Blog :: 02-2009

Pick Up in Activity?

You may not believe it, but there seems to be quite a pick up in activity in the last few weeks. I have had many showings at my listings in the past 2 weeks. At the showings I spoke with the other brokers, and asked them what was going on in their world. ALL said the same thing, that they saw a big pick up in interest. At open houses last week, every broker I talked reiterated the same sorts of comment. A friend with a high end apt for sale in NYC just left my house and although he expects pricing to be down 20% at least, his apartment has had a big pick up in showings in the last couple weeks. I am currently working an offer on my largest listing, and am close to offers on several others. I also have had several second showings, and more being booked in the next couple weeks. HOWEVER, even if activity picks up and people start making offers, I do not expect that pricing will improve for many years. For now, fingers crossed.

These two high end properties both went under agreement this week.$PUB/82/3182/pub/pub_17134369.htm

Magnificent Equestrian Property

This magnificent equestrian estate is a horse lovers dream! Comfortable gated manor house with 4 bedrooms, large deck, game room, 2 offices, media room & eat-in gourmet kitchen. The lavish barn facility includes: 8 stalls, saddle room, feed room, wash stall, barn office, full bath, caretaker's apartment, 3-bay equipment garage, 4 paddocks, 2 chicken coops, pond, and hay loft. 28 acres plus a large 10 acre adjoining pasture which is protected in open space and can be used for riding. Abuts miles of riding trails. This home has privacy but also has easy access to rte 67 and I 84 for horse transportation. Offered at $2,000,000. Come see!

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  1. Kevin Noel on

    That’s just breathtaking! It would be so refreshing to live in an area surrounded by the beauty of nature. You can just imagine yourself lying on the grass while having a picnic with the whole family, and then afterwards, enjoying a horseback riding trip through the woods.

    Should I Wait for Rates to go Lower?

    I just recieved this from a great local mortgage broker that I thought was interesting....

    Customers are constantly asking, 'I am waiting for the rates to hit 4.5%. They said on T.V....

    In hopes of providing you with a better understanding as to why rates are where they are, below is an explanation of the what is happening with the Fed's buying program of Mortgage Backed Securitiies. This insight will assist you with the customers who may be sitting on the fence, waiting for the rates to go lower.

    The Fed's been at it again, offering words that sound encouraging at first blush, confirming that their buying program of Mortgage Backed Securities is in full swing and will continue as needed. Of course, the media will pick this up and offer their own interpretation, saying "Good news, the Fed's words on continuing their purchasing program mean that rates will continue to drop lower, and remain low into the summer..." But is this really what that means? Not so.

    Here's the truth.

    Yes, the Fed has been buying Mortgage Bonds, but if you look at what they are purchasing, they are buying a lot of FNMA 30-yr 5.5% and 5.0% Bonds...which won't have much of an impact on present interest rates.

    So why is the Fed buying these Bonds? Well if you think about it, it's very smart of the Fed...and maybe even a little sneaky...because 5.5% Bonds actually represent outstanding mortgages with rates of 6 - 6.50%, which are precisely the loans being refinanced at today's great interest rates.

    Stay with me here...

    With rates at present low levels, many of the mortgages in these FNMA 5.5% pools being bought up by the Fed will be refinanced and paid, thus giving the Fed a quick recoup on some of their investment. And this is likely a big reason why the Fed said they could continue this purchasing program beyond June, if necessary. Bottom line, the Fed buying these higher rate coupons will not necessarily help rates to move lower, as their actions do not impact the loans being originated at today's low rates.

    Here's the most important part.

    Sometimes I talk to clients who are in a situation where it makes sense to refinance right now, and save $250 per month for example. But when they hear the media throwing around teases of lower rates ahead, they decide to hold off on making the decision to save the $250 per month right now, in the hopes of gaining another $30 per month in additional savings with a lower rate than where we stand presently. Now clearly, rates could turn higher, and this window of opportunity could pass them by entirely.

    The clincher is this:

    Even if those clients ultimately are correct in timing the market, and eventually grab that lower rate and save another $30 per month - think of what they have lost by waiting. While they delayed, they lost the savings they could have gained by taking action sooner - or in the example used, $250 - for every single month they waited. So even if they got lucky and obtained the rate they were looking for, it could take years to make up what they lost by waiting.

