Friday, December 30, 2011

Norwalk Condominiums

Norwalk Condominium sales have been hampered in recent years by a larger than
average inventory, especially in terms of new construction. Much as in the late 1980's the builders seem to have obtained financing and jumped on the bandwagon just as the real estate market was about to change.

The inventory of new and newer condominiums has been slowly decreasing through
sales in the past 2 years. Over the same two year period there has also been a marked increase in the general condominium inventory. With increased inventory and a slightly decreased demand it should not be surprising that both pricing and marketing time have been affected.

The official Multiple Listing Service shows that the Marketing Time for condominiums in Norwalk in 2011 was 152 days, an increase of 32.2% over 2010. That
marketing time may not be a true reflection of the time that should be expected to sell a condo in Norwalk. In 2011 there was 13.7 months of inventory, indicating that
based on 2010 sales it would take that period of time to sell off the inventory. The flip side is that the inventory actually decreased 7.7% from a 14.8 month inventory level in 2010.

The median condominium sales price in Norwalk in 2011 was $255,000. This represented a decrease of 14.4%. There were 185 closed sales, or 35 less than in 2010.

There were some positive signs in the last quarter of the year. Of the 12 condos currently under binder (representing the most recent activity), the average asking price is $288,642. More importantly, of the 30 condos currently under contract the average listing price is $342,100.

Breaking down the aforementioned numbers further, there are 6 properties either under binder or contract in the price range of $350,000-450,000 vs. 28 that sold for all of 2011.

2012 selling figures look poised to be much better than 2011.

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Monday, December 19, 2011

Preparing for the Spring Market

If you’re thinking of selling your home in the spring market, you should start early to get it ready. The first impression left is the one that will remain, so it is best to do it before the house is listed. Depending on the repairs and improvements your home needs, it could take longer than you might expect.

Major overhauls like redoing bathrooms and kitchens aren’t always necessary in order to sell your home. If your bathrooms and kitchen could use updating you should consider whether spending the money to do it will result in a good return on your investment. Your Realtor can help you compare the potential costs and return on your money. The alternative is to price your home based on its current condition. Don’t expect to list it at the same price as the other homes for sale that have had upgrades.

Even if yours doesn’t need updating there are a few minor changes you can make that will have a good return on your investment. The most significant changes you can make include:

-Refinishing floors
-Adding a fresh coat of paint
-Cleaning like there’s no tomorrow

These sound easy to accomplish on paper but getting them done is another matter. You can begin by assessing what needs to be done and doing so early in the year. If you plan on re-carpeting or having other flooring changed, you will need to allow plenty of time to do so before listing your home for sale. Changing the flooring will require moving the clutter first and it is better to paint before redoing the flooring. That means you’ll need to hire a painter and flooring professional in advance.

Updating Flooring

You’ll need to allow time for choosing a flooring specialist to work with. It is best to have an idea of what changes you want to make before meeting with him. Many experienced professionals will be
prepared to give you a quote on the spot, but some will get back to you . If you plan to compare quotes, you will need more time .

Flooring professionals need lead time to order your product and to book their service crew. Some flooring experts will book you within a couple of weeks while others will need several weeks’ notice. Set a target date for your flooring installation with a goal to have it completed a week or two before you want to show your home. Be prepared to take extra precautions after the floors have been done. It is best to remove shoes before entering the house. This will allow new polyurethane to properly harden and will keep your floors in pristine condition.


Recarpeting in certain areas of the house such as the basement or lower level with cement or stone floors are worth doing. However, hardwood floors are far and away the buyer’s preference in our area, and the price differential between hardwood and high quality carpet is not great enough to justify carpet unless leaving the house while floors are being refinished is too great a hardship.


In most cases I advise my clients to get a professional painter. Allow time to get estimates. Choosing the paint colors should not be underestimated. A Realtor with a good eye or a designer can be very useful in choosing colors that will allow your home to show at its best. When in doubt go neutral.


Once the walls are painted and the flooring laid you will need a week or two or two finish de-cluttering closets, crawl spaces, the garage and so forth. You may want to rent a portable storage unit to temporarily remove items from view. You’ll need a week of lead-time for delivery of the bin, a day or two to load it, and another appointment to have it taken away to the storage facility.


The more you can clean the better. You may want to consider hiring a cleaning service to clean specific areas like your appliances or washrooms and kitchen in order to conserve your energy. A professional window washer that cleans both the indoors and outdoors will bring that extra sparkle to your home making it look fresh and new.

Setting Deadlines

In order to achieve the best results in a timely way, it is important to draw up a schedule outlining deadlines:
Start by choosing what you feel is an ideal listing date. Then work backwards.
-Allow a couple of weeks to clean your home and stage your furniture just before showing it and for an appointment with your realtor to finalize your contract.
-Set a deadline for having the flooring completed allowing a six-week period to get the process going.
-Set a two to four week period before that for painting.
-Often floor baseboards need removing prior to flooring changes. Removing, touching them up and reinstalling them will gobble up another day or two.
-Allow at least a week to de-clutter and complete other repairs.

In the past the spring market has been the best time to list a house. This has been even more true in the past couple of years. As you can see, to accomplish even a minor overhaul needs several weeks or months of lead-time.

In today’s competitive real estate market, it pays to be prepared. Spring time will arrive sooner than you think. I would be happy to provide recommendations for contractors and painters. A home that has curb appeal and shows well attracts the best buyers, and as a result, the best offers. Of course I am also available to provide you with a free Comparative Market Analysis to give you an idea of what your home is worth in today’s market.