Moving to CT? Top 10 Reasons Why That’s a Great Idea!

So you’re moving to CT?  Moving isn’t always an easy choice, but joining the ranks of Connecticuters is a move you won’t regret.

Here are the top 10 reasons you will love living in CT.

10. Even the dinosaurs preferred Connecticut. A visit to Dinosaur State Park and Arboretum is a visit to one of the largest dinosaur track sites in North America. Travel back 200 million years to the time of the dinosaur!

9. Not quite as old as the dinosaurs, Connecticut is also home to the country’s oldest continually operating amusement park. Opened in 1846, Lake Compounce is now home to the world’s top rated wooden roller coaster, Boulder Dash, as well as Crocodile Cove Water Park.

8. With 618 miles of shoreline, Connecticut proudly serves up some of the nation’s best seafood.

7. Not in the mood for seafood? New York and Chicago have nothing on New Haven style “apizza”. With a very thin crust, baked in a coal-fired oven, this pizza is not to be missed.

6. It’s not all about the food, but even our nation’s iconic hamburger has roots in New Haven. In 1900, a man entered the restaurant Louis’ Lunch. in need of something more portable to eat. What he received is considered to be the ancestor of the great American burger known today.

5. With all the great dining options, you’re sure to need something to wash it all down. Connecticut also boasts a booming microbrew community. Popular options such as Half-Full Brewery, City Steam Brewery and Rheingold Brewing Company are just a few of the choices.

4. UConn’s Huskies are a college basketball team to be proud of. The Huskies have a strong history in both men’s and women’s basketball, so it’s no surprise that the residents of CT are a very loyal fan base.

3. Mystic Seaport: The Museum of America and The Sea, located in Mystic, CT, is the largest maritime museum in the world. Offering visitors a link to the seafaring past, Mystic Seaport is a hands-on historical experience with something for everyone.

2. As the 2nd school to join the Ivy League, Yale University in New Haven is an incredible school. Ivy covered buildings and neo-gothic architecture also make it a beautiful place to visit.

1. Originally settled in 1614, it’s no surprise that Connecticut has a rich and vibrant history. The first medical diploma in the US was given by Yale University. New London, Connecticut launched the first nuclear submarine. The first revolver was produced in CT, and the first public art museum was opened in CT. There are many more “firsts” that took place in Connecticut, so now that you are moving, you’ll have to find out more for yourself.

To experience first hand what an incredible state Connecticut is, contact us to find the prefect place to call home.

Home Selling Tips: Finance Your Own Property

We recently talked about how buyers can benefit from using seller-based financing. The truth is, it’s often a very smart move for sellers as well. Here are a few reasons that you should seller finance your property.

More money

Arguably, the best part of seller financing for the seller is the extra money. If you choose to send the buyer to a bank for a mortgage, you’ll get the price of the property right away. On the other hand, if you allow them to finance through you, the price will be paid to you over the course of the loan, but it will come with interest, which is often worth almost as much as the loan itself. This means that, even if your property is only worth $60,000, you may be able to get $100,000 out of if, if you’re willing to wait for it.

Flexibility

Seller financing makes the entire process more flexible for both the buyer and the seller. If you finance your own property, you can ask for just about whatever you want. This gives you a lot of extra power in negotiations. You control all aspects of the loan, and can use that to your advantage.

Options

Once you’ve agreed to finance the property yourself, you still have other options available to you. Even years later, you could still sell the loan to an investor. For example, if you were to decide a year after the sale that you needed the cash, you’d probably still be able to sell the note for more than the house was worth.

Looking for more information about seller financing or anything else related to real estate? Contact us.

Home Buying Tips: Close at the End of the Month

Buying a home could easily be the most expensive purchase you make in your life. And even after you’ve obtained the loan and budgeted for all possible costs, a lot of little expenses seem to appear out of nowhere. It would be useful to have a bit of cash on hand for such surprises. If you want to preserve your short-term cash flow, the best time to close would be on the last day of the month.

