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The House Keepers

Top Real Estate Agents Weigh In On Today's Market

Marilyn Heffers

William Raveis

What’s happening in today’s market:

Prices are still increasing due to city dwellers wanting to relocate to the suburbs and work remotely. The stock market continues to soar, unemployment continues to fall, and mortgage rates are expected to increase which motivates buyers to buy.

Active listings are down and are quick to sell, making the market highly competitive

Answering a tough question:

One client wanted to know if there was ever a pet in the house since she was allergic and preferred not to take medications or injections. I called every listing agent for the homes that were of interest to provide the status of pets.

The agents were accommodating and did not envy my research.

Several clients have asked if I miss nursing since I ran a Critical Care Unit at Norwalk Hospital before real estate. My response is simple: I use my background in psych nursing every day!

Advice to win a bidding war:

I try to think what might be appealing to the sellers besides price. The offer should be concise without a lot of contingencies and as high you can bear knowing this may be your only opportunity to be considered. A documented cash offer, truly cash, is always attractive.

You may offer perks - allow the sellers to remain in their home for a short period of time while transitioning to their new home. Focus on what is attractive to the sellers especially with regards to closing.

You need to have the support of your buyers’ attorney as well as the mortgage broker since you need their advice and support throughout the process.

Favorite part of Westport:

I find the beach area relaxing and it helps me to clear my head. Just driving along the water is extremely therapeutic and I appreciate what the community has to offer. I can think I am on vacation even if it is only for a few brief minutes.

Marilyn.Heffers@raveis.com

Marilyn.Heffers@gmail.com
(203) 984-1068

Michelle Genovesi

Michelle&Co 

Team at William Raveis Real Estate

In a bidding war:

The first thing I say to a client is try not to get caught up in the emotion of a bidding situation. Put a number on the table that you’ll be okay with if you don’t win the bid, your walk away number. And believe in “meant to be.” You put your best out there, if it doesn’t happen there is another house out there you will make your home 

Question she’s most often asked:

“Will I ever be able to find the right home in this crazy market and not overpay?”

We encourage our clients to be patient, to work together to keep an eye on the market. (We actually will even reach out to homes not on the market to see if we can discover our buyer's dream home).  

We help prepare for a bidding situation by helping put their best foot forward with their terms on the agreement...and help educate them on recent comparables so they feel confident of the purchase price.

Craziest question she’s been asked:

“Will I be allowed to install colorful strobe/disco lights in my backyard?”

As a team, we do our best to find answers even when the questions take us by surprise!

How the markets has changed:

As with any purchase today, so much begins online. Technology has allowed us to use virtual tours to walk through a property without a buyer ever leaving home. During Covid, we were able to sell a $16 million home without the buyer ever physically stepping inside.

Still, buyers realize there's more to purchasing a home than browsing online and the value of working with an agent is more important than ever to understand location, value, and the idiosyncrasies of the market.

Michelle@MGHomes.com

(203) 454-4663 

Cindy Raney

Cindy Raney & Team

Coldwell Banker Global Luxury

Going above and beyond for a client:

One example: our client was relocated to Europe on short notice and needed to sell their estate after moving abroad. To accommodate them we coordinated several critical logistics on their behalf, including hiring a moving company to ship their furniture overseas and a staging company to prep their home for sale. 

We held Zoom calls to keep our client apprised of interest and activity in their property. In the end, we helped them accept an offer at 7% over asking on a premium property. They in turn referred a client, which is the greatest compliment anyone can pay us.

How the market has changed:

I’ve been selling real estate since 2004, so I’ve experienced a number of market cycles. Without question, Covid's impact on the real estate market was as dramatic as anything I’ve seen. For years, buyers were in the driver’s seat. Post-Covid, the balance of power shifted immediately to the seller. The greatest impact: how buyers make offers today.  

Today, it's almost impossible to compete against other bidders who are buying with cash or are willing to take on the risk of getting financing on their own. In situations with bidding wars, we’re seeing buyers routinely waive their mortgage contingency. In the past the seller needed to wait for a buyer to get a mortgage approval. That risk has now shifted to the buyer. 

We advise our buyers to work closely with their financial team and mortgage broker to determine if waiving their mortgage contingency is sensible. Here’s the bottom line: the competitive landscape in towns like Westport has driven today’s buyer to make offers that are out of the ordinary based on historic norms. We simply do everything we can to put our buyers in the best position to have their offer accepted in a way that gives them peace of mind.

Cindy@CindyRaney.com

(203) 257-8320

Barbara Bross, Alexander Chingas, Doug Bross

The Bross Chingas Bross Team

Regarding turnkey residences:

Because the amount of available properties for sale has diminished tremendously, buyers need to be flexible and consider what can be changed about a home vs. what cannot.

When there was much more for sale, buyers were drawn to the most recently improved houses, but now they are discovering they may personalize homes to their own taste. The properties that offer “instant gratification” are generating tremendous amounts of offers, practically overnight.

Partial to pools:

The majority of home buyers today view a pool as a positive, and if one is not already present they want room to build one in the future. We always said that Westport and Weston are "pool towns" and they were an overwhelmingly positive feature before, but now people are thinking about canceled vacations, closed summer camps, and they want to make sure they have their own recreation available. 

Recurring question:

The number one question is always "When is the right time to buy?"

Prospective buyers that delay getting a great house that meets their needs won't derive as much value from the purchase if they put off enjoying what they could have now. Also, with the market this robust it is important that buyers align themselves with the right real estate and financing experts well in advance of when they plan to make a decision, so that they can enter into the transaction well-informed. 

Over-the-top client request:

Someone called and asked to see one of our listings as soon as possible. We were at the office working late - which is our trademark - it was 1:00AM.* They had a unique circumstance which checked out. Since the house was no longer occupied by the seller, we did not mind accommodating. 

*Editor’s Note: They bought the house.

Info@BrossChingas.com

(203) 454-8000

Rick Higgins

Higgins Group

Who’s buying:

We’re still getting plenty of New Yorkers moving here because of Covid. But not just New Yorkers - Californians are coming out because of the floods, the fires, the fact that housing out there is three times what it is here, the droughts, state income tax of 10% etc. etc.

Design trends affect home improvements:

Kitchen and bathroom styles are changing faster than they did years ago. I remember when kitchens and bathrooms were good for ten years. It seems that overnight there’s the latest style in the newest magazine and everybody wants it.

Another thing that’s changed since Covid: pools are incredibly important to people now, much more than they used to be.

Real estate and technology:

I’ve been in the business for 50 years. I was a real estate lawyer for 20 years and built 200 homes before I moved to Connecticut. Technology didn’t exist before like it does now. Buyers know more about the house market than ever before with all the information at their fingertips. But when you get right down to it, real estate is still old school in the sense that the brokers really know the market better than anybody.

Opinions and ideas:

I don’t have a favorite section in Westport. I think the whole town is great and people who live here are very lucky.

One thing that I would like to see is to re-name and re-brand Coleytown Middle School to Paul Newman Middle School.  

Rick@HiggingsGroup.com

(203) 254-9000

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