This $5.45M Carroll Gardens Townhome Masterfully Blends the Past and Present

There’s a one-of-a-kind townhome up for sale in Brooklyn’s posh Carroll Gardens neighborhood. Marketed by Lindsay Barton Barrett, Christina Abad and Cristina Criado with Douglas Elliman, the stunning home is asking $5,450,000, and it offers both classic touches and modern-day amenities.

Located at 356 Sackett Street, flanked by Court and Smith streets, the four-bedroom, four-bathroom townhouse was recently thoroughly renovated. Architects were able to preserve the property’s original details, such as tin ceilings, marble fireplace surrounds and ornate moldings, and more. However, the gut renovation also brought contemporary upgrades to please the modern homebuyer. Domino and Refinery29 have even featured the mint-condition, 22-foot-wide showplace for their readers. 

Image credit: Douglas Elliman / Lindsay Barton Barrett

The home’s parlor level features formal living spaces ideal for entertaining friends and family.

A foyer opens up to a light-filled living room that’s paved in wide-plank hardwood and features 11-foot high ceilings. There’s also a grand dining room with painted tin ceilings, a fireplace, and designer lighting.

Image credit: Douglas Elliman / Lindsay Barton Barrett

The parlor level also includes a state-of-the-art kitchen that features premium stainless steel appliances, including a six-burner, fully vented Wolf range, a drawer microwave, dishwasher and even a wine refrigerator. Last but not least, this level also includes a powder room and coat closet for ‘effortless entertaining.’ 

Image credit: Douglas Elliman / Lindsay Barton Barrett

Outside the kitchen, you’ll find a small deck that leads out into the lush garden that is decked out with large bluestone pavers, private fencing and professional landscaping. 

The garden level of this Carroll Gardens townhome features a living room with a wet bar/kitchenette and a bright sunroom, which currently serves as a gym overlooking the garden. 

The third floor houses the master suite, which offers garden views, a spa bath with a clawfoot tub and a frameless glass shower. Here, you also get a spacious walk-in closet, and an adjoining bedroom that would make an ideal nursery, study or home office. 

That’s not it, though. There are three additional bedrooms above the master suite, complete with a playroom/den, as well as another bathroom and a large laundry room. Last but not least, the basement level provides 8-foot ceilings and a massive storage closet, as well as a huge flexible rec room.

Image credit: Douglas Elliman / Lindsay Barton Barrett
Image credit: Douglas Elliman / Lindsay Barton Barrett
Image credit: Douglas Elliman / Lindsay Barton Barrett

The building itself has been upgraded in the recent renovation effort. Updates include a full restoration of the brick and brownstone facade, a new wrought iron gate, and a rebuilt lower vestibule. 

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5 Signs You’re Better Off Renting

We all know the benefits of buying a house to live in. Not only you can live in it, but also you can rent your house to produce monthly passive income.

Owning a house also has significant tax benefits as well as equity from appreciation. In brief, buying a home can be very rewarding.

However, homeownership isn’t for everyone. You might not be financially ready to own a home. You might not live in the house for too long.

As you’re making the rent vs buy decision, here are some signs you’re better off renting rather than buying a home.

If you are interested in comparing the best mortgage rates through LendingTree click here. It’s completely free.

Check out: 5 Signs You’re Not Ready to Buy a House

1. You don’t have sufficient time and money for home maintenance.

The home buying process itself and being a home owner is time consuming.

You’ll have to do a lot of research, which can take up a lot of your time. Hiring a real estate agent to look for properties can also take up your time.

Investigating which neighborhoods to live in, as does speaking with different mortgage lenders can soak up plenty of hours.

However, some service, like LendingTree, allows you to compare several mortgages at one time without wasting your time speaking with individuals lenders.

As far as being a homeowner, you can hire professionals to deal with home repair issues, but doing so costs money and still requires some of your time.

So, if you don’t have time and has no extra money to hire people, renting might make the most sense.

Related Resources

  • Get Pre-qualified for a Mortgage Online Now
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2. You can’t deal with the problems associated with owning a home.

When you’re a tenant, you don’t fix anything in your building, except a few minor things in your apartment such as changing the light bulbs.

Even then, you can still call your landlord to fix the light bulbs. I have done it!

But when you’re a homeowner, you are responsible to fix any issues with the home such as a burst pipe, a leaky roof, etc…And like it or not, these problems do occur.

So if you don’t have the money to pay repairs, or if replacing a heating system or a roof causes you distress, renting might be the better option for you.

If you’re not sure whether you’re ready to buy a house, read the following article for more insights:

5 Signs You’re Not Ready To Buy A House

Feeling Overwhelmed With Your Finances?, You have options and there are steps you can take yourself. But if you feel you need a bit more guidance, simply speak with a financial advisor. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with fiduciary advisors in your area in 5 minutes. If you are ready to meet your goals, get started with Smart Asset today.

