Thursday, December 17, 2009

When the Brood Leaves the Nest

If you’re an empty nester, or about to become one, you’ve got lots of company. The number of baby boomers age 65 and over is expected to increase nearly 80 percent over the next two decades. Shifts in the age distribution of our population will result in a growing number of Baby Boomers moving to accommodations that better suit their needs.

Today’s empty nester is not the sedentary retiree of yesteryear. Senior homebuyers tend to stay in or near the same community after they retire. Most people continue to work much later in life, perhaps in an entirely new career or as a full-time volunteer who serves their community.

A major decision you are probably facing is determining exactly what you would like your next living arrangement to be. Unlike generations in days past, today it is nearly impossible to describe a “typical” empty nester’s home. Much depends on your individual lifestyle, family situation and other personal preferences.

New living options marketed to meet a diversity of lifestyles are continually appearing on the marketplace. Translating your choices of amenities, location, ease of maintenance, architectural style, etc. into the selection of your next home can be a frustrating experience. Working with an experienced real estate professional who listens to your needs and understands the market can help shorten your search for the home that is right for you.

Choosing the right real estate professional can also pay dividends when selling your current home. The Senior Advantage Real Estate Council reports that 90 percent of seniors do not put their home on the market until they have settled on their new living arrangements. At the same time, younger families are seeking to move up and out to the larger homes and apartments offered by empty nesters.

The ERA® Sellers Security® Plan has been designed for empty nesters and others who wish to remove the anxiety from the process of selling their home. The Sellers Security® Plan guarantees that your home will sell at a pre-determined price within 180 days of listing your home. Simply put, “If we don’t sell your house, ERA will buy it®.”

The Sellers Security® Plan is a guaranteed sale plan offered in all 50 states. An attractive feature of Sellers Security is the ERA® system’s exclusive Five Point Marketing Plan, which covers all the bases for a quick and hassle-free sale, by maximizing the marketability and sales potential of your home.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Fairfield County Real Estate Market Update

Fairfield County Real Estate Market Update
The positive increase in market activity we saw in August held true in the month of September. We experienced a small decrease in the supply of homes active on the market and witnessed a smaller decline in unit sales this year versus the first 9 months of 2008.

There is a healthy, active inventory of 7,556 single family homes on the consolidated multiple listing service. To date, we have had 4,755 closed sales. This represents a unit sales decrease of 15% vs. the first 9 months of 2008. The result is a 14.3 month supply of homes currently on the market. The median selling price county-wide is $376,500, which is an over-all decrease of16% vs. last year. This number is down slightly from August. This is a county-wide number and not the case in every town. Remembering that all real estate is local, there are definitely differences between towns within Fairfield County. It is very important that you talk to your REALTOR® about the towns in which you have specific interest about the advantages of buying or selling at this time.

As has been the case over the past 9 months, sales among the upper price tier are slower than other price ranges. Sales over $2MM represent just 3% of homes that have sold but 9.5% of homes on the market waiting to sell. Sales over $3MM represent less than 1% of the total homes sold but 5% of homes currently listed for sale.

There are 1000 properties with fully executed contracts waiting to close. The median price of those homes is $350,000.

There are 565 properties with accepted offers. The median list price of those with accepted offers is $394,500.

With the healthy inventory of homes on the market, we stress to our sellers the importance of making their home stand out above the competition. This includes staging as well as competitive pricing. Sellers should talk to their REALTOR® about steps they can take to help put their home at the top of the buyer’s list!

Friday, August 07, 2009

Fairfield County Market Update

For up to date information on the Fairfield County Real Estate market listen to my podcast. As always, please contact me for a more specific market information as it directly relates to you and the sale or purchase of your home.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Purchasing A Home

When buying a home, it’s important to think carefully about your offering price and your offering terms. In some cases, terms and conditions can represent thousands of dollars in additional value for buyers—or additional costs.Terms may include inspections, requests for specific property repairs, or timing considerations, such as a conditional purchase clause.
Determining a price
Some buyers mistakenly believe there is a predetermined formula for offers—that offering prices should be X percent lower than the seller’s asking price or the amount they are really willing to pay.In practice, your offer price actually depends more upon the basic laws of supply and demand. If many buyers are competing for homes, then sellers will likely get full-price offers and sometimes even more. If demand is weak, then offers below the asking price may be in order.
How to make an offer
The process varies by state. In most cases, you complete an offer that your representative presents on your behalf. The owner, in turn, may accept the offer, reject it or make a counter-offer. Because counter-offers are common (any change in terms can be considered a “counter-offer”), it’s important that you remain in close contact with your representative during the negotiation process so that any proposed changes can be quickly reviewed.
Inspections are common in residential realty transactions.Structural inspections are particularly important. During these examinations, an inspector evaluates the property for any material physical defects and whether expensive repairs and replacements are likely to be required in the next few years.For a single-family home, these inspections often require two or three hours. You should plan to attend too. This is an important opportunity to examine the property’s mechanics (plumbing, wiring, etc.) and structure, ask the inspector questions and learn far more about the property than is possible with an informal walk-through.
For more information please visit