When you buy a home, you have to pay accrued mortgage interest from the time that you close until the end of the month. For example, if your mortgage runs $250,000 and your rate is 3.75 percent, you’d pay about $376 per month, or $12.53 per day, in interest.

  • If you closed on the first day of the month, you’d owe $376 in interest because you’re paying interest for every day of the month.
  • If you closed on the last day, you’d owe $12.53 in interest because you’re paying only for the last day. You’d save $363.47.

In the long run, all the interest payments balance out to the same total by the loan’s end. So don’t let these savings be the sole reason you close on a particular day. However, the extra cash could come in handy for paying deposits to utility companies, paying off movers or cleaners, or stocking the pantry. You could even add that extra pieces of furniture to the entry that you’ve always wanted.

If you want more home buying tips, or need help in looking for a place to own, please contact us.

BRRR… It’s Cold Out There! Sell Your Home Before Winter

Ah, winter… Snow, sleet, and slush is on its way and this is when you’ve decided to sell your home! Well, not all is lost. It might be a little more difficult to sell your home before winter, but it isn’t impossible.

When flowers aren’t blooming, and the lawn is withered and brown, your house loses some of the curb appeal that draws in buyers. You’ll need to replace that curb appeal with something, so this is the time to get creative. Pinterest offers boards with lots of inspirational photos of homes with great winter curb appeal. At the very least, hang a welcoming winter wreath on your door and put out a nice, new welcome mat for visitors to wipe their feet.

Once potential buyers are inside, greet them with the warm, homey scent of something yummy baking. You can achieve this without the baking mess (or the calories!) by using a great scented candle in a candle warmer. Scatter appropriately scented candles throughout your home for a subtle ‘welcome home’ to every area. How about the scents of freshly fallen rain in the bathroom or fluffy, warm towels in the laundry?

Invest in whatever you need to keep things organized and neat around your house. This is particularly important around the entryways. If potential buyers see a mess of muddy boots, slushy puddles, and tangles of mittens and scarves, they’re going to assume your home lacks storage. Instead, greet them with large, pretty baskets and a boot tray with all the mess tucked neatly away.

Finally, understand that you’ll be better off getting your home sold before the depths of winter. That might mean accepting a lower offer than you wanted, paying closing costs, or agreeing to make repairs. The alternative is keeping your home in showable condition in the face of slush, mud, holidays, winter break, housebound pets… 

Let us help you sell your home before the depths of winter; contact us now to find out how.

DIY Tips: Eight Clever Bathroom Remodeling Ideas When You Are on a Budget and Want to Sell Your Home (Part I)

You know your bathroom is in desperate need of a makeover before you can even attempt to sell your home. However, the average cost of a renovation is between $10,000 and $15,000; yet if you want an upscale bath, you’re talking about $20,000 to $25,000. Sadly, you know that throwing down even $10,000 to create an ideal bathroom is nothing but a fantasy right now. But don’t despair, you won’t need to win the lottery to make that bathroom remodel wish come true; there’s lots of ways to redesign your bathroom into a cool, comfy space. In fact, if you do the job yourself or have willing friends that have remodeled their house, you can just spend about $3,000 or even less than $1,000. It all depends on how much remodeling you want to do and how much you can safely afford to spend.

Let’s explore the first four of eight DIY tips that you can do to remodel your bathroom when you’re on a budget.

Save Money on Countertops

Granite countertops have been all the rage for a few years and are a pretty low investment for a bathroom. But how in the world can you be frugal when buying granite? There are slabs of granite that contain imperfections. The slabs that have the most imperfections will be the least pricey. Don’t forget that your sink—or sinks for a master bathroom—will be taking up much of the space; the imperfection may end up being near the faucet or sink which means you might not be able to see it anyway. Survey a wide range of color strips for your countertops. The neutral colors such as light beige, tan and brown are favored making them steeply priced.

