Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England and Westchester Properties Supports Hiring Veterans

Wallingford, CT – Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England and Westchester Properties is a proud supporter of hiring veterans and welcomes every opportunity to hire the men and women who have served our country (and their spouses) through the company’s Veterans to REALTORS® program. The Veterans to REALTORS® program helps veterans get started in an exciting new career as a REALTOR® at minimal expense and offers professional development courses throughout the first year to help veterans succeed. In addition to continuing education classes, each of the sales offices are managed by professional office leaders dedicated to assisting with coaching, training and business development. “We are committed to supporting our veterans and welcome their high level of integrity, skills and commitment; highly desirable qualities that we seek in our sales professionals,” said Candace Adams, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England and Westchester Properties CEO. “We are proud to have them represent our company.” Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England and Westchester Properties believes our nation’s veterans are highly disciplined, hardworking and accustomed to overcoming obstacles – all valuable skills that can serve them well as they transition into successful REALTORS®. The program has hired 28 veterans to date. “I joined Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England and Westchester Properties because of the Vet program they offered as well as it being a great company,” stated Bryant Drye, a veteran from the US Navy and REALTOR® from the Norwalk office. “Real Estate has been something I’ve always been interested in and I saw this as an opportunity to work with a company that’s invested in helping me take my passion to the next level. It’s...

Think Outside the Box: Exterior Considerations When House Hunting

It’s easy to get tunnel vision while house hunting. When you fall hard and fast for a house, you may be willing to do just about anything to make it your own. But even if you’ve found what seems to be your dream home, take a closer look outside before you make an offer. Any home you consider calling yours should go through a thorough exterior inspection. Read on to learn what outdoor considerations you should keep in mind while home shopping. Trees and foliage Susan Krus of Texas Realty One suggests evaluating trees and foliage first. How close are trees to the foundation of the home? When trees get too big, they can cause foundation problems. And if a mature tree is removed, the foundation can drop when the roots decay. “It may be worth calling in a foundation expert during the inspection period,” Krus says. If you’re unsure of whether or not the trees are healthy, get a professional arborist to evaluate them. It’s also not uncommon for mature trees’ limbs to extend over a house. If this is the case with your potential property, check to see if the roof shingles are damaged. Squirrels, possums, and rodents love to use branches to access homes. “They can find a small opening in the soffit or fascia and set up residency in your attic,” says Krus. It may also be worth asking the seller to prune foliage away from the house. If your potential home has bushes in direct contact with the house, you may have termites or carpenter ants hiding. Krus advises getting a termite or wood-destroying insect (WDI) inspection...

7 Things Buyers Should Never Overlook At Open Houses

You don’t have to be a pro to know what to look for at an open house. When you’re on the hunt for a new house, weekends spent touring open houses can quickly veer from fun to daunting by house number three. Keeping track of which home had that great kitchen (but terrible master bath) versus the home with a terrible backyard but a great floor plan can be tough. And while no house is likely to be perfect, when it comes to your budget, some updates are harder to swallow than others. Unfortunate paint colors, though hard to see past, shouldn’t sway your decision because they’re easily changed. But other issues should give you pause because they’ll require costly repairs, or they indicate larger, underlying problems that simply can’t be fixed. Read on for a list of things you should pay close attention to during an open house. Here’s what to consider and what questions to ask when viewing a house. 1. How old is the roof? “You really need to look beyond the new kitchen and bathroom and consider the bones of the home,” says Adam Waggoner of Generator Real Estate in Denver, CO. One of the biggest “bones” of a house? The roof. The typical life span of a roof is up to about 20 years, but the average cost to replace one runs into the five-figure range, averaging about $12,000 but going up as high as $25,000 or more. That’s why Omaha, NE, real estate agent Robert Jensen suggests paying close attention to the age and condition of the roof before making an offer. 2....

