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The Window of Opportunity

o n

t h e

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...Is Now Real Estate Today

Capital Properties & Estates® Greenwich, CT • (203) 661-5400 Westport, CT • (203) 226-5100


Kaye & Hennessey, LLC ATTORNEYS AT LAW Real Estate Law Estate Planning Estate & Trust Administration

(203) 625-5300 Fax (203) 625-3161

7 1 L e w i s S t r e e t , P. O. B o x 7 6 8 , G r e e n w i c h , C T 0 6 8 3 6 w w w. k a y e h e n l a w. c o m


Welcome Dear Clients and Friends, On behalf of the more than 70 real estate agents in the Greenwich and Westport offices of Weichert, I would like to extend a warm greeting to you on the occasion of our fourth annual Real Estate Today magazine. Like you, we all either own or aspire to own homes. We know firsthand—because buying and selling houses is our business—that there is some unique quality when one enters a house that tells us all when a house has been transformed into a home. We all know it when we see it, but it is not easy to attain! Like an artist, each homeowner must “work the canvas” of her/his house until that house becomes truly their home. We hope that all the vendors who are represented in this magazine will give you the ideas and inspiration you need to envision the home of your dreams. We would be happy to be a part of the realization of that dream, if buying, selling or looking for property to build is the next step for you. We also want to keep you up-to-date with the real estate and financial market. The statistics in this book are a first step in keeping you abreast of the current real estate trends. Please feel free to call at any time with questions and requests for updated information on the current market.

68 Arch Street, Greenwich, CT 06830 • (203) 661-5400 191 Main Street, Westport, CT 06880 • (203) 226-5100

Weichert Family of Companies Weichert, Realtors® Weichert Capital Properties & Estates® Weichert Commercial Brokerage, Inc. Weichert Corporate Housing Weichert Financial Services Weichert Gold® Services Weichert Insurance Agency, Inc. Weichert New Homes Weichert Referral Associates Co., Inc. Weichert Relocation Resources Inc.® Weichert Rental Network Weichert Title Agency

Sincerely,

Elsie Pecorin Vice President Weichert Capital Properties & Estates of Greenwich and Westport

Please see your local Gold Services Manager for complete details.

Capital Properties & Estates® Greenwich, CT 06830 • (203) 661-5400 Westport, CT 06880 • (203) 226-5100 1


Contents

On the Cover The Window of Opportunity...is Now Weichert Capital Properties & Estates Realtors® bring you the latest information on the ever-changing real estate market in both Fairfield and Westchester Counties. See how these counties have been affected and have flourished during this tumultuous time in real estate.

1 Welcome 3 The Power of the Weichert Internet Strategy 4 Business Index 6 Weichert Capital Properties 7 History of Greenwich 8 Westport 10 Surrounding Towns

13-18 Statistical Data

2

13 Greenwich New and Sold Listings by Month 14 Market Statistics Report: Norwalk, Fairfield 15 Market Statistics Report: Westport, Stamford 16 Greenwich Comparison Report 17 Greenwich Property Type Summary Report 18 Westchester-Putnam Home Sales Statistics 19 Let’s Ready Your Home for Sale

An

Publication

21 Don’t Get Fooled as a Buyer or Seller 23 Is a Short Sale Really Short? 24 Timing Your Buying (or Renting) in a Soft Market 26 Best Staging Tips 30 Home Inspection 33 Advertisers 35 Service Profiles 37 Independent Schools in Fairfield County

G01.11


The Power of the Weichert Internet Strategy. ®

Weichert.com makes homes easy to find: •

Independent research ranks Weichert.com among the top 1% of all real estate broker websites*

Our site averages 100,000 visits per day and over 3.3 million visits per month**

The latest advanced search technology helps buyers find just what they’re looking for

When you list your home with Weichert, our full-time Internet marketing team ensures maximum exposure by bidding on over 1 million keywords on major search engines to lead to Weichert.com

Weichert.com listings gain additional exposure on an ever-growing list of sites like Realtor.com, Zillow, Trulia, Wall Street Journal and New York Times

Our Contact Center makes homes easy to see in person: •

We talk to online house-hunters 7 days a week 9am to 9pm EST

Over 30 inside sales consultants immediately transfer our customers to speak with a Weichert Sales Associate who can answer questions about a home and schedule an appointment to view it

No other real estate company has a system that quickly connects online customers with the personal service they need

These times demand Internet capabilities and no one delivers that like Weichert!

* Hitwise Most Popular Websites in Business and Finance – Real Estate ranked by Visits Share, February 2011. ** Net Tracker Web Analytics ©2010 Weichert, Realtors®. Each WEICHERT® franchised office is independently owned and operated. REALTOR® is a federally registered collective membership mark which identifies a real estate professional who is a Member of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® and subscribes to its strict Code of Ethics. Weichert® is a federally registered trademark owned by Weichert Co. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

Invite us in. We’ll bring results.®


Business Index Appliances Partridge & Rockwell............................ 36 Hocon Propane.................................... 22 Architect DeMotte Architects............................... 32 Alex Esposito........................................ 31 Tasos Kokoris......................................... 9 Architectural Designer Building Designs, LLC........................... 28 Asbestos Abatement HomeGuard Environmental................... 27 Attorney Erin Spiess Chang................................ 31 Ivey, Barnum & O’Mara LLC.................. IBC Kaye & Hennessey LLC.........................IFC Rita Steinberger.................................... 35 Audio/Video Systems At Home Theater AHT............................ 11 Basement Refinishing Connecticut Basement Systems........... 34 Basement Waterproofing Basement Solutions, LLC...................... 28 Connecticut Basement Systems........... 34 GreenOvations.biz................................. 20 Builder Associated Building Contractors - ABC..... 35 Stephen C. Gidley, Inc. . ....................... 35 GreenOvations.biz................................. 20 Olson Development, LLC . .................... 19 RJS Development Corp......................... 38 Cabinetry Pierre Architectural Woodworking.......... 35 Carpentry Repair Pierre Architectural Woodworking.......... 35 Carpets/Flooring Turabian & Sariyan............................... 20 Carting Finocchio Bros. ................................... 29 Caterer Restaurant Jean-Louis.......................... 39 Dumpsters Finocchio Bros. ................................... 29 Electric Utility Gault Energy......................................... 12 Hocon Inc............................................. 22 Energy Audits Anchor Insulation................................. 35 Gault Energy......................................... 12 Engineer Ahneman Kirby, LLC.............................. 35 Flooring Turabian & Sariyan............................... 20 Garbage Collection Finocchio Bros. ................................... 29