Another easy way to save on your countertops is to create “dresser sinks” by utilizing an old dresser as a sink pedestal. To make one you just have to cut into the back of the dresser for the sink pipes; for the sink, you’ll need to cut out a hole in the top of the dresser, removing an inside drawer or two as needed. In retail stores, these same “dresser sinks” go for thousands of dollars. But with the correct tools, a bit of patience and an old dresser, you can design your own.

Modernize Your Fixtures

Never overlook the little things. Items such as sink faucets, drawer pulls, light fixtures and towel racks might seem meaningless, yet they can create a whole new look for your bathroom. The best news is that these things aren’t very expensive to upgrade.

Think of unique ways to obtain your fixtures rather than going to IKEA or an expensive home improvement store. If you want an industrial look to your bathroom, consider using old plumbing for towel racks. They won’t cost a penny if you’re lucky enough to grab some old plumbing out of an old home that’s about to be demolished.

Don’t Purchase New—Do a Makeover

It would cost you an arm and a leg to have your old shower or tub replaced; so a cheaper way to go is have a professional refinish it for you. Don’t do this for shower and sink fixtures, however, since it’s cheaper to just replace them. Why is it more expensive to refinish shower and sink fixtures? Contractors who offer this type of service do so at a high price because the few people that do use the service have antique fixtures.

But there’s good news! If you’d rather not part with your old-fashioned tub or fixtures that are made from fiberglass, porcelain or cast iron, you could do the refinishing yourself. It will require a small investment and lots of time. A simple do-it-yourself refinishing kit costs about $100 to $150; don’t forget that you’ll need other things as well: a high-volume/low pressure spray gun, plastic tarps, paint brushes, a fan, masking tape, a top-quality sander, safety goggles, gloves and face masks. There are plenty of bathroom refinishing instructional videos on the internet for you to view.

Acquire Used Products

To save more of your money, consider purchasing used items like sinks or fixtures by exploring Etsy. Attempt to search with words such as “upcycled” or “bathroom”. The possibilities are endless as to what you could find there to accessorize your bathroom. For example, you may find metal shelving in the shape of a check mark which would be neat for storing folded towels. You might also discover an artist that uses old, colorful Tupperware as lamps—what a fun way to brighten a bathroom!

Other terrific place to get items for your bathroom are by perusing Craigslist or eBay as well as your local Habitat for Humanity ReStore which sells necessary home items like mirrors, doors, sinks and much more.

So what do you think? They’re pretty cool ideas so far, right? Please join us in next week’s blog to examine the last four bathroom remodeling ideas. In the meantime, please contact us if you want more information.

Curb Appeal: Crucial for Home Selling

The first impression may be the only impression a prospective buyer has. If they don’t like the way your home looks from the outside or immediately upon entering, they may cross it off the list of possibilities. Therefore curb appeal is crucial. In the fall and winter it can be more difficult to provide an appealing exterior. Consider the following home selling tips to improve curb appeal during these seasons.

Maintenance

Continue to maintain the lawn even in the fall and winter. Keep the grass cut, clear the leaves, and sweep the walkways. Remove the dying summer flowers and replenish mulch to make gardens look like they are ready to be planted in the spring. If it snows be sure to clear the snow from your driveway and all walkways.

Decorations

While it is OK to decorate for the upcoming holidays remember less is more. Choose a few items but don’t over do it. You want the prospective buyer to envision a home they could live in. If they aren’t excited about inflatable turkeys they may be turned off to your house based on the 3 you have in your front yard. It is best to use outdoor decorations that are inspired by nature as opposed to those that are commercial in appearance. Potted mums are a simple choice that will add color without being overwhelming.

Lighting

The daylight hours are shorter. It is important your home is well-lit so prospective buyers can find it. A well-lit home will also be more appealing. While you are inspecting the lighting outside your home also verify that your house number can be clearly seen from the road.

