Linda Raymond Real Estate Blog, Fairfield, Westport & More

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


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My Most Cherished Walking Trail in Fairfield CT!

tidal-marsh-with-creek

Everyone who walks this trail, especially my dogs, agrees that this is one of the most wonderful places to go to decompress and gain inspiration in Fairfield Connecticut’s beach area.   You may find yourself alone with the wildlife (and your dogs), or you may see other people dog-walking, jogging or bicycling. marsh-trail

There is convenient access from several beach area neighborhoods.  One entrance is on Old Dam Road.  You can jump on the trail from the Meadows condo complex off South Pine Creek Road, or you can enter at Mona Terrace by the soccer field and senior center. The latter is my favorite because there is a cut-through from an additional neighborhood near me at the Veres Park cul-de-sac.  A parking lot is also available at the senior center, next to the soccer field.

marsh-trail6

When entering from Mona Terrace, I like the fact that you have options. You can choose to go for a short and sweet stroll along the marsh-side path that leads out to Oldfield Road.  Or for a bigger commitment, you can jump onto the wide trail and go through the woods, across the bridge, and past the Meadows condos and Old Dam Road to the end of the trail and back. marsh-trail3

The woods are always peaceful and pretty, but in my view, the vistas along the tidal marsh are where I find my “Zen”.  When it’s high tide, the water winds through the tall grasses, and when the sun hits the water just right, it sparkles through the reeds and tree branches like diamonds! In the summer, the seaside greenery boasts flowers of vivid colors, and a vast variety of birds are busy doing what they do!

marsh-trail5

Last, but not least, if you take the full route to the end, you will get the prize.  What makes this my favorite trail is that it narrows along a little strip of raised land, where you start to wonder where you will end up.  But it leads you to the sweetest of surprises.  The tail takes you to a final destination, where (spoiler alert) you are surrounded on three sides by the water of a tranquil lagoon.  Beyond the edge of the lagoon, to the right, you can see two more waterways.  Old Dam Road flanks the lagoon with Pine Creek behind it.  And behind that, you see Fairfield Beach Road and the Long Island Sound.  Three different waterway views all at once, what a rare treat!   Your dogs can go for a swim, you can take some photos as I’ve done here, and then, you can head back to reality feeling renewed.

tidal-marsh-trail-end

 

For more information about the rich local amenities or any real estate questions, send me a note below or give me a call.

-Linda
203.912.4440

 

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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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Moving is So Bittersweet

You might say the phenomenon is like a rollercoaster ride when a house changes hands. It goes from someone’s beloved home to being the commodity of ‘a house’ and then back to a dear home again when the new owners move in.

And during this process, the lives of those connected to the transfer undergo such a monumental, emotional and bittersweet transition.

Cathy & Sal

Cathy & Sal

Cathy and Sal passionately enjoyed two decades of raising a family on Charles Street in the Fairfield Beach area. They always celebrated holidays to the hilt. Their elaborate lawn displays each Halloween included their camouflaged kids as spirited spooks who actively taunted trick-or-treaters before handing out candy. And their Christmas displays included every conceivable festive (inflatable and not!) item they had in their attic during the off season! Top these 20 Halloweens and 20 Christmases with a beautiful wedding ceremony for their eldest daughter this past summer, and you have just a few exceptional memories in your chest.

But now that the last of two girls and a boy have grown up and found a place of their own, it was time to move on. They didn’t expect it all to happen so quickly, but they priced their house to sell , staged it to look great and had it under contract for above their asking price in just 23 days!

Cathy and Sal found another fantastic home near the shore in New York and will be much closer to their family. This was an exciting change and the start of a new chapter, yet I know Cathy was fighting back the tears as she waved goodbye to her old house and smiled for the picture before making the full transition to her new home.

Today Charles Street welcomes a new family with two little boys, and like Cathy and Sal, they’re ready for lots of new good times to be had!

For questions and about your own transition, just send me a note below, and I’m happy to help. -Linda


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Annie and Andrew’s Story

A seasoned recruiter for a financial firm on Merritt 7 in Norwalk Connecticut, Annie knew a good candidate when she saw one.   The perfect asset for the current position was one she had already recruited once before, and that would be her husband!  Given their relationship, Annie’s boss had to step in and seal the deal, but Andrew was on board in no time.

The next step was to move from their home in Avon to a town closer to Norwalk that was affordable and had good schools.  Annie’s boss lived in Fairfield and was a strong advocate.  She convinced Annie and Andrew that this town would fit the bill.

Annie & Andrew

So Annie and Andrew’s agent in Avon called me to help them find a new home in Fairfield.  We spoke on the phone, and I set up their online search.   Immediately Annie saw something she liked and came to see it the next day.  Andrew couldn’t get free until the weekend, and by then the house was gone.  Three more times, the timing was too late or multiple bids got in the way, and three more homes were lost. Homes in their price range in the Fairfield university area were in extremely high demand and flying off the shelf!