6 Reasons Real Estate Agents Aren’t Extinct

It’s 2016, and it seems our need for real live people is ever-diminishing. There’s self-checkout instead of cashiers, selfie sticks instead of photographers, self-driving cars, self-watering plants, self-administered colonoscopies … well, you get the idea. Given that technology has become so important to buying and selling homes, you’d also think real estate agents would be a dying breed—yet they aren’t showing any signs of slowing down, with approximately 2 million active real estate agents throughout the country. So why did real estate agents make the technology transition fully intact as opposed to, say, travel agents? We asked some experts to weigh in. Reason No. 1: Selling is complicated For many people, “a real estate transaction is financially momentous and complex—the most complex transaction people do in their life,” explains David Reiss, a law professor and academic program director for the Center for Urban Business Entrepreneurship at Brooklyn Law School. Comparatively, personal travel agents—the kind where you’d walk in their office and have them book you a hotel and a flight—have gone the way of the dodo, because now that’s all simple DIY stuff (to be fair, not all travel agents are out of a job—there’s still a healthy travel agency sector that thrives on corporate and luxury bookings). “People like having an expert when dealing with large, complicated transactions,” says Jeff Tomasul, founder of Vespula Capital LLC, an investment management company based in Greenwich, CT. “Why do people still have financial advisers? They want someone who does it full-time to make sure they are not doing anything wrong.” Same with real estate agents. And real estate transactions are often anything but straightforward. Some deals, like short...

Things to do this Weekend: May 20th – May 22nd Connecticut & Rhode Island

Connecticut Event: The Robin Hood Spring Festival  Venue: North Haven Fairgrounds in North Haven, CT Date: May 21 – June 5, 2016 Description: There is magic and revelry abound as you step into the past at The Robin Hood Springtime Festival. It is there you can leave your cares behind and boost your spirits as fond memories are made. Event: Fairy Festival Venue: Bellamy-Ferriday House in Bethelem, CT Date: May 21, 2016 Description: Calling all fairies, elves, gnomes, pixies, leprechauns, woodland and mystical creatures. Get your passport to the land of fairies and join us at the maypole. Event: Outdoors Crafts Festival  Venue: Bruce Museum in Greenwich, CT Date: May 21 – May 22, 2016 Description: More seventy artisans gather together to share their unique talents and crafts at this nationally recognized event. Juried exhibitors specialize in ceramics, jewelry, wood, wearable and decorative fiber, metalwork, leather, paper arts and glass, all available for purchase. Event: Gathering at the Bines Beer Festival Venue: Two Roads Brewing Company in Stratford, CT Date: May 21st, 2016 Description: This one day beer festival taking place in the Two Roads Brewing Hop Yard will be dedicated to hoppy culture. View more events in Connecticut on CTVisit.com.  Rhode Island Event: Hope Street Spring Block Party Venue: Hope Street in Providence, RI Date: May 21, 2016 Description: Local music, food trucks, family activities and a beer garden with local brews: There’s no better place to be than the Hope Street Block Party on a nice spring day. Event: Color Me Rad Providence Venue: Seekonk Speedway in Seekonk, RI Date: May 21, 2016 Description: Boys Town New England is the charity partner...

4 Springtime Color Schemes to Try at Home

Creating a look around a single color is one of the most stylish ways to decorate: The key to choosing color schemes is to focus on a favorite shade then echo and offset it with the perfect partners. From fiery hues to calming blues, follow our rules for success: Yellow Yellow is not the easiest color to decorate with, but if you get it right, yellow can be sunny and uplifting. Temper the heat of strong citrus hues with cool greys. Here, tongue-and-groove paneling in a slightly softer shade than that of the vibrant accessories is teamed with a fresh off-white on walls to keep the mood calm and soothingly restful. Use strong yellow with care, limiting it to certain areas, as this potent shade will easily overwhelm a room. Continue color schemes by painting a few key pieces of furniture in your chosen color. Keep the rest of the furnishings fresh and pale or in greys and natural shades. Choose off-white, grey, stone or sand shades for the majority of the walls, flooring and furniture to offset a dominant yellow. Introduce interesting accents with bold prints and patterns on cushions and throws. Orange A more contemporary choice than strong reds, orange works best when used in moderation – it makes a bold statement on a single wall, chimney breast or stairwell. Confined to an alcove, as shown here, it provides a striking background for a display of accessories. Add to the dramatic effect by partnering with strong geometric or tribal patterns but balance with plain natural materials and textures . Keep walls and woodwork bright white and use...

