Linda Raymond Real Estate Blog, Fairfield, Westport & More

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Financial Stress: 6 Strategies Seniors Can Use to Find Relief

Thank you to our guest writer, Jim Vogel from eldersinaction.org for this article!

Photo by Unsplash

Financial stress is a never-ending problem that can lead to physical and mental health challenges for older adults. While research shows seniors aren’t the group most stressed by finances, they often have unique challenges when it comes to money. Mainly, they have fewer options for finding relief.

If you or a senior loved one is experiencing financial stress, there are some big and small ways to manage the situation. 

1. Get better healthcare and insurance rates.

Now is the time to shop around for your insurance options. You may be paying more than you should or for services you don’t need. Healthcare is a complicated system and can be challenging to navigate alone. You may find ways to save money by talking to an agent. 

We also recommend looking at the costs of other kinds of insurance, like life and homeowners insurance, to see if there are more affordable options out there.

2. Downsize.

The costs of maintaining a larger home can add up. If you’ve got sky-high utility bills and more space than you need, it may be time to consider downsizing. By selling your current home, you may be able to purchase a new home outright and use the remaining money to help fund your retirement. Before putting your home on the market, research how much you can expect to earn from a sale, and make sure you consult an experienced realtor in your area. 

3. Explore alternative transportation.

If you are a senior who is driving less and less, you might be able to save money by changing your transportation methods. If driving isn’t necessary, consider selling your car. This will not only give you quick cash on hand but also save you monthly car insurance payments, as well as routine car maintenance and upkeep. 

Senior support website Daily Caring notes that seniors have many transportation options — some can get everywhere they need to by bus or through a family member, while others take advantage of rideshares or senior-specific public transportation options.

4. Shop at secondhand stores.

Seniors can save a great deal of money by purchasing gently-used items at secondhand stores. There are many upper-end consignment stores that allow seniors to purchase high-quality clothes, furniture, appliances, kitchenware, and other household goods at even greater discounts. Be sure to look and see if there is a certain day or time of day where seniors can take advantage of additional discounts. There are even online secondhand options like Thred-Up and Poshmark. 

5. Take advantage of senior deals and discounts.

Many businesses offer seniors special deals and discounts to help make their goods and services more accessible and affordable. People over 65 can get anything from meals to groceries, entertainment to investments, at special rates and discounts. The Senior List provides one of the most comprehensive lists of senior deals and discounts. These deals can help you enjoy a quality of life that is fun and exciting without worrying excessively about costs.

6. Share meals with neighbors and friends.

Senior isolation can be a serious health condition for people over 65, especially those concerned with finances. They may go out less for fear of spending too much money. However, sharing meals with neighbors and friends can relieve both burdens. You’ll share the financial cost of cooking, while also spending quality, social time with loved ones. Even cooking together can be a social occasion. Seniors who share meals two or three times a week often report a social and financial benefit.

Any health issue can be exacerbated by financial stress and strain, which makes seniors particularly at risk. That’s why exploring these free or low-cost activities can help both the mind and body cope with financial hardships. 

If I can be of assistance to you, please feel free to reach out.


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At What Price Would You Consider Selling Your House?

My buyer waits for completion in six months.

Buyers are waiting. Home sale prices are up. Interest rates are outrageously low. Is there a price at which you would consider selling your house? If there is a price that motivates you, are there other barriers?

It sure appears to be the perfect storm for owners to want to sell their homes, right? Sure, except for two major roadblocks- As a potential home seller, where do you move with the limited choice in the market? And if you could work through these details, do you really feel ready?

If you are one of these homeowners, here are three things you can do to manage the logistical challenge.

  1. You can list your home with a published contingency to find suitable housing. This relieves the pressure of not having your destination pre-determined by letting potential buyers know up-front that you reserve the right to take the time to find a new home. It also gives you an ‘out’ if you cannot find a suitable solution. You can reach out to me and also select a real estate attorney to learn more.
  2. Alternatively you can put your home on the market and negotiate a long closing period, such as a few months, when you receive an offer- or multiple offers. Many buyers are flexible with timing, especially if they are buying a second home. This will give you time to look around.
  3. A temporary housing plan is another key option. Are you aware that you may even be able to sell your home and rent it back from the buyers for a period of time! This can be an excellent solution for bridging the gap until you find your new home. Even if this is not doable, there are other options. If it is feasible to stay with family, go to a second home or vacation home, or get a short term rental, and put things in storage for a while, this is a great way to take the timing pressure off. It may not be convenient, but it may still be worth it in order to capitalize on the opportunities of this market and move to the home that truly satisfies your current needs and desires.

