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Sara Littlefield's Blog

By Sara Littlefield | Agent in Darien, CT
  • Will a Bath Remodel Increase My Home’s Value?

    Posted Under: Home Selling, Remodel & Renovate, Design & Decor  |  January 23, 2014 11:43 AM  |  56 views  |  No comments

    Spring is just around the corner and the lure of a new home has you thinking about putting yours on the market. Your neighbor added a new bathroom last year and you’re wondering if you should upgrade yours before you sell. Logically, a new bathroom should increase the value of your home, right?

    From 2006 through 2012, the return on a bathroom remodel investment averaged around 62%, according to the cost vs. value report prepared by Remodeling magazine while a bathroom addition garnered only 51%. Beginning in 2013, however, those numbers began trending up, so a bathroom remodel in 2014 is hovering near 72% and an addition is at 60% ROI. Even so, you will be spending more money than you can expect in return. That being said, there are great reasons to go ahead with a remodel, and your professional real estate agent can help you decide if it is a good investment for you.

    One reason is that if several similar homes are on the market in your neighborhood, an upgraded bath may help yours sell more quickly. After all, when comparing side by side, who doesn’t want a clean, fresh bath? Busy buyers looking to move in quickly won’t want to do the upgrade themselves. Another reason to consider updating your bath is to attract a different type of buyer. Flippers, investors and DIY-homeowners will want the bones of the house to be in great shape, but will probably offer a lower price because they plan to make upgrades and changes themselves. Qualified buyers that want move-in ready conditions will appreciate not having to worry about upgrading, remodeling or renovating.

    If you and your professional real estate agent determine that a bath upgrade will improve your sale, be sure to do it right. Do not attempt a DIY project you’ve never done before just to save a few bucks. Remember, some changes do have more appeal than others. For instance, if you only have one bath, consider putting in a double sink. Couples, families and even roommates appreciate multiple sinks when trying to get out the door in the morning. Even a small bath can accommodate a double sink with the right choice. Consider fresh paint, a new rain-style showerhead, new classy but neutral shower curtain, updated faucets, or a new toilet. Don’t skimp on lighting, including task lighting for applying makeup or shaving, ambient lighting.

    Contact me if you would like help in determining your home’s current value and if a bathroom or kitchen renovation would add value to your property before listing for sale.

  • More good news for the U.S. real estate market - “Boomerang buyers.”

    Posted Under: Home Selling, Financing, Foreclosure  |  January 23, 2014 11:26 AM  |  34 views  |  No comments

    More good news for the U.S. real estate market - “Boomerang buyers.”

     

    These buyers are former homeowners who have gone through a short sale, foreclosure or bankruptcy in the past few years and are saving up for a down payment to purchase a home again.

     

    ü   79% of those who lost their home are interested in buying again.

     

    ü   41% have incomes higher than when they first purchased.

     

    ü   63% report that their other debt obligations are lower.

     

    ü   46% report the desire to purchase again in a lower price range.

     

    ü   81% have never heard of the FHA program that allows the purchase of a new property as soon as twelve months following a foreclosure or short sale provided that the borrower can prove that their default was the result of a financial hardship.  

     

    These buyers are former homeowners who have gone through a short sale, foreclosure or bankruptcy in the past few years and are saving up for a down payment to purchase a home again.

     

    ü   79% of those who lost their home are interested in buying again.

     

    ü   41% have incomes higher than when they first purchased.

     

    ü   63% report that their other debt obligations are lower.

     

    ü   46% report the desire to purchase again in a lower price range.

     

    ü   81% have never heard of the FHA program that allows the purchase of a new property as soon as twelve months following a foreclosure or short sale provided that the borrower can prove that their default was the result of a financial hardship.  

  • Historic Homes Hold Their Value in 2012

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in Darien, Home Buying in Darien, Home Selling in Darien  |  January 31, 2013 5:19 PM  |  116 views  |  No comments
    New Canaan, Darien, Rowayton Magazine called it right as one of this year’s 10 hot real estate trends (March/April 2012 issue). Number three on its hot trends list: Historic homes hold their value. So far this year, antiques have accounted for 30 percent of New Canaan sales, 27 percent of Darien sales, 36 percent of Rowayton sales and 22 percent of Stamford sales (Single-family year-to-date).

    Author C. J. Hughes was certainly accurate in stating: “In tradition-minded Fairfield County, a Revolutionary War Colonial should have just as strong appeal in another few decades as it does today. “Architecture, unlike any other art form, is unique because it embodies memory,” noted Mark A. Demmerle, architectural historian and writer. "Our homes provide the space where the events of our lives have taken place. "Those of us who are sensitive to this ‘spirit of place’ often find the historic home significant because of the appreciation to the cultural lineage of where we have been to where we are now," he wrote. "As one lives in the history of a home like this, one might ponder the evolution and growth of American heritage."

    Architect Mark A. Demmerle’s masterful approach to maintaining the heritage of a home is to incorporate contemporary technologies without compromising the historical integrity of the house. Today’s clients program requires fiber optics, energy compliant standards and hypo-allergenic materials. Each client and each home presents a unique set of circumstances with regard to rehabilitation and renovation.  Finding the critical balance between the two is what makes for a uniquely interesting architectural solution.

    Sara Littlefield of William Raveis Real Estate just listed a noteworthy Victorian in Darien. This iconic Victorian caught the eye of location scouts for the Revolutionary Road movie as one of their possible location shoots. The current owners decided against the option with their busy commuting schedule to Manhattan, but also in their desire to maintain the original Heart Pine hardwood floors, rather than have them replaced after the shoot, as part of the incentive package offered by the movie company. Victorian architecture refers to several architectural styles during the middle and late 19th century. The name Victorian refers to the reign of Queen Victoria, during which period the styles known as Victorian were used in construction.

    This Darien home was originally commissioned for Charles B. Fitch and family (c. 1890), one of the Darien’s original first selectman. Mr. Fitch’s influence in town was noted this past month in Darien Patch with a plaque honoring him on the White bridge linking Darien to Rowayton.
    This Darien Victorian is a real standout for its extensive architectural details of its era. The exterior of the house features cedar siding, a beautiful wrap-around porch and turret.
    The porch leads to a custom stone path and on to the Pennsylvania bluestone patio added by the current owners when they relocated from San Francisco, home of the iconic Victorian “Painted Ladies.” The details throughout this house typify Victorian architecture built in this country during the 1890s. For a virtual tour of this home, go to www.saralittlefield.net or call listing agent Sara Littlefield of William Raveis Real Estate at 203-253-3350 today for a private showing of this unique home.
 
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