August 1, 2023
by Toni Mickeiwicz
August 1, 2023
Whether you’re dreaming of paradise or profit, there are things to consider when purchasing a second home. Reach out if I can answer any questions.
#secondhome #secondhomebuyer #homeownership #firsttimehomebuyer #firsthome #homebuyertips #homebuying #homebuyingtips #homebuying101 #homebuyingprocess #grammarpros #firsttimebuyer #firsthome #firsthomebuyer #homeownershipgoals #newhouse #newhomeshopping #newhomeowner #newhomeowners #homeshopping #newhomebuyer #tonimickiewiczrealtor
July 25, 2023
by Toni Mickeiwicz
July 19, 2023
by Toni Mickeiwicz
Investing in the right starter home could give you the cash returns needed to buy your dream home in a few years. Give me a call and let’s get you on the path to homeownership.
#starterhome #firsttimehomebuyer #firsthome #homebuyertips #homebuying #homebuyingtips #homebuying101 #homebuyingprocess #grammarpros #firsttimebuyer #firsthome #firsthomebuyer #homeownershipgoals #newhouse #newhomeshopping #newhomeowner #newhomeowners #homeshopping #newhomebuyer
July 19, 2023
by Toni Mickeiwicz
If the equity in your current home has grown over the past few years, now might be a great time to sell. Given the demand verses inventory in today’s market, you may be surprised by just how much equity you have in your home.
I can help you with that, let’s talk.
#homequity #homeselling101 #sellersmarket #sellingyourhome #sellingyourhometips #sellingprocess #homeselling #grammarpros #homesellers #homesellertips #realestateadvice #homebuyingtips #homebuyingprocess #homeownershipgoals #newhomeshopping #westportctrealestate #topproducer #realestateagent #fairfieldcounty
October 14, 2014
by Toni Mickeiwicz
It wasn’t my favorite house. I actually always thought that it should be torn down. It was a combination of stages in my mother’s life. It started as a little tiny beach house with no heat and it sat on wine barrels. It gradually grew to have an architecturally designed front section with two floors that looked a little like a church.
When I went off to college it grew a backside with two floors, four bedrooms and three additional bathrooms. It never really matched the front, or anything else for that matter, but it added square footage and allowed my mother to rent it out regularly as we all moved out and she had to spend most of her time caring for my grandmother in Norwalk. The house worked for her and it gave her children what she wanted all along—a place to call home, an education in a town with a reputation for excellence, and a “castle” by the water.
I’ll never forget asking my mother if we had room for a pool. Many of my friends had pools and I thought it was something we should try and have as well. She said, “Why would you want a pool when we have the beach?” I was much older when I finally got how blessed we were to live where we did.
When I moved back to Westport—a grown up having been married, raised children, divorced, and re-inventing myself—my mother let me live at the house, as a paid renter of course, but the house was there for me. It was my transitional home for six years. It wasn’t perfect, but it was my home, a place to provide my youngest with an education in a town known for excellence. It was our “castle” by the water.
Now it will be torn down. And while I know it’s the right thing to do to get the “highest and best use of the land” for the new owner, it still made me more emotional than I ever imagined.
This was my home, where I grew up and where I sought refuge. It provided me, my siblings, many cousins and lots of renters over the years, a lot of fun memories along with the challenges that an imperfect house can provide. It will only be in my memory now and that is a little sad for me.
I know that I am not alone. Many of my friends that I grew up with have experienced the same thing. Their childhood homes no longer there when they come back for a visit. Much of the landscape of my childhood is gone. Allen’s Clam House, where I use to work in the kitchen, has been gone for a long time. Ten Pond Edge Rd, where I lived with my “other” family when my mom rented out the house for the Summer, has been torn down as well.
I could go on, but what I really want to say is that after tearing up a little and feeling woeful for a time, I realize that it is ok. I am who I am from my experiences and life lessons in this town and in this home, and I will always have that.
Thanks Mom for what you did for us and allowing us to grow up in a castle by the water.
January 22, 2014
by Toni Mickeiwicz
Are you ready for the Spring Real Estate Market? Are your pets ready? Some of us may still be anticipating the Super Bowl , but remember that the Spring Real Estate Market kicks off on the Monday right after the Super Bowl. If you are thinking of listing your house for sale you should start to get it ready now and don’t forget about your animals! Getting your house ready for sale includes cleaning, de-cluttering, fixing and staging. I have talked about many of these things before and I recommend that you do them all. When you think you have done all that you can do, bring your Realtor in and ask for her opinion. I guarantee she will have some additional insights about how your house is going to be viewed by the buyers, both in-person and online. It is important to make the first impression, usually on-line, your best impression, in order to get buyers to come and see the property.
