A MOVIE THEATER IN DOWNTON WESTPORT? YES TALL BUILDINGS DOWNTOWN? NO

September 13th, 2011

I DID SIGN THE PETITION IN FAVOR OF THE MOVIE THEATER IN TOWN BUT DID NOT  REALIZE THE IMPLICATION OF MY SIGNATURE BECAUSE THE PETITIONER NEVER MENTIONED A CHANG OF ZONE REGULTION. I DO WANT A THEATER IN OUR DOWN TOWN BUT NOT AT THIS PRICE.

THE WESTPORT ‘S PLANING AND ZONING COMMISSION WANTS TO ALLOW A FLOATING OVERLAY ZONE IN DOWN TOWN WESTPORT ( AMENDMENT # 637 ).

THIS WOULD ALLOW: TALLER BUILDINGS

                                                      LARGER BUILDINGS

                                                     MORE BUILDINGS

WESTPORT IS A VERY DESIRABLE COMMUNITY BECAUSE OF THE UNIQUE DWONTOWN, SCHOOLS AND RECREATIONAL FACILITIES.

SPECIFICALLY OUR SMALL DOWNTOWN MAIN STREET AREA WITH ITS NEW ENGLAND STYLE IS ONE OF THE MOST SELLING POINT TO NEW BUYERS WHO ARE LOOKING TO RELOCATE.

WE ALREADY LOST SO MANY LOCAL “MOM AND pOP” STORES DUE TO HIGH RENTS, LIKE THE REMAEKABLE BOOK STORE, BILLY’S SMOKE SHOP, WESTPORT HARDWARE, MURIEL DINER , THE LIST GOES ON AND ON.HOWEVER, EVEN THOUGH THE SPECIFIC TENANTS CHANGED, THE CHARMINGLOOK OF THE DOWNTOWN DID NOT. THE AMENDMENT 637 WILL CHANGE WESTPORT FOREVER.

AS A REALTOR I MUST SAY THAT THIS WILL BE A HUGE MISTAKE FOR OUR PROPERTY VALUE. I CAN’T BELIEVE THAT THEY WANT US TO LOOK LIKE LONG ISLAND OR A SMALL NEW YORK.

EVEN THE HEADS OF THE WESTPORT CINEMA INITIATIVE TESTIFIED THAT THEY DO NOT WANT OR NEED REGULATION 637.

I URGE ALL OF YOU TO THE MEETING ON THURSDAY , SEPTEMBER 15 AT 7:30 AT WESTPORT’S TOWN HALL AUDITORIUM.

TELL THE P&Z TO KEEP BUILDINGS SMALL IN DOWNTOWN WESTPORT!

Labor Day

August 31st, 2010

Labor Day is a United States Federal holyday observed on the first Monday in September. The holiday originated 1n 1882 as a Central Labor Union ( of New York City ) sought to create “a day off for the working man”. Congress made Labor Day a federal holiday in 1894. All fifty states have made Labor Day a state holiday.

Traditionally, Labor Day is celebrated by most Americans as the symbolic end of the summer.

Labor Day has been celebrated on the first Monday in September in the United States since the 1880s. The form for the celebration of Labor Day was outlined in the first proposal of the holiday–a street parade to exhibit to the public “the strenght and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations,” followed by a festival for the workers and their families. This became the pattern for Labor Day celebrations. Speeches by prominent men and women were introduced later, as more emphasis was placed upon the economic and civil significance of the holiday. Still later, by a resolution of the American Federation of labor convention of 1909, the Sunday prededing Labor Day was adopted as Labor Sunday and dedicated to the spiritual and educational aspects of the labor movement.

Today, Labor Day is often regarded as a day of rest and, compared to the May 1 Labour Day celebrations in most countries, paredes, speeches or political demonstrations are more low-key, although especially in election years, events held by labor organizations often feature political themes and appearances by candidates for office. Forms of celebration include picnics, barbecues, fireworks, water sports, and public art events. Families with school-age children take it as the last chance to travel before the end of the summer. Some teenagers and young adults view it as the last weekend for parties before returning to school.  

 

16 Weston Rd, Weston CT – Bucatini alla Matriciana

May 27th, 2010

What’s Cooking in Real Estate: 16 Weston Rd, Weston CT

Michael Greenberg Colonial: Elegant, virtually new Colonial by Michael Greenberg, in a spectacular setting on 3.59 flat acres. Features include: wine cellar, fitness room, pool with spa and pool house, sound system and much more. Weston-Westport line close to Merritt PKY and all Weston-Westport amenities.

