Tuesday, October 8, 2019

How Mandy Manaco Has Been Able to Give Back to Newtown

Today Mandy Manaco, our newspaper's latest “Hero Around Town,” stops by for a quick interview.

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Today I’m proud to be interviewing Mandy Manaco, our newspaper’s latest “Hero Around Town.”

Mandy is a jack of all trades when it comes to her involvement in greater Newtown, and she is a part of several wonderful organizations that help families in need in our area. 

The first we’ll spotlight is WIN (Women Involved in Newtown). This organization has been doing a lot of good since its inception 50 years ago, and they started their first major initiative 30 years ago by weaving and donating Thanksgiving baskets filled with food during the holidays—an initiative that continues to this day. With the assistance of social services, these baskets are donated to roughly 80 to 90 families in need all around Newtown each year. My wife and I have donated to this cause ourselves.

There are still families in need in our area, and Mandy is a part of several organizations that fill that need.

All the food is supplied by local schools, and the students from those schools and other volunteers help with packing and distributing. These students knowing that the food they’re supplying is going to families in need during the holidays is the most rewarding part of the process for Mandy. 

Next up is Better Day Cafe, a cafe that opened this summer at the Newtown Community Center that’s staffed by special needs students who’ve graduated from high school in Newtown. Every day, they make baked goods and other food items, interact with customers, and learn valuable life and business skills. I’ve heard nothing but good things about this operation—not only how great their service is, but how fulfilling it is for those involved. 

Our community is about inclusion and supporting each other, and these two organizations uphold these values.

Mandy’s biggest passion, though, is a project called Easter Baskets, which she runs out of her house with several volunteers. The mission of Easter Baskets is to donate baskets filled with candy and leftover stuffed animals to St. Rose of Lima Church, Healing Hearts of Newtown, Social Services of Newtown, and other places. 

I want to thank Mandy for all the wonderful work she does and for joining us today. If you’d like to get involved with WIN, Better Day Cafe, or Easter Baskets, you can give her a call at (203) 426-5600.

As always, if you have any real estate questions for me or you’re thinking of buying or selling a home, don’t hesitate to give me a call or send me an email. I’d love to speak with you.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

How Our Service-Oriented Approach Helps You

Our team is a one-stop shop—here’s what that means for buyers and sellers.

Selling your home? Get a home value report here

Service—it’s what consumers deserve and business people think they always give.

I had a long discussion about this topic with some of my team members recently, and there was one thing we could pinpoint that we do differently and can keep improving upon: We bring everybody to the table. We bring the attorney, inspector, mortgage broker, and a slew of other professionals at the drop of a hat when our client needs them. We’re a one-stop shop, and our service-oriented approach grew organically according to the needs of our clients.

How does this benefit them? Many years ago, I read a study that said that buying and/or selling a home is one of the top five stressors you can experience in life. We think the home buying experience should be positive, but the truth is it can be very stressful. We realize that, and we remove as much of that stress as possible.

We bring everybody to the table.

If you’re a seller, this means we bring in a home stager to help you prep the rest of your home sale. We also bring in mortgage brokers and attorneys early in the process. These are professionals we know and trust—people we know will get you from point A to point B quicker and with as little stress as possible.

If you’re a buyer or seller or you know of a service provider we should be talking to, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. My team and I would love to speak with you.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

What to Expect From Our Upcoming Monthly Newspaper

Our team is launching a newspaper, and we can’t wait to share more details about it with you today.

Selling your home? Get a home value report here

People often say that print media is either dead or dying, but we don’t think this is true. In fact, our team is about to launch a monthly newspaper that will be delivered to every single doorstep or mailbox in Newtown. And for those who aren’t in Newtown but who would like to receive it, all you have to do is ask and we’ll be happy to make it happen. We’re so excited about this new and exciting way for us to spread the word about everything going on in our area. In addition to that, the cover of every issue will feature a local hero around town, the first of which being Todd Ingersoll—a Newtown resident with an incredible story. We hope you’ll enjoy this 12-page, full-color publication and all the market updates, lifestyle articles, local event announcements, and everything else it’s going to showcase. If you have any other questions or would like more information, feel free to give us a call or send us an email. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Connecticut Real Estate Market Update

Our real estate market continues to remain flat, but some segments remain hot. Here’s what you need to know.

