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

Connecticut Event: Owl Moon Nigh Hike  Venue: New Canaan Nature Center in New Canaan, CT Date:  January 21, 2017 Description: Let the light of the full moon be your guide as the group explores magic in the woods and unravel the myriad mysteries of our nocturnal neighbors, the owls. More Information Event: 4th Annual Connecticut Coast & Country Winter Wine Trail Venue: Gouveia Vineyards in Wallingford, CT Date: January 7 – April 1, 2017 Description: Passports for the 2017 Connecticut Coast & Country Winter Wine Trail may be picked up at any of the four participating wineries. The Winter Wine Trail encourages participants to visit each one of the wineries between the dates of the program and get their “passport” stamped at each location. More Information Event: “Happy Feet” Movie on the Big Screen Venue: Warner Theatre in Torrington, CT Date: January 21, 2017 Description: In the world of the emperor penguin, a simple song can mean the difference between a lifetime of happiness and an eternity of loneliness. More Information Event: Foxwoods Rink & Winter Patio  Venue: Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, CT Date: Through March 5, 2017 Description: Come skate seven days a week on the smooth ice of our outdoor rink. The trees surrounding the rink are decorated with over 100,000 lights. More Information Event: Hartford Home Show  Venue: XL Center in Hartford, CT Date: January 21, 2017 Description: Featuring a wide selection of home improvement professionals in a fun, interactive environment. More Information View more events in Connecticut on CTVisit.com. Rhode Island Event: MLK Series at RISD Venue: ISD Auditorium in Providence, RI Date: January 20,...

10 Brilliant Cleaning Hacks Every Adult Should Know

Article from The Nest. Spend less time on cleaning and more time on fun with these ten tips for the worst messes. Ah, the pleasures of being a grown-up. You can rent a car at will. You can stay up as late as you want. And you really can eat ice cream for dinner—or anything else that strikes your fancy. But being an adult comes with its responsibilities. Like cleaning. Sometimes, being a grown-up can feel like nothing but cleaning, cleaning, and more cleaning. And that’s no fun at all. In order to take some of the cleaning out of your grown-up life and bring back some of the fun, we’ve compiled this list of ten brilliant cleaning hacks that every adult should know. Memorize these tricks, and you’ll never have to waste time or money on a cleaning dilemma again. Red wine stains? Stubborn soap scum? A stained sink? No problem—the quickest ways to clean them up are all right here. Take a look, and enjoy your ice cream dinner! Mess 1: Coffee, Wine, And Juice Stains It’s a mystery of science: White carpets and upholstery seem to attract dark, quick-staining liquids such as red wine, grape juice, and coffee. We don’t know why. But we do know how to fix it. The brilliant cleaning hack: If you spill a dark-colored drink on your white carpet, don’t panic! Just blot up the excess liquid, dab the stain with a paste of baking soda and water, then blot with a warm, soaking wet cloth. The baking soda will magically lighten the stain, and the wet cloth will slowly dab...

4 Tips for Selling Your Home in the Winter

Although traditionally spring and fall are the prime seasons for selling a home, circumstances sometimes require homeowners to put their property on the market during the winter. The good news is that, given access to mobile apps and so much information online, selling in mid-winter may not be so tough. The supply of homes for sale (your competition) is light, and buyers are still looking. If you have to list your home during the winter, you’ll get a pass on landscaping and some curb appeal issues. But there are some important points to consider when listing your home during the cold months. Be sure the home is easily accessible If there is snow or an ice storm, clear the driveway, sidewalk and any pathways on which potential buyers may walk. If there are back steps, don’t forget to clear those, too. You never know when a buyer will want to see the home. In markets where your agent uses a lockbox for showings, you could get a request for a last-minute showing any day. Keep the heat on There is nothing worse than walking into a cold home. It’s not warm or inviting, and that affects the buyer’s senses. A chilly reception ensures their first impression is not a good one. If you have an upcoming showing, be sure the heat is on and the house is warm and cozy. Show off your winter wonders If you have a fireplace in your home, there is no better time to show it off than the winter months. Buyers love walking into an open house where there is a fire going. It adds to the ambiance and provides...

