Linda Raymond Real Estate Blog, Fairfield, Westport & More

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

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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.


Nothing Like a Great Back Yard on a Holiday Weekend!

My own backyard in the Fairfield beach area is one commonly referred to as a ‘postage stamp’, though it still manages to accommodate our trampoline and numerous get-togethers.  However, some good friends of mine in Westport have a much more spacious backyard 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!

Hillandale Back Yard and Patio

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 backyard 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.

6 Hillandale Lane, Westport CT

6 Hillandale Lane, Westport CT

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!





Save Money, Have Fun, Do a 1031!

If you own an investment property and are thinking of selling it to buy a different one (or two), you can do a 1031 Exchange and enjoy great benefits!  What’s so great about it, and how do you do it?


Here’s how it works-

  1. With IRS code 1031, owners can defer paying all capital gains on investment smart ladyproperty. This means that if you own property used for business or investment, you can sell it and use the proceeds from the sale to reinvest in another investment property of greater or equal value to avoid paying taxes.
  2. You have to declare that you are doing a 1031 Exchange before you close on the sale.
  3. You have to meet the 180-day rule: Investors have 180 calendar days to complete the exchange and close on all intended purchases.
  4. You have to meet the 45-day rule:  Identify up to three possible replacement properties within the first 45 days of the 180 day period. You can also sell multiple properties and buy one big property.   If you identify more than three properties, the total cost of the identified properties can’t be more than twice the value of what you are selling.  If you identify more than three properties and they end up totaling more than 200 percent of what you are selling, then you have to buy 95 percent- worth of the properties you identified in order to complete the exchange. Your replacement property must cost more than the net sale price of your existing investment property. Identify 3 Properties
  5. You Must use a Qualified Intermediary (QI) to facilitate the 1031 exchange.  The QI takes care of everything for you including preparing the exchange agreement, handling escrow, and coordinating with the closing agents.  The QI must be a third party to the transaction.  He or she can’t just an attorney or Realtor in the transaction that puts the sale proceeds and funds in an escrow account, nor can the QI be a relative. These are IRS regulations.

And here are six amazing benefits of doing 1031 Exchanges-

  1. You enjoy huge savings on taxes.
  2. You can shelter your earnings in real estate, legally!
  3. You can diversify or consolidate your investment property.
  4. You can gain buying power by reinvesting.
  5. You can create more income to build your wealth.
  6. There’s no limit to the frequency or quantity of 1031 exchanges you can do.

Consider an “equity build strategy” suggested by the Midland company (referenced below) that looks like this:

  • Defer paying up to 25 percent in taxes on your gains.
  • Sell a moderately producing property to buy a higher income-producing property and increase your monthly income.
  • Pay no federal, state, capital gain, or income taxes on the sale of the property.
  • Do 1031 exchanges over and over for a lifetime, and the tax liability will never be passed on to your heirs.
  • Base your strategy on cash flow, and you will have success in any market. The key is to get the highest percentage income on your purchase.  Even if the dollar amount is small, it will grow over time.  For example, if you can sell a property making seven percent cash-on-cash and buy a property that makes 23 percent cash-on-cash, you are well on your way to implementing an excellent equity build strategy!  Equity bulid strategy

It’s a good idea to use a QI that is local or that works in many states and is familiar with the varying regulations and taxes in different states. You want a QI that has experience and is bonded and insured. You also want to look for one that is a member of the National Federation of Exchange Accommodators and that is a Certified Exchange Specialist (CEC).

Here are some resources to get you started:

1031 Exchange Made Simple

Midland Self-Directed IRAs & 1031s

For help selling and locating properties, please reach out to yours truly!


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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Quick Scoop on July’s Local CT Housing Markets

Word on the Street: Fairfield, Westport & Weston
2013 vs. 2014

House Clip Art

Just checking in with a quick report on the real estate markets in July before joining the masses and taking a little vacation-

We would expect the housing market to be seasonally slower in the months of July and August as people are in full summer mode and focused on enjoying the warm weather.  However, this July appeared to be slower than last July in Westport and Fairfield.  Weston was singing a different tune though-

In Fairfield, unit sales were down almost 43% from 122 to 70 last month.   The median (midpoint) sale price was also down 9% to $577,500.  The average time on market was up 9% to 97 days.   All this is good news for the buyers out there though since it affords them more bargaining power.    One measure that favored sellers was a 5% increase in the price per square foot from $290 to $305 of homes that sold.

Sales were also slower in Westport with a 6% reduction and 44 July closings.  The median sale price was $1,225,000, down almost 2% from last year.  Market time increased 37% to 101 days.  Yet the price per square foot increased 11% to $436.

