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The Benefits Of Using A Buyer’s Agent To Purchase Your Home

Buying a home is one of the major milestones in life and it shouldn’t be stressful! At Karla Murtaugh Homes, we offer a Platinum level of service to each and every client we work with – partnering with you in your home search and providing you with exceptional market knowledge, negotiating skills, and market insight at every stage of the process.

Signing a Buyer’s Agency agreement or an Exclusive Right To Represent Buyer agreement means you are protected – the agent has a fiduciary duty to represent you to the best of their ability, in confidence, and always acting in your best interest. These agreements are required in order for us to show you homes on the market and serve to benefit you throughout the buying process.

Using a buyer’s agent you always know you are truly being represented with only your interests in mind. A good buyer’s agent will counsel you on how to make the offer, what contingencies to waive, how best to negotiate, what inspection items to address/request and just generally what to expect in the current tumultuous real estate market.

A great buyer’s agent will provide:

1. UNSURPASSED MARKET KNOWLEDGE
Every quarter, we release our “Interpreting The Market” real estate report outlining how the market is doing and where we think it’s going. Based on sound analysis of trends, home sales and current values, as well as a wealth of anecdotal information from our representation of multiple buyers and sellers, we offer the most comprehensive analysis, resulting in your real estate success.

2. REAL TIME INFORMATION
Aligned with the latest search technology, we match our buyers quickly to relevant homes on the market. Priding ourselves on up-to-the-minute communication and familiarity with the inventory through agent previews, broker open houses and broker relations, our buyers are always ‘in-the know’ when it comes to the latest price changes, recent sales and new-to-market homes.

3. EXPERT NEGOTIATING SKILLS
Using skills honed in almost two decades in the business, Karla Murtaugh Homes has seen it all. It’s a challenging, fast-paced market right now, and if you’re lucky enough to find a home you want, you’ll need a seasoned agent to get you to the closing table. From the initial offer to the repair requests, it’s important to balance the seller’s market with your best interest.

Connecticut Ranks 1st In The Nation for AP Exam Performance

According to the AP Cohort Data Report released by the College Board, for the first time ever Connecticut ranks best in the nation on student performance of advanced placement (AP) exams with 34.5 percent of 2020 high school graduates in Connecticut earning a score of 3 or more on an AP exam.

The report offers a measure of participation and performance that shows success on the Advanced Placement® (AP®) Exam in the overall context of equity and access. It represents only U.S. public school students because no central source of enrollment and demographic data is available for nonpublic schools for all states. Compared to the national average, Connecticut saw noticeable increases in the class of 2020 with respect to exam participation and performance among students from low-income families, and Black and Hispanic students. The total number of the state’s graduating class who took an AP exam in high school increased by over five percent in the last five years.

Graduating seniors use AP to get a head start in college. They use AP to:
1. Stand out in college admission
2. Earn college credits
3. Build college skills, and
4. Advance into higher-level courses

Because most colleges in the United States award credit and placement for qualifying AP Exam scores, the 2021 AP Exams will cover the full course content so that students are accurately placed into higher-level courses where they will succeed when they arrive on campus.

College Board is a mission-driven not-for-profit organization that connects students to college success and opportunity. Founded in 1900, College Board was created to expand access to higher education. Today, the membership association is made up of over 6,000 of the world’s leading educational institutions and is dedicated to promoting excellence and equity in education. Each year, College Board helps more than seven million students prepare for a successful transition to college through programs and services in college readiness and college success—including the
SAT® and the Advanced Placement® Program. The organization also serves the education community through research and advocacy on behalf of students, educators, and schools.

Ridgefield 2020 Year In Review Real Estate Market Report

Ridgefield Market Snapshot

2020 started out strong, but the year came to a grinding halt in March as we all sheltered in place due to Covid-19. When real estate was allowed to resume towards the end of April, a torrent of buyers from NYC and other urban areas created unprecedented demand for homes in Westchester and Fairfield counties. The number of single-family home sales in Ridgefield increased by 70% year over year with 556 units selling this year as compared to 327 in 2019. In addition, the total sales volume increased 93.5% in 2020 with $451,684,839 in total sales compared to $233,379,725 last year.

Price gains were seen throughout the Ridgefield single family home market with the Median Sales Price increasing from $628,250 to $707,500, representing an overall increase of 12.6%. The Average Sales Price also increased by 14% from $713,699 to $812,383. The Days On Market decreased with homes spending 70 days on the market before selling, as compared to 167 in 2019. The List to Sales Price Ratio rose from 96.5% to 97.8% with many homes receiving offers above asking price or even multiple offers.

