Category Archives: Real Estate

Home Sale 2018 Recap – 2019 Forecast

This article covers the towns of Darien, Fairfield, Greenwich, New Canaan, Norwalk, Stamford, Weston, Westport and Wilton.

In 2018, home sales were down from 2017 in all towns except Greenwich and Norwalk. Darien down 14%, Fairfield down 7%, Greenwich up 12%, New Canaan down 15%, Norwalk up 2%, Stamford down .02%, Weston down 3%, Westport down 5%, Wilton down 10%.

The highest home sale for the area was in Greenwich at 207 Byram Road which sold in May for $17,000, 000. The second highest sale happened in Norwalk. Tavern Island sold for $7,850,000 in June. Spring is traditionally the time of year when we experience the most activity from home buyers, and 2018 was a typical year in that respect. Closings were highest in June, July and August which reflects the buyer activity from March through May as a typical closing will take anywhere from 30 to 60 days.

207 Byram Road, Greenwich

The new Federal tax law introduced in 2018 was a big hit to homeowners. The impact is particularly significant in areas like this where property values and taxes are higher than average. Tax rates for every town vary and are very often a determining factor when making a home purchase. In this area, property taxes are the lowest in Greenwich, followed by Darien, Westport, New Canaan, and Stamford respectively. Norwalk and Fairfield come next with very similar tax rates, followed by Wilton and Weston where the property taxes are the highest of the 9 towns.

It is worth noting that property taxes and property values can often go hand in hand. The lowest tax rates are often coupled with the highest property values, meaning it will cost more to purchase a property, but you will pay lower annual taxes. Below is the chart for this area:

For example: Using this chart for calculations, if you are purchasing a 3000 square foot home in Greenwich, the cost could be approximately $1,500,000 (511.00 x 3000) and your annual property taxes could be approximately $17,000 (11.87 x 1500). If you purchase the same home in Weston, the cost of the home may be approximately $660,000 (220 x 3000) with annual taxes of approximately $19,000 (29.39 x 660). This is a simple analogy which is not exact and does not take into account the many variables of how a home value is determined (condition, age, land, etc.) but demonstrates the concept of how values and property taxes relate in different locations.

To view a month by month report of sale statistics for 2018 in these 9 towns, my past monthly newsletters contain a chart for each month and can be found here.

So, what can we expect for 2019? Without a crystal ball there is no way to know. Join my monthly newsletter mailing list to stay informed on the local market activity and consider a few positive indicators that offer reason for optimism:

1) Although the state of Connecticut is experiencing a population decrease, the Fairfield County area is not. Proximity to NYC has a lot to do with this as well as the quality of lifestyle opportunities the area has to offer.

2) Millennial generation buying is predicted to increase in the next few years.

3) State initiatives for more affordable housing options and improved transportation for commuters are underway. The Connecticut Realtors Association is actively involved in efforts to boost the housing market in CT. Updates to legislation and other efforts are posted on their website: CTRealtors.com

There are many predictions for 2019 and it is a matter of preference which make the most sense to you. The following video and article are just two of many.

Video: Realtor.com chief economist gives prediction for 2019 …….

Article:  Goldman Sachs predicts 2019 Housing Market Performance…..

For local real estate information and advice, contact me anytime:
LizTardifRealEstate.com
Mobile: 203-246-9065
Email: LizTardifRealtor@yahoo.com

Tax Breaks for Renting Out Your Home

Rental properties in Connecticut are a good choice for many investors.  If you are considering purchasing a rental property or renting out your home, consult with a knowledgeable tax professional to verify how these new rules may apply to you.

Under the new tax law, you can get a tax break if you rent out your entire home or even a room in your home for at least 15 days in a given year.  As a short term landlord, you can get around the new law’s caps on deductions for property taxes and mortgage interest.  Example:  Your annual property taxes total $14, 000.  The new law allows you to deduct a maximum of $10,000 .  If you rent out 50% of your home for half the year, but use the home yourself for the other half,  you can deduct 50% of that six months’ worth of property taxes – or 25% of the total property tax bill, or $3,500 on federal Schedule E.  You can also deduct $10,000 on your Schedule A for itemized deductions, giving a total deduction of $13,500 rather than just the $10,000.