3. You don’t have money for a down payment and closing costs.

Buying a house requires a lot of upfront costs. First, mortgage lenders require a down payment somewhere between 3 percent and 20 percent of the property’s purchase price.

On top of that, you will need anywhere between 2 percent and 4 percent of the home’s purchase price for closing costs.

You’ll also need money for inspections, title insurance, broker’s fees, etc.

Whereas, with renting , the upfront costs might include a rental application fee, which can range from $50 to $150 depending on your state.

A security deposit (let’s say $1400) and a first month rent (let’s say $1400). Any rent vs buy calculator you may use will tell you what makes more sense.

So if you cannot afford a down payment and related costs, such as closing, inspections, and other fees, it may make better financial sense to rent.

Click here to find out how much house you can afford.

4. You don’t have a stable job or a reliable income.

A job can be considered stable if you have held it for at least 2 years. If you have seasonal jobs lasting 3 to 6 months, or you have just started a new job, but not so sure how long you’re going to keep it, you may not want to consider buying a house.

Unless you’re buying a house with cold cash, you’ll need a mortgage loan for which you’ll make monthly mortgage payments.

If you don’t have a stable job with regular paychecks, you might not be able to keep up with your monthly mortgage payments.

On top of that, you’ll also need extra money to pay for utilities, maintenance, repairs, property tax, homeowner insurance.

5. You might move out of state.

Do you intend to live in your home for at least 5 years? If the answer is no, then you’re better off renting.

If you’re not sure how long you’re going to be in a particular area (city or state), because of work or family, etc, renting might the best option for you.

Selling a house is much harder than getting out of a lease. If you’re getting out of lease, the worst thing that can happen is that you pay a few thousands bucks.

But with a home, not only does it takes a long time to sell it, but also you’re likely to lose money when you do sell it.

The reason behind it this: the longer you stay in your house the more time you have to offset all of these closing costs and fees.

If you sell within a few years, your home might not have appreciated enough to offset these fees.

Click here to compare mortgage rates through LendingTree. It’s completely FREE.

Bottom line…

Of course, there are several benefits of owning your own home. Your home may build equity. There are good tax benefits, etc. However owning a home isn’t for everyone.

You might need to move to another state. You may not have a reliable income.

So before you’re thinking of buying a house weigh the rent vs. buy options to determine which is right for you.

More article on buying a house:

10 First Time Homebuyer Mistakes You Must Avoid

What Is A Typical Down Payment On A House

Shop For A House: Steps To Buying A House

Working With The Right Financial Advisor

You can talk to a financial advisor who can review your finances and help you reach your goals (whether it is paying off debt, investing, buying a house, planning for retirement, saving, etc). Find one who meets your needs with SmartAsset’s free financial advisor matching service. You answer a few questions and they match you with up to three financial advisors in your area. So, if you want help developing a plan to reach your financial goals, get started now.

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Fulton Bank Mortgage Reviews

Fulton Bank was established in 1882 by local merchants and farmers who wanted to service the banking needs of residents and businesses in the Lancaster, Pennsylvania, region. The bank began acquiring smaller financial institutions in 1948 and quickly grew to the largest banking firm in the Lancaster County.

Shortly after celebrating its 100th anniversary, Fulton Bank formed a holding company and became the flagship bank of the Fulton Financial Corporation.

Among its wide array of products and services, Fulton offers a variety of home lending options such as fixed-rate and adjustable-rate loans, mortgages backed by the Federal Housing Administration, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, as well as specialized loans designed for first-time homebuyers.

Table of Contents:

Fulton Bank Overview

Since 1882, Fulton Bank has supplied reliable financial services to residents and businesses in the Mid-Atlantic region of the U.S. The bank’s diverse selection of mortgage options is designed to meet the unique needs of homebuyers at every income level, especially low-to-moderate income residents.

Program eligibility is determined through a host of financial criteria, including credit scores and histories, debt-to-income ratio, and a government-issued ID.

To help lower-income Americans, Fulton offers a range of government-backed mortgages, including FHA, USDA and PHFA loans. The bank also assists these borrowers through closing cost and down payment assistance programs, which can drastically reduce the back-end administrative costs.

First-time homebuyers can benefit from Fulton’s exclusive Homebuyer Advantage Plus® Mortgage product and its First Front Door Program. These products/services were designed to support families in their search for a safe and comfortable environment.

As such, they require no private mortgage insurance and allow for up to 97 percent financing on new purchases.

