Merlino & Gonzalez - June 2022

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June 2022





home, Merlino & Gonzalez represents us on the selling side of things.

In the real estate industry, developing and maintaining working relationships with other professionals is all part of the job. However, with Vincent Aiello, president of Monello Enterprises, custom home builders and expert renovators, our relationship goes beyond that. Having worked together to make dream homes a reality for our clients for 15 years, we have full trust, confidence, and faith in the quality of work done by Monello Enterprises — so much so that they constructed both my personal residence and our office in Staten Island! Hands down, Monello Enterprises is our top recommendation for all custom builds and major renovations.

It’s wonderful to be able to rely on Merlino & Gonzalez for all of our real estate needs. Their work, candor, professionalism, and customer service are all top-notch. We refer clients to them as well whenever we can, and we always hear great things from those referrals, especially about how responsive they are because they’re always available for questions, concerns, and updates. They also represent us on other fronts, even if it isn’t in the real estate capacity! We have our headquarters in Staten Island, but we also serve the five boroughs and New Jersey as well. Right now, we have a few new construction homes on the horizon in this crazy real estate market. But it’s all based on supply and demand. There is very little inventory for sale right now, and that is driving the prices up on both the cost of the land to build on and the cost of materials to build, which drives up the price of completed homes. The supply chain issues are certainly painful to navigate as we are now waiting 4–5 months for windows for homes. This used to take about a month and a half.

People became concerned that the rising interest rates would begin to affect the home sale prices, but with low inventory, buyers are actually flocking to get their purchases completed before the rates go up. I truly believe that if you’re in the market for a primary residence, it’s still the time to buy because I don’t foresee the market softening up enough any time soon for it to make a noticeable difference. And, when you are ready to build the home of your dreams, we invite you to give us a call — we are prepared to make your dreams a reality! -Vincent Aiello

Since 2004, Monello Enterprises has had the opportunity to deliver the specific wants, needs, and desires of our clients — all with the representation of Merlino & Gonzalez. When we purchase the land for a build, both John R. Merlino Jr., Esq. and Ken Gonzalez, Esq. represent us as the buyers. Then, after the building project is constructed and complete and it’s time to sell the new construction




A New Cooler Men love their coolers — it’s a foolproof Father’s Day gift!

Dad is a very important person in your life! Every year when Father’s Day rolls around, it can be tough to come up with the perfect gift, whether it be for your dad, a new father, your grandfather, or a father figure. Getting creative can be tricky, but this list is sure to help you with an idea or two for all different price ranges! Wallet Why not go really classic and opt for a thoughtful and practical gift? Most men’s wallets see a lot of wear and tear. After all, they’re sat on, toted around in pockets all day long, and sometimes forgotten about and sent through the wash. A new one just may be in order! Massage Gun Massage guns are rising in popularity. To help Dad recover from soreness and injury or just a tough workout, a massage gun will do the trick! The best part is that they range in price, and you can even purchase one on Amazon! Apple Watch Strap Does the dad you’re celebrating own an Apple Watch? If so, help him customize it with a new Apple Watch strap. You can choose from many materials, colors, and designs so he can blend in or stand out as much as he wants.

Whether Dad loves to camp, fish, tailgate, go to the beach, or barbecue in the backyard, he’s sure to appreciate a new way to store ice, drinks, food, or bait! Tool Bucket Organizer Is your dad a bit of a handyman? Help him get organized and never lose track of his tools again. Tool bucket organizers come in many forms and, again, can be purchased right online, making your shopping easy! Bluetooth Headphones or Speakers If your father doesn’t have Bluetooth headphones or speakers yet, he’s missing out. The opportunity to jam out wirelessly while working out, cutting the grass, doing hobby work, or just relaxing is effortless with this thoughtful gift.


It’s summertime, which means your kids are out of school and at home during their break. This is an exciting time because you get to spend more time with your children, but it can also be stressful. Since your kids are not engaged in school every day with their peers, you may have to find ways to keep them entertained during the summer. Luckily, there are a few activities your children can do to stay busy and active while they’re on summer break. Visit your local library. Make a habit of visiting your local library once a week for your children to pick out books they can read. You can challenge them to see how many books they can complete over the summer. Although your child may read educational books for school, now is their time to pick out something they want to read just for fun. Some libraries offer summer reading programs and activities that your child can participate in. By going to the library over the summer, your child’s mind will stay engaged, and their love for reading can increase. Go to local attractions. In most states, there are history and science museums, art galleries, and zoos that you and your children can visit. If these attractions are state-funded, they often have free admission for visitors. These activities are great if your child is a visual learner. They can touch and

interact with exhibits and learn more about history or science. Who said learning couldn’t be both fun and educational?

