West Hartford, CT Real Estate News

By Brent Bell, CRS, e-PRO, GRI, Hartford County
(RE/MAX Premier, Realtors)
After choosing the right home & negotiating a sales contract successfully, most buyers next look at protecting & maintaining this important asset. The quality of your home inspector is key to learning how to care for you new home. Home inspectors should fulfill three important functions: 1) to perform a general physical examination of the home (like going to your doctor for a physical) and create a report for you, including specific tips for you which will help you to maintain the home. Just like regular oil changes for your car, your home will need regular maintenance so that it functions well. Regular maintenance will help you prevent more costly repairs at a later date. 2) to answer questions you have about caring for your new home, including "How long can I expect this hot water hea...
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By Brent Bell, CRS, e-PRO, GRI, Hartford County
(RE/MAX Premier, Realtors)
For everyone reading about the general doom & gloom in the housing markets (there is no denying that both Fairfield & Litchfield counties have been hit hard in the first quarter), here are some fresh & encouraging numbers in West Hartford: First, sales in April are up for single-family homes compared either to April, 2008 (70 compared to 60 one year ago) or to March, 2009 ( 61 in March versus 70 in April). In almost all price categories, sales were up compared to last month's activity (the exceptions were in the under-$200,000 range and the $650,000 to $750,000 range). Check my earlier blog for March sales details. April 2009 deposits taken for West Hartford Single-Family Homes:   Under $200,000                                                              4 $200,000 to $250,000         ...
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COVER STORY | Hartford Courant Real Estate Buying For Resale Go Mainstream: It's Important To Follow Your Head, Not Let Yourself Be Swept Away (West Hartford) By VALERIE FINHOLM | Special to The Courant | April 12, 2009 When Joseph Grabicki and his wife started looking for a house, they had a list of what they wanted. One of the most important things: How easy would it be to resell?"We didn't know how long we were going to be here," said Grabicki, who is a physical therapist. "You never know."The couple ended up buying a 2,100-square-foot four-bedroom colonial in the Buena Vista neighborhood of West Hartford. The house has four bedrooms, a den, 2 1/2 baths and an attached two-car garage. In today's shaky economy and slow housing market, buying a house that can be sold easily and at a pr...
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By Brent Bell, CRS, e-PRO, GRI, Hartford County
(RE/MAX Premier, Realtors)
According to CNN & Money Magazine, West Hartford is among the top 100 small cities in the United States (#76). West Hartford is the only city in Connecticut to be mentioned in the top 100 (there are just 3 cities selected in neighboring Massachusetts). Our town scored well in terms of average house price being a bit more affordable than the average of the top 100 group, our residents being highly educated, crime relatively low, air quality better than average, commute time to work being shorter than average, more public libraries than average and better state spending on the arts. This is not the first time West Hartford has been singled out. I am impressed when people from other states, as far away as California, have called me to say: "Brent, we are moving to Connecticut and we know w...
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By Brent Bell, CRS, e-PRO, GRI, Hartford County
(RE/MAX Premier, Realtors)
In West Hartford, many homeowners look for housing in just one elementary school district, especially if they already have children in that school. For a school district, having diverse housing stock is a real asset; parents appreciate being able to move to larger, smaller or different style homes without having to uproot their children from the school they call home. Wolcott Elementary School is a winner for this (and for many other) reasons. This is not your ordinary school website--click on the tree to learn about the outdoor classroom adjacent to the school. Click on the fish in the aquarium to meet the students who are in charge of keeping this site vibrant! In terms of closed sales (MLS statistics), this West Hartford neighborhood has shown remarkable stability. In 2007, there wer...
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By Brent Bell, CRS, e-PRO, GRI, Hartford County
(RE/MAX Premier, Realtors)
If you are thinking of buying your first home in West Hartford, why not choose a neighborhood that remains popular in these uncertain times. During 2008, there were 56 purchases of single-family homes in Webster Hill (MLS statistics). This is essentially unchanged from the 57 sales in 2007. These properties sold quickly, with 32 of the 56 sales going to contract in 30 days or less. The median time on market was only 23 days in this neighborhood. Almost everyone can find a home in this elementary school district, with prices paid last year ranging from $120,000 (30 Elmhurst Circle) to $782,000 (215 South Main Street). In terms of sales price, the median price paid was $253,000 for 30 Boswell. This home offered an updated kitchen and family room. A 1,766 sf cape with 3 bedrooms and 2 full...