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties Releases Fourth Quarter Connecticut Market Report for 2016

Wallingford, CT – Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties has released its Fourth Quarter 2016 Connecticut Market Report, a valuable resource for anyone looking to buy or sell a home. The report examines the single family and condominium markets throughout Connecticut and is an in-depth analysis of sales and emerging trends in the market. Connecticut single family home sales statistics for the Fourth Quarter of 2016 remained mostly flat. When compared to the Fourth Quarter of 2015, there were only 93 more single family homes sold and the average price was down 1.64%. Sales volume decreased by only 0.39%. The average price in New Haven and Windham Counties increased by 6.32% and 4.47% respectively, in line with buyer trends. New Haven County offers the opportunity to live in single family homes close to universities and urban areas while Windham County offers the best prices in the state for entry level buyers. Condominium sales saw an uptick of 4% this quarter when compared to 2015, however prices remained similar year over year. Homes for sale under $1.5M in Fairfield County spent fewer days on the market compared to last year and total sales in this range increased by 2.67%. While the market did slow down at the end of October and early November, the end of the election spurred activity across the state. From November 8th – 30th, days on market dropped by nearly 10% and there were 20.61% more sales year over year. The volatility of the election affected our local market and that it was over, regardless of President-elect, gave buyers the push forward. For the full market...

Candace Adams Named to Swanepoel Power 200 List

Wallingford, CT – Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England, New York and Westchester Properties President and CEO, Candace Adams was recently named to the Swanepoel Power 200 List. Adams is on the list for the fourth year in a row. The Swanepoel Power 200 is a comprehensive roster of leading CEOs and senior executives whose leadership and experience drive the industry and their organizations. Under Ms. Adams’ guidance, the company has grown to 1,800 sales executives in 56 locations throughout Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New York with annual sales of over $3.3 billion. In addition, the company just announced its presence in New York City, opening their first office in Manhattan at 590 Madison Ave. This is a monumental step for the company as they look to expand their presence in the Northeast. Also named to the list were Ron Peltier, the Chairman and CEO of HomeServices of America; Stephen Phillips, COO of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices; Gino Blefari CEO of HomeServices Franchise Affiliates; and Robert Moline the President and COO of HomeServices of America. The complete Power 200 list can be found at: https://www.swanepoel.com/power200/2017. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England, New York and Westchester Properties is a leading real estate brokerage firm with over 1,800 REALTORS® in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York and Rhode Island. Share in our heritage and esteemed reputation as one of the most admired and respected companies in the world. By working with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England, New York and Westchester Properties, our clients are aligned with a century of unparalleled financial strength, operational excellence and business ethics. For more information, visit...

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

Connecticut Event: Cards For Kids Service Day in Honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Venue: Norwalk Historical Society in Norwalk, CT Date:  January 15th, 2017 Description: A family-friendly service day project in conjunction with the non-profit organization, Cards for Hospitalized Kids. This free event will educate the community about Dr. King’s life as well as provide an outlet for children and adults to further his message of peace and love by creating uplifting cards for children suffering from life-threatening illnesses. More Information Event: 4th Annual Connecticut Coast & Country Winter Wine Trail Venue: Gouveia Vineyards in Wallingford, CT Date: January 7- April 1, 2017 Description: Passports for the 2017 Connecticut Coast & Country Winter Wine Trail may be picked up at any of the four participating wineries. The Winter Wine Trail encourages participants to visit each one of the wineries between the dates of the program and get their “passport” stamped at each location. More Information Event: MOMIX  Venue: Warner Theatre in Torrington, CT Date: January 14-15, 2017 Description: MOMIX features three Warner premieres plus a collection of company and audience favorites, creating a show that breaks the bounds of the conventional and enters an aesthetic orbit all its own. More Information Event: Foxwoods Rink & Winter Patio  Venue: Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, CT Date: Through March 5, 2017 Description: Come skate seven days a week on the smooth ice of our outdoor rink. The trees surrounding the rink are decorated with over 100,000 lights. More Information Event: Fire & Ice Festival  Venue: Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, CT Date: January 14, 2017 Description: Guests will marvel...

