May 30, 2012
Most Popular Homes took a brief hiatus over the long weekend to honor war veterans and enjoy some good ol bbq. But-its back! Todays special Tuesday edition will take a look at raveis.coms most viewed homes for the past 10 days. Be prepared to be wowed
Listed By: Edie Baum, William Raveis Southport
Listed by: Pam Peters, William Raveis Falmouth
Listing Agent: Anthony DOnofrio, William Raveis Rye
Listing Agent: Lindsay Castergini, William Raveis Newport
May 25, 2012
What is lavish luxury living to you? One size definitely does not fit all here, but the answer can sometimes be more practical than you think. When money is not a roadblock, finding time to enjoy family and friends may still be a challenge. The easy solution seems to be to make any time together truly quality time! In regards to luxury real estate, that includes creating a lavish indoor/outdoor playground to match the personalities and passions of family members. No matter what the ages of the family members or grandchildren, it is keeping everyone together to entertain and enjoy being together right at home!
Luxury homes seem to be all about entertaining on a grand scale. Kitchens are getting larger and act as more of a gathering place; outdoor living spaces are extravagant and more of an extension of the indoor spaces; media rooms are starting to trump the cinemas. Currently on the market with William Raveis Real Estate, Mortgage Insurance, we have homes that offer putting greens, basketball courts, racquet ball courts, hockey rinks, indoor pools, night clubs, casino/poker rooms. My personal favorite is the concept of a separate party barn which can be both the source for parties with full kitchen and entertaining areas as well as house many of the lavish sports amenities. We also have homes for the car collector; equestrian estates for the horse lovers; and plenty of beach/waterfront, gardens, wine cellars, artist studios, workshops, home gyms and then we have homes for outdoor adventures with fishing, shooting ranges, helicopter pads etc Whether you want to bring your boat, helicopter, horses, or collection of cars, our Exceptional Properties Specialists can help find the perfect first or second home that will encourage that quality family time that we all strive for.
Below are a few homes that really exemplify lavish extras!
In Farmington, Connecticut listed for $9,999,999 http://www.raveis.com/mls/G578791/50_poplar_hill_drive_farmington_ct/ lavish extras include conference room, exercise room, billiards room, racquet ball court, indoor pool, basketball court, tennis court, infinity pool and helicopter pad.
In Brookline, Massachusetts Listed for $6,950,000 http://www.raveis.com/mls/71350456/125_rockwood_street_brookline_ma/ lavish extras include exercise room, media room, wood-burning stone pizza oven, 2,500 bottle wine cellar, and landscaped grounds including infield grass from Fenway Park.
In Swampscott, MA listed for $4,490,000 http://www.raveis.com/mls/71340027/21_rockyledge_road_swampscott_ma/ lavish extras (besides the beach) include infinity pool, media room, exercise room and music studio.
In Greenwich, Connecticut listed for $5,750,000 http://www.raveis.com/mls/81993/_greenwich_ct/ lavish extras include theatre room, bar and billiard room, exercise room, heated pool and incredible outdoor living area.
May 23, 2012
Designing or re-designing a home is often regarded as the most fun, yet frustrating part of homeownership. The particulars often come down to what color works with what room, what accent pieces work best with a certain type of carpeting and, of course, the awful C word- Cost. Cost is most often happy to ruin the party. However, there are corners you can cut to get the look you want, at a price that is also palatable. Phyllis Lerner, an associate in our Sleepy Hollow, New York office, provides some wonderful guidance on designing a home to achieve maximum impact, without maximum cost. Take a look at her tips below. For more on New York/Westchester County real estate, check out her blog.
Having your home look like a million bucks doesnt have to cost you big. Following a few simple design tips and researching the latest styles can help you can transform your dull space into divine living.
The first rule of budget design is to have a clear focus. Work on one room and one design at a time. The reasoning behind this is simple. Its too easy to go over-budget if you are shopping for multiple projects at the same time. By focusing on one room, you can be clear on what items you really need.
To know what items you need, come up with a design plan. You might have a great design mind and can plan a room from scratch, but most of us need guidance. Where are good places to get inspiration?
- Friends and family who have enlisted the help of professional decorators in the past may have rooms youd like to emulate. Take tips from their rooms, but personalize them to your taste. After all, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
- Design magazines show you a range of styles. Pick an inspiration room and copy it.
- Furniture showrooms have really stepped up their game in the past few years. They can be full of great new ideas for color schemes, bedding, and more!
