May 2008


It was a good week filled with pleasant surprises, a trip to the United Nations (yeah, I am that important…me and the entire Lisbon sixth grade!) and aside from some pending teenage angst…Its all good!

So my post this Friday is a link to a little real estate humor: 

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=wyUsYSqi02A

NO BLUES HERE!   Have a great weekend.

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Or, tea leafs, crystal balls, etc. etc.

Reading the economy news is depressing.  I just read the CNN Money report because the headline sounded so promising, “April Housing Sales have Higher than Expected Gains“…who doesn’t like the sound of that?  I got all jazzed because yikes, could the media be shifting tide and ready to share some the more uplifting housing news?

Well, apparently not, because the article was in no way as perky as the headline suggested.  I proceeded to read 3 additional articles…Less Americans Driving (Gee, I wonder why?), Welcome to the Recession (I kid you not…that was the title; that Alan Greenspan is just a regular ray of light) and an article on forecasting the major housing markets through 2009 which in my mind is the Crystal Ball Report (though I admit this was an interesting and realistic read)

And here I was feeling downright optimistic?  But I will not be swayed by CNN which has 24 hours of news programming to fill.  I tell you our market is improving and allow me to share my tried and true signs of determining conditions:

Inquiries, web hits on property have multiplied

Showings on property have increased

Days on market have stabilized and actually gone down year over year

Investors are getting back into the pursuit of real estate (got some calls from old friends I had not heard from in awhile…)

Price reductions are at lesser amounts and there are less of them daily on MLS

Thats my story and I am sticking to it!  The media can say what they will but six months from now they are likely to be reporting todays news.

 

 

Not quite…

Unofficially, summer kicks off this weekend so perhaps it is time to put that call into Mother Nature…she didn’t get the memo.

Out showing some houses yesterday…a 1900’s charming cape and grand contemporary in Canterbury, (of course)…it dawned on me that we are summer lacking this Memorial Weekend.  It is likely the winter coats worn by the kids that tipped me off and the cape has what is obviously a spectacular pool, patio, 3 season porch area which remains winter closed.  When the weather cooperates, that shall be a huge selling feature for the house.

Real Estate showings are so much more fun during the warmer months.  Every house has improved curb appeal, yards get far more scrutiny (it is far more pleasant to do so) and the focus shifts from steep driveways and heating costs to usable land and deck space.  Decks are huge; even REALTOR Magazine recently noted it as one of the best home improvements a seller can make.

Since I hear noone is driving anywhere at $4.12 per gallon (and I drive a Prius..still mad), why not work that yard, be sure to open that pool, pull out the deck furniture and focus on the outdoor living…even if you must do so in your parka :-)!

Happy Memorial Day!  Welcome to summer real estate!

 

And so it begins!  ‘Tis the season of education and municipal budget votes; it is enough to make the average home owner feel a bit faint.

Standing in the Lisbon Town Hall today, I witnessed democracy in action.  Lisbon goes to referendum vote Wednesday, May 21 (with a potential 2 to 1.5 mil increase depending on who you ask) and I got to witness an opinionated citizen in action.  This senior citizen was feeling a bit put upon with the likely increase to her taxes and uttered the words, “If taxes go up again, I won’t even be able to sell my house…”  Then she saw my name badge (as I was there on official REALTOR business) which resulted in a quick scuttle to the town clerks office.

Aside from being too funny, fear of hearing “Allow me to help you out with that” outweighed her need to comment further about pending tax increases, it was a smidge disappointing–I would have heard her out!  It is the quagmire all towns must deliberate– keeping taxes down and yet educate children and provide necessary services for citizens.

Now I dig that my snow gets plowed at the first flake and my kids get an education; I am willing to pay, just not too much…go figure.  I vote at every opportunity and will be there Wednesday at the town hall to cast my ballot.

Hope you rock your towns vote and have a say in your property taxes.  Even if you lose, your vote gives you the right to complain.  Not to mention, the referendum alone costs tax dollars so make it money well spent and VOTE!

 

Happy and proud, me and mine head towards the great state of Pennsylvania in celebration of a goal met and a future so bright!  My first niece is graduating from Penn State!

