The people we used to make this happen


Real Estate Attorney (trust me, you want her on your side of the table!)
Joan A. Soares
Law Offices of Joan A. Soares, PLLC
118-35 Queens Blvd.
Suite 1515
Forest Hills, New York 11375
tel: (718) 575-2225
fax: (718) 575-2228

Loan Officer/Lender (203k construction loan specialist)
Eamon McKeon | Home Mortgage Consultant
Certified Renovation Specialist
Wells Fargo Home Mortgage
MAC J0528-050
50 Main Street | 5th Floor
White Plains, NY 10606
Direct 914.286.5025
E Fax 866.967.4135

Real Estate Agent (knows Brooklyn and Manhattan inside and out!)
Meena Ziabari
(note – didn’t use her for this home purchase because we did it on our own, but she’s a good friend and great realtor)



Expediter (he knows his stuff and doesn’t mind taking the time to sit down and explain the entire wacky maze that is the NYC DOB. When you meet him, you can tell he totally loves his job too!)
Chris Urriola

General Contractor (not worth mentioning, don’t use who I used, the house is falling apart after 2 years)

Architect (he is well connected and his people work fast, doesn’t get back to you unless there is news to report)
Frank Quatela

HUD Consultant (don’t really need to interact with him except for the draw inspections, this guy was recommended by Wells Fargo and gets the job done)
Ted Tauber
T and T Rehab Consulting

Exterminator + general handyman (extremely responsive, really reasonable prices, 26 years experience)
Angel Avila

Tree Removal (these guys were awesome! removed our stump, very professional, reasonable quotes, both from the same company so if you can’t reach one, you can reach the other. they also text, which is a plus)
Lawrence – 267-241-6858
Emil – 917-443-3277

GOOD Plumber (really communicative, regular guys, who do good work at a reasonable price)
J & J Mechanical Services

9 thoughts on “The people we used to make this happen

  1. How did the architect role vary from the general contractor? Was it necessary to have both? Also, who did you use as a HUD consultant?

    • The general contractor is the person who basically runs the show – he is the one who works directly on the house and/or coordinates any subcontractors (including electrician and plumber). He also comes up with the estimate for the cost of the job, including costs for an architect and permits.

      The architect draws up any plans and addresses any structural changes being made, if any. He also knows what needs to be done to make sure things are up to code. You don’t always need an architect, but in Brooklyn, for a job this size, you almost always need one.

      Adding HUD consultant info now!

  2. Pingback: Will we ever have hot water?? Also, the tree is gone! | So We're Buying a House!

  3. I have been following your blog and I absolutely love how the home has turned out! We are also about to embark in a similar renovation using a 203k and I have found your blog very informative. How did you manage to cut costs on a renovation?

    • Congrats on getting a 203k loan! The loan itself turned out to be the best budgeting tool we had. Our contractor was bound by the estimate he put together + the small contingency (ours was 15%) so it wasn’t so much about cutting costs as just having the budget be all the money we were allotted, so we had to stick to it 🙂

      In terms of getting the stuff we wanted, we definitely picked our battles – we decided what we absolutely wanted to spend money on (like spray foam insulation), and then allowed everything else to be a compromise. We also told our contractor to tell us how much in materials we had to spend and we used that as our main price point when making our decisions.

      Then we spent hours and hours and hours on Amazon and other discount websites (and lots of Houzz-type sites as well for ideas) searching for items within our budget that looked more expensive than they were and also for ways people re-purposed inexpensive things to make them look fresh and cool (like the black and white subway tiles we used for our bathroom walls and floor – 25 cents per tile!). When we spent less money on an item (like our hardwood floors, which were $2.50 per sq. ft. instead of the $3 that was budgeted), we used that as leverage to spend more money on other items (like our stove and fridge, which were $500 over budget).

      Hope this helps and good luck on the renovation!

  4. Hi Pamela-
    Congrats on the progress it looks great! Out of curiosity, as I am in final stages of purchasing my home in bushwick, who did you use as a home insurer? Did you also get landlord protection since you have intentions of renting?

    • Hi! Thanks so much for reading and congrats on the home purchase! I ended up using an insurance broker. The contact I used is below. I just told them my situation with the rental unit and they put me in the right insurance policy. Not sure if you need a special rental unit rider, they didn’t mention it, but I do have $1mm of personal liability in the policy. Hope this helps!

      Maria Febbraro
      Personal Lines Manager
      Total Insurance Brokerage, LLC
      Ph# 203.325.3613 x13

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