Demand for single-family homes increased at all price points, however, the greatest boost came in properties selling between $1-million and $1.5-million. Sluggish sales over the past few years were reversed with a 217% gain from 24 sales last year to 76 this year. The luxury market – defined as homes selling for more than $1.5-million – also saw appreciable gains with a 128% rise from 18 to 41 sales, and the under $1-million sales increased 54% from 285 to 439. In general, homes that had been updated were often selling at or above their listed price.

Trends In The Market

  • As people reevaluate their lifestyles in the wake of the pandemic, many are finding their home a sanctuary. People are moving out of cramped urban spaces to more residential neighborhoods in the suburbs.
  • While the market has transitioned to benefit the seller, buyers are still wary of creating a ‘bubble’ and will continue to be reasonable in their offer strategy.
  • A shortage of inventory will continue to place pressure on first-time and even ‘move-up’ buyers as continued demand outweighs supply.
  • It is increasingly important to understand how the market changes we are seeing breaks down by price and segment, as not all gains are the same across the board.

For more information, download the FULL REPORT.

Connecticut Realtors Launch Home Safe Home Campaign

Covid-19 has definitely created a pause for all of us and made us take a hard look at ourselves and how we live. Living rooms and kitchen islands are now classrooms, dining rooms are offices and bedrooms are a place to get away for a little bit of solace and quiet at the end of unusually hectic days. Now more than ever, many are realizing the importance of having a home that truly meets their needs. And for some, real estate plans cannot be put on hold, even in these trying times.

As such, Connecticut Realtors®, WTNH News 8, and iHeartMedia are teaming up for the Home Safe Home campaign – a reminder that Connecticut Realtors are still here, working for the residents of our state, with your safety in mind. ​Karla Murtaugh Homes is no exception.

Utilizing all the technology available to us we are here to help people achieve their housing dreams. For buyers, video, floorplans, limited in-person showings or tours via FaceTime or Zoom are available to give you a better idea of what homes are currently on the market. For sellers, all documentation can be done remotely via electronic transaction management and document collection from public sources, to listing creation and putting the property live where potential buyers are looking on social media, consumer search platforms such as Zillow and Realtor.com and more. From listing to closing, most of the Real Estate process can be done virtually to give our clients a safe and secure experience. ​

We like to think of ourselves as more than just Realtors. We’re your neighbors and your friends, and we’re on the frontlines working to give everyone the security of having a place to call Home Safe Home. Check out the campaign video below and contact Karla Murtaugh Homes if you need help relocating, selling or want know how the market is doing.

Ridgefield’s 2019 Year In Review Market Report

Ridgefield Market Snapshot
2019 was an interesting year in Ridgefield Real Estate as we didn’t see the typical buying cycle emerge as in previous years. Summer – which is usually fairly busy – slowed slightly, while the fall and winter months have seen increased activity. Across the board sales of Single Family Homes in Ridgefield have been flat with the number of Closed Sales remaining steady at 327 versus 329 in 2018, and the Overall Sales Volume ending the year only $3-million less than 2018 at $233,379,725.

Median Sales Price also remained relatively constant at $628,250 – a difference of 2 percent compared to $641,260 last year. Average Sales Price is down half a percentage point over 2018 to $713,699. As in previous years, homes continue to sell at approximately 96.5% of ask, while the Days On Market rose slightly to 167 from 142. Moving into 2020, there are already double the number of homes under contract as compared to the same time in 2019.

The Luxury Market
18 luxury homes sold this past year, compared to 9 in 2018. Six of these sales were over $2-million. Proper pricing is critical to achieve maximum results in a reasonable time period. Sellers are advised to make sure their home is move-in ready and incorporate the additional features buyers are looking for such as mudrooms, Smart Home connectivity, generators, and updated kitchens and baths.

Condo Sales
Ridgefield continues to offer a wide selection of price points and availability to those looking for an alternative to a single-family home. This year, sales ranged from a one bedroom, one bath condo in Fox Hill for $150,000 to a $1.4 million, three bedroom, three bath luxury townhome in The Elms on Main Street. Overall, condo sales slowed with 55 units selling as compared to 70 last year. The Median Sales Price remained steady at $227,500 but the Average Sales Price decreased ending the year at $298,907

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Contact Us to explore how we can partner with you to meet and exceed your Real Estate goals.

Ridgefield’s 2019 Mid-Year Market Report

Ridgefield Market Snapshot
Ridgefield single family home sales are on par when compared to the same time last year. 150 homes sold during the first six months of the year, as compared to 147 in 2018. The median sales price stayed exactly the same at $625,000, while the total sales volume made modest gains ending the mid-year 4.5% higher than 2018 at $104,368,182. Even going back to 2017, we have seen the number of sales and the median sales price remain essentially flat, while the overall sales volume has fluctuated from a high in 2017 of $125,473,815 to a low in 2018 of $99,906,250.