Here are the Home Improvements with the Best Payoff

We love stunning renovations and exquisite remodels as much as anyone, but even Chip and Joanna would know that money put into a reno isn’t a 1:1 investment in your home’s future price tag. Every year, researchers with Remodeling magazine study the most popular home improvement projects, polling contractors and realtors to find out which renovations produce the greatest impact on a home’s market value. According to this year’s report shows that, homeowners can, on average, get back 64 percent of the money they put into a renovation. But which projects have the best return on investment? The clear winner was installing fiberglass insulation in the attic. With a job cost of roughly $1,343 and an ROI of 107.7 percent, adding attic insulation isn’t the most glamorous upgrade, but a no-brainer if you want to make improvements that will recoup their own cost. Other projects with a high ROI include replacing the entry door with a new steel model (90.7 percent ROI) and installing manufactured stone veneer (89.4 percent ROI). As it turns out, more impressive renos tend to have much lower returns. A bathroom addition will recoup just 53.9 percent of the money put into it, and the addition of a master suite has an ROI of 64.8 percent. Below, explore a chart with analysis results from Realtor and explore the full report here. Article from...

Home Buyers: 5 Things to Know As You Wait for Closing Day

The seller accepted your offer, and now you’ve just got to sign on the dotted line. Right? For some home buyers, the closing day for a real estate purchase is as formal and complicated as the transaction itself. For others, it’s just a blip on the radar. Either way, there are some important things to keep in mind as you make your way to homeownership. Your mortgage rate could expire Mortgage interest rates can fluctuate daily, and the rate your bank quoted isn’t good forever. Instead, a bank will “lock-in” your interest rate for 45, 60 or any number of days. Once that lock expires, you may have to pay a higher rate. Any number of issues can come up: open permits, illegal renovations, or other types of roadblocks might require the loan process to stop until resolution. For example, a buyer in upstate New York learned at the last minute that a previous owner built an addition to the home in the 1970s but never documented it properly. It turns out it was so bad that it wouldn’t pass today’s requirements. The buyer had to hire an architect, re-draw plans, and document the issue before the bank approved the loan. And, consequently, he lost the rate he’d been quoted. Don’t wait until it’s too late, and don’t assume it’s a smooth journey to the closing table. Rate-lock expiration can throw an expensive wrench into the closing process. The mortgage process isn’t over yet Some buyers think once they’ve completed the application and submitted paperwork, their loan is approved and ready to go. Not so fast. Today, some lenders will verify...

8 Decor Trends For 2017

Article from The Nest. It’s time to usher your digs into a new era. The new year is the perfect time to embrace new possibilities and start afresh, whether you’re looking to revamp your fitness routine or give your home decor a boost. Minimalism was the buzzword for 2016, but this year is all about new beginnings. Below, we’ve curated a list of eight trends that are about to take the interior scene by storm so you can get ahead of the game. Navy is the New Black Photo by Nichole Franzen Black will always be a classic, but according to Pinterest, searches for navy decor are up by 80%, meaning shades of the sophisticated blue hue are likely to be dominating your Insta and Pinterest feed sometime soon. Navy throw blankets, pillows and decorative accents are an easy way to subtly stay on trend, but we love the idea of a bold navy accent wall (paired with pastels, no less) or moody cabinetry in the kitchen. Hygge is EVERYTHING Photo by Estemar Cozy blankets, cups of hot tea, candlelit dinner parties with your crew—hygge is a Danish lifestyle “trend” that is all about warmth, coziness and appreciating the little things in life. Sounds good, right? 2016 was a little bit, well, crazy to say the least, and we’re totally down with immersing ourselves in all things that are good. So what does hygge mean for your home? Transforming your space into a comforting oasis—whether that means filling your living room with warm candlelight or painting your walls a soothing pastel hue. Industrial Redux Photo by Bramare Raw, minimalist...

