Linda Raymond Real Estate Blog, Fairfield, Westport & More

Fairfield & Westport living- homes, fun stuff & more!


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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. ūüôā

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 more info.  

Lake Hills Association Beaches

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.  Another Fairfield gem nearby that is open to all town residents also deserves a mention here, the park at Lake Mohegan.

If you or a friend are considering a move to the neighborhood, the totally renovated home at 2654 Black Rock Tpk is currently on the market and sits just across the street from Beach 6!  Click the image below for a video tour.  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 for sale 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. OPEN HOUSE this Sunday 8/5, 1-3 pm!

345 Steiner St, Fairfield CT

Cul-de-Sac Charmer Near Lake Mohegan

 

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Hiking Trails, Water Park, Lake Mohegan- Take Tours!

One of the many super amenities in the town of Fairfield is Lake Mohegan and all the great stuff right around it.  Take tours around the park with our friendly Portuguese Water Dog, Splash.  He will preview some of the fun for you, and then you should come and see for yourself!

The park is open for year-round enjoyment.

Splash in for a swim!There are short and long hiking trails offering gorgeous natural scenery and great exercise for both you and your dogs. The long trail goes all around the lake and takes about an hour to complete.  There are many dramatic views along the way including a deep stream where dogs can jump in from the rocks above.
Splash jumps from a rockThe terrain varies from level to steep and smooth to rocky with exposed tree roots, so don’t go in your flip-flops!

People watching Splash Jump

The short trail doesn’t go as far into the woods and more or less follows the edge of the lake. ¬†It leads to a wonderfully entertaining swimming beach for dogs.
Whether you come with a dog or not, just standing there and watching the action will ensure you witness an upbeat social dynamic among our four-legged friends!

During the summer, the official public swimming beach is open, complete with lifeguard, sandy beach, and marked off swimming areas with ropes at different depths. ¬†Lake Mohegan SummerThere are picnic tables, swings, a snack bar, and restrooms. For the little ones, there is also a water park area to supplement the beach. ¬†It’s an exciting fountain playground with multiple intermittent water-sprays that are sure to delight and surprise its guests.

Splash on trail in winter

The lake and surrounding area comprise¬†170.4 acres managed by Fairfield’s Conservation Commission and the Parks and Recreation department. Lake access and the parking entrance are at 960 Morehouse Highway. ¬†The park is easily accessed from exit 44 off the Merritt Parkway. Parking is free, and there is a small entry fee for the swimming beach in the summer.

 

Looking to move into this area? Check out another nearby Neighborhood Secret, the Lake Hills Association! Click the next link to view a lovely home on the market just around the corner from the Lake Mohegan neighborhood at 345 Steiner Street.  Or send an inquiry in the form below for more information about the lake, more Fairfield amenities or other homes for sale nearby!

345 Steiner Street, Fairfield

Cul-de-Sac Charmer! Click image for video

 

Splash Photos Courtesy of Karen Kallins

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Neighborhood Safety Tips for Open Houses

We all love open houses.  Open house events have many virtues, but what you may not know is that they also come with some risk.

Open houses offer the perfect chance for buyers to start looking for a new home and getting a feel for what’s available. ¬†Open houses help¬†sellers gain exposure for their property in the marketplace. ¬†And they are an opportunity for buyers and sellers to meet Realtors they may want to work with for their next move.

But there is a risk.  While promoting the property and the open house event, Realtors are also promoting the fact that they will be alone in a house at a specific address, date and time.  This leaves an opportunity for people who may have ulterior motives.  Some people visit open houses with the intent of theft of valuables or prescription medications. Others may have assault in mind.

Open House Safety

There are educational programs for Realtors to help them prevent potential dangers and know what to do if the unthinkable were to happen.  The photo shows the Fairfield police captain and an officer delivering a training session to agents at the William Raveis Real Estate office in Southport.  Some of the information pertains only to the person hosting the event, but there are important open house safety tips that guests and neighborhood residents should be aware of.

Most of us would agree that it’s important for everyone to contribute to a safe neighborhood. ¬†Open houses are an integral part of neighborhood activities. ¬†So we all need to take watch, especially during these community¬†events. ¬†Please keep the following safety tips from the police in mind.