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Announces Top 100 Agents in Network

***News Release*** Wallingford, CT –Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices released their list of top 100 agents in the network for Quarter One. Out of over 42,000 agents in the network nationwide, three agents from Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties made the list. Elayne Jassey of Stamford, CT placed 59th in Total GCI (gross commission income), Don Sciaretto of Bristol, CT placed 90th in Total Units and John Lepore of West Hartford, CT placed 94th in Total Units. These agents’ successes are a credit to their expansive knowledge of the local real estate market, commitment to providing the highest level of customer service and their professionalism in creating lasting relationships with their clients. “Being included in the Top 100 Agents out of 42,000 in our network is an enormous accomplishment,” Candace Adams, President and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England and Westchester Properties. “We are proud to have these agents representing Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England and Westchester Properties. They truly portray our core values and vision and I am thrilled to see them honored with this award.” Elayne Jassey can be reached at the Stamford office, (203) 329-2111 or by e-mail at ejassey@bhhsne.com. Don Sciaretto can be reached at (860) 582-0884 or by e-mail at donaldsciarretto@bhhsne.com. John Lepore can be reached at (860) 561-8010 or by email at jlepore@bhhsne.com. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England and Westchester Properties is a leading real estate brokerage firm with over 1,600 REALTORS® in Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Westchester County, NY.  Selectively chosen by Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices and HomeServices of America; the global reach, financial strength and fresh brand make Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New...

Featured Town of the Week – Mystic, Connecticut

Local Real Estate Office: Mystic Office of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties 2 Williams Avenue Mystic, CT 06355 860-536-4906 View Listings  Around Town: The village of Mystic, Connecticut is a small quaint coastal town in New London County. It is located within Groton and Stonington and lies along the estuary of the Mystic River. Mystic covers only 3.8 miles, and has a population of over 4,200 people. The village is an hour from Hartford, 3 hours to New York City and 2.5 hours to Boston. Mystic is a popular New England tourist destination and historic seaport location. Notable destinations include Mystic Seaport, Mystic Aquarium and the Mystic River Bascule Bridge. Mystic has three historic districts on the National Register of Historic Places: the Mystic Bridge Historic District, Rossie Velvet Mill Historic District and the Mystic River Historic District. Mystic is also home to the famous Mystic Pizza restaurant. In addition, Mystic is in close proximity to Foxwoods Resort and Casino (20 minutes) and Mohegan Sun (25 minutes). Travel Times: Hartford: 1 hour NYC: 3 hours Boston: 2.5 hours Transportation: Amtrak Greyhound Schools Mystic shares a well rated public school system with Groton and Stonington that includes several private schools. Parks/Recreation: Mystic Seaport Mystic Aquarium Places to Visit: Old Mistick Village Links: Chamber of Commerce Photos:  ...

How Much Are Closing Costs? What Home Buyers and Sellers Can Expect

Article and photo from Realtor.com Closing costs are the fees paid to third parties that help facilitate the sale of a home, and they vary widely by location. But as a rule, you can estimate that they typically total 2% to 7% of the home’s purchase price. So on a $250,000 home, your closing costs would amount to anywhere from $5,000 to $17,500. Yep that’s one heck of a wide range. More on that below. Both buyers and sellers typically pitch in on closing costs, but buyers shoulder the lion’s share of the load (3% to 4% of the home’s price) compared with sellers (1% to 3%). And while some closing costs must be paid before the home is officially sold (e.g., the home inspection fee when the service is rendered), most are paid at the end when you close on the home and the keys exchange hands. How much are closing costs for buyers? Home buyers pay the majority of closing costs since many of these fees are associated with the mortgage. “If you’re paying cash for a property, there are still a few closing costs, but they are significantly less,” says Cara Ameer, a Realtor® in Ponte Vedra, FL. Here are some of the fees home buyers should brace themselves to pay: A loan origination fee, which lenders charge for processing the paperwork for your loan. A fee for running your credit report. A fee for the underwriter, who assesses your credit worthiness. A fee for the appraisal of the home you hope to own to make sure its value matches the size of the loan you want. A fee for the home inspection, which checks the home for potential problems from cracks in the foundation to a leaky roof. A...

