Home equity is the difference between what your home can sell for and what you owe on it. You can calculate your equity by subtracting the amount still owed on the mortgage loan(s) from the market value of your property.

Generally, the longer you own your home, the more equity you build. If you can’t make the payments, you can lose your home. This is why you have to use your home equity in smart ways.

  1. Remodel your home. If you’ve wanted to add on a family room or modernize your kitchen, consider using your home’s equity to fund the project. Home improvements usually increase your home’s marketability and value.
  2. Make major repairs where need be. Your home’s equity can be a funding source for major repairs likeplumbing problems and re-roofs.…

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Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have been in the news recently, so it’s a good time to do a refresher on who they are and what role they play.

Who Are Fannie Mae And Freddie Mac?

Fannie Mae is the Federal National Mortgage Association. FNMA is a federally chartered enterprise owned by private stockholders that purchase residential mortgages and converts them into securities for sale to investors. Freddie Mac is the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation. The FHLA, also federally-chartered, is a corporation that purchases residential mortgages, securitizes them, and sells them to investors; this provides lenders with funds for new homebuyers. They were originally created to raise homeownership levels and increase the availability of affordable housing.

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By Timmy Rail of Citybrook Corp.  NMLS•: 12812

Some important tips that first-time homebuyers should be aware of as this year's "Spring­ Buying Season" approaches:

  • Your credit profile is made up of 3 scores from the 3 main credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion; lenders will use your middle (average) credit score
  • A huge part of getting "pre-qualified" is to take an early look at your credit scores and credit profile, in-case there are errors or items on your report that you can "clean-up" before you find homes you like and want to put an offer on
  • Lenders generally take your "unreimbursed employee expenses," found on the "Schedule A" of your tax return (generally, page 3, line 21), off the top of your gross income (these may be…

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Shooters Island, Courtesy of Jim.henderson

Originally a hunting preserve, George Washington turned Shooter’s Island became "a drop-off point for messages, and the place became a haven for spies" during the Revolutionary War. After the War, the island picked up industrial traffic that included storage and shipping companies.

During World War I, industries and companies that occupied the island decided to produce sensible means regarding the war. Following WWI, the manufacturing of steel cargo ships stopped, and the island became a dump for damaged vessels. In the 1960s, a local politician wanted to decimate Shooter’s Island to make ship navigation easier.

However, the proposal never passed and with the help of the Clean Water Act of…

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Distinguishing the differences between a condo and co-op may seem confusing. According to Cheryl Lock's article, "co-ops make up about 75 percent of New York’s real estate market....However, you’ll usually have to pay up 20 percent or more for a co-op down payment, while with condos you can sometimes put down with less."

For those looking to buy or are searching for an understanding, we break it down for you.

Condo Fees:

In a condo, the owner owns the interior of the unit and a percentage of common ownership.  Common ownership is based on square footage of the interior in comparison to the entire buildings’ square footage. It is important to know that paying maintenance fees in a condo building will not give you a share or ownership of the…

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In late March of 1886, the Richmond County Advance was first published.

Almost 30 years later,  John J. Crawford, a printer, and James C. Kennedy, a businessman, put their minds together and created the four-page weekly paper. This became the forerunner to the Staten Island Advance. There were nine newspapers on the Island at the time, but the Advance surpassed all others. The paper wanted to provide "a live, independent, local newspapers, devoted to the interests of Staten Island."

Its name changed to Daily Advance before it became known as the Staten Island Advance.

National Prohibition Park. Courtesy of Library of Congress

July 1888, Prohibition Park in Westerleigh became a model community for temperance supporters.


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It is not a foreign fact that Staten Island has numerous homes that have historic background. These homes may also seem like a good opportunity for a fixer-upper. Before you do, you need to learn the three R’s of fixing up historic homes and their differences.

The three R’s are restoration, renovation and repair.  Some of the differences are minor, but they can make all the difference in cost, time and problems.


“Restoration” literally means returning something to its original state. 

Restoring historic homes on Staten Island that are for sale may involve city and state programs.  It’s essential that you check to see if the home is listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) or if it’s located in a historic district. …

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In 1907, Moritz and Elsa Glauber owned 35-acres of land. That land now consists of Sports Park, Toad Hall Playground, and Todt Hill Houses. The City obtained the property in 1958, as well as the Clove Lakes Expressway. 

"In February 1991, Parks signed a license agreement with Eagle Recreation Management for the construction and operation of a miniature golf course, batting cage, snack bar, and pro shop for a 10-year term. Playworld USA, Inc. temporarily operated the facility from the beginning of May 1998, to the very end of December 1998. The concessionaire is Staten Island Hockey. Under the terms of their contract, signed the following year, Staten Island Hockey refurbished the miniature golf course, installed new battings cage equipment, improved…

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Staten Island's real estate market is starting out with a bang this year!

January 2014 Staten Island Real Estate MarketLast month, the Island had 268 sale sides with a monthly volume of $118,014,021. compared to January 2013's 236 with a monthly volume of $91,031,346. 

Month Year Monthly Sales Monthly Volume Avg List $ Avg Sale $ Median Sold $ Avg DOM
January 2014 268 $118,014,021 $462,317 $440,350 $415,000 137

Staten Island wrapped January up with an average sale price of $440,350. This is an increase from the $385,726 that was raked in in January 2013. 

Month Year Monthly Sales Monthly Volume Avg List $ Avg Sale $ Median Sold $ Avg DOM
January 2013 236 $91,031,346 $411,299 $385,726 $370,000 140

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Selling your home may feel like a complex process (unless you're working with Tom Crimmins Realty) and there are a lot of factors that you will need to consider. Your goal will be to sell your home in a timely manner, while getting the highest price you can. However, many properties sell at a discount because the buyer is able to negotiate a lower price on the property.

Although it is impossible to guarantee that you will receive your full asking price when you sell your home, there are things that you can do to increase the likelihood of this happening. You will need to have a strategy that attracts highly motivated buyers and improves competition.

Here are some tips to keep in mind that will help you to get the full asking price when you are…

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