Things to do this Weekend: July 15th – July 17th Connecticut & Rhode Island

Connecticut For a list of firework events in Connecticut and Rhode Island, click here! Event: Riverfire Venue: Downtown Putnam River Trail Date: July 16, 2016 Description: Join the crowd of townfolk and visitors for these bonfires that float gracefully down the Quinebaug River. Enjoy great music, find a new place to eat downtown or bring a picnic basket and enjoy the outdoor ambiance. Fires on the water are lit at dusk and burn for two hours. Event: Celebrate East Lyme  Venue: Downtown Niantic/Main Street Date: July 16, 2016 Description: The Town of East Lyme transforms Niantic’s waterfront Main Street into a bash by the bay filled with food, music and fun-filled activities for the entire family. Event: Village Fair Sidewak Sale Venue: Downtown New Canaan/91 Elm Street Date: July 16, 2016 Description: Sponsored annually for almost 50 years by the Chamber of Commerce, actually has roots in the 1920s, when merchants put their wares on the sidewalks for sale. Event: Greater Hartford Jazz Festival  Venue: Bushnell Park Date: July 15 – 17, 2016 Description: New England’s largest free jazz festival featuring three day, two stages, food and marketplace vendors, and over 40,000 fans, all in the beautiful, historic Bushnell Park. View more events in Connecticut on CTVisit.com.  Rhode Island Event: Sunrise Concert Venue: Chinese Tea House Date:  July 15, 2016 Description: There aren’t many reasons to be awake with the birds, but the Sunrise Concert, part of the Newport Music Festival, is one of the compelling ones. Event: Great Friends Dance Festival Venue: The Hot Club Docks in Providence, RI Date: July 14 – 23, 2016 Description: Island Moving Co.’s Great Friends Touring...

9 Budget-Friendly Staycation Ideas for Families

Just because you’re staying home doesn’t mean you can’t have an adventure. Disneyland, the beach, camping, Grandma’s … just a few of the many places your kids would nominate as a vacation destination this summer. But staying home? B-O-R-I-N-G. So, how do you sell a staycation to your little rascals? Oh, and not spend a ton of money? Fill it with fun and adventure. Look for activities that are simple to pull together and entertaining for all ages — bonus points for those with educational benefits. Check out these nine kid- and budget-friendly ideas — and a few tips from a frugal mom — that will make your summer staycation just as lively and memorable as any trip. Read full article on...

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties Releases Second Quarter Rhode Island Market Report for 2016

Wallingford, CT – Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties has released its Second Quarter 2016 Rhode Island Market Report, a valuable resource for anyone looking to buy or sell a home. The report examines the single family and condominium markets throughout Rhode Island and is an in-depth analysis of sales and emerging trends in the market. In Rhode Island, single family home sales were up 13.06% and sales volume jumped 18.62% year over year. The average price also increased by 4.92% while days on market dropped to 117 days. Newport and Bristol showed the greatest increase in sales for single family homes, up 23.87% and 23.24% respectively. Condominium sales were up 13.72% and sales volume was up 20.93% year over year. The average price increased by 6.34% for condominiums and days on market dropped dramatically to 124 days, the shortest average time on market in over two years. Sales in the $1 – $3 million range made up the majority of luxury sales in Second Quarter 2016, with 39 units sold. “The steady gains of the second quarter should continue through the summer,” stated Candace Adams, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England and Westchester Properties. “Value and supply will drive the market.” As inventory decreased at the end of this quarter there has been “tense competition and lack of affordable homes for sale” according to Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist for NAR.Well priced homes in good condition should continue to see multiple offers through the year. If you have any questions regarding this report, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties Realtors® are here to help you navigate the current...

