Category Archives: Selling Your Home

What’s my home worth in Litchfield County?

I get asked that question all the time, what IS my home worth? The usual response is, “I don’t know, I haven’t seen your home.” While that is true, many want some idea before I even get there.

Well, now you can have some idea. It’s instant, it’s free, there is no obligation to use this service. And from all indications so far, it works fairly well!

Please remember, it is not a substitute for a real market analysis done by a real estate professional. It is a start, something for you to think about. Any of these computer generated programs are not able to see inside your home, to see inside the homes any of the homes it is using to base the information on.

So go ahead and try it, you know you want to! Free, painless and easy. No obligation. I promise! Just enter your address and it will take you to a new page with the information you have been waiting for.

 

 

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Pricing a home to sell in New Milford CT

In other parts of the country the real estate market is doing much better than in Litchfield County, CT. Relying on real estate information that is not local specific can be the kiss of death.

new milford ct real estateHow do I price your home to sell in New Milford, CT?

There are a few things I have to consider when pricing a home to sell. I look at what is currently active on the market that will be the toughest competition for your home. Then I look at the similar homes that have recently taken a deposit to see if your home matches or beats those. Next are the homes in the pending sale category. They are waiting to close and are not being actively marketed as they are expected to sell.

The last category I research are those homes that have sold in the past few months. Because our current real estate activity is sluggish, I may have to look farther than the last 3 months, but when I am looking for past sales of homes that are comparable to yours I have to think about what the buyers appraiser will look at to figure out how much the house is worth. They have rules and regulations about how many months back they can look, how far away from the subject property sales are, and they must be similar.

  • A cape does not compare to a raised ranch.
  • A raised ranch does not compare to a colonial.
  • A ranch does not comp to a cape.
  • On and on.

I make it my business to know the New Milford CT real estate market.

Because I have seen many of the properties that have sold, that are currently on the market, that are under deposit and that have a pending sale, I know which are most like your  home. This is most important, an agent must understand the local real estate market in order to price a home to sell!

I consider location, condition of the home and the pulse of the current real estate market in New Milford, CT when pricing your home. One fact we still cannot escape in this current real estate market is the amount of money you owe on your home is irrelevant to the actual current market value.

You can check out the local competition for your New Milford CT home here.

Coming up  in this series, Selling a home in New Milford, CT. We have the price right, what’s next?

If you would like more information on what your New Milford, CT home is worth in today’s real estate market, give me a call at 203.460.1775. 

Is the New Milford CT Real Estate Market getting better or not?

Three bedroom home for sale in New Milford CT
Three bedroom home for sale in New Milford CT

It is so hard to listen to national news about the “hot” real estate market others are experiencing across the country and wonder if it is happening here in New Milford, CT. It is a complex answer as you can see below. Did we hit bottom and are now on the way up? Is it a sellers market in New Milford? . We are on track to have the best month in number of sales for 2013, if things continue to go as they have so far. I don’t believe the total number of sales will be jaw dropping, but any improvement is good. There are a few more days for homes to close in May, I will have to be patient to get the final numbers.

The success of the real estate market is tied to many other things,  the employment rates in the state, the proximity of jobs available to New Milford, confidence in the housing market, good rates and a lower housing inventory. Connecticut again posted a rate higher than the national unemployment averages which needs to come down in order for the real estate market to feel more positive effects.

The unemployment rate in Connecticut has been at 8.0 for the last three months, the national average for April posted at 7.5. When we hear that the real estate market in our neighboring state of Massachusetts is really heating up you must look at their unemployment rate, which was last posted at 6.4%, where it has been for a while. This means more people in Massachusetts are working and can afford to purchase homes. They have more jobs,  a shrinking pool of homes available for sale which creates the perfect storm. I must qualify that statement, I know that the Metro Boston area is doing very well in the housing market, I don’t know how the rest of the state is doing. The metro area seems to be on fire!

A new problem for New Milford CT seems to be an abundance of short sales.

Our inventory is still down, which is a great thing for sellers. Although for buyers looking up to $300,000 it is slim pickins, and much of those are short sales, a full 10% of the active single family homes for sale in New Milford are now short sales.

What impact does this have on a seller? If you are not in a short sale position and you price your home correctly according to condition and location, you should find that you will have lots of showings and hopefully an offer fairly quickly. I will warn you that overpricing can cause issues, especially when it comes time for the buyer to do an appraisal.

