Real Estate News

If you’re thinking about remodeling your kitchen, or finishing your basement, you probably want to get your investment back when you sell your home. But when it comes to payback value of home improvements, some are definitely more profitable than others.  As a general rule, kitchen and bathroom projects usually get a nice return on investment, typically 90% or more. Things like adding rooms or finishing basements tend to pay back the least. Finishing a basement usually returns less than 50%, so it’s not a project likely to show profit at selling time.

There are a number of factors that go into determining how well a project will pay back. Payback value depends a lot on the current market conditions in your area.  If the market is hot and homes are selling fast, you can expect a higher payback value than you would get in a slow market.   


The type of project you do and how it fits in with other homes in the area can have a big influence on payback too. If you put your money into the wrong type of improvement, you won’t get your money back.  But if you're smart about what you do, you can make money. The payback will be better on improvements that are in demand and conform to neighborhood standards.  Adding a second bathroom in a neighborhood where most homes have two bathrooms will give a high return on investment.   Building a large addition that makes your home twice as big as the other homes on the block probably won’t pay back very well.  Likewise, the popularity of a project will factor into how much it pays back.  An improvement heavily customized to your wants and needs won’t pay back as well as something more common to other homes in the neighborhood.


Another factor to consider is the cost of the improvements. If you can do the work yourself, you can save significantly on the cost of the project and greatly improve the chances of getting a good return on the investment.


The list below is compiled from several published surveys and shows typical payback for some popular remodeling projects:


  • Kitchen remodeling – 90%
  • Add a bathroom – 90%
  • Bathroom remodeling – 80%
  • Install central heating – 90%
  • Install central air – 75%
  • Add a deck – 70%
  • Replace windows – 70%
  • Add a room – 55%
  • Build a pool – 45%
  • Finish a basement – 40%
Posted in:General
Posted by Joseph Baratta on August 15th, 2018 9:18 AM

The popularity of living in gated, or private communities has been rising in recent years. It used to be that gated communities were thought of as being only for the rich.  But today they are becoming more and more popular with middle and upper middle class families.  Security is usually given as the biggest reason for choosing to live in a gated community. Among the other reasons people are attracted to living in these communities are protecting property values and lifestyle. Many gated communities are designed with amenities built around a particular lifestyle, with golf courses, tennis, swimming pools, or equestrian facilities. Gated communities are usually located on some of the most desirable land in the area.  Prime land, combined with careful planning and HOA rules create an environment where home values hold up extremely well.


Aside from the gates or walls, the second most defining characteristic of gated or private communities is the Homeowner’s Association (HOA).The HOA is made up of all the owners of the development.  The HOA is responsible for collection of the Association fees and making and enforcing the “rules” of the community. It is often also responsible for maintaining the public aspects of the community, such as streets, security, parks, etc.


The rules set by the HOA can vary a great deal, depending on the individual development.Typically the HOA will have rules pertaining to upkeep and appearance of homes within the development, specifying the colors of paint on outside walls, types of fencing, guidelines for landscaping and storage of boats or recreational vehicles.


Gated communities aren't for everyone.But with strong protection of property values, increased security, less traffic and amenities for your specific lifestyle, they are appealing to more people each year.

Posted in:General
Posted by Joseph Baratta on August 6th, 2018 8:43 PM

In real estate contracts the contingency is a common element. Contingencies are clauses in a contract that give either the buyer or seller a way to get out of the contract if certain conditions or timelines aren’t met.   A commonly used example is that of a buyer making an offer on a new home before selling his existing home.   The buyer needs to sell his present home before being able to get financing on the new one.   So he makes his offer contingent upon the sale of his existing home.  This one is called an escape clause or "Kick Out" clause.  There will always be a time period associated with such a contingency.   If the buyer is able to get his present home sold within that time period, the deal can go forward.   But if he fails to sell within the specified time period, the seller has the option of getting out of the deal.   In most cases, sellers won’t accept this kind of contingency, because they will most likely feel that they can find another buyer capable of closing the deal without needing to sell another home first.   But new home builders are often willing to accept an offer contingent upon the sale of an existing home.


