces and furniture that will show off a space’s potential, including its functionality. That way, home buyers will easily envision themselves living in the property.

A few minor upgrades can easily boost your property and attract plenty of offers. Check out this link for more home selling tips.

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House-hunting by style

HomebuyingWestchester County real estate is characterized by diverse housing options, ideal for meeting different needs and preferences. To help you out in the home-buying process, here are some of the quintessential architectural styles you can find in Westchester County’s real estate market.

    1. Modern – Modern homes are often characterized by its simplicity in form and design. Windows might occupy large sections of the walls, and some modern homes come with flat roofs. Inside, you’re greeted with an open living plan. Some Modern-style residences also connect indoor and outdoor spaces for a seamless living experience.

    2. Victorian – Victorian-style homes are ornate as Modern homes are minimalist in design. Distinctive features of a Victorian home include decorative trims, wraparound porches, and different parlors. You can find most of Westchester County’s Victorian-style residences in the Rivertowns.

    3. Tudor / Tudor Revival–This architectural style first became in the late 19th century and still remained in fashion until the first half of the 20th century. An import from Europe, Tudors and Tudor Revivals are usually made from a mix of materials, including stucco, bring, and wood. Asymmetric in design, features include detailed woodwork and masonry, steep gabled roofs, casement windows, and dormers.

    4. Ranch –A classic American style, a Ranch home is defined by long, low rooflines, big picture windows, a built-in garage, and sliding doors which will lead you to a patio. Ranch homes, also called California ranches, are great for single level living and designed for that lifestyle. There are design variations, however, such as raised ranch and split-level. Ranch homes also often come with simple and open floor plans and occupy a larger footprint. Due to the latter, there aren’t a lot of Ranch homes in Westchester, but you can still find this style with the right real estate agent by your side.

    5. Cape Cod – Cape Cods are often found in Long Island, but you can find this popular style in Westchester County as well. Cape Cods are usually straightforward and come with one or one-and-a-half stories. Its roofline, one its most distinctive features, often slants down to the first floor. Most Cape Cods are finished in shingles, and offer less space than other styles.

    6. Colonial–Highly regarded as one of the most traditional home styles in the country, Colonials are prevalent in Westchester County. You can easily spot such a home as they rectangular in shape and very symmetrical in design. Double-hung windows are another feature, and are often made of brick and solid stone.

Looking for more information about home-buying in Westchester County? Check out our blog.

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What the TRID Means for Newbies and Veteran Real Estate Buyers and Sellers

Truth in Home LendingLast October, a new set of closing disclosures came into effect. Here, we’ll discuss its purpose and how it affects you as a home buyer or a home seller.

TRID stands for TILA (Truth in Lending Act) RESPA (Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act) Integrated Disclosure. It basically means the TILA and the RESPA were joined into one form that can help home buyers like you understand all the costs and risks of mortgage.

A change in timelines

The new TRID form’s main effect on home buyers and sellers is that it can dramatically affect their timeline. If you’re a buyer purchasing a home from Person B, you can’t close the sale without having the Closing Disclosure delivered to you by the lender three days before the closing date.

Who is affected?

If you’re a buyer or a seller who borrowed from a lender not considered a creditor by the governing body, you’re exempted from the new rules. The same goes for any buyer or seller with less than 5 loans in a year, or those with HELOCs, reverse mortgages, and loans that aren’t attached to any real property.

You will be greatly affected by the new TRID form if you’re a retail buyer or you’re a real estate flipper. The additional disclosures (the Loan Estimate and the Closing Disclosure) can throw your schedule in disarray. As mentioned a few paragraphs earlier, the Closing Disclosure is given after a 3-day review period. If there are any specific changes to the loan terms, you’ll need to push back your closing date to have a new Closing Disclosure reviewed and delivered again.

Bottom line: if you don’t want to get your deal thrown under the bus, it’s best to take care of all the specifics of your loan more than 3 days before the closing date. Should there be any changes to your loan terms, there will still be enough time for another 3-day review for your new Closing Disclosure.

For more details about the new TRID, contact me at 914-946-1067. Check out our Resources page for more real estate buyer and seller information.

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10 interior design apps and sites you should try

Design AppsYou don’t need to set up an appointment with a professional just to check out the latest in interior design. To help you look for inspiration, here are 10 interior design apps and sites you need to try.

1. House of Turquoise– If you’re a fan of the color turquoise, you’ll find yourself visiting this website a lot. The blog regularly posts design ideas featuring this lively color, but if you’re not a fan, you’ll still find this blog to be a treasure trove of home design ideas.

2. Color Snap– Ever spotted a color you’d like for your walls? Color Snap will help you find the paint color that matches the hue you’ve been eyeing. Through the app, snap a photo of the color you like (whether it’s a coffee mug or a tree bark) and the app will find its exact copy. All you need to do now is head to the nearest paint store!

