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Real Estate in Winter, Buyers Are Out There. Plus Local Buzz and Listings!

It's Winter, and what does that mean to those in Real Estate? Probably the number one questions I get is, "Should I list my house in the Winter?"  YES!  Let’s go over some real estate facts:

  1. Due to the Internet, people search for homes all year.  The Spring Season for Realtors® starts in January and February. Families that need to have children in school in September begin looking in late Winter, early Spring.  Weather plays a role, it may slow things down, but does not bring things to a halt.

This past Sunday I had scheduled an open house.  The weather was miserable and the seller and I toyed with the idea of cancelling.  The open house was all over the internet, so if one person showed up and saw that it was cancelled, I would have pissed them off.  I forged onward.  When I opened the door, five families were waiting outside to see the home.  I don’t know if any of them will buy this house, but I am so glad I was there.  Many of the folks at my open hous did complain that they went to other open houses and no one was there. 

This past weekend, was not the first time. Two winters ago I sat in one of my open houses as the snow piled up.  Three families in SUVs came by.

People looking for homes, look for homes.  Not everyone does, but enough people go out and about in bad weather.   That said, please do not risk your safety to view a home.  If you want to see a home but can’t get to the open house or an appointment due to bad weather, call your Realtor.  If you are just beginning the search and don’t have a realtor – call me.   You can always call the listing broker to check on the status of an open house in questionable weather.

As the home owner, you have to be prepared for this.  Driveways and walkways need to be plowed and salted.  It is fine to request that people take off their shoes or wear booties in bad weather, or at any time.  

Any questions?  Feel free to reach out to me with all of your real estate questions or issues.

The Local Buzz 

It's award season, and what a season it is.  Great movies like Lion, La La Land, Fences and Moonlight, just to name a few.  We have gotten through many award shows already, but the Oscars are coming up.  In Avon Theater fashion, you can party with the Avon on Oscar night.  Walk the Red Carpet at 7:00pm when the Oscar-Party festivities kick-off with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. Enjoy the LIVE telecast of the Red Carpet arrivals in Hollywood on the Avon’s big screen! The official 89th Annual Academy Awards telecast with host Jimmy Kimmel begins at 8:30pm. Following the announcement of the Best Supporting Actor Award, a buffet supper will be served. Giovanni Gentile, the owner of Stamford’s popular Capriccio Café and Bar Rosso, has designed a special menu to celebrate the cuisine and wines from his Puglia, Italy for this special Oscar celebration. Prizes will be awarded to the Best Dressed Male and Female in two categories: Best Glamorous Hollywood attire and Best Summer of Love 1967 attire in honor of our celebration of the films of 1967. For further information, call 203-661-0321 or email lgreene@avontheatre.org.

Listings

RARE MULTI-GENERATIONAL OPPORTUNITY.   MLS 99171541, $869,000.  Move right in to this one-of-a kind, stylish, spacious, updated 5/6 BR, 3 full/1half bath Contemporary on a desirable cul-de-sac in North Stamford. Open floor plan & strategically placed skylights lets the sun pour in. Updated new EIK with high end stainless appliances, quartz counters. FR with FPL, sliders to the deck. Hardwood floors throughout. Large MBR with walk-in closet, cozy sitting area with a FPL, master bath w/quartz counters & hydro-tub. Three more generously sized bedrooms complete the UL. Two bedroom/1 bath in-law suite on the main level with all new appliances and granite counters. In-law LR opens to the back deck, plus a separate entrance. All new insulation, duct work throughout.  For more photos and information, see our website.

