What to Consider When Upsizing or Downsizing

As we discussed in our recent Q3 Market Report, the market is still very busy although we are seeing the “panic” situation of late 2020 receding a little. Homes that are in good condition and priced correctly are still seeing lots of interest, but it is not as frenzied as in previous months.

Our days on market and months of inventory continue at record lows and are a matter of concern given the number of buyers still looking to make the move to the suburbs. With in- office work returning, high crime in many urban areas, and stubbornly low interest rates, it behooves sellers looking to move to jump into the market.

Taking all of this into consideration, many people are currently thinking about upsizing or downsizing. Many families’ needs have changed and their current homes no longer serve their lifestyle appropriately. But figuring out the perfect size home for your family can be difficult. Often, we don’t know exactly how we’ll use a space until we’re in it (and then it could be too late!).

If you’re considering either upsizing or downsizing, we recommend you contemplate the following:

  • Think about your current home. Are there rooms you never use? Are there rooms that are packed to bursting? Do you have enough storage space? Are you bumping into family members when trying to get out the door at night or make dinner at night?
  • Think about the future. Do you have young kids who will only occupy more space as they grow? Or do you have kids who are about to leave the nest and free up a certain amount of square footage?
  • Think about your lifestyle. Do you wish you had more space to entertain and have overnight guests? You might want to upsize. Are you spending more time away from home and don’t want the maintenance that goes along with a larger home? You might be ready to downsize.
  • Think about your budget. Is a smaller mortgage payment one reason you’d like to downsize? Or has your financial outlook improved enough to take on more of a mortgage in exchange for the lifestyle that will go along with it?

As we move into the traditionally slower holiday season, prices are still up but we hope for a more balanced market as we head into 2022. So, if you have been reevaluating your lifestyle and think that making a move would be good for you, now is the time! We offer a complimentary market analysis and would be happy to provide you with a concrete analysis of what your home is worth. For buyers, our expertise in negotiating in a strong seller’s market means you will get unparalleled representation in a competitive marketplace. Contact us today at 203-856-5534 or karla@karlamurtaugh.com.

Q3 2021 Year To Date Ridgefield Market Report

Sales Overall Remain Strong, But Q3 2021 Shows a Slowdown

The Ridgefield Real Estate market showed an impressive recovery last year in Q3 2020 after the shutdown in March and April due to Covid-19. While the overall year-to-date sales for 2021 exceed 2020, Q3 2021 in isolation does reflect the slowdown we have all been experiencing. Year-to-date, a total of 391 homes have sold outpacing 2020 by 7%, while the total sales volume stands 28% higher than 2020 at $364,737,937 vs $284,792,926.

In Q3 specifically, we have only seen 154 sales vs 207 in Q3 2020, representing a 26% decrease. Additionally, our total sales volume in Q3 2021 was down by 14% registering $142,539,000 vs $165,395,882. Sales in Q3 reflect deposits taken from May to August in most cases.

Our days on market and months of inventory continue at record low volume and continues to be a matter of concern given the number of buyers still looking to make the move to the suburbs. With in- office work returning, high crime in many urban areas, and stubbornly low interest rates, it behooves sellers looking to move to jump into the market.

Luxury Sales Are Strong

The biggest gains in Real Estate in 2021 have materialized in the Luxury Market (homes selling for greater than $1.5 million) however, sales are up in all price points over $1 million. In 2020, there were 66 homes that sold for over $1-million by this time constituting 18% of the total sales YTD. In 2021, that number climbed to 120, which represents 31% of the total sales. There were twice as many homes in the $1 million to $1.25 million category selling this year as compared to last, and in the $2 million and over category 14 homes have traded hands this year compared to only six in 2020.

Prices Are Up

The average sales price was up 16% in Q3 2021 and 19 % year-to-date. In year-to-date figures it sits at $932,834 vs. $7782,398 in 2020, and in Q3 it was $925,578 vs $799,014. The median sales price was up 15% in Q3 sitting at $828,500 compared to $720,000 and 22% in the year-to-date with 2021 registering a median value of $825,000 and 2020 $673,750. We have seen a good number of homes selling at or above their listed sale price in a short amount of time. Homes that are updated and priced properly are still often in receipt of multiple bids.

Looking Ahead
The market is still very busy although we are seeing the “panic” situation of late 2020 receding a little. Homes that are in good condition and priced correctly are still seeing lots of interest, but it is not as frenzied as in previous months. The lack of inventory is a concern as we move into the traditionally slower holiday season, but prices are still up and we hope for a more balanced market as we head into 2022. So, if you have been reevaluating your lifestyle and think that making a move would be good for you, now is the time! We offer a complimentary market analysis and would be happy to provide you with a concrete analysis of what your home is worth. For buyers, our expertise in negotiating in a strong seller’s market means you will get unparalleled representation in a competitive marketplace. Contact us today at 203-856-5534 or karla@karlamurtaugh.com

Karla Murtaugh & Christine Carnicelli Honored By BGCR

The Boys & Girls Club of Ridgefield is having their Great Futures Celebration Supporting our Kids, Our Families and Our Club Community on Saturday, November 6th and I am so proud to be honored as the 2020 Champion for Youth! Together with my friend Christine Carnicelli, who is being honored as the 2021 Champion for Youth, we will join a host of community members to celebrate our wonderful local club.