What if the above solutions are all well and good, but you still feel hesitant? It is even more important than strategizing the logistics to be sure your heart is really in it. You must be sure you are ready to sell before going on the market. Here’s the journey one home seller went through to get ready to ultimately make her dream come true.

Buyers are waiting for homes to enter the market because there is so little to choose from. Take a look at the housing inventory in Fairfield in this graph from William Raveis Local Housing Data. There are only 227 homes on the market as of last December compared to 387 at the same time in 2019, and 411 in 2018. Compare this to the peak month in May of 2019 when there were 627 homes on the market! A buyer right now only has about one third of that to choose from.

Imagine if all you. homeowners who would love to sell but have been sitting on the sidelines decide to go for it using some of the safeguards above? The market would be rich with choice for everyone searching. (yourselves included!), and many more home buyers and sellers would be on the move toward making their dreams a reality!

You can browse around and set up some searches for yourself here if you would like to get a feel for the markets as you think about your plans. Feel free to reach out to me anytime by phone, 203.912.4440, my website or by sending me a note below. I look forward to talking with you!


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She Finally Decided to Sell Her Home, and It Was a Dream Come True!

The seed was planted years ago that maybe someday they would leave their comfortable bubble in Westport, Connecticut, and follow one of their dreams. They knew they would love to go abroad for a while, pursue the adventure of a live-aboard, or follow their passion for waterfront living.

He was excited to go for it, but she, not so much. Selling their home would allow them to be untethered for a while but the emotional consequences of leaving their home and hometown of 17 years with deep connections to friends, the community, and their love of Westport, was not lost on them. 

For starters, the limited choice of homes on the market made homelessness seem a clear outcome. The process of having to show the house day after day during a pandemic and having to deal with the whole listing, selling, and the moving process felt daunting. How could she argue with her grown daughters who rightly said they should keep the beautiful home they had made perfect over the years by putting their hearts and soles into it?

But, wasn’t this the perfect time? Wasn’t now the time to sell your home, especially in Westport with properties flying off the shelf at record speed for top dollar?

As it turned out, the low inventory and logistical barriers were really not the problems.

Becoming emotionally ready for adventure and following the dream was what she needed to take the leap out of her comfort zone. Only once she was at peace with letting go, moving on, and embracing the adventure, had all the pieces, one at a time, fallen into place.

I had come to see their home and discuss their hopes, dreams, plans, and concerns. Following that, we met via Zoom due to the pandemic. I explained the market, the recommended listing price, options for giving them flexibility for their timing, and shared my custom comprehensive marketing plan which included an added detailed walk-through video for buyers to watch before requesting a showing.

Still, for weeks she struggled with the decision. But as they explored their ideas for their next chapter, she shared their dreams with their daughters who became very supportive of their vision. The response from several friends was also positive and supportive of their decision to sell, and in fact many even said they too had been considering making changes of their own and following their dreams.

So they gave me the green light and I put the house on the market while they went to Boston for the weekend to visit family. During that weekend, I managed 25 showings and multiple offers. They chose a buyer who paid more than their asking price and who was agreeable to a long closing period to give them time to find a new home.

They researched their options and visited potential new homes in various areas. Sure enough, they came upon a fabulous waterfront home further north with breathtaking views that they absolutely loved!

So you may want to ask yourself- Does your home truly satisfy your current needs, wants, and, desires? Can you brace yourself to stretch your comfort zone for some adventure? If so, then now is the time to trust the process, and make it happen!

There are numerous logistical options for making your dream a reality. And there happens to be a jackpot of opportunity presenting itself to sellers right now, with buyers from the New York City area searching in droves, low inventory to compete with, and low interest rates to help you and your buyer with your purchase.

A great way to inspire your journey is to explore our Raveis Escapes website with destination locations featured by local Realtors and browse those areas. Set up searches for yourself in any areas that intrigue you get a feel what’s available there. If you are thinking of moving cross-country or overseas, I can refer you to the perfect agent through my elite brokerage network and oversee your satisfaction with them.

Give me a call or send a note below, and let me lead the way!

Linda
203.912.4440


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Christmas Eve 2020 Was a Great Beach Day at Penfield in Fairfield, CT!

Who would think that Penfield Beach was the place to be at around noon on Christmas Eve 2020?

