GETTING YOUR HOUSE READY

March 5th, 2013

Spring is around the corner.  If you live in Westport, CT or Weston, CT and are interested in listing your home for sale, I’m providing a few pointers before you go out and find a Westport real estate agent.

Preparing to place your house on the market is no light matter. Your home is probably your most valuable asset, or one of them.  You obviously want to maximize your return.  This means preparing properly by doing the background work before rushing to out to find an agent. The more you can do on your own, the more you’ll see some real bang for your buck when you go to sell your house.  A house that doesn’t show well will receive very few offers or lower offers than desired.  It doesn’t take much in terms of dollars to make your house “shine”.

First, take a complete inventory of your home.  Give special care to large ticket items such as the roof, windows, water heater, furnace, etc. If it has been a long time since you’ve checked the roof, make it a priority. The damage a bad roof can do to your home will cost you way more than fixing your roof in the first place.  Although roofing estimates can be steep, if you have a problem, you need to fix it.  Buyers will not only offer a lower price if they see a roof in disrepair, they’ll also require you to fix it after the home inspection.

The water heater and furnace should be checked out by a professional.  If you don’t have a service agreement for your furnace, you should consider getting one immediately.  They are invaluable and typically provide a free annual cleaning.  Furnaces and water heaters are items which home owners frequently overlook when getting ready to list their homes for sale.  When a buyer is doing a home inspection, these two items can cause all sorts of problems before a sale.  Ideally, people don’t want the burden of purchasing a new furnace or water heater and buyers generally don’t want to buy a home where the either one is very old.

If you have a fireplace, like most homes in Westport, Weston and Fairfield County, you want to ensure the chutes are clear and no animals are nesting in it.

If you have poor insulation due to old windows, you may want to seal them better. Window seals help to keep cold air out and warm air in. During the summer months, a sun blocking window treatment helps to keep the home cool. These minor things make a difference in the minds of prospective buyers.

Areas which certainly increase the ticket sale of a home include updated kitchens and bathrooms.  It’s worth paying a few hundred dollars, or even more, for basic updates and new appliances if necessary.  Bathroom paint jobs, as well as paint jobs in general, are also a no-brainer if needed. For a few more dollars you can accessorize with decorative knobs, faucet fixtures, etc. Powder rooms with new decorative mirrors and even lighting changes help the selling price.

In the kitchen, make sure appliances are updated or new.  A moderately priced new stainless steel refrigerator is more appealing to prospective buyers than a dated one.  Also, people generally like newer countertops like granite or something similar. Flooring is often a make-or-break area for home buyers. Old carpeting and worn flooring should be replaced. Old carpeting will typically retain bad odors and is a major-league turnoff when someone walks into your home and immediately realizes your house retains an odor.

Garage areas are one of the most common places for clutter, unless the owner is mindful about utilizing space. If you have an issue with this, then do some planning and organizing.  Take a Saturday or Sunday and hit the garage for a few hours.  You’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish.  If you can’t do it, then hire someone to do it for you.  An inexpensive shelving system from Home Depot or Lowes and a pegboard gives the appearance that you keep a tidy garage.  More importantly, it is indicative of the fact that you kept an orderly home as well.

When prepping a home for sale in Westport, CT or the surrounding area, you must take the outside area into consideration as well. Do you have the right landscaper?  It can make all of the difference in the sale of your home.  Is your grass growing well and is your lawn manicured?  Are the hedges trimmed?  There are some great landscapers in Fairfield County that are quite reasonably priced.  Always shop around before you finalize a decision on which firm you choose.  Prospective buyers often do drive-bys at night and on weekends to check out neighborhoods where they have an interest in purchasing property. Make sure yours stands out or at least blends in well by being well-kept.

The basement area of a home is sometimes a deal breaker. Is your basement dry?  Has it had water in it?  Have you tested for radon?  If your radon level is high, do you have a radon mitigation system in place?  These are all issues which need to be addressed.  Also, laundry areas should be free of debris.  If you are leaving a washer and dryer make sure they are in good working condition. As a courtesy people don’t want to have to pay to lug your half working appliances out before they can bring in new ones. So be honest and upfront about the condition of things you’re considering leaving, especially if you’re using these items in the negotiation process.

Last, a note on pets: if you have a dog or cat, no matter what you think, the smells lingers. You may not be aware of it since you’re used to it, but a prospective buyer may have major problems with your pets’ odors. Deep carpet cleaning may fix the problem, or it may not. Either way, address it.

People want to purchase a home that has been cared for and that hasn’t suffered neglect. Some home sellers would rather not deal with any of this, but in all probability, it will be very reflected in a lower price.  Some basic actions on the general condition of your property speak volumes.  It’s always better to take care of things in advance and not put the onus on the buyer.  Anything that might be problem area down the road will be discovered through a home inspection.  Take care of it now.  If you need some advice, call me.  If you’re looking for a CT real estate agent to list your Weston, New Canaan, Greenwich or Westport home for sale, then please consider me.  You gotta have Faith.  I have dozens of satisfied clients with over ten years helping buyers and sellers of real estate in the Westport, CT and surrounding area.  Happy cleaning!

