Linda Raymond Real Estate Blog, Fairfield, Westport & More

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Fairfield’s Super Seven for Supper

Hands down, one of the most fabulous features of Fairfield is all the chic eateries downtown. So, I thought I would share with you seven of my favorite picks for dining and ambiance.
Cafe Madeline
A Friday night ritual for me and my husband, Mark is to pop over to Cafe Madeline on the Post Road, a tiny, personal place, where Madeline is not just the proprietor but also the regular hostess. (You can see her in a white blouse in the photo talking with patrons.) The atmosphere is nothing short of charming and, shall we say, adorable.  Madeline’s taste is somewhat eclectic as evidenced by the pink floral sconces, mini white party lights surrounding the glass case with handmade beaded jewelry for sale, and the flat screen that displays musical performances or nature scenes to fit the mood.  There are probably no more than 10 tables inside, and if the weather is mild, maybe another 5 out on the front patio.  The food is always absolutely delicious.  We cannot resist ordering the butternut squash soup, which is rich and flavorful and always comes as a very generous serving. I typically follow that with the “small plate”, Portobello Mushroom with arugula and goat cheese, served hot  Unbelievably delish!  Mark always gets the Chicken Piccata, also a small plate. He’s not a fan of the spinach that normally comes on top, so he substitutes it for chopped broccoli, which the staff always remembers and does automatically. Intimate, romantic and wonderful!
TotoAnother favorite where you’re made to feel like family when you are a regular is Toto.  The Mediterranean-style eatery comes with the gregarious people and food with a flare. The owner, manager, and team always great you with a warm welcome and seem genuinely thrilled that you have arrived. The decor’ has a stylish and sophisticated, yet casual European elegance, and the covered, heated patio is in service for most of the year.  An absolute MUST starter (if you like cheese), is the Spicy Feta, served in a mini deep dish. You simply spoon it out and enjoy with some rustic bread. It’s truly a burst of flavor!  The Crispy Calamari Salad is the best I’ve had anywhere. Mark cannot resist the Lemon Risotto, the ultimate in decadence with just the right touch of citrus.
 
The Chelsea is a funky and somewhat rustic place to have a drink and enjoy a meal.  Rough wood accent walls and ornate wrought iron design elements are contrasted with neon green metal chairs.  The stunning and fragrant, oversized bouquet of fresh flowers that is always a centerpiece on the bar pulls it all together!  The ChelseaHere, our favorite starter is the Beet Salad with pistachio nuts, a little arugula, and mini-mozzarella balls. The dish has a perfect blend of delicate flavors. Mark says that no one else in town can beat the Chelsea Burger.  I personally cannot live without their Octopus Salad, which is really more of an entree than a salad.  It doesn’t look huge when it arrives, but there is so much protein in it, you are sure to be full when you finish.  The flavors are spectacular!  Large tentacles come with potatoes, greens, onions, and a pickled vegetable that adds a perfect punch!  It’s a must-have in my book, with all the goodness and none of the guilt!
Old Post Tavern
For your classic tavern feel, visit the Old Post Tavern right on the corner of the Post Road and Unquowa.  They have been known to have a lively band during their happy hours, and the patio is lovely.  If you are a fan of French Onion Soup, go no further.  Something about their blend of cheeses as well as some magic ingredients in the broth makes theirs completely unbeatable!
BodegaIf it’s authentic, gourmet, Mexican food in a festive atmosphere you’re after, Bodega is the place to go.  Since it’s another tiny place, you may have to sample their margaritas or other drink specials while you wait for your table or seat at the bar.  One of Bodega’s delectables is the Ceviche, a deceivingly filling dish posing as an appetizer. The fish, in a specialty cocktail sauce, has a fantastic flavor and comes with some toasted plantains, that in my opinion, make a complete meal.  If you prefer something hot, their Chicken Soup is hearty and delicious.  You can have it mild or spicy depending on whether you opt to dump in the hot peppers served on the giant turquoise spoon.  Burrito Tinga is Mark’s tasty favorite, and my daughter loves the Gombos Tacos. Bodega's Festive Atmosphere
Martel is on the Post Road in Southport and is a cozy place with a bit of a steak house feel. The ceilings are high, yet ornate, and there is always an art gallery Marteladorning the walls. Always bustling, it’s a warm, upbeat atmosphere.  Although there are many excellent dishes here, my husband and I have gravitated toward sharing the Fondue for Two followed by Martel’s House Salad. The salad features marinated tomatoes and an aged Danish Blue Cheese that are fabulously delicious together!
Last, but not least, we love the Grey Goose, also in Southport, where we once stood elbow to elbow with John Mayer before being seated. The atmosphere can be described as rustic elegance with an eclectic crowd. Some folks go to hang out, others go for dinner. There’s always a flat screen at the bar featuring a sporting event as well as a crackling fireplace on the opposite wall. Penne ala Vodka, Grey Goose Style is Mark’s staple, while I go back and forth between the Grey GooseLobster Macaroni and the Steak Tips small plate.  The Lobster Macaroni is the absolute best here, with the secret ingredient of truffle oil to compliment the generous chunks of lobster and the crispy cheese topping. The Steak Tips are equally fantastic. Cooked to perfection, they come with a corn salsa and chipotle mayo dip that together, absolutely melt in your mouth!
All this talk is making me hungry!  Be sure to come and try out Fairfield’s fabulous eateries, and should you want to ensure you live right nearby, take a look at the homes for sale below and send a note through the form with any questions!
Click the images to take a video tour!
2073 Fairfield Beach Rd, Fairfield

