Tag Archive | "sellers"

My Top 6 Words For Sellers

There are some emerging dynamics that have contributed to this very complicated market for both buyers and sellers. If I was sitting in front of a seller here would be my top 6 words of advice to effectively deal with this market:

1. Photos-Stunning photos become so critical as 90% of all buyers begin their search on the internet. Bad photos can help your home be eliminated quickly from a crowded pool of listings. Also, if a website allows for 20 photos, get 20 photos online.

2. Condition-Take care of any issues or objections that would create hesitancy in buyers in making a decision to seriously consider your home. As inventory builds in a price range, poor condition stands out, to the distinct disadvantage of the seller.

3. Pricing-In the past years, sellers could list at the high-end of the range of comparables and not be seriously affected. As a seller, you will be swiftly penalized in the market by buyers or just ignored. Either way, your home won’t sell and your listing will languish on the market.

4. Appraisals-Always an important part in which lenders make sure that their new asset is within the range of other comparable properties. Quick appraisals are also being done late in the process to safe-guard against any significant market shifts. So, if a seller was fortunate enough to get a buyer that was willing to pay more than market value, an appraisal that doesn’t match the selling price will create a red flag with the lender.

5. Time-Everything is taking longer. The mortgage process, the inspection process, the negotiations, the renegotiation and closings. Be patient and diligent and hire the right people to work with you throughout the process.

6. Cycles-Throw out any concepts of “cycles” in real estate because there seems to be little rhyme or reason to some of the activity. Don’t think that waiting for “The Spring Market” will cure your ills as a seller. Nothing magical is happening in Spring since the market has so many shifting variables. Aggressive pricing is the key to getting the attention of buyers.

Posted in CT Real Estate, Fairfield County Real Estate, Weston Connecticut Real Estate, Westport Connecticut, Westport Connecticut Real EstateComments Off on My Top 6 Words For Sellers

Location, Location…Condition?

Location, Location…Condition?

You have heard the old real estate adage: The most important thing in real estate is Location, Location, Location. But, is that still the case for buyers? We are seeing an interesting trend in the market with a priority of finding the perfect home in great condition, with a second consideration of location. Buyers are also including many towns in their search. So, towns, areas, and neighborhoods are taking a backseat to condition.

I find this fascinating since my understanding of buyers (after 29 years in real estate) has always been that they decide on the town, and zero in on a neighborhood first, with the home becoming (almost) the secondary concern. In this market, buyers are clearly less forgiving of any home in less than perfect condition. This could simply be a by-product of the shift in leverage over the past few years to their side. So sellers who “wow” buyers with condition and staging may have a leg up.

So, maybe our new mantra should be: Location, location…condition? Let me know what you think.

Posted in CT Real Estate, Fairfield County Real Estate, Weston Connecticut Real Estate, Westport Connecticut, Westport Connecticut Real Estate, Westport CT Rentals, Wilton ConnecticutComments Off on Location, Location…Condition?

Stay Away Old Man Winter!

Stay Away Old Man Winter!

We all have clear memories of Old Man Winter rearing his ugly head in January last year and not letting up until March. We hibernated and dealt with the snow that piled up until there was no place to plow it. Understandably, sloppy weather impacts the general pace of the real estate market including homeowners listing their homes and buyers wanting to search. Even after the thaw last year, homeowners delayed listing their homes due to repairs from snow and major icing problems.

This winter season had an early start with the destructive snow storm we had in October 2011, but stalled through the holidays. As we enter February it feels oddly like Spring. We all feel a little more chipper and hopeful. Buyers are very active in the market, and attending open houses in droves. There is a distinct “buzz” in the market and negotiations are taking place.

I hope the sunny, clear weather holds on and we have a mild winter. It will bode well for buyers , sellers and the real estate market. So, stay away Old Man Winter! See you next year!

Posted in CT Real Estate, Fairfield County Real Estate, Southport Connecticut, Weston Connecticut Real Estate, Westport Connecticut, Westport Connecticut Real Estate, Westport CT Rentals, Wilton ConnecticutComments Off on Stay Away Old Man Winter!

The 5 Biggest Mistakes When Selling A Vacant House

The 5 Biggest Mistakes When Selling A Vacant House

The 5 Biggest Mistakes When Selling a Vacant House by Birgit Anich

There are many reasons why a home might be vacant when being sold – various reasons include:

  • New construction
  • Relocation property
  • Seller has already moved into their new home
  • It was a rental property that is now for sale

In all these cases the bottom line is that SELLING the property FAST is CRITICAL. There is a lot of money on the table because of ongoing mortgage costs, maintenance cost, insurance cost, and other carrying costs that need to be paid for all these months that the property is sitting on the market.

