Tips on Hosting a Successful Cookout in Your New Home.

bbqSummer is here and you’ve finally moved into your First Home. It’s time to kick back and relax a bit. Cookouts are an awesome way  to begin making great memories with family and friends in your New Home. Here are some tips to a successful cookout that will keep guests wanting to come back for more. Which ones work best for you?

Lawn Games
Lawn games are an essential addition to a successful cookout. They help to break the ice between guests who may not know each other, and can also create some great memories. Croquet, ring toss and badminton are fun games for all ages that can be played as teams or individually. They are also great to help pass the time while food is on the grill!

Requesting that your guests bring their own beverages can ensure everyone has exactly what they want to drink. It can also lower the amount you’re spending and lower the chance of running out of drinks before the party is over. Remember to get plenty of ice to keep all of those beverages nice and cold in a cooler.

Music always helps get the party started. Try making a playlist ahead of time, or finding the right playlist on Spotify or Pandora, to help set the tone for the evening! Pop music, or throwback songs are always a great go-to.

Don’t Light the Grill Too Lategrillin
Lighting the grill too late could mean hungry house guests. Have the grill started just as the guests are arriving, giving them time to settle in and relax. A charcoal grill takes much more time to heat up than a gas grill does, so allow at least a 45-minute window for when you wish to start cooking.

When most people think of cookouts, they think of hamburgers and hot dogs on the grill. Don’t be afraid to spice things up! Adding a few chicken legs with barbecue sauce to the menu is a great choice that people are sure to enjoy if they aren’t in the mood for the standard cookout foods. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Hosting a party is stressful enough without having to worry about preparing all of the food. Ask your guests to bring a few different desserts or sides for dinner. They’ll be flattered you asked for their favorite recipe.

Remember the whole idea is to have fun in your New home. Enjoy!




Pros and Cons of a Homeowners Association

Buying a condominium is a lot different than buying a single family detached condohouse. Compared to a single-family dwelling, buying a condo includes not only ownership of the unit you will live in, it also includes part ownership in the Homeowners Association that governs the complex and manages the common areas shared by all units like the exterior of the buildings, swimming pools, parking lots, and landscaping.


There are mixed opinions on whether or not joining a Homeowners Association, also known as HOA, is a good thing.  Some people like the rules and structure that goes along with it, while others detest being told that they can’t do something with their own property.  It’s important to know exactly what you’re getting into when you decide to live somewhere that is part of a HOA.


The Basics

There are a few basic things you should know about HOAs that can be seen as a pro or a con, but are more based off one person’s opinion than a general consensus.

   1. When you decide to buy a property such as a condo, townhouse, or a home that is part of a gated community, you are required to join that community’s HOA and pay monthly fees to maintain the upkeep of public areas.

   2. HOAs set rules that all residents must follow. These rules are called CCRs or covenants, conditions, and restrictions.  Some of these rules can include what color your front door must be painted or the size and types of pets permitted.

   3. The HOA is likely to enforce the rules. If you were to break them, you will likely be fined.


Here is a list of the pros and cons of living in a home that is part of a Homeowners Association.


  ♦  HOAs maintain the quality of life for everyone that is part of it.

  ♦  They protect property values for all owners.

  ♦  HOAs provide amenities.

  ♦  They reduce your home owning responsibilities.


  ♦  There’s little you can do if you don’t like a rule.

  ♦  If you choose not to follow a rule, you’ll likely be fined.

  ♦  HOA dues can be raised at anytime.

  ♦  A HOA can evict you or foreclose on your home if you don’t pay your dues.

From a mortgage point of view, the value of an individual condo is determined by the market value of the unit and the financial management of the complex by the HOA. When considering buying a condo, potential buyers are well advised to do their homework, and balance the costs of each HOA with the benefits of condo living

Call Me @ 860.945.9284 to discuss the right mortgage option for your family and to take advantage of my FREE Mortgage Pre-Approval service. 




What is a Home Inspection?

The Home Inspection should cover the structural and mechanical condition of the house, including the roof, heating, plumbing, air conditioning and wiring.

A Home Inspection protects you from buying a dwelling with serious, previously unknown problems. Your purchase offer should be contingent on the results of the home inspection, so that if you find major issues, you can walk away from the house with no penalty. And if minor problems are found, you may require the seller to fix them or adjust the price.

A Home Inspection typically costs between $250 and $500.

home inspection3

No Jobs Slows Housing Recovery

“While rising interest rates, inventory shortages and dwindling investor purchases have all weighed on home sales, “fundamentally … the slow pace of the single-family housing recovery reflects steady but unspectacular job growth” according to a recent Harvard University study.

kidsThe lack of jobs, coupled with large student loan debt caused the U.S. home ownership rate to drop again in 2013, thanks in no small part to the fact that 18 million 25 to 34 year old adults were found to be still living with their parents last year helping bring the home ownership rate down to 65.1 percent

It may take 10 years before those 30-somethings and Millennials make their presence known in the owner-occupied market. Until then, continue to expect rents to increase and property values creep up. The market will have changed by then and it will be more expensive to fulfill the American Dream of home ownership.

Now Is the Time to Buy .. if you can.
Call Me @ 860.945.9284 to discuss the right mortgage option for your family and to take advantage of my FREE Mortgage Pre-Approval service. We’re licensed in all 6 New England states; NY & FL too. I’m here to help.

Connecticut Attracts Millionaires, Not First Home Buyers

closedCNBC reports that Connecticut is the 5th Worst State for Business with the fourth-highest cost of doing business, third-highest cost of living and the nation’s second-worst economy. What’s bad for business is bad for the housing market, and the ripple effect is bad for all citizens.

