Linda Raymond Real Estate Blog, Fairfield, Westport & More

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Winter Open House Tips: Excite, Delight & Invite!

Many people believe that winter is the hardest time of year to try and sell their house. While it’s true that sellers can’t showcase their colorful warm-weather landscaping, there are plenty of other things you can highlight.

The good news about selling in the winter is that the people out looking are typically very serious buyers with a clear timeline in mind for purchasing a home.  Add to this the benefit of less competition to deal with as other sellers wait for the crowded spring market.

One key marketing activity is to hold an open house.  What can you do to make an endearing impression of your fabulous house that offsets any winter doldrums?

Make prospective buyers feel like welcome guests and present your house as though you are hosting a special gathering for family and friends. While your agent highlights all the selling points, the special effort you make will give an enchanting edge toward a special intangible attraction you want buyers to feel that I like to call chemistry!

Start by planning ahead as you would for a big party.

Excite with Winter Curb Appeal
Let buyers see from the street what a warm, charming, romantic and inviting place this will be when they come in.

Consider ideas like a planter or two with colorful evergreen plants and branches, window boxes or hanging baskets.

Winter window box

Image credit: Lea-Ann Vernig

Elegant winter planters

Image credit: settingforfour.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Charming winter porch display

Image Credit: HGTV

A bench or trellis can add a nice focal point and polished look to an otherwise bare area.  A brightly colored chair and new welcome mat can go a long way toward creating a fresh look. Here are some photos of welcoming winter homes and a historic winter home for further inspiration.

Romantic winter home

Image credit: insidearciform.com

If there’s snow on the ground, a well-shoveled driveway and path are an absolute must. The last thing you want to do is make visitors feel like it’s a treacherous hardship to get to your house, or worse, let them risk injury.  If parking is tight, clearing some space along the street is also a good idea.

Of course, an adorable snowman fully adorned with your most innovative accessories, and maybe an open house sign can help to set the tone!  Consider leaving some outdoor lights on for an added welcoming glow on an overcast day.  On a practical note, you may want to have a basket of booties inside the front door to keep your house clean.

Make it Delightful and Warm Inside
Think about what makes you feel warm and fuzzy when you visit a friend’s house for a winter get together and aim to delight all the senses.

Light a fire in the fireplace or light candles (real or artificial) on a dining room table and in the bathrooms, simmer apple cider with cinnamon on the stove. play some nostalgic music.

Festive fireplace with candles

Image credit: HGTV

Implement some whimsical touches, such as displaying a card game, a recipe book for creative holiday drinks or hanging brightly colored winter scarves or hats on hooks in a mudroom.

If it’s the holiday season, display festive touches with glass, silver, and natural materials for an elegant, romantic look that will have the broadest appeal. Avoid commercial decorations and religious symbols that may distract, turn off or offend some people.

Use photos to showcase key features of the home that may be hidden during the winter such as colorful gardens, scenic views, a furnished deck or patio or beautiful pool.  Show pictures of the house across all seasons.  This can be done with an open photo album or by framing and hanging a few beautiful photos around the house.

Invite the Guests!
Last, but not least, with your preparations under way, your agent can feel confident about promoting your wonderful open house.  They can get the word out near and far with an ad in the paper, special door-hanger invites to the neighbors to come for the first hour, posts to all the social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn, a published Event on Facebook to which guests can be invited, the date published on all the real estate websites and the MLS, a bulletin in your town’s local Patch.com and on your agent’s blog, and of course, plenty of  signs leading the way!

If you wonder about the benefits of having an open house, take a look at the discussion of “Open House Pros and Cons” and feel free to leave a comment on the page.

If you have more ideas for hosting a magical open house, please share them below!

CT Post Open House Tips Article

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What are the Hot Technology Trends in Real Estate?

Six Hot Trends that are Super Cool for Consumers!

Real Estate Technology Trends

Consumer-Friendly Tech Trends in Real Estate

  1. Virtual Experiences – The trend is to showcase properties while delivering consumers

Raveis 3Dan engaging experience that also saves them time. In addition to creative videos, this includes 3D touring, virtual reality, drone photography, virtual staging and even hologram projection of furniture into rooms.  3D tours enable viewers to virtually walk through a property while using their computer mouse to “go” anywhere in the home.  The tool also creates a virtual doll house that lets buyers float through the floors and get an overall feel for the layout, orientation, and flow. Inman News recently talked about virtual reality tours that use special goggles to create an experience close to being there in person as well as gear that projects holograms of furniture into a space to visualize it “for real”.  Last, but not least, busy or far-away consumers can benefit from a live virtual tour via Skype.