4

Garden Center Sam Bridge Nursery & Greenhouse......... 9 Heating & Cooling Gault Energy......................................... 12 Home Improvement Stephen C. Gidley, Inc. . ....................... 35 GreenOvations.biz................................. 20 Olson Development, LLC . .................... 19 Pierre Architectural Woodworking.......... 35 RJS Development Corp......................... 38 Home Theater At Home Theater AHT............................ 11 House Cleaning Medrano Construction Co..................... 25 Indoor Air Quality Gault Energy......................................... 12 HomeGuard Environmental................... 27 Insurance New England Brokerage NEBCO.............. 5 Interior Design Soundview Shutters & Shades.............. 27 Insulation Anchor Insulation................................. 35 Connecticut Basement Systems........... 34 Irrigation/Sprinklers Don Biagi Landscaping......................... 40 Kitchens and Bathrooms Pierre Architectural Woodworking.......... 35 Land Planners Ahneman Kirby, LLC.............................. 35 Peter F. Alexander................................. 35 Landscape Architect Planner Peter F. Alexander................................. 35 Landscaping Don Biagi Landscaping......................... 40 Medrano Construction Co..................... 25 Lead Abatement HomeGuard Environmental................... 27 Lighting Control At Home Theater AHT............................ 11 Outdoor Lighting Perspectives............... 32 Masonry Don Biagi Landscaping......................... 40 Medrano Construction Co..................... 25 Masonry Supplies Gault Stone.......................................... 12 Mold Remediation HomeGuard Environmental................... 27 Mortgage Weichert Gold Services........................... 6 Museum The Bruce Museum............................... BC Nursery/Greenhouse Sam Bridge Nursery & Greenhouse......... 9

Oil Gault Energy......................................... 12 Outdoor Lighting Don Biagi Landscaping......................... 40 Medrano Construction Co..................... 25 Outdoor Lighting Perspectives............... 32 Painter Stephen C. Gidley Inc. ......................... 35 GreenOvations.biz................................. 20 Plumbing & Heating Kaiser-Battistone.................................. 22 Propane Gault Energy......................................... 12 Hocon Propane.................................... 22 Restaurant Finalmente Trattoria.............................. 20 Restaurant Jean-Louis.......................... 39 Roofing & Siding Stephen C. Gidley Inc. ......................... 35 GreenOvations.biz................................. 20 RJS Development Corp......................... 38 Salon JosĂŠ Henrique Salon............................. 36 Security At Home Theater AHT............................ 11 Septic Systems Kaiser Battistone.................................. 22 Shelf Systems Shelf Solutions..................................... 25 Stone & Tile Gault Stone.......................................... 12 Lima Ceramic Tile LLC........................... 22 Storage Storage Deluxe..................................... 30 Surveyors Ahneman Kirby, LLC.............................. 35 Tree Care Don Biagi Landscaping......................... 40 Medrano Construction Co..................... 25 Water Gardens Don Biagi Landscaping......................... 40 Water Heaters Gault Energy......................................... 12 Hocon Propane.................................... 22 Kaiser-Battistone.................................. 22 Water Treatment Kaiser-Battistone.................................. 22 Waterproofing Basement Solutions, LLC...................... 28 Connecticut Basement Systems........... 34 Window Coverings Soundview Shutters & Shades.............. 27 Wine and Spirits Horseneck Wines & Liquors.................. 20 Wood Floor Renovation Mr. Sandless........................................ 36


Lifestyle.

INSURING YOUR Homes Automobiles Watercraft Collections Personal Liability

Exceptional Service. Outstanding Protection. Unexpected Value. Since 1979, NEBCO has specialized in listening to our clients needs and providing sophisticated asset protection solutions for affluent individuals nationwide. Whether you own multiple high-value homes, collect fine art, antiques or automobiles, our experienced insurance professionals work to protect you, your family and your possessions...your total lifestyle. 411 West Putnam Avenue Greenwich, CT 06830 Phone 203-869-4803 • www.nebco.net

If your home(s) have a total insured value of more than $1 million, please call Jeffrey Elliott, SVP at 203.869.4803 for a complimentary Personal Risk Analysis.


68 Arch Street, Greenwich, CT 06830 • (203) 661-5400 191 Main Street, Westport, CT 06880 • (203) 226-5100

With more than 70 sales associates, the Greenwich and Westport Weichert Capital Properties & Estates Offices serve key markets in both Fairfield and Westchester Counties. We provide full, one-stop service in over 10 different languages, including full-service residential and commercial real estate sales and financial services. To ensure a smooth process, our Gold Services group streamlines the delivery of mortgages and home and title insurance.