The temperature was mild but the winds were high, so the walkers, dogs, and sea gulls were there along with about a dozen kite boarders in wet suites. The scene was festive and vibrant as always, and a great way to kick off the holiday week!

What a fabulous town to call home! If you are thinking of making a move, you can set up your own search here to browse homes in any areas that intrigue you. If you are thinking of moving cross-country or overseas, I can refer you to the perfect agent through my elite brokerage network and oversee your satisfaction with them. Give me a call at 203.912.4440, visit my website, or send a note in the form below, and let me lead the way!

#penfieldbeach #Christmas2020# christmasathebeach #fairfieldct #lovethebeach

 


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New Eatery in Fairfield CT Beach Area – Reef Shack FFLD is Open!

Fairfield residents always love a new eatery when one comes to town, and the new “Reef Shack FFLD” has just opened on Reef Road!

The set-up resembles a hybrid of The Pantry, Starbucks, and the beach concession stand with a a separate barista counter and a beach-glam flair. The menu is large and fabulous with eats for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The space can completely open via glass garage doors to a cute patio with a beach shack vibe.

Charming patio for all kinds of weather!

For some more background, here’s the story from the CTPost. Check out their website at https://www.reefshackffld.com to browse the menu. It’s a good idea to call in your order until they have set up their online ordering service. Be sure to stop by!

Thinking of buying or selling around here?  Set up your own MLS search, and check out the market!

If you have any questions about this post or the housing market in the neighborhood or surrounding areas, reach out using the form below, visit my website or call me direct at 203.912.4440.


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Enchanting 33 Pansy Circle!

Your home is your castle, and enchanting 33 Pansy Circle in Fairfield, is ready to make some dreams come true.  Take a look at the trending story…! 

33 Pansy Circle Photo

Perhaps you or a friend are the perfect addition to this coveted enclave? Everyone here is friendly and supportive of one another. It’s a warm and festive neighborhood atmosphere, and when the weather’s nice, everyone likes to be outside.  The basketballs and soccer balls have been known to bounce around the circle! Other times there’s a peaceful retreat to respective back yards for a relaxing barbecue. The residents can’t wait to greet their new neighbors!

This grand colonial finished on 4 levels is a gem on the university cul-de-sac! Amazing Teen-Suite/NannyQuarters/Office/Yoga Studio or 6th Bedroom with a full bath sits Possible Yoga Studioabove the charming peaked garage. Better than new, and much bigger than it looks from outside, this home features 9-foot ceilings and open flow.

It also offers incredible custom high-end details, including extensive millwork, Klaff lighting, Italian Bertazzoni stove, and even a garage with a gleaming epoxy floor and a Wifi door opener that magically responds to your smartphone commands! The elegant gourmet Eat-In-Kitchen and Breakfast Area open to the generous Family Room with stone fireplace.

Open Kitchen

The second floor includes a Master Suite with luxury bath and jacuzzi tub, three additional bedrooms, a large hall bath with a granite double-sink vanity and separate water closet and bathing area, and a Laundry Room.

Vaulted ceilings top the 3rd level with a large bright Bonus space, 6th Bedroom, & full bath.

The partially finished Lower Level with high ceilings adds 717 sq ft of living space featuring a huge Rec Room/Home Gym with a wall of built-ins, another large room (now the Ping-Pong room!) that can easily be finished, plus tons of storage.

The stylish Mudroom with stone floor leads to the patio and private fenced yard. Sunny Patio

Twilight Patio

This special abode also features in-ground utilities and sprinkler system, energy efficiency, and room for a pool. Walk to Osborn Hill, around the corner from Black Rock Turnpike amenities, minutes to town, train, beaches, and highways from this excellent location.

Take a virtual tour, watch the video walk-through, and check out the listing. Elegant & enchanting! Make 33 Pansy Circle your new home, and let your dreams come true!

As featured in the Connecticut Post!

33 Pansy Cir Hot Property          33 Pansy Cir Hot Proeprty 2

If you have any questions or comments about this post or would like to arrange to see this property, enter your note below, and you will receive a quick response.

 


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New Kid on the Block, Aurora’s (Cafe)!

Aurora'sMaybe you noticed the subtle change in downtown Fairfield restaurants? If not, you should know that the former Cafe Madeline is now Aurora’s. How did this happen? The story is as delightful as the food!

Lauren was working as a waitress at the neighboring restaurant, Quattro Pazzi when she spotted a cute guy named Byron in the kitchen.  One night they decided to go out for a drink, and this launched the start of their long-term romance.

