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Real Estate Market Outlook

WHAT do your manners have to do with selling your home? More than you’d imagine! Based on the decades of buyers and sellers I’ve met, witnessed and helped buy or sell a home here in Greenwich, I’ve seen several home sellers self-sabotage a potential sale by letting emotion or behavior get the best of them. They can sometimes lose a sale in the process.

With the right attitude and consideration for the emotional pulls and tugs a home sale can evoke, you can anticipate many of these concerns and plan how to address them before they happen. This saves you and your team potential heartache, time and money. And there are plenty of proactive considerations that show a prospective buyer you appreciate their time and interest in your house. Here are some tips to attract buyers in Greenwich, CT.

  1. Show your home—and yourself—in the best possible light.

Don’t waste people’s time by putting your home on the market before it’s truly ready to shine.

Has your realtor or a trusted friend said, “It would really help if you repainted the living room/removed half of the furniture in the bedroom/cleaned out the basement/put in some shrubs around the foundation”?

And maybe you’ve decided these fixes aren’t necessary? If so, be prepared that a prospective buyer’s feedback may sound like this: “The paint in the living room really needs a refresh/the bedrooms seem really small/it’s hard to get a sense of the basement because it’s so full.” No one is going to say “I told you so,” but…they told you so.

You’ll find more warm-weather clean-up tips here.

2. Encourage free speech and set expectations for post visit feedback and follow up

Let your realtor know BEFORE showings start what you expect for post-showing follow up. Many sellers report feeling frustrated and disappointed when they ask their realtor how a showing went only to hear “Great!”

Assure your realtor that you want all of the feedback—good and bad—and that he or she should encourage prospective buyers to give their honest assessment of your home.

Talk to your realtor in advance about what you’d like them to ask potential buyers to solicit the feedback you most want. Do you want to hear the negatives along with the positives? Can you set emotion aside so you can hear the feedback which will give you the best chance to sell quickly and at the price point you want?

And to avoid post-visit let down, ask your realtor now what happens after a prospective buyer visits? I’ve had clients say they want to know which focal points of the home most impressed and which negatives where beyond their control (location, lot size, school district, property taxes). How and how often does your realtor follow up and what else can be done to encourage the buyer? Ask now, so you’re not tossing in bed at 2 am wondering if this visitor is “the one,” and if your realtor is doing enough to follow up.

3. Be Ready to Leave the Premises

Sure, you’re dying to know if prospective buyers will love what you’ve done with the kitchen, but you, the seller, need to leave during an open house or showing.

It’s hard for a potential buyer to see themselves in your home if you are there. It’s not easy to leave but this will happen often during the selling process. Have a few places in mind where you can quickly escape to—like a friend or family member who will let you into their house when they aren’t there, a book store or local coffee shop. Consider having a go bag with a book or some work you need to do to take the sting out of having to leave your home on short notice.

4. Let the dog out.

See above and add the dog park, or any pet friendly stores and spaces to your “go to list” if you have a pet. Someone with allergies, who isn’t into dogs or cats (they do exist) may conjure up negative associations when they see a pet—is the house really clean? Will it smell like wet dog in here when it’s humid or rains? If your dog stays and barks throughout the visit, the prospective buyer may rush the tour. Remove those concerns by taking the dog with you.

5. Park here.

As a consideration to your guest, leave ample and obvious parking for the buyer and the realtor. Let the realtor know ahead of time where to park.

6. Encourage buyers to take pictures and ask questions.

Some sellers are uncomfortable with prospective buyers taking pics of their home. Pictures are crucial to a buyer considering multiple properties; so tell your realtor to encourage prospective buyers to snap away. It’s also fine for you to request that those photos don’t go up on social media. Make it even easier for your visitors to fall in love with your home by leaving out some pictures that you’ve taken over the years that showcase the beauty and uniqueness of your home through the seasons. Updates, additions and renovations that have been documented can be left in a photo album for visitors. Put out documentation of the practically brand new refrigerator and stove that you plan to leave.

7. It’s true. Freshly made cookies don’t hurt.

Making prospective buyers feel welcome does make an impact. It encourages someone to linger, to envision themselves in the home. Engage ALL of the senses to make the experience complete.

Have a question about the ups and downs of the current real estate market? Wondering what your home is worth? Or are you thinking about buying or selling your home before winter? Give me a call! I’m always happy to chat. And sign up for my newsletter, won’t you? I share Greenwich real estate updates monthly.