Our Promise to our SellerS is to: • List your home on up to 6 different MLSs • Communicate regular progress reports • Market your home internationally through Weichert Relocation Resources Inc • Advertise in newspapers and on over 20 top local and national websites

Our Promise to our BuyerS is to: • Listen, and respond to your specific needs by providing in-depth knowledge of neighborhoods pricing and real estate trends • Review with you all aspects of the buying process • Advise about different housing alternatives

• Design and publish professional marketing brochures to display your home’s best features

• Provide competitive and flexible financing options

• Hold your home open every weekend until sold if you wish

• Analyze homes offered on the market to find competitive advantages

• Phone and direct-mail targeted neighborhoods to promote your listing

• Negotiate the best price and terms, especially under multiple offer conditions

• Feature your home on Weichert.com and the many Weichert National Internet Partner sites

• Oversee all phases of your home purchase including contract, inspection, appraisal and the closing

• Promote your home through our Internet lead generation center 7 days a week


Greenwich

A Mixture of Culture, Social Activities and Beautiful Surroundings

T

hose fortunate enough to call Greenwich “home” enjoy a wonderful mix of culture, social activities and beautiful surroundings. And like many Connecticut towns, Greenwich boasts a rich history dating back to pre-Colonial times. In 1640, settlers from the New Haven Colony purchased land from the Siwanoy Indians in the area now known as Old Greenwich. The newcomers carved out larger and larger land holdings where they grew potatoes, grain and fruit. Settlements grew along the shore, from Stamford on the east to the Byram River on the west and north to the border of New York State. By 1730, the 50 square miles that comprise present-day Greenwich were laid out.

For its first 200 years, the acquisition and cultivation of farm land were the major enterprises of residents, although grist mills signaled the beginnings of local industry, and active shipping was conducted from the Mianus River. The relative calm of these years was broken by the Revolutionary War. Greenwich was a garrison town that experienced occupation by both British and American armies as well as raids from irregulars. The seven-year long war, fought on the roads and farms of Greenwich, which destroyed homes, crops and human lives, is an important part of the town’s history. The coming of the railroad in 1848 marked a significant improvement in transportation and brought increasing numbers of new residents to Greenwich. The Irish came to work on the railroad and settled close to Greenwich Avenue, the town center. In an adjacent neighborhood called Chickahominy, Italian stonemasons congregated to be near the Byram quarries. Other Italians settled further east in North Mianus where they worked in the Mianus Woolen Mill. The Germans went to Byram, then known as East Port Chester, and found work in the Abendroth

Foundry. Glenville, on the Byram River, attracted Poles who worked in the felt mill and Russell Burdsall & Ward, manufacturers of nuts and bolts. Each of these areas developed as distinct neighborhoods that have continued to be home to second- and third-generation descendants. Greenwich also became a resort, catering to New Yorkers wishing to escape the city for the summer. Along the shore, hotels were erected to house, feed and entertain these visitors. Many decided to build homes in Greenwich, creating such areas as Belle Haven, Field Point Park, Byram Shore and Rock Ridge. People with easily recognizable names—Benedict, Bruce, Converse, Gimble, Havemeyer, Mallory, Milbank, Rockefeller and Teagle—amassed large land holdings where they built the estates for which Greenwich is now famous. These families became great benefactors to the new community. Greenwich bounded into the 20th century with yet another improvement in transportation; the trolley from Rye to Stamford connected Greenwich from west to east with a convenient, in-town service. The automobile then took precedence after the First World War. In 1938, the Merritt Parkway cut through the northern section of Greenwich, followed in 1957 by I-95 to the south. Once again, new arrivals swelled the population of Greenwich. This time, the newcomers were the employees Binney Park, Old Greenwich of corporations leaving New York City for suburban headquarters. While the beginning of the century saw the creation of great land estates, the post-World War II period witnessed their dissolution into smaller building lots that accommodated the new residents. Growth and development brought about the reorganization of town government, the consolidation of the school system and the establishment of a network of independent, non-profit organizations, which supply the town with its social services and cultural institutions. The second half of the century saw a growing concern in Greenwich for protecting its heritage, resulting in the creation of two local historic districts, 23 buildings and areas listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and the acquisition of undeveloped land as park and conservation areas. Greenwich is a special place to its residents who work hard as volunteers on its behalf. 7


Westport

W

estport’s unique character can be traced to the town’s roots in the Native American tribes who frequented the area— the five original “Bankside Farmers” who settled what is now known as Green’s Farms in 1648, and another group of settlers who followed: the Coleys, the Wheelers, the Bennetts, the Jennings, the Burrs, and many more who came after them to shape this nationally known town.

Westport’s image continues to be special because of the people who live and work here. And all of the town’s agencies—from the Office of the First Selectman to the Planning and Zoning Commission, the Recreation and Conservation Commissions, to the Representative Town Meeting (the town’s grass roots, democratic representatives)—collectively work together in the town’s best interests. People are often outspoken and they publicly differ, but when a decision is made they come together as a whole for the good of the community. It is also the people who take the time to make sure senior residents can afford to stay in the town, ensuring that Westport retains a key segment of its population. Through the years, Westport has become one of the most affluent suburbs in America, culturally rich, filled with a blend of old Yankee farmers, academics, and professionals from all fields, reflecting its international flavor. Yet, it still retains the old New England smalltown charm on many of its streets. It is this dichotomy between affluent suburb and an old New England town that exemplifies Westport. It is evolving in the new millennium as the town continues to modernize and yet, retain its rural charm. Westport is enjoying great economic growth and success, building and expanding schools to house the town’s burgeoning student population, while at the same time working to keep its small-town milieu. Like many other towns in New England, Westport’s roots go back to the Native Americans who frequented this area years ago. Names such as Saugatuck, meaning “mouth of the tidal river,” and Compo (Compaug), “the bear’s fishing ground,” come from the early Paugussett tribe. The Colonial settlers came from three surrounding towns— Norwalk, Fairfield, and Weston, parts of which comprised Westport. The river was the dividing line between Norwalk and Fairfield, and vital to farmers as a pathway to markets for their 8

Bordering Long Island Sound, Westport offers residents an array of coastal activities.

