Being Irreplaceable After the Sale

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Success Guaranteed for the Long Haul

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Why FHA Mortgages Are More Stable Than We Think

Why FHA Mortgages Are More Stable Than We Think.

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Common Beginner Mistakes When Renting a Bridgeport Home

Common Beginner Mistakes When Renting a Bridgeport Home.

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Common Beginner Mistakes When Renting a Bridgeport Home

With housing prices on the rebound, it’s easy to see why some Connecticut homeowners find buying an additional property an increasingly attractive possibility. Getting into the landlord business offers the appeal of a growth investment coupled with the possibility of a favorable cash flow situation.   

That said make no mistake about it: renting a home in Bridgeport is its own business enterprise. Becoming a landlord means making business decisions that carry elements of risk as well as reward. When renting a home in Bridgeport there are a number of common — but avoidable — first-time landlord mistakes:

Fair Housing Violations

From the moment you begin marketing your income property, the language in your ad can easily run afoul of the fair housing rules that prohibit discrimination. Avoid phrases that single out any particular group or profile, such as “family-friendly,” “suitable for a couple,” or “singles only.” Since violations can run up to six figures, make sure your ad simply describes the property and the neighborhood in generic terms — and be prepared to accept the first qualified applicant who meets your terms.

Credit Report Mistakes

Another common mistake when renting a home in Bridgeport is to fail to adequately qualify applicants. Today, accepting credit reports supplied by the applicants themselves is a gamble. Run credit reports yourself (including an eviction check for every applicant over the age of 18). You want to see the history of ALL applicants who will be living in your Bridgeport income property.

Security Deposit Mistakes

When it comes to the security deposit, taking too much – or not enough – is another common first-timer misstep. Too little and you won’t have enough protection; too much, and you risk violating state regulations (with the possibility of jeopardizing your right to use any of the funds!).

Renting a Fairfield County home can be an outstanding wealth-building venture, but your responsibilities as landlord must be taken seriously. For anyone unsure about legal requirements, hiring a professional property management agency can make good business sense. I’m here with recommendations for my clients on these and all other matters that accompany your Bridgeport real estate opportunities.

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No Excuses

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Property Search Results Can Rise Through Social Media

By now, social media are an integral part of many people’s daily routine. If you are selling your home in Stamford this summer, you can decide to add your own social media clout to add further momentum to the professional campaign. Your agent already has a great website to attract anyone conducting a local property search. Now many sellers are using their own social media network to link to it. 

No one wants to be spammed by a friend’s marketing on Facebook, but a few posts about your home-selling adventures can be interesting. When your home is first listed, announce it and post a link to your agent’s website. Be sure not to sound too sales-y (that’s your agent’s job). Instead, share items that relate to your life: “It’s really happening! Listing our home for sale in Stamford this weekend. Now I finally get to show off my new kitchen with its 6-burner Viking range!” Share photos, too.

The rules for Twitter marketing are similar. It’s social, so avoid outright sales tactics. Try asking engaging questions, like, “Do you think buyers in [insert your neighborhood] will want to check out our #solarpanels?” Don’t forget to #hashtag key words, and always link to the listing’s website so interested buyers click directly to it for their property search.

Photos sell — so if you have a Pinterest account, use it! Ask your agent for copies of your listing’s top-quality photographs, then post, post, post! Choose the top three features local buyers might be looking for in their property search and create a Pinterest board for each. If you have a chef’s dream kitchen, create a board featuring gorgeous kitchens. If you have a waterfront property, make a board filled with beautiful waterfront properties (especially yours!) The boards will draw prospects whose property search keys on those features.

I welcome help from any homeowner who thinks their own social network will add to my full-time campaign. If you’re looking to sell your home in town this summer, contact me today to discuss how my marketing plan can go to work for you!


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Getting a Stamford Mortgage in today’s Shifting Environment

Homer Simpson smacks himself in the forehead every time he says it: D’Oh!!!Image

When it comes to knowing how mortgage basics have shifted in today’s changing banking environment, few of Stamford’s homebuyers have kept current enough to avoid meriting that kind of forehead slap. It’s no wonder. The average family delves into the real estate market no more than once every five to seven years, so they don’t worry about getting a mortgage day in and day out. It’s my job as agent to bring clients up to speed throughout the buying process, which often begins and ends with getting a mortgage in Stamford.

Among the most common current misconceptions:

If you are among those believing that all lenders are legally required to charge the same fees for credit reports and appraisals…D’Oh! In order to create more competitive lending quotes, some banks waive all charges for these services. And other lenders may charge higher fees for the same services – all of which is why it’s so important to speak with multiple lenders.