Things to do this Weekend: July 22nd – July 24th Connecticut & Rhode Island

Connecticut For a list of firework events in Connecticut and Rhode Island, click here! Event: Sunset Cruise Venue: The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk Date: July 22, 2016 Description: Enjoy a fun relaxing tour out to the Norwalk islands timed to include the setting sun. Aquarium educators will point out sights and wildlife, but this cruise stresses de-stressing while twilight paints the western sky. This cruise is for all ages. Event: Colonial Olympics Venue: Pardee-Morris House Date: July 24, 2016 Description: Celebrate the spirit of the Rio Summer Olympics by joining the New Haven Museum for Colonial Olympics. Thirteen teams, named for the thirteen original colonies will compete in a friendly tournament of colonial era games. Event: Connecticut Wine Festival  Venue: Goshen Fairgrounds Date: July 23 – 24, 2016 Description: Celebrate the bounty and diversity of Connecticut wines. Sample fine local wines and delectable specialty foods. Fine arts and crafts and live entertainment. Event: Talcott Mountain Music Festival: Starlets – A Tribute to Ray Charles, Motown, and Beyond  Venue: Simsbury Meadows Performing Arts Center Date: July 22, 2016 Description: A soulful celebration of the R&B roots and deep passion for the heart and soul of music that featured artist Ellis Hall and Ray Charles shared through their personal friendship. View more events in Connecticut on CTVisit.com.  Rhode Island Event: Newport Antiques Show  Venue:St. George’s School Ice Rink in Providence, RI Date:  July 22 – 24 , 2016 Description: Each year the Newport Antiques Show presents a selection of more than forty of the industry’s most distinguished antiques dealers in one venue. Event: Providence River and Harbor Tours  Venue: The Hot Club Docks in Providence, RI...

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

Wallingford, CT – Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties has released its Second 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 saw an increase in both single family home and condominium sales this quarter (up 9.4% and 2.0% respectively) when compared to last year. Average price dropped 8.5% to $385,500 for single family homes which kept days on market flat year over year. Across the state, first time homebuyers were out in droves this quarter picking up desirable inventory in the lower end of the market. These buyers continue to do a lot of their homework online, making professional photography of updated interiors imperative at every price point. “The steady gains of the second quarter should continue through the summer,” stated Candace Adams, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England and Westchester Properties. “Value and supply will drive the market.” Current buyers who can afford the higher end homes in their respective markets are getting a great value and more for their money when compared to years past. Excellent selection of inventory, lower prices and historically low interest rates create an optimum time to enter the luxury market. For the full market report, please visit: https://www.bhhsneproperties.com/connecticut-market-report.aspx. At Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties, our mission is to provide an unparalleled customer service experience throughout all aspects of the home transaction process. If you have any questions regarding this report, our Realtors® are here to help...

Infographic: What Sellers Should Know About Green Upgrades

Article from National Association of REALTORS Everybody knows energy efficiency is rising in importance among today’s buyers, but if you’re a seller looking to make your house more appealing to a more environmentally conscious generation of home buyers, what kinds of eco-friendly projects should you focus on? HomeSelfe, an app that allows home owners to do a DIY energy audit of their homes, offers this handy infographic based on their research about what efficient features buyers want and where sellers should focus their energy, so to...

Things to do this Weekend: July 8th – July 10th Connecticut & Rhode Island

Connecticut For a list of firework events in Connecticut and Rhode Island, click here! Event: Sailfest Venue: State Street/Bank Street, Waterfront Park in New London, CT Date: July 8 – 10, 2016 Description: Take your taste-buds to New London’s Custom House Pier starting at noon on Friday to sample a gut- busting array of food from local restaurants, including Sailfest specialties like bacon 100% beef fat fries and Gaspar’s Baby Back Ribs. Leave the diet behind and have a little fun on a sizzling summer Friday afternoon. Event: Riverfront Food Truck Festival Venue: Mortensen Riverfront Plaza in Hartford, CT Date: July 7 – 9, 2016 Description: Join us for three days of fantastic food and fun, at the second annual Riverfront Food Truck Festival presented by Sprint, in partnership with CBS Connecticut. Try new food trucks or head right to your favorites, win prizes and enjoy live music. Event: Blueberry Festival  Venue: Lyman Orchards’ Apple Barrel in Middlefield, CT Date: July 9, 2016 Description: Join us as we celebrate everyone’s favorite berry – the Blueberry. You can spend time picking the homegrown blueberries right where they grow, and we’ll also have a wonderful supply of raspberries and jostaberries as well. View more events in Connecticut on CTVisit.com.  Rhode Island Event: Providence Restaurant Weeks Venue: Providence, RI Date: Through July 10 – 23, 2016 Description: Choose from mouthwatering menus at nearly 100 restaurants. Enjoy three-course lunches at $14.95 and three-course dinners at $29.95 or $34.95, as well as two-for-one specials. Event: Newport Kite Festival Venue: Brenton Point State Park, Ocean Drive, Newport, RI Date: July 9 – 10, 2016 Description: This weekend, boats won’t be...