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

Connecticut Event: A Billion Bricks 4: Superheroes in Gotham  Venue: Stamford Museum & Nature Center in Stamford, CT Date: Though February 5th, 2017 Description: Skylines and superheroes! The ILUGNY team has built a fantasy Gotham City featuring five of the most iconic buildings in New York City and they are huge. More Information Event: Bald Eagle Viewing  Venue: Shepaug Dam Observation Area in Southbury, CT Date: Through March 12, 2017 Description: Specialists will be on site with high-powered telescopes to help visitors see the eagles in action and to answer questions about America’s national symbol. Reservations are required. More Information   Event: Foxwoods Rink & Winter Patio  Venue: Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, CT Date: Through March 5, 2017 Description: Come skate seven days a week on the smooth ice of our outdoor rink. The trees surrounding the rink are decorated with over 100,000 lights. More Information Event: Winterfest Hartford   Venue: Hartford Bushnell Park in Hartford, CT Date: Through January 8, 2017 Description: The opening of the rink officially kicks off the holiday season in Hartford, so come and celebrate. Skate, catch a play or a concert, be amazed by art, cheer on the Huskies and the Wolf Pack, enjoy a great meal and so much more. More Information   View more events in Connecticut on CTVisit.com. Rhode Island Event: Three Stooges Film Festival  Venue: Stadium Theatre in Woonsocket, RI Date: January 6, 2017 Description: See the shenanigans of Larry, Curly and Moe for free at the Stadium Theater during their annual Three Stooges Film Festival. More Information Event: Twelfth Night at Blithewold  Venue: Blithwold Mansion in Bristol, RI Date: January 7,...

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Establishes Presence in New York City

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties launches New York Properties brokerage; Manhattan real estate veteran Ellie Johnson to lead team #GoodToKnow  NEW YORK, NY (Jan. 9, 2017) – Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices announced today that Manhattan real estate leader Ellie Johnson has joined the network to direct its first New York City affiliation, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New York Properties. Johnson and New York Properties are part of the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties/Westchester Properties family, which continues its strategic expansion in the Northeast under the leadership of CEO Candace Adams. New England Properties, a Wallingford, CT-based company owned by HomeServices of America, entered Westchester County, NY in 2015 with the acquisitions of brokerages operating in Scarsdale, Larchmont and Eastchester. The brokerage expanded into Rye in 2016. “We are elated to attract such a talented and respected leader in Ellie Johnson and at the same time enter the New York City real estate market,” said Adams. “This is a monumental step for our brokerage as we look to expand our presence in the Northeast.” Gino Blefari, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, said New York Properties is vital to the network’s global expansion strategy that begins in 2017. “New York City is the gateway to America and the hub for global industry and finance,” he said. “Our presence in Manhattan is a key factor in our expansion into Western Europe and other parts of the world.” Blefari added that New York Properties will benefit from all-star leadership. “Ellie has earned a legacy of significant success in the marketplace, and Candace ranks among the finest in real estate brokerage operators. We’re excited...

Home Sales Rocket to Second Highest Point Since 2008

In November, sales of new homes hit their second highest peak since 2008, according to data released by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). While these numbers have been fickle month-to-month, this is a hopeful sign of a surge in demand for the new year to come. November’s new single-family house numbers came in at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 592,000. This number is 5.2 percent above the October rate, and 16.5 percent above November 2015’s numbers, which landed at an estimated 508,000. The average sales price for new homes sold in November was $359,900, while the median sales price was $305,400. This is higher than October’s median price of $302,700, but lower than the $317,000 median recorded in November 2015. At the end of the month, the seasonally adjusted estimate of new houses for sale reached 250,000, a supply of over 5 months if the current sale rate remains. Article from RIS...

