Happy Memorial Day!

Many thanks to those who serve and have served.

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Weekly Home Sales Snapshot – 5/22/15

Source: Greater Fairfield County CMLS,  HOUSES Sold = Single Family, Multi-Family, Condo/Co-Op


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Does your house require flood insurance? Maybe not!

waterviewRecently, I have been running into several properties that require flood insurance, but have very clearly never flooded.

How does that happen?

Well, a few years ago after Super-storm Sandy, FEMA reconsidered its flood maps and where they felt new flooding might be possible. So, they redrew some of their maps to include areas that may have not been considered before.

As an example, I have a client selling a house her family lived in for years. This house backs up to a nature preserve which has a very large pond and wetland area. While it makes for a beautiful, bucolic vista from the back patio, FEMA also felt it might be a “floodable” area.

When I went to list the house, I asked my client if the house required flood insurance. She was completely shocked by the question and responded that there had never been a drop of water in the house. When I explained it had very little to do with the house actually being flooded, but more with the fact that house sat in a flood zone, she was stupefied.

Sure enough, as it turns out, when FEMA redrew all the maps a couple of years ago, her house got swept up onto a flood zone and any new owner would be required to carry flood insurance. As I am sure you can imagine, that is the kiss of death for a house being sold. No buyer wants the added expense of flood insurance!

When it comes to flood insurance, most people understand it if they have far reaching, stunning views of water. It’s sort of the price you pay for the view, if you will.

BUT, when you have no view of water and your house has NEVER flooded, flood insurance can feel like a very unfair waste of money!

So, what can you do?

Well, what my homeowner did was file for a Letter of Map Amendment or a  LOMA.

In a nutshell, a LOMA says, “Hey even though this house is in a flood plain, the topography of the lot and the way the house is sitting on the lot precludes it from ever flooding, so you don’t have to have insurance.”

My client hired an elevation engineer who came and surveyed the property. He determined that her house actually sits a full 6 feet ABOVE the flood line. There is no physical way her house could ever flood from the Nature Preserve. It’s physically impossible for the water to get up to the house.

So, we are waiting to hear from FEMA any day now with the letter that officially says her house is will not require insurance. She also has buyers for the house, who made their offer contingent on her getting that LOMA…so everyone keep your fingers crossed for us that it arrives soon!

Here’s the formal definition of a LOMA from FEMA:

LOMA Definition

If you are selling your home and suddenly find you are in a flood zone, don’t panic. You may have a way out. Go to the FEMA website to better understand everything and then get yourself an engineer. Even if your house isn’t for sale, you might want to do it so whenever you do sell, it’s all taken care of.

Good luck!


Images: Liz Brazil,  FEMA
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US Home Price Expectations

US Home Price expectationsThe above chart, US Home Price Expectations, reflects expert opinions on where home prices are headed. I like this chart because it reflects not only the optimists’, but also the pessimists’ views…separately.

Both feel prices are headed upwards, but I have to be honest, right now, it’s just not what I am seeing in the marketplace.

Hmmmm…where is the market going?


Image: Pulsenomics
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Rock Stars’ front doors…

This is a post from other blog, Front Door Freak. It was kind of fun, so I decided to re-post it here too.


Sorry, I was MIA yesterday. I didn’t publish my regular Sunday front door feature where I feature a bunch of doors all with one thing in common…color, style or maybe even the owner.

You see, my son was is learning to play the bass guitar and he had two performances this weekend.

Of course, as his mother, I think he killed it! I’ve never heard a better rendition of Freebird! :-)

But, the other thing that got killed was our weekend…he was in two performances that were three hours each. One on Saturday, one on Sunday.

Anyway, I am bringing you a quasi-Sunday Front Door feature today…Rock Star front doors!



Mick Jagger's houseMick Jagger  -  Daily Mail


R&R Eric Clapton's houseEric Clapton  -  Maia Kaspar Kauffman


R&R Freddie Mercury's doorFreddy Mercury  -  Maia Kaspar Kauffman


paul mccartney's doorPaul McCartney  -  Trip Advisor


George Harrison's HouseGeorge Harrison  -  You Tube


Roger DaltreyRoger Daltry  -  A Young Vintage Wholigan


David BowieDavid Bowie  -  Maxwell Style


gene-simmons-sherman-oaks-house-photos-011-480wGene Simmons  -  TMZ


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Weekly Home Sales Snapshot – 5/15/15

Source: Greater Fairfield County CMLS,  HOUSES Sold = Single Family, Multi-Family, Condo/Co-Op


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I forgot to get my beach sticker this year!

