All posts by Charles Paternina

Lovely Outdoor Spaces in Greenwich, CT

The days of summer are fleeting on the East Coast. We cherish them!

Greenwich is so beautiful in the summer. Whether you’re viewing the ocean or a lush backyard, the long days (noticeably shorter now, I know) are a joy for the soul.

If your home has an exceptional outdoor space, I know you treasure that outside time. And if you’re looking for a new property, several listings feature lovely outdoor spaces:

A large backyard with a huge deck ready for family and neighborhood parties while the kids play soccer and enjoy popsicles.

A river view – Set a table with candles, great food and wine and invited friends to dine al fresco.

A gorgeous co-op with astounding views of Greenwich Harbor – the perfect spot for your morning cup of coffee.

This Appleyard property with 4.6 level acres enclosed by bucolic stone walls and a perfect pool. This former home of Tommy Hilfiger is perfectly situated for many happy years, outside and in.

And if you want to get away to The Berkshires of Massachusetts, this charming arch leads you to beautiful grounds and views.

What’s your dream property? Rolling lawn? Treed and shaded spaces? Ocean views? Greenwich has them all – and I’d be happy to help you find the perfect yard and home for you and your family.

Comments Off on Lovely Outdoor Spaces in Greenwich, CT

Drones Help to Sell Your House Faster!

I’m going to write about drones here…now, don’t be afraid: drones are for good, not evil, when it comes to real estate. And one of the most intriguing developments in my business over the past few years has been the introduction of drone photography.

In August 2016, the Federal Aviation Administration loosened restrictions on the use of drones. Drone pilots don’t need an FAA pilot’s license, just a remote pilot certificate. So drones are now approved for limited commercial use.

Drone photography adds value. You’ve probably seen them used at live events or on websites that showcase a hotel or resort. Drone photographs and videos are a fantastic way to really see a property and the surrounding area.

Top Benefits of Using Drones to Sell Your Home:

1.    Prospective buyers can see the entire lot, the house next door, and even the entire neighborhood. (Drone photography is used well here – makes you want to move into this gorgeous Greenwich home, doesn’t it?)

2.    Drone footage is especially useful for large, unique properties that don’t photograph well from the ground.

3.    Since drone photography and videos are more engaging, people are more likely to spend longer looking at your property. (And, social media LOVES video.)

4.    Drone footage can span the beautiful landscape and convey the spectacular view from the deck—really giving the viewer a sense of a home’s personality.

5.    Show off Greenwich and Fairfield County, CT. Drone footage shows out-of-town potential buyers how unique and stunning our area truly is, which is a selling feature that can sometimes be difficult to articulate.

What are your thoughts?

Comments Off on Drones Help to Sell Your House Faster!

A Realtor’s Three Interesting Take-Aways from Airbnb

It’s hard to believe but Airbnb launched in 2008 (where DOES the time go?). This tech “start-up” allows home owners to rent out their houses, or even just a room, through a secure e-commerce platform that is currently valued at over $30 billion (about the same as Marriott International). It’s no trend – home sharing is here to stay.

While many home owners were initially leery of Airbnb (“What! Allow strangers to stay in my house? Sometimes when I’m still there?”) and some potential renters (“What! Stay in a stranger’s home and not a hotel?), there’s a long history that points to the likelihood of cultural acceptance for this seemingly radical idea. In fact, here in Greenwich CT there are plenty of homes listed on Airbnb.

As a realtor, I see some distinct benefits that Airbnb has to offer homeowners, especially when they are getting ready to buy or sell. Here’s what I see:

Airbnb is the commercial systemization of a long standing practice.
Does your family have a mountain retreat or a beach condo in Florida that you’ve lent or rented to a co-worker’s son and his family? Have you ever stayed with friends of friends when you unexpectedly had to travel to Chicago or Atlanta? If yes, then you’ve participated in the social contract that makes Airbnb possible and profitable. While the concept seems radical to many, there’s an attractive model here—with built-in safety protocols—that allow great hosts and travelers to enjoy a more personal experience.

