Posts

Ridgefield Featured in Hallmark Channel’s “Coming Home For Christmas”

Not only is Ridgefield ranked one of the safest town’s in the USA, but it also boasts one of the most picturesque Main Streets.  And now it seems Hollywood is recognizing that too!

Just in time of the Holiday Season, the movie – Coming Home for Christmas – premiered on Saturday, November 18 and aired again on Wednesday, November 22. Main Street Ridgefield is featured at the very beginning the movie, setting the scene for the town where the main character, Lizzie, manages a wealthy estate before it sells.  She has the challenging task of bringing the estranged Marley family together for their last Christmas in the home in which they were raised, and the usual feel-good, tear-jerking Hallmark shenanigans transpire from there.

It’s a pity the location scouts didn’t set the movie in one of our fantastic Main Street properties themselves, such as Ashland Cottage at 321 Main Street.

Here is the link if you’d like to watch the movie: http://www.hallmarkchannel.com/coming-home-for-christmas. And if you want to see some of the wonderful Ridgefield Estate Homes that are for sale, contact me.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone and welcome to the Holidays!

Do You Want To Live Like A Hollywood Producer?

Picture the glitz and glamor of old Hollywood, pair it with every modern convenience and move it all to bucolic Ridgefield.  Welcome to 23 Pin Pack Road.  Home to a noted Hollywood producer, the spectacular residence was recently featured in the Danbury News-Times as its cover story and it doesn’t disappoint.

The sophisticated & enchanting 3/4 bedroom, 1920s mini-estate is situated close to town and reflects exceptional Stone & Tudor architecture. Completely rebuilt in 2011 by an award-winning builder, it features a stunning saltwater pool & spa with beautiful high-end resort like appointments and an exercise area open to expansive outdoor patios.  The exceptional mix of wood & stone, soaring ceilings, multiple fireplaces and amazing millwork are hallmarks, while an incredible gourmet chef’s kitchen and breakfast area connect to a fabulous great room featuring a coffered ceiling & stone fireplace. The master retreat includes a sitting room/office, and His & Her separate baths & dressing rooms. Three additional bedroom options with beautifully appointed baths plus sensational outdoor living areas including stone patios with pergolas and open air stone decking, make this a great entertaining home. An additional charming studio on the property is great as an office or additional workspace. Like no other!

To make an appointment to view the home, please contact me.

‘Fairhaven’ Is A True Fair Haven According To HOME Monthly Magazine

We were thrilled when HOME Monthly asked to feature our beautiful listing on 209 West Lane in Ridgefield for their November issue.  From the minute we walked into the home, we knew it was something special and it seems, so did HOME.

Fairhaven – as it is known – is a wonderful mix of vintage and transitional design that encompasses the best in workmanship, flow and elegant features. Tucked away behind mature trees & setback from the road, it is a spectacularly renovated gem that radiates warmth & sophistication at every turn. Once the home of film star Geraldine Farrar, the floor plan gently meanders from one room to another, seamlessly blending the indoor & outdoor living areas to create a perfect entertaining space. The stunning breezeway, with amazing views of the private yard, connects the lower level pool house to the main rooms including a fabulous updated kitchen, formal living & dining rooms, a study, music room, covered porches & more. The gunite pool & multiple terraces, plus lovely open porches are surrounded by mature trees and fabulous perennial gardens.  The home borders Silver Spring Country Club and you can be in NYC in just over 1 hour to. It’s truly exceptional!

Read more about what makes this home so special in this month’s HOME Monthly. If you are interested in purchasing the home or setting up a time to view it, please contact me.

Ridgefield Market Report October 2017

October saw a decline in market activity, which is not uncommon given the usual frenzy that sets in as people start thinking about the Holidays. Encouragingly, the Median Value for single-family homes sold Ridgefield is up over the same time period last year, as were the number of properties that went under contract.

To see how October shook out in Ridgefield real estate , you can click for a snapshot of the market, or a breakdown by price.