Selling fast in a buyers market and a down market is a challenge, but especially it is difficult for vacant homes. Vacant homes sell typically slower than occupied homes.

So, what are the 5 biggest mistakes when selling a vacant property?

Mistake #1: Selling the house as a VACANT property

We just said that vacant homes sell slower than houses that are occupied. Why is that?

a. People don’t buy houses, they by homes, they buy a lifestyle! Without furniture, wall art, rugs, lighting, décor,… there are no emotional connection points in the house – the house does not show its soul and any lifestyle buyers can aspire to.

b. Buyers do not have a point of reference

  • empty rooms look smaller
  • buyers cannot see how much furniture they will be able to fit in the room
  • they cannot envision how to set up the room functionally – how should I face the sofa, where does my TV go, can I fit…..

Adding the right furniture, rugs, lighting, wall art and other décor that reflect the target buyers’ lifestyle will make them feel drawn to and helps them envision themselves living in that home.

c. When a room is empty, buyers focus on the negative details
It is so much easier to notice cracks in the walls, paint chips, missed repairs,… if buyers have nothing else to look at. Providing them with a welcoming home they will focus more on how they can live in that house rather than what they don’t like about it. With staging we emphasize the positive features of the property while downplaying the negative features.

d. Only 10% of home buyers can actually visualize the potential of a home

Nine out of every ten people walking in your home have no imagination of the wonderful possibilities your house has to offer.

Mistake #2: Wait to see if it sells vacant

As a home stager in Connecticut, I often receive the response from clients “I want to see first if it sells vacant before I consider staging”. This can be a very costly mistake.

Selling a house is all about FIRST IMPRESSIONS. On a new listing most of the traffic is generated within the first 2-4 weeks.

The Real Estate Brokers open house will get the buyers’ Realtors into the property. They are your “sales staff”. If these brokers do not get excited about what they see, they are less likely to bring their buyers to your property instead of your neighbor’s house on the market.

Let’s say you change your mind down the road and have the property staged and then have another Realtors open house. It will be hard to get Brokers to come back to the property as they have already seen it and do not want to waist their time, nor will their buyers come back for a second time.

So, now you have wasted all that traffic and time on the market without showing the house at its’ best potential. If you had it staged upfront you may have it already sold by now.

Mistake #3: Not Differentiating Your Listing from the competition

Put yourself into the shoes of a home buyer – 94% of home buyers start their search online first looking at all the photos of houses within their qualifying criteria. This is what they might see:

House #1:





House #2:





What makes your house different from these other vacant houses? Why should they visit your house? There is nothing that would draw a buyer into these houses.

Remember – A SALE CAN BE LOST BY ONE MOUSE CLICK – if your house does not stand out and attract these buyers for a visit, you have lost a potential sale.

Mistake #4: Price has now become your only marketing strategy

Selling a house, typically the home owner’s most valuable asset, is not any different than marketing a commercial product. Location, Condition & Showcasing, Price and Promotion need to be considered together. There is nothing that you can do about the location of the property, but you can influence the other marketing factors. The price is being influenced by the Location and the Condition & Showcasing (the packaging) of the house. The Promotion to bring the traffic into your house will be most effective if the Showcasing and Photographs are professionally done.

So, if there is no showcasing, the promotional pictures will not stand out, so price is now your only marketing strategy. (click here for more details about the marketing strategy)

Buyers are willing to pay more if they feel emotionally connected to a house – on average staged homes sell for a 5-10% higher price tag.

Mistake #5: Seeing home staging as a COST instead of an INVESTMENT

Staging a house for sale can help you MAKE money. It is an INVESTMENT into your home selling process – most investments into home staging range between 1 and 3 percent of the listing price, which yield in a 5 to 10 higher sales price –how nice is this, but this is not all. If selling your house faster you will SAVE ongoing mortgage payments and carrying costs. See more details and examples on how Birgit Anich Staging and Interiors helped their clients MAKING a PROFIT by staging.