 

Unique, Stunning Contemporized Colonial on upscale cul-de-sac in North Stamford.  MLS 99171597, $799,000 Newer kitchen with hardwood floors, stainless appliances and marble countertops. Newly refinished hardwood floors throughout. Living room boasts a large circular window, French doors to the deck, vaulted ceiling and stone fireplace. Dining room has French doors to the deck that spans the entire back of the home. Two additional bedrooms with hardwood floors & ceiling fans and renovated full bath complete the main level. Master bedroom with leaded-glass block privacy wall, two oversized walk-in closets, full bath with marble shower and Jacuzzi tub. Fourth bedroom, full bath complete the upper level. Sprinkler system, dog fence. Minutes to Merritt, shopping.  For more photos and information, see the associated website.

 

Sought after Hycliff Association- MLS 99171642, $590,000. Classic Center Hall Colonial. Open the front door into a lovely, stone-floored foyer. Large, sunny Living Room with fireplace. Cheerful, formal Dining Room opens to Kitchen with silostone counters, hardwood floors, and pantry. Family room has walk out to stone patio and level, fully-fenced backyard. upstairs you find three large bedrooms, two full baths with newly refinished hardward floors. Windows have lifetime guarantee. Newer roof. Access to Hycliff association pool, playground and tennis courts. Great storage. Close to Brennan golf course, train station, walk to Ridgeway Shopping Center. So much potential, worth a look.

 

Premiere, Downtown Living.  MLS 99166941, $385,000. Large two bedroom, two bath in one of Stamford's most premier condominiums. The great experience starts when you walk into the elegant lobby with the 24 hour doorman.The apartment opens into a large living room with sliders to the balcony. The eat-in kitchen with top of the line cabinets and access to the large dining room. The open floor plan let's light shine through the whole living room/kitchen areas. Master bedroom has a full bath. Together with the second large bedroom & full bath, you have the perfect in-town living space. Washer/dryer in the unit. The community room with full kitchen is the perfect spot for entertaining or just playing cards. Not to be outdone, the pool and gym complete the picture of wonderful downtown living. For more photos and information check out our website.  Also for rent!

 

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Stamford Real Estate- The Year in Review. Plus, Local Buzz- Curtain Up and Listings

Wow, 2016 flew by. How did the world of real estate do in 2016?  In Stamford, single family home median prices stayed about the same in the mid-$500K range.  The charts below show us that the greatest number of sales continue in the $400-600K range.  

 

 

  • In 2015, there were slightly more homes sold at all ranges below $800K. This drove the median price in 2016 down by about 2%.
  • Above $800K, 2015 and 2016 had approximately the same number of sales.
  • If we look at some of the larger zip codes, 
    • 06902 includes Shippan, The Cove and Westover as well as some of the Mid-Ridges.  There is a large price spread among those areas and that explains the large number of sales at the lower price ranges and again at  upper price ranges. 
    • 06903 is North Stamford where the number of sales increase at $500k and over
    • 06905 contains Strawberry Hill up through the mid-ridges and dominated the $400-600 range.

 

 

This was the year of the condo! The median price is up at about 7%. If we look at the number of sales in 2016, it is ahead of 2015 across the board. 

So, what can we make of this? There are great homes and condos in Stamford at great prices. Inventory for both single family homes and condos sits at 5 months, which is indicative of a balanced market - not favoring buyers or sellers right now. If you need more information about real estate in Stamford or any other area, contact me and I will be happy to get the data to you.  Of course, contact me with all of your real estate needs.

Local Buzz - Curtain Up! 

Stamford is very fortunate to have a year 'round, nonprofit producing theatre company, offering 10 to 12 (or more) full-scale productions each year in our two venues: The Kweskin Theatre - a 184-seat traditional auditorium and The Dressing Room Theatre - a 100-seat cabaret-style, 3/4 thrust stage venue.

Professionally managed but primarily a volunteer organization, Curtain Call is the proud recipient of: The Governor's Award for Excellence in Culture & Tourism; an ACE Award from the Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County; and, has been named the area's Best Local Theatre 10 years in a row. 

This year, Curtain Call has a full schedule of fabulous shows.  The current production is the funny Delvan Divas.  For the more serious, check out Days of Wine and Roses.  For the hippies amongs us, or just The Who admirers, Tommy is being offered.  For a full list of productions and schedules, check out Curtain Call.