- Celebrities can afford to pay top dollar for the industrys leading interior designers. A simple online image search will show you top celebrity homes that have been featured in magazines.
Now that youre inspired, develop a solid design plan. In a notebook or on your computer, draw out your future room. Choose colors and patterns. The clearer the design in your head, the more closely youll be able to create it. Use this drawing to create a shopping list of items.
Dont do any shopping, though, until you calculate a budget. How much can you afford to spend? Even $100 can make a huge difference in a room. New paint, throw pillows, and curtains can be inexpensive changes, especially if you know the tricks of budget shopping.
Budget design means going outside of retail shopping. Garage and estate sales can be wonderful shopping grounds, especially if you already have an idea of what you need. However, dont compromise style for cost. The last thing you want to do is spend money on something that doesnt really work.
Clearance is your best friend. Shop sales, use coupons, and always take a look at clearance racks. Dont forget about online clearance as well. Many stores have fabulous deals and minimal shipping costs.
You can do anything you set your mind to. A great way to save money is to do projects yourself. An upholstered headboard, for example, can cost upwards of $500, but building one yourself can cost less than $100. Headboards, shelving, pillows, and artwork are all within the reach of any amateur. YouTube is a wonderful resource for how-to videos. Plus, its free!
Another money saving tip is to use faux instead of luxury goods. This means faux silk curtains instead of real silk. Choose laminate floors over hardwoods. Use faux fur instead of real fur, which looks just as great and is also cruelty-free.
Finally, reuse what you already have. You may have items in others areas of your home that will now work for your newly designed space.
The key to budget designing is to have a clear plan and to stick to it. Do this and youre sure to have a room of which youre proud.
Article source: http://blog.raveis.com/2012/05/23/home-design-on-a-budget/
Selling Your Home? Outside Investments Produce Curb Appeal and Strengthen That Important First Impression
May 17, 2012
This post from Pat Neville, an agent in our Katonah, New York office, originally appeared on her blog. Pat talks about the importance of curb appeal. Sure, you think youre an expert because youve watched all of HGTVs Curb Appeal episodes. Well, as my mother always tells me, you cant learn lifes most important lessons from television. There are some key curb appeal strategies you should learn from a licensed realtor. Pat gives you a pretty thorough rundown below:
If youre like most homeowners, there is never a shortage of options when it comes to projects around the house.
Studies have shown that some of the highest return on household improvementscan come from those on the outside, not the inside.
Those same improvements can enhance the enjoyment factor if you and your family plan to stay in your home.
Projects dont have to be big to add value or enjoyment..
The following popular outside improvement projects will increase the curb appeal or value of a home:
- Wood Deck
- Adirondack chairsUniquely-American classic outdoor furniture
- GazeboA gazebo can be freestanding or attached to a garden wall, roofed and open on all sizes to provide shade or shelter.
- Planters and window boxesPlanters have become popular because they are both functional and ornamental. Additionally, some can be moved frequently to account for seasonal weather or just to create a change in scenery.
- Picnic tablePicnic tables go well on a patio or a deck, but equally as well on the grass or under a tree in the yard. A traditional picnic table is all in one piece so that it wears well without a lot of maintenance.
- TrellisA trellis can function as a unique sun screen or it can be the framework for an outdoor hanging garden. Building it with pressure treated lumber can add life by minimizing rotting and other threats.
- Trash can corral or compost binWhile many outdoor projects tend to be cosmetic in nature, here are two ideas that are both practical and pretty. With a trash can corral, you can hide unsightly trash cans and with a compost bin, you can reduce your own carbon footprint in a way that doesnt take away from the visual appeal of the place.
What do you think is the best investment to add curb appeal to a home?
Article source: http://blog.raveis.com/2012/05/17/the-importance-of-curb-appeal/
May 8, 2012
This post from William Tierney, an agent in our Scituate, Massachusetts office, discusses 5 major items buyers need to be aware of before purchasing a short sale. With these tips in mind, the short sale process can be alot less scary. While short sales can be attractive for a variety of reasons, price, being one of them, there are a few hurdles to overcome along the way. That doesnt mean you shouldnt go forward with your purchase, however! Just make sure you are thoroughly informed prior to going ahead in the process. Wills tips below will be a huge step in that direction. For more buyer and seller tips, please check out Wills blog.