3. Nous Décor– Nous Décor is great for budding interior designers and home owners looking for different kinds of design inspiration. The website collates content from different bloggers, giving you access to a ton of design information. The best part, however, is that you can hire one of the Nous Décor designers to work for you.

4. Floor Planner– Will this gorgeous hardwood match your walls? How about the measurements? Floor Planner is a website that helps you create floor plans – an assistant you’d love to have come renovation day.

5. Design*Sponge– Design*Sponge is well-known among interior design enthusiasts. Although they have expanded their content over the years, their interior design features are still some of the best out there. Design*Sponge mostly does pieces on eclectic design, but you’ll also find a variety of styles on the site.

6. Like That Décor and Furniture– Snap a photo of your favorite furniture and décor finds, and this app will save your photos for you so you can buy them at a later date. The app also allows you to look and purchase décor and furniture from popular stores such as Restoration Hardware, Etsy, and Serena & Lily.

7. Young House Love– Young House Love is perfect for homeowners who want to decorate their homes with the family in mind. The website contains approximately 3,000 projects that will help transform your home into a stylish, comfortable, and family-friendly abode.

8. Coco + Kelley– Coco + Kelly is a favorite among practical home owners as they categorize their design tips and ideas by room. After all, that’s how most homeowners really decorate.

9. Decor8– Decor8 is a design website most known for their topnotch DIY projects. The website also contains designer and stylists sections where you can get great tips from both established and up-and-coming interior designers.

10. Décor Happy– Curated by designer Vanessa Francis, Décor Happy regularly features room design challenges, styling tips, and input from fellow designers.

Design trends come and go. For additional reading, check out our post about home design styles you should avoid.

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Tips for choosing the right home inspector

Choosing Home InspectorWhether you’re a home buyer or seller, the home inspection is one of the most important parts of the entire process.

For buyers, a home inspection will bring to light problems that you might not have noticed before. In some cases, a buyer can discover issues about the home that cause them to rethink their purchase.

For sellers, having your home inspected can show you what you need to fix before you put your home on the market, eliminating the need to haggle with potential buyers over the price.

Choosing the right home inspector is a crucial part to making the home inspection process run smoothly. Here are a few helpful tips to keep in mind when choosing a home inspector:

  • It’s wise to try looking for a home inspector first even before looking for a home. When you’re already engaged in negotiations with a home seller, your time is limited, so you may feel pressured to go with the first home inspector you encounter.
  • Try asking your friends or relatives for recommendations. You can also look for local home inspectors on the American Society of Home inspectors website.
  • Remember to talk with prospective inspectors thoroughly. Ask them about their background, how long they’ve been in the business, how many successful inspections they’ve performed, and what type of report they can provide you.
  • Look for an inspector who will remain objective and independent throughout the process. An inspector should not be affiliated with the real estate agency in charge of selling the home.
  • Choose an inspector who specializes in the particular type of home you’re about to buy or sell. Each home is built differently and is made using different materials, thus there are different risks, signs, and symptoms to look out for.
  • Make sure your inspector can submit a complete report in a timely manner, so you can have plenty of time for review. Most inspectors can also provide you with an electronic copy, so you can share it to friends and relatives via e-mail if needed.

For more helpful tips, take a look at this page.

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How to Deal with Agents and Home Sellers

Most real estate agents will bend over backwards to accommodate their clients’ requests. Agents will comb through listings to pinpoint the home that closely matches their client’s specifications. Agents will also come up with options and solutions to bypass the bumps on the road that are sometimes part of the homebuying process. More often than not, sellers will adopt a similar attitude. They will inconvenience themselves to welcome potential buyers into their homes.

Meanwhile, the buyer can do well by keeping a few things in mind to make the process an even more positive experience.
 

Dealing with your agent

  • Resist the impulse to call your agent very late at night or early in the morning. An email is a more efficient way to communicate with your realtor during non-office hours.
  • Apply the same courtesy to sellers when you ask your agent to schedule home viewings.
  • Schedule meetings and viewings at a time that’s reasonably convenient for you. This way, you can be sure of being punctual to appointments.

 

Dealing with the homeowner

  • Let your agent contact the homeowner for you. No need to call the owners directly.
  • Be aware that certain homeowners have “shoe rules.” Before entering any listed house, ask if you need to take off your shoes or if you’ll need to wear surgical booties in the house.
  • Visit a listed home with your agent. Don’t do it alone. Once viewings are arranged, your agent will be on hand to assist you.
  • Find out ahead of time if you can take photos of the home. Ask your agent if it’s possible. Some homeowners prefer to maintain their privacy even if they’re selling their home.
  • Take the time to look around. Even if the house lacks curb appeal, you may be surprised at what lies within. Just follow the lead of your agent.
  • Make mental notes. Speak openly to your agent only after you’ve left the home. Airing your thoughts as you tour may compromise negotiations or lead to awkward situations, especially if there are things about the house you don’t like.

 

If you’re looking for homes in Westchester County, New York, contact us today.

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