In addition, under the new law, for any first or second home you bought after 2017, you can deduct interest on up to $750,000 of the mortgage loan (compared with $1 million previously).  Rental property has no such cap.  If you rent out 50% of a home that carries a $900,000 mortgage, you can deduct interest paid on the first $750,000 of that loan as well as interest on the remaining $150,000.

If you choose the standard deduction rather than itemize, you can still take deductions corresponding to the amount of time your house, or a portion of it, was rented.  For more information, visit the IRS website or consult with a tax professional.

Thinking of a rental property for your own investment?   There are many options in lower Fairfield County.  Learn more by visiting LizTardifRealEstate.com or contact me directly at 203-246-9065.

 

Sell A Home In 10 Days

What does it take to sell a home in 10 days or less?  Luck or strategy?   Luck may help in some cases, but for the most part it is about the strategy.   A good selling strategy  must include the following:  preparation, pricing, presentation and promotion and every one of these must be optimized to get the best result.

To hear how it is done, come to the Norwalk City Hall on October 10 at 6:30 pm in the Community Room for an informative presentation by the Mid-Fairfield County Association of Realtors.

If you miss the presentation you can request copies of the complimentary handouts.   A preview of what will be discussed:

Prepare, prepare, prepare.  Getting a home and a seller ready and prepared for the market is the first step, and a critical one.   There are many things a home seller can do to avoid costly mistakes and delays.  We give you a list of 15 things to do that will optimize the marketing process and contribute to a stress-free transaction.  Many items on this list are things that will need to be done when moving, and doing them now will make the moving process that much easier.  Request complimentary copies of “Preparing Your Home For Sale” and/or the “Moving Checklist”. 

Pricing is paramount.   There is no exact science to pricing a home, but you can increase your chances of getting it right by using every tool available.    Have at least 3 Realtors prepare a Current Market Analysis (CMA).  There is no cost and 3 opinions are better than one.   Third party resources (Zillow, Redfin)  offer tools to determine a home value but values are calculated using algorithms and a variety of  on line sources, not by viewing the property.  Accuracy can be up to 40% off so additional information is always needed.     Appraisals are another option.  There is a fee, but it is an option worth considering.  Any buyer requiring a mortgage will need to get a formal appraisal for the lender.   It is a similar process to the Realtor CMA but more mathematical and good information to have.  Once you have determined a market value,  use this chart as a guide for pricing effectiveness in attracting buyers.

The next step will be presentation.  The last thing a seller wants to do is spend money on a home they are selling, but a few dollars invested in presentation is a good investment.   Home staging may seem like an unnecessary expense, but it is much less costly than a price reduction if the home is not selling due to presentation.   When your home enters the market, it will be competing with other homes in the same price range.  Think of it like a job interview.  You wouldn’t show up ungroomed in an old suit.  You would be eliminated and only help make the  competition look good.    It is the same in the housing market.   There is a lot of competition.  Buyers look on line first and photography is important.   A home must be staged to get good photos for the on line presence.  Staging companies offer a wide variety of services, and the National Association of Realtors provides a comprehensive report on the ROI of staging a home for sale.  It is always worth it.    Download the NAR Home Staging Document here.

Finally, once you have the price and the home is properly prepared, you will want to promote it everywhere.  Yard signs, Realtors and the internet are your best ways to connect to a buyer.  See the chart below to see where buyers come from. 

Be as flexible as possible with showings and open houses and make it as easy as possible for buyers to view the home.  Having your home on the market is not a fun process, and you want to make it as quick and efficient as possible so you can move on with your life and plans.

For more information on “Selling Your Home in 10 Days” or to know the value of your own home, call or text 203-246-9065 or request a personal home evaluation here.

Hope to see you 6:30 pm on October 10 at the Norwalk City Hall. 

Declining CT Population?