produce. A small community of wharves, warehouses, stores and a tavern grew up on both sides of the river to become the Village of Saugatuck. The first railroad track was opened Dec. 27, 1848. The second track was laid in 1853, but not until the 1890s were the present tracks completed. The railroad and the community in general was built with the arrival of immigrants from Ireland, Italy, and numerous other European countries—people of all faiths and all cultural backgrounds, many of whom are still residing here today. By the end of the 19th century, there were mills and factories, Kemper’s Tannery (the present Westport Country Playhouse) and Toquet Manufacturing Company. Around 1910, artists discovered Westport and the town was literally turned into a nationally known beehive of cultural activity; the Famous Artists School and the Famous Writers School were both built here, attracting talent from all over America. There followed an influx of creative people from many fields that made this area their permanent home. In 30 years, the population doubled to 8,000. Since World War II, the population floodgates opened, more than tripling the previous high by 1970. Today, there are some 26,343 residents here year-round. Novels, plays, and movies have been produced at the famous landmark, the Westport Country Playhouse, with Westport as their back-drops; actors, actresses, writers, artists, architects, lawyers, doctors, corporate executives and political figures have made this town their home. One of the major reasons for the town’s cosmopolitan nature is that Westporters have a real sense of place. Perhaps most impressive is the high caliber of the great number of people who participate in the community, either as elected officials or as volunteers. The spirit and care with which people tend to this town is what gives it its very heart and soul.


9


Surrounding Towns Darien

is an attractive blend of comfortable seaside living and easy travel to the corporate world, just 50 minutes from the hub of Manhattan— making it a popular choice for executives and professionals and their families. Settled in 1645 and formally incorporated in 1820, the seclusion and beauty of Darien were well-kept secrets until 1920 when affluent artists and writers discovered the natural splendor of this coastal site. Since then, Darien has grown into a prosperous community, rich with history and enjoyment, and dedicated to the promotion of education, cultural/social development and conservation of natural resources. Population: 20,731 (2010 Census)

Fairfield is ideally

positioned for elegant living, an abundance of leisure activities and convenient travel to metropolitan areas. Situated on Long Island Sound, Fairfield’s 6-mile coastline and pristine beaches are a summer playground for water-sport enthusiasts and sun worshippers alike. Overlooking the Mill River, several beautifully landscaped parks offer the tranquil pleasures of picnicking, bicycling, walking and nature study. Residents may swim in freshwater at Lake Mohegan and, in the winter months, ice skating is enjoyed at Owen Fish Park, Sturges Pond and Gould Manor Park. Professionals will find Hartford and Manhattan equidistant from this captivating atmosphere. Population: 59,404 (2010 Census)

New Canaan, an affluent community of New England,

is located in the southwest corner of Fairfield County and holds the enviable designation of “The Next Station to Heaven”— a well-deserved title. This inviting town offers a breathtaking natural setting for comfortable living, superb social and cultural

10

amenities, and convenient travel to the metropolitan centers. Population: 19,736 (2010 Census)

Norwalk consists of distinct neighborhoods,

each with its own style and character suggested by names such as Silvermine, Bettswood, Cranbury, Wolfpit, Rowayton and East and West Norwalk. Over the past 10 years, the city has undergone a revitalization that continues today. Representative of this revitalization is the historic South Norwalk area. Slated for destruction in the 1970s, it was saved by public and private efforts to become a thriving “city within a city” that features wellpreserved architecture that houses an eclectic array of shops, galleries, restaurants and nightclubs. The area is anchored by The Maritime Aquarium, with its frequently changing exhibits, an IMAX theater, and more than 1,000 marine animals. Population: 85,597 (2010 Census)

Weston

is a rustic town of sweeping fields, ponds, riverside vistas and thickly wooded forests. The natural splendor of the area is undoubtedly a prime attraction to residents, but when coupled with comfortable commutes to urban centers, a solid school system and excellent recreational offerings, Weston is a choice spot for family living. Population: 10,179 (2010 Census)

Wilton

is a highly desirable residential community with fine open lands (a testament to its colonial farming roots), beautiful historic architecture and a wealth of excellent services. Convenient travel to the business and commercial centers of Stamford, New York City and White Plains make Wilton particularly attractive. Population: 18,064 (2010 Census)


