Merlino & Gonzalez - May 2022

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May 2022




A Gem in the Real Estate Industry


As real estate professionals, we always have the opportunity to meet and get to know a network of other agents in the industry. When she first entered the world of real estate almost 20 years ago, we had the pleasure of meeting Rocio Uchofen when she embarked on her journey with Century 21 Papp Realty, where she still works today. Since then, we’ve maintained a wonderful relationship and are always thrilled when we get to work together. Rocio is truly great at what she does and offers a genuine sense of kindness and professionalism to her clients while making their real estate dreams a reality.

I met both Ken Gonzalez and John Merlino back in 2003 when I first entered the world of real estate. Having been new to the industry, I made it a point to learn as much as I could from them. They are very professional and do right by their clients. Every time I refer someone to their office, it’s always a positive experience for the clients, and they are thrilled with the service they receive. As a bilingual associate real estate broker at Century 21 Papp Realty in Staten Island, New York, my goal is to bring happiness to others. The ability to match a house with a client is marvelous. When a client is walking through a home and it’s “the one,” there’s a special, unmistakable shine in their eyes. I feel extremely fortunate to be a part of that process, and it’s a reminder as to why I love my job so much. Throughout the years, having the opportunity to interact with such a variety of clients while assisting them with real estate transactions has been a dream. I love people and having the opportunity to form new relationships is great. I’d say the most challenging portion of my job is

educating my clients on the procedures and processes of a sale or rental. My job is to guide them with my experience and knowledge, and I like to take the time to ensure that my clients fully understand everything that is happening. The Century 21 Papp Realty office specializes in both sales and rentals. As a general rule of thumb, when sales go down, the rentals go up, and vice versa. So, we are always busy, but busy is a good thing! This year,





As if living in the foster program isn’t hard enough on a child, being packed up and moved across the state — sometimes counties away from their brothers and sisters — is traumatizing. The goal is to provide children a home where they feel comfortable and safe with enough room for all siblings. Once this initial build is complete, Fostering Hopes and H3 plan

Studies show that over half of the children in foster care also have a sibling in the foster system. Of those children, more than 75% are separated. In North Carolina, Fostering Hopes joined forces with another nonprofit, H3 Collective, to build foster homes so they can keep large sibling groups

together. Some of these homes are big enough to house five children, which is usually the maximum number of children the foster system allows under one roof.

to build many more large foster homes in Western North Carolina. They’ve even made the goal of expanding into 10–15 counties in the western part of the state! “The intention is to provide hope to children who typically find themselves without it,” Alex Williams told Fox News. “We hope to keep siblings together,

Alex Williams, the founder of Fostering Hopes, explained that the need for foster homes and foster parents is so high that, many times, children are sent out of their home county. He estimates that roughly 50% of the 20,000 children in North Carolina’s foster program will be placed outside of their home county. Adam Ponder of H3 Collective was proud to announce that Fostering Hopes and H3 are currently working together on a 3,600-square-foot, five-bedroom home for a licensed foster family, and the group hopes to have it ready for occupancy this summer.

to keep children in their home communities, and to provide dedicated families or parents for

children who need them the most.”

There is no better feeling than helping children grow, thrive, and flourish. The efforts of Fostering Hopes and H3 Collective are inspiring, heartfelt, and are bound to make a difference in the lives of many children and families.


We’ve all heard the saying, “The book is way better than the movie or TV show.” Movies and TV shows provide you with a great visual representation of the characters and storyline. The films are equally as good as their respective books in their own right. Here are a few films inspired by books that you should check out. ‘The Shining’ 3-Part Miniseries This is one of Stephen King’s most famous novels. There is even a much-acclaimed 1980 movie based on the book. But did you know that Stephen King directed and produced his own miniseries? The three one-hour episodes follow the book precisely and provide more information on the characters. Spoiler alert: There are no twins or garden maze in this series, but there are moving topiary hedges!

crimes alone — and they have evidence to prove it. Follow along with journalist Maury Terry as he makes his way down the rabbit holes of this case. There is more to this crime than what appeared in the media, such as cult practices and ties to other cases like Charles Manson and his family. ‘Looking for Alaska’ John Green has captured the hearts of millions of readers across the world, and now there is a movie inspired by his first novel, “Looking for Alaska.” This coming-of-age story follows a teenage boy as he searches for the meaning of life. Then, a sudden tragedy strikes, and the boy and his friends must come to terms with the event. The movie shows the emotion, grief, and love the boy deals with on his journey. Pull out your tissues for this film; it’s sure to be a tear-jerker. You don’t need to read the books first in order to watch the TV show or movie — these films can stand on their own. These are only a few of the many movies and TV shows that are based on bestselling books. Now it’s time for you to be the judge and determine if the books are, in fact, better than their films.