When purchasing a property that is a Short Sale there are some steps in the process that a buyer should be aware of prior to starting the purchase process. The most important thing to know is,What is a Short Sale? In simple terms, a short sale is a real estate transaction where the property is being sold for less than what is owed on the property via mortgage. Generally the sale is subject to the approval of the mortgage holder (the sellers lender). This third party approval is necessary because the seller is attempting to sell the property for less than what the seller owes on the property. And this seller will need this approval from their lender so that the lender will release the lien the lender holds on the property. This needs to happen so that the buyer can receive clear title to the property.
Do Not Low Ball Your Offer
While I agree with the conventional wisdom that a buyer can get very good pricing on a short sale home, that does not mean the home can be purchased for pennies on the dollar. I have noted that short sales often offer attractive pricing because of the perception that a short sale transaction can be excessively time consuming. There are many in my trade who will steer a buyer away from a short sale, simply because of the time factor. While it is true that buying a short sale property will take some additional time to complete, generally speaking it only adds several more weeks to the processif the the listing agent is an experienced short sale agent. I will cover the time factor in more detail below but, suffice it to say that a Short Sale transaction will take some additional time to close.
Do not think that due to the additional time required to complete a short sale transaction, buyers will be driven away and youll be able to make an offer for pennies on the dollar. As an experienced short sale listing agent, I do factor in the impact the short sale has on the size of the buyer market, and adjust the pricing the propertyaccordingly. However there is another factor that has to be figured into the process that will not allow a low ball offer to progress in the short sale process. This is the sellers lenders opinion of price. When an offer is submitted to a lender, the lender will order an appraisal, or a BPO (a Brokers Price Opinion). The sellers lender will only approve a short sale if the offer made is within the ballpark of the BPO. So if you offer on a short sale is a low ball offer, well below the low end of the market for a short sale property, the sellers lender will not approve the short sale. In the end you will only haveaccomplishedwasting your valuable time, the sellers time, the lenders time, and the buyers agent who should have given you betterguidanceon pricing.
Do you Home Inspection Early
Some inexperienced real estate agents will attempt to save their buyer money by having the buyer complete the home inspection after the short sale has been approved. This is poor counsel. It is wise to do your home inspection early. The sellers lender isprimarilyinterested in exiting a bad situation for them. In this case, the bad situation for them is the non-preforming loan on the home that is attempting to complete a short sale. The sellers lender is very interested in knowing that if the short sale is approved, that it will close. The sellers lender will be less likely to approve a short sale, if it is stillcontingentupon a home inspection. Further, why would a buyer invest the time and effort to get a short sale approved, only to find out the home they have waited out a short sale approval from the sellers lender has larger issues than they hadanticipated? As well the seller should not accept an offer to complete a short sale that is contingient upon an inspection that will be completed only after the short sale has been approved. The seller could run the risk of losing the time needed to find the next buyer who will accept the home as is. It makes no sense for any of the parties in the short sale process to wait to complete the short sale process.
Agree to Wait 90 Days for Short Sale Approval
It can take far less than 90 days to complete a short sale if a complete file of the necessary documents is on hand from the beginning of the process. However, both the buyer and seller should be prepared to wait up to 90 days for the lender to approve a short sale. There is a lot to the process of buying a short sale property that the lender needs to complete, in order for them to approve a short sale. The lender needs to look at the sellers financial situation, and determine that that there is a financial hardship. The lender needs to have a BPO, or third partyappraisal, completed on the property in question. This valuation needs to come in within the ballpark of the offer. The sellers lender needs to determine the total amount of the loss to the holder, or holders, of the mortgage on the property. And the holder(s) of the note need to approve the agreement to settle for less than what is owed on the property. All of this can be a quick process if all goes well, but it can, and often does, take up to 90 days to complete. So, if you are considering buying a short sale property, any and all offers should be prepared to wait at least 90 days for the short sale to be approved. Any request by the buyer for less time is really unrealistic and simply wastes the sellers precious time.
