Linda Raymond Real Estate Blog, Fairfield, Westport & More

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


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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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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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Realtor Helps with All New “CKC” Salon in Fairfield: Cut. Keratin. Color!

Remember the fun and adorable couple, Michael and Ella from HGTV?  If you missed the original airing of their eposide, it’s airing again September 19th at 9:00 AM on HGTV’s House Hunters Renovation, “An Old House Gets a New Master Plan”.  Click here for a description and show times.

Michael on HGTV's House Hunter's Renovations

Michael on HGTV’s House Hunter’s Renovations

Well Michael and Ella have been back in action with a new endeavor!  About a month ago, Michael called me and said they wanted a new space for Ella’s hair salon.  They wanted to create an all new CKC salon in Fairfield where their clientele could better enjoy a cut, keratin and colour.  Their current CKC was outgrowing its space, and business was booming!

So I ran a search, and the perfect opportunity surfaced.  The owner of a struggling salon business wanted to call it quits and move to Florida making her space available for lease!  It was an ideal property- in a nice busy plaza on the Post Road in Fairfield with plenty of visibility and parking.  The space was a step up in size and amenties but not too big.  It had all the necessary mechanicals and just needed a face lift.

CKC salon & Keratin bar

CKC salon & Keratin bar

We set to work on negotiations, and within a couple of weeks CKC salon & Keratin bar opened its doors in a glamorous new home!

First where they live, then where they work, Michael and Ella have done complete make-overs in their new spaces. For their new salon, they opened-up walls, infused a fresh chic style and brought in all new furnishings!

Now clients enjoy a bright, airy and elegant atomosphere where they are treated like honored guests.  When they come, they can get a specialized Brazilian Keratin treatment for an unbelievable smooth shiny finish as well a precision cut and colour.

I’m lucky enough to have been one of the first customers at the NEW CKC salon, and they were lining up behind me!  Be sure to visit online and in person for your appointment.

CKC salon & Keratin bar
254 Post Road

Fairfield, Connecticut  06824
ckcsalon.com
ckcsalon@gmail.com
(203) 292-5835

CKC salon & Keratin bar

CKC salon & Keratin bar

Photo Aug 13, 3 49 05 PM

CKC salon & Keratin bar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As always, contact me any time for your real estate needs, or even if you just want to hear more about CKC salon & Keratin bar!


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Find Your True Colors

Are you in the process of renovating, building new or just changing the colors in your home?  Maybe your room colors are still there from the first owners of your home and you would have changed them years ago if you only knew where to begin.

RUBIX CUBE

Check out these two great resources to help guide you to the perfect hue.  Start with a tour of different color schemes on HGTV’s website and how they create a range of energy levels or certain moods in various rooms.   Then visit Benjamin Moore’s site for a great downloadable guide to Color Language – Guide to Home Decorating.

You’ll find your true colors in no time, then go ahead and color your world!

COLORED PENCILS


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What Makes Your Home Showroom Ready?

dream-home-concept-25140859

Buyers’ first impressions happen within seconds of seeing a home.  After one glance from the street, a buyer may decide not to even go in!   So staging starts at the curb and continues throughout the house.  Staging is a marketing tool focused on the buyer.   Its goal is to attract the most buyers online and create an emotional connection for them once they are inside. Think about how you would have your car washed and detailed so that it looks showroom ready before trying to sell it.  Staging is a similar approach, but the goal is to appear better than new!   The house not only sparkles and shines, its assets are highlighted, its best use of space is demonstrated, disadvantages are downplayed and then the senses are tapped to maximize the home’s allure. Key elements of staging:

  • Eliminate clutter to create clean visual lines and show off the space.
  • Frame and showcase the home’s assets such as a fireplace or great view.
  • Downplay shortcomings of a home such as an undesirable view, tight space or low light.
  • Enable buyers to envision themselves living in the home by removing all distractions. The buyer should not know anything about the seller’s personal preferences in extreme color, art, decorating, religion, race, sexual and political orientation, hobbies, etc.   These factors are very distracting to a buyer, irrelevant to the sale and should not be seen.
  • Every inch is cleaned to sparkle and smell like new.  Strong odors from cooking, pets, smoking, mildew and general lack of cleanliness will instantly turn buyers away.
  • Appeal to the emotional power in our sense of smell, and simmer spiced cider on the stove, burn a scented candle or brew fresh coffee.
  • Play soft pleasant music in the background to further suggest an inviting home.
  • Let the sun shine in all the windows and the lights glow for the brightest space.
  • Overall, create a neutral but charming and welcoming space.

Your Realtor may recommend a professional staging company or just a few staging tips that he or she can help you with depending on the size of your home and how much work is needed to achieve your desired outcome.   Either way, launching a staging strategy for your buyers and pricing your house to sell will get you the edge on your competition, reduce the cost of a potential price reduction and extra months on the market and get you the best possible outcome from your sale. I’m happy to talk with you about staging resources and tips and your moving plans!


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Happy Seller Heads South!

Not a big fan of freezing winters, Joe had a dream that he thought was simple:  sell his condo on Madison Avenue in Bridgeport and move to Florida where life is sunny and warm year-round.

Joe after his closing!

Joe after his closing!

It sounded reasonable enough until he put his condo on the market and didn’t get the quick sale he was hoping for.  After trying to sell with four different agents over the course of three years with one deal falling through at the last minute, Joe was feeling quite discouraged and wondered if his plan would ever come to fruition.

Finally, the following summer, he summoned his spirits again and had his son come up from Florida to help him de-clutter.  Then he called me to come and see his place, and I gave him a list of staging tips that he put into play.  We went on the market and received a good amount of activity but were plagued by low-ball offers by investors and a distressed unit that posted for sale at a rock bottom price by a bank.

As the holidays approached, Joe agreed to withdraw from the market long enough to re-do his kitchen.  I referred a great contractor to him that was skilled and well priced.  Joe shopped around for some good deals on appliances, and viola!
2011-09-30 01.52.54      Joe's Condo AFTER

 

 

 

 

 

With a refreshed look, new kitchen and the New Year, Joe closed on his condo within three months and was off to his dream home in Florida with the weather to match!  Here’s what Joe had to say about it, “I will always be happy to give you the highest recommendation for your excellent customer service and professionalism. I definitely couldn’t have sold my condo without you.  The recommendation to upgrade my kitchen was a big factor.  There were so many condos on the market in Bridgeport, I thought I would never get out of there. But you sold my condo in such a short time frame.  You are a Realtor who cares and gives the best possible customer service one could expect, especially if the seller listens to you and takes your suggestions.  I couldn’t be happier now that I am in Florida.”

Take a look at the video to see Joe’s kitchen transition in action.

Feel free to comment below or request help preparing your home for the market.