It’s baacckkk…my house flipping itch

I found a chart this morning which lists the top 25 markets for flipping homes…

It merely served to re-ignite my flipping itch.

Is my area on the list? No.

Is my area cost effective for flipping? Not even close.

WIll that dampen my desire to flip a house? Not in a million years.

I. Need. To. Flip. A. House.

best flipping mkts

Image: RealtyTrac


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A perfect house for me…

A busy morning today…have to be at my son’s school before 9am to read a book to his class and the day unfolds from there.

Don’t have time to write anything…BUT…a picture is worth a 1,000 words.

Here is one of the most perfect houses I’ve ever seen.

This house has EVERYTHING I love…the atlantic ocean right outside the back door, perfectly faded cedar shingles, lots of windows and a front door in a fabulously perfect color…all located on an island off the coast of Maine (my favorite place).

Enjoy the view!



Image: Housekaboodle
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Little things that make a BIG difference – Doorbells & Knockers

doorbellWe have no “guest announcement system” at our house.

Guest Announcement System = doorbell or door knocker

Whenever anyone comes to our house, they have to knock (and knock hard) on our heavy wooden door. A lot of folks tap energetically on the small glass windows at the top of our door because that makes more noise.

When kids come over to play with my son, they usually just pound on the door since they can’t reach the windows at the top. With the way some of them pound, it’s probably a blessing in disguise that they can’t reach the glass at the top :-)

Why do we have no ”guest announcement system”?

Because when we moved into our house the doorbell was no longer working so we removed it and then we never got around to choosing (or shall I say agreeing upon) a door knocker. We are really more knocker types vs. doorbell types. Not sure why, we just are.

Any way, it’s very clear our lack of either device stymies and perplexes our arriving guests. Even people who’ve been to our house several times seem to have a moment of nervous hesitation at the front door. I think people feel that knocking on the glass windows is somehow intrusive. I know I feel that way at other people’s homes.

That’s simply no way to properly greet an arriving guest.

It also makes our home entryway seem somehow incomplete so I am now on the quest for the perfect knocker.

If your house is on the market, make sure your ”guest announcement system” is up to snuff. Is the little plastic doorbell button broken? Then replace it. Does the doorbell no longer work? Then replace it. If you have a knocker, what condition is it in? If it’s anything less than gorgeous, replace it.

Your doorbell or door knocker represent the very first greeting potential buyers will have at your home so make it a warm, welcoming and perfect greeting.

Image: The Burlap Bag


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Do my shutters make people shudder?

Spring HillOne of the things I thought the LEAST about when I renovated my home were the shutters. I knew I wanted them, but beyond that, I didn’t put much thought into them, their design, or their placement. As I am sitting typing this I asked my husband if he remembered anything about our shutters and all he said was, “I think we re-used the ones that were already on the house when we bought it.” He is most likely correct!

The reason I bring this up is because I was reading a blog post on shutters today on Maria Killam’s blog, Colour Me Happy. She wrote about having bought shutters for her home and how they didn’t look right when they were delivered. She also touched upon the role of size and placement of shutters.

After I read the post, I got to thinking…are there rules for shutter placement?

If there are, we certainly didn’t follow them at my house!

BUT, I kind of like the way my house looks, so perhaps even without following the rules, maybe I happened do the right thing, unbeknownst to me?

After googling the topic of “shutters”, I quickly came to the conclusion that EVERY shutter on my home is an egregious affront to shutter-dom.

Evidently, according to several different architects, there is a correct way to do shutters and an incorrect way. My house is incorrect all the way, baby!

For the real shutter purist, the shutters must be mounted to the house on hinges so that they could be opened and close and actually used for their original colonial purpose of closing out the elements. Even if you never open and close them, they must be mounted that way for them to be acceptable. That said, many  architects will acquiesce, and say as long as they look like they could close, then you are close enough.

The basic rules of shutters (summed up after reading several articles) are:

  1. Each shutter MUST be half the width of the window so that, in giving the appearance of being closed, they are credible
  2. They should not be mounted from top of the window trim to the bottom of the window trim but rather the top of the window casing to the bottom, again to give the appearance of credibility if they were to be closed
  3. Bay windows, picture windows, and any oversized window of any kind should NEVER have a shutter
  4. Specially shaped windows, such as palladium, should never have a shutter
  5. If you cannot put shutters on either side of a window, then DO NOT put shutters on the one open side
  6. Even if the shutters do not open and close, they should give the appearance that they could and they should be installed at a tilt off the window frame and a “shutter dog” (the curlicue thing-y that holds a shutter back) should be installed. Shutters should never be screwed directly into the siding.