Starter Home or Forever Home? The Answer May Surprise You

House hunting can feel like a never-ending series of choices. Apartment or home? City or suburbs? One story or two? Carpeting or wood floors? But if there’s one question that really keeps buyers up at night, it’s the one they must ask themselves straight out of the gate: Should I buy a starter home or a forever home? In the past, there was no question: First-time buyers were nearly always steered toward smaller, more affordable homes to build equity (and credit). Established homeowners were pointed toward abodes that could accommodate a larger family—and, eventually, visits from adult children and their kids. But that’s all been turned on its head now. In fact, a new study by Bank of America found that 75% of first-time buyers plan to bypass a starter home and splurge on a house that will serve them for the long haul. Meanwhile, retirees are increasingly eager to jettison the hassles of a huge family home, opting instead for smaller digs. So which is right for you? Here are some questions to ask yourself to help point you in the right direction. Read full article on...

Berkshire Hathaway Ranked #2 Most Respected Company by Barron’s

Wallingford, CT – Berkshire Hathaway was ranked #2 Most Respected Company in the world by Barron’s. The company has finished in the top five in 10 of the past 11 years—an accomplishment that no other company can match. Berkshire Hathaway moved up from third place in 2015. “Berkshire Hathaway is passionate about their business and is commited to their employees’ success. With a national and now global presence, the Berkshire Hathaway name is recognized all around the world,” stated Candace Adams, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England and Westchester Properties. “Receiving the number two spot on Barron’s Most Respected List is a monumental recognition and I am proud to be a part of the Berkshire Hathaway brand.” As part of the legendary Berkshire Hathaway family of companies, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England and Westchester Properties has the depth, strength and brand power to market and sell any home. The network extends globally in reputation and strength. It is one of the largest in the Northeast, ensuring that a property reaches a broad audience of real estate professionals and buyers. Best-in-class marketing and technology platforms give agents the advantage that no other competitor can hope to match. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England and Westchester Properties is committed to providing an experience that is effective, efficient and enjoyable. For more information about Barron’s Most Respected List, please visit www.barrons.com. Want to work at one of the most respected company in the world? For more information, contact Robert Silverman, Human Resources Manager at 860-571-7035 or RobertSilverman@bhhsne.com. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England and Westchester Properties is a leading real estate brokerage firm...

How to Carve a Watermelon

Article from Better Homes & Gardens. Carving a jack-o’-lantern isn’t the only way to get festive with your food. Create a summer centerpiece with watermelon! Easy DIY Watermelon Centerpiece Making a watermelon the centerpiece of your summer bash is easier than you think! All you need is a stencil, carving knife, wooden skewer, and a pretty watermelon. Step 1: Stencil & Trace Create a stencil on your computer using a big, bold font that will be easy to cut around. Place the stencil on top of the watermelon and tape the sides down. Using a wooden skewer, poke holes around the outside of each letter. Remove the stencil. Step 2: Cut Out Letters Use a crafts knife or wood-handled carving knife to trace the outline of each letter. Use the same tool to scrape out the watermelon rind on the inside of each letter. Step 3: Tidy Edges & Display Clean up the edges, and voila! You now have a gorgeous centerpiece that you can dig into for a post-party dessert. Try any word you like, such as “congrats,”  “sweet,” or “summer.” Wonderful Watermelon Article from Better Homes &...