Considering a drastic life change or move? Try it out first with Airbnb.
Are you intrigued by the idea of a second home, downsizing or maybe even checking out a tiny house? Have you thought about a move to the heart of the city? Or are you convinced that life would be better if you lived in Greenwich and worked from home or commuted into the city? Before you completely uproot your life and family, test your assumptions. It’s one of the least understood benefits of Airbnb—the ability to try on a different physical address to help you learn what you’re really looking for in your next house. Experiment by renting a home in Greenwich or a farmhouse in the Berkshires of Massachusetts for a few days and learn if the locale brightens your day.

Rent out your home on Airbnb and find out if it’s market-ready.

One of the features that creates trust within the Airbnb community is the reviews and member profiles. Going through the exercise of searching similar rentals in your area, writing a description of what your home offers and even welcoming guests can provide a treasure trove of information. From rave reviews to discovering potential pitfalls (maybe you really do need to update the kitchen before selling), you’ll gather information that has the potential to make selling your house if not a snap, then certainly easier. Of utmost importance when deciding to list your house on Airbnb: Check with your insurance company. Make sure your regular insurance covers this kind of income related activity.

Did you find these tips helpful? You can read all my articles about home buying and selling on my blog. If you want to look at the gorgeous homes that I represent in Greenwich and internationally, click here.


Comments Off on A Realtor’s Three Interesting Take-Aways from Airbnb

Quick Overview of Greenwich CT 2017 Real Estate Action

2017 was certainly a year of surprises. The real estate market was certainly a welcome surprise – it was hot!

During 2017, over 90% of the luxury sales in Connecticut were in Fairfield County. That’s good news, indeed, for home sellers in Greenwich. Let’s see what else conspired in real estate over the course of 2017:

  • The median sale price for a single family home in Greenwich was $1,869,790 – that’s the highest median since 2008!
  • June was the busiest month with 80 homes sold. Slowest month? February and April were the slowest months with only 31 and 30 homes sold.
  • When we compare Greenwich home sales back to the darkest days of the recession, we can see how the economy has been (albeit slowly) recuperating. In 2009, only 333 homes sold; in 2017, 572 homes sold (static when compared to last year).

This Forbes article provides a 2018 outlook. What do you think? Are you a realtor hoping for another banner year?

If you like to dive into numbers, click here to view a compilation of 2017 statistics pulled from the Greenwich Multiple Listing Service.

And let me know if you’d like to go look at beautiful houses in Greenwich

Comments Off on Quick Overview of Greenwich CT 2017 Real Estate Action

What Type of Mover is Best for You?

About 11% of Americans move every year; if you’re part of that statistic, don’t let panic set in. You can do this.

There’s a new start just ahead. Maybe it’s a job, or the completion of your dream home here in Greenwich or elsewhere. It’s exciting: it’s the dawn of new adventures and future memories for you and your family. But wait! Now you have to move, which may rank as the least enjoyable aspect of bounding joyfully into home ownership. Time to consider what type of mover is best for you.

When weighting options, consider:

Do it yourself. This is what the largest majority of people do – 45% of people use their own vehicles or borrow a friend’s truck; 33% rent a moving truck, pack & drive it. (Source: American Movers Association – AMA)

You pack. You load. Hire a driver. This isn’t as common, but a choice worth investigating.

Hire a full-service mover. Only 22% of people choose this option (Source: AMA).

Here’s the information on each option.

Do it yourself. If you’re comfortable with the idea of driving a big truck on busy roads and narrow streets, live in a fairly small home, and have willing helpers, moving yourself is possible, and economical. It also gives you the most control. Hidden costs:

  • Insurance for the rental truck (your auto policy probably doesn’t cover this, and neither will the credit card you rent the truck with);
  • Gas;
  • Rental or purchase of special equipment you’ll need, like dollies and quilted furniture covers.

You pack and load; they drive. Several nationwide and local companies offer “self-move service.” A trailer or a van appears at your house, and you (hopefully along with several strong friends) load it. A professional driver is provided, and you unload at your new home. Some self-move providers have limitations based on how far you move. Shorter moves can be more expensive if minimum charges apply. This option saves you the hassle of driving a truck, and it is less expensive than using a full-service mover.

