No Comments

How Low-Interest Rates Affect Property Values in Greenwich

If you’re thinking of buying a home, now is the time in Greenwich, CT!

Here’s why: Increased affordability for buyers. Low-interest rates offer real savings.

Interest rates for mortgages are at a two-year low right now. Currently, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is averaging 3.82%, which is the lowest point it’s hit since September 2017, according to Freddie Mac. With more homeowners eager to put their properties on the market, inventory has gone up in Greenwich, CT.

This has translated into more options and more negotiating power for home buyers.

If you are in the market to buy there has never been a better time in Greenwich, CT.

Low-interest rates increase affordability for home buyers

With lower interest rates, home buyers are going to be able to afford a more expensive home in the Greenwich, CT area.

Let’s walk through an example: 4% vs. 5% interest rate 

If you want a 4% rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage on a home worth $400,000, your monthly mortgage payment would be $1,900. But if you only qualified for a 5% rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage, your monthly payment would rise to $2,138.

A 1% increase in interest raises your monthly payments by $238, or roughly 13%. So, what does this mean for homebuyers?

From a home buyer’s perspective, as mortgage rates increase, affordability goes down. If you want to qualify for a $400,000 mortgage at 4% interest, but at 5% interest, lenders can only offer you a $355,000 loan based on your qualifications. A 1% increase in mortgage interest decreases your purchasing power by $45,000!

Did you know?
According to the latest Gallup poll, owning a home—whether in Greenwich, Connecticut or anywhere else in the U.S.—is Americans’ most trusted long-term way to grow wealth.

How mortgage interest rates are determined

Mortgage interest rates fluctuate depending on broader economic factors and investment activity too. The secondary market also plays an important role. Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae bundle mortgage loans and then try and sell them to investors looking to turn a profit. Whatever interest rate these investors are willing to buy the mortgage-backed securities for dictates what rates lenders can set on their loans. This drives up or down the average monthly interest rates on mortgage loans.

Securing a mortgage with a broker or lender

For many, securing a mortgage can be the most stressful part of home buying. You have to get your finances in shape, review your credit score, and shop around for the best rate when applying for a loan. You can choose to work with a direct lender or a mortgage broker.

Did you know?
Low interest rates make for a competitive market for brokers. You should shop around different mortgage brokers and lenders to get the most competitive rate.

You affect the interest rates offered to you

The exact rates you’re offered by a broker also depends on your own financial situation. Things like your credit history, debts, credit score, annual income, and other factors all play a role in what rates a lender can give you.

Considerations a lender takes into account

  • Credit score
  • Cash reserves and assets
  • Income and employment history
  • Repayment history and any collections, bankruptcies or other financial events
  • Debts
  • Down payment
  • Property location
  • Loan type, term, and amount

 Generally, the riskier you are as a borrower, and the more money you take out, the higher your rate will be.

The bottom line:

An easy way to research current interest rates is to use a mortgage calculator. Just keep in mind that buying a home and trying to decipher interest rates can be very confusing to the untrained eye. Don’t hesitate to ask your real estate agent about different brokers and lenders in their network.

Looking at homes in Greenwich, CT area, or just interested in knowing more about interest rates and how they affect home buying? Comment below, call or schedule a meeting with Longo Realty Group today.

Note: The home featured in this blog is currently available for purchase. $935,000, 3 bedrooms. Located in Greenwich, CT.

Located on a coveted street just steps from Greenwich Avenue and a short walk to the train. The sun-filled first floor offers an open floor plan with high ceilings, tastefully updated kitchen, and a full bathroom, all wrapped with an incredibly welcoming front porch. The upstairs includes 3 well-sized bedrooms and a full bathroom w/ attic access.

No Comments

Single-family homes vs. attached family unit homes — pros and cons

If you’re in the market for buying a home, chances are you’ve been overwhelmed or unsure due to all the different options out there —and one of the biggest decisions you must make when looking is the type of home you imagine yourself living in. What exactly are the pros and cons of a single-family home vs. an attached unit home?

The advantages and disadvantages of all the different types of homes on the market

Unless you have magical powers to see into the future —you can’t predict with certainty how long you will live in your new home and what life changes your home may have to accommodate in the future. Thankfully, as long as you make an effort to inform yourself before making any final buying decision, all types of housing style options are viable ones. Knowing the finer details of every kind of property will definitely help focus your home search.

Keep reading below to find out what the advantages and disadvantages are between single-family homes and attached-unit homes. Before you decide what style of home living you opt for, it’s essential to compare and figure out which is best for you and your family!

People are often struck by the immediate difference in appearance between the two, but the contrast is hardly skin-deep.

Single-family homes vs. attached family unit homes — pros and cons

Advantages of a single-family home

Many single-family homes offer a yard, garage, and maybe a private garden and swimming pool. If you love hosting big BBQs, large family gatherings, have always dreamed of free-ranging chickens eating ticks and planting a vegetable garden, and value your privacy, a single-family home is likely more suitable for you. If you are the type that likes to do-it-yourself (DIY) and likes having peace and quiet after a long day at work – you’ll want to see the list of other single-family home benefits below:

Envisioning your future home as the go-to place for family reunions, Super Bowl parties, and sleepovers? A single-family home is calling your name.