Sellers take note: Weston rallied last month with numbers in your favor!  Unit sales were 24% higher this July with 31 compared to 25 last year. The median sale price was up 6% to $820,000.  Giving some leverage to buyers was market time up 40% to an average of 137 days and price per square foot down 3% to $257.

So that’s the quick scoop for now.  Check out the charts with more numbers and print this report following the link below.  I assume there will not be much change in pace next month, but I’m anticipating a rally in September and October when everyone works on making their moves before the holidays and cold weather take over.

Word on the Street Snapshot JULY 2014

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Spring-to-Summer Real Estate 2014: Fairfield, Westport & Weston CT

Spring came slowly and went fast this year!   So let’s take a look at our local FairfieldWestport and Weston markets compared to last year, January through May.  If we compare the inventorynumber of salesprices and the ratio of selling to asking price for single family homes, we can see some consistency across the three towns.

Rare beachfront property with summer cottage. $1,395,000

Rare beachfront property with summer cottage. $1,395,000

The inventory (number of homes on the market) was up across all three towns with an increase of 13%, 11% and 4% in Fairfield, Westport and Weston respectively since last year.

The median sale price was also higher at of the end of May compared to last year in all three towns.  The median sale price is the price where half the homes sold for more and half sold for less.  It gives an idea of the mix of price points without being skewed by an extreme high or low sale as would result with an average.  The median sale price in Fairfield was $549,500 at the end of May, up 4% from $529,500 last May. The median price was also 4% higher this year in Westport moving to $1,335,705 from $1,285,000.  In Weston it was up 11% this May at $791,500 from $712,250.

Unit sales varied among the towns.  Fairfield sales increased almost 7% from 216 to 230 this spring.  However, Westport sales volume fell 20% relative to the end of May last year, from 162 to 130.  Weston sales were also down 8% from 48 last year to 44 this year, but the town was showing a strong come-back during the month of May with a 33% increase year over year from 12 to 16.

  • Fairfield: Inventory Up 13%, Sales Up 6.5%, Sale/List Ratio at 95%
  • Westport: Inventory Up 11%, Sales Down 19.8%, Sale/List Ratio at 97%
  • Weston: Inventory Up 4%, Sales Down 8%, Sale/List Ratio at 97%

The sale-to-list ratio indicates how close to the asking price a property sold for.  The average at the end of May was between 95% and 97% in the three towns.   There was little change in Fairfield for this metric, as it shifted from 96% last year to 95% this year.  The ratio had been lower last year in Westport and Weston, at 92% and 94% respectively, but they both increased to 97% this spring.

In summary, seller confidence seems to have been strong given the higher inventory levels.   More homes in higher price points entered the market and sold this year as indicated by the higher median sale price.   Sales volume was down in two out of three towns and up somewhat in Fairfield, raising questions about the momentum of the spring market.  These unit sales numbers could have been a residual effect of the harsh winter causing a delayed spring market.  In the sales that closed, the high ratio of sale- to-asking price indicated that buyers and sellers were of a similar mindset on value.  Overall, this market snapshot positions us with a nice window of opportunity to make a move this summer- before the masses escape to Vacationland!

2014 Spring Snapshot Local Housing Data Tables

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

Cool Cape with central AC, private fenced yard, two driveways & many updates.  List Price: $379,000 Open Houses: Thursday July 29 10 AM-1 PM & Sunday August 10 1 PM-3 PM


To Comment on this post, request a showing or ask a question, please use the form below.

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How’s the Winter 2014 Real Estate Market Fairfield in County CT?

We sure have been hit hard with winter extremes since the New Year with everything from sub-zero temperatures to multiple blizzards and some freezing rain mixed in for good measure! No doubt the weather has been keeping our spring real estate market at bay, but how did sales look in our neighborhood markets in January after the holidays?
Let’s take a look at a few measures across three towns, and see how they relate to last year. Comparing the number of homes on the market, total sales and the average market time in January, we see some promising numbers.  View or print charts here.
In Weston, Westport and Fairfield inventory of homes for sale was up between nine and twenty-two percent suggesting stronger seller confidence in the market this year.   Sales in fact, were way up in Weston (50%) and Fairfield (42%) compared to January 2013. Westport sales were down twenty-two percent, but there had been a big spike in the December sales.  The average days on market was way down (-40%) in Westport, though up a bit in Weston and Fairfield (5% and 12% respectively).
Overall, the increased inventory and sales in addition to average market time as low as 80 days in Westport, suggest to me that there is pent up demand on both the buy and sell sides of the market.   It would be great to see the market jump up to the pace noted in my post from last June.   I expect to see a flurry of activity in the housing market instead of snow as soon as Mother Nature decides to get the weather under control!