My new blog…Front Door Freak

My new blog, Front Door Freak, is doing great.

If you love front doors, stop by and take a look.

You can find it here.


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Weekly Home Sales Snapshot – 10/10/14



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


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A pretty front door for Halloween

I had another post all set for today and then I ran across this…

A beauty of a front door, no?!?

I thought it was extra apropos since it was decorated for Halloween.



 You can look at many other pretty front door colors I have featured




herehereherehereherehereherehereherehere & here

Image: The Enchanted Home


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A creative solution to show your house address!

I have written in the past about the importance of being able to easily identify your house number.

A well displayed house number is valuable for many reasons, not the least of which is easy identification in case of an emergency.

That said, it’s not always easy to do.

These folks have made themselves very visable in a fun, unpredictable way!

Hats off to them for making something a bit mundane fun, creative and effective.

yellow-front-door-big number


Image: Shelterness


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Can neighbors help sell a house?

I went to pick my son up from a friend’s house yesterday and his friend’s front yard was festooned with cool Halloween decorations. Witches were flying through trees. Ghosts danced along the front walkway and lovely pots of mums were stashed all around the front entry.front door at Halloween

It was fun just walking to the front door!

I also noticed that the house next door to this house was for sale.

I thought about it and decided the sellers were lucky to have a fun neighbor.


If I were looking at that house for sale, I would think I would be getting really fun neighbors.

Hmmmm, can neighbors really help sell a house?

I say yes!

Above are my own understated Halloween decorations…perhaps I should rethink it since my neighbor’s house is for sale :-)

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Gem of the Week – 80 Phyfe Rd in Fairfield

I have not featured a Gem of the Week in a really long time…shame on me.

These posts take a long time to organize/write and I just haven’t seen anything that I thought justified the effort.

Until now…

This house is in one of the BEST locations in Fairfield. Moments to the train station, to schools and to downtown shopping. You can walk to all! Let’s face it, you can update a house, but you can’t change it’s location. Personally, I will ALWAYS take a house that needs work but is in a great location vs. a completely beautified house in a lesser location. Every. Single. TIme.

Is this house in a superb location? Yes.

Does it need updating? Yes.

Has it been priced to accommodate the needed zhooshing? YES!

Let’s take a look…

front fr curb straighter smaller 17

Really pretty, right?

You’re saying, what is she talking about, THAT house needs no zhooshing…

Built in 1968, this house has been in the same loving family for over 40 years. Look at how pristine it looks. Talk about pride of ownership! That landscaping is meticulous. I love representing a house like this. I never have to worry about what it will look like when people do drive-bys. Around here, drive-bys are huge part of the buying process. Most people start their search on-line. Then they do a drive-by. THEN, they call a Realtor to make an appointment. So if your listing doesn’t past muster on-line or in the drive-by, you don’t typically get an appointment. Searching for real estate is a new frontier…

Anyway, this house has a wonderful flow to it. When you walk through the front door, there is a foyer with generous coat closet that leads you right into the living room. The living room has a wonderful bay window which lets in a ton of light and the room is very graciously proportioned. It is so bright and cheery.

liv rm from kitch 2 smaller 17

liv rm smaller 17

Here’s where the zhooshing comes in. That rug is one of those good old rugs they don’t make anymore. Thick, dense and well-padded. Why do I bring up the quality of the carpet? Is it something you’d want to keep? Probably not. But, I bring it up because its lovely thick density has been protecting stunning hardwood oak floors for 40 years. When these carpets come up, they will reveal stunningly preserved hardwoods. Hardwoods that will have a wonderful quality that only older floors provide. That is a rare find if you ask me. Let’s face it, today’s flooring just doesn’t compare to gorgeous old oak. One, woman’s opinion :-)

Next to the living room is a dining room, which then leads to the kitchen.

DR fr kitch smaller 17

kitchen fr LR4 smaller 17

kitchen fr table smaller 17

The kitchen cabinets are original to the house. While they are in fine shape, they are dated. A quick trip to Ikea could fix that. For not a ton of money, this house could have new cabinets in a day or two.

Also, as you can see in the pictures, there is a wall between the dining room and the kitchen. If it were mine, I’d remove that wall and make a super-size kitchen. I would put french doors where the dining room windows are and I would have them open out to a new deck that overlooks the nature preserve that sits behind the house. More on the nature preserve in a moment. Not to fear in removing the dining room…the living room has more than enough space to accommodate an entertaining area AND a dining area. A big kitchen, with french doors, out to a deck overlooking a preserve and a living room/dining/entertaining area. I call that a win/win/win/win!

RIght around the corner from the kitchen is a small powder room and laundry. If it were mine, I would move the laundry downstairs and make the powder room a full bath. Never hurts to have another full bath, right?!?

Next door to that, is a sweet little den. This is one of my favorite rooms in the house. It is the perfect size. It is warm and cozy and has a working fireplace. It has a door out to the back yard and the back wall is full of windows which overlook the yard and the nature preserve. I bet sitting in that room on a snowy day with a fire roaring in the fireplace is one of the coziest places on earth. The one thing I would change? This is the only room that does not have hardwoods under the carpet. I would put in hardwoods to match the rest of the house and then the room would be perfect!

den fr door win closed 2 smaller 17

den w:green door 2

Off the kitchen hallway is a door to the huge 2-car garage (you’ve got to love an attached garage in bad weather) and another door to the basement.