5 Vows to Make Now to Sell Your Home in 2017

People vow to do all kinds of things—hit the gym, get more sleep, quit Froot Loops—and if you plan to sell your home this year, making a few promises matter here most of all. After all, selling your home for top dollar takes work and the right mindset to strike a deal. To help make that happen, we put together a list of good habits all home sellers should start now so that you’re fully prepared once opportunity knocks. Vow No. 1: Get realistic about how much your home is worth It’s natural to think your home is priceless, or hope it’s worth at least more than when you bought it. As such, many sellers make the epic mistake of placing a pie-in-the-sky price on their home with the hopes that some buyer somewhere will bite. But the reality is, overpriced homes tend to languish on the market. Related Articles Prepare to Sell Your House 8 Costly Home Seller Mistakes How Much Is Your Home Really Worth? In addition to setting their asking price too high, sellers are often stubborn about lowering it. Or they get offended when a buyer makes an offer below what they’d hoped to get. Stop seeing these as insults. Instead, see them as a sign that the way you see your home may not be the way others do. For a reality check, ask your Realtor® to show you comps on the recent sales prices of similar homes in your area. You can also get an estimate of how much your home is worth by plugging your address into realtor.com/sell. Vow No. 2: Keep clutter from creeping in No one wants to buy your clutter, or try to determine what the...

Things to do this Weekend: December 30th – January 1st Connecticut & Rhode Island

Connecticut Event: First Night Hartford Venue: Downtown Main St., in Hartford, CT Date: December 31, 2016 Description: First Night is a celebration of the New Year through the arts. It is an alcohol free, family-friendly, public celebration that marks the passage from the old year to the new with art, ritual and festivity. More Information Event: New Year’s Eve Torch Run Venue: Powder Ridge Mountain Park & Resort in Middlefield, CT Date: December 31, 2016 Description: Ring in the New Year at Powder Ridge for an evening of skiing or riding and the New Years Eve Torch Run. The Marketplace on the first floor of the lodge will be open along with the Tavern. Torchlight Parade Everyone with a lift pass can join the Torchlight Parade. More Information Event: New Year’s Eve Ski/Ride  Venue: Ski Sundown in New Hartford, CT Date: December 31, 2016 Description: Ski in the New Year at Ski Sundown with a torchlight parade a few minutes before the clock strikes 12 midnight; food and drink specials. More Information Event: Winter Wonderland New Year’s Eve Celebration  Venue: Mohegan Sun Casino in Mashantucket, CT Date: December 31, 2016 Description: Nightlife is entering a new dimension this New Year’s Eve. Join a world where snow goddesses fly above and palatial ice décor beckons below. More Information Event: Maritime ExtraTime: New Year’s Eve  Venue: The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk in Norwalk, CT Date: December 31, 2016 Description: The Aquarium stays open two extra hours and welcoming a magician, “bubble-ologist,” juggler and othe bonus guests and activities to help bid adieu to 2016. More Information View more events in Connecticut on CTVisit.com. Rhode...

The Open-House Questions You Need To Ask Room By Room

You might like what you see at an open house, but don’t make a decision until you’ve asked some probing questions. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of an open house. It’s staged beautifully, it smells great, and there’s a friendly agent pointing out the charming details and thoughtful upgrades. But whether you’re searching in Malibu, CA, Hoboken, NJ, or anywhere in between, it’s important to look at a home with a critical eye. From requesting a sellers’ disclosure form (if they’re not readily available) to asking pointed questions about each space, you can leave any open house with a pretty good idea of whether you’ll want to make an offer or keep moving. The Kitchen It’s usually fairly obvious whether the kitchen was recently renovated. Hint: If it has linoleum floors, boldly printed wallpaper that pains the eyes, and wood paneling, you can bet the kitchen hasn’t seen a remodel since 1975. But it doesn’t hurt to ask anyway. Klaus Gonche, a Fort Lauderdale, FL, agent, says to inquire when the kitchen was last renovated and specifically ask, “How old are the appliances, and are all of them functional?” Refrigerators last, on average, 11 years; gas ranges, 16 years; electric ranges, 14 years; range hoods, 14 years; ovens, 14 years; and dishwashers, nine years. The Living Room Take in all you see, then look down. “If you’re walking into a carpeted home, be sure to inquire about what is underneath the carpets,” says Brad Malow, a New York, NY, agent and founder of BuyingNYC.com. “If you’re able to pull back a portion and actually take...