Hire a full-service mover. If you’d rather go to the dentist than move, if you have little time to get into your new situation, if you are moving a long distance, or you have a lot of stuff, this is your best bet. Good professional movers have the experience and equipment to move you quickly while avoiding damage to your property. Expect professional movers to protect your property by putting down floor runners, covering railings and doors, and putting down floorboard when moving heavy appliances. Many movers will even pack everything for you ― a convenience that can be worth the additional cost, especially if you have limited time or ability.

Be sure to get references before hiring a moving company. Carefully check out any company you’re considering. Ask around for referrals and check references. Hop on your town’s forum – there’s probably one on Facebook – and ask your neighbors for input. Or go to Angie’s list. Several moving companies offer helpful online calculators to help you determine which service is best for you. Real Simple has a great moving checklist.

Did you find these tips helpful? You can read all my articles about home buying and selling here on LinkedIn. If you want to look at gorgeous properties in Greenwich, Connecticut, click here.


Comments Off on What Type of Mover is Best for You?

Tech, Tubs and More: Four Design Trends to Watch in 2018

Every December, there’s a recap of what we loved in the past year and what’s expected to captivate us in the year ahead. In addition to the year’s best books, movies and podcasts, there’s something a little closer to home that we look at here at Charles Paternina Properties each year—the design trends that will quicken the heart rate of house hunters.

Embracing design trends can help distinguish your home from others on the market. It’s not just all about having the latest and greatest; some home trends decrease required maintenance, encourage energy conservation, and better accommodate our digital lives.

While it’s fun to check out the latest trends, the ultimate decision to make a major change should hinge on your needs and budget.

Freestanding tubs. Freestanding tubs may conjure images of Victorian-era opulence, but the newest models come in many shapes and sizes. These tubs complement other bathroom trends including open wall niches and water-saving commodes. (Check out the stand-alone tub in this fabulous Greenwich bathroom.)

Alexa! Prices have come down for technologies such as web-controlled security cameras and motion sensors for pets. Newer models are also easier to install and operate since many are powered by batteries, rather than requiring an electrician to rewire an entire house. Software allows multiple smart devices within the home to communicate with each other. And the biggest tech movement is the digital assistant—Alexa, Google Home, and more. And, yes, these technologies also present challenges, such as security issues. Nonetheless, the trend continues.

Charging stations. With the size of electronic devices shrinking and the proliferation of Wi-Fi, demand for large desks and separate home offices has waned. Home owners still need a dedicated space for charging and storing, and the most popular locations are a corner of a kitchen, entrance from the garage, and the mud room. Before long we’ll start to see even more creative integrations for our digital devices.

Specialized Storage. The new buzzword is specialized storage placed right where it’s needed. Homeowners want everything to have its place. More people are increasingly willing to pare the dimensions of a second or third bedroom in order to gain a larger walk-in closet in their master bedroom. In a kitchen, it may mean a “super pantry”—a super-sized butler’s pantry with prep space, open storage, secondary appliances, and even a room for wrapping gifts. More storage is all about minimizing clutter and as we all know… clutter eats equity.

Be sure to check back with us: we’ll update you on all of the new trends in real estate in Greenwich throughout 2018! And in the meantime, follow me on Facebook and Instagram.

Comments Off on Tech, Tubs and More: Four Design Trends to Watch in 2018

Celebrate the Season with Perfect Holiday Experiences in Greenwich

Since the holidays tend to be a slower time for real estate, I thought I’d offer up holiday activities here in Greenwich and around us. We are fortunate to live in an area that is so rich with holiday spirit and traditions. The challenge is to pick the experiences that are the most meaningful and important for you and your family. Here are a few favorites that add joy to the season.

Great for children and anyone who needs a little holiday spirit.

Greenwich Reindeer Festival and Santa’s Village
Now through December 23. You can visit and feed Santa’s reindeer and visit with Santa! Sam Bridge Nursery & Greenhouses, 437 North Street, Greenwich, CT. More information.