 

  1. First and foremost is to be aware of your surroundings.   As a neighbor, you may see open house signs quite often. Try to be aware of the activity during the open house near you.  Does it seem typical?
  2. Does anything seem “not normal”?¬†¬†If something stands out to you as out of the ordinary, take notice. ¬†Are there too many people in that car? ¬†Did the car park much further away from the open house than needed? ¬†Does something seem odd? Not normal?
  3. Trust your gut. ¬†Whether you are participating in an open house event or are a neighbor observing from across the street, if something just doesn’t feel right, it most likely is not. ¬†If you assume wrong and err on the side of cautiousness, no harm is¬†done, right?
  4. Take action.¬†It’s best to park on the street when you attend an open house if possible¬†so that you won’t be blocked in. If you are in an open house and don’t feel safe, try to exit right away. ¬†Go outside, call 911 and immediately provide the address. ¬†If you are a neighbor and notice that something is not right, call 911, or if you feel it is not urgent, call the police and ask them to drive by. ¬†And last, but not least, if you see a frightened Realtor heading toward your house, please let them in!

Open House, Welcome!

We can all work together to keep our neighborhoods and our open houses safe and enjoyable.  For more information on this topic or to discuss your moving plans, please send a note using the form below.

 

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Top 10 Reasons You Want This House: 6 Hillandale Lane, Greens Farms Westport CT

If you’re in the market for a new home in Westport Connecticut but aren’t sure which one’s right for you, here are the top 10 reasons this may just be the best new construction in town!

6 Hillandale Lane, Westport CT

6 Hillandale Lane, Westport CT

  1. Location, location, location! ¬†(Okay, that’s three, but we’ll only count it as one!). ¬†Situated just around the corner from the Post Road and right off prestigious Turkey Hill South near Martha Stewart’s previous residence, 6 Hillandale Lane is a prime location. ¬†A protected wooded space buffers the property from any sites or sounds from the Post Road, yet the convenience to all the local amenities is there. ¬†The home is also just four minutes from Greens Farms Station and 10 minutes from Saugatuck Station. ¬†It is minutes from renowned Greens Farms Academy, Burying Hill Beach and the vibrant downtowns of both Westport and Fairfield.

    Greens Farms Station

    Greens Farms Station

  2. Neighborhood РThe homes on Hillandale Lane each have a unique character and style.  Each is sited differently on its lot with attractive complimentary landscaping.  The neighborhood is lovely with residents of all ages and includes numerous multi-million dollar homes.
  3. Schools – People relocate to Westport from many places for the sought-after top-notch schools.
  4. Setting – Hillandale House is truly the centerpiece of the cul-de-sac on Hillandale Lane. ¬†It has a commanding yet gracious presence from both Hillandale Road and Hillandale Lane. ¬†At the same time, the home is tucked into the scenic private property and graced by a blend of skillfully designed and nature’s best landscaping that delivers the feel of¬†country¬†living.¬†6 Hillandale Lane Romantic Setting
  5. Views Р This special romantic setting extends its bonus to the indoors, offering stunning views of natural beauty from every room!
  6. Design РThe home exhibits transitional style maintaining a timeless traditional silhouette while adding an upscale modern edge.  Windows are positioned to invite maximum natural light and scenic views.  Materials are top of the line and state of the art, such as Caesarstone countertops that are virtually indestructible, and epoxy flooring in the garage that resists dust, protects the slab, and looks super cool!
  7. Construction Team Р Coastal Construction has been building homes in Westport since 2003 and has built more than 80 luxury homes in Fairfield County. They have fine-tuned the art of quality home construction by providing careful attention to site design, layout, architecture, craftsmanship and the right location.
  8. Use of space – ¬†The design team knows how people like to live. ¬†So they incorporated the perfect blend of open-flow, separate private areas, and spaces for convenience. That’s why the Kitchen with large island with seating is open to the Great Room and the Breakfast Area. 6 Hillandale Ln Kitchen¬†The Breakfast area is spacious enough to fit a dining room sized table and looks out to the backyard and patio. ¬†This open-flow area offers many options for casual dining and entertaining. ¬†The Formal Living and Dining Rooms offer a more intimate ambiance. The Mudroom features a¬†walk-in pantry, walk-in closet and Powder Room for additional utility. ¬†Four bedrooms reside on the second floor, and an additional bedroom with full bath is situated on both the third floor and walk-out lower level. ¬†This provides privacy for various sleeping quarter arrangements. ¬†6 Hillandale Ln Terrace from PatioThe walk-out lower level also includes a private zen-like Garden Terrace offering another separate sanctuary. ¬†If a pool is added, this terrace also serves as access to the full bathroom downstairs. The well-thought-out design offers something for everyone and every occasion.
  9. Garage РPerfect for organizing your extra toys, furniture, bonus fridge, etc. this garage offers an extra half-bay for all your stuff.  With a door into the Mudroom off the Kitchen and a door straight to the backyard, this is the ideal hub to keep the fun times coming.  Did I mention the super cool epoxy floor?6 Hillandale Ln Garage
  10. Great backyard РIf you crave a property that has both utility and undisturbed beauty, this is your place.  The backyard is wide, level, dry and fabulously scenic with a lovely wooded barrier, unlike the contrived, rigidly rectangular yards that snugly abutt their neighbors.  The pool can go just outside the walkout lower level with full bath.  The patio is the platform for enjoying a meal or watching the backyard happenings.  Whether you invite your friends or keep it to yourself, this is the perfect backyard for playtime and relaxation time alike. 6 Hillandale Ln Back Yard