How to Buy a Second Home

You’ve braved the home-buying circus before, and have a great place to show for it. You’ve trudged through the open houses, experienced exactly how stressful closing can be, and dealt with legions of moving trucks. And still, a part of you wants something more: an escape in the mountains, a beach cottage, or a pied-à-terre in the city. With current mortgage rates at a historic low, you might be wondering how to buy a second home. But beware; it won’t be like your first. Here are some differences and advice to keep in mind. First things first: Can you afford a second home? If you scored a sweet deal on a mortgage for your primary residence, don’t expect the same offer twice. “Second-home loans generally require more money down and a better credit score than owner-occupied home loans,” says John Lazenby, president of the Orlando Regional Realtor Association. Expect more scrutiny into your finances than before: “Lenders look carefully to ensure that second-home buyers are financially capable of paying two mortgages.” Make sure to review your budget with a second mortgage in mind—a healthy emergency fund and cash reserves are essential if an accident or job loss forces you to float two mortgages at once.   Read full article on...

10 Essential Skills Every New Homeowner Should Have

Don’t let clogged gutters or a running toilet put a damper on your new-home high. Ah, the joys of homeownership — you can paint the walls any color you choose, let Fido run free in your backyard, and finally leave your bike outside your side door, without getting a citation from your property-management company. There are many perks of having a place to call your own, but the honeymoon can come to a sudden end as soon as something goes awry. Suddenly, there’s no one to call when your toilet just won’t stop running, a leak appears below your bedroom window, or your garbage disposal gets clogged. You’ve got to figure out how to fix the problem yourself — or hire someone to do it. But with a little patience (and some smart internet research), it’s possible to take on many common home maintenance tasks yourself. Who knows: You may even start to take pride in your newfound handyman (or handywoman) skills! Whether you’re moving into a new home in San Diego, CA, or Wilmington, DE, these 10 skills are essential techniques that new homeowners across the country should know how to do. 1. How to change your air filters Chances are, if you’re moving from a rental, your landlord took care of this task for you. Changing your air filters regularly is important to maintain air quality. “We get calls from homeowners who can’t figure out why their homes are so dusty,” says Bailey Neal, CEO of Nestive, a Nashville, TN-based home maintenance, repair, and cleaning service. “Come to find out: They’ve never changed their air filters.” Neal...

Things to do this Weekend: July 1st – July 4th Connecticut & Rhode Island

Connecticut For a list of firework events in Connecticut and Rhode Island, click here! Event: Talcott Mountain Music Festival: Celebrate America Venue: Simsbury Meadows Performing Arts Center in Simsbury, CT Date: July 1, 2016 Description: One of Connecticut’s favorite Independence Day celebration. Featuring the Asylum Hill Congregatiopnal Church Choir, along with the Hartford Symphony Orchestra, the program includes all of your patriotic favorites. Stay for the fireworks following the concert. Event: Fireworks Cruise Venue: The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk Date: July 3, 2016 Description: This cruise takes passengers to see the Norwalk fireworks at Calf Pasture Beach. All firework observing cruises will be 30 passengers maximum. Water will be provided, and no alcoholic beverages or glass bottles are allowed. Event: Goshen Farmers Market Venue: Miranda Vineyard in Goshen, CT Date: July 2, 2016 Description: Market offers a wide array of fresh vegetables, baked goods, maple syrup, honey, soaps, jewelry, wooden and fiber crafts, wine, coffee and prepared foods. Live entertainment. Event: 38th Annual LobsterFest & Chicken BBQ & 56th Annual Niantic Outdoor Arts & Crafts Show Venue: East Lyme Town Hall Green in Niantic, CT Date: July 2-3, 2016 Description: More than 150 artists and craftsmen from across New England gather to display their works. With this year’s show having many new displays, you are sure to find that special something you have been searching for. View more events in Connecticut on CTVisit.com.  Rhode Island Event: Tidepool Trek Venue: Audubon Environmental Education Center in Bristol, RI Date: Through July 19, 2016 Description: You might see a day at the beach as a time to relax, but that notion usually comes with age....