 

Connecticut has been experiencing a population decline, but that is not necessarily the case in Fairfield County.    Our population increased by almost 50,000 from 2013 to 2017 while the rest of the state saw a decrease in population.  According to the US Census report, over 2500 residents migrated from the New York burroughs to Fairfield County between 2011 and 2015.

Millenials are trying to strike a balance between commuting and affordability and Fairfield County offers the rural, white picket fence neighborhoods and towns where they want to raise families.  With more attractive property tax rates, an upscale lifestyle, the comforts of the suburbs and close proximity to New York City,  Fairfield County remains a highly desirable destination.

For the latest home sale statistics in Fairfield County’s most active commuter towns,  see my published newsletters.

To search for properties or receive a personal current market analysis for your home, visit my website:  LizTardifRealEstate.com.

The National Association of Realtors publishes an annual report on nationwide Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends.  Below is their 2018 report.

The Art and Real Estate Connection

There is no better way to showcase original art than in a setting where it can be appreciated for the visual value it adds to a space.  And there is no better way to enhance an interior space than with original art.  It’s personal, individual and unique.

Below are images of an art exhibit installed at a newly constructed home in Westport.  The home is expertly built and staged but the biggest treat is the art and the way it breathes life into the space.  Without the art, the space would not have the same energy and pizzazz.

When buying a new home or moving into a new space, allow some room in the budget for art.

Enjoy this preview to see a bit of the home and the art:

Art by John Newcomb and Jeffrey Starkes, – exciting, energetic, and stimulating.

We selected work by two different artists to add energy and inspiration for conversation and dining.  Red was the perfect color.  Red has always been a favored color for dining rooms.   It is strong, warm, energetic and stimulates the appetite.    We installed three original paintings that complement and coordinate well with each other to create an inspiring atmosphere in this neutral dining room.    We loved the work selected and were even more delighted with the titles of the work  –  “Seafood Salad”,  “Seeking Consensus” and “Tea Party”…..perfect for a dining room.   The three uniquely different styles of art playfully working together in this room creates a visual experience that would delight any guest.

Art by Lisa Cuscuna in the Living Room – calm yet dramatic landscape, and Jeffey Starkes in the Foyer – welcoming and cheerful.

A view from the living room to the entry foyer shows two works of art – a contemporary landscape by Lisa Cuscuna and an abstract by Jeff Starkes.  The intent for this wall in the living room was to inspire relaxation and calm.   This piece is quiet and serene and works well with the work we selected from two additional artists featured in the same room.  In the entry foyer, we wanted to portray a welcoming feeling.  The cheerful colors and playful composition of this beautifully executed abstract oil on canvas does just that.    The view from this angle shows the importance of a well coordinated selection.    Although these two pieces are not displayed in the same room, the foyer is very visible from this position in the living room which makes the partnering of the two pieces something worth considering.

Inspiring conversation while adding a dramatic splash of color, we have a large and playful piece by John Newcomb with a group of solar etchings by Nancy McTague-Stock above the sofa. Color and drama against a neutral and calming background.

The living room features work by John Newcomb (left) and Nancy McTague-Stock.   When selecting art for this room, we wanted something fun and a little dramatic that would make a statement and also stimulate conversation.  This large piece called “Vanity” is the focal point of the room.    The four solar etchings worked perfectly pulling in the strong blues in the larger piece while complementing and highlighting the builder’s molding design on the wall.     The mix of styles in this room creates a definite personality.   Guests may not remember the sofa or the coffee table, but they will definitely remember the art.

There are several more rooms featuring original art in this home and all the art is for sale.  The home is currently on the market listed by The Higgins Group Real Estate.  Staging was done by Staging Sells and the art installation was provided by Cherry Street Art.

Call or text today for a personal visit to see the home and the art:
203-246-9065

Art Raises Real Estate Values

What happens when a group of artists set up shop in an undesirable  community or lower rent district?    Things start to transform.   Slowly, or not so slowly, the neighborhood takes on a new aura and personality becoming more appealing and driving rents and real estate values up.