Create a craft station. Do you have creative children? Then a craft station is a perfect activity to get their creative minds turning! You can either go to your big-box store and pick up some arts and crafts supplies, or you can use items from around your home, such as used printer paper, toilet paper rolls, old colored pencils or crayons, and items from nature. If you need inspiration on what to make, you can look online for different crafts your child can create. Visit parks and recreation areas. Summer camps can be expensive; luckily, some parks and recreation centers host day camps that are much cheaper than private camps. Sometimes they will have daily activities that your child can participate in to burn off some energy. If you’re looking for a place where your children can play outside and stay active, going to your local parks is a great resource. If they aren’t hosting day camps, you and your children can play outside by throwing a Frisbee, having a picnic, or going on a nature walk.

Summer is an exciting time, and with these activities, you and your child can spend some quality time together!


WHO PAYS WHAT? The Ins and Outs of Closing Costs

ownership of the property. They are also responsible for any money in escrow that is promised to the buyer for any reason. Sellers, in some cases, are responsible for paying property taxes before the date of closing. But it should be noted that if your county collects property taxes at the end of the calendar year, the seller will usually pay the taxes owed for the months that they owned the home. In addition to this, buyers typically pay title insurance costs and recording fees that are charged by the local or state government. In New York, both buyers and sellers usually cover the cost of the closing agent and will usually split the escrow fees. While this seems like a lot, we know that closing costs can be very confusing, and we are always here to help walk you through the process, every step of the way.

Buying and selling a home is not a walk in the park as far as paperwork, contracts, prices, fees, inspections, and appraisals are concerned. But luckily, that’s when having a real estate agent can be helpful. When it comes to closing costs, the question of who is responsible can come up often. This is common since closing prices can be very costly, and they usually increase prices far more than buyers anticipated. That’s why it’s important to read the details of the contract. Closing costs are the bundle of fees paid at the closing table in a real estate transaction, usually up to 3%–5% of the total purchase price. In most cases, both the buyer and the seller will pay for these costs — each one taking on the responsibility for different parts of the transaction.

In fact, in standard transactions, sellers typically pay for the agent commission, closing fees, and title service, which is the transfer of




This dip tastes great with bread, crostini, or crackers and will be a hit at any summer gathering.


• 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, diced • Chives and scallions, finely chopped

• 6 ears of corn • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream • 1 1/2 cups ricotta • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour

• 2 tbsp thyme, finely chopped • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


1. Preheat the oven to 325 F. 2. In a large grill pan, cook the corn until charred on all sides. Let cool, then cut the kernels from the cob. 3. In a food processor or blender, purée two-thirds of the kernels with the cream, ricotta, flour, and thyme. Season with salt and pepper, and stir in remaining whole kernels. 4. Pour into an 8-inch baking dish. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top, and dot with butter. Bake for approximately 1 1/2 hours, until bubbly. 5. Garnish with chives and scallions before serving.

Inspired by



394 Manor Road Staten Island, NY 10314



718-698-2200 |


Building Dream Homes Since 2004 Page 1

Father’s Day Gift Guide Kid-Friendly Summer Activities! Page 2 Understanding Closing Costs Grilled Corn and Ricotta Dip Page 3

The Salem Tomato Trials Page 4


town courthouse, made to answer for their toxicity. But, there’s always one who goes against the grain. Colonel Robert Gibbon Johnson, a farmer and historian, refused to believe that the tomato was harmful and ate them on a regular basis. In fact, he even hosted tomato competitions, granting a prize to the person who could grow the largest tomatoes. People thought he was simply mad.

Surely, you’ve heard about the Salem witch trials in Massachusetts, but did you hear how the people of Salem, New Jersey, put tomatoes on trial in the 1800s, believing that they were poisonous? It sounds like a fictional movie plot, but it really happened! Even back in the 16th century, people were very suspicious of tomatoes. As if enough confusion didn’t already surround the tomato — is it a fruit? Is it a vegetable? Deemed a fruit but treated as a vegetable,

To prove his point and redeem his reputation, he showed up at the Salem tomato trial with a giant basket of tomatoes, frantically eating them in front of the

the tomato is a bit of a contradiction. To make matters worse, in the 1800s, it was discovered the stems and leaves of tomatoes contained tomatine, a toxin. Within the fruit itself, a small amount of the toxin exists in a much lower

crowd. He ate the entire basket full and stood before everyone, as healthy as can be, hoping to coax the crowd into dropping the

“charges” on the healthy fruit. When he maintained his health days, weeks, and even months later, tomatoes were no longer regarded as evil and poisonous. Today, the tomato is actually the fourth most popular “vegetable”; after all, how could we live without salsa and marinara sauce?

concentration. However, people feared being poisoned if they were to consume any part of a tomato. Today, we know there isn’t nearly enough of the toxin to create a problem for us.

In 1820, wary of the poisonous red fruit, tomatoes were put on trial in the 4

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