The Nutcraker
Saturday December 9th at 3:00pm; Sunday December 10th at 1:00pm and 2:30pm

For many, the holiday season is not complete without seeing The Nutcracker ballet. This show is performed by dancers from The Ballet School of Stamford at Chelsea Piers and will be hosted by Broadway actor Frank Mastrone. Held at The Loft at Chelsea Piers in Stamford. $15 All ticket sales proceeds benefit the Ballet School of Stamford Foundation

The Christmas Elf

Two shows daily on Saturday and Sunday from now through Dec. 28. This children’s theater production will showcase the wide-eyed wonder of the holidays through the story of one special Christmas Elf. The Held at the Downtown Cabaret Theater in Bridgeport, this 90-minute show is a perfect way to enjoy time with the special young people in your life. Tickets $19-$23.

For the holiday traditionalist.

Handel’s Messiah
December 9 at 8:00 p.m. Celebrate the season with memorable and inspiring music from Handel’s Messiah.  Hear it in its acoustical glory at the Basilica of St. John the Evangelist at 279 Atlantic Street in Stamford. Lost of parking! Guest conductor is Ted Sperling. Featuring Master Voices chorus. Tickets start at $25. Basilica of St. John the Evangelist

Volunteer or Donate

Neighbor to Neighbor – a non-profit near and dear to my heart – serves residents in need throughout the Greenwich area. Whether you and your coworkers want to do a volunteer project this month or you’d like to provide gifts for a family’s holidays, Neighbor to Neighbor will make it happen. “We improve lives by providing for the exchange of food, clothing and basic living essentials in an atmosphere of kindness and respect,” says Executive Director Nancy Coughlin.

Please do let me know if you would like to buy, sell or rent a home in Greenwich or anywhere in the world. I’m available during the holidays – and promise to lend a festive flair to our work together. You can review Greenwich properties on my website:

Comments Off on Celebrate the Season with Perfect Holiday Experiences in Greenwich

Let There be Light! Consider Orientation When Building or Buying Your Home

Of all the considerations of home building in Greenwich and the Northeast in general, there is one that may be overlooked, and once done is near impossible to correct. It’s not the number of bathrooms or the size of the kitchen—but the orientation of the home for light. Every homeowner, whether building or buying, should consider how a home is situated for sunlight and learn to assess how light will pass through the home during the day and the seasons.

Sunlight has a significant impact on your daily quality of life, especially here in the north, where our late fall and early winter days are so very short. Isn’t it easy to hunker down this time of year? In the early summer, do you find yourself celebrating each hour of a long June afternoon with a favorite outdoor activity? Sunlight plays a key role in our daily rhythms throughout the year. In some cases, sunlight, or the lack of sunlight, can cause us to strongly dislike a room we would otherwise find appealing. Light profoundly influences how a person perceives and enjoys the surroundings.

Although it’s not as easy to change as wallpaper or carpet, you can learn to take advantage of the available light offered by the orientation of your home.

When the back of a house faces north, light is limited. Ideally, that is where you want your front door and the garage. When the back of the house faces southwest, this is an ideal placement for maximum light in our hemisphere. North-facing rooms are the darkest in the home with neutral light most of the day.  South-facing rooms are the brightest in the house, with the dominant daylight from late morning to mid-afternoon. These spaces have consistent light all day. East-facing rooms are brightest in the morning and west-facing rooms have their strongest light in the late afternoon and early evening.

A south-facing home allows you to take advantage of the sun’s warmth as much as possible. During the winter, owners of south-facing homes can lower heating costs by opening curtains in the front rooms.

As you plan your dream home, prepare to install a home office or consider a land purchase, remember to look at the light! You’ll enjoy it for years to come. And please let me know if you are interested in looking at houses in Greenwich, CT or internationally. You can look at homes via my website:

Comments Off on Let There be Light! Consider Orientation When Building or Buying Your Home

Do Stone Walls and Wood Fences Add Value to Your Greenwich Home?