Barbara Corcoran, one of the biggest real estate experts in the US, says: “Never sell a home without furniture!” “Once the staging is complete you might even find that you can raise the price”

see Barbara’s 2 mintues segment on The TODAY SHOW





About the Author:

Birgit Anich is the president and chief  stager of Birgit Anich Staging & Interiors, LLC, a Real Estate Home Staging and Interior Styling Company in Fairfield county. Birgit is a National and Regional Awards Winner by the Real Estate Staging Company (RESA). Having been trained and mentored by HGTV star Matthew Finlason (“The Stagers”), she specializes in the most advanced and successful staging techniques of Target Staging & Lifestyle Merchandising. Birgit has been featured on local TV stations of FOX, NBC, ABC, CBS, the radio, Life@Home Magazine, and other media. For more information contact 203.807.4040 or birgit@BirgitAnich.com or visit www.BirgitAnich.com




Posted in CT Real Estate, Fairfield County Real Estate, Featured, Weston Connecticut Real Estate, Westport Connecticut, Westport Connecticut Real EstateComments Off on The 5 Biggest Mistakes When Selling A Vacant House

Weston Connecticut Real Estate Market Update (Units Sold)

Weston Connecticut Real Estate Market Update (Units Sold)

Even though this blog is dedicated to Westport, I would be remiss by not including some of the market dynamic in the neighboring town of Weston. Weston has an entirely different feel to it from a population size and zoning requirements. It’s a sweet and comfortable small town which has a very tight-knit community as represented by the message from the First Selectman, Gayle Weinstein. “Weston is a community of friends and neighbors dedicated to our families and each other. Weston is committed to quality education in a rural and residental atmostphere.” Needless to say, it’s been a highly desired community for local buyers and buyers looking for more acreage an value.

Let’s delve into what we are seeing from a factual standpoint in the Weston market and target the trend in units sold.

The number of units sold over the past 10 years from January through September in Weston Connecticut:











The general feel from many local agents is that the market in Weston has slowed down considerably. In order to finish out 2011 at the same number of closed units, we would need to close 37 more properties between now and the end of December. Looking at the current bindered and pended units (and allowing for a percentage of fall-throughs), we are likely to finish out the year behind the 2010 unit count.

Even though homes are closing (albeit a slower rate), inventory is building and their are still signs of overpricing by sellers in the market. Buyers are still armed with tons of leverage in the market and are using it to their advantage. Check back in for more posts on details of the Weston Connecticut market.


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Sellers Fairing Well In Lower Price Ranges in Westport Connecticut

A price distribution report for Westport Connecticut shows us how quickly our inventory is being absorbed into the market (through sales). Despite popular belief, some price ranges are either geared toward sellers or are balanced between buyers and sellers. Lower price points have been more well-balanced in the past year. However, $700,000-$749,900 is oddly at 2 years of supply. This could be a result of this being a popular price point in contiguous, more well-valued towns such as Fairfield. Any supply time of 6 months or less is encouraging to sellers with the prospect of a buyer coming in and beginning the negotiation process. We have some very consistent, fast-moving price ranges, particularly in the middle of the market: $1,200,000-$1,299,000. Inventory in this price point tends to fly of the shelves and condition is not as important of a consideration to a buyer. The brakes get slammed on at $1,400,000 and buyers are showing considerable resistence. For the most part, luxury buyers are relunctant and extremely discriminating when it comes to placing offers and making purchases. In some cases, we will be trying to rid the market of a severe over supply of listings in the upper end for many years.





Posted in CT Real Estate, Fairfield County Real Estate, Westport Connecticut, Westport Connecticut Real Estate, Westport CT RentalsComments Off on Sellers Fairing Well In Lower Price Ranges in Westport Connecticut

Average Listing Prices in Weston, Connecticut

Weston Connecticut has experienced an interesting change in average prices. Weston residents love the beauty and tranquility of Weston. The trade off is that Weston is a little more removed from convenient amenities including shopping and major roads such as I-95 and the Merritt Parkway. It’s a smaller community than Westport and tends to be viewed as a “secondary” market. In a downturn, secondary markets tend to go first and suffer from pressure on pricing before primary markets. This is what we are seeing in Weston. If we look at the market over the past ten years, Weston is holding at 2002 pricing. The plus for buyers is that there is value in the market and it’s a great time to maximize your opportunity. The graph shows the drop over the past few years. Don’t forget to subscribe to my newsletter for monthly information you may find helpful whether you are buying or selling.

Posted in Fairfield County Real Estate, Uncategorized, Weston Connecticut Real EstateComments Off on Average Listing Prices in Weston, Connecticut

Average Listing Prices in Westport, Connecticut

Check out our graph of Average Listing Prices in Westport, Connecticut for single family homes, condominiums and multi-family homes over the past two years. Averages in June 2011 are $1,824,605 for single family, $581,388 for condominiums and $565,750 for multi-family homes. Despite some slight positive movement in pricing in specific price ranges, there coninues to be pressure on pricing and appraisers characterize the market as “declining”. However, there are specific price ranges where leverage is with the sellers dues to lack of well-conditioned, well-priced inventory. Be sure to click on my newsletter to receive monthly updates and tips.