Lauran and Byron

They were still together when Lauren changed jobs and went next door to work with Madeline at Cafe Madeline. Byron stayed put and soon became the manager of Quattro Pazzi. Before you knew it, Lauren and Byron were married and had a daughter.

Fast forward three years and Madeline decided to sell her business to focus more on world travel which she has always loved to do. Lauren and Byron jumped on the opportunity to buy the restaurant and named the new cafe Aurora’s, after their little girl!

What can you expect when you go? You will enjoy the same cozy and festive atmosphere but with more than a new name.  The menu is new, and while it has held on to some of the favorites from before, like the to-die-for butternut squash soup, there are many new and exciting choices.

IMG_5662

One of them is the Scallops Small Plate. It offers an outrageously delicious blend of flavors that take your taste buds on vacation to paradise!  They are also very personable and accommodating. My husband, Mark likes to stick to his favorite chicken piccata with broccoli-instead-of-spinach, which he had historically ordered every time went to the cafe. Even though it’s no longer on the menu, Aurora’s still makes it for him!  The wines are delicious too. Mark likes the Robert Mondavi Merlot and I enjoy HobNob Pinot Noir.

 

The other cool thing? They actually take reservations! And we recommend making one before you go because we have tried a number of times without, and the place has been booked solid. So definitely call, go, and enjoy!Auroras

Aurora’s
1603 Post Rd Fairfield, CT 06824
203.259.5800
Be sure to Like Aurora’s on Facebook!

If you have any real estate questions or comments about this blog, please send me a note below.

 


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Neighborhood Secrets: Lake Hills, Fairfield CT!

Most Fairfield locals have heard of the Lake Hills Association, but many don’t know much about it, as it remains one of those best-kept neighborhood secrets!  -Until now. 🙂

Beach 2 on Samp Mortar Drive

If you are moving into the area and are looking for some special neighborhood amenities, ask your agent to alert you to homes for sale with deeded membership to this association.

The Association encompasses five private beaches for members along the Samp Mortar Reservoir, each labeled with a sign.

Beach 1 – Tahmore Dr.
Beach 2 – Samp Mortar Dr.
Beach 3 – Mountain Laurel Rd.
Beach 4 – Winnepoge Dr.
Beach 6 – Sasapequan Rd. (not sure why this isn’t labeled “5” on the association’s website!)

In addition to fun member activities like live music and movies, five levels of swimming lessons are offered, starting with the beginner level. Swimming lessons are available for a separate fee for both members and non-members. Class sizes are limited to 10 participants and swim lesson sign-up day is June 9 at Beach 4 from 10 am to noon, so hurry up!  Visit the association website at LakeHillsFairfield.com for a map of the beach locations and more info.  

Eligibility to join the Association is part of the homeownership deed of nearby homes within the designated area in the association bylaws. Joining is optional for some owners and required for other parcel owners, and the membership fee runs about $400 per year at the time this article was written.  Another Fairfield gem nearby that is open to all town residents also deserves a mention here, the park at Lake Mohegan.

One home I sold with deeded Lake Hills Beach access is the totally reimagined home at 2654 Black Rock Tpk which sits just across the street from Beach 6!  Visit my website to see more area homes on the market or to set up a search. As always, feel free to contact me with comments or questions using the at the bottom of this post, and I will get back to you as quickly as I can.

2654 Black Rock Tpk

Re-Imagined Ranch in Lake Hills

Here are some additional topics you might like,

Choosing a Real Estate Attorney

Dryer Vent Cleaning

Open House Safety-Neighborhood Watch!

 

 

Another nearby home I recently sold nearby is 345 Steiner Street.  It’s not part of the Lake Hills association but is just a few blocks from the fabulous park at Lake Mohegan and just a short drive to all of Fairfield’s five beaches on Long Island Sound. 

345 Steiner St, Fairfield CT

Cul-de-Sac Charmer Near Lake Mohegan

If you’re curious about homes for sale in this neighborhood or any other area, you can set up your own search here.  Feel free to reach out to me any time by phone,  203.912.4440, via my website, or using the form below.  Royal service when it’s time for your next castle! I’m here to help!

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Fairfield Memorial Day 2018: Photo Gallery In Case You Missed the Parade

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Fairfield rocked the parade today as we remembered our veterans who have fought for our freedom.  Enjoy the photo gallery below, and let’s hope we can keep our freedoms and look forward to more peaceful times ahead!

 

Photos courtesy of Linda Raymond

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This gallery contains 51 photos