Fences and stone walls are distinctive and enduring elements in New England. Whether they are traditional stone walls or split-rail wood fences, visitors and residents alike are charmed by these borders. But have you ever wondered…do fences and walls add value to your Greenwich CT home?

Here’s what I know from my years as a real estate professional:

Stone Walls

What’s more New England than an old-stone wall? Or a new stone wall that looks like a 250-year old stone wall? These stone borders add personality and historic charm to vintage homes and help newer homes to fit into the landscape.

Does this type of fence add value to your home? The answer is yes, it can. If the wall is at the front of your home, it should be well-maintained to increase the overall value of the property. Crumbling stone walls in the depths of a property aren’t detrimental for the right buyer – someone who is looking for a traditional experience. If you want to add a stone wall to your property before sale, you’ll likely make back the cost or experience a slight bump from it. According to this infographic, you’ll experience a 100% return on your investment.

Old-Style Wood Fences

Classic wood fences add to the overall “brand” of your home, for example: a rambling old farmhouse with split-rail fencing; a cottage with a white picket fence; a rustic cabin with an Adirondack-style fence.

On the positive side, wood fences are durable and blend with the natural elements surrounding them. A well-maintained wood fence with wonderful landscaping can be a beautiful asset. On the negative side, aging fences with missing rails or insect-infestation damage are going to make potential buyers think twice. Just like outdated bathrooms and kitchens, buyers think about all they need to do to make the home current. If you’re selling your home and don’t already have a wood fence on your property, don’t add one: it won’t add much value compared to material and construction costs.

Today most full-time and seasonal Greenwich homeowners know that well-maintained fences – whether stone, wood or other material – make good neighbors and happy future home owners. The key term is “well maintained.”


3 Most Desirable Home Upgrades That Buyers Want Now

If you’re reading this, you no doubt watch those home design and improvement shows on HGTV, DIY and PBS. In just about every episode, a house seeker will say, “The appliances are outdated – I want stainless steel.” Buyers still want stainless steel (yes, matte finishes on appliances are gaining some traction, but time will tell on that one). And they want hard wood floors: that’s a given.

But what else? What are the most desirable home upgrades that buyers want now? These are my top three.

  1. Modern kitchens and master bedrooms. When buyers are looking at homes, they want to envision themselves living a better life. Few people imagine that they’ll be happy in an outdated or dingy kitchen. No one thinks that they’ll be comfortable using the bathroom down the hall between their kids’ bedrooms in the middle of the night – they want an en suite Sellers who want to get top dollar for their home update their appliances and even countertops. They also remove dated wallpaper and freshen with a neutral paint color. You may not have the money to add a bathroom to your Master before selling, but you can upgrade the hall bathroom to make it appealing. Add a walk in shower and skip the sunken tub.
  2. Energy Efficiency. This one isn’t sexy but it’s important. In Greenwich, buyers look for energy efficient windows, lighting and appliances. The “greener” a house is the more likely it is to sell fast. Replace fixtures, change out old light bulbs for LED bulbs, replace some or all windows, if possible, before you list your house.
  3. Home Offices. More and more people work from home full or part time and so buyers like to see a dedicated home office. If you are selling a four-bedroom home, stage one of those rooms as an office. You can still market it and get the price for a four bedroom but when potential buyers see that office space, they will imagine how they will pay their bills on time, neatly file their paperwork, and sit at that desk with their feet up drinking a cup of coffee while gazing out the window at the view.

Unfortunately, there are some issues that homeowners can’t upgrade such as the neighborhood where and how the house is situated, and evergreen issues such as South West facing backyard, noise, low ceilings, and next-door cemeteries. Buyers are savvy – they investigate neighborhoods and look in every nook and cranny of a house. They research online AND they may walk the neighborhood to get a feel for it, and even talk to neighbors. If you’re buying today, think about your future sale and choose your location wisely. If you can’t upgrade it in the future, it might be a problem when it comes time to sell.

What are YOUR must haves in a new home? I’d like to know. And let me know if I can help you find your dream home in Greenwich, CT.

Comments Off on 3 Most Desirable Home Upgrades That Buyers Want Now