Bucatini alla Matriciana – The Roman way

Recipe:  Serves four

1 pound of “Bucatini” ( you can use any type of pasta )

1/3 Pound of diced “guanciale” or very lean salt pork or bacon

2 Tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, I use the “San Giugliano” for all my cooking

½ Teaspoon of red pepper or more if you like spicy

1 4 oz glass of white wine

½ large Onion sliced thin

½ can of “Scalfani” tomatoes puree or half pound of your favorites tomatoes

3 cups of water

200 g of grated Pecorino or Parmigiano, I use the Parmigiano

Salt to taste

Grease the frying pan with the oil and sauté the diced bacon with onion and red pepper.

Bring all ingredients to a golden color. Pour the wine and after 2 or 3 minutes add tomatoes and water mixing all well. Let all boil for 10 minutes a medium flame.

In the mean time cook the pasta al dente and drain. (Don’t forget to salt the water)

Place the pasta in the frying pan with sauce mixing very well for a minute while cooking.

Remove from flame add the cheese, mix well and serve.

If you don’t have a large frying pan, cook the pasta to taste, drain, place in a serving dish,

add the sauce and mix in the cheese well.

A salad, Italian bread, a glass of Chianti and dinner is served in 20 minutes!

Buon Appetito!

Tim Martin – Coldwell Banker Westport’s in-house Mortgage Loan Officer – Professional Biography

May 25th, 2010

Tim Martin, Senior Loan Officer, NE Moves Mortgage

Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System: License #16273
Connecticut Department of Banking: License #1801

Professional Biography:

Tim has a strong educational foundation including a Bachelor’s of Science degree and a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) in Finance degree cum laude from Rutgers University, School of Business. On this foundation, he has built 10 years of originating and successfully closing over 2,500 residential mortgages nationwide totaling over $350,000,000. With transactions ranging from small rural housing to multimillion dollar estates and clients from all walks of life, Tim specializes in customizing financing to meet his client’s individual needs. His goal is to guide his clients through the ever changing process of obtaining a mortgage while making the experience as smooth and seamless as possible.

Areas of expertise include:

Property types: Single Family dwellings, Townhomes, Condominiums, Co-ops, Manufactured housing, Planned Unit Developments, Multi-Unit properties

Occupancy Types: Primary homes, Secondary/Vacation homes, Investment Properties

Products: Conventional, Jumbo, FHA, VA, CT Housing Finance Authority, First time buyer, Fixed, Adjustable, Interest Only, and many more

A message from Tim:

Choosing the right Loan Officer is an essential component in any successful real estate transaction. I look forward to understanding your needs and matching them with a product that is competitively priced and fully satisfies those needs. Please contact me at 203-917-2800 or via email at Tim.Martin@NEMoves.com to be preapproved, review our current product offerings and interest rates, or discuss any other mortgage needs.

Contact:

Phone: 203-917-2800

Email: tim.martin@nemoves.com

Web site: www.nemmortgage.com/timmartin

photo

9 Bolton Lane, Westport CT – Pasta alla Carla

May 6th, 2010

Pasta alla Carla

In a large skillet put a table spoon of olive oil. Then add…

1 red pepper, cubed

3 cups of sliced mushrooms

Salt and pepper to taste

½ teaspoon of garlic

1-2 cups of water

Cook until tender.

Sprinkle with basil

In a large pot, boil water with 1 tablespoon of salt.

When it is boiling add 1 pound of pasta and reduce flame.

Boil for 4 minutes, scoop 2 cups of water from the pat and drain pasta.

Put the pasta in the skillet with the vegetables and continue to cook until to your taste. Add the water as needed.

I prefer to use the De Cecco or Barilla pasta, any cut is just good, good, good……..

A salad and a glass of Chianti and dinner it’s served in 20 minutes!

Carla Rea proudly presents her newest “What’s Cooking in Real Estate” video at her listing at 9 Bolton Lane in Westport, Connecticut. All great meals start with the right ingredients. Call Carla today and find out how you can put her recipe for success to work for you!

Tips for Marketing Your House to Potential Buyers

April 13th, 2009
As you prepare to sell your home, you may want to devote some time to thinking about your buyers. With new homes listed everyday, homebuyers have plenty of options. However, if you market your house properly, prospective buyers won’t have any trouble finding your home. If you have already found an agent that understands your needs as a seller, you can utilize their knowledge and resources to make your home as attractive as possible. While you may choose to work very closely with your agent during the marketing process, here are a number of marketing tactics that you can try out on your own. 

One of the most important steps in marketing your home may be taking photographs. As many home buyers and real estate agents conduct their initial research online, a flattering collection of photos is helpful to include with your listing. Begin your photo shoot outside the home and try to snap pictures that highlight your home’s best features. As you want your home to be focus of all the photos, remove cars from the driveway and try to clear plants that block a view of your front door. Begin with photos of the entire property – cropping out the sidewalk and street – and move in to take close-up pictures of exterior features.