Pros to single-family homes

  • Privacy. From the grass on your front long to the attic space above your head  — all of it is yours. You never have to worry about reserving an area for BBQing or neighbors crashing your pool party  — that is unless you want them to!
  • Outdoor space. A bigger yard for you, your children, and your pets.    In today’s world of technology, it’s nice being able to escape al the white noise and get back to nature.
  • More space for stuff. Inside and outside, there’s WAY More room for your stuff and areas to design —  and if you’re the type of person who’s always struggling to find space to store beach toys, holiday decorations, extra clothing, or exercise equipment, a single family home is probably right up your alley.
  • No noise issues. No shared walls of floors means no worrying about neighbors blasting music or getting stuck having awkward conversations.
  • Room to grow a family. If you’re looking to start a family or are forecasting the day your parents or grandparents may come live with you – a single family home is a great option.
  • Active living. A single-family home offers space for activities. You can run in your neighborhood, swim in your backyard, and even cut your own firewood for exercise! And if you consider yourself a ‘Mr. or Mrs. fix it’, you have a variety of projects you can choose to do yourself if you enjoy home projects and watching the progress unfold.
Make your private outdoor space come to life with outdoor seating that allows you to sink into nature for some peace and tranquility.

Advantages of a Condo, Apartment, or Townhouse

Attached-unit homes come in a variety of different shapes and sizes.

If you are a minimalist who values new construction and amenities, you may get more for your money ( and maintain your sanity) with an attached-unit home. Although in many cases you may give up a yard, some level of privacy and space, you get perks such as a shared pool (which you don’t need to measure chemicals for) and recreational facilities that can actually make them more valuable to some than a single-family home.

Pros to attached units

  • Low maintenance. An attached unit compared to a single-family home means a lot less maintenance and upkeep headaches. You don’t need to worry about a leaky roof or gas leaked going unnoticed or pushed to the side until its get unbearable. An attached-unit homeowner almost always pays their HOA or maintenance fees to take care of upkeep concerns year-round.
  • More affordable. Compared to the same size space of a single-family home, an attached unit is often more affordable, and you don’t need to worry about unexpected costs from things breaking or replacing a leaky, old roof.
  • Fewer concerns when traveling. If any potential burglars tried to break in or a gas leak happens, a neighbor is likely to spot, hear, or smell any problem. Single-family owners often need to find house sitters when traveling and install security systems.
  • Efficient living. This means you can take the money you saved and put it towards other pursuits, like vacations, annual gym memberships, college educations, or charitable donations.
  • Live closer to the hustle and bustle of town. Unlike a single-family home which may feel isolating at times (especially when your car is in the shop) you may live so close to work you can commute by bike or use public transportation.
If you hate clutter and prefer to go out for meals instead of cooking and cleaning up at home, the proximity of a townhouse to a town’s center is especially appealing.

Apartments vs. condos vs. townhouses versus single-family homes — exactly what do these terms mean?

To help wade through the complex nature of home buying, we’ve gone ahead and broken down the differences between the terms apartments, condos, townhouses, and single family homes.

Apartments

An apartment is often owned by a corporation or a person, and the units are all rented out to different people and families. In other words, an apartment is a leasehold property. With a leasehold property, you buy the right to occupy a property that you share in some way with someone else (ie, whoever owns the building or land the structure is built upon)

Technically, you cannot purchase a unit in an apartment — you can only lease a unit.

Condos

Condos are very similar to apartments in appearance and function, but each unit of the building is owned by different individuals. The various individuals in attached housing can act as tenants and choose to rent out their unit as they see fit. For example, each individual can decide to rent out their unit if they wish —but they still must manage their own unit. Often, there is a homeowner’s association (also known as an HOA) that maintains and upkeeps common areas, exteriors and comes up with the rules of the building.  But keep in mind that an HOA comes with annual fees.

In terms of appearance, condos can be high rises or low rises, such as 3-4 story buildings.

Townhouses

A townhouse is similar to a condo in that each unit is owned by different individuals. However, the difference between a townhouse and condo lies in the structural appearance and layout. Townhouses are multi-level units and are often a row of similarly styled and sized units that share common walls on the left and/or right —  but not on the top or bottom.

Of all the types of attached-unit homes, townhouses are the closest to single family homes. The difference being a townhouse shares at least one common wall with another townhouse. 

Single-family homes

Single-family homes are unattached properties which stand on their own. They do not share any walls with other properties. A single family home is a freehold property where you own your home and the land. They often offer backyards and more privacy, though they usually do not come with an HOA . An HOA takes care of any maintenance on the single-family property. The HOA for a single-family home will just take care of regulation of community rules, maintenance of parks, and community recreational areas.

The bottom line – make sure your finances are sound

The difference between fitting your current needs and present budget in line with what you may need in a few years often clouds your ability to choose. How do you know if a townhouse, condo, apartment, or single-family home is the right choice long term?

Before deciding on any home purchase, make sure you’re in a comfortable enough financial position to take on the costs.

Look into possible added annual costs that go beyond just signing above the dotted line.

Looking for more personalized guidance on the different types of home options available in Greenwich, Connecticut area? Call or email Longo Realty Group today!

Are you the current homeowner? Comment below on things you like (or don’t) about your type of home. We will be sure to add it to the list!