A newly-wed couple was referred to me in April by the bride’s mother who is a member of my BNI Group. They were First Home Buyers and they had done everything right.dream Their wedding last fall was conservative so they could save money to buy a home as soon as possible. They set a budget of how much they wanted to spend for their mortgage payment, taxes and insurance. They were Pre-Approved for a mortgage amount, but it was for more than they felt comfortable committing to. They had good credit, good income from their primary jobs, some student loan debt, but still good DTI. They saved every penny from their part-time jobs for a down payment and closing costs. Everything was going great while they narrowed the search for their dream home.
That was until … you guessed it … she got a Pink Slip. Company says it was due to “lack of work.” She never saw it coming!

Lot’s of broken dreams, lots of tears! Their plans are on hold now while she searches for a newLost job in an economy where quality employment is hard to find. I hope she finds one soon. If not, that little nest egg is going to get smaller as they struggle to make ends meet over the long haul. I can only wish them well and promise to be here when things are back on an even keel for them.

Take a moment to think about the ripple effect this one lay-off has on the economy. A potential seller loses out on an easy sale to qualified buyers, Realtors, attorneys, home inspectors, appraisers, appliance and furniture stores, yes…even mortgage brokers don’t get a pay check either. Just because Connecticut is able to attract millionaires, that doesn’t mean does a good job attracting the business that will attract First Home Buyers.

Why An Experienced REALTOR® Is An Asset for Seniors

seniorsSelling the family home is an emotional experience for Seniors.
I remember that it took my widowed Mom several years to clear the “ghost” of memories and finally decide to downsize. My mother-in-law too finally realized that she no longer had the energy to maintain the empty nest that harbored so many loving memories.
Thankfully an empathetic REALTOR® knew what they were going through. Not only had they worked with older adults in the past, but they also had some tips and tricks to help these seniors through the process

Experienced agents know what you’re going through
Making the decision to change homes can be one of the most emotional moments of a senior’s life, but enlisting the assistance of family, friends and a trustworthy real estate agent may be the best way for older adults to make this transition as seamless as possible.
A professional  REALTOR®  places seniors’ emotional needs and emotions first, dedicating set periods of time to understanding why they’re selling, what they would like to get from the transaction and how to best move forward with seniors’ best interests at the forefront of the selling process.

Some agents go the extra mile to provide for Seniors
Quality real estate agents may go beyond the general requirements of selling a house to help seniors transition to their new homes. Yes, they will help sell your property, but they might also help make the move a lot easier by providing information about the next home; referring you to professionals who can assist with financial planning for the future; even arranging for help in cleaning out the clutter that has accumulated over the years. Additionally, these agents may have information regarding community groups, organizations and recreational clubs for seniors in the area of the new home that can make the transition a little easier.

Are you thinking about moving out of the homestead?
Call Me for referrals to an Experienced REALTOR®who can help.

Why Won’t My Real Estate Agent Answer My Questions?

Home buyers and sellers may sometimes feel that real estate agents or brokers don’t answer their perfectly reasonable questions and concerns. They’re totally justified for feeling this way because, frankly, it’s true.

Buyers and SellersIt may appear that your Real Estate Agent Won’t Answer Your Questions.  It’s not that they don’t know the answer or are giving you the run-around. The fact of the matter is agents MUST be very careful about what they say because there are many Fair Housing Laws that protect the rights of all interested parties.
It’s no secret … real estate agents can’t be forthcoming with some information sought by consumers, even when this information might be critical to their decision process because it’s the law.

Here Are 10 Topics Your Real Estate Agent Won’t Discuss With You:

1.  I won’t answer your questions about other people.  Not the race, color, national origin, religion, familiar status, disability, age, or sexual orientation of neighbors or other principals in the transaction. This would violate federal, state, and local fair housing laws.
2.  I won’t discuss my clients with you.  Not their motivation, urgency for buying or selling, financial situation, or willingness to negotiate. I am required by law and my Code of Ethics to “maintain the confidentiality of clients.”
3.  I won’t disclose my client’s opinion of your home because it may violate my obligation regarding confidentiality. If you or your agent request feedback, however, I will seek permission from my clients to share their opinion of your property with your listing agent, and follow the instructions of my client.
4.  I won’t offer my opinion on legal, tax, or structural matters because I’m licensed real estate agent. I’m NOT an attorney, accountant, or property inspector.  If requested, I will provide you with contact information for licensed attorneys, accountants, or home inspectors that have earned rave reviews from my past clients.
5.  I won’t answer your questions about real estate in another state because I’m licensed only in this state. I will, however, refer you to an agent in that state who can help you.
6.  I won’t discuss your property or its value if I have a present or contemplated interest in the property, unless this interest is specifically disclosed to all affected parties.home inspection
7.  I won’t disclose details about the property condition of my listing unless there are any “material defects,” that I and and the seller are required by law to disclose. That’s what a home inspection is for.
8.  I won’t answer your questions about neighborhood safety because my response may be interpreted as “steering” you toward or away from a neighborhood, which violates Fair Housing Laws. I can refer you to online resources for information on this topic.
9.  I won’t discuss local schools with you for two reasons: 1) Anything I say may inadvertently violate Fair Housing Laws and 2) Information about school boundaries, policies, or programs may change without notice. I can direct you to various websites that do contain factual information about local schools including public, private, and parochial schools, daycare centers, and nearby colleges and universities.
10. I won’t tell you the contract price for a listing that is “under contract,” but not yet settled. In addition to my obligation to maintain the seller’s confidentiality, there is another very practical reason: If the contract fails to close, public knowledge of the previous contract terms could negatively impact my client in future negotiations.

If you feel that your agent is giving you a runaround, don’t be too quick to judge. Tell the agent how you feel and ask WHY he or she won’t tell you what you want to know.