Every contract can be unique.  The possibilities for contingencies are virtually endless.   Some of the more commonly used contingencies would include:


Financing .  Contingencies that depend on the buyer being able to obtain financing are very common. It is referred to as a Mortgage Contingency

Home Inspections
.  Probably the most common type of contingency is the “contingent upon satisfactory completion of inspection”.   There are any number of specific types of inspection for which a contingency might be included in a contract.   Some of the more common would include inspection by a qualified home inspector for hidden defects, pest inspections, water and sewage system inspections, inspections dealing with the presence of radon or mold, etc. In the Hudson Valley region, inspections are performed before any contracts are signed.

.  It’s not unusual for a buyer to have a contingency that allows for a formal appraised value at or above purchase price.   Since lenders will nearly always want an appraisal performed too, sellers usually don’t have a problem with this.


Remember, just like everything else in real estate contracts, contingencies are negotiable.  Always take care before signing that you are comfortable with all contingencies included in your contract.   Likewise, take time to think about what contingencies you might like to have added.

Posted by Joseph Baratta on July 22nd, 2018 6:38 PM

"You don't get a second chance to make a first impression." While this phrase usually refers to people, it also applies to houses. The exterior of your home offers a first hint at the people who live inside

The experts all agree that curb appeal is one of the most important aspects to consider when selling your home. When selling, it's the appearance from the street that will very often determine whether potential buyers come in to see the inside, or never get out of their cars.

It's one of the main reasons that the SPRING MARKET attracts buyers more that any other time of year.  Everything turns green, Homeowners clean up around the outside, bringing in fresh mulch, trim bushes & wild branches, and tidy everything up.

Flowers are one of the easiest and least expensive ways to make the front of your house look inviting and instantly increase the curb appeal of your home.  Without any real landscaping at all, flowers can transform a rather drab and dreary looking front yard into one that looks colorful and lush.   Especially during spring and summer, you should take advantage of the season by planting pots and flower boxes.


You should choose colorful flowers that will be in bloom during the time you're selling your home.  Planting the flowers in planter boxes and pots is easier than planting them in the ground and lets you more easily place them where they can have the most visual impact.   You don't need to have a green thumb, or spend a lot of money to get great results either.   Visit your local home improvement center or nursery and they will be happy to advise you of the best flowers and plants for your purpose.   You can put together several very nice planter boxes and pots of flowers for well under $100.   And it's easy!


One of the nice things about using flowers in this way is that you'll see the results immediately.  And so will buyers visiting your home!

Posted in:General and tagged: CurbAppeal
Posted by Joseph Baratta on July 11th, 2018 3:18 PM

Homebuyers are facing rising mortgage rates head on with just 5 percent of more than 1,300 people planning to buy a home during the year, saying that they would call off their search for a home if rates rose above 5 percent. This according to a May survey by Redfin of more than 4,000 people who had bought or sold a home in the last year, attempted to do so or planned to buy a home soon.

“Most of the pressure buyers are feeling is from competition for a very limited number of homes for sale,” said Taylor Marr, Senior Economist at Redfin. “The fact that such a small share of buyers will scrap their plans to buy a home if rates surpass 5 percent reflects their determination to be a part of the housing market.”

Among the 1,300 potential homebuyers surveyed by the real estate broker, 24 percent said an increase in rates would have no impact on their search.

The survey targeted 14 major metro areas that included Austin, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Dallas-Fort Worth, Denver, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Portland, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington D.C. Redfin had commissioned similar surveys in November and May 2017.

The survey revealed that if mortgage rates were to rise above 5 percent, 32 percent homebuyers would slow down their search to see if rates came down again, up from 29 percent during the same period a year ago.

“Homebuyers are well aware that higher mortgage rates mean higher monthly payments, but mortgage rates remain very low, historically, and buyers will make compromises,” Marr said.

Inventory pressures are also weighing on buyers’ minds with 21 percent respondents saying that despite rates going up they would look for a home in another area or buy a smaller house; up from 18 percent a year ago.

A lesser number of respondents, 19 percent said that they would increase their urgency to buy before rates went up further, the survey indicated, decreasing from 23 percent last year.

Copied from MRreport  Daily Dose, Data, Featured, News June 29, 2018

Posted in:General and tagged: Mortgage Interest Rates
Posted by Joseph Baratta on July 6th, 2018 2:51 PM

Pre-qualification and pre-approval mean different things when it comes to getting a home loan. Both pre-qual and pre-approval begin the same way and are useful when you’re looking to buy a home.  However, if you want to lock in a low-rate mortgage and be ready to make an offer as soon as you find your dream home, then it’s essential to know the difference.

Read on to find out the real difference between pre-qualifying for a home loan and getting pre-approved for a home loan.