While the median sales price remained the same year over year, we saw gains in the average sales price, which bodes well for the market as it indicates a general increase in what buyers are willing to pay. Year-to-date the average sales price was $695,788 – a 3.8% increase over the 2018 price of $670,512. This may sound modest, but considering 2017 had a high of $704,797, it indicates we are trending in the right direction. The months of inventory was slightly lower fluctuating between 8 and 15 months, while the list to closed price ratio was up over previous years at 96.7%.

The Luxury Market
Luxury market sales in Ridgefield – defined as homes selling for $1.5 million and above – have seen a huge uptick since this time last year, and in fact, are the strongest we’ve seen since 2016. There have been seven sales to date, compared to only one in 2018, two in 2017, and nine in 2016, while other Fairfield County towns, generally known for their luxury market, have flattened and reported less than stellar results so far this year. Traditionally, demand for these properties is strongest towards the end of the year so we hope to see this segment of the market continue to do well. There are currently an additional three homes under deposit set to close in the next few months and we’ve noticed that in the higher price points it is the motivated seller who is seeing the best results in the least amount of time.

Fairfield County Snapshot
The results are truly mixed for Fairfield County as a whole in the first half of 2019. Overall, median sales price was down throughout the county, as was total sales volume, but the number of unit sales increased in many towns. Traditionally strong commuter towns such as Darien and Greenwich had opposite results with Darien showing an increase in unit sales but the greatest decrease in median sales price in the county, and Greenwich showing an in increase in price but a decrease in the number of sales. Westchester County has also seen a decrease overall in the number of unit sales with median and average sales values down across the board. Looking ahead, we hope to see a more balanced market with supply and demand bringing prices back into alignment.

Looking Ahead
The spring market never seemed to materialize but we are seeing an increase in activity in the early summer months. Buyers continue to be in the driver’s seat in 2019 and sellers would be wise to make sure that their home is show ready before listing it for sale. Now, more than ever, it is important that these properties check off as many of the buyers’ boxes as possible. We continue to see in-town properties and those sporting the latest design trends garner top dollar. Inventory for small to medium-sized homes that are in turn key condition continues to be a challenge as baby boomers looking to downsize, and millennials looking to buy their first home, often overlap in what they desire. We are cautiously optimistic that Ridgefield Real Estate will remain steady. We are seeing 63% of sales coming from the purchase of homes under $700,000 indicating middle-class earners continue to find Ridgefield a desirable place to live with its access to great schools, major urban centers and exposure to a vibrant arts and leisure community.

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Ridgefield’s 2018 Year In Review

Ridgefield Market Snapshot
The Ridgefield Real Estate market for single-family homes faced an interesting year in 2018 with a tumultuous mid-term election and the challenge of attracting businesses to the state. Combined with the new tax structure – the effects of which have not yet come to pass – and a bear market, Ridgefield sales rallied remarkably well showing a drop in volume, but no appreciable drop in value. Overall, the number of homes sold was down 11 percent with 329 homes selling in 2018 as compared to 370 in 2017. The total sales volume also decreased by 13 percent resulting in a total of $236,085,651 transacting as compared to $273,224,044 in 2017. The median sales price decreased only slightly from $642,500 to $641,260 (a difference of 0.2 percent) and the average home price fell by only 2.8 percent from $738,443 in 2017 to $717,586. Homes also continued the trend of selling at 96.5 percent of their listed price as in previous years.

In Condo News
As in 2017, there was a total of 70 condominium sales in Ridgefield in 2018 ranging in price from $129,000 for a one-bedroom apartment in Fox Hill, to $865,000 for a 3,200 square foot condominium on Sunset Lane. The average sales price was $330,174, while the median sales price was $235,000. This is down slightly from last year when the average price was $384,920 and the median price was $250,000. Of note, 3 luxury condos on Main Street are also due to close in the $1.3 million range in the early part of 2019.

The Luxury Market
The luxury market in Ridgefield-defined as homes selling for $1.5 million and above-continued to show decent market activity with 9 luxury homes selling in 2018, as compared to 13 homes in 2017. Of note, we represent 4 additional properties priced over $1.5 million currently in contract to close in the first part of 2019. Overall, we have noticed buyers are taking longer to commit to luxury purchases and are instead searching for just the right home-one that includes all the features and amenities they are looking for. As a Christie’s International Real Estate Luxury Specialist, in 2018 I was proud to represent 10 out of the 18 buyers and sellers who purchased luxury homes priced between $1.525 and $2.55 million.