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8

Month Ended: 4/30/2011 Updated: 5/31/2011

GREENWICH MULTIPLE LISTING SERVICE

GRW / 22

NEW LISTINGS BY MONTH 2009 JAN

FEB

MAR

APR

MAY

JUN

AUG

SEP

OCT

NOV

DEC

69 19

77 16

91 29

96 17

109 20

79 26

76 15

42 19

86 30

56 27

36 20

25 10

7 5

6 2

10 5

6 9

7 7

11 6

7 3

5 4

13 11

6 5

3 7

1 0

2

0

1

0

0

3

4

1

1

0

2

1

Residential Condominium Land Multi-Family Commercial

79 27

66 16

81 30

144 21

111 37

100 22

66 14

56 21

103 21

64 17

38 8

28 5

4 1

4 2

9 6

6 5

7 0

13 7

9 2

4 5

9 2

6 2

6 2

9 1

1

2

3

0

1

3

6

0

7

2

1

3

Residential Condominium Land Multi-Family Commercial

66

76

140

139

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

21

19

30

36

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

6

14

9

15

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

6

8

13

6

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

4

1

2

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

PROPERTY TYPE Residential Condominium Land Multi-Family Commercial

JUL

2010

2011

SOLD LISTINGS BY MONTH 2009 JAN

FEB

MAR

APR

AUG

SEP

OCT

NOV

DEC

5

6

15

21

17

33

55

28

41

40

29

43

4 1

4 0

4 0

8 1

6 1

13 1

11 1

7 1

8 2

11 3

6 0

10 1

1 0

0 0

0 0

0 0

0 0

1 0

0 0

3 0

0 0

2 0

2 0

1 1

Residential Condominium Land Multi-Family Commercial

33 13

25 10

35 12

38 12

40 15

67 19

55 12

51 13

35 11

34 11

25 16

44 16

0 1

0 1

1 2

0 3

1 1

1 1

4 1

0 1

1 1

4 1

1 1

2 1

0

0

1

1

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

Residential Condominium Land Multi-Family Commercial

31

26

37

50

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

9

2

9

5

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

2

1

3

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

2

0

3

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

PROPERTY TYPE Residential Condominium Land Multi-Family Commercial

MAY

JUN

JUL

2010

2011

Source: Greenwich Association of Realtors, 203-869-0240, grwassn@aol.com

13


Norwalk, CT market statistics report

Fairfield, CT market statistics report

14

Source: Mid-Fairfield Association of Realtors, 203-227-4418


westport, CT market statistics report

Stamford, CT market statistics report

Source: Mid-Fairfield Association of Realtors, 203-227-4418

15


14

Month Ended: 4/30/2011 Updated: 5/31/2011

GRW / 22

COMPARISON REPORT Year to Date

Residential

Condominium

Land

Multi-Family

16

Source: Greenwich Association of Realtors, 203-869-0240, grwassn@aol.com


16

Month Ended: 4/30/2011 Updated: 5/31/2011

GRW / 22

PROPERTY TYPE SUMMARY REPORT 2010 Listings by Property Type

April Units

YTD Units

April April Avg Price

Avg DOM

April Units

2011 % Change

YTD Units

% Change

April Avg Price

% Change

Avg % DOM Change

Sold

Under Contract

New

Available Inventory

Source: Greenwich Association of Realtors, 203-869-0240, grwassn@aol.com

17


PAGE 14 MAY 2011

REAL ESTATE IN-DEPTH

WESTCHESTER – PUTNAM HOME SALES STATISTICS NUMBER OF SALES 2008 - 2011 wESTCHESTER/PUTNAM COUNTIES

TOTAL ANNUAL SALES wESTCHESTER COUNTY 1992 - 2011

MEDIAN SALE PRICE 2008 - 2011 wESTCHESTER/PUTNAM COUNTIES

MEDIAN SALE PRICE wESTCHESTER COUNTY 2006 - 2011

END OF QUARTER INVENTORY wESTCHESTER/PUTNAM COUNTIES 2008-2011

SEASONALLY ADJUSTED QUARTERLY SALES wESTCHESTER/PUTNAM COUNTIES 2009-2011

18

END OF QUARTER INVENTORY wESTCHESTER COUNTY 2007 - 2011

SEASONALLY ADJUSTED QUARTERLY SALES wESTCHESTER COUNTY 2006 - 2011

Source: www.wpar.com, 914.681.0833, Real Estate in-depth, May 2011, page 14


Let’s Ready Your Home for sale

By Robbie Barnes

S

ome careful planning can make a good impression on potential buyers. In order to get a good selling price, here are some things to do. The first thing a prospective buyer sees is the front of your home. Make sure leaves are raked and flowers planted in planters or in the ground. Hoses, bikes, toys and other tools should be stowed away, and the entryway and door should have a fresh coat of paint or be thoroughly cleaned. Clean out the garage! Make sure it is swept clean and everything is in its place. Declutter! All those wonderful family pictures and mementoes belong out of sight. Light! Clean the windows! To show off the light in the house, make sure all light bulbs are bright and new. Rooms that require painting should be painted and carpets removed or cleaned to eliminate stains and pet odors. Wood floors should also be shown in good condition.

Sometimes a simple upgrade in the bathroom can do wonders. A new sink or faucet can have a large impact. The caulking or grout must be clean, complete and looking good. Replace the shower curtain and old towels with new ones. A well maintained home makes the best impression. Thoroughly clean everything. Counters must be clear and cleaned. Once the bulk of this is done and maintained, your house will be ready for buyers. Recycle! With all of the cleaning and decluttering there may be good items that you hate to throw away. Here is a list of organizations that can be of assistance: 8Habitat for Humanity, Good Will and the Salvation Army take appliances, furniture and other household goods. 8Earth911.com is good for mattresses, electronics, hazardous waste and more. 8For a small fee, 1-800-Got-Junk makes sure your junk gets recycled, disposed of responsibly or donated.

Robbie Barnes, realtor®, Weichert Realtors®, RobbieBarnes@ weichert.com, 203.526.9320, and 203.226.5100.

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Don’t Get Fooled as a Buyer or Seller By Drew Peterson

Y

ou may be familiar with the Chinese proverb, “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.” As a real estate agent since 1989, I have acquainted this proverbial phrase with recent negotiations from both buyer and seller perspectives in the current market in Southern Fairfield County, Connecticut. With respect to the proverb, sellers are often fooled into believing that the market has crystallized at the peak prices of 2006. At a listing presentation, sellers are anxious to learn what the property’s list price will be via the comparable market analysis prepared by the real estate agent. The reality of a fresh CMA is comprised of recent sales for the past 90 days. The CMA also is evaluated with emphasis on many variables including location, style and condition. I always prep my seller to understand that the property has to be “sold” to three distinct parties. With this understanding, a motivated seller will not be “fooled” by the market.