Around here, if you don’t get a beach sticker, then you are out of luck going to the beach! Don’t wait until it’s too late, click on the links below for your town and register.

And…don’t forget your sunblock!August 31, 2004  6:36 PM


Stickers    Beach Hours & Rules


Stickers    Beach Hours & Rules


No info available, check with Fairfield for eligibility there.


Stickers    Beach Hours & Rules


Stickers    Beach Hours & Rules


No info available, check with surrounding towns for eligibility there.

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Sometimes it’s important to take a step back and remember what you like about your house

If you read this blog with any frequency, it’s no secret that I am ALWAYS on the hunt for another house. Something bigger, better, more unique…

Anyway, every now and again,something reminds me of why I like my current house.

As I was sitting at my kitchen table answering emails, I looked up and noticed the bright sunshine dappling through the trees with their bright green, new leaves.

Just. So. Pretty.

Anyway, made me realize that my house has some pretty great features that would be hard to replicate at another house.

dappled deck w:logo

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Little things that make a BIG difference – Blooms when nothing is blooming

moveable hydrangea


My hydrangea are nowhere near flowering as we are having an very late bloom season this year. As I was surveying my front yard, I made the mental note that I am glad my house is not on the market as it is not nearly as pretty without all my brightly colored plants…I have seven (!) bright blue hydrangeas in the front of my house, as well as a very large hot pink azalea and a purple rhododendron. What can I say, I like bold color :-)

Anyway, I saw this picture online this morning and was immediately struck by the bright blue hydrangea. I wished my hydrangea looked like that right now.

Then I looked a bit closer at the picture and I realized something…

Those hydrangeas aren’t planted in the ground. They are in decorative urns and planters.

I bet they bought those at a nursery already in bloom and put them out. I bet their neighbors are all still waiting for their plants to burst open.

That gave me an idea…

If your house is on the market and you want to benefit from some bright colorful blooms and make your house stand out from everyone else, get yourself some pretty planters and bright, healthy plants and line your front walk.

Talk about differentiating your home!

And, if your Realtor makes note of it in the listing, you can take the plants and urns with you when you sell the house.

I think this is one of my more genius ideas :-)

My work here is done for the day!

Image: Dying of Cute


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Zillow’s “Make Me Move” Price – My own personal experience

Make Me Move icon

I have written about Zillow in the past here, here and here. I have also written specifically about their Make Me Move feature.

For those of you who are unfamiliar, below is the description Zillow gives for Make Me Move …

Make Me Move Description

Pretty clear what the Make Me Move feature does and a pretty useful feature for anyone trying to gauge buyer interest in their home…right?


As an example, I put a Make Me Move price on one of my rental properties. It’s a cute house, but, if someone were to come along and offer me my Make Me Move price, I’d sell that place in a heartbeat. Now, remember, I am a Realtor, so my Make Me Move price is actually well researched and thought out and not far off from the house’s actual market value. It is also a VERY low price for the community in which the house is located. No sense putting a price on the house that isn’t realistic…it won’t generate any interest OR if someone actually did offer the price, the bank would never appraise it to that value and that would be a waste of time for everyone. But, I digress…

Since listing the Make Me Move price for the past six months, my house has gotten two basic inquiries…

The first is from Realtors who’ve had clients who’ve seen the house on Zillow and have asked their agent if they can see it. The Realtors call to see if I will pay them a commission if they bring their clients to see the house, even though it was the client who actually found the house themselves. When I say it depends on the final sale price of the house, their clients “magically” lose interest.

The second and far more prevalent inquiry I get is from Realtors who don’t realize I too am a local Realtor and are offering to sell my house for me. They send me emails telling me they’d love to “help me” and they will get my house sold far faster than Zillow alone and blah, blah, blah. When I tell them that I too am a Realtor and that, while I won’t be using their service to list my house on the MLS, they should feel free to bring by any of their interested clients and I will pay them a commission. Again, they “magically” lose interest once they find out they won’t be the listing agent.

Through no fault of Zillow, the Make Me Move feature has basically become a hunting ground for Realtors.

So, my six month Make Me Move track record consists of…

  • 2 Buyer inquiries via their Realtors
  • 8 Realtor inquires to become the listing agent 
  • 34 Buyers have saved the house a “Favorite”
  • 0 Offers

To date, nobody has Made Me Move!

Images: Zillow

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