‘The Ultimate Evil: The Search for the Sons of Sam’ There are a lot of conspiracy theories about the Son of Sam and his crimes. Some have argued that David Berkowitz didn’t commit these



• Bidets in bathrooms for increased personal hygiene and cleanliness (and to save on toilet paper) • Contactless/hands-free light switches, water faucets, and soap dispensers in kitchens and bathrooms While we continue to navigate the pandemic, many things that were once just a luxury have become necessary, such as an extra bedroom that can be converted into a home office to support remote work, room in the basement or garage for a home gym, or a spacious outdoor area with a patio, pool, firepit, and/or an outdoor kitchen. These features have recently become much more desirable and can help to sell your home faster or for a better value. If you are interested in buying or selling a home in New York or New Jersey, the real estate attorneys at Merlino & Gonzalez are here to help! Give us a call today!

In New York and New Jersey, it’s certainly a seller’s market right now, meaning the demand for homes is far exceeding the supply. We are seeing tons of bidding wars while really low interest rates and the small availability of homes for sale are driving home prices up. At this time, you may not really need to do much to obtain a buyer for your home. However, if you want to raise the value of your home, make some wellness design feature updates that have been sought after due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Some “pandemic-inspired” wellness designs include: • An oversized pantry space to store a variety of canned and boxed goods and/or an additional freezer to accommodate buying in bulk • Updated and improved ventilation/air filtration systems to promote clean air • Smart home features (hands-free/voice control technology) • Sleek and low maintenance finishes that are easy to clean, wipe, and sanitize



I am proud to say that I am the chairperson of the Global Business Council of the Staten Island Board of Realtors, where we place a large focus on global real estate and the importance of bringing awareness to the diversities and many individual features and characteristics of different areas and cultures worldwide. Outside of real estate, I have a passion for writing. A published writer, I have been writing short stories, novels, and poems since I was 19 years old. Writing has always been an outlet for me — a great way to express myself. Balancing both real estate and writing is time- consuming, but I love both so much that it’s very fulfilling to come home from a long day’s work at the office and write. When I am able to find some free time, I love to visit the opera or tour libraries. I also enjoy getting outdoors and taking long walks or bike rides, and I’m blessed that Staten Island has so many parks and beautiful outdoor spaces to enjoy some downtime. I’m so grateful to have such a wonderful working relationship with Merlino & Gonzalez, and I look forward to collaborating with them for years to come to assist others in buying and selling the homes of their dreams. Together, we make it happen! -Rocio Uchofen


Impress Mom with this delicious breakfast recipe!


• 1/2 avocado, pitted, peeled, and thinly sliced • Cherry tomatoes, halved • Sriracha hot sauce (optional)

• Nonstick cooking spray • 1/4 cup sweet potato, diced • 1/4 cup yellow pepper, diced • 1/4 cup broccoli, chopped • 8 eggs • Basil, thyme, salt, and pepper, to taste


1. Preheat oven to 350 F and coat a cast-iron skillet with nonstick cooking spray. 2. In the skillet over medium heat, cook sweet potatoes, yellow pepper, and broccoli until soft. 3. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, basil, thyme, salt, and pepper. 4. Pour egg mixture into skillet with vegetables. Don’t stir but instead use a spatula to lift the edges of the egg mixture until it is evenly distributed. 5. Transfer mixture to oven. Bake for 5 minutes or until the dish sets. 6. Top with avocado and tomatoes. Drizzle Sriracha on top (if desired).

Inspired by



394 Manor Road Staten Island, NY 10314



718-698-2200 |


Rocio Delivers the Best Service Page 1

A Blessing for Foster Families Are the Books Better Than the Films? Page 2 Wellness Design Tips to Sell Your Home Mother’s Day Brunch Rainbow Frittata Page 3

Strengthen Your Entire Body! Page 4


Mental Benefits • While canoeing or kayaking, your body releases serotonin, dopamine, and endorphins from neurotransmitters. This will help boost your mood and self-confidence and improve your focus. • These activities can enhance your memory and learning ability. This is because it exercises your hippocampus, one of the largest portions of your brain that is responsible for verbal memory and learning. • If you have trouble sleeping, this activity can improve your sleep. Exercising during the day can make you naturally tired, which helps you fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night. • Since you’ll be in the sun, your body can produce more vitamin D. This vitamin is essential for strong bones and an effective immune system.

The weather is getting warmer, which means you can do more activities in the water. Canoeing or kayaking is an excellent way to get outdoors and be active. Besides looking at the beautiful scenery around you, taking to the water confers several physical and mental health benefits. Physical Benefits • Paddling can help improve your upper-body strength and muscle tone — because you’re using your arms to guide yourself through the water with the paddle. Paddling helps strengthen your arms, shoulders, chest, and back. • You use your legs to balance, maneuver, and change directions in the vessel. In turn, this movement helps strengthen your lower- body muscles. • While trying to stay centered and balanced

on the water, you will develop more core strength. Paddling helps work your lower back, abs, and oblique muscles. • It’s a form of cardiac exercise that will help your heart circulate more blood throughout your body. It will also improve your endurance , enabling you to go longer distances faster.

Canoeing and kayaking are great outdoor activities to help you get your daily dose of physical activity and a mental health boost. So, enjoy the warm weather and be one with nature — this may be your new favorite summer hobby this year! 4

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