At the ripe old age of 22 Larisa is an inspiration.  She dares to try and goes forth seemingly unafraid; I admire that.  But this is a blog about real estate, and aside from boasting and bursting with pride, what does this have to do with that?  And so I segue…

A Generation Of Change Comes Hither

This brilliant niece (and I have several) has informed me that hers is to be the first generation to make less than their parents.  She also has no aspirations for the way big colonial house miles from her job…she is thinking streamlined and minimalistic (Note:  this attitude does not apply to bags, shoes, clothes, hmm!). 

I have read much about this growing phenomenon, apparently she is not alone.  It seems that NAR and the National Association of Builders have noted the growing trend toward downsized living.  It seems the trending has folks moving towards lifestyle choices where they do not wish to be beholden to long commutes, heavy mortgages, maintenance and utility bills…it is a work to live generation.

Gen Y seeks the environmentally friendly, high functioning, flexible use floor plan between 1300 and 1500 square feet.  Which is a huge departure from the 1800 average square feet to the grand of 2300 plus.   So builders, lenders and realtors take note, this group of highly focused, self starters are heading our way and they have very specific wants that will need catered to.  These upstarts know their way around a computer and utilize all the technology available to them.  They seek and find and are very comfortable with tech communication (think MySpace, Facebook, YouTube, text, email, etc).

To this generation of tech geniuses, I say go forth in your flip flops and scale back the world. 

To my fantastic niece, I say, my bologna has a first name..

Canterbury and I have become so close of late that my navigation system may be in danger of losing its job in this town!  It is incredibly odd how dependent I have become on this front seat driver–what would I do if she no longer nagged me to turn left in .2 miles on Lisbon Road?  Imagine if someone tried to pull that from the back seat?  But I digress…

Canterbury is of where I type!  Home of 38 active listings and 1 new one.  I have been stalking this town relentlessly for a couple of interested parties and while I have always been a fan of this Windham County town,  checking out the nooks and crannies has led me to fall in deep like.  I think I have a crush on what the town website dubs “a gem in Connecticut’s Quiet Corner”, Canterbury.

I have learned that Canterbury was previously part of Plainfield and was incorporated in 1703.  And another juicy tid bit, it is the birthplace of Moses Cleveland, founder of the City of Cleveland, Ohio.  It is the home of the Prudence Crandall museum which I must make a point to go visit. 

What I have seen is some gorgeous land with lots babbling brooks and streams.  The town covers some 40 square miles and its principal industries are dairy farms and small businesses.  It is true New England lovely; Canterbury does the small town thing quite well!

You can check out the official town web site at www.munic.state.ct.us (some gorgeous pics are on this site)

And the real estate is:

Total Active Listings:  39                           Range of value:  $65,000 to $574,900

Total Pending Listings:  4                          Range of value:  $63,900 to $300,000

Closed in last 60 days:  5                          Range of value:  $74,900 to $565,000

Average days on market:  67.8

Average sales price:  $249,360

And that’s because she is!

For the last couple of weeks, I have been running my business with a 3 year old in tow..oops, 3 and 10.5 months.  Olivia and I have been making the rounds, checking out the market and fielding the calls and emails.  Turns out she has strong opinions on real estate and Dora the Explorer .

This little girl is the queen of the snap judgement and finds particular joy in houses that have pink flowering trees.  But what my incredibly astute niece is really critiquing is curb appeal…and she knows it when she sees it.  We all do!  And I have discovered that the eyes of a 3 year old just get right to the point.

Olivia likes:

A nicely manicured lawn, it doesn’t have to be busy…just crisp, fresh and cared for.  Play ready.

Easy to navigate–no trick fences, free running animals (or their stuff) or odd structures.

Some decoration/ornamentation/elaboration – we drove by a nice cape with cedar siding which was a blank slate and she said it looked “sad”.  I say some color adding shutters and a few plantings and seasonal flowers with maybe an Adirondack chair outside would happy that house right up.

No Chaos is the rule…We played “which of these things doesn’t belong” and she got it right every time.  No works in progress vehicles, tools lying around, machinery; all very distracting from the property for sale–allow the house to take center stage.

Whatever the saying, houses are judged by their cover daily and harshly at that.  Good curb appeal is essential to selling a home.  The outside of your house must invite and speak to the inside quality as well.  You only get 1 chance to make a first impression, then hopefully score that showing date! 

PS-I didn’t just put my girl to work; we have had lunch dates, cookie breaks, watched Peter Pan and some crazy cartoon I have yet to figure out the name of, and visited pbskids.org (at 3 she has her websites memorized!)

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