Berkshire HathawayHS.com Goes Global

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices (BerkshireHathawayHS.com) is expanding globally and the website is going international, too! The website will feature language, currency and measurement options for prospective buyers both in the U.S. and abroad whose native language may not be English. Buyers can now view domestic listings in 10 different languages. Global consumers accessing BerkshireHathawayHS.com may search for homes in any city or state serviced by our franchisees. What they’ll find they can’t get anywhere else: full MLS data containing all listings in their search area, including our own Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices listings in their language of choice. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices . . . Good to Know. ®           ...

6 Reasons May Is The Best Month To List Your Home

Just as TV shows have a prime time, so does the real estate market. And that time is now. Spring is busy ticking off the season’s milestones: We’re watching the cherry blossoms, celebrating Mother’s Day, and tossing graduation caps. Another item you may want to add to your list? Putting your home up for sale — specifically in May, when homes often sell faster, and for a bit more than the national average. But why is May the best time to sell a house? We’ve asked real estate agents from several metro areas to chime in on why it’s such a magical month for home sales. 1. The timing aligns with the new school year If they intend to move, families really want to close on a new home before the end of summer. Why? Changing school districts after the school year starts is no picnic for anyone. “If you take the month of May to search for a home, you can be closed in July or August, which gives you a little time to settle in before school,” says Ryan Gibbons, a New Jersey agent. 2. Buyers are getting serious When the spring housing season begins, typically right after Presidents Day in mid-February, many buyers feel as if they have plenty of time to find their perfect home and perfectly time their summer move. So they might bid more aggressively and offer less than asking price. If no sellers bite, though, by the time May rolls around, these same buyers may relent to submitting more competitive offers in the hopes of finally sealing the deal. Remember, though, that...

Things to do this Weekend: May 13th – May 15th: New York

Westchester County, New York Event: Dinner & a Movie Night  Venue: First Baptist Church of White Plains in White Plains, NY Date: May 14, 2016 Description: Enjoy dinner  and a classic Frank Capra romantic comedy starring Claudette Colbert and Clark Gable. See what can happen in one night! This free community event takes place in Wilson House on the church campus. Event: Larchmont Down to Earth Farmers Market  Venue: MetroNorth Parking Deck off Chatsworth Avenue in Larchmont, NY Date: May 14, 2016 Description: That means fresh local produce at the Larchmont Down to Earth Farmers Market! Open every Saturday from 8:30 am-1:00 pm through December 17th, the market will offer fresh produce, local meats, sustainable seafood, delicious baked goods and other specialty food items. Events: Lightscapes Venue: Van Cortlandt Manor in Hudson, NY Date: May 14 – 30, 2016 Description: Van Cortlandt Manor springs to life during this incredible nighttime display of sculpture, light, sound, and special effects. Created by the team that brings you The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze, LIGHTSCAPES is an elegantly enchanting walk-through event featuring all original, hand-made art. Visit more events throughout the state of New...