In this humble Realtor’s opinion, the basement is the secret moneymaker for this house. The house itself is almost 2,200 sqft…sizable even without the basement. The basement, currently unfinished, would add another 1,020 sqft to the house. This basement is wonderfully large, completely dry, has good ceiling height and lends itself perfectly to being finished. For not a ton of money, finishing the basement would make this house almost 3,300 sqft!

Hello!! 3,300 sqft!! That’s a generously sized house!

Moving upstairs, this house has four graciously-sized bedrooms. ALL with those gorgeous old hardwoods! The master has a terrific walk-in closet (unusual for houses built in the ’60s) AND a master bath (also somewhat unusual for houses built in the ’60s).

Master smaller 17

Master w:clsoet & bath

The three other bedrooms are all bright and sunny, very well-sized and all with really generous closets. One of them has a huge walk-in closet AND its own entry to the hall bath. So convenient and nice for the lucky person who gets to live in that room.

office fr window

blue BR fr hall 2 smaller 17

yellow br w:bath

Now, about that nature preserve I mentioned earlier…it sits directly behind this house. Why is that so great, you ask? Because, the stunning wooded view from this meticulously cared for back yard and lovely patio will NEVER change or be developed. The backyard will remain bucolic and private…FOREVER.

back of house w:side yard

back yard shed wider

Stunning, no?!?

This home is rife with potential. To make it even better, all the “heavy lifting” has been done. What does that mean? The furnace and hot water heater were new in 2011. The vinyl siding was done in 2006 and the roof and the oil tank in the basement are from the same era. How great is that…all you have to spend your money on are the cosmetic fun things like floor refinishing, paint and the like.

We did a pretty thorough analysis of the area sales for the last few months. Unlike this house, many of houses had some form of renovation since they had been built. Many of them looked like they had kitchens from ’90s. New? No. Newer than this house? Yes. Most of them sold in the $700Ks. There were also a couple of houses, EXACTLY like this house that had been recently renovated. They both sold in the $850,000 range.

This house was intentionally priced  WELL below those homes and is listed at $650,000. Almost 2,200 sqft, 4 bedrooms, 2 1/2 baths, .22 acre, at the end of a cul-de-sac for only $650,000…oh, silly me, I forgot, it’s in the most convenient, sought-after part of town.

The way I look at it, if you put $100,000 in renovations into this house (and by my calculations as a person who does home renovating, that is a very generous budget for what is needed here), you will be $750,000 out of pocket. You could then turn around and sell the home for $850,000 allowing for a $100,000 margin. By the way, both of the homes that I referenced above that sold in the $850,000 range did so in less than a month! There is a market for this kind of house!

A wonderfully laid-out home, at the end of a cul-de-sac, sitting next to a nature preserve, in one of the best locations in town and priced below other recently sold homes…trust me, if I had the money, I’d buy this one myself!

Why is this the Gem of the Week?

I have never seen a home so loaded with possibility (and ROI)!

front fr curb 2 smaller 17

If you’d like more info on this house or if you’d like to see it, please feel free to contact me through the contact page at the top of this page.


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Weekly Home Sales Snapshot – 10/3/14


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


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I have a new blog launching today

FrontDoorFreakAs I mentioned a while back, I have had an idea for a new blog.

I have been thinking about it for the better part of a year.

It’s a different topic than Gem of the Week and it should come as no surprise to any of the regular readers of Gem that the new blog will focus solely on front doors.

Only front doors?!?

Yes, only front doors…

The reader analytics for my front door posts on this blog are quite impressive. Pinterest has thousands of boards devoted to doors and you’d be hard pressed to find a design blog that hasn’t featured charming front doors more than a few times. Front doors are seemingly quite an obsession for many. I know they are for me :-)

What finally moved me from “just thinking” about the blog, to actually creating it, was a 31 Day writing challenge I came across online. Every day, for the month of October, hundreds of bloggers link up and agree to write about one topic every day for the entire month. I thought it was the perfect venue to launch the blog.

So launch, I did!

Gem of the Week will continue because, as I have mentioned in the past, I have way too many opinions about real estate to keep them to myself :-)

Head over and take a look. It looks very different than this blog and focuses on a different topics.

By the way, the new blog is called Front Door Freak…apropos, no?!?



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A perfect poll for the first day of October…gourds?

I saw a poll on my mid-week edition of Houzz this morning…

Are you a fan of decorative gourds?

I am not.

Pumpkins, yes. Mums, yes. Gourds, not so much.

Here are the results at the time I took the poll. Seems I am in the minority on gourds…

gourds poll


You can take the poll here.

Image: Houzz


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Little things that make a BIG difference – Seasonal Plants

mumsI was at one of my rental houses yesterday just doing some fix-up work and I brought my pooch Edgar with me.

I took a work break and decided to give Edgar a walk up the street just to see what my neighbors had going on.

One of my neighbors had festooned her front steps with gorgeous mums. All different colors and a nice big plant in a terra cotta pot on EVERY step.

It looked gorgeous!

I have a terrific listing that I just put on the market and I think I am going to steal my neighbor’s idea and deck out the front steps with some pretty fall plants.

What a terrific way to welcome buyers to my listing!

If your house is on the market, take a step back and look at your front entry.

Would some bright seasonal plants make for a warm welcome to buyers coming to your house?

Image: Celebrate Creativity


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