Loft Artist Association, Pacific Avenue, Stamford

Examples can be found all over the country and in our own local area as well.  Connecticut is rich with art associations who have set up residence in affordable abandoned buildings only to find that, once their presence has been established, they are pushed out to make room for new development projects.

If you are keeping your eye out for a good real estate investment, think like a developer.   Many follow the artists to find the best locations for their future projects.

Along the High Line, New York City

Read more about how art impacts real estate values …..

Art transforms our homes, buildings and neighborhoods with beauty and visual stimulation creating inspiring live and work environments.   To enhance your space with visual art, contact Cherry Street Art Consultants for the best guidance in selecting the perfect art for you.

 

April Update – Home Sale Statistics – Buyer Homework

When buying a home in Connecticut it pays to be prepared and informed.  Use this checklist to know how to position yourself best for a successful and rewarding  real estate transaction.  

Home Sale Statistics 

Home sales for the month of March were up from the previous month in almost all towns, except Darien.

The three highest sales were in the towns of Greenwich, New Canaan and Darien respectively.  All three sales were around $6.0 million.   My monthly home sale report is focused on the 9 towns of Darien, Fairfield, Greenwich, New Canaan, Norwalk, Stamford, Weston, Westport, and Wilton, which represent a wide variety of communities and home values and are also the towns with the most active real estate markets in Southern Fairfield County.   Seeing the statistics for each town and how they relate to each other is helpful information to understand the difference in markets and current home buying trends.  To see the full report for April, view the newsletter here.  

142 Cedar Cliff Road, Greenwich, Sold for $6,375,000, Listed by Halstead Properties and sold by a non-MLS member.

507 Smith Ridge Road, New Canaan, Sold for $6,100,000, listed by Houlihan Lawrence and sold by Coldwell Banker

32 Pasture Lane, Darien, Sold for $5,775,000, listed by Halstead Properties and sold by Houlihan Lawrence

Greenwich continues to lead in home values and is a highly desirable location due to it’s proximity to New York City and the attractive property tax rate which is the lowest in all Fairfield County.    Darien and New Canaan follow with the second and third lowest taxes and highest property values.   Westport property taxes are the fourth lowest and their property values typically hold the 4th highest spot.  Each one of these nine towns and cities offers a different flavor in lifestyle and all are desirable areas to live depending on personal preferences.

For more information on finding a property in Southern Fairfield County, learning about the community demographics, calculating a mortgage or finding an agent, please visit LizTardifRealEstate.com 

If you reside in the area and would like to know the current market value of your own home, request a personal and complimentary market analysis here.  

 

February Home Sales for Lower Fairfield County

For the month of February there  were a total of 176 sales in the towns of Darien, Fairfield, Greenwich, New Canaan, Norwalk, Stamford, Weston, Westport, Wilton.    18 of those were over $2.0 million which represents about 10% of the market.  Greenwich and Westport both had the highest sales for the month.

18 Oneida Court in Greenwich sold for $4,700,000
2 Pritchard Lane in Westport sold for $3,450,000.
For more details see my March Newsletter.  

18 Oneida Court, Greenwich

2 Pritchard Lane, Westport

We are well into the Spring market and inventory levels are still on the lower side.  Market times in many towns improved over last month as well as the selling prices per square foot.  Both good signs for the market in general although the selling activity remains unremarkable for the month of February.    Below are the February  numbers for our lower Fairfield County towns.  Values and market times vary depending on the market diversity.   Fairfield, Norwalk and Stamford will always have the highest number of sales as their markets are the most diverse but property values continue to remain highest in Greenwich, Darien and Westport, respectively.


To find out what your home is currently worth in today’s market, click here for a complimentary market analysis

January Home Sales for Lower Fairfield County

January home sale statistics for lower Fairfield County covering the towns of Darien, Fairfield, Greenwich, New Canaan, Norwalk, Stamford, Weston, Westport and Wilton, are available in my February Newsletter,  just published.

