Merlino & Gonzalez - March 2022

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March 2022




Few things are more exciting than helping a client to sell their local home, pack up, and move across the country. This process can always be a tricky one to navigate and I’m honored to have had the experience and opportunity to help. I truly enjoyed getting to know Michael and Charlene and wish them all the best in their new home in Sarasota, Florida. Michael and Charlene are now in Florida waiting for their new construction home to be built. We thank you both for placing trust in us to facilitate the sale of your home here in Staten Island and we wish you all the happiness in your new home!

After being long time residents of Staten Island, we decided that we needed a change. The warm weather and beautiful swaying palm trees of Florida were inviting and captivating and we set our eyes on Sarasota, Florida. As we began our search for a new home in the Sunshine State, we were referred to Merlino & Gonzalez and feel extremely fortunate to have been placed in such great hands. From the very beginning, working with Ken to sell our home in Staten Island was an excellent experience. He was so involved in the entire process and any time we had a question, worry, or concern, he was quick to find the answer. If he ever missed a phone call, he called us back shortly after, which meant a lot to us as the selling process can be extremely stressful and nerve racking. Ken and the entire team at Merlino & Gonzalez made a painful process extremely easy on us.

When you take a step back and look at the whole process of moving from New York to Florida, it seems intimidating, challenging, and extremely time-consuming. But, all in all, our experience with such a big move was smooth and comfortable. The waiting game was stressful, as it took about 75-90 days for everything to be finalized, and loading up PODS was extremely daunting, but well worth it! All along the way, Ken kept reassuring us and making sure we didn’t worry. Sure enough, our home sold on the first day to the third person to look at it! The best part was that it sold for asking price! We are so grateful to Ken and the entire team. Everyone worked together to make it happen for us! –Michael and Charlene Tardogno




Spring-cleaning helps you breathe better. Spring often brings pollen that triggers allergies for many. But pollen isn’t the only thing to blame when people have difficulty breathing. When dust and pet dander build up in your home, your respiratory system is

Sunday, March 20, is the first day of spring — which means it’s time for some spring-cleaning. Did you know that cleaning is not just about tidying up a physical space? It’s also about improving overall well-being. Here’s how organization and cleanliness can help you in more ways than you might expect.

greatly affected too. Deep-cleaning your air filters and vents can make breathing effortless — and it’s truly amazing how this can improve your well-being. It keeps you more active. Off the couch and on your feet! Even just running the vacuum and clearing the clutter from the dining room table will get you up and moving, which is healthy for your heart and body. This spring season, putting some elbow grease into your cleaning will benefit you in more ways than one. Trust me, you’ll thank yourself later!

Spring-cleaning reduces stress and depression. Tidiness and mental health are actually connected. Studies have found that having a clean home is directly correlated to happiness and your ability to focus. Anxiety can spike when laundry is piling up, items are strewn everywhere, and papers get scattered on various surfaces within the home. Clearing the clutter is a great way to boost your mood and increase those feel-good hormones. It prevents illnesses. Doorknobs, refrigerator handles, light switches, countertops, and remote controls are all things we touch many times a day. Cleaning anything that’s used often is one way to reduce the spread of germs. By keeping household surfaces clean, we help thwart the spread of viruses and illnesses.


Look for and create natural light. Once your seeds are in their new pods, you need a light source! If you have a south-facing garage with windows or south-facing windows in your home, you’re in luck! Point your seedlings in that direction, so they can soak up as much light as possible. Be mindful of how cold it is, too. Seeds need a lot of heat and sun, so your windows may not be enough. If that’s the case, opt for fluorescent lighting — standard incandescent lighting won’t be enough — and hang the lights just a few inches above the seeds. Keep them on for 15 hours each day and allow the seeds to get some rest at night. Find the right balance. Much like a newborn, seeds need a lot of balance. Too much water will cause them to drown, and if they don’t get enough fertilizer, they may not sprout. Finding that balance takes practice, but there are a few basics to keep in mind. First, have a small fan running for an extended period of time each day. This will prevent excess moisture. Then, establish a liquid fertilizer schedule. Once per week is usually best. Once the weather gets warmer, start introducing your new plants to the outside world. This transitory time should take just over one week to avoid shocking them.

Spring has “sprung,” and if you’re someone who cannot wait to get your plants into the ground, you may be counting down the days until it’s time. However, you don’t have to wait for the perfect weather to start your garden. In fact, the best time to plant your seeds is 6–8 weeks before the last frost. (So, you might be behind already!) If you start now by creating your own “greenhouse,” you can cultivate a stronger garden that’s prime for a big harvest.

