Monday, December 06, 2010

New IRS 1099 Requirements for Landlords

Starting in 2011, there is a new tax requirements for landlords. All landlords who receive $600 or more in rent for the year must send a 1099 to all service providers that the landlord paid $600 or more during the year, such as plumbers, carpenters, yard services, and repair people.
The new requirement applies to owners of both residential and commercial property. Prior to 2011, this requirement had only applied to those involved in full-time property management, but now the requirement covers all types of landlords. Landlords will need to gather federal tax ID numbers from service providers in order to file the 1099s. Failure to file the 1099s with the IRS can result in fines of $50 per 1099 not filed with the IRS. In 2012, these requirements will expand to cover providers of good to landlords.

Please call or email me if you have any questions regarding this new landlord requirement.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

REALTOR Cheryl Scott-Daniels Recognized on The National Level

Cheryl Scott-Daniels recently returned from the National Association of REALTORS Annual Conference in New Orleans where she was recognized and honored at the National level as the 2010 Connecticut State REALTOR of the Year!

Here is Cheryl Scott-Daniels representing the
state of Connecticut at the national conference.
Congratulations Cheryl!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Cheryl Scott-Daniels, Broker/Owner of ERA Select Homes in Westport Connecticut, was named The Connecticut Association of REALTORS® 2010 State REALTOR® of The Year. This distinguished honor is recognition of Cheryl Scott-Daniels’ service to the local, state, regional and national real estate communities for the past 22 years.

The Boards of Directors for the 21 local CT REALTOR® Associations are each given the opportunity to nominate a member who meets the criteria for this distinguished award. Those nominees’ accomplishments are then reviewed by a special committee consisting of a group of geographically dispersed Directors of the 17,000 member organization. The candidates are judged for their contributions to their local board’s activities, regional, state and national association achievements, community and charitable activities as well as REALTOR® activity and professionalism.

Scott-Daniels is the 2010 Treasurer of The Connecticut Association of REALTORS®, Chairperson of the Board of Directors for The Greater Fairfield County Consolidated Multiple Listing Service(GFC-CMLS), she Chairs the Connecticut Association of REALTORS® Finance Committee, has served as the Chairperson of The Mid-Fairfield County Association of REALTORS® (MFCAR) Arbitration & Ethics panel since 1997, and has been a MFCAR State Director since 1992. Scott-Daniels chaired the Connecticut Association of REALTORS® Risk Reduction Committee in 2008 and the Professional Standards Committee in 2006. She served as the 1994 President of the Connecticut Certified Residential Specialists and President of The Fairfield County Women's Council of REALTORS® in 1993. The Mid-Fairfield County Association of REALTORS® elected her as their REALTOR® of The Year in 1993, 2002 and 2006.

On the national level, Cheryl Scott-Daniels has been a member of the National Association of REALTORS® since 1987, served on the national Risk Management Committee in 2008, Special Internet Policy Sub-Committee in 2008 and several committees of the Council of Residential Specialists from 1991-2002.

When Cheryl is not helping families buy or sell homes in the area she volunteers her time to help the local community. Cheryl has been the Chair of Facilities for A Better Chance of Westport since 2000. She is a past President and current member of the Westport Sunrise Rotary Club and was Co-Chair of the Rotary Club Foundation. She served on the Board of Directors and led the marketing efforts for Earthplace Nature Discovery Center, served on the TEAM Westport town commission, is a member of the American Cancer Society’s Women & Company and was the winner of the 2007 Athena Award, presented by the Westport Chamber of Commerce. She owns a moving truck which many local not-for-profit organizations use frequently at no cost, to assist in their fund raising activities.

Cheryl Scott-Daniels has helped hundreds of families buy and sell homes in Fairfield County over the past 22 years, holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry, an MBA in Marketing and 9 professional real estate designations; Accredited Buyer Representative, Accredited Staging Professional, Certified Distressed Property Expert, Certified Residential Broker, Certified Relocation Professional, Certified Residential Specialist, Graduate REALTORS® Institute, Professional Standards Certified Specialist, and Seniors Real Estate Specialist.

Scott-Daniels will be recognized and honored at the National level during the National Association of REALTORS® Annual Conference on November 6th in New Orleans, and at The Connecticut Association of REALTORS® Conference on November 30th.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Creating Curb Appeal || Your Home and Lifestyle Magazine

In this article, as appears in the Cheryl Scott-Daniels Your Home & Lifestyle magazine, landscaping expert Scott Cohen offers practical tips on creating curb appeal:

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Due to long days and warm weather, many people choose to take on home remodeling projects during the summer. As a member of the Top 5 in Real Estate Network®, I have years of experience and understand how taking on a remodeling project is beneficial to you, both now and then later down the road should you choose to sell.
The following are some suggested project and tips—both large and small—for homeowners looking to spruce their homes up this summer.

