Friday, March 11, 2011

Looking at Resale Value when Purchasing

Location – Local Community, Town or City

The first step in searching for a home involves selecting the community in which you want to live. There are many factors to which you should pay attention, not only for yourself, but because at some point you may need or want to resell the house. Carefully choosing your community is the first step in "location, location, location" and can help maximize your future potential resale value.

Economic Stability

When choosing a community for your purchase, it makes the most sense to buy in a town or city with a viable and stable economy. Five, ten, or even fifteen years from now – when you want to sell your home – you can have a reasonable expectation that your community will still be a desirable place to live.

Determining the character of the town or city in which you want to live should be high in your search criteria. In addition to residential neighborhoods, are you looking for a mixture of commercial and business districts, or would you prefer to live in a more rustic environment away from commercial interests? Businesses provide jobs to the local residents, and also add an income source that the city can use to upgrade and maintain roads and city services. Purchasing in a rural community will allow you to avoid the noise and hustle and bustle of more commercial towns but it may also come with higher taxes to make up for lack of commerce.

I suggest getting a lay of the land-take a drive and see how well the community is maintained. You have probably heard of "pride of ownership" when referring to an individual home or an automobile. Look to live in a town that demonstrates community pride, as well.

Local Government Services

In addition to community pride, check on the services provided by local government. One example would be the local library system. Are there several library branches? Do they stock a good selection of books, cds, dvd's, etc.?

You should also look into local crime statistics and see how the city compares to the national average and other local communities. Is the police force effective and responsive to community needs? Are fire stations located strategically around the community so that they also can respond quickly in an emergency?

Another area of inquiry is community services. Does the town sponsor youth sports and have well maintained athletic facilities and parks? Do they sponsor community events, such as an annual parade? Are there activities available for children, teenagers and senior citizens?

Your local agent, if he is a good one, will have amassed a wealth of information on these subjects of inquiry.


Even if you do not have school-age children and do not intend to have children, you must pay attention to the local school system. That is because when you sell the property, many of your potential buyers will have concerns of this nature.

You will want to know if the local schools are overcrowded. Take a drive around and see if there are auxiliary trailers outside the local schools. Call up the local school district and see if elementary aged children always attend the school closest to their home. If not, ask why. Are there enough schools to support the local population? If not, are there plans to build new schools? How will building new schools affect local property taxes?

You should also check to see how local students score on the standardized tests. You can ask your agent about these things, but you should also get the local phone numbers so you can ask yourself.

I provide comparable school reports for free on my website at

Property Taxes

Property taxes may be higher in one town than another nearby city. This can sometimes affect whether potential homebuyers view a community as a desirable place to live. Often, they will choose not to purchase in a community with higher taxes, though this decision is not always justified. Higher property taxes often mean newer and more modern schools, well-maintained roads, and bountiful community services.

In addition, you will often find that the "cost per square foot" of homes is lower in cities that have higher property taxes. This means you can buy a bigger house for less money. It may make sense to compare the total cost of owning a home. That is, to determine the monthly costs you can add the cost of a monthly mortgage and add the pro-rated cost of taxes. If resale value is important to you, make property taxes a consideration when choosing the location of your new home.

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Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Early 2011 Waterfront Activity

Early indicators are pointing to increased activity in the Fairfield Beach area in 2011. 2010 saw 8 waterfront properties change title in Fairfield, for an average sale's price of $1,427,422. 7 of these eight sales closed in the second half of 2010.
There are currently 3 direct waterfront properties under binder in the Fairfield Beach area, including two beachfront properties on Fairfield Beach road, and one other home with direct harbor views on Bayedge Court.

Southport(also part of Fairfield) had two harborfront properties sell in 2010: 211 Harbor road sold for $3,050,000; and 935 Harbor Road sold for $5,900,000.

Westport did not fare quite as well as Fairfield in the area of direct waterfront with only 3 reported sales in 2010,for an average sales price of $2,374,833. This included one riverfront property at 143 Riverside Ave. which sold for $1,100,000, one single family home in an association with shared dock at 11 Burritts Landing North ($1,750,000), and finally a home on Bermuda Lagoon with dock located at 30 Surf Road which sold for $4,274,500 ($4,695,000 asking price). There is currently one waterfront property located at 22 Cross Way (asking $4,350,000) which is under contract. One high end property on Bermuda Lagoon recently came back to the market after bindering.

An Overview from Greenwich to Fairfield shows two waterfront properties in Greenwich that are currently under contract, and none in Darien. Greenwich had only one sale recorded on the CMLS in 2010 located at 21 Willowmere Circle in the Riverside district, which sold for $5,887,500 (listed at $7,450,000). Darien actually fared
better than Greenwich with three high end sales last year: 201 Long Neck Point in Noroton sold for $5,850,000; 8 Contentment Island in Tokeneke sold for $6,350,000; and 20 Beverly Place also in Tokeneke sold for $6,300,000.

At the present time there are two Greenwich waterfront properties under contract and none in Darien.