If you are a seller in a short sale position, it will take longer to sell, however with the inventory shrinking you just may procure that much needed offer. It is imperative that you are prepared to work with your agent, attorney and lender to get the ball rolling as quickly as possible once an offer does come in! Some short sales can be pre approved prior to going on the market, if you would like to know if that is your situation, give us a call at 860.946.0686 to further discuss the matter.

34 homes are under deposit. of these, the majority (15 homes) are in the $200,000-$300,000 price range. Again, this seems to be our hottest market right now. Of the homes that are under deposit, 4 are short sales and 2 are foreclosures.

40 homes are listed as sale pending. This means contracts are signed and most contingencies have been met. 15 of these homes are short sales which translates to 37.5%. That is very, very high. These short sales will sit in the pending sale status for far longer than a traditional sale making it very hard to judge what is going to happen. 3 homes that are pending sale are foreclosures.

Buying a home in New Milford, CT can be tight for anything under $300,000. First time home buyers can get very frustrated, many of the homes they are looking at are short sales that may need work, and very importantly, time to wait for the short sale to be approved by the lender. Homes that are priced well and are not short sales are moving very, very quickly. Often with multiple offers on them. This means you must be FULLY prepared when looking for a home.

  • Pre qualified, or better yet, pre approved (if possible)
  • Ready to run out and look at a moments notice
  • Be prepared to decide quickly to put an offer in or move on
  • Remember, in this lower price range it is NOT a buyers market, do not play around with low ball offers

What we are seeing is in a multiple offer situation, sellers are choosing buyers that are NOT using 100% financing. This does not mean there isn’t hope if you are using a product that is 100% financing, but you must be+ aware you may have to move on until you find someone that is not afraid of 100% financing. The housing market in New Milford is not sliding backwards and this is good news. It is fragile, and those who are selling or buying should know what the latest market conditions are.

Keeping you updated on the housing market in New Milford, CT.

We post detailed monthly market reports. Fill out the form below to get your monthly copy of our New Milford CT real estate market report. We do not sell email addresses, and will not use it for any other purpose than to notify you when the latest market report is ready.

SEARCH HOMES FOR SALE, NEW MILFORD CT

The 5 P’s to selling your home in New Milford, CT

Selling your home in New Milford, CT. What are the most important things to know before you put your home on the market?

When I get a call from a prospective seller, the first thing I do is to take a hard look at the most recent local real estate statistics to understand the market at that particular moment in time.

I did my November 2012 monthly market report for New Milford, CT, I was re-reading it today, taking a harder look at what those numbers really represent. Statistics by nature can be very, very confusing and can be read in a variety of ways. I am always looking for a way to really understand a market that often seems to have no rhyme or reason. Perhaps someone who is a statistician will read something else into it, but for me the story is crystal clear.

The 5 P’s are what it takes to sell a home in New Milford CT.

Pricing Strategy

The price must be attractive to a buyer, point blank. The price must reflect current market conditions, the price must reflect the condition of your home, the location of your home in your market, the neighborhood, the side of town, etc. We look at homes that have sold recently that are similar to your home, then we look at the active competition. We also discuss your motivation for selling and your time frame. All these are very important factors when pricing a home for sale.

Buyers think it is a great time to buy right now. So, if you want to get them to buy your house you need to be on their page! Read The Great Real Estate Divide to understand the divisions between buyers and sellers. Perhaps a shift in your thoughts might help!

Preparation

You must prepare your house for sale. Clean it up, make each room clear as to its purpose. The trend I have seen lately is to use the dining room for a play area. As a matter of fact, in three homes that I have seen recently there was a play dining set where the dining table should have been. This is not a good idea, it says “we have no playroom so we gave up the dining room to the kids”… or “the playroom upstairs is a bad idea so we let them have our dining room”. Of course maybe the next family will do just that, but you want them to see the potential of the home in the best light possible.

A very good post on staging your home can be found here, written by my friend Janna Rankin Scharf from Couer d’Alene, Idaho. She spells out very clearly what needs to be done to prepare your home for sale, without breaking the bank! “Set yourself up for SELLING SUCCESS with these staging tips”.

Patience

You must have patience. The real estate absorption rate in New Milford stands at 10 months right now. That means if no more homes come on the market it will take us 10 months to sell all the inventory we have right now. I have seen it higher, but the amount of homes on the market has dropped. In November it took an average of 117 days to sell a home. Again, that is lower than it was, but it is still high, when combined with the absorption rate.

Prolific Marketing

That’s what we do. We get your home in front of as many buyers as possible, in the best light possible. We take professional photos, we have awesome tools that we use to promote your home in a variety of ways for buyers to find. I am more than confident about our marketing program, we are reaching as many buyers as possible, and your home will be shown in its best light. No dark photos, corners of rooms, out of focus shots. I will show you how a buyer will find your home online, how we use signage to allow buyers to text and get information instantly about your home. We blog, we push, we talk it up, we will do what it takes, 24/7, to market your home until it is sold.