There are probably more rules, but those are the ones that stuck with me.

As you can see from the picture above, my house should not have ANY shutters as all my windows are oversized. Personally, I think my house would be far less attractive without shutters and I am going to leave them exactly where they are…screwed into the siding and clearly unable to to cover the windows they flank!

C’est la vie! We are just going to be shutter outlaws!

If you aren’t as much of a rebel as I :-) , and would like to better understand shutter rules, here are a couple of the better articles I referenced…find them here and here.

If your house is on the market, take a step and look at your house from a distance. While you don’t have to follow the shutter rules exactly, you should assess whether your shutters are appropriate to your house and if you don’t have any shutters, you might want to consider getting some as they truly do make for a more finished look.



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Sunday snooping time! They paid how much for that house?!?

I am including as a source for property transfers (by town). Originally I did not want to use this as a source because the pages don’t always load properly. I use a Macbook Air and my preferred browser is Chrome and unfortunately the way the real estate sales are coded, the pages appear blank on my computer. If I want to see the pages, I have to switch browsers to Safari. If you pull up the pages and nothing appears, switching browsers may do the trick. Good luck and happy snooping!



Fairfield #1 & #2






The Master ListDarien, Greenwich, New Canaan, Norwalk, Redding, Ridgefield, Stamford, Westport, Wilton

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Well said…

statement door quote CH

As I mentioned, we were recently sprucing up one of our rental houses for its next tenant.

The house we were sprucing happens to be my sweet little cape with the cheery apple-green door. I love that door. Of all the doors I own, it’s my absolute favorite and that includes my own house that I live in. The green color came out exactly as I had hoped…which, unfortunately, is not always the case with me :-(

This particular house has a door in the front (it’s apple-green) and a much-more-often-used door at the side of the house next to the driveway and garage. That door is painted white.

As I was at the house getting it ready and before I found my super-duper Landlord secret weapon, I was quite dismayed at the all grimy fingerprints on the white paint on this much-used side door. I mentioned to my husband that we should paint the door apple-green too so it would hide the dirty fingerprints.

His immediately looked at me as if I were crazy and said, “No, THAT would be weird. It will take away from the front door. When you have such a unique color at the front of the house, all the other doors must remain white. Only one statement door per house or it’ll start to look weird.”

The guy is a genius, one of the many reasons I love him. Until he said it, it didn’t occur to me that the two doors would compete. Why do I always miss the obvious?

In any event, words of decorating wisdom from a very unlikely source…

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Weekly Sales Snapshot – 4/18/14




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

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A very proud wife…

I know this is a blog about real estate, but, as a proud wife, I am focusing on a very [accurately] flattering write-up about my husband’s radio station.

WXPK, The Peak, 107.1…whatever you want to call it, is a truly well done radio station. I listen to it all day, every day. You may think I am biased (perhaps I am), but according to the write-up at the link listed below, I am not the only one who thinks it’s the best station in the tri-state area.

peak logoFor background, 10 years ago, my then-boyfriend-now-husband was the second person hired at the not-yet-on-air-station. The first person hired was a salesperson who was charged with selling what was, at the time, an undeveloped radio concept. My husband, Chris, was hired as the Program Director to give him something to sell. It was a true blank slate if ever there was one! As any person faced with one knows, blank slates are both liberating and completely scary all at the same time.

Chris immediately set to developing a personality for the station through its music selections, on-air voices and promotional sweepers announcing the station. All I remember from that period of time were the long work hours for my then-boyfriend and a lot of discussion on what The Peak could and should be. Let’s face it, radio is a ruthless business. One misstep and your fans immediately push the proverbial (and literal) button. Prior to listening to The Peak, I was a ruthless station changer myself. One blah song or annoying DJ comment and I was out of there fast and on to the next station.

My husband will be the first to interject that his best stroke of luck, by far, were the few talented veteran radio people who saw the potential for this little station and joined the team early on. DJ Jimmy Fink (a very well known radio guy from my own radio listening days of youth!), Music Director and DJ Rob Arrow and the late Caroline Corley all jumped in feet first. They probably didn’t really know what they were jumping into at the time, but they just knew they wanted to be part of it. Whatever it was. A truly talented group if ever there was one!