Patios and Decks
Decks and patios are among the most popular summer remodeling ideas. There are various factors to take into consideration when deciding on whether a patio or deck is the most appropriate project to undertake. Such factors include soil condition and consistency, site terrain, use, capacity and privacy, as well as the cost and maintenance you are willing to put up with.

Home Maintenance
Throughout the seasons, your home has taken good care of you and your family and now is the best time to give back.

With a checklist in hand, go through your property to evaluate areas that need mending or replacement. This list will prove very helpful when contacting a contractor or handyman for maintenance/repair services. Some common maintenance and repair include:

  • Waterproofing the basement
  • Re-caulking and replacing weather-striping
  • Cleaning and sealing wooden decks
  • Trimming bushes and trees
  • Realigning downspouts and gutters
  • Repairing the roof
  • Cleaning the pool
  • Mending the fence
  • Maintenance of HVAC systems

Energy-Efficient Renovation
An energy-efficient summer remodel is a worthwhile endeavor as it will result in years of savings on your energy bills. Some of the common items you can buy and integrate into your energy-efficient renovation include:

  • Insulation systems and materials
  • Roofs that resist heat gain
  • Biomass-burning stoves
  • Energy-efficient windows
  • HVAC systems with the highest efficiency tier
  • Solar panels
  • Fuel cells
  • Geothermal heat pumps
  • Wind energy systems

Taking on one (or more!) of these projects is a great way to give back to your home this summer…and, in some cases, save you a bit of money in the long run, too!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Why You Should Buy a Home Now…Even after the Tax Credit

While much press coverage has been given to the recent first-time and move-up buyer tax credit, there are many time-sensitive factors that make the current climate an exceptional time to buy a home…even without the tax credit.

As a Member of the Top 5 in Real Estate Network®, I have seen many real estate markets come and go, and I know for a fact that the many outstanding opportunities that exist for home buyers today will not be around forever.Besides mortgage interest rates that have been hovering at near-record lows, homes in many markets have become more affordable. Prices have moderated from the highs of the housing boom that occurred in most of the country, especially in major markets where they had increased significantly.

According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), new construction homes are an especially wise investment for home buyers. New homes are generally built to be much more energy efficient than homes constructed a generation ago, making them more affordable to operate. Plus, new homes often incorporate open floor plans, flexible spaces, improved safety features and low-maintenance materials—making them well-suited for today’s modern families.

So, if you’re thinking about buying a home, please don’t count on interest rates or prices staying at current levels—I’ve seen them change unpredictably and quickly! Mortgage rates are sensitive to market conditions, and even a slight increase can push monthly payments beyond a family’s budget. As the country recovers from the recession and people stabilize their financial situations, NAHB economists expect that home prices will begin to increase by 2011.

For further advice on buying a home or market conditions, feel free to email me anytime. And be sure to pass this information on to friends and family who might also be considering a real estate purchase.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Easy Ways to Cut Summer Energy Costs

With summer officially upon us, many homeowners will be confronted with rising electric bills as fans and air conditioners kick into high gear in an effort to keep cool. Demand for electricity can also increase if you have house guests or children home for the summer. As a member of the Top 5 in Real Estate Network®, I have access to lots of great ideas for planning ahead to control energy costs this summer. The following tips are from the experts at Public Service Electric and Gas Company (PSE&G):

  • Use ceiling fans in the counter-clockwise direction to create a wind-chill effect, making you feel cooler. Also, whole-house fans that bring in cooler night-time air can pre-cool a house and reduce energy use in the daytime if heat is kept out by closing windows and shades.
    Install a programmable thermostat. If health conditions permit, raise the setting from 73 to 78 degrees. You can save 3-5% on your air conditioning costs for each degree you raise the thermostat.

  • Close doors leading to uncooled parts of your home. If you have central air conditioning, close off vents to unused rooms and be sure to keep filters clean.
    Plant shade trees close to the house on the South and West sides.
    Seal holes and cracks around doors and windows. Eliminate air leaks between window air conditioners and windows with foam insulation or weather-stripping.

  • Turn off power sources. TVs, computers and other electronic devices draw power when they are in standby mode or turned off but still plugged in. Plug electronics into power strips and turn off the power switch when the items are not in use.

  • Switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs), which use 75% less electricity and burn more coolly than incandescent bulbs. Keep in mind that CFLs are especially handy in hard-to-reach fixtures and won't need to be replaced for about five years.

  • Use timers and motion detectors on indoor and outdoor lighting.

  • Delay heat-producing tasks such as laundry until later in the day. Wash full loads, using cold water whenever possible.

  • Run the dishwasher at night, using the shortest cycle that will get the dishes clean. If manufacturers' directions permit, turn the dishwasher off before the dry cycle or use the air dry feature if your machine has one.

  • Take short showers as they use less hot water than a bath.

  • Replace old appliances with new energy efficient Energy Star appliances.

  • Unplug the extra refrigerator in your garage or basement and use it only when necessary. Refrigerators that are only 10 years old can use twice as much electricity as new Energy Star labeled models.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Income Properties - Double Trouble or Two Times the Success?

As you know, buying or selling a house is one of the biggest financial decisions most people will ever make. Getting the best bargain in the purchase or making the most profit on the sale give buyers and sellers so much to think about that many may never stop to consider keeping that old house – or buying another – as an income-generating property. But the rewards, in savings, profits and problem-solving, can be high.

One option for buyers who otherwise might consider home prices beyond their reach is the property that pays for itself: a house you live in part of and rent the rest of. This offers not only an obvious balance of cost and income, but perhaps lesser-known benefits in taxes and mortgage. The rental units can be depreciated over time; considered to offset the rental income, this can lower your taxes on that income. At the same time, the rent's addition to your finances helps you qualify for a larger mortgage. Of course you'll want to decide if the demands of being a live-in landlord are for you (and find out if rent-control laws in your area might limit the return on your investment).

If being an offsite landlord is more appealing, you could always keep your current home as a rental after you move into the new one. Your long-tern familiarity with the home's features and condition could lend a certain confidence both to yourself and your potential tenants. As with any investment property, you'll first want to calculate whether the rental income will cover the current expenses. Of course being a long-distance landlord has its headaches too, so you have to enjoy the challenge and be ready to meet the needs.

Owning an income-generating property is not for everyone, but – from younger buyers offsetting their purchase costs, to seniors easing the expenses of their retirement years – it can be for all kinds of people. I would be happy to talk to you about whether or not a rental property would be double trouble or two times the success.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Real Estate Market Update - Fairfield County

Single family homes in Fairfield County during the first 3 months of 2010 showed both unit sales improvements and an increase in the median selling price over the same time period in 2009.

There are currently 7,997 active single family homes on the Greater Fairfield County Consolidated Multiple Listing System. So far this year, there have been 1,396 single family closed sales. This represents a unit sales increase of 28% vs. the first three months of 2009. The median selling price of single family homes on the Consolidated Multiple Listing System this year was $373,500 which is an over-all increase of 12% vs. those that sold during the first three months of 2009.

There are currently 739 active single family homes on the market over $2MM and 377 of those are over $3MM. In the first three months of 2010 there were 47 closed sales over $2MM versus only 34 closed sales over $2MM during the same time frame last year. That is a 38% increase in sales in that price range.

There are 1,187 single family homes with fully executed contracts waiting to close. The median list price of those homes is $399,000. There are 806 properties with accepted offers. The median list price of those with accepted offers is $424,000. This means that the list price of the most recent properties to get accepted offers is continuing to increase. If this price continues to track up, it would appear as though the median selling price is stabilizing and will be either flat or slightly higher during the second quarter of 2010 vs. the median selling price during 2009.

Contact me for market statistics specific to your town and neighborhood as they may vary greatly from town to town and even neighborhood to neighborhood.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

REALTORS® Day at The Capitol

The Connecticut Association of REALTORS®, Inc. held its 26th Annual REALTORS® at the Capitol event on March 24, 2010.

I joined over 600 REALTORS® at the Capitol and met with State Senators and Representatives to let them know our views on the issues that affect our business.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Fairfield County Real Estate Market Update

Fairfield County Real Estate Market Update

There was a positive increase in market activity in the first month of this year. I am pleased to report the January 2010 sales numbers for Fairfield County which reveal increases in both units and in the median sales price vs. January 2009. This is a continued indication of stabilization of the Single Family home market in Fairfield County.