5 Tips from Society Social for Your Best NYE Bash Ever

Roxy Te Owens knows how to put together a great party—check out her simple and festive tips for welcoming 2017 in style! New Year’s Eve celebrations can have a reputation for coming with high expectations, but we believe that the most fun fetes can be the ones that are spur of the moment spontaneous! Here are 5 tips for throwing an effortless New Year’s Eve party. 1. FUN not formal. Photo by iStock NYE is the nights of all nights, so let your hair down and turn up the party! Choose playful bites and bevs like champagne pops or Fireball jello shots to really up the entertaining ante! 2. Finger Foods For All. Photo by Style Me Pretty Nobody wants to sit down to a formal multi-course meal on what is supposed to be a night of revelry. Serve hearty bites that are filling and easy to serve. 3. To-may-toh, to-mah-to. Champagne, Prosecco! Photo by Inspiration Lane No need to let money get in the way of a good time and hosting your favorites. Opt for a more affordable sparkling like prosecco and stock up! 4. The power is in the playlist. Photo by Society Social Ask your guests for their favorite 2016 picks and create a playlist that will take the party well past midnight! 5. Scale down the decor. Photo by Decor Facil A few balloons, streamers hung from the ceiling, and candles or confetti sprinkled about is enough to feel festive especially if you still have your Christmas decor and twinkly lights up! Article from The...

5 Actions To Take Now for a Better 2017

You’ll greet the new year happy, healthy and wise if you follow these expert tips. Getting started now on organizing for 2017 will help you to ease the holiday crunch and paint an attainable path into the new year. Here are five steps you can take to get started. Donate now The holidays are upon us, and the accumulation of new decorations and gifts are sure to put a squeeze on our living space. Now is the time to donate older items that you haven’t used in a while. A tidy, streamlined home is a joy to live in. Courtesy of Krista Watterworth. Give yourself some breathing room and make space for the influx of new presents coming in (which will need to be stored somewhere beginning in January). You will thank yourself when the holidays are over. Get a holiday breakdown crew Out of the garage, attic, and closets come the decorations! You will surely be spending hours giving your home (inside and out) that “just right” holiday feel. Unfortunately, it will take hours to pack it all away again, so take a few steps now toward making the putting away easier on yourself. First, gather or hire a holiday crew to help you take down, pack, and store all your decorations. Second, set a firm time and date for the event. Third, tell your holiday helpers to plan on spending the day with you to organize that closet, shelf in the garage, or attic space designated for seasonal decorations. Putting away items in the new year will no longer be an event you put off — and you won’t have...

Things to do this Weekend: December 23rd – December 25th Connecticut & Rhode Island

Connecticut Event: Greenwich Reindeer Festival Venue: Sam Bridge Nursery & Greenhouses in Greenwich, CT Date: November 25th – December 24th Description: The town tradition continues for the seventh year! Santa’s LIVE Reindeer will be in town along with more family fun activities. More Information Event: Fantasy Lights Holiday Light Display  Venue: Lighthouse Point Park in New Haven, CT Date: November 25th – January 7th Description: Drive through more than 60 attractions that include animated and LED light displays. While you are there, share your experience with your friends on social media using #fantasyoflights. More Information Event: Holiday Light Fantasia Venue: Goodwin Park in Hartford, CT Date: November 24th – January 1st Description: Two-mile drive through Goodwin Park with whimsical holidays sights, familiar characters and local tributes shine bright over 35 scenes and 200 individual displays. More Information Event: Festival of Silver Lights  Venue: Hubbard Park & Castle Craig in Meriden, CT Date: November 22nd – January 3rd Description: Illumination of more than 350,000 twinkling, white lights. There are over 200 figures and buildings that are decorated with the lights in this spectacular display. A lighting ceremony takes place on November 22 at 6 p.m. More Information View more events in Connecticut on CTVisit.com.   Rhode Island Event: Christmas in Newport Venue: Newport, RI Date: November 19th – January 2nd Description: The glitter of gold and the sparkle of silver will dazzle you as you tour three magnificent mansions decked out in Yuletide finery. Music, tours, and spectacular decorations highlight the celebration of Christmas at the Newport Mansions. More Information   View more events this weekend in Rhode...