 

Listings

Premiere, Downtown Living.  MLS 99166941, $385,000. Large two bedroom, two bath in one of Stamford's most premier condominiums. The great experience starts when you walk into the elegant lobby with the 24 hour doorman.The apartment opens into a large living room with sliders to the balcony. The eat-in kitchen with top of the line cabinets and access to the large dining room. The open floor plan let's light shine through the whole living room/kitchen areas. Master bedroom has a full bath. Together with the second large bedroom & full bath, you have the perfect in-town living space. Washer/dryer in the unit. The community room with full kitchen is the perfect spot for entertaining or just playing cards. Not to be outdone, the pool and gym complete the picture of wonderful downtown living. For more photos and information check out our website.  Also for rent!

 

 

 

 

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    Contractor Checklist - Before the Work Starts. Plus Local Buzz and Listings

    Once you have interviewed various contractors, there are some things you should discuss before the work starts.  First, I prefer to get a contractor from a personal reference.  If you go to Home Advisor or anyone's 'list,' talk to real people that have used them and find out what worked well and, what didn't work out so well. As part of the contract process with your contractor, get their insurance papers and license information.  In Connecticut, contractors are licensed. 

    Now, set some ground rules:

    • What days and hours will the work take place?  Will they be working nights and weekends?  How will the noise impact your life and those of your neighbors?  
    • How will the refuse be handled?  Will there be dumpsters?  How many, how big and for how long?  How will this impact parking around the property?
    • How will trash and recycling pick-up be impacted?
    • Security - How will the contractor and their team get into the house? Who gets a key, or will someone let them into the property?  Can you assign a temporary code if you have an alarm system to the work people?  Get contact information, phone numbers and emails, for the contractor and employees that are the in charge of the various parts of the work. 
    • How will you get project information?  How often will you get updates, who will update you and how?  Do you want a daily email?  How about a phone call twice a week on Tuesday/Thursday at 7PM?  Make sure everyone knows the frequency and method of communications.  Be specific as to who gets the info?  Should all messages be to one person or more than one at a time?  When are telephone calls or emails okay, versus when do you want face-to-face communications?  All of this should be worked out before any work starts. 
    • Let your neighbors know there is work going on.  It is good to give your neighbors a heads up to the work and the estimated length of the work as their lives may be impacted.  A bottle of wine couldn't hurt. 
    • Before any work starts, make sure your contractor knows the locations of all of the utility controls and meters.
    • Other vendors impacted.  If you have landscapers, house cleaners, or other folks coming to the house regularly, make sure your contractor and the vendors are aware of the work. 
    • Pets?  Talk to your contractors about how the pet will be handled during the work.  You may have to confine them or remove them for a short period depending on the type of work.  Noise can be stressful for some pets, there may be work or chemicals that are dangerous to the pets as well.  Work it out beforehand so you can make plans for yourselves and the pet(s).

    I trust you found this useful. Let me know of any hair-raising adventures you have had during construction in your home.  Of course, contact me with all of your real estate needs. 

     

    Local Buzz - New Year's Eve in CT! 

    Who said Connecticut is a sleepy little bedroom community?  It's time to get crazy on New Year's Eve.  Looking for something to do? Check out 24 Things to do in CT.  From concerts, to dance parties, to food and bar hopping, all across the state.  Enjoy and HAPPY NEW YEAR.

    Listings

    Premiere, Downtown Living.  MLS 99166941, $385,000. Large two bedroom, two bath in one of Stamford's most premier condominiums. The great experience starts when you walk into the elegant lobby with the 24 hour doorman.The apartment opens into a large living room with sliders to the balcony. The eat-in kitchen with top of the line cabinets and access to the large dining room. The open floor plan let's light shine through the whole living room/kitchen areas. Master bedroom has a full bath. Together with the second large bedroom & full bath, you have the perfect in-town living space. Washer/dryer in the unit. The community room with full kitchen is the perfect spot for entertaining or just playing cards. Not to be outdone, the pool and gym complete the picture of wonderful downtown living. For more photos and information check out our website.  Also for rent!