Westchester, NY Fireworks 2016 Schedule

June 30 Clarkstown concert and fireworks Celebrate Independence Day with a concert, family-friendly activities and fireworks. Festivities begin at 6 p.m. and include inflatable bouncers and Rockland County Radio Control Club demonstrations. A concert featuring the Mighty Spectrum Band starts at 8 p.m. Fireworks will follow at 9 p.m. Refreshments will be available for purchase. Rain date: July 1. Nanuet High School, 103 Church St. Visit www.clarkstown.org for more information. Scarsdale Fireworks Spectacular The Village of Scarsdale will have a concert featuring performances by the Westchester Band at 7:30 p.m. fireworks follow at 9:15 p.m. Doors open at 5 p.m. Entrance fee is $2 for anyone who is not a pool member. Scarsdale Pool Complex, 311 Mamaroneck Avenue. Ossining Fireworks Bring blankets, beach chairs and picnics and celebrate early with live music and food at 7:30 p.m. Fireworks at 9:15 p.m. Picnics welcome. No rain date scheduled. Louis Engel Waterfront Park, 160 Westerly Road. July 1 Fireworks Shows at Playland Gala fireworks display choreographed to music every Friday night, July through Sept. 2. Fireworks at 9:15 p.m. beginning on July 1. Parking fee applies. Special holiday fireworks show accompanied by a patriotic musical score on the pier at 9:30 p.m. July 3 and 4. No rain date planned. Rye Playland Amusement Park, 1 Playland Parkway, Rye. Call 914-813-7000 or visit ryeplayland.org. SummerFest and fireworks Start your Fourth of July celebration early with a festive fireworks show and live music including performances by British Invasion Tribute Band. Festivities including strolling entertainers and giveaway begin at 6 p.m. Rock & roll on the main stage at 7 p.m.; fireworks show at...

6 Reasons To Google An Address

Search-engine sleuthing is worth the effort to unearth the niceties — and perhaps negatives — about a prospective home. There’s probably not a day that goes by that you don’t Google something — the weather, a foreign phrase, directions, or news, just to name a few. With all the intel Google can provide, it’s practically a crime not to Google your address, especially when you’re searching for a new home (whether you’re house-hunting for Fort Lauderdale, FL, real estate or a ranch in Houston, TX). Here’s what you could find. We can’t transport ourselves Star Trek–style to other places … yet, so the next best experience may be Google’s Street View, sort of a pre-virtual-reality experience. Simply type in an address, and if there’s an image of the property in the results, click on it. “This allows you to view up and down the street, see the homes next door, [or learn] whether the home is on a busy highway or next to a local convenience store,” says Liane Jamason, a St. Petersburg, FL, agent. Other factors to note while on your Google stroll? Dan Bagby, a current Texas house hunter, suggests scoping out yard size, proximity to neighbors, how many trees are on the property and the privacy provided by them, a view of the front of the home, a view of the neighbors’ homes (such as any nearby eyesores or hoarders), and the size of nearby roads. Don’t forget to use the aerial view while you’re at it, suggests Bryan Clayton of Nashville, TN. “While it’s not 100% accurate all the time, it can give [you] a quick sense...