 

Inside the home, you should take at least one photograph of every room. Though you may choose not to display every room in your listing, you may find some great images where you least expect. As you prepare to photograph the interior of your home, you should open all of the blinds or curtains and turn on lights in each room. You may also want to remove certain items – such as personal photos and undesirables like garbage cans – before taking photos. In the kitchen and dining room, consider placing floral arrangements on the table to add a peaceful atmosphere to the space. As you move room to room, focus on the most interesting aspects of each room – be it a large closet in a guest bedroom or a fireplace in the living room. When you are finished, the photos you have taken should represent all the best elements of your home.

 

After you have placed your listing with photos, try to work with your agent to place adequate signage on the property. A useful sign should list the agent’s name and contact information and, if necessary, additional contact information for the nearest real estate office. If you reside on a quiet residential street, you may want to ask the neighbor residing on the corner of the nearest busy street if you can place a small, directional sign in their lawn. Lastly, one or more of the photos used in your listing should also be included on the fact sheet available outside your home. This takeaway brochure will typically list the details of your home – number of bedrooms and bathrooms, square footage and lot size – and can also be used during open houses as a reminder to prospective buyers.

 

Depending on how you want to market your home, there are a number of advertising options available to you and your agent. Many homeowners choose to list their properties in local newspapers, typically in special weekend real estate sections. You may also want to look at local real estate publications and check printing dates to see if your home is a good fit. However, even more than print advertisements, the internet features a world of opportunity for home sellers. There are numerous classified sites and databases that prospective homebuyers check daily, many of which offer free listings. You and your agent can also use the internet to publicize your open house and offer additional details that may not have been featured in your print ads.

 

After you have completed your first round of marketing, you and your agent may want to schedule an open house. Granting prospective buyers an opportunity to view your home in person is often one of the most important steps in selling a home. Prior to the open house, your agent can actively seek for prospective buyers. If an interested buyer or agent is unable to visit your open house, your agent can also arrange private tours to make sure all prospective buyers have a chance to see your home.

 

While there is certainly no guarantee that any specific marketing tactics will sell your home, utilizing some of the above mentioned tactics will help increase the odds of prospective buyers finding your home – and getting them to your front door is the first step in making the sale.

 

 

 

 

Positive impact on Home Value

March 13th, 2009

Understand first of all that there IS a difference between price and value. Price is the amount you are asking for the property. Value is buyer perceived, and this perception of value is influenced by many factors such as location, features, condition, comparison to other purchase option, etc. By attending to details that can have a positive impact on the value, sellers can significantly increase their chance of attracting qualified buyers willing to pay the asking price.

Some tips to achieve a positive impact on value are:

 

  • Perceived size impacts value, even more so than actual square footage. Open floor plans make a room feel bigger than larger spaces with smaller rooms. Showing property that is furniture free, or at reduced clutter, helps to make the space feel bigger.
  • Vacancy increases sale-ability. Property is easier to show and easier to sell, and quicker to take possession of when it is vacant at the time it is offered for sale. Evidence of problems to take possession of the property — such as encroachments, or tenants who wont allow buyer tours — negatively impact value. Vacancy also helps the buyer walk through the property imagining ownership. Cosmetics are important.
    • Fresh paint will always add more value than it costs.
    • Clean or new carpet/flooring adds more value than it costs.
    • Landscaping adds more value than it costs. At the very minimum, make the entrance area neat.
    • If you can, add some colorful flowers and new sod.
  • Take care of the obvious! The spot on the ceiling from the roof leak takes thousands of dollars from the perceived value and the offer price.
  • Condition affects value. Do a seller’s home inspection to identify and fix the problem BEFORE closing. No point holding up your check a few extra days; plus a failed buyer’s inspection could cost you the sale. Buyers will often bargain down your asking price to accomodate for property condition and repairs.
  • If you can, remodel/update the kitchen and master bathroom. These two areas have a big impact on home buying decisions.
  • Strategic renovations impact value and your bottom line. Don’t spend more money to renovate the place than you can recapture in value on the sales price.

 

Westport: Westport Planning and Zoning Comm.will hold a Public Hearing

March 4th, 2009

Subject: Alert – Westport Planning and Zoning Hearing 03/12 – Proposed Zoning Amendment

 

Westport Planning and Zoning Commission will hold a Public Hearing 

THIS NOTIFICATION IS PART OF CAR’s MUNICIPAL ACTION PROGRAM (MAP) TO ASSIST LOCAL ASSOCIATIONS IN INFLUENCING COMMUNITY DECISIONS IMPACTING ITS MEMBERSHIP AND LOCAL PROPERTY OWNERS

 

The Town of  Westport Planning and Zoning Commission has scheduled the following items for public hearing in Town Hall, 110 Myrtle Avenue on Thursday, March 12, 2009, at 7:00 P.M.

