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Karla Murtaugh Named Christie’s Luxury Specialist

Karla Murtaugh has earned the distinction as a Christie’s International Real Estate Luxury Specialist for 2018 – an honor bestowed on only a select number of agents nationwide.  She is also the only agent earning this distinction in Ridgefield.

Murtaugh’s attendance at the invitation-only Luxury Agent Conference held at the end of 2017 at San Diego’s historic grande dame of seaside resorts, the Hotel del Coronado, solidified her commitment to the unique scope of practice and skills required for high-end luxury transactions. This is the third year Murtaugh has been awarded the distinction.

Christie’s unique international perspective on the worlds of art and luxury, together with unparalleled service, have made them the global authority in the marketing of distinctive properties. A world leader in luxury for over 250 years, Christie’s gains insight from the global span and expertise of its Affiliate network, which extends to more than 138 Affiliate brokerages in 46 countries and a combined annual sales volume of approximately $115 billion in 2016, and of which Neumann Real Estate- Murtaugh’s brokerage – is a recognized partner.

Murtaugh is proud to take advantage of the Christie’s International Real Estate partnership and has successfully utilized Christie’s branding, marketing techniques, and resources to leverage the brand for all of her clients.

The Luxury Specialist designation  was awarded to 200 agents world-wide who provide exceptional client service, and have dedicated themselves to the acquisition of knowledge across the full spectrum of luxury asset classes. Christie’s ongoing commitment to the education of its luxury specialists gives their agents increased insight into a market that is rapidly becoming more competitive and more global.

To see what sets Karla Murtaugh Homes’ marketing apart from every other agent, contact us today.

 

Ridgefield’s 2017 Year In Review

Ridgefield Market Snapshot
The Ridgefield Real Estate market for single-family homes once again rallied and came out ahead of last year’s market with respect to all key indicators. Overall, the number of homes sold was up 6.3% with 370 homes selling in 2017 as compared to 348 in 2016. The total sales volume also increased by 5.3% resulting in a total of $273,224,044 transacting as compared to $259,407,724 in 2016. The median sales price for a Ridgefield single-family home increased slightly ending the year at $642,500 as compared to $640,000 in 2016. However, the average sales price decreased one percent from $745,424 to $738,443. The sales-to-list price ratio remained the same with homes selling at an average of 96.5% of their listed price.

Condo Report
There were 70 condominium sales in Ridgefield in 2017 ranging in price from $100,500 for a studio apartment to $1,860,000 for a five bedroom, custom-built Main Street luxury condominium in The Elms. The average sales price was $384,920, while the median sales price was $250,000. This compares favorably to 2016 when the average price was $371,990 and the median price was $216,000.

When Are People Buying?
An interesting finding of 2017 is that the seasonality of real estate is becoming less applicable, while consumer confidence seems to be playing more of a factor. Based on the assumption that properties generally take 60 days to close, to have the number of properties closing in the spring (116 properties) equal those in the summer (117 properties) is unusual. The general take-away is that with increased online visibility and ‘arm-chair‘ real estate, no matter the season buyers are willing to purchase if they find what they like.

The Luxury Market
The luxury market in Ridgefield – defined as homes selling for $1.5 million and above – held firm this year with continued strong sales. Overall, 13 luxury homes and one luxury condominium sold in 2017, as compared to 19 homes in 2016. Of particular note, five homes sold between $2 and $3 million, while the $3 million plus segment saw three sales happen. The highest priced home to sell this year closed for $3,318,183. As a Christie’s International Real Estate Luxury Specialist, in 2017 I was proud to represent 9 buyers and sellers with homes or condos priced between $1.86 and $3.1 million. Down county towns such as Greenwich, Darien, New Canaan and Westport have all seen an increase in luxury sales. Historically Ridgefield is not far behind.

Good News for Fairfield County
Overall, it was good news throughout most of Fairfield County. The number of homes sold was up, with median price not deviating too much from last year throughout most of the towns we evaluated. Darien recovered from 2016’s decreases, posting the largest year-over- year growth in median price. New Canaan rebounded nicely with a 39% increase in units sold when compared to 2016, which was 24% lower versus 2015. In Westport, the amount of speculative home building is also on the rise indicating a returning confidence in the market. Unfortunately, Redding and Wilton experienced an appreciable drop in median values, possibly due to a lack of high-end market sales. All other towns experienced a relatively flat market when compared to 2016.