No Comments

The Home Buyer’s Checklist: Questions to Ask Before Buying a Home

Looking for home buying advice? We can help!

Generally, the type of information you want to gather before buying falls into four main categories:

Offering price: What do you base it on?  As a buyer, you should base your offer on the comparable completed sales nearby. Not necessarily what other sellers are asking for their homes.

What is the condition of the home? Ask about estimates for repairs and don’t assume everything will cost thousands. There’s also a chance the cost of anticipated repairs has already been factored into the sales price.

Location of Home: It’s all about location, location, location. Don’t be afraid to ask about negatives and nuances. A home’s location has a pretty significant impact on the sales price. Keep in mind if the location will make reselling difficult down the line.

Do you have a good buyers agent?  Committing to buying a home can feel like a pretty overwhelming task, but it isn’t if you find the right real estate agent.

We’ve broken down specific questions to ask for each of the categories listed below!

Attending open houses is a great chance to ask the listing agent questions about a home you are interested in.

7 Questions to ask about the listing price

Home buyers usually compare the prices of similar homes in an area before choosing a price, but keep in mind the asking price has very little to do with the actual value of the home.

  • How much did the seller pay?
  • Why is the seller selling?
  • How much does the seller owe?
  • How much have similar homes in the area sold for? When?
  • Has the seller received any other offers? How many & how much?
  • How long has the listing been on the market?
  • Has the house been relisted? If so, when & why?

5 Questions to ask about the condition of the listing

If you already know a home has deferred maintenance or structural issues, it’s important to consider the possible costs down the line before making your initial offering. Ideally, you want to direct these questions to the listing and buying agents you are working with.

  • How old is the roof?
  • What type of foundation does the listing have?
  • Does the house have insulation in the walls and attic?
  • What are the utilities like per month?
  • Have any appliances or systems been replaced? When?

5 Questions to ask about the location of the listing

Listings that are in more desirable areas are often worth more than similar listings in locations that are less desirable. Talk about the home’s location with your buying agent and listing agent, as well as the seller.

  • What type of properties are located nearby?
  • What is the neighborhood like? Demographics?
  • What type of noise does the seller hear from the house? (train tracks?)
  • Where are the schools?
  • What are other possible nuisance factors?

15 Questions to ask when hiring a real estate buying agent

Hiring a great buyers agent is key to buying a home. Keep the items below in mind when interviewing a realtor to represent you as a buyers agent.

  • How long have you had your real estate license?
  • Do you require buyers to sign any contracts or agreements?
  • How many listings did you sell as a buyers agent last year? This year?
  • How many prospective buyers are you currently working with?
  • On average, how many homes do you tend to show buyers?
  • What experience do you have selling homes in my target areas?
  • Can you provide any sort of testimonials or previous client contact information?
  • How do YOU (as an agent) determine which homes may match my wants or needs?
  • How do you provide information about these possible homes?
  • What methods of communication do you utilize?
  • Do you attend inspections?
  • How do you negotiate our requests from inspectors?
  • Do you have a real estate website or blog?
  • Are there any trustworthy professionals you can recommend me?
  • Do you require a pre-qualification or pre-approval before looking at listings?

Bottom line: always ask questions before buying

When the housing market is hot, you may not have enough time to ask any questions before that home is sold to somebody else.

Always be sure to ask your buying agent for professional insights into the type of market you are looking at!

Looking for a real estate agent to answer some questions you have as a first-time buyer? We service the greater Greenwich, CT area!

MORE NEWS:

Learn more about the Greenwich real estate market forecast for 2019.

12 reasons residents love living in Greenwich

No Comments

Thinking of moving? Here’s 16 Tips for Preparing Your Home For Sale

preparing to sell your home

Looking for simple tips for selling your home that have been tested and proven to work? We’ve got you!

Preparing your home for sale can be confusing and downright stressful. But it doesn’t have to be!

From replacing light bulbs and staging to declutter and depersonalizing, here are our top 16 things we help sellers do before trying to sell a home.

Before putting your home on the market – don’t stress out. Focus on what you can control. Do things proven to increase your chances of getting a great offer from a buyer, like deep cleanings and decluttering.

1) Prep your paperwork

Real estate agents, buyers, and sellers are all going to ask a lot of questions when they come to see your home so it can be helpful to start getting the paperwork ready sooner rather than later. Make sure you have all of your utility bills, tax bills, warranties, mortgage details, renovation details, survey, and rental contracts.

2) Find a good listing agent

When it comes to getting your home ready to sell- unless you are a realtor yourself- we highly recommend enlisting a professional real estate agent to list your home.  When interviewing and talking to different agents, be sure to ask about the experience they’ve had selling in your neighborhood, social media expertise, and potential buyers.

3) Get an extra set (or 2) of house keys made

Once your house is open for viewings, your agent is going to need access to your home to show it to potential buyers. Having an extra set of keys is worth it, so you don’t need to unlock a lockbox every time you want to go home.