2073 Fairfield Beach Road, Fairfield CT

254 Penfield Road, Fairfield CT

254 Penfield Road, Fairfield CT

6 Hillandale Lane, Westport

6 Hillandale Lane, Westport CT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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 ‘reverse search’ 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.


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Nothing Like a Great Back Yard on a Holiday Weekend!

My own back yard in the Fairfield beach area is one commonly referred to as a ‘postage stamp’, though it still manages to accommodate our trampoline and numerous modest get-togethers.  However, some good friends of mine in Westport have a much more spacious back yard with abundant space for fun, games and big-time bashes.  We’ve been to quite a few, with the latest one being Memorial Day weekend 2016!

Awesome back yard at Hillandale House

It turns out, these friends have just moved their social agenda to another gorgeous yard (and home) nearby.

New Home, New Back Yard!

The good news for all of you readers out there is that the wonderful back yard my friends have left now has a brand new house on it that will be ready to support a new source of festivities!

Tucked away just off Turkey Hill South, a new home sits on a quiet country lane cul-de-sac. Carefully designed and finished on four levels, this home will feature elegant transitional style with open flow and ethereal light. Romantic landscaping and plantings surround the level property making it super for entertaining, fun in the sun, and peaceful relaxation.  It is the Hillandale House.

Hillandale House

The builder, Coastal Construction Group, has fine tuned the art of quality home construction by providing careful attention to site design, layout, architecture, craftsmanship and the right property location. As we all know, a home is more than just the place we live, it’s the foundation for everyday living.  Added bonus?  This home is located four minutes from Green’s Farms station and under an hour from Manhattan!

Take a look at the sneak peek video, and visit the listing online and check out a snapshot of the progress!  Perhaps you know someone who has been weighing the options of renovation versus new construction and this may be a consideration?  If you or a friend may be interested, reach out to me at 203-912-4440 or send a note below.

In the meantime, whether it’s Memorial Day, Father’s Day, a graduation party, or just plain summer fun, here’s to a great backyard barbecue!

 


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Open House Pros and Cons for Sellers- What Will You Decide?

Many home sellers expect their Realtor to host an open house as part of the marketing activities, but some labor over the decision and others outright forbid it.    Open House

Starting with the Cons, here are some points to consider that may help sellers decide.

These are the most common Cons I hear,

– I’ll have to spend a day cleaning and straightening up!

– Don’t want the Looky-Loos, Nosey Neighbors and Strangers traipsing through my house.

– No one’s going to buy it during an open house.

– Don’t want anything broken, messed up or stolen.