    There's Always Something. Plus Local Buzz - Nutcracker Time and Listings

    I believe it was Rosanne Rosannadanna (a.k.a. the wonderful Gilda Radner) who said, "it just goes to show you, it's always something! If it's not one thing, it's another!"  That is true in all aspects of life, but none so true as real estate.  No matter how pristine a home or apartment, there is always something. 

    As a consumer, you know that e`veryone has that 'thing' that bothers them or they love.  For example: one client only wanted a bathroom with glass doors, no shower curtains, and a southern exposure.  Sometimes the apartment is on too high a floor, or perhaps too low a floor. The home is not new enough, or has been updated, but not to their tastes.  The driveway is too long or too steep.  The doorways are too narrow or too wide.  The kitchen only has one dishwasher, or why do I need two dishwashers?  I had a mother of young woman ask me why anyone in the world would want a master bedroom on the main level.  Meanwhile this is a major selling point for many people.  Why are there so many trees so close to the house?  The key here -- Good Realtors take the time to understand what any particular client's requirements are. 

    If you have ever tried to buy or sell property, then you know that there are a million things that can take a great deal and drive it to the ground at any time.  Two weeks before closing, the sewer assessment shows up. Both the buyer and seller are totally unaware that an assessment was coming.  The radon is high and the seller won't budge on price or put in a radon system.  There are bats in the attic.

    Sometimes,the seller decides they can't leave, they pull the listing.  The buyer decides not to buy or rent in town, they are moving elsewhere. Transfers come and go. In Stamford condominiums, the buyer gets the HOA papers after the contracts are signed, and the buyer has time to review and cancel based on the HOA papers. So, some mortgages require the HOA have a certain level of monies set aside for emergencies or capital improvements.  If they don't, no mortgage, no deal.  Ask any Realtor® and they will have stories that will give you nightmares.  Many of them, you just can't make up. You may have many of these tales to tell yourself.

    What do you do when faced with an unexpected issue?  First, consider all of the options.  I believe the last option is to call off a deal. Think about various choices, think out of the box. Sometimes what may seem crazy is doable. Be aware that this can be a repetitive process, as there may be more than one issue cropping up. Sometimes it works, sometimes the opportunity evaporates. When that happens, file it away and move on to your next opportunity. 

    I know that I am not the only one that has stories to tell, so take a minute and tell me yours.  And of course, contact me with any of your real estate needs. 

     

    The Local Buzz - Time for the Nutcracker 

    Are you ready for Sugar Plum Fairies to dance or to see the world shrink around you so that you are the same size as the mice?  Then head on over to the Stamford Palace for the incomparable Nutcracker Suite.  It is  a great performance with ballet stars from the American Ballet Theater and the New York City Ballet.  Click here for more information on performances and tickets. 

     

    Listings

    Premiere, Downtown Living.  MLS 99166941, $385,000. Large two bedroom, two bath in one of Stamford's most premier condominiums. The great experience starts when you walk into the elegant lobby with the 24 hour doorman.The apartment opens into a large living room with sliders to the balcony. The eat-in kitchen with top of the line cabinets and access to the large dining room. The open floor plan let's light shine through the whole living room/kitchen areas. Master bedroom has a full bath. Together with the second large bedroom & full bath, you have the perfect in-town living space. Washer/dryer in the unit. The community room with full kitchen is the perfect spot for entertaining or just playing cards. Not to be outdone, the pool and gym complete the picture of wonderful downtown living. For more photos and information check out our website.  Also for rent!
     

     

     

     

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      Welcome to My New Website. Plus the Local Buzz and Listings.