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The Accidental Landlord

The Accidental Landlord

No doubt the Westport real estate market has shifted in some many ways over the past two years. The process has become more complicated and regulated than ever before. Leverage is with the buyers and there continues to be overall downward pressure on pricing and a build-up of inventory. Even though we are seeing the “discretionary” seller virtually disappear, many sellers are still motivated to sell due significant life changes including a need to scale down due to retirement, divorces, and deaths. With limited buyer activity in some price points, many sellers are also listing their home for rent, and becoming “accidental landlords”. Knowledge of what it takes to be a landlord becomes an overriding need. It’s important not to take it lightly. Gaining some knowledge will give you a better sense of control in this new realm of being a landlord. Start by working with a real estate professional who understands Connecticut Tenant/Landlord Law and can guide you correctly through the marketing process, appropriate pricing and give you assistance with tenant selection. Clearly, involvement from your local attorney is encouraged to make sure you and your home are protected during the term of the lease. Here are some resources to check out prior to making that big decision.

The state of Connecticut has some resources that are available to you.

Here is a link for landlord/tenant law: http://www.jud.ct.gov/LawLib/law/landlord.htm

Here is some additional information on how security deposits should be handled. http://www.jud.ct.gov/LawLib/law/securitydep.htm

Some frequently asked questions that will help guide you. http://www.jud.ct.gov/faq/landlord.html

Posted in Westport Connecticut Real EstateComments Off on The Accidental Landlord

Fast Spring Market In Westport Connecticut

Fast Spring Market In Westport Connecticut

Despite early predictions, our Spring market in Westport Connecticut has been very active with sold units up over 25.49% from May (Year To Date) 2010. There were 128 closed units versus 102 in 2010. With the winter storms lasting well through the beginning of 2011, we expected the real estate market to be severely impacted compared to 2010. Many sellers withdrew their homes from the market or delayed listing to fix the extensive damage from weather-related issues with roofs, sump pumps and interiors. 61 units were closed by May 2009, and 90 were closed by May 2008. 2007 was one of the strongest Spring markets with 156 closings. So, 128 closings is a respectable start to the year. More interesting market statistics to follow.

Posted in Westport Connecticut Real EstateComments Off on Fast Spring Market In Westport Connecticut

Snapshot of Westport CT Real Estate Prices 2007-2011

Snapshot of Westport CT Real Estate Prices 2007-2011

Interesting things are happening with pricing in the Westport Connecticut market. Looking at the numbers since 2000, Westport CT median prices peaked in 2007 at $1,400,000 and started sliding in 2008, down to $1,251,000. 2009 took a toll on the overall market and the median price to $930,000. In 2010, it flattened out at $938,900 and 2011 is showing some signs of life at $1,139,500. Remember, the median is the middle of the market. It simply represents the “mix” in the market. So, in 2011, we are seeing the “mix” increase. The lower end of the market is still moving and  the number of units sold are at 128 versus 102 sold through May 2010. Encouraging news for sellers, however, “right pricing” and perceived value are key to attracting buyers. They are still in drivers seat and there is continued pressure on pricing. Check back in for additional details of the market including average “days on market”, and average list prices.

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Attention: Buyers, Sellers and Realtors!

Attention: Buyers, Sellers and Realtors!

Our state lawmakers continue to come back to the well to solve the budget problems through anti-housing legislation. They unfairly burden Connecticut buyers and sellers with taxes. Here is the latest challenge that will severely impact the housing market and potentially cripple the real estate industry. We need your action to prevent this bill from being passed.

An alert from the Connecticut Association of Realtors:

The General Assembly is considering ANOTHER increase in real estate conveyance taxes – this time on homebuyers!

Senate Bill 1019 calls for a new, 1% tax on the purchase price of property in excess of $150,000. [$8,500 tax on a $1,000,000 home – due at closing!] Governor Malloy and the General Assembly have already imposed a 50% increase in the conveyance tax on sellers in the budget signed on May 4.

We encourage you to call your state Senator and Representative and tell them that:

  • Real estate conveyance taxes target the few (home buyers) for the benefit of all, regardless of ability to pay.
  • A tax on buyers could put the price of a new home out of reach for first time buyers.
  • Taxing home purchases is contrary to the efforts to improve the economy and create jobs.
  • If economic recovery is truly our goal, Connecticut’s elected leaders should be making it easier for citizens to buy a home, not more difficult.
  • Tell your elected officials to reject new taxes on home and real estate sales!

This bill will be moving to the Office of Legislative Research and Office of Fiscal Analysis, and next week, to the Finance Committee. Connecticut Association of Realtors Leadership agrees that this is a particularly onerous and regressive tax and will forcefully attempt to prevent it from being enacted. 