Mortgage Pre-Qualification Explained
Getting pre-qualified is the first step in the mortgage process, and it gives you a general idea of how much home you can afford. Pre-qualification is a simple process and is meant to introduce you to your buying potential and the various loan options available to you.

To pre-qualify for a mortgage, you will just need to provide us with an overall picture of your finances, including your income, assets, as well as your debts. With this information, we can give you an idea of the size of the mortgage for which you qualify.

Note that pre-qualification does not look at all your financial history, such as your credit, so the loan amount may change. If you want to know for certain how much home you can buy, then you’ll want to get pre-approved for a home loan.

Mortgage Pre-Approval Explained
Pre-approval is more involved, but it’s still easy.  In addition to reviewing your income, assets, and debts, we’ll also pull your credit report. A mortgage professional will ask you for your bank statements, pay stubs.. They use this information to approve you for a specific mortgage amount, at the best rate available.

When you get your pre-approval, you’ll receive the exact loan amount in writing so you can begin home shopping right away.

Did you fall in love with a home? Make an offer!

With your pre approval letter, the seller knows that they are dealing with a real offer –not one waiting for approval.

Should you pre-qualify or get pre-approval?
Both pre-qualification and pre-approval begin the same way. Just answer a few questions about your financial history along with your name and contact information, and you’re on your way to getting prequalified.

The choice to pre-qual or get pre-approved is up to you. But if you are ready to buy, the prequal will not be enough.  Both begin the same way, and both give you your mortgage options. However, for the most realistic look at your home buying power, as well as locking in current mortgage rates, you’ll want to get pre-approved for a home loan.

Portions reposted from | May 21, 2018

Posted in:General and tagged: Pre-approval
Posted by Joseph Baratta on June 6th, 2018 9:29 PM

A I mentioned in my last post, I earned the National Association of Realtor’s  “GREEN” designation several years ago. I am always ready willing and able to help the consumer “Green” their home, which to me means showing them how they can conserve energy and save money.  I have implemented many of the techniques I’ve learned and have reduced my personal utility bill in my own home.  Does cutting down on your water bill make you an environmental nut?  How about reducing your electric bill by 20 to 30 percent?  Call me whatever you want, but if I can actually measure the results in those terms, I’m going “GREEN”.  I’ll give you one quick one.  Many of us have recessed lights around the house.  They are usually 75 to 120 watts per bulb and many times there are 4 to 6 in an average room.  My family room has 8 recessed lights and for some reason they were usually all on, even when no one was in the room.  8 x 75 = minimum 600 watts burning for hours.

I replaced the bulbs with eco-smart LED bulbs. LED stands for Light Emitting Diode. They look just like a regular bulb but they create no heat,

which is one reason they use so little energy.  I’m not talking about the fluorescent squiggly kind that take a second or two to reach their full brightness. Those are toxic and should have never been allowed on the market. They are loaded with mercury and give off high levels of radiation.  LED bulbs use about 7 watts of electricity for that same recessed bulb.                                   8x7 =56 watts compared to 600 watts.

Now I don’t stress out when all the lights are on in that room. 

Today’s home buyers are extremely concerned about variable costs of owning a home.  They can budget for the mortgage payment and taxes but the utility bills are considered out of their control.  The more energy efficient a seller makes their home, the better chances they have for getting it SOLD. 


Joseph Baratta, Green Realtor
Posted in:General and tagged: Green
Posted by Joseph Baratta on April 29th, 2018 10:51 AM

Since completing the National associations of Realtors GREEN Designation in 2010, I’ve received a steady stream of articles from friends and associates about anything to do with GREEN.

My personal favorites have to do with indoor air quality.  It’s not the first thing you might think of when you think GREEN.    We have been conditioned from a young age to believe a clean house smells like Clorox and Windex. It’s only recently that we’ve begun to read labels to discover what exactly I’m breathing in from all these chemical cleaners and what the possible side effects might be.   Public awareness is growing regarding the toxic emissions in an average home.  In my home we are experimenting with eco friendly cleaners.  Some are better than others but we are not quite ready to toss the Windex just yet.  Besides products you bring in to the home, there are toxic emissions that are already there.  Are you aware that most of the products in an average kitchen are made with materials that contain formaldehyde including, Formica, particle board and plywood?  Most carpeting releases over 31 different chemicals into the home, including formaldehyde.  Until recently many people believed that indoor air quality dangers referred only to mold & musty air.  Is it any wonder so many people have allergies and headaches at the very least.  One study I read about new carpeting mentioned that since there were so many off gasses in carpet, the EPA could not specifically say if carpet itself was the cause of any specific disease or ailment.  That makes me feel much better.   One thing the study did note was that carpet manufacturers must now label carpeting and list the chemical ingredients.