a property in contract may actually include recently recorded bankowned properties and short sales. These are not thrown on the side but can be used in an appraisal. Short sales and foreclosures can adversely affect a property’s value. I always inform my seller clients to realize that the first offer may not be the best offer; but, it could be the only offer. So, I would encourage the seller to present a counteroffer in lieu of an immediate rejection. Sellers are often amazed how a buyer who begins considerably lower than list price may ultimately split a difference, agree to a price in line with comparables, or consider other concessions to create a celebratory “meeting of the minds.” Buyers shouldn’t be fooled either. I have worked with buyers who despite evaluating a “fresh” review of the market prior to making an offer decide to make their offer considerably lower than the average list-to-sales-price ratio. Despite the optimism of presenting such a “low ball” offer, such buyers are surprised to learn that another offer has been accepted at a “higher” price. Have these buyers been duped? Why would a counter from the seller not be entertained? Isn’t this a market that is full of overpriced listings noted by daily media reports that the real estate market is sinking? This is what happens: a “low-ball” offer is submitted by a sincere buyer. The seller is quite taken aback and immediately urges the listing agent to contact all parties who may have shown interest in the property. The seller may instruct the listing agent to inform the other buyer agents to inform their respective buyer clients that an offer has come in and now is the time to “get off the fence.” So, the multiple offer scenario evolves. A buyer who may be waiting six months for a price to come down may very well hop off the fence very quickly knowing that “now” there is a threat to miss out on an opportunity of a lifetime. Bottom line, I don’t want any motivated seller or sincere buyer to be fooled even once in the current real estate market, so I offer some new proverbs: Sellers, if you are motivated to sell: “You can never price a property too low; market demand will adjust a property up if too low.” And for buyers: “A good value is only the one that you get title to!”

I always prep my seller to understand that the property has to be “sold” to three distinct parties. With this understanding, a motivated seller will not be “fooled” by the market.

1. The property has to be “sold” to the buyer looking for a property in the seller’s area. Initially, the majority of buyers search the Internet for the perfect house. Real estate websites including Weichert.com, REALTOR.com, Trulia and Zillow are searched enthusiastically by prospective buyers. Calls to my office include, “Can you show me MLS 9890004?” or “Why is the Zillow house estimated at $679,000 when it is listed by you at $875,000?” Yes, buyers can be fooled into believing that everything on a real estate website must be true. 2. The property has to be “sold” to other real estate agents who sell within an area. If a new listing is perceived to be overpriced, most buyer agents will be very forthright to their buyer clients. Hence, if a new listing is perceived to be overpriced, the first 30 days of showings at a “new listing” will be a barometer for any seller who receives feedback in lieu of an offer. In fact, many agents show overpriced listings as a means to sell other properties that are priced well. 3. When a bank intervenes, the property has to be “sold” to the bank’s appraiser. Independent appraisers are appointed by the bank to evaluate the property. Comparable sales used to evaluate

Drew Peterson, realtor, broker, drew@drewpeterson.net; www.drewpeterson.net; cell: 203-253-7653

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Is a Short Sale Really

W

Short?

By Gloria McDonald

henever we hear of a short sale, we get curious. Who doesn’t feel attracted to a bargain of any kind? Short sales occur when a bank allows the owner to sell a property for less than the balance owed to that bank. Due to economic conditions, some sellers who bought property at the peak of the market are below water on their equity. Some have experienced a loss of jobs or have financial situations that do not permit them to make their monthly payment on their mortgage. These sellers are applying for a short sale. Getting the bank to accept their situation is another story. And not a short one! For sellers, it is a possible way out, but not an easy one since they have to demonstrate to the bank that they really cannot meet those monthly payments due to a situation that was out of their control. When sellers present their application for a short sale to the bank, it must have all the documentation proving the actual situation along with an actual offer that the bank feels is reasonable. It’s a package, and it has to come together. For the buyer it looks very attractive—buying a property for less than the market price. But not everything is as shiny at it looks:

1

Short sale properties are not easy to get due to the considerable amount of offers the property generates. Multiple buyers are competing for that property, and the bank will go for the highest and most reliable offer. If you can offer cash for the asking price or more than the asking price, you are in a good position for your offer to be accepted. But this is just the beginning.

2

After the bank accepts your offer, be prepared to wait 3-6 months while the bank processes all the documentation, and there is no assurance that the bank is going to approve the short sale in the end. The bank may even try to renegotiate with the current owner to refinance the mortgage and keep things the way they are. You can pay for inspections, do all the paperwork to present the offer and even pay a deposit and after 3-6 months not get the property! You would have lost months of the buying process and other properties that you may have been interested in.

3

Short sale properties are purchased “as is,” which means you can do your inspection to know the condition of the house, but the bank is not willing to do any repairs. Typically, there is a considerable amount of renovation needed. Remem-

ber, the owner was in a difficult economic situation and most likely could not afford to maintain the property.

4

Check for any liens the property may have. Most of the time, the primary mortgage is not the only debt on the property. Many times there are two mortgages, which will make the short sale even more difficult as both lenders have to agree on the short sale. Also look for utility and tax liens. Sellers may have external debts related to the property. All of these have to be settled before the bank will accept the short sale or these debts may just get rolled into your purchase, resulting in an unwanted surprise at closing! You need to do your research before making an offer on a short sale, no matter how good the deal looks. Short sales are a great way to buy a property for a bargain price, but hire a real estate agent that can guide you through it—someone who knows the process and can work with you on each step. In addition, your agent may know of other properties that are not short sales and a good buy in this market without all the hassles. Short sales can be attractive, but beware the time and effort needed. Short sales are not really short!

Gloria McDonald, Weichert Capital Properties & Estates; Tel: 203-536-3895; Email: gloriamcdonald@optonline.net; www.gloriamcdonald.com

23


Timing Your Buying (or Renting) in a Soft Market By Marguerite Vauclair

I

s it better these days to buy or rent?

While a good number of home buyers remain on the sidelines, opting to rent until they feel more confident about their financial life and the real estate market, others are reading the writing on the wall: rental prices in our corner of the Fairfield County, CT/Westchester, NY market have started going up, especially in sought-after price ranges, driven by increasing demand. For example, in Greenwich, Stamford and White Plains, the year-to-year median rented prices for residential rentals in both April and May showed double-digit growth from 2010 to 2011, based on MLS statistics. The three locales also recorded median month-to-month gains in the three months ending May 2011, compared to a less steady performance a year earlier. Of the listings rented, many closed at or near asking price and occasionally above (particularly in Stamford), often the fruit of multiple offers. As rental prices rise, they start to equal and then surpass the cost of buying a home, which sends more buyers back into the real estate market, spurring it upward. So it’s good to keep an eye on the rental market. Meanwhile, buyers wanting to benefit from today’s low real estate prices in Greenwich and the surrounding area may find themselves running in circles trying to determine which homes among the wide selection available offer the best value and solutions for their needs and budget.