38 Parsonage Road, Greenwich, Listed by Halstead Properties, Sold by Houlihan Lawrence

The highest sale for January was 38 Parsonage Road in Greenwich.  Originally asking $7,999,000, this property finally sold for $6,815,000 after 934 days on the market.    The home featured over 9700 square feet of living space, 18 rooms, 8 en-suite bedrooms, 10 full and 3 partial baths, 6 fireplaces sitting on almost 4 acres of land.  The average market time to sell a home in Greenwich was about 200 days in January.

Market times vary month to month and town to town, but for the most part, the areas with the most diversified markets will report the shortest average market times.   Sales in the high end of the market (over $2 million) accounted for about 10% of all sales in January with an average market time of over 200 days.

The lowest sale for the month of January was 14 Campfield Drive, Fairfield, selling for $192,00 and closing in 58 days.   This half duplex home featured about 780 square feet, 4 rooms, 2 bedrooms and 1 bath.

14 Campfield Drive, Fairfield, Listed by William Raveis, Sold by William Raveis

The Fairfield County real estate market is very competitive for sellers regardless of what town.  Buyers determine the selling prices, not sellers, and if you want your home to have the best chance to sell fast and for the highest price, it pays to invest in the presentation.   The National Association of Realtors explains what  every seller needs to know about the value of staging.  Check out their video below…..

Video: What Every Seller Needs to Know About the Value of Home Staging

Southern Fairfield County Single Family Home Sales – New Tax Legislation

Greenwich and Fairfield compete for the highest sale in the month of December

37 Calhoun Drive, Greenwich Listed by Houlihan Lawrence, Sold by Berkshire Hathaway

Selling for $5,925,000 after several years on the market, 37 Calhoun Drive features over 9,000 square feet of living space, 20 rooms, 8 bedrooms, 8 full and 2 half baths and sitting on 3.18 acres of land located in a private association close to Greenwich center.

210 Sasco Hill Road, Fairfield Listed by Riverside Realty, Sold by William Raveis Real Estate

Selling for $5,862,500 also after several years on the market, 210 Sasco Hill Road features over 11,000 square feet of living space, 16 rooms, 7 bedrooms, 9 and 1/2 baths and sitting on 2.38 acres overlooking Southport Harbor.  This home has the longest water frontage on the harbor with breathtaking views.

My January Newsletter with the latest single family home statistics can be viewed here.

New Tax Legislation

The National Association of Realtors has provided an extensive summary on the impact of the recent federal tax reform on homeowners and real estate professionals.   Below is a brief summary on the mortgage interest deduction and the state and local taxes.    To read the full report, click here……

Mortgage Interest Deduction
  • The final bill reduces the limit on deductible mortgage debt to $750,000 for new loans taken out after 12/14/17. Current loans of up to $1 million are grandfathered and are not subject to the new $750,000 cap. Neither limit is indexed for inflation.
  • Homeowners may refinance mortgage debts existing on 12/14/17 up to $1 million and still deduct the interest, so long as the new loan does not exceed the amount of the mortgage being refinanced.
  • The final bill repeals the deduction for interest paid on home equity debt through 12/31/25. Interest is still deductible on home equity loans (or second mortgages) if the proceeds are used to substantially improve the residence.
  • Interest remains deductible on second homes, but subject to the $1 million / $750,000 limits.
  • The House-passed bill would have capped the mortgage interest limit at $500,000 and eliminated the deduction for second homes.
Deduction for State and Local Taxes
  • The final bill allows an itemized deduction of up to $10,000 for the total of state and local property taxes and income or sales taxes. This $10,000 limit applies for both single and married filers and is not indexed for inflation.
  • The final bill also specifically precludes the deduction of 2018 state and local income taxes prepaid in 2017.
  • When House and Senate bills were first introduced, the deduction for state and local taxes would have been completely eliminated. The House and Senate passed bills would have allowed property taxes to be deducted up to $10,000. The final bill, while less beneficial than current law, represents a significant improvement over the original proposals.

To search for homes, research community information or calculate a mortgate, visit my website.