Many people suffer from illnesses that can be linked to the indoor air quality of their workplace or home.  If you are concerned about the air quality in your home or workplace you can have the air tested.  Contact me for more information.

As a result of my GREEN designation and GREEN awareness, I have become a chronic label reader, and for our own good health I hope it continues to catch on.

Joe Baratta, Broker, Green, SFR, ITI

Posted in:General
Posted by Joseph Baratta on April 20th, 2018 7:27 AM

Tarrytown NY holds many memories for me. Back in the early 80’s many of the office buildings along 119 were just being built. My dad Joseph Baratta Sr. was the engineer that designed most of those buildings, including the Westchester Marriott and the Christiania building both icons of Tarrytown.


  I was lucky enough to be sent on those job sites as an inspector on dad’s behalf, to ensure that the proper steel reinforcing was in place before concrete was to be poured. As a young man from Queens, Tarrytown was a great distance to travel. At the time I had never driven beyond the Tappanzee Bridge. It soon became a very easy and enjoyable commute. I ate at many of the local restaurants. My dad’s favorite was the Eldorado Diner on 119. Whenever he came up to the jobsite, he would take me there to eat. Recently that diner was torn down and will soon be the new Tarrytown Honda Dealership. It looks great so far and it will be an asset to the area. I’m pieces so I am drawn to the water. To this day I still love driving to the water front in Tarrytown. Occasionally I’ll drive to one of the many waterfront public spots to soak in the ambiance. I can sit there all day and look out at the water.


Tarrytown is an area that fits all budgets. My personal favorite is Hudson Harbor Condominiums. Breathtaking views of the Hudson and The new Tappanzee Bridge. Just a quick walk to the train station and Main Street in Downtown Tarrytown. You’ll find some of the best places to eat and shop. I feel like I’m on vacation whenever I stroll through with my bride. We have several favorite eating places in town. I might end up living there one day myself once my nest empties out.

Check out Tarrytown for yourself one day. You might fall in love. If you do, give me a ring and I’ll find you somewhere great to own or rent.

Posted in:General
Posted by Joseph Baratta on March 24th, 2018 10:01 PM

A big question I get asked often is, is it it better to buy a turn key property or a fixer upper? 

Turn key is when everything is in such great shape that you could just move in with only a few minor changes like maybe changing the color of one room, or swapping out a carpet in one or 2 rooms. Things like that.  Or perhaps a bathroom tile isn’t your taste but it’s in excellent condition.  You could live with that for a few years.

Lost Places, Barracks, Leave, Old, Decay, Ruin, LapsedThen there’s the fixer upper.  They come in many levels. Some downright need skilled professionals to get them move in ready.  Several years ago I sold a home for a couple as part of their divorce.  The house was the only asset left to divide.  The kitchen, boiler, water tank & door knobs were all ripped out. I guess someone felt that those items belonged to them & not the house.   I wish I were kidding.  Besides the missing fixtures, the windows were old and paint was peeling wherever you looked.  Although it was a bargain when it sold, it wasn’t a home that was easily repairable for just anybody.   The buyer was a contractor with his own crew and was able to get the house completely restored in just a few months. 

I have met may buyers that lost a small fortune in a house that needed so much more than they were able to handle.  Don’t let that be you.  If you are looking to invest in a home or you know someone who might be, let me help.  I have a lifetime of construction experience.  I can offer advice and estimate costs of repairs and I can spot defects & problems that can cost you a bundle down the road. 

Posted in:Real Estate News and tagged: Fixer Upper
Posted by Joseph Baratta on March 8th, 2018 3:38 PM

Where you live should reflect your lifestyle. These questions will help you find the best community for you.

Is it close to my favorite spots?

Make a list of activities you engage in and stores you visit frequently. See how far you would have to travel from each neighborhood you’re considering to engage in your most common activities.

Is it safe?

Contact the police department to obtain neighborhood crime statistics. Consider not only the number of crimes but also the type and trend. (Is crime going up or down?). Pay attention to see where in the neighborhood the crime is happening.