4) Buy more light bulbs & update light fixtures

It’s easy to forget about bulbs that have burned out. Lighting makes a huge difference for prospective buyers – and you want your home to be as bright as possible. You are going to need more lightbulbs. Order them online or go pick them up in person. When bringing potential buyers through your house, all light fixtures and lamps will need to be turned on. For this reason, it’s crucial that all lights in your home have working light bulbs. If you’re unsure of what bulb an empty socket needs, snap a picture of the socket info – there should be some information a hardware store or google can help you decipher.

5) Give your house a deep (professional) clean

Within the first couple seconds of someone walking into your home, they have a first impression. Dirty floors, dusty surfaces, and clutter make for a bad one. Before and throughout the selling process, your home needs deep cleanings. Consider adding more hours for a housekeeper, getting someone to help out cleaner, and hiring carpet cleaners to make sure your house is in tip top shape.

 Unless your carpets are brand spanking new, you’ll want to get them professionally steam cleaned.

6) Declutter your home

A BIG part of keeping your house clean and attractive to prospective buyers is decluttering. To declutter, you are going to need packing supplies such as boxes and tape to clear stuff out you don’t need. It will also help with your stress levels. And know that decluttering and organizing your home will go a LONG way for potential buyers.

7) Donate, throw away, or store all the stuff you don’t really need

You may want to consider renting out a storage unit to get all the things you don’t need in your house while showing it out of the way. But keep in mind storage can be costly.  It may be a good time to consider donating, selling or throwing out things you don’t need that you’ve accumulated over time.

8) Make a list of all the things you’ve been avoiding repairing

This can range from replacing the water filter in your fridge to a leaky faucet or loud AC unit.

9) Hire a handyman ( & keep them on speed dial)

Not very handy yourself? You should hire a handyman or a friend who’s handy to help out.  Inevitably, there may be things you don’t realize need to be fixed (or break) while you are getting your house ready.  Buyers like to know you love your home enough to take good care of it! Seeing broken things in a home can be a red flag for a lot of buyers. You want your home to seem effortless to live in.

10) Re-paint and touch-up everything

Now’s the time to re-paint your home. Start by painting over any questionably loud walls (like a bright green) with neutral colors. Try and keep it simple. Stick with whites, light grays, light beiges, and “greige” wall colors. Neutral shades can make your house seem larger, brighter, and overall more welcoming and appealing Adding fresh coats of paint to your home helps cover little dents and imperfections found in the walls/ceilings – And buyers can better imagine themselves living there!

11) Stage your home

Staging your home really can help it sell faster and for more money – studies have proven it. The good news is, staging your home doesn’t have to be crazy expensive. There are companies we work with that specialize in bringing in anything you need for staging or helping you work with what you have, so you don’t waste time and money trying to playing interior designer.

12) Remember curb appeal

Do you have a lawn or front yard you need to worry about maintaining? If you do have a lawn, it’s important to make sure you have clean and crisp landscaping. The front lawn and outside the entrance to your home is the first thing any potential buyers see when they come for a showing. So be sure that your grass is trimmed and manicured- and make sure there isn’t anything lying around in the lawn- dog toys, dog poop, children’s toys….etc.

 

 It can help to stand on your street and take in your home. What do you see?

13) Hire a professional photographer/videographer

With most potential buyers doing their homework online, it’s essential you have high quality, professional photos and videos for your online listing. Without excellent high-resolution images and drone footage, potential buyers may not see the magic of your home. Before putting your home on the market it’s a good idea to get some footage snapped and shot. A good realtor should be able to help with finding a photographer, so be sure to ask who they use and if you can scope them out on social media when interviewing real estate agents for the job!

14) Depersonalize your home (get rid of family photos)

When you are trying to sell your home, you want to find the perfect balance between a warm, welcoming home that is depersonalized enough buyers can imagine themselves living there. It’s best to put away framed photos, magazines, kids toys, sports equipment, and awards throughout your house. But don’t put everything away! Leave a few around the house to make the home feel lived in and genuine.

15) Have a plan for pets (for last minute viewings)

When a buyer wants to see a house, it’s best you make it happen ASAP. You may be a dog person, but that doesn’t mean your buyer will be. No buyer enjoys being jumped on, peed on, or seeing tons of dog hair on the couch and dirty food bowls on the floor. Make sure you have doggie daycare or any sort of pet care lined up for last minute viewings.

16) Make sure your house smells good

When a buyer walks into your home, it’s crucial for it to smell good. If you have pets, you may not even realize there is an odor in your house. Every day make sure to use candles, Fabfreeze, incense, or other air fresheners. (But we careful of air fresheners that are overpowering and strong)

Wondering how much it will cost you to sell your home?

It’s vital you take into account the various (& random) expenses related to selling your home before you list it.

  • Home prep costs (stagers, painters, cleaners, and other handy work)
  • Storage units
  • Real estate commission (plus HST)
  • Legal fees (plus HST)
  • Pre-listing home inspection (if your real estate agent isn’t paying…they should)
  • Status certificate
  • Moving costs (moving companies, boxes & packing for moving)
  • Mortgage penalties or bridging costs
Your realtor should be able to offer you a pre-listing assessment and give you a good idea of what to price your home at- for free!

How long should you spend getting a home ready for sale?

On average, we recommend taking a month to get a home viewing ready, but we’ve helped our clients accomplish everything on this list in as little as a couple of days. 

Intimidated by preparing your home for sale? Don’t be! 