Fairfield County News
Overall, Fairfield County experienced slight decreases in both the number of properties sold and median sales prices in 2018. Redding, Norwalk, Wilton and Fairfield showed an increase in values over last year, which is welcome news for homeowners in Wilton and Redding where home values had plummeted almost 10 percent back in 2017. Weston was able to rally back after being down 22% in mid-year unit sales. New Canaan continues to post double­ digit decreases in sales as a result of an increase in supply compared to demand especially in the upper price points.

Looking Ahead
In 2019, the buyer’s market will continue with the biggest discussions centered on mortgage rates and available inventory. In terms of inventory, we hope to see sellers continue to list their homes, attracting solidly qualified buyers who still see this market as a good time to buy. In 2018, Ridgefield lacked entry-level inventory in the under $600,000 range as well as the $800,000 – $1.2 million range. We are hoping to see that turn around in 2019. The two largest groups of buyers and sellers will continue to influence the market with Millennials moving to the better value of the suburbs and baby-boomers downsizing, thereby freeing up more inventory. Ridgefield continues to be a desirable place to live with its top-ranked schools, great cultural attractions, world-class dining and amazing sense of community.

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Ridgefield’s 2018 Mid Year Market Report

The Ridgefield Real Estate market continues to favor the buyer, but we have had a number of multiple bid situations on properties that are updated and priced correctly. Condition, along with location and proximity to Main Street, continue to be key drivers for sales across all price points. Buyers are becoming increasingly savvy about market conditions and trends due to the availability of data on public websites such as Zillow and Realtor.com. The threat of a mortgage rate increase does not seem to be affecting buyer decisions either as they bide their time and wait for the ‘right’ home.

The good news is that buyers are still willing to pay for properties they find desirable with properly priced homes selling at 96.5% of their listed price. As was the case last year, properties under $800,000 seem to hit the sweet spot in Ridgefield. The town continues to be a destination for families moving from areas within the metropolitan region, as well as relocating from other states due to our family-friendly environment, quality of life and access to major commerce centers. We also continue to see families move within Ridgefield, which is a testament to the ‘staying power’ of our town.

No Gain In Value
Overall, the Ridgefield real estate market continues to remain relatively flat across the board. A six-week weather delay created a sluggish spring market, resulting in lower unit sales and decreased overall volume sold. 147 homes were sold during the first six months of 2018, as opposed to 178 last year. The total sales volume registered a 21% decrease, ending the mid-year at $98,851,250. However, the median sales price remained on par with last year at $625,000 compared with $627,000 from January to June in 2017.

Where Are Buyer’s Buying?
As in previous years, during the first half of 2018 in-town properties are in demand with 42 percent of all sales occurring within a two-mile radius of Town Hall (considered Village center). The median sales price of these homes was $692,500, and the average sales price was $724,526 – both of which are above the town as a whole. Three of the four luxury condominiums valued at over $700,000 were also located in-town. These sales reflect the growing trend for more walkable properties close to restaurants, shopping and culture

Condo Report
There were 33 condominium sales in the first half of 2018 ranging in price from $135,000 for a one bedroom, one bath townhouse in Fox Hill to $865,000 for a three bedroom, two full and two half bath townhouse on Sunset Lane. The median sales price was $267,000, while the average sales price was $354,567. Compared to the first six months of 2017, the median sales price has risen by 14%, while the average sale price decreased by 12%. This discrepancy is due to a greater number of higher priced condominiums selling in the first half of 2017 compared to 2018.

The Luxury Market
Luxury market sales – defined as homes selling for $1.5 million and above – are comparable to the 2017 mid-year mark. So far we have seen one sale for $1,540,000 close, as compared to two during the same period last year. As of July 1st five luxury properties are either under deposit or in contract to close in the third quarter ranging in value from $1.745 million to $2.395 million. Historically, more luxury properties close in the third and fourth quarters. Anecdotally, interest in the upper price range remains strong with many homes experiencing a number of showings. Many luxury properties have also adjusted their pricing to attract the upper tier buyer looking for value and compelling offerings.

Activity Down In Fairfield County
After several years of growth, unit sales throughout Fairfield County slipped during the first half of 2018 with decreases noted across the board. Towns closer to Manhattan such as Greenwich, Darien and Norwalk saw modest increases in the median sales price, but still registered a decreased number of unit sales. While Fairfield County is still considered attractive for families due to the quality of life and great schools, the sense of urgency by buyers to make the move seems to have slowed. Looking ahead, market activity seems slightly higher than normal as we move into the summer months, which will hopefully equate to increased sales in the second half of the year.

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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.

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