Check it out for yourself and see what it is we do that is different from the rest! Download SPA Real Estate Marketing Program.

Pliability

You must be pliable, flexible when it comes to selling your home in New Milford, CT. Allow showings when it is convenient for a buyer, not when it is convenient for you. Keeping a close eye on the market to make “course corrections” for price is also very important.

If you want to talk more about selling your home in New Milford, or southern Litchfield County, give us a call at 860.946.0686. We can discuss the 5 P’s to selling your home!

Originally posted at “The 5 P’s to Selling Your Home in New Milford, CT”

 

What is the cost of over pricing your home in Southern Litchfield County CT?

Over pricing your home in Southern Litchfield County, CT will not be costing you just a drop in the bucket!

It won’t be a drop in the bucket!

What is the real cost to you if you overprice your home in Southern Litchfield County? It can be significant, including time, frustration and aggravation, lost opportunities to move as well as money lost. You may think because you are reading reports of the price of homes rising that overpricing your home won’t affect you. Remember, those reports are national, they take ALL averages across the country and use them. They are NOT hyper local.

And real estate is extremely hyper local.

For instance, here in New Milford as in the rest of Southern Litchfield County, we have seen a very small appreciation, 1% over the past year. That is not a lot, and honestly, it doesn’t pertain to every home. It is an average. Connecticut is not doing as well as some other places. You can read about it here: Real Estate in New Milford, CT, When Bad News is Good News. (The good news is for buyers, the bad news is for those that need or want to sell.)

Here is an example of what over pricing your home in Southern Litchfield County can do.

It will cost you more than $

A year ago we went on a listing appointment. We gave a price we felt very strong about, we had documentation of recent sales to back up our price. The owners were not happy with the price at all, but they needed to sell as they had already purchased a new home! Ultimately they listed with someone else who promised them a higher price. Remember, that was over a year ago, while they continued to pay two mortgages. One on the over priced home they were attempting to sell, the other on their new home.

Their home recently closed, the sale price was 87.6% of the original list price. They wasted a year chasing the hopes of selling at an unrealistic price, wasted money on two mortgages, on property taxes for both properties, on maintaining both properties, on utilities, wasted energy, wasted emotions. The home finally closed at $5,000 under our suggested list price of a year ago!

So you see, there is a cost to over pricing your home for sale in Southern Litchfield County. And it is not just a drop in the bucket.

Buyers are savvy, they know the market. They will not be overpaying for your house. Lenders are also very cautious, there will be no money lent for a house that does not appraise.

Perhaps you think you should build in “negotiating room” on your house for sale in Southern Litchfield County, CT?

After all, you have heard that buyers will be presenting low ball offers anyway. Here is how I see a low ball offer. Buyers know how long your house has been on the market. They believe they can smell a desperate buyer a mile away. Yes, the longer it sits on the market, the more chance you have of getting in a low ball offer. And many times the buyer making that low ball offer cannot pay anywhere near what your house is worth! But if you have chosen to over price your home, it may not even be on a buyers radar, they may not even come to see it!

If buyers aren’t looking at your home, they aren’t making offers on your home. Not even low ball offers!

Check out our intensive, fresh and unique marketing and sales program for your Southern Litchfield County*, CT home. You will be glad you did. Or give us a call at 860.946.0686 to set up a free market analysis of your home.

Real Estate in New Milford, CT. When bad news is good news.

Connecticut homes prices have increased less than one percent year over year, which places us as the 6th worst state for price depreciation. This is according to a report released by CoreLogic, a trusted real estate information source.

What does this mean for Connecticut? I publish monthly real estate stats for New Milford, and every few months for other towns we sell real estate in. As I keep saying, progress is slow in New Milford. Housing sales seems to have stabilized, however prices are still low and they fluctuate. We do not have any noticeable appreciation month to month. With our sales averaging around 20 a month, housing prices can be skewed by a foreclosure or two in one month, or an estate home in another. But looking year over year, the increase any seller might be looking for just isn’t there.

We tell our sellers, if you can sell, if you really want to sell, you have to price your home according to local market conditions, according to location, according to condition. You have to make your home as enticing as possible to be one of the magic 20 that make it to a closing table.

Connecticut did do better than 5 other states as far as price appreciation goes. Illinois, Delaware, Rhode Island, New Jersey and Alabama showed less appreciation than we did.  Take a look at the average sale price and median sale price for New Milford, CT over the past 10 years.  I think the story is very clear when you look at these numbers.