Selling your home? Get a home value report here

We’re digging right into the numbers today to get to the bottom of what’s going on in our real estate market. For the last few years, we’ve been relatively flat across the board. But now more than ever, this market is price-point driven. We’re down about 2% overall in list price from last month, and we’re also down by 1% in sales.

Why are we seeing a decrease at all? Well, the issue lies in the upper end of the market driving the overall averages down. In the lower end of the market, we’re still seeing much more competitive sales, multiple bids, and some prices above asking. Higher-priced homes are selling for less at the same time.

What does this mean for our market going forward? The overarching issue continues to be Connecticut’s fundamental business climate and challenges. I don’t fall on either side of the political spectrum and I see merit on both sides, but you can't deny the fact that Connecticut is in trouble fiscally. We’re going to need leadership to be able to get us out of that. I’m not sure we have that leadership now. It's to be determined, but we are looking at a long trudge through some murky waters. Luckily, the strong national economy should keep us flat.

The upper end of the market is driving the overall stats down.

We’re continuing to see buyers in our market at all price ranges. There are folks out there who want to buy here in Connecticut, many of whom are from New York. There are tax advantages here when it comes to how much you can write off. It’s capped at $10,000 a year right now.

The challenge with these buyers is that they can be a little bit pickier about what they want to be. They have time to wait for the right home. They rarely tell me they need to move. They want to find the right house and pay the right amount. They aren’t trying to lowball folks, but they do want to make sure they’re getting a fair price. I can’t blame them. As a seller, how can you deal with buyers like this? You can prepare by getting in touch with someone like us as far in advance as possible so we can make a plan of attack on how to get your home sold on the market. Having more time is always ideal. Today’s buyers don’t want to do the work, so doing it yourself can really benefit you.

If you have any questions for me about buying or selling a home or real estate in general, don’t hesitate to reach out and give me a call or send me an email. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Debunking 5 Home-Selling Myths

There are five myths that home sellers need to disabuse themselves of before they enter the market. Learn more here.

Selling your home? Get a home value report here

I recently read an article from Inman, a fantastic resource for all things real estate, that discussed some of the myths that home sellers in the market tend to believe but shouldn’t. I've picked five of the most common myths to share with you all today, so that I can explain why they're so harmful to the sellers who fall for them.

1. “I don’t need to have a listing agent visit my home until it’s ready.” I can’t tell you how wrong that is; preparation is key when selling a home. Here, we work with our clients not just months, but years in advance. We always help our clients plan their sale around the events in their life and early in the process, we think about the kinds of things we can do for the home to help it sell when the time comes.

2. “I don’t need to upgrade the property for sale.” Increasing numbers of buyers are looking for move-in ready homes, so the more a seller does to get the home to that level, the higher the returns. Today’s buyers are fundamentally different from how they were even a couple decades ago. They either don’t have the expendable cash to do the upgrades, don’t have the patience to do them, or they don’t want to be caught on the weekends doing them. They want to enjoy their new home or be able to take trips; they’re not inclined to spend day after day upgrading their home.

When buyers do come to your home, it should be a validation of what they’ve seen online.

3. “I need open houses to be able to sell my home.” Open houses are still a wonderful way to sell a property, but buyers already know about your home before they come to the open house. When they do come to your home, it should be a validation of what they’ve seen online. If your online listing and your actual home don’t align, you’ve probably lost your buyer.

4. “I need many open house signs at key intersections to draw people in.” An open house may very well grant your listing more exposure, but again, it only matters as much as your home validates your listing to those buyers who are still early on in their respective homebuying processes. Most people who attend open houses aren’t quite ready yet to take a plunge; they’re still doing their research and checking out their options. However, if your home is properly prepared, it could well take someone who wasn’t ready before and help them realize that maybe they are. In the end, though, you don’t need quite as many signs directing people to your open houses… we have GPS in today’s internet age.

5. “If buyers really want my house, they will pay more than the market value.” In our market, your success really does come down to your home’s pricing and marketing. If the value isn’t there in a buyer’s eyes (and remember that they have access to more information than ever before), then they won’t make an offer. Try to be within striking distance of the market; people don’t often blatantly make lowball offers.

If you have any questions about today’s topic, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. We look forward to working with you soon.