Note: The beautiful and sophisticated home featured in the image above is 15 Mountain Laurel Drive here in Greenwich. Just bring your toothbrush because it’s move-in-ready home. Learn more here. Open house on Sunday, October 6 from 1pm – 4pm.

Summer is an opportunity to display your home at it’s very best. The vibrant green of a well-kept lawn, the beckoning of outdoor spaces for rest and reflection and cooking on the grill. What’s not to love? Of course, here are a few, ahem, “concerns” to address before that for sale sign hits the front lawn. Make sure your home looks “purchase perfect” by acknowledging some of these troublesome items that could derail an open house or turn off a prospective buyer.

  1. Water drainage: We’ve had a rainy spring in the northeastern part of the country and with the ground in many places fully saturated, even homes that have never experienced the problems of excess water are now wondering if they are susceptible to potential damage. Sometimes it’s a nearby home or property with water run-off that has the potential to impact your own home.To assure a dry basement and yard, it’s worth consulting a professional to assess your risk before putting your home on the market. There are many products that can be discreetly installed and effectively keep water at bay such as grates and catch basins, channel drains and trenches, standard drains and water discharge emitters. Residential ResQ is one example of a company that can assess your risk and recommend preventive measures as well as solutions to any existing problems.Even the front yard and walkway contain plenty of options to create functional water drainage on your property. Check with a local expert.
  2. Critter control: Fortunately here in the Northeast, we don’t often have problems with snakes and other creepy crawlers that are prevalent in other parts of the US. (If you’re brave, watch this video of a snake at someone’s front door. Ugh.) Unfortunately, we’re not completely rodent and insect free, especially in the summer! When your home is inspected and treated for hornet nests, seasonal bugs, mice, ticks, carpenter bees and termites, it’s guaranteed insurance against any unexpected guests showing up at your open house or home showing. Plus, paperwork that proves you’ve maintained a pest control protocol tells the buyer that your home’s welfare is top notch no matter the season.
  3. Bird house fan or foe? Bird houses – Many people love birdhouses; others don’t care for birdhouses and the mess they can create without regular cleaning. To some, it’s a real turn off. Plus, dirty feeders can also have an odor, which can attract unwanted pests, such as wasps, raccoons, rats, and other visitors that will damage or destroy the feeder. Google “birdhouse maintenance” for tips to keep your birdhouses clean and attractive. A tiny detail, but something that can stand out in the summer and easily turn off an eager buyer.
  4. Creepy Lawn Ornaments: Everyone has a lawn ornament memory they just can’t shake. Whether it’s a positive memory of a wagon planter that you and your siblings sat on for a picture every summer or the neighbor’s creepy gargoyle that gave you nightmares, lawn planters and ornaments have much more staying power than expected. Do a careful walk through of your property, maybe even ask a friend to weigh in—is there anything on your lawn or deck that needs to go ? If you’d like for me to take a walk through your home to dole out advice for YOUR “purchase perfect” home this summer, give me a call: (203) 550 6082. Or send me an email.

Winter brings out the nesting instinct. So once you can move away from your fireplace and hot chocolate – what house projects are you up for? Are you itching for some sledgehammer action a la Chip Gaines of Fixer Upper? Or is a complete style and color overhaul of one room calling your inner weekend warrior?

The best home improvements give you a feeling of accomplishment and increase the value of your home. Here are a few worthy of the pain, suffering and pennies that will likely deliver a resale return here in Greenwich, CT.

Add a Bathroom

Add a bathroom, add value. Every real estate listing starts with these two key stats: how many bedrooms and BATHROOMS. Little known secret to family harmony: one bathroom per teenager and spouse. It may seem excessive—until you’re the one desperately waiting to get in.

You can indulge your home improvement spirit animal and take on the job yourself, but it’s a good idea to talk with a contractor about your home’s layout and the best spot to add another bathroom. For a few hundred well-spent dollars, a contractor or designer can help you create a plan and avoid heinous pitfalls. Even a half bath added to the mudroom or off the kitchen adds resale dollars and keeps dinner guests from having to wander your home in order to find and use the facilities.

Return on investment: High

Update a Bathroom

Did you do a kitchen makeover recently? Your bathrooms are jealous. Lose the early aughts (or older!) décor and enhance your home’s market value. Functionality options for bathrooms are endless today and you’ll be amazed what you can accomplish in even the smallest spaces. Browse on,, or any of the big box home stores websites. Regardless of your budget or style, you’ll find endless bathroom cabinet, shower & tub options.