5 Rental Must-Haves for Baby Boomers

Here’s what you need to think about if you’re 65+ and looking to rent. The Baby Boomer generation is proving once again that they’re anything but predictable. In fact, Boomers are one of the fastest growing groups of renters in the country, and their numbers are expected to grow upwards of 12 million by 2030. While many Boomers are moving into rentals to downsize, others want the flexibility to move to stay close to children and grandchildren. Whatever the reason for leaving homeownership behind, Boomers have unique needs as renters. Whether you are looking to rent or helping a senior family member find a new home, here are five considerations that you should take into account when looking at a rental. Low maintenance One of the greatest benefits of renting is that you are not responsible for maintenance and repairs. When you are looking to rent an apartment or home, make sure that all maintenance is included in the rent, especially if there is a garden or yard that requires upkeep. If you plan to make the rental a long-term home, it’s important to think about how the home will “age” with you in terms of accessibility. Are there a lot of stairs or an elevator? Are cabinets and other storage spaces easily reachable? Is there a shower that can be easily stepped into? Style and high-end finishes When making the switch from homeownership to renting, it’s important to feel comfortable in your surroundings. Apartments or houses that feature quality finishes on cabinets, countertops, and fixtures can make the transition from homeowner to renter easier. Just because you are renting doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice quality or comfort. Accessibility Just like renters in...

Featured Town of the Week – Westport, Connecticut

Local Real Estate Office: Westport Office of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties 272 Post Road East Westport, CT 06880 203-227-5117 View Listings  Around Town: The town of Westport, Connecticut is a coastal town located in Fairfield County along Long Island Sound. It has a population of over 26,000 people. Its scenic coastline, charming landscapes and nearby metropolitan centers make Westport a desired place to live in Connecticut. Westport is about an hour from New York City and has easy access to Manhattan using major highways including Interstate 95 and the Merritt Parkway. Westport also has two Metro North Railroad stations. The quintessential Connecticut town was ranked the tenth wealthiest U.S. town in 2008. Westport has many distinguished neighborhoods including Saugatuck, Greens Farms, Old Hills, Coleytown and Compo. There are several notable destinations including Compo Beach, The Westport Country Playhouse, Sherwood Island State Park, Rolnick Observatory, The Nature Discovery Center (Earthplace) and two public marinas. Westport is also the home to many fashionable stores and sophisticated restaurants. Westport is known as the town Lucy and Ricardo move to in the show “I Love Lucy” and was also the home of Samantha and Darrin Stephens in the show “Bewitched.” Westport, Connecticut has a highly rated public school system with five elementary schools, two middle schools and one high school. The town also has several private schools. Travel Times: Hartford: 1.25 hours NYC: 1 hour Boston: 2.75 hours Transportation: Metro North Railroad Schools Westport has five elementary schools, two middle schools and one high school. The town also has several private schools. Parks/Recreation: Compo Beach Sherwood Island State Park Earthplace Places to...

CT & RI Fireworks 2016 Schedule

Connecticut Fireworks, 2016 Courtesy of ctvisit.com, here’s a robust list of fireworks going on across Connecticut through July 2016. Click any of the links below to get more information about the event! *Updated 7-8-16 Saturday, July 16th Canaan Canaan Railroad Days Fireworks – Lawrence Field (9:00 PM). Rain Date: None Newington Extravaganza – Mill Pond Park (Conclusion of Event). Rain Date: None Niantic Celebrate East Lyme – Pennsylvania Avenue/Main Street (End of Festival). Rain Date: None Friday, July 22nd New London Fireworks – Ocean Beach Park (9:00 PM). Rain Date: None Saturday, July 23rd Bridgeport Fireworks – Bridgeport Bluefish – The Ballpark at Harbor Yard (End of Game). Rain Date: None Friday, July 29th New Britain Pyrotechnics Show – New Britain Stadium (End of Game). Rain Date: None Norwich Connecticut Tigers Friday Fireworks – Dodd Stadium (End of Game). Rain Date: None Thomaston Thomaston Volunteer Fire Department Fireworks – Carnival Ground on Sanford Field (9 PM). Rain Date: None Saturday, July 30th Portland Fireworks – Portland Fairground (9:30 PM). Rain Date: 7/31/2016 Rhode Island Fireworks, 2016 Courtesy of visitri.com, here’s a robust list of fireworks going on across Rhode Island through July 2016. Click any of the links below to get more information about the event!   Saturday, July 23rd Kingston Fireworks – URI Atheletic Fields (9:00 PM). Wednesday, August 17th Richmond Fireworks –  78 Richmond Townhouse Rd (8:45 pm)...