Is it economically stable?

Check with your local economic development office to see if household income and property values in the neighborhood are stable or rising. What is the ratio of owner-occupied homes to rentals? Apartments don’t necessarily diminish value, but they indicate a more transient population. Are there vacant businesses or homes that have been on the market for months? Check news sources to find out if new development is planned.

Is it a good investment?

Ask a local REALTOR® about price appreciation in the neighborhood. Although past performance is no guarantee of future results, this information may give you a sense of how a home’s value might grow. A REALTOR ® also may be able to tell you about planned developments or other changes coming to the neighborhood — such as a new school or highway — that might affect its value.

Do I like what I see?

Once you’ve narrowed your focus to two or three neighborhoods, go and get a feel for what it might be like to live there. Take notes: Are homes tidy and well maintained? Are streets bustling or quiet? How does it feel? Pick a pleasant day if you can, and chat with people working or playing outside.

What’s the school district like?

This is especially important if you have children, but it also can affect resale value. The local school district can probably provide information on test scores, class size, the percentage of students who attend college, and special enrichment programs. If you have school-age children, visit schools in neighborhoods you’re considering.                  


Posted by Joseph Baratta on February 23rd, 2018 6:47 PM

The Federal Reserve voted last Wednesday to leave its benchmark interest rate unchanged, but it continues to leave the door open to future increases this year. The Fed’s benchmark rate will remain in the range of 1.25 percent to 1.5 percent, which is low by historical standards. Fed committee members said that by leaving the rate unchanged, they hope the low rates will help support broader job growth and stronger inflation.

Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the National Association of REALTORS®, predicts the Fed will still do three short-term rate hikes later this year—and that will have an impact on mortgage rates for home shoppers. “The series of rate hikes will nudge up mortgage rates, though not in one-to-one fashion,” Yun says. “Moreover, the Fed’s quantitative un-easing of selling the bonds and mortgage-backed securities into the market [after having purchased in recent years] will also force up longer-term interest rates, including mortgage rates.”

Yun predicts that mortgage rates will reach 4.5 percent by the second half of the year.

The Federal Reserve sounded a fairly upbeat tone in its economic outlook on Wednesday. It hinted that a rate hike is likely at its next meeting in March. The Fed said the economy is growing at a “solid rate.” The economy grew at 2.3 percent in 2017, and many economists are expecting faster growth this year. The unemployment rate was at 4.1 percent in December 2017. “The stance of monetary policy remains accommodative, thereby supporting strong labor market conditions and a sustained return to 2 percent inflation,” the Fed said in a post-meeting statement.

Fed Chair Janet L. Yellen will end her four-year tenure at the end of this week. Jerome H. Powell, a Fed governor since 2012, has been named as her replacement.

Source: REALTOR® Magazine and “Federal Reserve Leaves Rates Unchanged,” The New York Times (Jan. 31, 2018)

Posted by Joseph Baratta on February 7th, 2018 11:42 AM

If you’re buying an old house with pipes sticking out of the ground in your yard, beware.  You might have a buried oil tank somewhere at the property.   While the majority of homes today are heated with natural gas, there is still a large percentage of homes that are heated with fuel oil, and far more houses with abandoned oil tanks.

When a home gets converted from oil to natural gas, the old oil tank becomes abandoned.  Once the tank is abandoned, it needs to be dealt with.

If the tank is buried, it needs to be removed or filled in place  If a fuel oil tank is left buried, it could eventually leak.  A leaking underground storage tank (LUST) can contaminate the soil and ground water as well as the home, creating an environmental hazard that can cost thousands to clean up.  

The first step is to locate the tank.  Once located, a hole is cut large enough for a worker to fit inside.  Any residual oil is pumped out.  The worker climbs in & wipes down the entire inside surface of the tank with a special solvent.  If the tank is in exceptional condition, the contractor can fill the tank with sand in the presence of the local building inspector or code enforcement officer.  No longer common practice, since most municipalities require that all buried tanks must be extracted from the ground.

Extracting the tank must be done by a certified environmental contractor in the presence of the local building inspector or code enforcement officer.  Watch my video to see how it's done.  Once the tank is out of the ground, the inspector looks for any holes or signs of oil in the soil surrounding the tank.  If everything looks good, the inspector certifies the removal with the necessary paperwork. 

Home Inspectors & Standards of Practice

Home Inspection Standards of Practice specifically state that buried fuel oil tanks are not something that home inspectors are required to inspect.  