If you’re in the market to sell, the sooner you hire a REALTOR to help you prepare, the better and less stressful the process of moving will be!

Best of luck and happy house hunting!

No Comments

12 Reasons to Move to Greenwich, Connecticut

There are countless reasons people love living in Greenwich, Connecticut.

Whether you are a city dweller looking to move to the suburbs- are upsizing, downsizing, or are a current Greenwich resident looking for something new, you’ve probably been looking at listings in and around Fairfield County. We’ve mapped out the top twelve reasons why Greenwich, Connecticut should be at the top of your list!

12 Reasons to Move to Greenwich, CT

From great school systems to beautiful beaches for swimming and sailing, here are the top twelve reasons to consider calling Greenwich home.

The Shoreline & Beaches

Boarded by the Long Island Sound in the South end, the town offers stunning views and unprecedented access to four lovely beaches- Greenwich Point (also known as Tod’s point), Byram Beach, Island Beach, and Great Captain Island. And they are never crowded with out of towners. From May 1st to October 31st, entry to Greenwich beaches requires a residents season pass, which is available by mail or in person. Island Beach and Great Captain Island are accessible by ferry service during summer months.  

 

One of the four beaches is a 147-acre Greenwich Point Beach, situated on a peninsula in the Long Island Sound.

A Rich History

Founded in 1640, Greenwich is one of the oldest continuously settled towns in America. The town played a critical role in the Revolutionary war and was also an important place in American art thanks to the Cos Cob art colony, which revolved around a 1730 boardinghouse called the Bush-Holley. Every you look there are antique homes and gorgeous mansions, as well as new constructions that blend in beautifully, giving the town even more appeal.

Outstanding Public Recreation Access & Facilities

The town of Greenwich offers some of the best recreational facilities for residents in the united states. It boasts more than 25 parks for residents, eight golf courses, an ice skating rink, playgrounds, tennis courts, paddle courts, and a marina.  With all of the town’s recreational offerings, it’s a great place to raise kids. There is always something for families to do in Greenwich. There are summer camp options with nature walks, sailing, crabbing, and old fashioned arts for kids, as well as countless town events such as the Greenwich Reindeer Festival.

Natural Beauty You Can Enjoy All Year Round

Greenwich is a place where you can spend time outside and experience the best of all the seasons. In autumn, people travel up from New York to see the leaves turning. In winter, you can expect the occasional snow day (and days off from school!). By spring the town has fifty shades of green you can walk and see at the Audubon Society, and by summer Tod’s point is the perfect scenic location for picnicking, swimming and sailing. Depending on what you like to do, Greenwich has options!

Proximity to Big Cities & Transportation Options

Going somewhere? In Greenwich, you are ideally situated between numerous big cities with multiple transportation options. Flying out? You are within an hour from Laguardia, JFK, and Newark Airport, and also have Westchester airport for more local flight options no more than twenty-five minutes away. Driving to a big City? NYC is just 45 minutes to an hour away, while Boston is a mere three-hour drive. Don’t drive? You don’t need a car to live in Greenwich! You can opt to skip traffic and take a 45-minute express metro north train to Grand Central from Greenwich Station.

Excellent Schools & Public Education Systems

Greenwich public school district boasts 11 elementary schools (4 of which are magnet schools), 3 middle schools, and 1 high school – all of which are highly ranked. The town is also home to some of the top private schools in the country. These include Brunswick School, Greenwich Academy, Greenwich Country Day School. Eagle Hill School, which is a top school for children ages 5-15 with learning differences, is also located in Greenwich.

An Undeniably Cool Culture

Over the years, Greenwich has kept its artistic feel. There are many art societies, dance groups, and theater associations. The town even has its own arts council and symphony- the Greenwich Symphony Orchestra. The town is also home to local museums, such as the Greenwich Audubon Center, Greenwich Botanical Center, the Bush Holly House Museum, and Bruce Museum. Greenwich also throws an annual town party, which is so popular tickets often sell-out within minutes. Past headliners have included Eric Clapton, Hall and Oates, Steely Dan, and Earth Wind and Fire.

Award-Winning Libraries

Greenwich has four state-of-the-art libraries that feature extensive collections of books, films, CDs, and artwork. Residents can borrow kindles and audiobooks from the library. They can also take part in any of the free children’s programs from read-aloud to lego playtime. Adults and children can also enjoy free lectures, Friday night movies, meet the author, and evening concerts at the library regularly.

Restaurants & Food

Greenwich is home to a wide range of restaurants and shopping options. There are quick service restaurants to fine dining establishments by the waterside, as well as lots of grocery store options. Whether you are craving a crepe, iced-coffee, sushi, a smoothie, Thai food, Tacos, a divey pizza place, fine-dining, or a trip to CVS, you can find it in Greenwich!

Shopping with Lower Sales Tax

And remember- you don’t have to drive to Manhattan to shop! Greenwich Avenue is chalked full of luxury and affordable shops you’d find in Manhattan without the crowds, and it has a lower sales tax than NY. You can find Hermes, Saks 5th Avenue, as well as smaller boutique stores such as Alice & Olivia and Sweaty Betty along the avenue. Every July the Greenwich Chamber of Commerce organizes a sidewalk sale in July where there are incredible deals on luxury items.