When the Market Turns Reaching decisions for these or other considerations is not always easy, especially in a difficult economy. Since trying to predict market bottoms and tops can be as elusive and risky as doing nothing, some buyers aim for anywhere in the bottoming-out phase. Generally, prices for single-family and income-producing multi-family homes stabilize and recover before prices for condos and co-ops, which lag in both rising and falling markets. Buyers in communities where prices are starting to stabilize are encountering what happens when the market begins 24

to awake: Other buyers are also looking to benefit from low home prices, leading to offers and closed sales which, in turn, have started leading to multiple offers and even bidding wars. Slowly but steadily increasing demand sets the stage for slowly but steadily increasing prices, for home purchases and rentals alike.

Ben Franklin’s Approach When looking to buy—or rent—in times like these, or in any kind of real estate market, it can be helpful to enlist the wisdom of the Ben Franklin method to help stay on track and reduce inherent emotional aspects. Here’s a modified version: 8On a piece of paper or an Excel spreadsheet, draw several columns. At the left, list all features and amenities you seek, as well as price range, location, square footage, fixing-up you’d be willing to do, and any “must not haves.” 8Include desired monthly outlay for taxes, insurance and, if you plan to get a mortgage, mortgage payments, based on the amount for which you have been pre-approved by a lender. Have your pre-approval letter updated every three months to keep it valid, and to stay informed of changes in lender requirements. 8Note your desired purchasing timeframe. 8Next, decide the top five features you must have, and five more you truly would like. 8At the top of the other columns, put the address of each property that catches your eye, then place a plus or minus sign to show whether it meets your criteria in the column at left. At the bottom, total the plus and minus signs, separated by a slash. 8Compare the totals. You may be in for some surprises and later find yourself reshuffling your “top 10 wants” to fine-tune your true needs in relation to your budget.

Adjusting Your Scenarios To help visualize how stabilization and an upturn in the real estate market might affect your purchasing power and timeframe, try the following: 8Make copies of your new-home sheet. On each copy, note a different possible timeframe and make adjustments to allow for potential increases in home prices and interest rates, as well as


their impact on your price range, pre-approved mortgage amount and downpayment.

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Best Staging Tips By Marjorie Marianacci

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etting your home ready to sell doesn’t have to be stressful. Remember: first impressions count. Prospective buyers will enjoy entering a home that smells fresh, is sparkling clean and shows spaciousness by being minimally furnished. Feng Shui practitioner Celeste Jeraci, of Celestial Harmonies, states, “energy enters and exits through the entrances of your home,” so it is important to check surroundings and make sure it is clean, swept and that nothing is broken or in disrepair. Shrubs should not obstruct the entry, and should be trimmed and healthy. Door knobs should maintain a shine that can be obtained by cleaning them with warm water and sea salt. Prior to prospective buyers arriving, sprinkle bird seed on the lawn area; it will help to increase earth energy.

10 BEST STAGING TIPS

1

Your grounds, landscaping and porches need to be tidy. Remove all refuse from the yard. Clean out and organize the garage and basement areas.

2

Front door should be scrubbed and painted with a welcoming ornament or wreath for warmth. The entry foyer needs to have sufficient light. A nice touch would be a soft green plant, fragrant flowers, potpourri or candles.

3

Clear out all clutter from rooms and counters, including excess furniture. Remember: “less clutter” means “more money.”

26

4

Pack up personal items, such as photos, awards, trophies, etc. They tend to distract buyers. The goal is to keep their focus on your home and enable them to envision themselves in it.

5 6 7

Fresh paint on the walls and woodwork goes a long way. Neutral colors only. Remove dated wallpaper. Buff or refinish hardwood floors, shampoo rugs, and remove old or stained carpeting. Wash windows and screens inside and out. Make sure shades and draperies are open before showings begin to let in the sunshine and light.

8 9

Increase the wattage of light bulbs in lamps and overhead lighting to illuminate your space. The kitchen must be clean and shiny. Counters must be clear and appliances scrubbed. The sink must be free of dishes. Always check for cooking odors. Use spray disinfectant before leaving.

10

Bathrooms need to sparkle! Tile and grout should be without soap film or mildew. Toilet seats must be lowered. Add a green plant and new towels for added pizzazz.

Entice buyers before showing by having all interior lights on with soft music playing in the background. Pets need to be contained in a clean cage that is covered to avoid being stressed when there are strangers in their home. Lastly, with everything in its place and a place for everything, you can relax and enjoy the positive results. The amount of effort you have put into preparing your home for sale will be rewarded with more interested buyers, a better offer and a faster sale.

Prospective buyers will enjoy entering a home that smells fresh, is sparkling clean and shows spaciousness by being minimally furnished.