  1. Social Media Exuberance – Okay you might have guessed this one, but it shouldn’t be underestimated. Social media can provide a much richer perspective and bring added value beyond what a typical website can offer when evaluating a potential Realtor.  Does the agent share useful information and resources? Do they have a strong presence on multiple platforms including a blog? Do they leverage this presence to promote client listings for maximum internet exposure? Are they creative, resourceful, knowledgeable, personable?  Do they share insights from past customers?  What do they do in their spare time? Many consumers are looking into these types of questions with a simple online search or searches within social media platforms.
  1. Mobile Optimization – Everyone’s on the go! The trend is for people to consume web content on their mobile devices.  Statista.com predicts a 57% increase in global mobile web traffic per year through 2019.  The most recent click reports I received from my e-newsletter show that readers opening the email on a mobile device versus a computer range between 50-70%. Mobile Optimization So more and more real estate websites and blogs are becoming mobile friendly and optimizing for the best mobile experience. Mobile apps are also on the rise.  William Raveis provides a comprehensive Real Estate App. The company has also released a Mortgage App that enables home buyers to start their pre-approval process right from their phone! And hot off the press is the Raveis Open House App that lets guests type in their name, phone, and email and then request a complimentary home value report, mortgage pre-approval and Local Housing e-Newsletter for the town of their choice!
  1. Mortgage Magic – Instead of misery. The complex process is now streamlined with new technology that gives consumers the efficiency and transparency they need and deserve. William Raveis Mortgage addresses the first critical step by providing buyers with a certified loan pre-approval followed by electronic milestone tracking of their loan process that also keeps all the players on track. Borrowers view a bold graphic showing a clear progression of the steps and status across their screen.  The icing on the cake? Sign documents electronically from wherever you are!Real Estate Value Forecasting
  1. Accurate Value Estimates – We’ve all heard of the Zestimate, and most of us are well aware of the frustrations with inconsistent results, incorrect data and inability to correct errors.  “What is my home worth?” is the question people are always asking. Savvy consumers want a quality tool to help them estimate the market value of their property.  William Raveis recently launched the RAVestimate. The interactive technology lets consumers  input specific home improvements and then work with comparable sales data that they select.  The company tested the tool and documented extraordinary accuracy.
  1. Predictive Marketing – Advanced intelligence and predictive modeling to help buyers before they ask are up and coming. Consumer data and predictive analytics will be used to anticipate home buying goals, preferences, and timing.  So in the not-too-distant future, Realtors, lenders, and perhaps the perfect home may be finding the buyer before they even know they are going to buy!
    Real Estate Technology, Predictive Analytics

 

Which trends to you think have the most promise?  What other trends are you seeing that are consumer driven?  From a consumer perspective, what new technology services would you like to see?

CT Post - Real Estate Tech Trends Dec 2015

For more information or questions about your moving plans, contact me using the form below.


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How’s the Summer Real Estate Market 2015 in Fairfield and Westport CT

So how’s the summer real estate market in Fairfield and Westport Connecticut? Are sellers listing their homes?  Are buyers making offers?  Here’s the summer 2015 scoop in Fairfield and Westport with a spotlight on the Fairfield beach and Greens Farms areas.

As of last week, there were a lot of single family homes on the market in Fairfield, 633 to be exact, compared to 542 at the end of July last year!  Fourteen percent (14%) of these houses had accepted offers. This is great compared to only 9% with binders last July.

The beach area market was not quite as strong as the town-wide market, with 12% of listings securing offers.  However, this ratio was more positive than last summer when the beach area’s home sellers accepting offers matched the town-wide tally of 9%. Of the 15 beach area homes with offers, seven were priced over $1 million, four were between $600,000 and $1 million and four were under $600,000. So there was a good range of prices.

Re-incarnation in the Fairfield Beach Area

Click Image for Flipogram!

845 Fairfield Beach Rd

Click Image for Full Listing!

Beach area new construction was exceeding the town’s ratio, with five accepted offers out of 30 listings, or 17%.  Click the image above for a representative view of the construction going on all over the beach area right now.  Direct waterfront in the beach area demonstrated more sluggish activity than the rest of the beach area and town with a 10% ratio of offers to active listings, that’s 4 out of 39.

Westport inventory was also high with 402 houses for sale compared to about 350 in July last year.  This season’s market was slightly more positive than in July 2014 with 7% of listings taking offers compared to 6%.

Greens Farms was a hot subset of the Westport market, with 12% of the 49 listings securing acceptable offers.  Half of the six offers were listed above $1 million and half below.

2 Hedley Farms Rd

New construction listings in Greens Farms weren’t moving as fast as the rest of the neighborhood with one binder out of 12 listings, or 8%.

So yes, sellers are listing their homes, and buyers are bidding on them.  The ratio of accepted offers to active listings is a leading indicator of what’s to come, and this summer it’s shown variablility based on town, neighborhood, and property type.
As always, pricing your home competitively and staging it for maximum appeal will attract buyers to your listing.  There’s still time before August vacations to get your price right if you’re selling and get your bid in if you’re buying.  Be sure to check out the featured homes for sale below!

Buy one this summer!

Buy one this summer!

New Construction on the Beach, Fairfield – $2,545,000 New price!
Summer Beach Cottage, Fairfield – $1,245,000 New price!
Carefree Beachfront Condo, Fairfield – $915,000 See Quick-Film!
Like-New Home at the Beach, Lordship – $879,000 New Price!
Bright Beach Area Colonial, Fairfield – $625,000 Off the market, sale pending!
Charming Cape, Convenient Location, Fairfield –  Off the market to be rented starting October 1st.