Greenwich Avenue was a two-way street up until 1970. Longtime residents joke that you can still tell a Greenwich native if they look both ways before crossing.

Top Healthcare & Hospitals

Greenwich Hospital was recognized earlier this year nationally for its outstanding stroke care program. Greenwich Hospital’s high-quality stroke care program has earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval® and the American Heart Association/ American Stroke Association’s Heart-Check mark for primary stroke centers.

One Of The Safest Cities In America

Greenwich, CT has been repeatedly considered one of the safest communities to live in with resident populations over 50,000. In 2018, Greenwich was ranked as the safest community nationally. Home security experts at SafeHome used FBI statistics and information from the Chapman Survey of American Fears to come up with their national rankings.

Talk to Longo Realty About Listings and Offerings in Greenwich

Even though Greenwich may not be the most affordable place to live — the median value of an owner-occupied housing unit was $972,300, according to the 2017 census —there are (as we’ve mapped out above) other things to consider than just the price of a home. You are paying for the luxury to live in a safe community full of natural beauty that is bubbling over with opportunity.

Want more specific statistics and reasons why Greenwich, CT is an ideal place to live? Reach out to us!

You can find out about the latest listings and more by reaching out to us at Longo Realty Group!

No Comments

3 Surprising Insights About The 2019 Greenwich Real Estate Market

greenwich real estate

Now that we are two month’s into the new year, the 2019 real estate market in Greenwich, CT is taking shape. This year, Fairfield County real estate as a whole is projected to have more listings and serious first-time home buyers.

So does this mean all the long-frustrated, aspiring homeowners and sellers of 2018 will finally crack open a bottle of champagne and celebrate a closing? We think so!

We’ve mapped out 3 key insights on the 2019 Greenwich housing market below for buyers and sellers.

3 key observations for the 2019 Greenwich real estate forecast, according to Longo Realty

Townhouses are likely the best pick for an entry level home

Are you a first time home buyer or looking to downsize? You should consider a townhouse! (Especially if a single-family home is out of your price range in the Greenwich, CT area.)

New townhouse developments are sprouting up all over Greenwich this Spring. The new townhouses being developed in Greenwich have high-end luxury appeal. The new 2019 listings boast walking access to train, shops in town, require zero maintenance, and are priced appropriately! They are generally more affordable than the single-family style homes in the area.

greenwich real estate
The 257 Bruce Park Avenue, Greenwich, CT project townhouses rendered in the picture above are a great example of the new well-priced listings in the area.

The market of these smaller style homes is being mainly boosted by millennials. A lot of them are moving from renting to owning their first time home.

Did you know?
According to Robert Dietz, chief economist of the National Association of Homebuilders, townhouses are the best entry-level choice for a home for 2019. This is especially true of buyers living in high-cost areas with wage and job growth- like Greenwich.

More home listings and variety to choose from

One of the biggest complaints about the housing market over the past several years has been the lack of homes for sale. This fueled bidding wars, prices, and also increased levels of frustration among buyers and sellers.

Did you know?
The supply of houses on the market hit a historic low in the winter of 2017.

More inventory is expected to hit the markets later this spring. Longo Realty is predicting a rise of 10 – 15 percent in areas such as Greenwich, CT that have homes priced at $1 million and higher. And this is going to be especially true of newly built listings!

The overall boost in listings this year is good news for the ‘move-up’ or ‘upgrade’ buyers, who are upgrading from a starter home to their second.

Bruce Park construction is well underway by Catalyst Constructions. It is projected to be complete in May 2019.

It’s easier to afford a luxury single-family home in CT than NY state

Moving out of the city to a single-family home in suburbs or looking to upgrade from a modest starter home?

Housing values are expected to go up this year across the board at a modest pace between 2-3 percent. But compared to other NYC suburbs, Fairfield County has some of the fairest priced single-family homes.

For example, compared to other NYC suburbs, single-family homes in Fairfield County don’t have to pay a 1% mansion tax on homes over $1 million.

Did you know?
The chief economist of the National Association of Realtors feels that home sales across the U.S. reached a “cyclical low” recently. He expects sales to rise in the coming months as spring rolls around.

Longo Realty is a family owned and operated business.

The bottom line for buyers & sellers of 2019: Link up with a realtor

If you’re looking to buy: 2019 is a great year to buy, especially if you are looking to buy your first home or are downsizing and planning for retirement! We recommend scoping out the new townhouses at Bruce Park.

Why new and old buyers need realtors: Linking up with a realtor will give buyers better price analysis and convenient access to seeing homes for sale. Buyers can also gain access to off-market listings, a network of attorneys and brokers through their real estate agents.  And learning negotiation tactics from a professional for closing a deal never hurts either.

If you’re looking to sell: When living in an area that has a large number of luxury properties like Greenwich, it’s essential to assess and competitively price your home. Sellers need to be mindful of the growing 2019 competition as the weather warms up. Be ready to list your property appropriately.

Why sellers need realtors: A realtor can conduct a house assessment, point out small cosmetic fixes, bring in staging furniture, and get your home ready for showings. And based on this year’s projections, it’s especially crucial for a seasoned realtor to weigh in. They can bring in their expert knowledge using extensive comparative market analysis (CMA).