Marjorie Marianacci, Weichert Capital Properties and Estates; 203-550-2933

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A home inspection should be performed on all properties, including single-family homes, multi-family homes or condos, regardless of age. Home inspections are usually conducted within the week after a buyer has an accepted bid and before final contracts are signed. A home inspection can have many parts to it and includes physical, radon, termite, lead, asbestos and mold testing. The physical inspection can include review of the home’s structure, mechanical systems, roof, environmental issues, well, septic, pool, water and oil tank. An inspection can take several hours to complete. The buyer finds out from the inspector what, if any, problems the home might have. Inspections are also a good learning experience for the buyers, enabling them to see how things work in the house and how to keep them in good shape. As the buyer, you should accompany the inspector, ask questions and receive a written report. Connecticut inspectors are licensed and should give you a copy of the CT Home

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24 Greenwich Ave., 2nd floor, Greenwich, CT 06830 Phone: (203) 869-7222 • Fax: (203) 869-0367 email: josehenriquesalon@gmail.com • www.josehenriquesalon.com

36


Independent Schools in Fairfield County BOYS’ SCHOOLS Brunswick School Students: 875 100 Maher Avenue, Greenwich 203-625-5842 Grade: PS-12 Fairfield Prep Students: 900 1073 N. Benson Road, Fairfield 203-254-4200 Grade: 9-12 Fairfield Country Day Students: 887 2970 Bronson Road, Fairfield 203-259-2723 Grade: K-9 GIRLS’ SCHOOLS Convent of the Sacred Heart Students: 720 1177 King Street, Greenwich 203-531-6500 Grade: PS-12 Greenwich Academy Students: 580 200 N. Maple St., Greenwich 203-625-8900 Grade: PS-12 Lauralton Hall Students: 453 200 High Street, Milford 203-877-2786 Grade: 9-12 Co-ed SCHOOLS All Saints School Students: 750 West Rocks Road, Norwalk 203-847-3881 Grade: PK-8 Bi-Cultural Day School Students: 400 2186 High Ridge Road, Stamford 203-329-2186 Grade: K-8 The Children’s School Students: 832 12 Gary Road, Stamford 203-329-8815 Grade: PS-8

Connecticut Friends School Students: 55 317 New Canaan Road, Wilton 203-762-9860 Grade: K-8

Pear Tree Point Students: 210 90 Pear Tree Point Road, Darien 203-655-0030 Grade: Pre-K-5

Eagle Hill School Students: 251 45 Glenville Road, Greenwich 203-622-9240 Ages: 6-16

Rye Country Day School Students: 800 Cedar Street, Rye, NY 914-967-1417 Grade: Pre-K-12

Eagle Hill-Southport Students: 111 214 Main St, Southport 203-254-2044 Ages: 6-16

St. Cecilia Elementary School Students: 310 1186 Newfield Ave., Stamford 203-322-6505 Grade: PK4, K-5

Greens Farms Academy Students: 600 35 Beachside Avenue, Westport 203-256-0717 Grade: K-12

St. Luke’s School Students: 490 377 N. Wilton Rd., New Canaan 203-966-5612 Grade: 5-12

Greenwich Catholic School Students: 480 471 North Street, Greenwich 203-869-4000 Grade: K-8

The Stanwich School Students: 437 257 Stanwich Rd., Greenwich 203-869-4515 Grade: K-12

Greenwich Country Day Students: 743 Old Church Road, Greenwich 203-863-5650 Grade: PS-9 King & Low-Heywood Thomas School Students: 840 1450 Newfield Ave., Stamford 203-322-3496 Grade: PS-12

Trinity Catholic High School Students: 420 926 Newfield Avenue, Stamford 203-322-3401 Grade: 9-12 Trinity Catholic Middle School Students: 235 948 Newfield Avenue, Stamford 203-322-7383 Grade: 6-8

Landmark Academy Students: 649 49 New Wilton Rd., Wilton 203-544-2222 Grade: PS-8 The Mead School Students: 435 1095 Riverbank Rd., Stamford 203-595-9500 Grade: Infants-8 New Canaan Country School Students: 680 545 Ponus Ridge, New Canaan 203-972-0771 Grade: PS-9

The Unquowa School Students: 303 981 Stratfield Rd., Fairfield 203-336-3801 Grade: Pre-K-8 Whitby School Students: 370 969 Lake Ave., Greenwich 203-869-8464 Grade: PS-8 The Wooster School Students: 440 91 Miry Brook Road, Danbury 203-830-3900 Grade: K-12 37


R J S RJS development coRp.

Jonathan W. Sparks, President (203) 536-7666 • JSParkS@oPtonline.net RJScuStombuildeRS.com

cuStom HomeS n Remodeling n additionS n alteRationS


Restaurant


JEAN‐LOUIS
 Today,
tomorrow
and
since
1985

 


JL2Go,
events
and
catering
by
JL
 


Lunch
Parisienne
$29
 Lunch
a
la
carte
 
 Dinner
Ballade
Gourmande
$59
 Dinner
Grand
tasting
menu
$69
 Dinner
a
la
carte
 
 Chef
bar:
4
seats
overlooking
the
kitchen
 At
the
chef
mercy
$49
 


61
Lewis
Street
–
Greenwich
 203‐622‐8450
 www.restaurantJeanLouis.com

 














 



Don Biagi

Landscaping & Design

Full Maintenance & Masonry

Call now to sChedule your Free Consultation on how to iMporve the look oF your hoMe

We’ve been serving the Greenwich area for the past 30 years

Call Toll Free: (203) 255-4128


IVEY, BARNUM & O’MARA, LLC

ATTORNEYS-AT-LAW We are a full service law firm with more than 30 attorneys providing quality legal services for over 60 years REAL ESTATE Vicki K. Comberiati • Wilmot L. Harris, Jr. • William I. Haslun Michael J. Jones • Donat C. Marchand • Michael P. Murray Steven B. Steinmetz • Tom S. Ward, Jr. LAND USE

ESTATE PLANNING

170 MASON STREET GREENWICH, CONNECTICUT 06830 TEL 203.661.6000 FAX 203.661.9462

CORPORATE

LITIGATION

65 LOCUST AVENUE NEW CANAAN, CONNECTICUT 06840 TEL 203.966.1492 FAX 203.966.3139

www.ibolaw.com


Bruce Museum 1 Museum Drive, Greenwich, Connecticut

The Bruce Museum promotes the understanding and appreciation of Art and Science to enrich the lives of all people.

AnOTher GreAT ThinG ABOuT Greenwich

One MuseuM Drive, Greenwich, cT BruceMuseuM.OrG


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