Nominal Amounts in Escrow Dont Fly
Okay, so we now know when buying a short sale property one needs to have a market level offer on the property attempting a short sale. We also now know to be prepared to wait 90 days for short sale approval, and to get the home inspection out of the way early in the process. Next we need to talk about how much money needs to be placed in escrow. This is an area where money talks. A seller should not accept an offer on a short sale where the buyer is looking to tie up the property and take it off the market for up to 90 days without any recourse. And the sellers lender will almost always look at the amount in escrow as a way to verify how committed, and financially qualified, the buyer is in purchasing the property. Please dont think that you can expect a seller to take his/her property off the market while you have nothing of substance to lose in the process. The custom here in my market is to make an offer with $1,000 down. And when the Purchase and Sale Agreement is signed, the total amount of escrow is typically at least five percent. If you are not willing to do do this for the duration of the process, dont think the seller will take you seriously. The amount in escrow is looked at by the sellers lender and can impact the short sale decision. If you are committed to buying a short sale property from a mental point of view, you will also have to commit with your wallet as well.
Sign The Purchase and Sale Agreement
Most lenders will not consider a short sale unless they have a signed purchase and sale agreement with funds in escrow. As noted above, the funds in escrow do need to be more than pocket change. In many cases, the sellers lender will require a signed purchase and sale agreement prior to their starting the short sale process. So much of what is noted above needs to happen first. Get the home inspection out of the way. Be sure to have a healthy andmeaningfulamount of funds in escrow. And then know it could take up to 90 days for the short sale to get approved. And this 90 day clock only starts ticking upon receipt of the purchase and sale agreement to the sellers lender. Ask yourself, if you were the sellers lender, why would you approve a short sale without a contract in hand? Without a contract in hand, the sellers lender is only bidding against themselves. Hence my lenders require a purchase and sale agreement in hand prior to staring the short sale process.
Be sure to choose aqualifiedREALTOR
When selling your home or condo and you think you may be faced with a short sale make sure you choose to work with a good Realtor, who has some working knowledge of short sale procedures! Buying short sale property can be a complicated transaction and hiring a Realtor that knows what they are doing is critical.Remember as a seller you are not that far away from a potential foreclosure so picking the wrong Realtor could be a costly mistake. Much of the same can be said for the buyer of short sale property, experience can be the determining factor in the process.
Though there is much more to the process, these are five things that are necessary to be able to commit to when buying a short sale property.
Have you ever gone through a short sale process?
May 4, 2012
Friday has arrived! And so has our weekly wrapup of this weeks most popular homes. Our congratulations go out again to Raveis agents who have been doing such a spectacular job marketing their properties during this active spring market. So without further adieu, here are the homes:Connecticut
Listing Agent: Al Filippone Associates, William Raveis Fairfield/Southport
Listing Agent: Jennifer Richardsson, William Raveis Hingham
Listing Agent: Millena Leiningen, William Raveis Rye
Listing Agent: Denise Wilder, William Raveis Newport
May 2, 2012
Chris Sigg, an associate in our New Canaan office, knows his real estate jargon to the T. He decided there were way too many nebulous, geeky real estate terms littering news sites and blogs, and that homebuyers and sellers have a right to know what they really mean. So, Chris took some time to write a post describing some of the most often used, confusing real estate jargon people likely encounter everyday- Assessed Value, Market Value, Liquidation Value, Cost Approach and a few others that you will find out about while reading his awesome post! For more information on Chris, check out his blog.
This is jargon that is confusing and can often have the effect of glazing over of the eyes when the topic is inserted into a conversation of those not in the real estate industry. I will explain in plain language if that is possible.
Assessed Value: this is the value of the land and the building that sits on it. This is used for tax purposes. It does not mean the property and land will sell for this price.
Market Value: (Fair Value) is the true underlying value. This is the price an asset would trade in a competitive market.
Liquidation Value: This is the price a property would get in these conditions. Short time period to sell. Limited time to market the property. Sellerneeds to selland the buyer is motivated.
Appraised Value: (mortgage valuation) used as a prequalification factor in the issuance of a loan. Low appraised value to market value makes procuring a loan difficult because the loan amount seems too high with respect to the value.
Value Comparisons :Cost Approach is used on newer structures. What would the cost be to buy the land and build or renovate the house on the property.
Sales Comparison Approach: This is based on principles of substitution. Example: House A is 3000 square feet and recently sold for $500,000. House B is on the market in the same neighborhood and its also 3000 square feet with an in ground heatedpool. Using the cost of the recently sold house $500,000. and add the pool cost minus depreciation for age unless its new +30,000. House should be listed at $530,000. Other factors to be considered in the comparison data are house age, price per square foot, pending sales, current listings similar to the property, and other market adjustments for relevant data.
What are some other real estate terms that you think can be confusing to homebuyers and sellers?
Article source: http://blog.raveis.com/2012/05/02/speak-fluent-real-estate-geek/