Fulton Bank Mortgage Rates

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Fulton Bank Mortgage Options

Fulton Bank provides a diverse selection of mortgage offerings that are uniquely tailored to suit the individual needs of its customers. In addition to conventional fixed-rate and adjustable-rate loans, Fulton also offers government-backed mortgage programs like FHA, VA, USDA, and PHFA loans.

This lender is particularly dedicated to helping low- to moderate-income homebuyers find affordable lending solutions within its service region. Fulton’s down payment assistance programs ensure that residents of Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Virginia have access to plenty of financially viable options to choose from.

Fixed-Rate Loans

This popular mortgage option offers consistent monthly payments by locking in a fixed interest rate for the entire length of the loan. Fulton Bank allows borrowers to select a loan term between 10 and 30 years, even for multi-unit residential homes. This lender accepts down payments as low as zero percent of the purchase price for qualified applicants. 

Adjustable-Rate Loans

For homebuyers unsure about their long-term plans, an adjustable-rate mortgage allows for increased flexibility and lower initial monthly payments. After the set fixed-rate period, the interest rate and payment amounts may increase or decrease based on how the financial index fluctuates.

It offers borrowers a choice between 1-, 3-, 5-, 7-, 10-, or 15-year fixed-rate periods before the interest rate begins adjusting to market conditions.

Homebuyer Advantage Plus® Loans

This loan option is only available to first-time homebuyers and was specifically designed to meet the needs of new families and borrowers with low-to-moderate incomes. It offers these loans with low down payments, flexible credit requirements and the ability to finance up to 97 percent.

Borrowers are not required to obtain private mortgage insurance, though household income restrictions may apply.

HomeReady® Mortgage Plus Loans

To help meet a diverse range of financial and family needs, Fulton Bank provides this flexible mortgage option designed to support homebuyers who cannot afford large down payments. Borrowers can finance up to 97 percent of the purchase amount and co-borrowers are not required to live in the home.

Private mortgage insurance is not required, but homeownership counseling from a HUD-approved agency is mandatory.

FHA Loans

These government-backed mortgages are sponsored by the Federal Housing Administration and can be negotiated as either fixed or adjustable-rate loans. This option is available to borrowers with credit scores of 580 or higher and requires little to no down payment, making it a good choice for lower-income residents.

VA Loans

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs backs this mortgage offering and extends up to 100 percent financing options to eligible veterans and service members. VA loans can be set up as either fixed or adjustable-rate, without requiring a down payment or mortgage insurance to qualify. Minimum credit score criteria may apply. 

USDA Loans

The U.S. Department of Agriculture established this mortgage program in 1991 to help medium-income Americans purchase homes in rural and suburban communities. Qualified borrowers can obtain 100 percent financing for properties within eligible areas, but they must occupy the house as a primary residence.

PHFA Loans

This loan option was created by The Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency and is only available to qualified in-state homebuyers. These mortgages come with a fully amortized 30 year fixed rate term and offer competitive interest rates and lower-than-market monthly payments.

Fulton Bank Mortgage Customer Experience

Fulton Bank operates over 250 branches and specialty offices throughout its multi-state service region. The bank provides online users with a massive amount of free informational resources, including home buying tips, mortgage checklists, timely articles on the housing market, and even a complimentary Homebuying 101 course.

Through Fulton’s Framework® resource, borrowers can learn which properties they can afford and which mortgages best suits their long-term goals; it’s also an accepted form of education for most first-time homebuyer incentive programs.

Interested borrowers can obtain a rate quote on the Fulton website by submitting their personal information, but this will require entering a social security number. In addition to rate quotes, Fulton’s site allows homebuyers to initiate a pre-qualification check that helps speed up the mortgage application process.

Once a suitable mortgage has been found, users can immediately start filling out an online application or contact a Fulton lending specialist directly over the phone.

Fulton Bank’s commitment to helping first-time and lower-income homebuyers is reflected in its diverse payment assistance programs. In partnership with Operation HOPE, Fulton established a closing cost assistance program that provides eligible borrowers with up to $2,500 for closing costs and $1,000 toward mortgage down payments.

Through its First Front Door Program, the bank supplies qualified first-time homebuyers with a grant of up to $5,000 to help with a down payment and closing costs, but some restrictions apply.

Fulton Bank Grades

Over its 137 years of operation in the U.S., Fulton Bank has been considered one of the most trusted banking and lending institutions in the Mid-Atlantic region, earning accreditation as an Equal Housing Lender and a member of the FDIC.

While the Better Business Bureau does not formally accredit Fulton, it currently holds an A+ rating via the BBB website. Since 2016, less than 20 customer complaints have been reported to the BBB, few of which reference the company’s mortgage lending products or services.

According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau website, no enforcement action has ever been taken against this lender.