Looking to sell or buy a property in Greenwich later this spring? Now is the IDEAL time to link up with Longo Realty!

No Comments

Top 6 Reasons To Move To Greenwich, CT

From great education to gorgeous beaches, here’s why you should consider calling Greenwich home.

Connecticut is small but mighty, a state of bucolic landscapes, mountains for hiking and skiing, beaches for swimming and sailing, and plenty of small towns with charm a la “Gilmore Girls.” One of its most appealing features is its proximity to New York City, with the bedroom community of Greenwich (population: 62,000) being the closest town in the state to the New York border. While Greenwich is not the most affordable place to live — the median value of an owner occupied housing unit was $978,600, according to the 2016 census — it has plenty to offer for the surprisingly diverse population that calls Greenwich home.

Rich History
Like many Connecticut towns, Greenwich has a rich history dating back to before the American Revolution. The Bush-Holley House is a colonial residence now maintained as a museum by the Greenwich Historical Society. In more modern times, Greenwich was a place for country homes for notable families, such as the Rockefellers and Gimbels. Additionally, the neighborhood of Cos Cob has an important connection to the American art movement — but more on that below!

The Best Of All Seasons
Situated on the southernmost tip of New England, Greenwich experiences the best of all seasons. In autumn, the turning of the leaves is a natural wonder. In winter, expect snowy days (and snow days off from school!). In springtime, the town becomes green again and in summertime, it will be hot enough outside to enjoy a dip in a pool or a visit to the beach. Which brings us to …

The Beaches
Whether you’re a seafarer or a landlubber, there’s plenty to enjoy at Greenwich beaches and marinas. All four beaches are on Long Island Sound, a bay-like body of water ideal for swimming and sailing. (Between May 1 and October 31, entry to Greenwich beaches requires residents acquire a seasonal pass, which is available by mail or in-person.) Two small islands, Great Captain Island and Island Beach, are accessible by ferry service in the summer months, and guests can gaze upon numerous other privately-owned islands from a distance. A small peninsula, Greenwich Point, is a scenic location for picnicking, swimming and sailing.

Education
Greenwich Public Schools — the 11 public elementary schools, three public middle schools and a public high school — are ranked fourth in the state in a 2018 report assessing academic factors, attendance and graduation rates. Within the school system, STEM is a priority, while arts education is encouraged through grade 12, which classes available to students in subjects like ceramics, theater arts and music. Spanish language education begins in third grade and the high school offers seven languages to study, including Mandarin Chinese.

Proximity to Big Cities
Like many towns on Connecticut’s “Gold Coast,” Greenwich is a suburb ideally situated between numerous big cities. Grand Central Station in NYC is 40 minutes away by train and the state’s larger cities like New Haven, Stamford and Bridgeport are all within driving distance. And if there’s not enough big city life for you, Boston is a mere three-hour drive away.

Natural Beauty
Connecticut’s verdant landscape and natural beauty can almost make you forget it is such a populous state. In addition to the beaches overlooking the Sound, there are numerous green spaces through the town. The Babcock Preserve is nearly 300 acres of forestry and wetlands, where visitors can hike, cross country ski and even horseback ride on designated trails. Audubon Connecticut provides seven nature sanctuaries with dozens of miles of trails. And of course, the aforementioned Greenwich Point provides panoramic parkland along the shoreline.

 

No Comments

10 Tips For First Time Home Buyers

Everyone wants to avoid making mistakes when making the first biggest purchase of their lives. Here are 10 helpful tips to help make the buying process (we hope with Longo Realty Group) end with a smart purchase.

#1: Just because it’s a buyer’s market doesn’t mean you should buy right now.

You’ve probably heard that current housing market conditions make it a great time to buy a home. It’s true — affordable homes, historically low interest rates, and the $8,000 homebuyer tax credit have encouraged many people to purchase their first places. But that doesn’t automatically mean it’s the right time for you to buy a home. You don’t want to be stuck with a house you’re not really ready for, so don’t let the market dictate your decision. Before buying a home, ask yourself some questions to determine if the timing is right: Do you have a good credit score? Is your job secure? Can you stay put for a few years, at least? If the answer to these questions is “no,” it might make more sense to wait until your life and finances are more stable. When that time comes, home ownership will be much more manageable and enjoyable.

#2: The cost of owning a home is more than just the purchase price.

As if a monthly mortgage payment isn’t enough, there are several monthly fees and expenses you’ll need to be prepared for when you become a homeowner: insurance, property taxes, utilities and maintenance, to name a few. When you add them all up, these costs can make owning a home significantly more expensive than renting. However, the costs of home ownership are bearable — people pay them every day. You may just need to tweak your home buying strategy to bring them in line with your budget. Rather than buying the biggest, most expensive house you can afford, considering scaling back the size of the home you shop for to make the whole package more affordable.

#3: Programs are out there to help first-time buyers.

A sizable down payment is never a bad investment: It gives you instant equity in your home, a lower monthly payment and a way out of paying dreaded private mortgage insurance. But if you can’t scrape together enough cash to put 20 percent down, you don’t have to give up on homeownership. There are many federal, state and local programs geared toward helping first-time homebuyers with down payments, interest rates and loan terms. The Federal Housing Administration offers many valuable resources, the most popular of which is the HUD 203(b) loan. FHA lenders provide 97 percent of financing, and most closing costs can be included in the loan.