When a couple is getting a mortgage jointly, do you (like so many) believe the primary borrower with the highest score will be considered the main applicant? D’Oh! Lenders usually take the middle score of each spouses’ three scores, and use the lower of the two in determining the offered interest rate. The lesser creditworthy spouse has the greatest effect on the monthly payment.

The real estate slump from a few years back has many believing that getting a mortgage in Stamford (or anywhere else) will require at least a 20% down payment. Sound like you? If so (you guessed it): D’Oh! With as little as 3.5% down, buyers can often qualify for a mortgage through the FHA, available to everyone meeting the minimum lending requirements. Other loan programs are offered through other agencies like the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Department of Agriculture (USDA) and  Connecticut Housing Finance Authority CHFA.

Are up thinking getting a mortgage in Stamford anytime soon? Getting approved is Step One in the buying process — if you’re ready to get going, make the next call( 203-414-9435) to me today!


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Buying a House in today’s Exciting Stamford Market

Buying a house for the first time! It means you’ll be joining the club: the home ownership club that Americans have traditionally recognized as emblematic of the fullest community membership. It’s an exciting endeavor — one that ushers in a whole new realm of pride, maturity…and of a truly major commitment.

It’s the show of responsibility that’s the reason home ownership bestows automatic respect from the community. It is, after all, unmistakable evidence of long-term stability, as well as commitment to deal with the future with all it holds — known and unknown. That commitment is something all homeowners share.

Today, buying a house in Stamford means entering a changing market. Still-historically low interest rates continue, but now they have started to rise. Broader lending prospects are improving along with that rise (which is the good news). But especially for first-time buyers, it should also mean that it is doubly important to think of the long term, and to let caution and prudence lead to a buying decision that will prove to be the right choice for the future.

What that means when buying a house in Stamford, especially when taking advantage of an attractive adjustable interest rate (ARM) loan, is to plan for the likelihood that monthly repayments will eventually increase. Before taking advantage of a great deal, consider whether you will be able to manage monthly repayments if they jump by 1, 2 — even 3%. Although it’s only natural to expect that your family income will grow as time passes and professional experience broadens, cautious buyers keep their budget in line with actual current finances. And they make hard-headed estimates of the upkeep expenses that accompany home ownership.

If the past seven years have taught anything about buying a house, it’s the advantage of tempering optimism with realism. I’m here to help my clients make educated real estate decisions for the short term and long term.  If you’ve been preparing to make that exciting first buy, I hope you will give me a call to meet and discuss your goals and the current market – I’d love to hear from you!



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ZMOT Casts a Long Shadow Over Fairfield County Real Estate Market

The “ZMOT” in question isn’t some 3-D cinematic monster that boils up from the sea to trample downtown Tokyo (though ZMOT and Godzilla do have a few similarities). “ZMOT” is what Google has decided is now happening to the real estate market —our own Bridgeport real estate market definitely included!

The concept headlines this year’s joint Google-National Association of Realtor study of the current real estate market. It’s focused on how digital media usage is affecting home shoppers.

They find that ZMOT is trampling everything in sight.

ZMOT stands for “Zero Moment of Truth” — the long-anticipated point in time when traditional modes of shopping and purchasing become eclipsed by the digital universe: web sites, search engines, social channels, online video, etc. etc.

Nuggets from the publication:

  • 9 out of 10 home-buyers today rely on the web as a primary research source (forget about asking around at the PTA meeting)…
  • 52% turn to the Internet first (instead of the back page of Section 2 of the local newspaper)…
  • One-fifth of real estate-related searches take place on mobile devices (that doesn’t mean driving around the neighborhood, either)…

ZMOT is here, all right, and those of us whose profession is to spend full time in the Bridgeport real estate market are not at all surprised. It’s unlike Raymond Burr’s famed opening line in Godzilla:

 What has happened here was caused by a force which up until a few days ago was entirely beyond the scope of Man’s imagination.

What has now “happened here” is that home-buyers are performing an average 11 online searches before settling down to take action (‘take action’ is key — it’s a good way to separate out looky-loos).

Does this mean you’re on your own in this digital age, wrestling with your iPad, smartphone and web search engine to figure out your next foray into our town’s real estate market?  Fortunately, not at all.  Of those 9 out of 10 who use the Internet, fully 89% also turn to someone like me — your Fairfield County  real estate agent — to help buy or sell.

IOW (in other words), give me a call 203-414-9435!

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