Don’t hesitate – go to http://www.cga.ct.gov find and contact your elected officials today!

Posted in CT Real EstateComments Off on Attention: Buyers, Sellers and Realtors!

The Buyer, The Seller And……….The Appraiser

The Buyer, The Seller And……….The Appraiser

Think only a buyer and seller need to agree on the sale price of a home? Think again. Due to stricter lender guidelines, appraisals are playing a larger role in our real estate market.

Our market has become so dynamic and as expected, the most appealing, well-priced homes are selling. While there are fluctuations in the market, overall, there is still downward pressure on pricing and the buyers are in the driver’s seat in most price ranges. Another consideration of growing concern for sellers in this market is the appraisal process. With lender requirements tightening, the appraisal has become a focus on many transactions. Appraisals are ordered after contracts have been signed and the lender is reviewing the borrower’s information.

Enter the Appraiser. This is the person that is contracted by the lender to give an “opinion of market value” or what the home would likely sell for on the open market. The appraiser is held to strict ethical guidelines and uses a USPAP form (Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice). This detailed report will include condition of the home, location, neighborhood, and comparables selling near the home (usually within one mile) and other variables. They use active, pending properties and sold comparables within the past 90 days, if comparables are available. Appraisers attempt to get the best information from the market. Essentially, they are looking to see how the subject property competes against “comps” in the market. The USPAP form includes a grid with detail and adjustments made to the comparables against the subject property.

The biggest challenges in any real estate transaction occur when the appraisal comes in lower than the sales price. This immediately impacts the buyer’s ability to borrow and what the buyer is willing to pay. An appraisal that does not support the sales price can be another point of negotiation for the buyer. We suggest to some of our sellers to order an appraisal up front so they can see how a typical appraiser would analyze the market value of their home. Appraisals can run between $350-500 or higher, depending on the price range and detail needed. It is money well-spent by a seller to get a handle on what to expect.

So, it’s not just the buyers and the sellers who have to be amenable to the transaction. It’s also the appraiser. Keep this in mind when you enter any real estate transaction.

Posted in Westport Connecticut Real EstateComments Off on The Buyer, The Seller And……….The Appraiser

The Beginning Of The Shift Of Leverage Between Buyers and Sellers in Westport, CT

It’s interesting being on the inside of the real estate market. After 28 years in real estate, I still find it fascinating to look at the day-to-day patterns in an successful real estate office. In 2007, we started to see an increase of listings and mild buyer resistence. Sellers were pushing the upper end of the range for their listings and buyers were showing signs on weariness in overpaying. We starting focusing on making sure our listings were priced in the bottom 25% of the comparables. Since buyers search from the bottom up, it increased the odds of reaching buyers. Buyers began talking about the investment side of the transaction versus the emotional side of buying a home. The word “value” was repeated over and over again by our buyers. All of this resistance contributed to an overall increase in “days on market” or DOM. DOM is a great indicator of the pricing “disagreement” between buyers and sellers, and the gap was widening.
All of this was a new twist for sellers, who for the most part, had the leverage for many years. Many sellers were in shock and some were in denial. They were certain that this “strange” buyer behavior was short-lived, But, buyers had other plans. They began to apply the brakes. The shift was ON.
Check back for more insight on the shift in leverage, and what we call “The Price War and Beauty Contest”. If you were at buyer in 2007-2008, I would love to know what you personally experienced.

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Buying, Selling Or Renting In Fairfield County Connecticut? Contact Us At (203)253-9222

FreshPickedRealEstate.com is known as "Fairfield County CT's Favorite Real Estate Blog". We feature market statistics, community events and interesting happenings in and around lower Fairfield County Connecticut, including Westport, Weston, Wilton, Norwalk, Fairfield and Easton. Look for real estate tips with a focus on "green living" in the area.
Contact me at MelissaBrownRiley@gmail.com or at (203)253-9222 for info on all real estate services, including buying, selling or renting in Fairfield County, Connecticut or in any other county or state through our national network. We also specialize in buying or selling "short sales" and foreclosures.

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Luxury Rental Listings Are Needed

Fairfield County, including the towns of Westport, Weston, Fairfield, Easton, Wilton and Norwalk are highly desirable towns for rentals.
We are experiencing a lack of quality luxury rental listings in lower Fairfield County. We have tenants looking for rental properties that fit their needs.
We will assist you with establishing the rental value on your home and helping you through rental process. Proper representation is the core of our business and I we zero in on your needs no matter if you are landlord or tenant.

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