When does the spring real estate market really begin in Westport, CT?

February 12th, 2013

When does the Spring  real estate market really begin in Westport, CT?

A friend of mine just asked me this great question.   When you think of spring, you think of April showers and May flowers.  But in the Westport real estate market and elsewhere, the spring market is actually half over by then. Will you possibly have missed finding your buyer if you list your house in April or May? Are you still going to get the best traffic, and therefore the best offers, through your house?

Well, maybe.  If you are thinking of putting up your Westport home for sale in the spring, you should think February.  Yes, February.  Yes, in the next few weeks!  Actually, the landmark event/date that you should typically think of as the beginning of the Spring Market is the Super Bowl.   It’s also a great time to start getting your house ready for sale.

Buyers are coming back into the Westport real estate market.  The overall market is trending upward.   Open houses in Westport are active.  There are more and more offers being made.  The largest beneficiaries of the upward movement in the housing industry are the banks.  Houses are selling and inventory is decreasing, thus creating more demand.  Also, all indications point to a slow rise in mortgage rates for at least a few months to a year – but they certainly won’t remain this low for very long.  I don’t know that for certain, but at some point, the government will have to start raising rates.

If you are targeting the spring market to sell Westport real estate because you want to make the most out of the sale of your house, or if you are simply waiting for spring to put your house on the market for sale, don’t wait much longer.  Call your local Westport real estate agent now!  If you don’t hurry, you may find that Spring has already sprung!

Snapshot of Westport Real Estate Market

September 24th, 2011

What is happening in the Real Estate market in Westport, CT?  Not much.  Currently there are 330 single family homes on the market in Westport, and the average list price is $2,155,086.  The average market time for these properties is 131 days.  The inventory based upon the current absorption rate is 8.3 months.

In Westport the highest asking price for all homes on the market currently is $24,950,000 and the lowest priced home is currently $380,000.

So, how do you make your home stand out in Westport? It certainly takes a lot more that clean windows and scented candles to sell a home in today’s real estate market.

  • Online appeal- the best property doesn’t have a chance with poor photography.  A buyer’s first impression of your home starts online.
  • Curb appeal- curb appeal literally starts at the curb.  Does it need to be weeded? Are the concrete curbs in good condition?  A quick driveway resealing is relatively inexpensive and works wonders for the appearance of your house.
  • Keep it clean!  Nobody buys a dirty shirt …why would they buy a dirty house.
  • get rid of clutter and de-personalize your home. It’s best to start packing and put excess items in moving boxes.  It’s ok to have boxes stored in the garage or elsewhere, because you are moving.
  • Consider the smell of your house.  Have a neighbor or someone else come in and smell it.  You might tell them that you have been smelling something and ask them if they smell it too.  This will encourage them to tell you the truth.

No surprises.  Buyers don’t like surprises.  It is best to use full disclosure.  It is a great idea to have a pre-market inspection done.

What really makes a home stand out in Westport is price!  There is no objection which cannot be overcome by price.

The Heat is on in Westport, CT

July 4th, 2011

The Class of 2011 graduated from Staples High School on Wednesday, June 22nd, and school’s out for the summer.  On Friday, July 1st, the fireworks were amazing at Compo Beach in Westport,CT!  Summer is here and there is plenty to do in Westport, CT.

The Levitt Pavillion has 57 nights of entertainment under the stars!  Bring your own chairs, picnic, and friends and enjoy a night of entertainment, music, and fun and it is free! It is a wonderful venue in Westport,CT right along side the river behind the Westport Library.  Visit www.levittpavillion.com to view the schedule.

The outdoor Art Show takes place on July 16-17th along the sidewalks of Parker Harding Plaza and along Main Street in Westport.  Over 125 artists display their original art.  Visit www.westportdma.com for more information.

Visit the Westport Farmers’ Market every Thursday from 10am-2pm.  The Westport Farmers Market is located at the Imperial Avenue commuter parking lot in Westport.  This is a great place to buy fresh fruit and vegetables and home baked goods. yum!!!

Longshore is open every day and boasts a beautiful golf course, swimming, tennis and sailing for Westport residents.  Longshore is also home to the restaurant, Splash.  Splash has glorious views of the Long Island Sound.  Splash has an innovative menu,fun atmosphere and you can’t beat the view!

Compo Beach is Westport’s jewel.  This stretch of sandy beach is perfect for an early morning walk or jog.  There is a pavillion with Joey’s where you can purchase anything from frozen yogurt, salads, to burgers and fries.  There are picnic tables, volleyball nets, a playground for endless fun, and barbeque pits.   Compo Beach even has a skateboard park!!