Things to do this Weekend: May 13th – May 15th Connecticut & Rhode Island

Connecticut Event: Historic Oval Invitational & Classic Car Show Venue: Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park in Thompson, CT Date: May 13 – 14, 2016 Description: Historic oval racing returns to Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park with the Historic Oval Invitational, and classic car show. Come watch Midgets, Sprints, TQ’s, Super Modifieds, Champ Cars, Vintage Outlaws, Stock Cars and more take to the 5/8 mile oval! Event: Connecticut Spring Boat Show Venue: Brewer Essex Island Marina in Essex, CT Date: May 13 – 15, 2016 Description: A unique boutique boat show, located on the scenic Connecticut River, features both sail and power boats. Free parking and free admission. See boats of all sizes and talk directly with dealers and manufacturers. Event: Rising Pint Brewfest Venue: Rentschler Field Stadium in East Hartford, CT Date: May 14, 2016 Description: The Rising Pint Brewfest is one of the fastest growing and most comprehensive brewfests in the region, hosting more than 90 craft breweries and 300 craft beers. Attendees can sample, enjoy live music from 7Below and Grant’s Tomb, happy hour specials from some of the area’s best restaurants and food trucks. Event: Spring on the Farm Festival Weekend Venue: Stamford Museum & Nature Center in Stamford, CT Date: May 14 – 15, 2016 Description: Meet the latest additions to the Heckscher Farm family. Watch as the flock of sheep gets its annual shearing and learn about what happens with their wooly coats. See firsthand how to turn wool into felt or yarn, among a variety of other hands-on demonstrations. View more events in Connecticut on CTVisit.com.  Rhode Island Event: Misquamicut SpringFest Venue: Misquamicut State Beach...

Simple Changes for a Greener Home

Think it’s too tough to make your home more eco-friendly? These straightforward tips will make you think again. If the phrase “sustainable home” intimidates you, don’t let it. Incorporating green practices in your home is simpler than you might think. We’re not talking installing solar panels or adding car-charging stations in your garage (at least, not yet). You can have an eco-conscious home without building one from the ground up. From switching to LED light bulbs to installing a toilet that wastes less water, there are a number of ways to make your home a little greener. Read on to learn how you can work toward making your current home a bit more environmentally friendly. Light bulbs and beyond “Using LED light bulbs is the easiest thing to do that will change your electric bill,” says Anthony Maschmedt, founder and owner of design-build firm Dwell Development. “And high-performance windows are crucial to having a comfortable home.” He recommends triple-pane windows for maximum energy efficiency. You may also want to rethink your current heating and cooling system. The Dwell Development team suggests using ductless mini-split systems throughout a home. You can mount them right on your wall, and they’re run by a remote control. Maschmedt says these ductless heating and cooling systems are 300 percent more efficient than most systems out there. Other benefits to ductless mini-split systems include their small size, easy installation, and ability to blend into the existing interior design of a room. These systems will soon become the new normal, according to Maschmedt. Repurposed materials Try repurposing old materials and turning them into treasured statement pieces in your home. From countertops to flooring, look locally for materials you can repurpose....

How To “Live Small” (Even If You Don’t Have A Tiny House)

Living large doesn’t have to mean living with lots of stuff. The tiny-home movement has become popular because it allows people to dream of a life of freedom — from expensive housing costs, clutter, and sometimes even neighbors. (After all, a noisy neighbor is much easier to deal with if your home is tiny and mobile so you can pick it up and tow it somewhere else.) But if you’re not ready to drastically downsize your square footage, you can still apply the ethos of a person who lives in a tiny house to make an impact in your own place, no matter its size. Case in point: Whether you rent a huge house in the suburbs or buy a three-level townhome, chances are you’ve been inspired to declutter and downsize your belongings, looking to tiny homes for inspiration — and a few tricks — on how to live that minimalist lifestyle. Here are several tips from renters and homeowners who have lived the tiny life firsthand that can be applied to any space, big or small. Don’t rush to buy “organizing products“ At least not right away, says Felice Cohen, a professional organizer who briefly achieved internet fame after a video of her 90-square-foot New York, NY, apartment went viral. (She’s since upgraded to a spacious, 490-square-foot one-bedroom apartment.) “One mistake people do when they want to organize their space is that they go to The Container Store and first buy a lot of supplies,” she says. “But why organize or store stuff you don’t need? Look for supplies only after you’ve culled everything down.” Downsize your wardrobe...