      "Brand is just a perception, and perception will match reality over time. Sometimes it will be ahead, other times it will be behind.  But brand is simply a collective impression some have about a product."   Elon Musk

      So, Elan Musk, the inventor and CEO of Tesla Motors knows about brand management. Mention the word 'Tesla' and you get the image of the sleek electric cars that cost the same as one year college tuition at an Ivy League school.  The same great thoughts pop into your head when you hear 'Apple' or 'Nike.'  Realtors® offer products just like any consumer product you can hold in your hand, eat, wear, or drive.  We offer our services, and ourselves.  We help you buy or sell a huge asset.  In many cases we help you pack up your memories and move on to create new memories.

      If you are buying a home, we work to understand what you are looking for and then we help you find it.  We look through pages of potential homes to weed out the ones that don't meet your requirements, so you see the ones that fit your needs.  It may take a week, a month, or years, but we stay with you.  Once you find your home, condo or apartment, we are with you through inspections, negotiations, and closing.  We advise when we can, and we point out the good and the bad in any situation.  

      If you are selling, we help you from the minute we have to stage your home to help you sell it faster, until the last box is packed and out the door.

      At William Pitt Sotheby's, the logo is the pineapple.  The pineapple is recognized as a traditional expression of “welcome” throughout the South and in areas along the Eastern Seaboard. Appearing on all sorts of décor – from door knockers to quilts – the fruit symbolizes those intangible assets we appreciate in a home: warmth, welcome, friendship and hospitality.  That is part of my logo, not my brand.

      I hope that when you hear my name you think of a realtor that works hard to meet your requirements.  A Realtor with integrity and good taste, that works with you to achieve your goals.  A Realtor that delivers on all of her promises, that uses all forms of media and marketing to promote your properties. I position myself as the 'Neiman Marcus' of Realtors.  I limit my activities so I can focus on my clients' needs. I try to provide the highest level of service available, I never stop learning and improving.

      In that vane, let me introduce my new website.  Take a look at www.karensheftell.com and let me know your thoughts.  You can register on the website so you never miss any of my announcements or information.   Of course, contact me with any and all real estate questions. 

       

      But brand is simply a collective impression some have about a product.
      Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/e/elonmusk567298.html

      Local Buzz - Holiday Cheer Pop-ups  

      Pop-ups have been showing up all over Fairfield County.  You know, those Halloween shops that take over vacant stores, or holiday shops.  Right here in Stamford, Fortina is setting up a holiday pop up at Fortina, the Miracle Bar is coming. Thanksgiving eve through New Years 2016. "Miracle Bar will literally ooze Christmas and Hanukah," says Fortina's John Nealon. This holiday pop-up will take over the mezzanine in Fortina Stamford as well as a patio tent in Armonk.

      Guest mixologists, custom holiday glassware, tons of tinsel, menorahs and cocktails with names like “ The Reindeer’s Revolt,” will created a uniquely fun drinking experience. Pair this with Fortina pizza and you've got yourself a party.

       

      Listings

      Premiere, Downtown Living.  MLS 99166941, $385,000. Large two bedroom, two bath in one of Stamford's most premier condominiums. The great experience starts when you walk into the elegant lobby with the 24 hour doorman.The apartment opens into a large living room with sliders to the balcony. The eat-in kitchen with top of the line cabinets and access to the large dining room. The open floor plan let's light shine through the whole living room/kitchen areas. Master bedroom has a full bath. Together with the second large bedroom & full bath, you have the perfect in-town living space. Washer/dryer in the unit. The community room with full kitchen is the perfect spot for entertaining or just playing cards. Not to be outdone, the pool and gym complete the picture of wonderful downtown living.
       

       

       

      Brand is just a perception, and perception will match reality over time. Sometimes it will be ahead, other times it will be behind. But brand is simply a collective impression some have about a product.
      Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/search_results?q=perception