Does this mean that if a home inspector sees obvious clues that a buried fuel oil tank is present, they should keep their mouth shut?  Heck no.  A buried fuel oil tank is important to know about when buying a house.  If a home inspector has enough experience to suspect a buried fuel tank, they should say so, even though they’re not required to.

In my 33 years of experience in the construction / home improvement industry and 18 years as a real estate broker I have been in more homes than your average real estate professional.  Put my experience to work for you or someone you know looking for a home in Westchester County or Rockland County.  My office is in Tarrytown NY.

Posted by Joseph Baratta on January 22nd, 2018 7:26 AM


A short sale is when the homeowner's lender consents to collect a reduced payoff to release a mortgage. For more information, just call us through our site or Email us. We're happy to address questions you have regarding real estate short sales

Are short sales bargains?

The short answer is "sometimes". Many people hear the phrase "short sale" and routinely think of a seller that is in default and needs to sell their property quickly to avoid further financial problems. This is occasionally the case and can be an opportunity for a buyer to take advantage of another's misfortune. Alternatively, a lender may consider a short sale even if the seller isn't delinquent with their payments, but property values have fallen. In these cases the "bargain" price may in fact be consistent with actual market values instead of below.

Are you ready to buy a short sale property?
  • Prior to making any purchase offers, do your research. Using an experienced real estate agent from Joseph Baratta Realty to support your research of a property will help you make knowledgeable decisions. We can help reveal to whom the property is titled, the balance still owed to the lender, and whether or not a foreclosure notice has been filed. Finding this data can help you decide how much to offer.
  • Hire an agent with short sale knowledge. The real estate agents at Joseph  Baratta Realty can assist you in expediting the transaction and make sure you're protected. Don't allow inexperience to impede the closing process. Put our experience and knowledge to work in your favor.

  • Even with an experienced real estate agent and under the best of situations, buying a short sale property will probably take longer than a typical real estate transaction. Know that a majority of short sales will not close in 30 days or less. Remember that you're not only getting approval from the seller, but the lender must also agree to the terms of the sale. It's not uncommon that your offer will be seen by a committee to approve or disapprove, which will add time - sometimes even 2 to 3 months.

  • Home warranties, buyer credits and allowances, and closing cost concessions are usually non-negotiable when dealing with a short sale. The lender is selling the property as seen which means the lender won't be paying for repairs. Make sure you reserve the right to perform inspections for pests, HVAC, electrical, and other critical areas. At Joseph Baratta Realty, when we write an offer, we will be looking out for your interests first and foremost and will always advise you to make your offer contingent upon the inspection results.

When you are ready to buy, whether it is a short sale or a typical home sale, Call me,  Joseph Baratta I can help you. Utilize our experience and knowledge of real estate to make sure you are getting a fair deal and protect yourself during the entire matter.
Posted in:Real Estate News and tagged: Short Sale
Posted by Joseph Baratta on January 15th, 2018 12:57 PM

When the weather is in the single digits, I like to think about the places & things I like about New York.   One of my favorite places to visit is the village of Mamaroneck.  I take my lunch “to go” and stop at the marina for a peaceful, relaxing & calming break.

Mamaroneck has a great history.

Originally the farming community of  Mamaroneck was located on two sides of the Mamaroneck River. In the 1890s the two areas surrounding the river were joined into one commercial village, Mamaroneck, which was incorporated in 1895. The east side of the village lies in the town of Rye and is known as Rye Neck. Some controversy surrounded the incorporation of the village, but the State Appellate Court approved the village's election status. The population of Mamaroneck village in 1895 was 1,500.[4]

Along with the other shore communities of Westchester, Mamaroneck was at one time the location of summer residences for wealthy families from New York City. Summer residence neighborhoods included Greenhaven, Orienta and Shore Acres. The local railroad from New York City (now Metro-North) began to serve the village in 1848. Currently the village of Mamaroneck is a commuter town for individuals working in Manhattan. A harbor on the Long Island Sound supports facilities for pleasure boating and is the location of Harbor Island Park, a large public park with beach and sporting facilities.

The main commercial streets in Mamaroneck are the Boston Post Road (U.S. Route 1) and Mamaroneck Avenue, the site of several annual parades. Local industry is centered on Fenimore Road.