Today, this very same group of folks [with the exception of Caroline, may she rest in peace, who was replaced on-air by her very own protege, the young and very talented Chris Rodriguez, aka "Coach"] have all made this the #1 local station among adults aged 25-54.

The Peak is such a trusted old friend now, it’s hard to remember when it was just an idea and conversation.

Imagine that…the New York tri-state area is the biggest listening market in the ENTIRE country and my very own husband has created something so popular within its own backyard.Chris

This is just my own moment of deference and respect for my husband Chris. He’s quick to deflect attention and lay the laurels of success at everyone else’s feet (one of the 10 million reasons I married him). BUT, as far as I am concerned, he created this station and lead it to the #1 place it is today. Yes, with help from many talented people, but he was the one steering the ship. That’s a bigger job than he will ever allow himself to take credit for.

Now, how do I wrap this back around to real estate?

Hmmm, well, if you’ve just moved to the area and are looking to find a group of people that you’d like to hang out with and get to know, tune into The Peak. I promise you will not be disappointed.

FInd the very flattering article here.

If you are out of the tri-state area and would like to hear The Peak, please click here.

The above reflects the opinion of one very proud wife. If anyone wants to argue share numbers, popularity quotients and all that I have asserted above, please feel to call me directly. I will be happy to tell you EXACTLY what I think of your opinion ;-)
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Chalkboard Paint…One woman’s opinion…Part 2

chalkboard bedroom

I recently wrote a post about the use of chalkboard paint. I talked about how it’s all the rage and yet, I simply do not get the concept.

My biggest concern with it is the erased chalk residue left behind in the air and on surfaces. When you erase chalk, it doesn’t disappear, it merely redistributes, in a smaller form, elsewhere.

As a mom, my first concern was that the newly distributed chalk dust would make a beeline for my son’s lungs.

As a homemaker, yes, I used the archaic word homemaker because I couldn’t think of another one (cut me some slack it’s 7:30am)…but I digress…as a homemaker, it’s hard enough for me to keep my house even remotely clean, adding chalk dust to mix would certainly throw me over the proverbial house-cleaning edge.

Well, as I was reading my mid-week newsletter from Houzz, I happened upon a ranch redesign As the owner of a ranch (and I am looking to make it bigger) I read anything I can about the subject.

As I was reading the article, I came across a picture [above] of the bedroom of the 10-year-old resident of the house. It was painted ENTIRELY in chalkboard paint.

Does it look cool? Absolutely.

Is it a big chalk dust festival? Probably.

All I have to say is, that’s a brave mom that lives in that house.

Chalkboard paint is still not going to happen at my house…one woman’s opinion (again).

Image: Sarah Greenman



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Little things that make a BIG difference – Shower Curtains

shower curtainRecently I have been showing a lot of vacant houses. Not for any particular reason, it’s just sort of a random coincidence that they are empty. Some of the houses have been vacant rentals and some have been houses for sale where the owner has already moved out.

Either way, the one thing that is certain is there is a particular starkness or a “emotional coldness” to an empty house.

Another thing I’ve noticed is that when a bathroom is “vacant”, it doesn’t feel as clean. I have no idea why, but that’s just MY overall impression. Now, new construction doesn’t feel that way, but a vacant house that was once lived in most often does.

Even if it has been cleaned from stem to stern, there still maybe a lingering film of soap scum that won’t come off the tiles. Or, maybe the tub isn’t as glossy as it once was after years of cleaning. Whatever it is, I just always feel like I can “sense” the prior person living in the house and that’s just not ideal.

I think one way to warm things up and distract from the sense of the prior inhabitant, is to put up a fresh clean shower curtain. Perhaps something bright and fun if the bathroom is primarily white. Or, maybe something clean and neutral if the bathroom fixtures have color. Whatever it is, it should be clean and crisp and new.

Also, if you can, make it fabric. Fabric lends an elegance to the situation. But even if it is plastic, just make it brand new.

The objective is to deflect the eye from the imperfections of the bath. When there is nothing but blank fixtures, it is human nature to concentrate on them. If there’s a fun, splashy shower curtain, people viewing the home won’t focus so hard on what’s not perfect.

Remember the old adage that “Kitchens and bathrooms sell a house”? Believe me, it’s true!

So, if you have a house on the market for sale or rent and it’s vacant, put up a nice shower curtain, it may just bring the needed panache you need to get the deal done.

Image: Garnet Hill



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