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Fairfield County Market Update

The spring market is in progress. New listings are hitting the market each day. Buyers are out looking and buying. During 2009, the average number of single family homes selling monthly increased from 243 last month for the first 3 months of the year to 256 this month for the first 4 months of 2009. The highest selling home sold for $6,000,000 and the lowest was well under $100,000 highlighting the diverse supply of houses in Fairfield County. The low was a Bridgeport townhouse which sold for $22,500. Currently, there are 512 single family homes with purchase agreements in place vs 441 last month. There are 684 homes with fully executed contracts, just waiting to close as compared to 568 contracts last month. Prices are lower than they’ve been in the last several years, in some towns and there are a large number of houses from which to choose. The median selling price, county-wide in the Greater Fairfield County Consolidated Multiple Listing Service is $460,000 down 18% vs. this time last year. Interest rates are at a 40 year low. Now is definitely the time to buy a house.There is even an additional incentive for first time buyers or those who haven’t owned a home during the last 3 years. The federal government is offering an $8,000 tax credit to those who close before November 30, 2009. One of my listings over $2,000,000, received two offers with a third buyer asking if the sellers would consider an additional offer. On another of my listings priced at $700,000, I received three offers in less than 3 weeks on the market. Clearly, buyers now recognize value and are capitalizing on the interest rates before it is too late.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

No Time Like The First Time

If you are contemplating the purchase of your first home, congratulations! As you probably know, buying a home is one of the biggest financial commitments you can make. It is also a process filled with emotion, and a touch of anxiety. To help keep you sleeping soundly, here are answers to three big questions that concern many potential first-time homeowners.

Question #1: How do I decide what to look for in a home?

It’s easier than you think. Sit yourself down and list what’s important to you in a home. The purchase of every home involves making tradeoffs, so be sure to prioritize your list.

One element is architectural style. Do you prefer a Colonial, a Cape Cod or a modern look? An important factor to consider is living space. How much room do you need right now, and to meet anticipated needs?

Make a list of features that must be a part of your home. Perhaps that Olympic-size pool and tennis court can be put off for another day, but you may absolutely need an eat-in kitchen NOW! It’s all a matter of your taste and personal style.

Question #2: Where should I begin the search?

That old real estate adage about “location, location, location” aside, choosing where to live is usually determined by your personal circumstances and desires. Do you have a particular community, or even a particular block, in mind?

What is it about the location of your new home that is most important to you? Do you prefer an urban, suburban or rural setting? Consider proximity to work, schools, shopping, entertainment and houses of worship. Once you’ve narrowed your list of potential candidates, the Internet can be an excellent tool for learning what a particular community has to offer.

Question #3: How can I find financing that makes sense for me?

Interest rates are lower than we’ve seen in decades. Still, the last thing you want to do is start out in your first home saddled with an uncomfortable level of debt. Seeking the advice of a professional who can give you the lowdown on financing options that match your qualifications is a big step in the right direction.

Once you’ve narrowed your search, talk to a real estate professional that serves the community you’d like to call home. Cheryl Scott-Daniels Group and ERA Select Homes associates are trained to guide you through your purchase every step of the way. Our Web site,, brings up-to-date listings directly to you. We work closely with lenders who can offer loan programs designed to meet the needs of qualified first-time homebuyers.