Feel free to contact me any time with questions, showing requests or for a complimentary market analysis of your home.


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Last Local Housing Market Update for the Year, Plus Some Holiday Bloopers!

As we head towards the final holiday week before the New Year, I wanted to give you the current housing market snapshot.   I’ll give you the full-year summary once we are well into Q1 of 2015 and all the numbers are in.  So here’s the scoop for now-

Inventory of homes for sale was up in Fairfield (21%), Westport (16%) and Weston (6%) at the end of November compared to 2013.

Sales were down in Fairfield (-25%) and Weston (-30%), but up thirteen percent in Westport compared to November last year.

Even though sales dipped in Fairfield in November, the average days on market was 24% less than it was a year ago (99 vs. 131).  However the average market time was up nineteen and twenty percent respectively in Weston and Westport.

Click here to see tables with more detailed information. Let’s see what happens in the New Year.   My phone has been known to ring on January 1!

In the spirit of holiday entertaining fun, why not enjoy some cooking bloopers from Martha Stewart. Happy Holidays, and send in any questions or request you may have below!

Linda Raymond, Realtor
William Raveis Real Estate
2525 Post Road
Southport, CT 06890
203-912-4440 direct

LoPumpkin Houseoking at unit sales and the average sale price for single family homes in Westport, Weston and Fairfield, there appeared to be a similar trend across the three markets as of the end of September.    Unit sales were down, but the average sale price was up.

In Westport, there were 26 sales in September which was down from 39 from last year and 50 in the previous month.  Year to date sales were 291, down 19.6% from 362 last year at this time.  However the average sale price in September was $1,510,448 which was up 5.7% from last September.  So far this year, the average sale price was $1,566,866 which was 1.9% higher than last year.

There were 54 sales in Fairfield in September which was well below the 77 units in August but just 1.8% below the 55 sales in September 2013.  Year-to-date sales were down 7.6% with 523 vs. 566 last year.  Prices followed a very similar trend to Westport with the year over year value up 5.9% for the month of September and just a slight increase of 1.6% for the year to date average sale price of $723,563.

Weston had the most significant reduction in unit sales of the three towns in the month of September but showed a better tally for the year to date.  With seven sales in September compared to 16 the previous year and 21 in August, the good news was that for the year to date, sales were down just 11.6% (122 vs. 138).   The average price for sales in September was down slightly from August and down 12.8% from last September but followed the trend of the other two towns for the year to date average price, with a small increase over 2013 of 1.8%, resulting in $882,423.

Fall Image 2

Let’s wait and see if the activity catches up to last year.  Tell all your friends that are thinking about moving to go ahead and do it!  In the meantime, click to see a table of all the Housing Market Numbers each month from 2013 to 2014 through September.

If you would like specific market numbers on a neighborhood near you, just send a request below, and I’ll be happy to provide you with the information.

 


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Remember the New Law for Smoke and CO Detectors

If you are in the process of buying or selling real estate, remember that the new law in support of adequate smoke and carbon dioxide detectors went into effect January 1st this year.

CO detector

smoke detector

Sellers will be required to provide an affidavit confirming that the required working detectors have been installed or pay the buyer $250 at closing. Here is a brochure explaining the regulation as well as the exact language of the new law.

Although the attorneys handle the affidavit during the closing process, it is best for the parties to be proactive.  If you are the seller, put the required detectors in place when you put your house on the market.  If you are the buyer, make sure your inspector looks for the detectors and includes his findings and recommendations in his report.  If there are missing detectors, ask that they be installed during your inspection contingency period so that there is no misunderstanding about it as the closing approaches and the attorneys raise the issue.

This way all the necessary detection devices will be in place, and there will be no delay in having a completed affidavit in time for your closing!

-Linda

Contact me any time with your real estate questions and for help with your plans.
203-912-4440, Linda.Raymond@raveis.com


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Open H O U S E S this Sunday… Plan Your Day Right Here!

Open House Blog Graphic 9-14

Click to search open houses!

Ever wish there was one place to go and find out about all the open houses for the upcoming weekend?  Look no further!

Just click the image to go to raveis.com for the best open house search tool around, and find out what’s open in every town in all these states:

Connecticut
Massachusetts
Rhode Island
Vermont
New Hampshire
New York

You can also set filters for your choice of neighborhood, property type and price range to get to the results you are looking for quickly.   So check out the open house search tool, send it to your family and friends, and let me know how you like it in the feedback form below!  Feel free to use the same form for questions or to request a private showing.

Remember, I’m here to help you with your next move, near or far.  Whether your move is out of town, out of state or overseas, I  can work with you directly or place you with another excellent agent almost anywhere in the world.

Here’s a previously featured open house:
286 Old Stratfield Road in Fairfield, CT listed for $369,900.

Cool Cape private fenced yard, two driveways and many updates

Cool Cape with private fenced yard, two driveways and many updates