How to Refinish Cabinets Like a Pro

Give your existing kitchen cabinets a high-end designer look with these professional refinishing tips. Project Cost and Timeline While estimates for brand-new custom cabinets start at $12,000, this DIY refinishing project cost $200 in supplies. If tackling a project yourself, it’s best to allow two full weekends to complete. Homeowners interested in hiring a cabinet refinishing professional (for kitchens 200-square-feet or smaller) should expect to spend between $900 and $3,000 for labor and transportation costs. Label With Tape One of the biggest problems homeowners face when reinstalling cabinet door fronts is determining which door goes with which opening. Although doors may appear to be the same size, many vary by as much as 1/4 inch. To avoid confusion, label each cabinet opening and door front with corresponding numbers marked on painter’s tape. Remove the labels before spraying cabinet door fronts and casings with primer and paint, then replace once dry to prepare for reinstallation. Fill the Holes If you plan to add new hardware to your cabinets, remember that it’s unlikely existing hardware holes will line up with new screws. Fill each hole with wood putty, from front to back. Read full article and view gallery on...

Get Your Deck Ready for Summer With a Fresh Coat of Stain

You may only get to enjoy it for a few months, but your patio takes a beating year-round. Set aside a weekend and give it a little TLC with GH Seal pick Rust-Oleum 10X Advanced Restore ($25 per gallon, RustOleum.com). 1. Prep your deck.  Remove glazes and smooth the surface with 80-grit sandpaper. Once you have a uniform base, rinse with a garden hose. Tackle any stuck-on dirt with a special deck cleaner. 2. Calculate square footage. Nothing is worse than running out of stain with the job half done. Avoid this by measuring the footprint of your deck (length times width), then adding in benches and railings. Buy enough for at least two coats. Remember, it’s always better to have more than less — then you’re also covered for touch-ups! 3. Watch the weather. Plan to work when it isn’t too hot or too cold (70°F is ideal) and there’s no rain in the forecast for two days. Don’t apply in direct sunlight; it may dry too quickly and look uneven. If it’s warm enough, start early in the morning so that when it’s time for a second coat (four to six hours later), the sun won’t be as strong. Drying time will vary based on temp and humidity, but prepare to stay off it for at least a day. 4. Start on vertical areas. Always test stain on a hidden spot first. Then start with railings or posts; otherwise, drips could mess up already-finished sections. When you get to the flooring, try to stain a couple of boards at once (right), and don’t stop midway or you’ll...

Things to do this Weekend: May 6th – May 8th Connecticut & Rhode Island

Spring into action with outdoor events throughout Connecticut and Rhode Island. Connecticut Event: Dogwood Festival Venue: Greenfield Hill Congregational Church in Fairfield, CT Date: May 6 – 8, 2016 Description: Thousands of dogwoods usher in Connecticut’s spring season. Events include Friday luncheon, Saturday evening barbecue and dance, children’s crafts and games, Dogwood Dash (2-mile fun run). Event: Downtown Mystic Stroll  Venue: Historic Downtown Mystic in Mystic, CT Date: May 7, 2016 Description: Come celebrate Spring with the Downtown Mystic Merchants. Participating businesses will be offering specials, promotions and fun activities for the kids. Event: Greek Festival  Venue: Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Waterbury, CT Date: May 5 – 8, 2016 Description: Festival featuring renowned ethnic cuisine, pastries and more. Live Greek music in the evenings and folk dancing by the youth. Church tours, raffle, plants, jewelry, boutique. Event: Opening Weekend Venue: Butler-McCook House in Hartford, CT Date: May 7, 2016 Description: Join us as we kick off the season! Start your spring with Victorian-Era Yard Games, kids activities & half-priced admission all weekend. We will host a walking tour at noon on Saturday, with special guest Don Poland. View more events in Connecticut on CTVisit.com.  Rhode Island Event: Cinco De Mayo Block Island Venue: Westminster Street in Providence, RI Date: May 7, 2016 Description: If you don’t have a sombrero, it’s time to invest. The sixth-annual event takes over Westminster Street with more Latin flavor than ever. Event: Beer Fest  Venue: Mulligan’s Island in Cranston, RI Date: May 7, 2016 Description: Just when we thought we knew everything about the Great International Beer Festival, they pull a fast one on us. New this...