DOWNLOAD THE FULL REPORT

Storage Tops List Of What People Look For In A Kitchen

According to Houzz, the majority of homeowners recently surveyed prioritized storage all over functions of their kitchens, according to the 2018 U.S. Houzz Kitchen Trends Study of more than 1,700 homeowners, which comes as no surprise. Some key features to consider if you are thinking of remodeling include: recycling baskets; cookie sheet and tray organizers; revolving corner trays; deep drawer organizers; and pull-out or swing-out trays and shelves. To add more storage and counter space, nearly two in five homeowners surveyed said they are adding kitchen islands.

Homeowners want to show off their countertops. It’s the most common major feature upgraded during a kitchen renovation and most commonly splurged-on item, the Houzz survey finds. Further, engineered quartz has become the most popular countertop material choice, overtaking granite, 43 percent versus 34 percent, respectively.

The Houzz survey also showed the following most popular trends in the kitchen:

Color: White kitchens with white backsplashes, countertops, and wall finishes continue to dominate.

Flooring: Natural hardwood is the most popular, but it is declining as woodlike flooring like engineered wood or laminate are on the rise.

Cabinets: Shaker cabinets are the most popular door styles among those updating cabinets, followed by flat-panel and raised panel.

Source: Houzz

Karla’s Musings On A Snowy Day

Happy New Year!

And what a way to start 2018.

While watching the “bomb–cyclone” bury us in inches of snow yesterday, I started to make lists in my head about regular maintenance issues that are often overlooked until they present an issue. Things like: what is the condition of the systems in my house? When did I last get the chimney cleaned? Are the gutters susceptible to ice damming? And so on, and so forth.

It’s easy when we purchase a home to feel overwhelmed with all the maintenance and upkeep associated with it, and as such miss key milestones required to keep it in tip-top shape. And the same can be said for the complacency we project if we’ve been homeowners of the same property for quite some time without issue.

As a quick reminder, here are a few items you might want to schedule now and put in your calendar in order to keep you cool in the summer, warm in the winter and healthy throughout the year.

Furnace or Boiler
Ideally scheduled for September or October, before you really need to depend on it, a routine check-up is key to keeping things running smoothly. Think of it as an investment in the health of your heating system, much like a yearly physical.

Air Conditioning System
While AC is pretty far from your mind while the temperature sits in the teens outside, yearly maintenance slots for AC units book up fast. Call your provider now to lock in an ideal slot in April or May and keep your cool as the temperature heats up.

Septic System
Unless you live in town and are fortunate enough have a town sewer, you will definitely want to get on a plan to inspect and pump your septic every two years. Septic systems can be costly to replace, so finding small problems early – such as invading tree roots or cracks in tank lids – and correcting them early, can save you in the end.

Gutters
Truly an integral part of home maintenance, clean gutters prevent ice damming in the winter, and foundation and basement flooding in the spring rains by making sure water is directed away from the house. Many landscapers make gutter cleaning a part of their spring and fall clean-up, as well as additionally handling excess leaves according to your property. It’s also easy enough to get on a four time-a-year gutter cleaning program if you don’t have a landscaping company. With most companies, you don’t even need to be home – they just come and take care of it and then give you a heads up!

Chimney Clean Out or Gas Fireplace Servicing
Don’t ignore this – it can literally kill you. Carbon monoxide is an issue with an improperly functioning gas fireplace, and chimney fires caused by a build-up of creosote can be deadly. If you haven’t already, put this on the list of must-do’s immediately!

Stay safe and stay warm. Here’s to a great 2018!

Wishing You A Wonderful Holiday Season

GRAT·I·TUDE : the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.

During the holiday season, our thoughts turn gratefully to those who have made our progress possible. It is in this spirit that we say thank you. Best wishes for a happy and healthy new year.

Happy Holidays from all of us at Karla Murtaugh Homes
Karla, Jana & Sally

15 Features That Help Listings Sell Faster

According to the National Association of Realtors, some renovations pay off more than others -both in the time a home takes to sell, and in the money you can recoup.

“That means a quick transition into your dream home,” advises Jessica Lautz, managing director of survey research at the National Association of REALTORS®. But which renovations are the best?

Hardwood flooring remains the biggest draw among buyers of all generations according to an analysis of popular home features. Listings with hardwood floors have appreciated 14.8 percent since 2015.