Once you have attracted buyers to want to come and see your home in person, it is very important that you make access to your property/house as easy as possible. Factors such as a key box, flexible and generous hours for showings, and leaving the house show-ready, enhance ease of access for potential buyers. If you have pets, another important aspect of showing the property is to have a plan for their wellbeing during the showing.
Having a plan for your pets is very important. Because we love our pets as much as we do, we may minimize the importance of having a plan to have the animal out of sight or off-premises during showings. As a pet lover/owner you may feel that everyone who comes to your house is going to love your pets as much as you do. After all, your pet is sweet and friendly, and free to roam around the house. They may bark but they don’t bite and they love everyone! This may be very true but the pet doesn’t come with the house does he/she? Or maybe you would consider it in the negotiation…….just kidding! The purpose of letting strangers into your house is to show them the product that you are selling, your house. Buyers need to be able to come and do what they are there to do — look at your house with the intent of possibly making it their own. The reason to repair, clean and de-clutter is to make the property more attractive and to remove distractions from the product itself. No family pictures, no clothing on the floor, no unfinished projects, no excess furniture, and no barking, purring, chirping or otherwise distracting pets.
I realize that this is going to sound harsh to many of you pet owners and there are a lot of you (me too). But this is important and your agent may not want to address this with you as firmly as they should because it is personal. It is like saying, “do something with your kids” and your pets are family. I am not trying to be insensitive to these members of your household. However, I want you to see that it is in your best interest, and theirs, to have a plan for keeping them from being a distraction from the process of selling your home. Removing them all together from the house is preferable. But if this is not possible then crating them is the next best thing. If you don’t have a crate, get one. Putting them in one room and limiting access to that room is not ideal. It doesn’t allow the buyer to see the room and the dogs/cats may even do damage to the room if they are not use to being put away. Having strangers come into their home can be just as traumatic for them.
Let’s say that you have figured out how to manage your pets for this purpose. What about the effects your pet has had on the house already? Many of us can become desensitized to pet odors or pet hair and spilled pet food on the floor. They are our family members and this is how we live. But people coming into your home are going to be distracted by pet odors, stains, damage, and dirt. This is all a part of the cleaning, de-cluttering stage of getting ready but even after you have vacuumed the last rug, cleaned out the last litter box, washed the last floor, have your realtor or a friend come over and ask for their honest feedback about the presence of animal odors etc. as this can be a huge deterrent for anyone considering purchasing your home.
The faster you get your house sold the faster you can get your family and your pets settled into their new home and back to normal. The best way to do this is to make sure your house gets shown to all interested parties in the best possible condition with the fewest distractions. Don’t take it personally. Your goal is to sell your house so do what it takes now and be done with it. Everyone will be happier in the end, including your pets.
Are you ready to buy a house? Great, then that means you have spoken to a bank or a mortgage broker, you have a pre-approval letter stating what you can afford, you have a down payment ready to go, and you are prepared to make an offer if the right house comes along, right?
This is a great start, and if you have gotten this far, you know there are several more milestones to pass before you are settled in your new home. First you have to find a place, make an offer, sign the binder, get through inspections, and more.
Most often, the biggest hurdle is the mortgage approval process. Buyers may feel that the pre-approval letter is the hardest part and the rest is just paperwork, while sellers believe that the pre-approval letter is enough to accept a good offer. The disconnect comes when what is agreed to on the binder is not in line with the banks time frame for mortgage approval.
To be more specific, in Fairfield County making an offer is a two-step process. The first step is the binder agreement and the second is the contracts. It is on the binder that you first stipulate your mortgage contingency, which requires a time frame. Sellers’ agents want this to be as short as possible and buyers’ agents want to give their clients plenty of time to avoid having to ask for an extension. The problem is banks move at their own pace.
If the binder states a mortgage commitment will be obtained within thirty days from signed accepted offer, the clock starts ticking at the time the binder is signed. Unfortunately, many banks won’t order an appraisal or start to work on that file until they receive signed contracts. This can take up to two weeks from the signing of the binder. That cuts into the thirty day time frame by quite a bit and can be very problematic for the buyer.
A proactive solution is to try and have your binder state that the mortgage contingency is thirty to forty-five days (check with the bank) from the signed contracts and go to contracts as soon as possible. This will be tricky because the seller won’t want to have their home off the market for too long without certainty that it is going to close since they may miss out on other potential buyers. But the key to the whole negotiation is to have things move as quickly as possible. Get inspections done immediately and get your deposit ready to be put in escrow. That will free things up so you can get a copy of the signed contract to your bank as soon as possible.
The bottom line: Communication is the key to your negotiations. Make sure everyone is speaking the same language and stay informed of potential hurdles so you can ensure you get the home you want.