A buyer should find this very good news. Prices are appreciating, albeit slowly. That means the house they buy today won’t automatically lose value as soon as they sign on the dotted line. Rates are low, home prices are low, all good news.

Search homes for sale New Milford, CT.

What about those people sitting on the fence waiting for prices to drop even lower? Bad risk, the trends say otherwise. If you want to buy but are fence sitting, you better jump down off that fence before Connecticut shows more dramatic price increases. Although I don’t think they will ever rise like they did before, some states are seeing a greater than 6% increase. And that is not what a buyer is looking for these days!

But for sellers, it is not the best of news. We are not making up the amount that was lost fast enough to allow some people to sell. Still, there are ways to make it happen if you must sell. Short sales allow some to sell for less than what they owe the lender. Making your home as appealing as possible to a buyer, using the best marketing strategy that is available.

But there are some bright spots out there! Today I posted my usual market report for New Milford. The real estate absorption rate stands at 8 months. If no other homes come on the market it will take us 8 months to sell the current inventory. This is better than previous months. We have seen those numbers in the double digits! 6 months is a balanced market, that is the goal.

Marketing your home till the cows come home

We use professional photos for all our listingsThat’s what we do, we market your Southern Litchfield home for sale until the cows come home, which would be, until it sells. Our job doesn’t finish when we put the listing on the multiple listing service. It is a living, breathing job, with things to be done on a regular basis.

What happens when you sign a listing with Swiedler, Pomerantz & Adams?

We start our marketing as soon as we see your home. I (Andrea) am formulating the plan for my internet marketing, seeing how the home will look, thinking how best to present it. Rich is looking at how he will shoot the home for our marketing. Rich is not only a real estate agent, he is a well known photographer who has done layouts for many prominent magazines (AND he spent many a year as a real estate attorney). Liddy is busy thinking about how to bring the more traditional approach to our marketing plan, figuring out who the buyer will be, where they will come from, and how best to present your home to the local real estate community.

Here is a sample of what we do when we list your home.

  • We place the listing on the two main multiple listing services in Connecticut.
  • We use Rich, our resident professional photographer, for all our listings. He approaches all our shoots as if they are magazine shoots, no matter what size the home is, what price point the home is at.
  • Our listings are all on our Litchfield County Real Estate YouTube channel.
  • We place “Text to” riders on our listings to make internet flyers instantly available to potential buyers. (Try it out, Text SPA to 860.799.4843)
  • We syndicate our listings to a wide variety of places online where buyers are actively looking for homes.
  • We use an awesome internet flyer that is easy to use for potential buyers and looks fantastic.
  • Our internet flyers have a mobile site which looks great when people are on their phones looking.
  • We blog about our listings, and blog and blog and blog about our listings.
  • We showcase our listings locally. (Liddy is more of a traditionalist, she takes care of this, and has been in the real estate business locally for over 25 years)
  • We present our listings to local real estate agents.
  • If appropriate and agreed upon we do public open houses.
  • We present virtual “open houses” of our listings.
  • We use social media to present our listings to potential buyers.

We are confident that our marketing will place your house above all the rest, will present well to all potential buyers. Our marketing program works 24/7 for you. We don’t stop marketing your home until that cow comes home! Until we are sitting with you at the closing table. For more information about how we can market your home give us a call at 860.946.0686.

Bring that cow home!

 

 

Litchfield County Sellers Net Sheet

What will you net when you sell your house in Litchfield County?

Try our sellers net sheet. Everyone wants to know, what will I have, at the end of the day, when I sell my house? Well, you can plug in a few numbers in the form below and it will tell you what you will net, after paying conveyance taxes, commissions, your attorney, and finally, paying off any existing mortgages.

A little bit of housekeeping for you. The form is an excel spreadsheet, you can’t hurt it and if you make a mistake, just reload the page. Fill in the highlighted areas only, and you don’t need to use the $ sign or the % sign, its already there. Once you plug in your numbers the spreadsheet will do the rest for you. Also, we do not track this information, so feel free to use it when you like, as often as you like.

Connecticut conveyance tax is .75% of the sales price UP TO $800,000. Anything over $800,000 is taxed at 1.25%. I have made allowances for that in the calculator. Just split the sale price up as indicated.