There’s also the HUD 203(k) loan, which offers a solution for a typical fixer-upper dilemma: Traditional lenders won’t pay for the property until the repairs are complete, but buyers can’t start repairs until they own the house. This FHA loan appraises the handyman special to estimate the cost after renovations, then gives you the money for the property and repairs.

#4: Foreclosures and short sales present great deals, but proceed with caution.

There’s been a lot of buzz around the foreclosure and short sale markets lately, and for good reason: Many homebuyers have gotten great deals on these types of properties. However, buying a foreclosure or short sale can come with a number of pitfalls, making them a risky choice for first-time buyers. For starters, foreclosures are often sold “as-is,” meaning the bank will not pay for any repairs. Since maintenance is not always a top priority for homeowners facing foreclosure, these properties may need a significant amount of work, adding hidden costs to the purchase price.

The transactions — particularly when it comes to short sales — are also lengthier and more complicated than a typical home purchase. Plus, average homebuyers have to compete with seasoned real estate investors, who often make attractive all-cash offers. But if you stumble upon a great deal, a buyer’s agent or real estate attorney who specializes in foreclosures can walk you through the process.

#5: Getting pre-approved for a loan gives you more buying power.

Before you start perusing listings and touring houses, be sure you have a pre-approval letter in hand. A pre-approval letter, which proves that a lender has conditionally offered you a specific mortgage, is important for several reasons: First, it establishes your maximum purchase price, so you don’t shop for homes above your price range. Second, it shows sellers you’re serious about buying and allows you to make an offer as soon as you see a home you’re interested in. Finally, if you get pre-approved by several lenders (which you should), you can compare interest rates and terms to find the best deal.

#6: Good school districts boost property value.

Even if you don’t have kids, buying a home near sought-after schools can help with resale. That old real estate adage — location, location, location — really is true. The most important aspect of a home’s value is the neighborhood it’s in, so shop for homes in the best areas you can afford. If you’re priced out of the neighborhoods you want to be in, look for the area’s fixer-uppers. These homes will need work, but they’ll have built-in property value.

#7: You may be able to access your tax credit upfront.

If you’re thinking about buying a home (or even if you’re not), you’ve probably heard plenty about the federal housing tax credit — a tax allowance of up to $8,000 for first-time homebuyers and $6,500 for repeat buyers. However, you may not know that it’s possible to access your tax credit upfront, rather than waiting to claim it on your tax return. HUD is now allowing “monetization” of the tax credit, meaning buyers using FHA-insured mortgages can apply their anticipated tax credit toward their home purchase immediately, rather than waiting until they file their income taxes to receive a refund. The credit can be used for certain down payment and closing cost expenses.

Prospective homebuyers who believe they qualify for the credit are also allowed to reduce their income tax withholding, therefore increasing their take-home pay. This money can then be applied to a down payment on a home.

#8: Not all real estate agents represent buyers.

You may think all real estate agents are looking out for your best interests as a homebuyer, but this isn’t always the case. There are two types of agents: listing agents, who represent sellers and help them get the best price and terms for their properties, and buyer’s agents, who represent buyers and protect their interests during the negotiating and closing processes. An agent can be both a listing agent and a buyer’s agent, and sometimes one agent will represent both the buyer and the seller in the same transaction. This scenario — called “dual agency” — creates a difficult situation where the agent is forced to balance the interests of both the buyer and the seller.

If it all seems quite complicated, that’s because it is. Real estate representation is a tricky subject with complex laws that vary from state to state. For your first time buying a home, you may feel more at ease working with an exclusive buyer agent. This type of agent never takes listings, therefore eliminating any possible conflicts of interests with sellers.

#9: Doing your homework with your agent can help you make a competitive offer.

Before your make an offer on a home, you need to crunch the numbers to figure out the property’s market value. While precisely pinpointing this number is tough, it’s not a total guessing game either. Have your agent do a “comparative market analysis.” He or she will compare the home you want to buy to recently sold homes in the area with the same square footage, construction, age and other characteristics. The CMA will show you what buyers were willing to pay for similar homes in the neighborhood, giving you a good starting point for shaping your own offer.

#10: It’s important to have a back-out plan.

When you fall in love with a home, you may be prepared to do anything to get it. You may even be tempted to make an offer without getting a home inspection or an appraisal. Don’t do it! For such a momentous purchase, you want to know exactly what you’re getting into and have an escape route in place if things don’t go as planned. That’s where contingencies come in. If the home has an irresolvable flaw, it doesn’t appraise for the purchase price, or your lender refuses to fund your loan, having contingencies on your contract gives you the right to cancel the transaction.

Our sales agents at Longo Realty Group are familiar with the process of buying and selling real estate throughout the state of Connecticut, with a special focus in the Greenwich area. Call us or leave a comment if you are interested in learning more about what homes are available and how we can help guide you through the buying process.

No Comments

New Construction/ Available Video Tour

Elegantly Staged | Price Enhanced | Brand New Construction | Open House 8/26 1-3pm 31 Moshier St.

Don’t miss this opportunity to own in Greenwich, CT for under $1M!!
Message us for details and an exclusive private tour!