Realtor.com® looked at 40 of the most common home features and analyzed applicable listings to find which homes sold in the fewest number of days. For this study, researchers used days on market as an indication of demand for a home feature. The following were the top features uncovered in the survey:

1. Smart-home features (smart thermostats, refrigerators, and locking systems)
2. Finished basements
3. Patios
4. Walk-in closets
5. Granite countertops
6. Eat-in kitchens
7. Hardwood floors
8. Laundry rooms
9. Open kitchens
10. Front porches
11. Dining rooms
12. Energy Star appliances
13. Two-car garages
14. Fireplaces
15. Security systems

To see the full report and learn more about each of these features and why they’re great for resale, visit realtor.com

Ridgefield’s Main Street Voted One Of The Best In The USA…Again!

With big-box stores, megamalls, and online sellers dominating the retail landscape, the pleasure of shopping at mom-and-pop stores in a quaint, small-town Main Street shopping district is getting harder to find. But every state has a few such homespun settings left. Ridgefield was voted number 8 on the list of the best downtown shopping districts in the country — each in a town with a population of fewer than 90,000 residents.

In an article dated Nov. 11, 2017, Andrew Lisa, writes, “The colonial town of Ridgefield is only an hour’s drive from New York City, but visitors will feel far removed strolling through the cozy, 300-year-old town tucked away in the foothills of the Berkshire Mountains. Main Street and Danbury Road are adorned with shops and boutiques, as well as an art museum, an agricultural historical center, a theater, and a playhouse.”

Not bad considering how many Main Street’s there are in America! If you haven’t already, remember to Shop Local and support our fabulous resident owned-and-run businesses. You are guaranteed to find what you’re looking for.

To see our competition, view the slideshow

Ridgefield Market Report November 2017

Looking at all indicators, the Ridgefield real estate market is basically flat compared to November last year.  Year-to-date numbers also reflect very little change since 2016. This is actually good news considering some Fairfield County towns have seen decreases in both property values and the number of sales they have experienced. The under $700,000 market is still very busy, and we have seen steady sales in all other price categories, which is encouraging. The luxury market is struggling slightly with decreased sales compared to last year in the over $1 million categories.

To see an overview of how November looked, 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 up over the same time last year with 23 properties selling in November 2017 as compared to 21 in 2016.  Overall, 347  properties have sold compared to 325 by the same time last year, which represents a 6.8% increase. The Median Sales Price decreased this month from $732, 500 in November 2016 to $645,000 in November 2017. The year-to-date median value is on par with 2016 sitting at $640,000, as compared to $643,500 last year at this time. 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 41 properties under contract compared to 25 in 2016.  This represents a 64% increase and could possibly be attributed to the very mild fall we have experienced. Overall, in 2017 we have seen an 8.1% increase in buyers jumping into the market, with 360 properties going under contract since the beginning of the year, compared to 333 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 7.1 months compared with 13.2 months last year. Forty-one new properties entered the market this month, compared with only 25 in November of last year, while the average days on market has decreased by 11.9% over October 2016 with homes spending an average of 171 days instead of 194 on the market before selling.

Overall, November posted decent sales for the time of year and we hope to see that trend continue into December. Feel free to contact me to discuss your buying needs, or 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! 

Snapshot of November Market Report 

Katie Brown’s Country Home Featured on 2017 Holiday House Tour

Ridgefield’s biennial Holiday House Tour is set to kick off on December 1st with a tour of seven area homes, including three that were represented in various real estate transactions by Karla Murtaugh Homes. Tour participants are in for a treat as they meander through these very special and equally unique residences decked out for the Holidays. We are also proud sponsors of the tour.

And if celebrity homes intrigue you, don’t miss out on lifestyle-guru Katie Brown’s country estate. Located at 71 Old Branchville Road, it is a unique blend of vintage charm and NYC chic, creating an eclectic bohemian experience. Currently on the market for $1,575,000 don’t forget to pick up a postcard about the property when you visit or click herefor more information.

Also on the tour, Christine and Michael Carnicelli are excited to open their home at 23 High Ridge Ave, which they purchased back in 2014 and have restored to its former glory. This vintage Georgian will not disappoint with its gracious architecture and updated transitional interior design.

And finally, the beautiful properties at The Elms offer Ridgefielders an opportunity to live in a distinguished Main Street community and one of our clients has graciously agreed to let onlookers view the never-before-seen interior of these fabulous residences! Representing a trend towards well-built, high-end design, the home tour at 500 Main Street offers a glimpse into a different type of in-town living.

The committee for the Holiday House Tour has worked tirelessly to create an amazing event and as always, it is one of the most anticipated home tours in the area. Tickets are still available from Bella Home or Squash’s, and can be purchased the day of the event from the Lounsbury House. Proceeds from the Holiday House Tour benefit Tiger Hollow stadium at Ridgefield High School.