The path to finding your first home is sure to be full of twists and turns. Once you’re armed with the answers to the big questions, the search can be fulfilling, and even fun!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Staying Power: The Joys and Challenges of Historic Homes

Real estate professionals like to offer as many kinds of properties to prospective customers as there are different personalities of buyers. And few real estate properties have more personality than a historic home.
By the standards of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, any structure at least 50 years old may qualify for historic-landmark status. This is determined by a home or other building's demonstration of particularly significant architectural features or now-rare styles, or its role in important past activities or events (famous inventions, once-pivotal industries, presidential birthplaces or visits, etc.).
To be sure, such homes present many challenges. The older the house, the more likely certain toxins will be present that aren't in newer homes (such as asbestos and lead paint); these will have to be dealt with. And restoring the historic character to a possibly-neglected house can be a costly and time-consuming effort.
But there's much to be said for the personal satisfaction of remaking a house by your own effort, and restoring an example of America's past that can help keep us mindful and proud of our heritage. Also, where there are historic homes there are likely to be whole historic neighborhoods, which preserve and offer to the homebuyer just the kind of old-fashioned community qualities that today's home-seekers are craving and today's developers are trying to re-create.
If your home is on or considered eligible for local, state or national registers of historic places, various rules will be in effect for building materials, renovations, and uses of the structure which most fit the historical period in which it was built. Although these requirements can be an inconvenience, many states offer tax and other incentives for owning and rehabilitating historic homes found to meet historic-preservation officials' criteria. And owners of homes on government registers of historic places still have broad latitude in selling, altering and using their property.
Before buying such a home, you'll want to check into several factors to determine whether the investment you're making in history is the right one for you: What laws apply to local historic buildings and districts, how much restoration does the house require, and what contractors are available who are knowledgeable about handling historic homes are a few of the major questions you'll want answered before making a commitment.
A qualified real estate professional can help guide you through this rewarding but complicated area. Proper preparation and the right professional expert can help ensure that your historic home will give you nothing but happiness to look back on.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Connecticut Foreclosure Assistance

Help for Sellers Facing Foreclosure
A Foreclosure Mediation Program was created in response to the surge in foreclosures (many homeowners are struggling with their mortgage rates adjusting upward) and the recognition by Judicial, Legislative and Executive Branch officials that there needed to be a way to improve the way foreclosure cases were processed. Our legislature passed Public Act 08-176, An Act Concerning Responsible Lending and Economic Security, which was signed into law in June 2008 by Governor Rell and went into effect July 1, 2008. Under the Act, the Chief Court Administrator was required to create a foreclosure mediation program by July 1, 2008. The goal of CT's Foreclosure Mediation Program is simple - try to keep the homeowners in their homes. The program is the first unified and mandated program in the United States and requires borrowers and their lenders to meet face-to-face so they can negotiate an agreement.

Here are the numbers. The program went into effect July 1, 2008, and as of October 31, 2008, 680 cases have completed mediation with the following results:
361 owners (53%) stayed in their homes, and of those, 270 (40%) had their loans modified, 24 (3%) were reinstated, and 67 (10%) entered into a forbearance plan;
116 owners (17%) moved out of their homes because of a short sale, a deed in lieu of foreclosure or a foreclosure sale date; and
203 cases (30%) were not settled; and
when you combine the "staying in home" and the "moving from home" categories, there's a settlement rate of 70%.

The mediation sessions are held at courthouses throughout the state and the mediators are Judicial Branch employees trained in foreclosure law and mediation. An owner/seller does not need an attorney to participate and everyone who signed the mortgage must attend. This program is a winner all around. The homeowner/borrowers facing foreclosure may get to stay in their homes by negotiating new loan terms with their lender's representative, the lender ends up with a performing loan and is repaid under new or modified terms, and the number of foreclosure cases coming before the court is drastically reduced.

*information obtained from The Connecticut Association of Realtors

Friday, January 02, 2009

Fairfield County Real Estate Market Update

The sales rate of single family homes in Fairfield County throughout 2008 has remained consistent and although sales numbers are down from this time last year, inventory continues to move. There have been 4871 closed sales and an active inventory of 4848 home on the Greater Fairfield County Consolidated Multiple Listing service. That represents a unit sales decrease of 29% vs. 2007 resulting in an 11 month supply of homes on the market, currently. The median selling price county-wide is $505,000 down 10% from the median selling price this same time last year.

Sales over $2MM represent just 5.2% of homes that have sold but 12% of homes on the market waiting to sell. Sales over $3MM represent 2.1% of the total homes sold but 6% of homes currently listed for sale.

There are 360 properties with fully executed contracts waiting to close. The median price of those homes is 25% lower than the median price of closed homes so far this year. There are 179 properties with accepted offers. The median list price of those with accepted offers is $410,000, 18.9% lower than the median selling price for the properties that have closed so far this year.

Sellers and Buyers should talk to their REALOR(R) about market numbers specific to the town they are looking to sell or purchase in.