Also note, there are targeted municipalities in Connecticut that have a higher conveyance tax rate. The following municipalities are taxed at .50%. (An additional .25% is taxed on.) If you live in one of the following communities outside of Litchfield County and want to use the calculator, please change the rate next to the Municipal Conveyance Tax from .25% to .50%.  (Bloomfield, Bridgeport, Bristol, East Hartford, Groton, Hamden, Hartford, Meriden, Middletown, New Britain, New Haven, New London, Norwalk, Norwich, Southington, Stamford, Waterbury, and Windham.)

And if it doesn’t make sense, give us a call and we will help you out!

Litchfield County Sellers Net Sheet

Litchfield County CT Real Estate Q&A, Pricing Your Home

House for sale New Milford CTThe question we hear most often when listing a home for sale in Southern Litchfield County is…

“But how much should we build in to the list price of our home for negotiating purposes?”

Let me show you some REAL real estate statistics for New Milford, CT.

In August of 2012, homes sold, on average, at 95.5% to their LAST LISTED PRICE.  You think that’s not bad, right?

However, the real number is arrived at by looking at the ORIGINAL LIST PRICE to sales price percentage. That would be 92.3%

Homes that are overpriced sit on the market longer, become “stale listings” and take price reductions before they sell. Why would you want to do that? Why not price it to sell in the first place?

List to sale price in New Milford CT

Buyers actually determine the price of your home these days. We are, after all, in a buyers market. If no more homes come on the market, it will take 11 months for us to sell the current inventory. And these homes will sell for at MOST 92.3% of their original list price.

How does that look? Simple. $400,000 actually sells for $369,200 after sitting on the market. Why set yourself up like that for all the disappointment and heartache? And what if that final amount is less than what you owe on your mortgage? It would really be best to be prepared for that up front, not having the sale halted because you didn’t realize it, or didn’t want to acknowledge that the actual sale price of your home would put you in the short sale category.

By the time you add all your expenses up for the 11 months it may take to sell your home, mortgage, taxes, insurance, perhaps the better idea is to list your home at the price suggested by looking at current comps, both sold and active. Forget about building in room for negotiating purposes! And then there is the hassle of waiting and waiting before someone actually comes to look at your home when it is overpriced, or the disappointment of no offers after showings.

The answer to the question, “how much should we build in to the list price of our home for negotiating purposes”?

NOTHING. List it to sell, not to sit and try to negotiate your hopes away. Get realistic right from the beginning.

 

There are no foolish questions! Litchfield County Real Estate

Litchfield County Real Estate, there are no foolish questions, really.

I have a really silly question....“I know this may be a silly/foolish/stupid question”… my response to that is “there are no silly/foolish/stupid questions”. Really. One may think that we haven’t been asked something before, but usually we have.

For instance, this question has been asked on more than one occasion by a person selling a home. Usually they whisper this question to me, feeling very embarrassed that they even have to ask it. HEY, I have heard it before, I will hear it again.

When do I have to move out of my home? Before the closing? If so, how much before? After the closing?

The buyer will do a walk through before the closing to make sure all is well, as agreed upon. My preference is to do the walk through a few hours before, sometimes my buyer will want to do the walk through the day before, if the seller has moved out. In that instance, I still do a walk through myself just before I head to the closing. Why do I do that? The short answer is, to make sure what you are buying is still there, as you expect it to be. I want to make sure no tree fell on the house, there wasn’t a fire, the pipes didn’t freeze, etc. Call me silly, but anything can happen to an empty home.

The answer is, you should be all moved out and the house in broom clean condition with all the conditions of the sale met before title is transferred at the closing. How much before depends on your situation, and we will work through that together. But unless prior arrangements have been made through the attorneys, you need be out before the closing. Once title transfers the house is no longer yours.

I had a closing I couldn’t attend, a blizzard at the last moment prevented me, or anyone else from my company from being able to attend. The attorneys were within walking distance of each other in a part of the state that wasn’t being hammered like we were, the papers had already been signed by both buyer and seller, it was a cash deal. And it went wrong, unbeknownst to any of us until 3 days later. The seller didn’t move. The buyer did a walk through the day before, the seller was in the process of packing up and all appeared to be on track. However…. the seller decided it was too overwhelming to move. Unusual situation, yes, probably even over the top. The attorney for the seller got a call from me, we determined the best course of action and the seller was persuaded to move out without any legal action having to be taken. She didn’t appear to understand that when the house was sold it was no longer hers.

So you see, there really are no foolish questions in real estate. Most likely we have either heard it before, or have a story to relate to you that answers your question. There are some questions we cannot answer due to fair housing laws and I will tell you just that. There are some questions we will refer you to others to get your answers, but there really are no foolish questions in real estate.

Ask away, I promise I won’t be laughing at your question!