Other areas of the town include Heathcote Hill overlooking the harbor, Harbor Heights to the northeast, Old Rye Neck (settled in the 1880s), Rye Neck (settled in the 1920s and 1930s) and Washingtonville, better known as "The Flats", due to the flat, low-lying topography of the area.

I didn't know they were still around but Archie Comics is headquartered in the village of Mamaroneck.    
Marval Industries, a manufacturer of plastics, employing about 70 people. It is one of a very few businesses along Metro-North Railroad's New Haven Line that still utilize the freight trains.

Notable people from Mamaroneck NY

  • William Kunstler, radical lawyer and civil rights activist; lived on West Street
  • Gary Young (drummer), first drummer of the 90s seminal alternative band Pavement
  • Cat Greenleaf, News Reporter and Host of NBC's Emmy Award Winning Program, Talk Stoop
  • Matt Dillon grew up in Mamaroneck
  • Kevin Dillon grew up in Mamaroneck
  • Norman Rockwell lived in Mamaroneck
  • James Fenimore Cooper lived in Mamaroneck
  • Scott Leius (baseball player) lived in Mamaroneck
  • During the times of silent movies DW Griffith's studio was located on Orienta Point in Mamaroneck and the famous silent movie actresses the Gish sisters both lived there.
  • Edwin B. Dooley, former US Congressman
  • Robert Ripley had a home on BION (Believe It Or Not) Island, just off Taylor Lane
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia              Image credit:
Posted in:Real Estate News and tagged: Places
Posted by Joseph Baratta on January 8th, 2018 5:29 PM

Fundamentally the spring is the most perfect time to sell a house, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get it sold during the winter months. 

First off,  there’s much less competition this time of year and any buyers that are out house shopping in the cold are some seriously motivated buyers.

Most sellers are not thinking about listing their home for sale until the winter breaks its grip.  In fact most sellers don’t even make a plan to get their house ready for sale until the end of February or beginning of March, which is a bad idea in itself, but that’s a discussion for another day. 

Another reason it’s a good idea is that since there are fewer homes for sale, buyers have less to choose from.  Sellers do need to keep in mind that their homes need to be in neat showing condition at all times. 

Anyone taking the time to shop for a new home this time of year is highly motivated. Perhaps they are being transferred to this area, changing jobs, fast growing family, whatever the reason Mr. & Mrs. Seller; let’s make it easy for them by keeping the home looking in tip top condition and make sure you're flexible when it comes to making the home available to show.

Finally my last reason is that since there are fewer homes for sale, fewer transactions means everyone connected  has more time to invest on the sale.  Faster loan processing, quicker inspection reports, quicker closings.

Posted by Joseph Baratta on December 26th, 2017 9:10 PM

7 Things To Consider Before You Take The Plunge   


Enticing, right? If you're getting ready to plunk down cash for your own flip, here are a few things you need to think about.

1. Make sure you've got the money

Sounds obvious, but…do you really know the financial stakes involved? "The first expense is the property acquisition cost. While low/no money down financing claims abound, finding these deals from a legitimate vendor is easier said than done. Also, if you're financing the acquisition, that means you're paying interest," said Investopedia. "Every dollar spent on interest adds to the amount you will need to earn on the sale just to break even."

If you're planning to pay cash, you won't have to worry about interest, but you will have carrying costs including utilities, property taxes, and HOA fees where applicable.

Here are a few other options for buying property to flip, courtesy of "If you don't have enough cash to purchase a home, the next cheapest source is a home equity line of Credit (HELOC). These are low-interest, variable-rate lines of credit that are secured by either your primary residence or an investment property. Typically, the HELOC rate is set about 1–2% above the prime rate. You need to put the HELOC in place before you bid on any homes; then you can bid on the home as a ‘cash deal,' rather than as a ‘financing deal.' Many investors use hard money loans or other conventional mortgages to finance their flips. Because of the higher interest rates and points paid at closing, both will reduce your net profit considerably, and are not recommended for flips unless absolutely necessary."

2. Buy in the best location you can

"Expert house flippers can't stress this enough," said MoneyCrashers. "Find a home in a desirable neighborhood, or in a city where people want to live." And keep in mind the convenience factor—for the potential buyers, certainly, but also for you. "You will work on this house daily in the weeks and months to come. Do you really want to work all day, and then drive an hour to get home? Don't invest in a house too far away from where you live; you will spend more money on gas, and it will take longer to fix up the house."