… and some Pros for sellers to consider

1. An open house is typically scheduled well in advance allowing you plenty of notice before having to tidy up, unlike last-minute showing requests that inevitably occur after all your party guests just went home or your kids just dumped their belongings all over the floor.

2. Likewise, sellers with pets will have ample time to arrange for a ‘furry’ field trip as the case may be, instead of having to scramble to pull pets out of the house when the call from a buyer’s agent comes in.

3. Yes, the open house is a chance for your neighbors to come in and see.  This enables them the opportunity to spread the word to friends, family, and potential buyers, or even to consider trading up or down themselves.  Many agents send direct invitations to the neighbors to come to the open house.  Most people move very close to home, within about a 10-mile radius, so you never know!

4. Although it does happen, most homes do not sell to someone at the open house. However, this is an additional form of marketing that gets the word out about your listing. The greater the exposure you have, the better the chance for your house to sell for the best market value.

5. The multi-hour time block reserved for an open house gives you the perfect excuse to go out and do something fun for the day.  If you are careful to store away or remove valuables, fragile items, and prescription drugs, you are most likely to have a smooth open house event, and you can enjoy a worry-free day.

6. An open house gives potential buyers a chance to experience the chemistry they may have with the home after being attracted to it from photos online.

7. An open house enables a pool of buyers that don’t have an agent yet to come and consider it as their new home.

8. One of the most important benefits of an open house is that it’s an event that gives your Realtor a perfect reason to do a big round of promotion for your listing.  The promotion may include everything from email announcements to buyers and agents that link back to your online listing.  It can include a plug on all the social media outlets.  It may warrant a postcard mailing and door hanger invites to the neighbors.  The big day at your listing gets posted on numerous real estate and brokerage websites, which in turn boosts your listing exposure in online search results. The local paper promotes open house events.  And let’s not forget the yard signs pointing out your fabulous listing to everyone in town.

9. Last but not least, the open house enables a “show time” opportunity for your property that is not always practical for everyday appointments.  Your agent can ensure that the lights are all on, the window treatments are open, music is playing, flowers are on the table and the scented candles or simmering apple cider are working their magic.  This creates an excellent first impression for all that attend.  And these visitors could be the ones to direct the final buyer your way!

So when you become a seller, what will you decide?

Drop me a line!

William Raveis Real Estate, Mortgage & Insurance
2525 Post Road, Southport, CT  06890


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My Home is My Castle.

What is a castle?  In its most basic form, it’s a place that gives us security and privacy.

Home Sweet Home.  It’s the place we cherish, where we feel safe and sound, sometimes happy, other times sad; where we celebrate, gather together, share, work, create, cook, decorate; where we can love and be loved; where we live, grow, rest, dream, and at times sort through the chaos that life often throws at us!  After all, there’s no place like home !

Em 1st day 1st grade 8-30-07Home is a most important place and a most significant asset.   This is why I love to join my clients in the chapter of their lives when it’s time for their next castle.   It is a critical business transaction and a complex process, but most important, it’s an emotional, exciting and monumental time!  I am honored to share this time with my clients, buffer the anxiety,  guide the course and share the joy!

2012 Thanksgiving Dad Kids & CakeOur castles assume all shapes and sizes.   And in the grandest form, a castle is…. well big and grand! Enjoy this one in Darien, Connecticut.

Please share  a comment or image of a precious moment, space or place showing the essence of home for you!  I’ve posted a few of my own.

2011 The Black & White Crew

 

2011-05-31 09.28.10To see more about how I serve my clients, visit my websites at LindaRaymondRealEstate.com and Raveis.com/LindaRaymond .  Please send me a note below if I can assist you with the home of your dreams.

Sincerely,
Linda


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From Southport to Southport!

Some happy clients left their Southport home behind for a gorgeous new home in none other a wonderful place than… Southport!

921 Kings Hwy W w gift

Mom gave 100% approval and even supported the endeavor as a partner. They got a great deal on a bank owned new construction, and the bank even hired a new builder to complete the house and provide custom finishes.

Here’s to a new chapter and a new home. – Cheers!

921 Kings Hwy W