There are currently 6497 active single family homes on the Greater Fairfield county Consolidated Multiple Listing System. In January of 2010 we had 436 closed sales which represented a unit sales increase of 35% vs. January, 2009. The median selling price in January, 2010 for single family homes on the Consolidated Multiple Listing System was $388,950, which is an over-all increase of 16% vs. January 2009.

Although single family home sales among the upper price tier continue to lag, we did see some very positive sales numbers in January 2010 as compared to January, 2009. There were 16 closed sales in January 2010 over $2MM vs. 5 closed sales over $2MM in January, 2009. There were 8 sales over $3MM in January 2010 and only 1 sale over $3MM in January, 2009.

There are 909 single family homes with fully executed contracts waiting to close. The median list price of those homes is $359,900. There are 516 properties with accepted offers. The median list price of those with accepted offers is $399,000. These are important numbers, which I report each month, because they help us to project the trend in the current sales price during the upcoming months. In this case it looks as though the median sales price is stabilizing and will be either flat or slightly higher during the first few months of 2010 vs. the median sales price during 2009.

I encourage our readers to contact me for the market statistics specific to their town and neighborhood as they may vary greatly from town to town and even neighborhood to neighborhood. If our readers wish to receive market statistics monthly via email they can email me at

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Shopping for a Condo? Ask These 4 Questions before You Buy

Condominium homes have always been, and will likely always be, an efficient and economical route to becoming a first-time homeowner. They can offer the comfort, prestige, and even luxury appointments that apartment living may lack, often at a cost that is not much different than rent. With the current first-time home buyer tax credit and the deadline for the move-up tax credit fast approaching, I advise you move fast on any condo purchase you may be considering.

With my experience as Member of the Top 5 in Real Estate Network®, I am well aware that not all condominiums are the same, however, so make sure you ask the following four questions before you buy:

What will you own? Read the bylaws and be sure you understand what you will be responsible for and what belongs to the condo association. Will you own the boat dock at the back of your unit? Can you elect to build a spa on your patio? Generally, unit owners own and are responsible for the interior of their condos, while costs for outside maintenance including common areas and sewer lines are the association’s responsibility.

Who lives there? Are the majority of residents owners or renters? Owners generally take more interest in proper maintenance and are more willing than renters to serve on the association board and enforce complex rules and regulations–including the regular collection of homeowner dues.

How effective is the homeowner’s association? Do they have legal counsel, reasonable funds and a capable, caring volunteer board? One way to judge is to check with residents about restrictions, oversight and timeliness of repairs and upgrades. Another is to take a hard look at the grounds and be wary of signs of neglect.

What about special assessments? The association should have the power to special assess for needed, one-time large expenditures. Otherwise, things that need to be done may never get done at all, leaving the complex vulnerable to disrepair and lowered property values.

Don’t miss this great opportunity to become a homeowner or to downsize by buying a condo (remember, the move-up tax credit does not require you to move to a larger or more expensive home). Please e-mail me for more tips on buying a condo and forward this information to any family and friends who may be in the market as well.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Extended and Expanded Tax Credit

Cheryl Scott-Daniels explains the newly extended and expanded tax credit:

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Confidence Builder: Make the Most of Newly-Constructed Homes

For the aspiring homeowner, there are always some unknowns to navigate. For home-seekers looking to buy a newly-constructed home, they must also contend with fierce competition, as well as the uncertainties of buying a house, in many cases, that doesn't even exist yet.
Heightened demand has accelerated new construction. Advancing technology has allowed the selection of homes based on virtual tours of the future home's plans. Such options can help the consumer build their house to their every preference, while making it as accommodating in real life as it is promising on paper.
There are ways to minimize such uncertainties and focus on the new home's potential rather than potential problems – and these aren't limited to the structure itself. Many of these common sense preparations are ones in which the services of a real estate sales professional, such as an ERA Real Estate professional, can be a major help and a big relief. At the most basic level, such a professional can help you determine whether it's the newly-built or the pre-existing home that best suits your search.
Start from scratch. Your agent can help you decide what design options not only fulfill your needs but best fit your budget and your home's resale value. He or she can also help you to familiarize yourself with the new neighborhood; guide you throughout the construction process; and get you set up with crucial services like moving companies (one of many major tasks a nationally-known business can group in a single program, such as ERA Real Estate's Select Services).
Check into the builder's track record. You can do this by visiting other developments they've constructed and by speaking with the residents. Also, you may want to contact the Better Business Bureau to learn about their reputation and how long they've been in operation.
Know the neighborhood. Visit your local town planning office and look into what will be built nearby in the near future – where there's some construction growth there may be more, and you'll want to decide what kinds you wish to live around.
Understand what's in your contract. Do what you can to protect a favorable mortgage rate from the financial fluctuations that can occur over the course of construction. Get a thorough home inspection. And, obtain the most reliable professionals to help you in these potentially complicated tasks.
Determine if "new is for you." Despite the shiny, new bells and whistles associated with a new home, you might prefer an existing house. Purchasers of existing homes avoid contributing to suburban sprawl, enjoy the stability of established neighborhoods and infrastructures, and don't need to worry about today's fast-paced home construction industry. New home buyers, on the other hand, may be most attracted to the ease of brand-new homes with minimal maintenance concerns and a pre-planned neighborhood structure.
One happy medium an agent might steer you toward is the brand-new home that's already built. While this may be a rarity in a booming market, your real estate professional can help find one for you that can help eliminate surprises. Not to mention, it will likely fast-forward passed the inconvenience of other unfinished homes still in the construction phase around you.
With the right preparation and advice, the new-home route can lead to ready-made happiness rather than built-in headaches.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Advice for Sellers