    I don't want anyone to miss an opportunity by either waiting, or not understanding what is at stake. Let's talk further on this - call or email me and let's discuss what this might mean for you.

    Priscilla Loomis
    Mgr, HLC Sales
    CMD 1448 - Torrington, CT POB
    Countrywide Bank, FSB

    860-482-1664 Office
    860-307-4497 Cell
    866-409-6140 Fax
    Mail Stop: MSN-BR1448
    Torrington, CT 06790

    Countrywide Home Loans

    How to Make Money on a Project

    I am constently viewing houses where well meaning owners have put their hard work and money into their houses in ways that they will be unlikely to see a good return off of.

    Some of the most common mistakes include: you absolutely must have 4 bedrooms minimum. Do not build your dream house with 2 bedrooms. Do not put bedrooms in the basement, even if they are really nice and have their own baths, they don't count. Basements are for play rooms and gyms. Don't build a luxury house and then skip on appliances or countertops. Don't put in a new kitchen (at any price range) and then get a refrig that doesnt fit in the space and sticks out from the rest of the cabinets by 4 inches.It makes buyers think you skimped on everything. Don't do ANY faux painting or paint any dark colors on the walls. In fact, if you have anything with a faux marble finish, paint over it immediately. Don't build your house on the edge of a cliff (even if that has the best views).Buyers want flat land out the back. Set your house back a little.

    Kids Expo at Washington Montessori

    This Saturday, February 7th, from 10am-3pm, once again, Washington Montessori School will be hosting the Kid Expo. This is a great opportunity for parents and kids to see what activities are available throughout the year. We have about 30 different children's activities participating, ranging in age from Pre K through High School, and includes sports, camps, theatre, equestrian, the arts. The event is free, open to the public, and thelocal radio station, FM 97.3 WZBG will be broadcasting live.

    There will also be puppet shows at 10:30 and 12:00. Please come!

    We will also be distributing booklets with listings of all the contributing camps. If you would like me to send you one, please forward your info. Send it privately to

    How Do I Know When its Time to BUY?

    The answer is that its impossible to know exactly when the National Real Estate market will bottom. Some say 2009 and other not until 2010. It will slightly different in each local market, and we won't know until we are way past the bottom that it is actually in place.

    However, for savvy buyers who want a deal, now could certainly be the time. Pricing in Litchfield County is far from efficient. I sold a the highest sale in Roxbury in 2008 last February. He paid less than half of the original offering price of $7.5mil. The owner turned down offers in the $5mil range along the way. My client got such a good deal, there is no doubt that he got the bottom pricing, even though it was a year ago! I don't care if the market goes down another 20% from this level, my buyer would never have to sell this house for less than what he paid.

    Similarly, I sold one of the highest sales in New Milford last August, that's right only one month before the meltdown. This house had been on the market for more than 5 years. Again, this buyer was able to negotiate an incredible deal, one which will hold up in any market!

    By the same token, I am aware of another broker's deal that was recently done in Washington where I am firmly convinced the buyer got screwed, even though the deal closed in December and he knew what the market was doing!

    The point I am trying to make is that you can make a good deal or a bad deal in any market. I just searched inventory between $2mil and $3.5mil for a buyer. I am astounded at the pricing variation. There are houses in the group which are 30-40% overpriced, and there are houses in the group which are fairly priced for today's market. You will need professional advice to sort this out! If you want a great deal right now, they are available. However, you will not find them by siting in NYC searching websites and telling your broker that prices are not stable yet. If you want a deal, you need to make a commitment to coming up several weekends in a row, getting familiar with the inventory, talking to your broker about which sellers are motivated, and submitting bids where you feel comfortable. A few sellers might not negotiate, they might even be rude and tell you to take a hike. Who cares? You don't know them anyway! If you are sensitive about this, bid under a lawyer's name. Its done all the time, and then the seller will have no idea who you are if things don't work out. Most smart sellers will negotiate any offers in this market. So come up and get your DEAL!

    Even though the current economyis ugly, Spring is GORGEOUS in Litchfield County, and just around the corner!