BGCR rose to the occasion, met each challenge, and stayed true to the mission of helping those that need them the most throughout the past years. They truly rallied to do ‘Whatever It Takes’ for the youth and families in our community. Join us and support the Great Futures Celebration at the Ethan Allen Hotel. It wouldn’t be a celebration without all of you!

In addition to Christine and myself, the club will also be presenting Jess Murphy Podrazky with the Boys & Girls Club of America’s National Service to Youth Award recognizing a decade of service to the Club.

Of course, the BGCR also hopes to raise some much-needed funds for our Club members’ Great Futures. Our promise to youth is to continue to be a pillar of support for them, no matter the obstacles they may be facing, and with your help at the Great Futures Celebration, we know we will be able to fulfill this promise.

Antique Homes Are Amazing, But Do Your Homework

There are some beautiful antique homes in our area, and these can be some of our favorites to help clients buy and sell. The unique charm of older homes can be just the character your family is looking for, and there is nothing cookie-cutter about these properties! They are often located in well-established neighborhoods with mature landscaping.

Older homes can have amazing character traits and historical features that most new homes simply do not have, like huge wood-burning fireplaces, beautiful wood trim and moldings, and ceilings with rustic wood beams that can be harder to find in newer, more modern homes.

There can be some challenges however, and we created this list to help prepare you if you’re thinking of purchasing an antique home. Be sure to consider the following:

  • Enlist the help of a top realtor like us who has decades of experience in this area. We know what red flags to look for, and how to negotiate on your behalf to get the best deal especially when it comes to replacement expenses.
  • Most older homes contain items that eventually need to be replaced. Some examples with considerable price tags may include roofing, furnace, water heater, decks, windows and fencing. It is important to find out the age of each of these items when you’re considering an older property. Structural issues, older plumbing and outdated electrical may also need to be addressed depending on the age of the home.
  • Antique homes in the northeast especially can require updated weatherstripping and insulation to ensure you’re not wasting money on an unnecessarily high energy bill. Speaking of bills, it can be more costly to insure an older home than a modern home so you may want to check with your homeowners insurance company.
  • Depending on the needs of your family, the floor plan in an older home might require some renovation and remodeling. Smaller rooms might need to be opened up to create a more open floor plan and additional bathrooms might be needed if you have a larger family or frequent houseguests.
  • You may want to find out if there are any historical societies or neighborhood restrictions on remodeling. Some older homes and neighborhoods have restrictions in terms of the type and style of remodeling that can be done.
  • Fortunately, our team loves antique homes and would be honored to help you find yours, even if it means resolving some of these issues! Reach out to us today.

    Our Clients In The Wall Street Journal!

    In a Wall Street Journal Special Section called Beyond NYC, we were fortunate enough to be asked to provide a commentary on the state of the market. In addition, two of our fabulous clients were featured in a two different articles about their experiences buying in the ‘suburbs’ like Ridgefield, and selling during Covid. To check out the full article, see the posts below.

    How To Prep Your Home For Cooler Weather

    Fall is finally here, and whether you’ve just purchased your first home or are a veteran owner, you might be surprised at the quantity of odd jobs you should complete this time of year.

    1. Our recent experience with Hurricane Ida left some homeowners dealing with waterproofing issues. There are some basic steps to help prevent water penetration into your home such as cleaning out gutters so leaves don’t accumulate and the water is allowed to run freely. Checking that window wells are free of debris and the land slopes away from the house around the basement area also helps prevent penetration from melting snow. If persistent seepage of water occurs in the basement of the home, it is wise is to contact a specialist and see if the installation of a sump pump or water proofing would solve the issue.

    2. Landscaping is a huge job in the fall between leaf cleanup and prepping your plants for winter. Leaving leaves on the lawn can cause damage to the grass, so make sure to clear and/or mulch leaves. Moving them into a forested area also helps the native fauna overwinter. Some plants also benefit from being wrapped in burlap to protect from them frost. Hurricane Ida also made it clear how important it is to take down trees and large branches so they don’t fall during a storm. Contact an arborist to evaluate trees that require trimming, cableing or removal to keep your home safe.

    3. Now is a great time to paint the interior or exterior of your home thanks to mild temperatures and less humidity. This will reduce wear and tear on the clapboard or shingles. Take some time to caulk and seal around all exterior doors and window frames, including in your basement and garage. If you look for gaps where pipes or wiring enters your home and caulk those as well, you can cut down on the heat escaping from those openings. It may also prevent water, insects and maybe even mice from entering.

    4. It is wise to have your heating system, firebox and chimney professionally serviced sooner rather than later to ensure safe and reliable heat during the cooler months. With regular maintenance, you will also be extending the lives of these key appliances.