MEDIAN SALES PRICE and CLOSED SALES
The number of closed sales was down over the same time last year with 28 properties selling as compared to 35 in 2016. This translated to a 20% decrease year-over-year. Overall however, 324 properties have sold compared to 304 by the same time last year, which represented a 6.6% increase. The Median Sales Price increased this month from $604,000 in October 2016 to $628,750 in October 2017. The year-to-date median value is on par with 2016 sitting at $640,000. Overall, all indicators point to the fact that it has been a steady year for real estate when compared with 2016.

PROPERTIES UNDER CONTRACT
The number of properties that went under contract increased over last year with 40 properties under contract compared to 27 in 2016.  This represents a 48.1% increase. Overall, in 2017 we have seen an 8.4% increase in buyers jumping into the market, with 334 properties going under contract since the beginning of the year, compared to 308 last year.

DAYS ON MARKET and INVENTORY
We are still dealing with a shortage of properties available for sale this month.  The months of inventory has decreased to only 7.9 months compared with 14.4 months last year. Forty new properties entered the market this month, compared with 51 last year, while the average days on market has decreased by 15% over October 2016 with homes spending an average of 149 days instead of 175 on the market before selling.

November and December are a traditionally slower time of year in the Ridgefield real estate market, but there are deals to be had if you’re looking to buy.  If you’ve been thinking of selling, take this time to prepare your home by updating, cleaning and decluttering.  Also, feel free to contact me for my complimentary Comparative Market Analysis to find out what your home’s worth in today’s market.

We continue to lead the market with the most comprehensive, proven marketing initiatives allowing your home to be in front of the widest audience possible on a local, regional, national and global level.  We recognize your home is your biggest asset and both Buyers and Sellers experience an unparalleled level of customer service when working with us. Contact us today! 

October KMM report

Who’s Buying and Selling Homes in 2017?

The National Association of Realtors just released the  2017 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers survey which provides demographic insights into the real estate market nationally. For most home buyers, the purchase of real estate is one of the largest financial transactions they will make. Buyers purchase a home not only for the desire to own a home of their own, but also because of changes in jobs, family situations, and the need for a smaller or larger living area. This annual survey conducted by the National Association of Realtors® of recent home buyers and sellers provides insight into detailed information about their experiences with this important transaction. Here are highlights from the latest report.

  • First-time buyers made up 34 percent of all home buyers, a decrease from last year’s 35 percent.
  • Age for first-time buyers remains flat, but the age of repeat buyers continues to climb—now at an all-time high of 54.
  • Married couples continue at 3-year decline, while single females increased for the 3rd year.
    Buyer and seller use of agent remains at historical highs, 87% and 89% respectively. FSBOs remain at an all-time low of 8%.
  • Drop in those who stalled their sale of the home because they were underwater to 10%, but it is still common among those who purchased 8-10 years ago at 26%.
  • Tenure (holding on to the same property)  remains at an all-time high of 10 years.

In Ridgefield, we are seeing young families make the move to the suburbs, while empty-nesters are starting to downsize. While we may not have seen the gains in value that some of the country is experiencing, 2017 has been a strong year for both single-family unit sales and median home values.  We hope to see this trend continue through the end of the year.

 

Source: “2017 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers,” National Association of REALTORS® (Oct. 30, 2017)

Ridgefield Q3 Market Report

The third quarter of 2017 sees the culmination of an active summer market with median values increasing for the first time this year when compared to 2016, and the number of sales remaining constant.

Unit Sales
Incredibly, the number of sales of single family homes in Ridgefield remained the same at 116 units in both the third quarters of 2016 and 2017, however the total dollar volume sold in Q3 2017 amounted to $93,705,894, up from $86,206,720 in 2016. Overall, since January, 294 homes have sold in Ridgefield compared with 269 during the same time last year. This represents an 8.5% increase and reaffirms that we are experiencing a healthy real estate market.