Although Andrew liked the homes he had seen, he was still having a little trouble understanding the value for the prices in Fairfield compared to Avon.  Annie and I gushed about the treasured amenities in Fairfield such as the gorgeous beaches, convenient train stations, chic eateries, vicinity to Manhattan and the fantastic vibrant community. I wish I had this video tour of Fairfield at the time! Still, Andrew just shrugged his shoulders and went with the flow, primarily motivated by a quick commute.  New Home in Fairfield

Finally, a lovely pricier home had a price reduction.  We immediately went to see it and this time lucked out.  Annie and Andrew landed a beautiful expanded Cape on a pretty university area street.  They lost no time starting to make memories with their little son George, their new neighbors and all the block parties scheduled for the year.

A short time later, Annie sent me a note that said, “Hi Linda, we love the house, and we have fallen in love with Fairfield.  We have only been in the house a little over a month, but it truly feels like home, and I would say George agrees!  We cannot thank you enough for all of your help. You were terrific to work with, patient and helped us every step of the way. Relocating to a new area is overwhelming, and you really made us feel at ease throughout the whole process.  Thanks again for everything.  We hope to see you around town!”

So we welcome Annie and Andrew to Fairfield and the university area along with some of our other recent new neighbors, Ping and Danian and Rich and Chris.  Annie and Andrew’s story is all about taking that leap toward the next chapter of exciting new beginnings- A new love. A new job. A new town. A new home.  Follow your dreams, and the rest is history in the making!

For questions about your next move, contact me any time!


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Homeowner Use of Social Media: Lifeline or Liability?

Most of us use social media networks like Facebook as a convenient go-to tool for fun, entertainment, communication, sharing, advice and recommendations.  And it’s a great way to get some instant gratification for all of these things.    Buyers Browse Facebook

But most of us also know there can be a dark side to these perks. We’ve all heard about the folks who’ve shared embarassing moments and pictures online that they’ve since regretted.  Once it’s out there on the web, it’s likely to always be out there on the web… somewhere.

Well, if you are a homeowner seeking advice or recommendations for repairs to your home, remember the point above.  If you illustrate a leak in your dining room ceiling in a photograph on the world wide web, remember that it will still be out there when you ultimately decide to sell your home.  Not that there is any harm done here.  However, if you present an important issue with your house online such as a leak, or a mold problem, etc., be sure to disclose it when you sell.   In Connecticut the Department of Consumer Protection requires sellers to complete a residential property disclosure report for potential buyers or pay a penalty of $500 at closing.

Buyers are excited, curious, nervous and saavy people… as well as frequent users of the internet. They might just be browsing your social networks.  If your leaky ceiling issue is disclosed on Facebook, but not on the required property disclosure when you sell, you could heading for trouble.  If you try to conceal an existing issue with your house, there is risk for liability.

So think about what you post online when it comes to your home repairs, and remember what you posted when it’s time to sell your house.  If the problem has been repaired, that’s great, your buyers will be happy to know about it!

Feel free to contact me any time with questions about buying or selling a home!   -Linda

 


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Pricing Your Home Right

Here are a few true stories that occurred in May of 2015.  Three comparable university area homes for sale in Fairfield Connecticut accepted offers.  The properties and prices were similar in scope, but the paths the sellers took to get an offer were quite different.   I’ll assign each house a color instead of using the address to protect privacy.  I am privy to the information because my buyers bid on all three of these homes.

White House

A White house with 2,293 square feet, four bedrooms and two and a half baths on .31 acres came on the market for $675,000 the previous November.  The listing canceled and put back on the market as a new listing for the same price in January 2015.  Over the next 130 days the price was reduced to $669,000 and then 649,000.  It was newly listed again in May for $625,000.  The sellers accepted an offer of $610,000 which was 97% of their final asking price but 90% of their original price from more six months prior.

green house

A Green house was listed in March for $650,000.  It had 2,352 square feet, two and a half baths on .49 acres.  The price was reduced to $619,000 and then to $610,000 and was ultimately re-listed with a new price of $600,000. Less than two weeks later, the sellers received multiple full price offers for $600,000.  The sellers got 100% of their final asking price, but 92% of their original list price.

On May 12, homeowners listed a Red house for sale with 2,164 square feet, three bedrooms and two baths on .22 acres for $619,000 and accepted an offer the next day!

Since the two homes above sold for 97-100% of their final asking price, and the average sale-list ratio in Fairfield from January to mid-May was 97%, my guess is that the sellers got very close to their asking price, and in one day, not bad!REd House

So what are the take-aways?

Price: You won’t get more by pricing your house much higher than market value.  Remember you have to sell your house three times- to the buyer’s agent, to the buyer, and to the appraiser. Buyers may be attracted to your house based on emotion, but their final decision is based on the market data that their Realtor provides to them.

Time: The higher above market value you price your house, the longer it will take to sell, and remember, time is (taxes, utilities, insurance, repairs, maintenance, personal time and energy…) money!  The stories above show that in this price range, a list price of 8-10% above the market value is too high to attract an offer.

Since the market is what determines your property’s value, not your personal finances (or Zillow!), price your house within 5% of, or right at market value.  This way you can enjoy a fast sale at a fair market price, and get to where you want to go sooner rather than later!

Feel free to contact me for a pricing recomendation and custom marketing plan or any questions you may have about the buying and selling process.   I’m here to help!

 


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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