Plant seeds like a pro. Thankfully, gardening experts have invented tools that can “hack” gardening for novices of all kinds. Look for seed trays, which will have small pockets where you can plant your seeds, and find trays with small holes at the bottom. This will allow excess water to flow out of the seedling’s new habitat so it doesn’t drown. Review the instructions on the back of each seed packet to determine soil depth, a watering schedule, and soil types.

For more gardening tips, be sure to visit your local nursery. Happy growing!


Why You Should Hire a Real Estate Attorney if You’re Buying a Home Did you know that the state of New York actually requires an attorney to execute some portions of the homebuying process because they are considered to be practicing law? When the home purchase documents are prepared and title searches are conducted, an attorney is necessary. To close the real estate transaction, an attorney is also required to ensure that real estate agents do not engage in unauthorized practices of law. So, there’s one reason why hiring a real estate attorney is necessary. Also, keep in mind that when you purchase a home, it is probably going to be one of the largest purchases you will be making in your lifetime. It is important that you protect that purchase and financial investment by having a real estate attorney present. Attorneys can help to properly handle any complexities that arise in the process and to resolve any questions or issues that you have. Whether there are property issues on the house you are interested in, you need assistance negotiating the deal, or you are DO YOU WANT PEACE OF MIND?

interested in renting the home for a period before you purchase it, a real estate agent is best equipped to assist.

While a real estate attorney is necessary at closing, they can also be extremely helpful during the entire process and can give you peace of mind while ensuring that the process is smooth from start to finish. The real estate team at Merlino & Gonzalez is prepared to assist you in securing the house of your dreams while eliminating any worry you may have. Contact us today!




Cheer on your favorite team and chow down in minutes with this easy chili recipe!


• 2 16-oz cans diced tomatoes • 2 16-oz cans small red beans • 2 8-oz cans tomato sauce

• 2 lbs ground beef • 2 tbsp chili powder • 1 tbsp Creole seasoning • 1 tsp ground cumin


1. In a deep pot, brown the beef, stirring often. 2. Once beef is cooked, add chili powder, Creole seasoning, and cumin, cooking for 1 minute. 3. Stir in diced tomatoes, beans, and tomato sauce and bring the mixture to a boil. 4. After the mixture boils, reduce the heat to low and let chili simmer for 15 minutes. 5. Serve with toppings of choice, like cheese, sour cream, or chives.

Inspired by



394 Manor Road Staten Island, NY 10314



718-698-2200 |


Sold on the First Day for Asking Price! Page 1

Get Healthy While Spring-Cleaning! Start Your Garden in 3 Easy Steps Page 2

Hiring a Real Estate Attorney Easy March Madness Chili Page 3

Packing Tips to Save Your Back, Wallet, and Sanity Page 4

LEAVING ON A JET PLANE? 3 Essential Packing Tips

when you can take a large tote or backpack. With the extra room, you can avoid checking another bag. Never check essential items. Lost luggage is the worst way to start a vacation, but it happens. If your luggage is misplaced, you probably won’t get it back that same day. So, you need to pack all essential items, like prescription medications or glasses, in your carry-on bag. Some experts even recommend tossing an extra shirt or pair of underwear in your carry-on in case your bag gets lost. You’ll be glad to have them if something goes awry. Packing smart will make for a less stressful journey. You can kick back, relax, and enjoy the trip knowing that everything you need is right there in your suitcase, and everything you don’t need is safe at home.

Many people are considering traveling this spring for the first time since the pandemic started. A lot has changed since 2020, but packing for vacation remains a hassle, and baggage fees haven’t gone anywhere. Here are some essential tips to keep your load as light as possible — physically and mentally. Make a list. It’s just as easy to forget things as it is to overpack. Solve both problems at once by creating a packing list in advance. Consider in detail what you’ll need, and put it in writing. As each item gets added to the suitcase, check it off. Writing everything down creates a system to prevent leaving anything behind. And when it’s all on paper, you’re more likely to notice that you probably don’t need that many pairs of sandals. Use your personal item for extra storage. Airlines generally allow travelers one carry-on bag and one personal item. The dimensions allowed vary by airline, but the general rule of thumb is that the personal item needs to fit under the seat in front of you. Don’t bring a small purse or a laptop bag 4

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