If you would like more information about this property, please submit an inquiry below.  

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What Makes Your House a Home?

From the time you awake, until the time you call it a day, you carry out a pattern of activities that make up your lifestyle.

Elegant Breakfast Nook

Your house is your place of coming and going, of greetings and goodbyes, of good mornings and good nights.

Your routine may be rushed and hectic at times. At other times you may have periods of intense focus or moments of calm, harmony, and serenity.

You settle into your surroundings and set your house up to be comfortable for yourself, your family, and your friends. You decorate your house to reflect your style, tastes, interests, and passions.

Dining Room with Center Piece

You work hard and play hard. Your house is your base for productivity, security, privacy, and recharging.

Zen-like Home Office

Serene Master Bedroom

Comfy Family Room

Your house is the place you cherish, where you feel safe and sound, sometimes happy, other times sad; where you celebrate, gather together, share, work, create, cook, decorate; where you can love and be loved; where you live, grow, rest, dream, and at times sort through the chaos that life often throws at you!

 

Mudroom with Elegant Bench Cushions

Your house becomes an extension of all that you are.  And you become an extension of your house, making it complete. Without you, your house is merely a shell awaiting your energy, chemistry, creativity, excitement, and passion.

Stunning Designer Kitchen

What makes your house a home? You do!

This stunning house at 6 Hillandale Lane is awaiting completeness from you. Come home to 6 Hillandale Lane. There’s no place like home!

6 Hillandale Lane, Greens Farms, Westport CT

Please use the form below for questions, comments and showing requests!

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Design Your Own Perfect, Custom, Home!

Have you ever dreamt of living in a home perfectly suited to your every taste and need? Did you quickly push the dream aside feeling overwhelmed by the daunting process and decisions you would have to make? You are not alone. But many people have jumped on the opportunity and now relish the sanctuary of their ultimate dream home!

Building custom homes is the current focus of many area builders. Read on to see how one Fairfield County Connecticut builder has evolved as an expert in catering to this special homebuyer. linda-raymond-at-milton-1

I met with Milton Development, a luxury builder in Fairfield County Connecticut, to discuss why they cater to this niche and what’s special about how they do it. ¬†I sat down for a Q and A with the company owner, Ashley Shapiro, to find out why Milton is now a custom home builder, what makes this approach a win-win for everyone, and how they tackle barriers that often make people hesitate to pursue a custom-built home. Here’s¬†what I learned-

Linda: What made you decide to become a custom-home builder? 

Ashley: After building only spec homes for about 12 years and working with buyers¬†to customize the finishes, we discovered that we were really good at working with people to give them what they want. ¬†We realized that we truly want to create the home that is perfectly suited our customers. We learned how to gain a clear understanding of how our clients live and what they love for their home design. ¬†miltonhouseOur motto now is, “We build a lifestyle”. ¬† Almost anyone can build a house, but we are now¬†experts at creating a home that fits one’s lifestyle like a glove. ¬†Not only do we love building the perfect home for our customers, but¬†when we custom-build for people, we are better able to manage our business by avoiding the uncertainties of putting a speculation house on market, and we can pass the savings on to our clients.