    We hope you enjoy the gorgeous fall foliage in our area this season and feel free to contact us if you need a place to start for vendors for these services!

    Ridgefield August Market Report – Low Inventory Remains Main Issue

    Year To Date Sales Remain Strong

    Year over year January through August single-family home sales remain strong with 351 homes sold to date in 2021 vs 298 in 2020 – an increase of 18%.  We see the same trend in overall sales volume, which saw a 43% increase year over year ending the year-to-date at $329,473,587 with rising prices and continued demand for properties responsible for the continuing uptick.

    Low Inventory Means Less Sales, Less Overall Volume In August 2021

    For the second month in a row the number of closed transactions is lower in a given month than what was seen in that same month in 2020. There were 58 sales in August this year, a decrease of 19% from the 69 sales in August 2020. There was also a 7.5% decrease in the overall sales volume with August 2021 coming in at $55,711,650 vs $60,211, 700. Given the buying cycle, homes closing in August were most likely to have been purchased in June – the key time observed for the large exodus of buyers from NYC in 2020. It’s also a sign that limited inventory is making it hard for buyers to find homes – the main limiting factor in real estate right now.

    Prices Remain High With No Sign Of Dropping

    Another result of the limited inventory is that the price of homes continues to remain at all time highs.  Mortgage rates are holding steady, and values are showing no signs of slipping. While the market is not as frenzied as previous, homes remain in high demand with buyers chomping at the bit to make to a move. In August alone the median price was up 13% year over year from August 2020 landing at $835,000 vs $740,000 a year ago.  Year-to-date, the median home price is 28% up year over year sitting at $825,000 vs $645,000.  The average price in August 2021 is up 10% at $960,546, while year over year it is up 22% at $938,671.

     

    Welcome Back To School!

    Ridgefield Public Schools began their school year this week, and we wanted to take a moment to salute our incredible teachers, students, staff and administrators! Our schools are consistently ranked among the best in the nation year after year.

    We know our administrators are closely following the developments of the COVID-19 pandemic and complying with all local, state and federal guidelines. The district is not offering a remote or hybrid option this year, and masks are required for all individuals regardless of vaccination status. There is currently an indoor mask mandate in place for the entire town of Ridgefield.

    Superintendent Susie Da Silva told The Ridgefield Press that the district had a great start to the new school year. With more knowledge of the virus at their disposal, she explained, administrators were able to better prepare for the year ahead.

    School officials will keep a close eye on local COVID-19 cases to inform how to proceed with quarantines, continued instruction and enhancing that learning. The district is also preparing to screen students in grades K-6 on a weekly basis as soon as Sept. 13. The voluntary program is designed specifically for children who are ineligible to receive the vaccine and is intended to alleviate transmission in the event of a positive case.

    Additionally, in partnership with the Connecticut State Department of Education, Ridgefield Public Schools will continue to offer a free meal in all of our schools for the entire 2021-22 school year.

    Learn more about our many excellent district offerings here: https://www.ridgefield.org/Our_District

    We also have several private schools in the Ridgefield area, including Ridgefield Academy and St. Mary School. You can learn more here: https://www.privateschoolreview.com/connecticut/ridgefield

    Join us in wishing everyone in Ridgefield schools a safe and productive year!

    How To Prep Your Home To SELL

    With fall coming, it’s a fabulous time to list your home! If you’ve been on the fence about selling, we understand. It’s been a tumultuous eighteen months. But the real estate market shows no signs of slowing, and if you’d like to capitalize on this exciting market and earn a fabulous price for your home, we’d love to help.

    Here are a few great first steps to get you started:

    1. Declutter! This is a terrific opportunity to get rid of items you’re no longer using or enjoying. If you’re not ready to part with many of your things, consider a temporary storage unit.

    2. Deep clean! Set aside a significant amount of time or hire a pro, then keep it clean until you close so it’s in great shape for showings.

    3. Repair! Patch holes in the walls, replace broken appliances, change burnt out light bulbs.

    4. Paint! Many homeowners are surprised by how a new coat of neutral paint can refresh their home. We’re happy to recommend paint colors that will enhance the beauty of your home.

    5. Boost curb appeal! The first impression is most important, so consider improving outdoor light fixtures, replacing the mailbox, arranging patio furniture and/or sprucing up the landscaping. Even a few pots of colorful flowers can make a huge difference in welcoming potential buyers.

    In addition, research shows a staged home generally sells faster and for more money. The real estate market is highly competitive and staging will give you a leg up on the competition. When a potential buyer enters your home, you want to provide a backdrop for them to experience the home — a place where they can see how rooms function and how the home ‘feels’. Most importantly, staging lets you get an objective opinion as seen through a buyer’s eyes – it’s not a reflection on your personal style or taste, but about getting you the most bang for your buck and top dollar on your sale.

    For everything you need to know about selling your home, check out our Seller’s Guide. At Karla Murtaugh Homes, our team is committed to ensuring that each and every transaction is handled in the most effective manner possible, and with the trust and integrity you deserve.

    Be sure to reach out to us today for your complimentary consultation. We’ll walk you through every step!