Taking the above steps will make your home more appealing in the fall and winter months. For additional home selling tips please contact us.

Three Tips For Relocating To CT

Making the decision to relocate, whether it is just yourself or your entire family can be difficult. However, once the decision is made, life can become even more complicated. You may (or may not) have a house to sell, lives to pack up, and a life to build somewhere else entirely new. So, how can you make the process go a little smoother?

Here are some tips for relocating to CT.

  • Start planning early. As soon as you start thinking about relocating, you need to start planning. It takes a lot of time to downsize and get rid of things. There are a lot of important decisions to be made, especially about schools, jobs, and living situations. The more time that you have to prepared, the better off you will be.
  • Take a trip to Connecticut to visit. You can enjoy this time to look around and get a feel for the area. You should also plan plenty of fun times as you explore your potential new surroundings. Though you might not feel ready, you can also look around at some neighborhoods that you might be interested in.
  • Start downsizing now. When you relocate, you can’t take everything with you. Instead, it is often easier to sell things and buy more as you need things. Now is the time to start to go through things and start to part with the things that you don’t want to move. Have a yard sale. Give things away. Throw away garbage.

It can be hard to relocate, even to a place as beautiful as Connecticut. However, you should start planning as soon as possible. It takes a lot of time and planning to relocate. You should start downsizing now! Get rid of things that you don’t need. Have a yard sale. Give things away. You should also take a trip to Connecticut. It will help you get excited for your move!

Contact us to help you find the perfect Connecticut home!

5 Fabulous Holiday Happenings in Connecticut

The holidays are rapidly approaching-soon the hustle and bustle of shopping and dinners and visits from loved ones will begin. During all this commotion, it’s nice to slow down and take the time to enjoy the holiday season. Start new traditions and make some priceless memories with your family this holiday season-check out the following Connecticut town info to find the best events:

1. Holiday Light Fantasia

 Goodwin Park, Hartford

November 26-January 1

This Greater Hartford tradition is a breathtaking trip for the entire family. Drive through over 1 million lights in this 2-mile show-more than 200 individual scenes depict memorable holiday moments and characters. The fascinating displays represent not only the Christmas holiday, but also Hanukkah, New Years, and Three Kings Day. All proceeds from this fabulous holiday excursion benefit year-round programs at the Channel 3 Kids Camp. Admission is $15 per car, with a special Military Appreciation Night on December 29, when all veterans and active military personnel enjoy free admission. Special rates apply to limousines, mini-buses, and full-size buses.

Hours: 

Sunday-Thursday: 5pm – 9pm

Friday & Saturday: 5pm – 10pm

2. Holiday Lights

Lake Compounce

Weekends only from November 27-December 20

Enjoy thousands of lights at this spectacular holiday outing. Walk around the park and take in the lighted scenes, holiday music, and an awesome light show every half hour. Additional festivities include visits with Santa, lighting of the tallest tree in CT, stories with Mrs. Claus, children and family rides, and holiday treats! Admission is free for 2015 & 2016 platinum season pass holders.

Hours: 

Saturdays & Sundays: 4pm-9pm

Fridays: 5pm-9pm

3. Winterfest & “The Tunnel of Lights”

Connecticut Trolley Museum, East Windsor

Weekends from November 27-December 20 & December 26-29

Bundle up and get ready to feel the wind nipping at your nose on an open-air ride on the electric “sleigh” car. For those not fond of the cold, an enclosed trolley offers a warmer dash through the snow. Enjoy an old-fashioned carol sing as you journey down the tracks. Once your ride is over, take a stroll through the Visitors Center which is brimming with holiday decorations and model trains. Finish off your trip with a visit to Santa and a cup of steaming hot cocoa. Admission is $12 for an adult, $10 for seniors (over 62), $8 for kids (ages 2-12), and $3 for those under 2.