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By Brent Bell, CRS, e-PRO, GRI, Hartford County
(RE/MAX Premier, Realtors)
The spring market in West Hartford is moving briskly, fueled by a need for housing and the $8,000 tax credit for first-time buyers. During the month of March, 61 homeowners accepted contracts to sell their single-family residences (up from 57 for the same period in 2008). To put these numbers in perspective, there are currently 245 single-family homes for sale in this town of 65,000 people. The price ranges and activity level: Under $200,000                    12 sales $200,000 to $250,000             9 sales $250,000 to $300,000             9 sales $300,000 to $350,000            11 sales $350,000 to $450,000              9 sales $450,000 to $550,000              3 sales $550,000 to $650,000               1 sale $650,000 to $750,000              6 sales Over $750,000                   ...
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By Brent Bell, CRS, e-PRO, GRI, Hartford County
(RE/MAX Premier, Realtors)
Although you might not guess from the title, Douglas Andrew's latest bestseller, Millionaire By Thirty: The Quickest Path to Early Financial Independence, stresses the importance of real estate compared to the risks of the stock market for people dedicated to improving their financial situation. This book, which Mr. Andrew co-authored with his two newly-millionaire sons, Emron & Aaron, aims its stong financial advice at recent college graduates. Several important ideas are discussed. First, not all debt is bad. Mortgage debt and student loans are desireable within reason. Credit card debt, on the other hand, is to be avoided. Second, once you build equity in your first home, that equity earns a zero rate-of-return. As a result, paying off your mortgage early is seldom the best way to in...
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By Brent Bell, CRS, e-PRO, GRI, Hartford County
(RE/MAX Premier, Realtors)
Good morning and welcome to spring! Our clocks springing forward (and temperatures in the 50s) are welcome changes in Connecticut, where we have experienced an unusually cold and snow-covered winter. The West Hartford market continues to be strong despite the news reports which can be both depressing and addictive. These times are a real test of your outlook on life - is your glass half-full or half-empty? For students of history, times of turmoil are also times of tremendous opportunity. Many first-time buyers are taking advantage of low interest rates, more reasonable housing prices, fewer multiple-offer situations and the new $8,000 gift program from the federal government to invest in their first property. Many investors are returning to the market, realizing that prices and interes...
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By Brent Bell, CRS, e-PRO, GRI, Hartford County
(RE/MAX Premier, Realtors)
As I wait for this last batch of snow to melt and listen to my gas boiler fire up, I am reminded that it is never too late to request a home energy audit. This is a positive audit which requires a small investment on the homeowner's part ($75 if you heat with gas or electricity, $300 if you heat with oil) and pays you back in several ways. First, you receive a report on making your home more energy efficient. Second, a contractor makes minor improvements on site as part of the inspection which will help you save $$$ immediately (new light bulbs, weatherstripping, etc.). Third, you will receive over $3,000 in valuable coupons to defray the cost of more major energy-saving upgrades to your home. Most important, everything you save will help our children and the environment. So call the Co...
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By Brent Bell, CRS, e-PRO, GRI, Hartford County
(RE/MAX Premier, Realtors)
To the average homebuyer in central Connecticut, local real estate taxes are an important variable. The higher the taxes, the less monthly remains in the budget to pay the mortgage. The mill rate (or cost per thousand dollars of assessed home value) is set by each individual town and is recalculated each year. For instance, the current West Hartford mill rate is 36.97. As an example, 572 South Main Street http://brentbellcrs.point2agent.com/Listing/VirtualTour.ashx?ListingID=2104829 has an assessed value (after applying the tax phase-in) of $132,979. This yields an annual tax of $4,916.23. To double check the taxes in West Hartford for a property you like, go to this town link and simply fill in the property address: http://www.westhartford.org/taxestimator/index.aspx Here are some tips...
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By Brent Bell, CRS, e-PRO, GRI, Hartford County
(RE/MAX Premier, Realtors)
  From 10 until 8 today & from 10 until 6 tomorrow, you can escape our near-freezing temperatures for a breath of SPRING by visiting the Connecticut Flower Show! Admission is $14 cash for adults, $2 for children ages 7-14 and FREE for children 6 and under. This is a small price to pay for the sound of cascading water, the sight of butterflies and the aroma of bark mulch mixed with many fragrant varieties of flowers!    
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By Rhonda Hay Rawlins
(Glastonbury Home Staging)
My company, Glastonbury Home Staging, was recently hired to stage this 5 bedroom colonial, located in West Hartford, CT. This house was deceiving from the outside it so big and the bedrooms are all good sizes, particularly the master bedroom. Many families today are multi-generational, with grandparents moving in with their adult children and their grandchildrens or adult children moving back in with mom and dad. This house could be the right solution many family's housing needs.     I met the listing agent by staging a property for one of his client's in December and he liked my work so he referred me to this seller, so a big thank you to Roy Enjen of Realty 3 Carroll & Agostini, (860)  621-7323  Roy is a big believer in staging and I am a big believer in Roy!   Glastonbury Home Stagin...