In most cases, an offer is written with standard contingencies including a home inspection and satisfactory appraisal. A seller can have their own inspections done prior to marketing so they have the time to repair or replace items. That will shorten the time from offer to closing or avoid having a buyer get discouraged and walk-away because of what they might perceive as deferred maintenance. A seller can also have an appraiser evaluate their home so they have a good idea of what a bank will approve as a selling price. As a bonus, the seller will have the inspection report and appraisal in their back pocket when it comes time to negotiate a selling price and terms.

My advice to sellers is to review their current market position with their agent. Take a close look at year-end sales to arrive at a realistic and competitive list price. Sellers need to do what’s necessary to attract serious buyers to get their property sold. Realtors® have seen the competitive inventory and therefore can make good suggestions on how the seller can help make their home stand out above the rest.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Fairfield County Real Estate Market Update

Although single family home sales in 2009 were slightly slower than sales in 2008, and the median sales price was less, we did see a positive market increase in the last 4 months of the year. I am pleased to report the 2009 year-end statistics which include an increase in sales and a decrease in inventory which leads me to believe the Single Family home market in Fairfield County is stabilizing!!!

There are currently 5973 active single family homes on the Consolidated Multiple Listing System. In 2009 we had 6753 closed sales. That represents a unit sales decrease of only 4% versus 2008. The result is a 10 ½ month supply of homes currently on the market. The median selling price for single family homes on the Consolidated Multiple Listing System in 2009 was $377,000, which is an over-all decrease of 12% from 2008.

By far, single family home sales among the upper tier have been most affected by economic conditions. We currently have a 3 year supply of single family homes over $2MM on the Consolidated Multiple Listing System and a 4 year supply of homes over $3MM.

There are 813 single family homes with fully executed contracts waiting to close. The median list price of those homes is $339,000. There are 424 properties with accepted offers. The median list price of those with accepted offers is $399,000. These are important numbers, which I report each month, because they help us to determine the direction of the market. In this case we can estimate that the median sales price in the first few months of 2010 will be flat or slightly higher than the median sales price of 2009.

I encourage our readers to contact me for market statistics specific to their town and neighborhood as they vary greatly from town to town and even neighborhood to neighborhood. Please contact me if you wish to receive market statistics monthly via email or if you wish to receive a market snap shot specific to your property’s address.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Moving Tips

The weeks before moving day can be very hectic. Just the word “Moving” conjures up images of heavy boxes and furniture—excitement and headaches. In an effort to help your move go as smooth and easy as possible, we encourage you to consider these helpful resources.

Your move may be simple or complex, depending on your situation, including how much you own, how far you’re moving, and how many people are moving with you. In any case, it’s a good idea to start with a thorough moving checklist that covers all the possible bases, including important time frames.Download REBAC’s moving checklist, As you review the checklist, you’ll also find that these additional resources provide valuable shortcuts:

Changing your address—an online tool from the U.S. Postal Service
Tax-deductible moving expenses—guidelines from the Internal Revenue Service

If you are moving in or out of Fairfield County and are looking for a moving company, contact me. I have an extensive database from over 22 years in the real estate business. I would be happy to give you names and phone numbers of local companies as well as feedback we have received from past clients who have their services.

I offer a FREE moving truck as a valuable service to my clients as well as charitable organizations* for use in Fairfield County. Learn more about the Cheryl Scott-Daniels Group Smart Move Vehicle. *Some restrictions apply.

Visit for more information on the home buying process.