Linda: Have you seen an increased demand for people wanting custom homes?

Ashley: It’s more a function of creating a niche. ¬†After years of building homes that people loved, we began to get asked if we could build a home for them. ¬†Word spread, and more people asked. ¬†miltonsink

We currently have 10 custom home projects in the works and have been doing custom-built homes for about a year and a half now. We build in Westport, Fairfield, Norwalk and Greenwich.

Linda: Is there a typical buyer profile you see?

Ashley: It varies, but many come from big cities, often working in the financial sector, and they are coming out here for the schools.  What they all have in common is that they are looking for something different.

Linda: What are the common barriers, questions, and concerns you see from your customers?

Ashley: Number one is timing- how long will the whole thing take? How long to get the land, to do the design process, to complete the construction?  We walk through the timeframe for each phase with them. The land is found by their agent or by us, and we are always involved in that phase to help give our clients a vision. We also explain that some of the phases can overlap. For example, while waiting to close on the land purchase, we can get well into the design phase.  We are very skilled at managing the timing and utilize an online program with the timeline and deadlines for everyone involved, including decisions to be made by the buyer.  Everyone has the same real-time view of the schedule, responsibilities, and progress. So our clients know the timeline and understand that they have as much a role in the timing as we do.miltonkitchen

Many are concerned with all the decisions they have to make in a limited period of time.  We have an in-house designer who is very skilled at helping our clients make decisions based on our understanding of their tastes, desires, and budget.  We also have four renowned designers from outside our firm that we work with.

The next big question is about cost and cost per square foot.  Of course, there are many variables that can impact cost per square foot, which could range from $270 up to $500.  But the beauty of our model is that it is completely transparent.  Our customer buys the land, they pay our direct discounted cost to build, which is all determined in advance, and they pay a fixed fee for our work.  So they know up front what their cost is, and we know how much we will make on every project as well.  Most people think we are more expensive than we are because of our high-end image. We do exceptionally high-quality work and market our services and products accordingly. Our print ads look like Vogue photo shoots, but the reality is that we have a lower cost to build than most builders, so we are less expensive!

miltonlr

Linda. So how would you summarize your differentiators?

Ashley: Our image is very high-end and expensive, but our costs are less than our competitors. Our formula is to alway be completely transparent with the cost to build. We take the time to completely understand how our clients live and what they want, which enables us to create the ultimate home just for them.  We are extremely organized and skilled at guiding our clients so they know what to expect and are helped with decision-making.  We make the whole process as easy as it can be for them. Our background comes from branding and the fashion industry.  We use a select talented group of European designers, and we create homes that are truly unique. Our difference is in the details. We build a lifestyle, and this is a win-win for us and our clientele.

linda-raymond-at-milton-4

To learn more about the process and the builders that do custom-home building, start looking for land for your new home, or to get a personal introduction to Ashley at Milton Development, please send a note below, or give me a call at 203-912-4440. -Linda

Get a Realtor on Board!


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Home Buying Tips In A Tight Market – What can a buyer can do to combat tight inventory?

If you are a home buyer and don’t see many options during your initial search online, make sure you get a Realtor on board to help you.  Get a Realtor on Board!

Even though inventory may be low and declining, there are at least three key actions your agent can take for you.  Make sure your agent knows what you are looking for, the location you want and your ideal timing.

  1. Armed with this insight, the first thing your agent will do is set up a search for you in the MLS. This allows other agents to conduct a ‚Äėreverse search‚Äô for your wish list items that could match a new listing they plan to put on the market.¬† They can call your agent who will then be among the first to know about the new listing that could be perfect for you!
  2. The next action your Realtor can take is to send an email to fellow agents in the offices around the town where you are looking that asks if they have a possible match coming to the market.  This can encourage sellers to expedite their plans and make their property available sooner than they had originally planned.  It also gets you first dibs on these homes!

Sample letter to homeowners

3. Last, but not least, your agent can write a letter or design a postcard describing your dream home and mail it directly to the homeowners on your favorite street or in the area you are focused on.

 

Sample Postcard

 

 

 

If you are a seller dealing with buyers that are circling and taking no action or facing a complete lack of buyers altogether, there are key action steps you can take too.

So don’t give into a slowing market, surge ahead, get the market to work for you, and make your move!

For questions or help in this market, send me a note using the form below.