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By Lisa Rosenfield
(Prudential Connecticut Realty)
Buyers are actively looking for homes and  newly listed West Hartford homes are selling quickly. Sellers need to consider the market when offering their homes for sale. A home that is neat, clean and clutter-free will attract the buyers. The homes that will sell quickly are those that are priced competitively. Despite the cold snowy weather that January has brought, several homes in West Hartford have sold within days of coming on the market. These homes were priced where they should have been in today's market and were prepared for sale. If your home has been sittng on the market for a time, you should be talking to your Realtor about the things you can do to make your home more attractive to today's buyers. These items can range from cleaning out closets to painting to refinishing flo...
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By Brent Bell, CRS, e-PRO, GRI, Hartford County
(RE/MAX Premier, Realtors)
The West Hartford market had a slow start and a strong finish in 2008. There were 646 closed sales of houses recorded in the Multiple Listing Service for the year (down from 725 in 2007). One of the most encouraging numbers was the median Days on Market for these sales at 27 days. People in many other parts of the country would be amazed that half of the houses took contracts less than one month after their debut on the market! For 2008, the median list price was $312,900 & the median sale price was $304,000. The range in sale prices for the year started at $120,000 and continued to $2,441,000; quite diverse housing stock in West Hartford! Looking to the present, there are 205 houses available to purchase as of today (a fairly low inventory for a town of over 60,000 residents). The pric...
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By Lisa Rosenfield
(Prudential Connecticut Realty)
It is mid November and the holidays are almost upon us but West Hartford homes are selling. During the last few weeks we have seen several homes go under deposit after receiving multiple bids. Some of these homes were new to the market and priced competitively for the current market; others were homes that have been on the market for months and have attracted buyers after recent price adjustments. There have been 24 West Hartford homes listed in the Multiple Listing Service during the last two weeks. During the same time 31 West Hartford homes were placed under deposit. Seventeen of these homes had been reduced from their original listing price. Rates are low so it is a good time to be a buyer. First time home-buyers can take advantage of the federal tax credit being offered to new home...
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By Debbie Gilbert, Farmington Valleynulls Finest Homes, West Hartford, CT
(Century 21 Clemens & Sons Realty)
Hello everyone!  Talk about a successful open house! Last week, I sponsored a benefit for The National Theatre of the Deaf by hosting a private estate tour of a lovely home-- 41 Stonefield Road, in Farmington/Avon, Connecticut.                                             During the tour, six talented neighbors presented their works for everyone's enjoyment, and as we walked throughout the home, everyone could see its beauty and feel the warmth of living there. It was a beautiful, sunny evening, and when the sun set at dusk, everyone felt the hush and enjoyed the magic.   We had bountiful trays of hors d'oeuvres from Carbone's Ristorante on Franklin Ave in Hartford-- marinated salmon, tomato bruschetta...  Menus on www.carbonesct.com; We listened to Pam Fleming from Perennials Plus (860-...
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By Rebecca Makas
(William Raveis Real Estate)
I love writing about people who've provided me with great service.  It seems that there is, more than ever, a new line being drawn between the "big box" philosophy and the "local store-great service" philosophy.  I had to have some body work done to my car (much to my dismay, it was my fault and mine alone!) and I asked my neighbor where they've taken their cars in the past.  She referred me to Steben's Auto on Park Road in West Hartford.Steben's was fantastic.  They did the work they said they would do, in the time frame they said they would do it in.  They co-ordinated everything with my insurance, AND with the rental car office up the road.  On top of that, they were pleasant, professional and great to work with.If that's not enough, I got back into my car to take it home, AND IT WAS...
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By Evan Berman
(ERA Broder Group)
What a great time of year. The grass is green, the sky is blue and the landscape is colorful. What can be better? In the Real Estate business, we love the spring because with it comes the "Spring Market". Inventory increases, buyers come out to look and hopefully buy and this year the marketplace sees that the current real estate market is not as bad as the media says it is. In West Hartford over the past 30 -40 days our inventory has increased by close to 20%. THIS IS A GOOD THING! We had such a low inventory that there was "nothing to buy" according to several of my clients. In town we roughly have 25,000 houses. Currently we have about 235 houses for sale plus about 15 multi families and close to 100 condos. Not huge numbers. At the same time we have steady number of properties under...
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By Rebecca Makas
(William Raveis Real Estate)
A resolution was put forth at a recent Town Council meeting which would allow solar panels to be installed on some town buildings.  The installation of the panels could potentially be free as the investors could receive state or federal funds in the form of incentives or rebates.  Best of all, the town would be able to save in the neighborhood of 10% on it's electricity costs.The Town Council voted unanimously to refer the resolution to a committee headed by Tim Brennan, one of the council members.  The town already has committed to a goal of having its municipal facilities buy 20 percent of its energy from clean energy sources by 2010, and is about halfway to that goal, according to Brennan.
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