Market Inventory
The number of homes listed for sale was lower every month during Q3 2017 when compared to Q3 2016, with an average of 282 homes available for purchase. The average months of inventory was only 6 months in July and August, but has risen to 14 months in September, which is to be expected as families settle into school, and less new homes come on the market.

Pricing
The median sales price for single family homes is currently sitting at $657,500 as compared to $637,500 during the same period last year. This represents a nominal increase in median values of 3%. The average sales price also saw a shift towards higher values with the return of upper end sales. It rose from $743,161 in Q3 2016 to $807,809 this year. Homes also continue to sell at an average of 96.6% of the listed price.

For a snapshot of of single family home sales in September, click here.

5 Tips To Help Lower Your Heating Bills

You wouldn’t know it given the 75-80 degree weather we’ve been experiencing over the last week, but winter is just around the corner! while heating your home is a cost we all expect, there may be ways to reduce how much you pay. Here are some tips from Fixr.com, which provides “Cost Guides” of estimates to common household remodeling projects, highlights five projects to help increase a home’s energy efficiency and keep utility bills lower.

1. Find unorthodox heat sources. More efficient sources of heat are available, particularly if the home is in a milder climate or if the home can be broken into zones.

A heat pump can help lower your electric bills by 50 percent if you currently use electricity to heat your home. Heat pumps cost about $7,500, but will pay for themselves with reduced energy costs. Switching to a geothermal heat pump will save you even more. According to Money Crashers, geothermal heat pumps qualify for a tax credit equal to 30 percent of equipment and installation costs, with no upper limit. Pumps are also frequently paired with things like radiant heat flooring in specific areas of the home, as they are more effective at using energy than either baseboards or radiators and can help supplement the heat in smaller spaces.

Radiant heat costs between $6,000 and $14,000 if covering your whole home, but you can often install it in a single room for around $700. Paired with a heat pump, this will keep your home warm while significantly lowering your energy bills.

2. Add extra insulation. The amount of insulation that your home needs is directly tied to the type of heat source you have. Many homes are actually underinsulated for their climate and their heat source, resulting in their furnaces or radiators having to work harder than they need to and causing a spike in energy bills.

Insulating even a single room in your home can dramatically increase comfort and help you lower your thermostat, resulting in smaller bills. Adding insulation to your attic can also help you prevent costly and damaging ice dams as well, saving you even more. The cost to insulate a single room in your home is around $1,200 to $1,800, and will recoup about 107 percent of the cost at time of resale, making this one of the best improvements you can do for your home.

3. Take care of your furnace. Furnaces are one of the most commonly used ways to heat large homes. Unfortunately, they often have a wide range of efficiency that could be costing you more in monthly bills than they need to.

If your furnace is less than 10 years old, make sure to schedule regular maintenance to keep it running at peak efficiency. This involves changing the filter and making repairs as necessary. The most common furnace repair involves replacing the heat exchange, for around $1,000 to $1,700.

If your furnace is older than 10 years, replacing it can dramatically increase its efficiency. Older furnaces only run at around 50 percent efficiency, while newer models can reach rates of 90 percent, making them a much better choice for keeping monthly bills down. A new furnace costs around $3,000 to $5,000, but will pay for itself in lowered bills over time.

4. Make the switch to gas. If you’re currently heating your home with electricity or oil, you’re likely spending more each month than you would if you switched to natural gas. Gas furnaces are much more efficient than oil or electric heaters, which can save as much as 30 percent on energy bills each month.

The cost to install a new gas system in your home is around $6,000 to $8,000, assuming you have ducts already in place. This upgrade makes the most sense if your current heating system is over 10 years old, as you’ll see the largest gains. The typical ROI of a new gas furnace system is around 15 percent, which means that it will pay for itself in just 6 years.

5. Complete an energy audit. Your home may be losing a great deal of the energy you use to heat it, without you even realizing it. An energy audit—or a comprehensive look at how your home uses and loses energy—will help you find ways to make your home more efficient overall.