  • Information collected on Jan. 3, 2019

Fulton Bank Mortgage Qualifications

Loan Type Interest Rate Type Down Payment Requirement
Fixed-Rate Loans Fixed-rate No
Adjustable-Rate Loans Variable-rate Yes
Homebuyer Advantage Plus® Loans Fixed-rate Yes
HomeReady® Mortgage Plus Loans Fixed or Variable rate No
FHA Loans Fixed or Variable rate Yes
VA Loans Fixed or Variable rate No
USDA Loans Fixed-rate No
PHFA Loans Fixed-rate Yes

Unlike most lenders, this bank does not require substantial down payments for most of its loans, making it a solid choice for first-time homebuyers or borrowers without significant credit histories.

Each of Fulton Bank’s mortgage products has different qualification guidelines, in part because of the specialized nature of many of its offerings. Most of Fulton’s income-based programs have earning limits that ensure low-to-moderate income applicants have the best chance of securing an affordable mortgage.

Fulton Bank considers its applicants’ credit scores and credit histories when determining what interest rates it can offer, though options like the FHA loan are open to borrowers with scores as low as 580. This information helps lending experts understand the degree of risk involved.

According to FICO, the industry-standard credit score is 740, but homebuyers with lower scores should still apply or speak with a lending representative to learn more about their options.

Fulton Bank Phone Number & Additional Details

  • Homepage URL:
  • Company Phone: 1-800-220-9034
  • Headquarters Address: 1 Penn Square, PO Box 4887, Lancaster, PA-17602


FHA First-Time Home Buyer Loans: The Pros vs. the Cons

The FHA first-time home buyer loan program makes life a lot easier if you’re just starting out in the homebuying process.  The federal government and most states offer insured home loans tailored to first-time homebuyers. These loans offer attractive benefits that can make the home-buying experience less costly and less restrictive. But they aren’t for everyone.

What is an FHA first-time homebuyer loan?

FHA first-time homebuyer loans offer a low down payment, reduced interest, limited fees and the possibility of deferring payments. These types of loans are offered at a federal level by the Federal Housing Administration and by most states.

The FHA defines a first-time homebuyer as a person who has not owned a home for three years. This includes single parents and displaced homemakers who only owned a house previously with a spouse.

The FHA insures lenders against potential default and requires a minimum credit score of 580 or above for a loan with a down payment of 3.5%. Most lenders, though, require a credit score of 620 or 640 and above to approve an FHA loan. In addition to your credit score, you will need to provide full documentation of your income and assets and meet the lender’s debt-to-income ratio, which is typically a maximum of 41% to 43% of your monthly gross income that goes toward the minimum payments on all of your revolving and installment debts.

Pros of first-time homebuyer loans

The comparatively lower restrictions on these loans make them ideal for first-time homebuyers. You might want to consider these loans if:

  • You don’t have enough money saved up for a large down payment.
  • You have a limited ability to meet high interest payments and fees.
  • Your credit score is not high enough to qualify for other loan types.

But even if you do have funds saved for a large down payment, the low interest rates on first-time homebuyer loans could be too good to pass up.

Cons of first-time homebuyer loans

The downside of FHA first-time homebuyer loans is that they have higher mortgage insurance requirements than conventional loans. The mortgage insurance payments must be made for the entire life of the loan unless you make a larger down payment. However, FHA mortgage rates are comparable to conventional loans regardless of your credit score, so you won’t be stuck paying a higher-than-average mortgage rate.

If you are looking to buy a really expensive home in an affluent area, you might have to look elsewhere. On Jan. 1, the federal Housing and Urban Development department reduced the “national ceiling-loan limit” to $625,500 for most affluent of areas. Loan limits vary depending on the median income in that area, so be sure to check with your real estate agent or lender.

Another potential drawback is the requirement that the home you buy will be your primary place of residence. In other words, if you were looking to buy the property with the intention of renting it out, you probably won’t qualify for the loan.

Some other potential drawbacks include:

  • If you sell your home soon after purchasing it, you could lose some of the loan benefits.
  • If you want to refinance at a later date or otherwise change the terms of your debt or your collateral, this may not be possible with a first-time homebuyer loan.
  • While some of these loans don’t require you to purchase private mortgage insurance, you may be required to take out insurance provided by the loan program, and this insurance policy could have higher fees and longer payment terms than a private insurance option.

Despite these drawbacks, a first-time homebuyer loan could still be the most attractive type for you. Take a step back, evaluate your financial situation, consider the home you’re looking to buy and consider your options.


Ben Apple contributed to this article. 


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Good Financial Cents, and author of the personal finance book Soldier of Finance. Jeff is an Iraqi combat veteran and served 9 years in the Army National Guard. His work is regularly featured in Forbes, Business Insider, and Entrepreneur.