Enjoy Westport in the summer.  There’s no better place!

Spring Market in Westport, CT

February 17th, 2011

When is the spring market in Westport, CT??  It is the time when sellers and buyers come out of hibernation. But if you actually wait for Spring to sell your house…it may be too late.

When is Spring Market in Real Estate?

Good question.  When I think of Spring, I think of April showers and tulips and daffodils.  But in real estate in Westport, CT, by May the spring market is half over.  You may have missed your buyer if you wait until April or May to list your house for sale.

If you are thinking of putting your house on the market for sale in the spring, you should be thinking of February or March.  Believe it or not, Super Bowl unofficially marks the beginning of the spring real estate market (even here in Westport, CT with snow on the ground).

Why February?  Your house may take several months to sell.   Most buyers want to find a house by the summer so that they can close and move in during the summer and be settled in their new home before the beginning of the school year.

So, even though it doesn’t feel like spring in Westport, CT, it truly is the spring market in real estate in Westport.

It’s time to start the spring cleaning!!

Wecome to 2010

January 8th, 2010

Now may be the time to buy a home in Westport.  It looks like the Westport market has found the bottom and is beginning its recovery.  In January of 2009 we had 66 months of inventory, whereas now we have about 15 months of inventory on the market. 

This also may be the time to sell your house in Westport.  Now that there is less inventory there is less competition in the marketplace.  Price your home competitively to ensure that the buyer perceives value.  Don’t overprice your home and have it sell your competition. 

Buyers are out in the market and going to Open Houses

Don’[t wait to put your house on the market.  Act now and attract one of the buyers that is in the market now.

Local Housing Data Westport, CT August 2009

September 22nd, 2009

Sales

Sales in August were 31. This is down 13.9% from 36 in August of 2008. Sales/list price ratio in August moved down to 93.2% from 93.9% in July.

Unit Sales
Prices
Median price in August was $1,380,000. This is down 5.2% from $1,455,000 in August of 2008. Average sale price (most recent 3 months) is $1,494,417, down moderately from $1,797,595 in 2008.
Median Sales Price
Inventory
Inventory is 410, up somewhat from 367 in 2008. New listings of 39 in August were down substantially from 67 in July and down considerably from 46 in August of 2008.
Total Inventory
Market Time
Days on market of 108 in August was down moderately from 113 in July but up modestly from 105 in August of 2008. Months of supply in August moved down to 21.3 from 22.2 in July.
Market Time for Sold

Local Housing Data Weston, CT August 2009

September 22nd, 2009

Sales

Sales in August were 13. This is down 18.8% from 16 in August of 2008. Sales/list price ratio in August moved down to 91.9% from 95.2% in July.

Unit Sales
Prices
Median price in August was $1,075,000. This is up 5.4% from $1,020,000 in August of 2008. Average sale price (most recent 3 months) is $963,758, way down from $1,279,442 in 2008.
Median Sales Price
Inventory
Inventory is 188, up modestly from 176 in 2008. New listings of 23 in August were down somewhat from 27 in July but up considerably from 14 in August of 2008.
Total Inventory
Market Time
Days on market of 121 in August was up substantially from 86 in July and up marginally from 121 in August of 2008. Months of supply in August moved up to 28.2 from 27.8 in July.
Market Time for Sold

Local Housing Data Fairfield, CT August 2009

September 22nd, 2009

Sales

Sales in August were 54, unchanged from the same month last year. Sales/list price ratio in August moved down to 92.1% from 94.0% in July.

Unit Sales
Prices
Median price in August was $591,250. This is down 10.1% from $657,500 in August of 2008. Average sale price (most recent 3 months) is $746,190, down considerably from $843,990 in 2008.
Median Sales Price
Inventory
Inventory is 555, up modestly from 515 in 2008. New listings of 80 in August were down considerably from 106 in July but up somewhat from 70 in August of 2008.
Total Inventory
Market Time
Days on market of 95 in August was down moderately from 108 in July and down considerably from 107 in August of 2008. Months of supply in August moved down to 14.4 from 14.9 in July.
Market Time for Sold

Local Housing Data Greenwich, CT August 2009

September 22nd, 2009

Sales

Sales in August were 28. This is down 40.4% from 47 in August of 2008. Sales/list price ratio in August moved up to 91.1% from 87.6% in July.

Unit Sales Greenwich
Prices
Median price in August was $1,415,000. This is down 29.3% from $2,000,000 in August of 2008. Average sale price (most recent 3 months) is $2,911,688, very slightly up from $2,855,146 in 2008.
Median Sales Price
Inventory
Inventory is 752, way up from 612 in 2008. New listings of 47 in August were down considerably from 87 in July and down moderately from 53 in August of 2008.
Total Inventory
Market Time
Days on market of 195 in August was way up from 148 in July and up considerably from 122 in August of 2008. Months of supply in August moved up to 36.1 from 35.8 in July.
Market Time for Sold