An energy audit costs about $150, and many times this cost will be rolled into any upgrades you may choose to make, allowing you to save more. Conducting an energy audit before you have any other work or upgrades done on your home can help you make better informed decisions about the space, maximizing your potential efficiency and savings.

Ridgefield Schools Named Among State’s Best

Niche.com has released it’s 2018 Best Public Schools ranking and it comes as no surprise that Ridgefield schools once again fared very well. The district as a whole was ranked number 17 out of 118 school districts in Connecticut with good showings at all three levels of education. Our teachers were ranked number 8 in the state.  Nationally, Ridgefield School District ranks number 709 out of 10,574 and comes in at number 389 in terms of our teachers.

District rankings were determined by a thorough examination and analysis of key statistics and millions of reviews from students and parents using data from the U.S. Department of Education. Ranking factors include state test scores, college readiness, graduation rates, SAT/ACT scores, teacher quality, public school district ratings, and more.

Ridgefield High School

Ridgefield High School placed #11 out of 196 Connecticut public schools, while our teachers ranked #9 and we came in at #7 in terms of collage prep. Nationally, Ridgefield High School places number 685 out of 17, 867 schools. Overall, Fairfield County counted many top 10 finishers with the ranking based on factors including state test scores, college readiness, graduation rates, SAT/ACT scores, teacher quality, and high school ratings.  For a full ranking of the State’s Best High Schools, click here.

Ridgefield Middle Schools

Ridgefield middle schools also finished strong with East Ridge Middle School ranking #19 out of  287 schools and Scott’s Ridge Middle School in the #25 position. Reached ranking were #4 and #12 respectively. Middle school ranking involved a similar process to the high school ranking and included factors such as state test scores, student-teacher ratio, student diversity, teacher quality, middle school ratings, and the overall quality of the school district. You can see more about how Ridgefield Middle Schools ranked overall here.

Ridgefield Elementary Schools

Overall, Ridgefield elementary schools placed in the top 100 schools when compared to a total of 577 public elementary schools throughout the state.  Branchville Elementary School ranked the highest at #37, with Ridgebury at #50, Barlow Mountain #58, Scotland #60, Farmingville #63, and Veteran’s Park #97. For a full list, see the rankings here.

New Trend – Living Rooms Are Heading Upstairs

After years of hearing the buzzwords “open concept”, homes are starting to see a bit more compartmentalization with additional cozy places to retire becoming more common.

As such, upper-level living rooms are becoming a sought-after space among homeowners, The Wall Street Journal reports. Homeowners are finding these second-floor lounges can be more informal spaces than living areas on the first floor—and can offer more privacy, too.

The idea behind these spaces are nothing new. Historic homes often have included an upstairs “retiring room” for mothers nursing children or for resting midday, says T. Jeffrey Clarke, an architect in Philadelphia, and Karla Murtaugh Homes has a few homes on the market right now that embody these qualities.  You can check out 321 Main Street, 22 Oak Knoll Road, 285 West Lane and 258 Black Rock Turnpike, just to name a few.

Upper-level living rooms—sometimes labeled “pajama lounges”—are usually located right off bedrooms. They may include comfy sofas, a kitchenette, a television, and even a nook to work from. Architects are removing long hallway spaces upstairs to make room for these central living spaces upstairs.

The lounge area is intended for “the bedrooms [to] spill out, and the family can have a space to assemble,” says Kobi Karp, an architect in Miami who recently designed an upper-level living room in one of his projects. “It’s where you go on a Sunday morning and wait for the rest of the house to wake up.”

Upper-level living rooms tend to be more casual than their lower counterparts. They also tend to have recessed lighting instead of chandeliers and favor cozier seating areas over larger sectionals.

As families create new functions for classic spaces, it’s nice to see a trend recognizing the value that an antique home’s architecture and design brings to a modern world.

Source: “The Living Room Moves Upstairs,” The Wall Street Journal (Aug. 23, 2017)