Hours: November and December (dates before Christmas) 5pm-9pm

December (dates after Christmas) 6pm-9pm

4. Lantern Light Tours

Mystic Seaport

November 27-December 20

This historical play takes visitors back in time to Christmas Eve 1876. The delightful show consists of five scenes scattered throughout the 19th-century village, and guests will be enchanted by horse-drawn carriage rides, holiday dances, and the charming glow of old-fashioned lantern lit streets. The show is 70-minutes and requires walking over various terrain (cobblestone, grass, gravel, stairs), so comfortable shoes are recommended. Admission is $32 for adults ($26 for members), $25 for kids ages 5-17 ($19 for members), and free for those under 4.

Hours: Tours begin at 5pm, leaving every 15 minutes

5. North Pole Express

Essex Steam Train

November & December (please check website for available dates & departure times)

This 90-minute locomotive-powered sleigh ride guarantees a magical night for visitors of all ages. A live, musical performance of The Night Before Christmas takes place in each coach, along with visits from Santa and Mrs. Claus, sing-a-longs, and hot cocoa and sugar cookies. Kids are encouraged to wear snuggly pajamas, and every child receives a small gift from Santa! Tickets are $65 for first-class passengers, and $32 for coach class passengers.

Please feel free to contact us to learn about more magical events taking place in Connecticut this holiday season.

Pumpkins and Apples and Leaves-Oh My! 5 Warm and Cozy Autumn DIY Decorating Tips For Your Home

Any New Englander knows that autumn is hands down the best time of year. The air has turned crisp, cool, and comfortable, football season is in full swing, and the breeze always seems to carry the smell of warm apple pies. So whether you are new to the area, or a veteran of the quintessential New England autumn, embrace the season and have some fun by dressing up your house. Check out these awesome autumn DIY decorating tips for outside your home:

1. Pumpkin Wreath Chandelier

Who knows decorating better than Martha Stewart? This rustic decoration is a charming way to light your porch and welcome guests on a cool fall evening. The warm colors from fallen leaves and miniature pumpkins casts a cozy glow over your home. Make several and hang them from ceiling hooks in front of your windows for an inviting atmosphere. This project is fairly simple and uses easy-to-find materials like miniature pumpkins, leaves from your lawn, and a grapevine wreath. Get the simple directions here.

2. Repurposed Porch Decor

As those of us living in Connecticut know, the state is an antiques hot spot. If you love finding incredible old treasures and turning them into something new, check out the Connecticut Antiques Trail. You can find some of the materials to make a beautiful autumn porch display. A delightful old wagon filled with gourds, an antique frame turned chalkboard (with a welcoming message!), a rustic basket overflowing with mums, and a warm, fuzzy plaid blanket create a porch decoration that makes your home look warm and fuzzy.

3. Apples, Apples, Apples!

Don’t restrict your use of apples this autumn to pies and cider-in addition to being supremely tasty, they also make excellent decorations! This adorable rustic apple porch decor will make people want to stop in off the street for a seat at your charming home. Your porch will exude homespun warmth with a hand-painted, apple-green table adorned with a red and white plaid tablecloth. Top your table with mason jars full of cider and autumn tableware. Add large hay bales for seats, wooden crates topped with yellow mums, and a wooden wheelbarrow brimming with fresh apples.

4. Mailbox Magic

Why stop at the front door? Bring your autumn decorations all the way to the street by sprucing up your mailbox. Dried cornstalks are a perfect decoration for mailboxes because they are tall and eye-catching. In addition to your cornstalks, arrange some hay bales around your mailbox and top them with potted mums and pumpkins for a quick, easy, and colorful mailbox decoration.

5. Painted Pumpkins

Pumpkins are a versatile fall decoration. Carve them, paint them, leave them in all their orange glory-any way you look at it, they make beautiful decor. Try giving your pumpkins a magical look with a shimmery metallic silver paint, or create different patterns by wrapping rubber bands around your pumpkin before painting. Pair painted pumpkins with rustic lanterns-you could even put a miniature pumpkin inside some of your lanterns for a different effect!