Return on investment: High

Get Rid of Rugs and Consider Hardwood, Laminates or Tile Flooring 

Modern flooring options offer great benefits: they are easier to clean, they don’t hold on to dust and dirt the way carpet does, and it’s a proven way to reduce allergens in the home. A definite plus for buyers and another update worth the investment.

Return on investment: High

Not up to those big changes but itching to start some renovations to get your house on the market? Consider these:

  • Paint the front door;
  • Install crown molding (try it in a bathroom and see how you like the results);
  • Consider implementing some tech: auto shades, charging stations, tv mounts, HVAC updates;
  • Clean out the linen closet and/or master closet and install better shelving.

I’m getting ready for spring too with new houses coming on the Greenwich market. Stay tuned! And do follow me on Facebook or Instagram.

Your home is on the market. And it’s the holidays. How should you decorate? Should you decorate at all? Some real estate agents and home staging professionals advocate no decorations during the holidays, as to not offend those who don’t celebrate a specific holiday. Others say definitely decorate—a festive house may sell faster.

We recommend an approach that celebrates the season but doesn’t exclude.

  1. Front door and entryway. There are endless ways to dress up the doorstep, door and entryway. Ideas run the gamut, but when your house is on the market, subtle sells!
  2. Use greenery. Use nature-inspired green to enhance a room with subtle décor. Think of winter elements.
  3. Use garland to highlight a specific feature. A curvy stairway or other area can become dramatic feature when highlighted with garland.
  4. Set a festive table. If your home includes a formal dining area, set the table for a celebratory dinner. I beautifully laid table encourages buyers to imagine their own family and friend gatherings in this space.
  5. Holiday goodies may make buyers linger. The time-honored real estate tradition of using the scent (and offer) of freshly baked cookies to encourage visitors to check out the kitchen one more time, gets kicked up a few notches in December. Offer up some holiday treats to visitors. Filled candy bowls and cookies will be a welcome surprise and may make buyers want to linger.

And do please let me know if you’d like to go look at houses in December – or if you’d like to put your house on the market. I’d love to help. Look at listings here. I’d especially like for you to look at this charming home at 63 Wildwood in Greenwich. And Happy Holidays!

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?

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:

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.

The right buyers are out there –  they just don’t know that your house is the right house. Yet.

As an experienced realtor in Greenwich, CT – and internationally – I know what buyers are looking for. Here are four steps that you can take to draw those would-be buyers out of the woodwork and onto your solid wood floors.

  1. Great photos. I always work with a professional photographer. It makes all the difference in the world:
  • There should be a photo for every descriptor. If you’re exclaiming about the hardwood floors, we will showcase the hardwood floors. Highlighting the picture windows? Then there needs to be a corresponding photo. Chef’s kitchen? You’ve got it. A photo of the kitchen that shows the Viking range and Subzero refrigerator.
  • People want to see the details in the listing photos – each photograph will be light and bright.
  • We don’t misrepresent. It’s easy to edit photos to make them look better than they actually do. Not a good idea. We may get people in the door but they’ll be walking right back out.
  1. Staging! So, before we take these photos, each room has to look like a room someone would want to spend hours in.
  • Everything should be painted, cleaned and de-cluttered. Remember: “Clutter easts equity.”
  • Changing pillows and a throw to a trendy color is an inexpensive and easy change that can really pay off in photos.
  • De-personalize. Yes, I know you love your photo wall of family pictures but many buyers have a difficult time visualizing how a home should look when they’re looking at how it actually looks.
  • If everything is moved out of the house, leave a few pieces behind. When photos are taken, there needs to be perspective: a bowl of fruit or ornaments on the kitchen counter (see the picture above), a chair and side table in a sitting room, a candelabra on a dining room table.
  1. As a realtor, I use every tool available to me to market your property. From the Greenwich Multiple Listing Service to Facebook, Instagram, an exclusive webpage for your property, Public and Private Open Houses, American Lifestyle Magazine, e-Mails to potential buyers, our webpage, quality brochures … the works.
  2. One you don’t want to hear: Price your home competitively. I know the market and will give you honest advice. I will save you time and money. If your home is priced too high, it may sit on the market – even if it’s an amazing house. A competitively priced home is more likely to get lots of foot traffic, solid bids – even potentially generate a bidding war (every home seller’s dream!).

If you know of anyone in Greenwich – or internationally –  looking to buy or sell a home, I’d love to help them. Email me at or give me a call at (203) 622-3189.

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