3. Work with a realtor...or become one

Tying to maximize profit by selling a flip yourself rarely works out well if you don't know what you're doing. If you think trying to figure out if the wall you want to take down is load bearing is complicated, just try to figure out disclosures and conditions without going to real estate school. The money you spend on a Realtor commission can be well worth it for the ability to concentrate on other things and know the sale is in good hands.

Beyond getting the home sold, good real estate agents can be helpful in other important ways when it comes to flipping. "They can help you find great deals, get you comps, help you connect with lenders or contractors, and a lot more," said BiggerPockets. "Don't settle for an average agent though—find a great investor friendly agent."


4. Check the comps. And check them again

Speaking of comps…you can't make a smart decision on buying, fixing up, and flipping a house if you aren't aware of the prices in the neighborhood. And that might be easier said than done. In states like Texas, home sales are not reported and are not public record like they are in states like California. Do your research so you know what you're up against.

5. Make smart updates

Knowing where to spend your money is key to a successful flip. You don't want to leave key areas untouched but you also don't want to over-improve for the neighborhood. "Home improvements that increase the value of a home might include upgrading kitchen appliances, repainting the home's exteriors, installing additional closet storage space, upgrading the deck, and adding green energy technologies," said MoneyCrashers. "On the other hand, avoid home improvements that won't increase the selling price, like installing a pool, installing a whirlpool bath, or adding a sunroom to the house."

This is another good reason to use a Realtor who is a local expert: they'll be knowledgeable about specific updates that are important in your market.

How Stuff Works

6. Use good products

Scrimping on construction costs may seem like a good idea if it means your financial commitment is lower, but low-end materials might not get the home sold or fetch the sales price you want.

7. Work with good people

Everyone you work with has the ability to make your flip a success or derail it. Partner with those you can trust, and don't forget to make sure they're qualified for their role. A bargain basement subcontractor that does a shoddy job on your floors can end up costing you thousands when you have to have it redone by a professional.

On the flip side, "The real money in house flipping comes from sweat equity, said Investopedia. "If you're handy with a hammer, enjoy laying carpet, can hang drywall, roof a house and install a kitchen sink, you've got the skills to flip a house. On the other hand, if you've got to pay a professional to do all of this work, the odds of making a profit on your investment will be dramatically reduced."

Written by Jaymi Naciri Posted On Wednesday, 16 March 2016 20:16

Posted by Joseph Baratta on December 14th, 2017 11:43 AM

I installed my first laminate floor in 1995.  Each edge of each piece had to have glue applied. Once the pieces were joined the glue would have to be wiped off of the surface before it dried.  What a job that was.  I believe Swiffers were invented mainly for laminate floors for one main reason,  they cleaned the laminate floor with a minimal amount of moisture.

When Laminate flooring (Pergo) first came out we were told it was perfect for every room in the house, including kitchens & bathrooms.  I knew that would turn out to be a disaster after holding a piece in my hands for the first time. Most home owners insisted it be installed in bathrooms & kitchens since the manufacturer boasted how well it held up.   The earliest version of laminate flooring  (Pergo brand)  was made of the lowest density particle board with a thin melamine finish.  The surface was hard but the material behind it was soft and porous. It was not able to withstand any impacts. If you mopped it, the soft porous particleboard would soak up the water and delaminate in no time.   

Over the years the manufacturers have improved the density of the backing material and recently they have solved the moisture absorbing, swelling & delamination problem.

Pergo has found a new solution.  It’s called “Outlast+”   With “Spill Protect24”.

I hope in a few years we won’t be getting callbacks to replace it like we have using the standard laminate flooring.

Standard laminate flooring is relatively cheap and easy to install therefore it gets installed 4 times more than traditional kitchen & bath flooring like tile, and vinyl products.

Time will tell.


Posted in:Real Estate News and tagged: FlooringKitchens
Posted by Joseph Baratta on November 22nd, 2017 8:05 AM

Hi All:

Welcome to my first blog post ever.  This is all new to me so hang in there while I get the hang of it.  I will do my best to post interesting, relevant & informative content so you will keep coming back to read it.   I will use this platform to share my experiences and  knowledge in the real estate world as well as the home improvement world. They are so deeply connected.  I plan to bring value to the time you spend reading what I have to say. Feel free to ask me anything related to my world.

Thank you.  J.O.B.

Posted in:Real Estate News and tagged: Introduction
Posted by Joseph Baratta on November 19th, 2017 11:06 AM