Living in Connecticut is all about embracing the changing seasons. New England offers the chance to appreciate cool, brightly colored autumn days, and sparkling snowy winters. Dressing up your home for each season is all part of the fun of living here. Please contact us for more DIY tips for your home.

Do It Yourself Tips: Emboss Your Switch Plates to Match The Light Fittings

Have you ever moved to a new home, installed the perfect light fittings but were taken aback by how they looked next to your room’s existing switch plates? If so, you’ll appreciate what we found out about modifying and replacing switch plates. Surprisingly, converting a ho-um, contemporary switch plate into a fantastic, vintage one is actually pretty easy. For instance, you could purchase metal plates and then emboss or tin stamp them. Embossing is the easier of the two, do it yourself options.

All you need to emboss your old switch plates and make them match your vintage light fittings are the following:

  • Aluminum Foil Tape
  • X-Acto Knife
  • Scissors
  • Plastic or Metal Spoon
  • Cutting Board
  • Design Template
  • Pencil or Stylus

Begin by cutting a piece of aluminum foil tape that is big enough to cover the front of the switch plate and wrap around the sides. Next, peel off the sticky backing and affix the tape to the switch plate taking care to completely cover all edges. Do not cover the entire back portion of the switch plate as no one will see it and it may interfere with the wiring later on down the road. Proceed by using the back of the plastic or metal spoon to carefully smooth out any bubbles or wrinkles that may be present. Once the switch plate’s surface is smooth again, it will be time to start decorating.

Place the design template you’ve chosen to use and place it over top of the covered switch plate. Continue by using your pencil or stylus to trace the desired pattern on to the plate. Although aluminum foil tape is traditionally tear resistant, use a good deal of caution and an even hand when tracing your design. Otherwise, you might end up breaking through the tape, thereby exposing the underlying plastic. When you’re done embossing the design on to your switch plate, simply remove the template. Finally, affix your DIY vintage switch plate on to the wall and enjoy!

To discover more ways to light up those switch plates and other areas of a new home, please contact us.

5 Home Selling Tips to Help Sell Your Home

Real estate in Connecticut and most of the country has experienced a dramatic upswing. Now just might be the ideal time to sell your home for top dollar. Here are a few home selling tips that are sure to help make your house marketable and clear a path for a quick sale.

  1. De-clutter — If you have made the decision to sell, then it’s time to start packing and de-clutter your home. A cluttered residence does not show well. You want your house to appear spacious to any would-be buyers so packing up personal items is an ideal way to make your home more appealing to home shoppers. You may want to consider hiring a professional home stager to make sure your truly house shines.
  2. Time of Year — The time of year you decide to sell might impact how quickly your house sells. Connecticut often experiences extremely cold winters which can slow the house selling market. Buyers often don’t like to acquire family homes during the school season. Spring and summer are the most popular months to sell a single family residence.
  3. Flexibility — Always be flexible to a would-be buyer’s schedule. Often buyers give little or no notice when they want to view your home, so always have the residence in tip-top shape and ready to show.
  4. Know the Market — Familiarize yourself with the local market and use an agent that knows what homes are moving in your area. You want to price your home right so it attracts buyers and brings in offers quickly.  Your agent will present you with a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) that will give you a good idea what local homes are selling for and how quickly. The CMA provides you with an idea of what your home is realistically worth.
  5. Curb Appeal — Many buyers do a drive by before they schedule an appointment to see a home’s interior. Make sure that the residence’s exterior shines and the landscape looks well-kept.

To talk more about this, or anything else, please Contact Us. Thanks.

Listing information is deemed reliable, but not guaranteed. This IDX solution is (c) Diverse Solutions 2013.
Each Keller Williams Realty office is independently owned and operated