 

>Amendment #591:  Appl. #09-017 by the Westport Planning and Zoning Commission  to amend Section 11-2.3.14, Res. AAA, to allow Inclusionary Two-Family and Multifamily Dwellings as a Special Permit Use; Section 21-2.2, Restricted Professional Office District (RPOD), to allow Inclusionary Two-Family and Multifamily Dwellings as a Special Permit Use; to modify Section 21-8.4, FAR, to allow an FAR of 0.5; Section 22-2.2, Restricted Office –Retail District (RORD), to allow Inclusionary Two-Family and Multifamily Dwellings as a Special Permit Use; to modify Section 22-7, Building Area, to allow a building within the RORD to have more than eight dwelling units; to modify Section 22-8.4, FAR, to allow an FAR of 0.5; Section 23-2.2.1, Restricted Business District (RBD), to allow Inclusionary Two-Family and Multifamily Dwellings as a Special Permit Use; to modify Section 23-8.2, FAR, to allow an FAR of 0.5; Section 24-2.2.8, General Business District (GBD), to allow Inclusionary Two-Family and Multifamily Dwellings as a Special Permit Use; to modify Section 24-8.2, FAR, to allow an FAR of 0.5, to add language that any floor area above the maximum allowable FAR shall be used for dwelling units only, to add language that a dwelling unit cannot be changed back to non-residential use and to add language that parking and loading shall be excluded from the FAR; Sections 26-1.3 and 26-2.2.1, Design Development District (DDD), to allow Inclusionary Two-family and Multi-family Dwellings in accordance with Section 32-12; Section 28-2.2.2, Business Preservation District (BPD),  to allow Inclusionary Two-Family and Multifamily Dwellings as a Special Permit Use; to modify Section 28-2.3, FAR, to allow an FAR of 0.5; Section 29-2.2.4, Business Center District (BCD), to allow Inclusionary Two-Family and Multifamily Dwellings as a Special Permit Use; Section 29A-2.2, Business Center District / Historic (BCD/H), to allow Inclusionary Two-Family and Multifamily Dwellings as a Special Permit Use; Section 32-12, Two-Family and Multi-family Dwellings, to add “Inclusionary” to title, to expand that zoning districts where this use is permitted to the GBD and BCD/H zoning districts, to add language to allow this use on any lot that is split residential and non-residential zones listed, to add language requiring a 2/3 vote of the 7 members of the Planning and Zoning Commission, to require that 20% of the of the units designated as “affordable”; Section 32-12.1, Lot Area and Shape, to remove minimum lot size for the use; Section 32-12.2, Density, to allow an additional 6 bedrooms per gross acre for affordable units and to limit the number of units per acre to 18; Section 32-12.3.3, Bonus, to allow one additional dwelling unit not to exceed 2 bedrooms or 2 additional bedrooms for a development which provides all units as rental units; Section 32-12.2.3, to add the title “Bedrooms”; Section 32-12.3, Setbacks, to change word “street’ to “front lot” line, to require the rear setback be the same as that required in the underlying zoning district instead of 15 feet, to allow a minimum front setback of 20 feet if no parking is in the front of the building and to eliminate the setback from a residential zone line within a split lot; Section 32-12.4, Height, to add language stating that the permitted height in a BPD and BCD/H zone is that which is allowed in the underlying zone, to expand standard to allow 3 stories and 35 feet if a building has at least 1/3 residential use, and to clarify that the height in the underlying zone is required if a building has less than 1/3 residential use; Section 3-12.5, Coverage, to add language that the building coverage in the non-residential district shall not exceed an additional 5% that which is allowed in the underlying zone; to add language that the building coverage in the residential portion of the property cannot exceed 25% of the area within the residential district, to add language that within the BCD and BCD/H zoning districts the coverage is that which is permitted in the underlying zone and to add language requiring the maximum total coverage on the lot to be 70%; Section 32-12.6, Building Spacing, to add language to require 10 feet between buildings; Section 32-12.7, Floor Area, to require that no floor shall exceed an area of 2,500 SF in the residentially zoned portion of the lot, to expand the standards to require the average gross floor area of all dwellings cannot exceed 1,200 square feet; Section 32-12.7.3, Floor Area, to clarify that all non-residential uses must be in the non-residential portion of the property, to expand the standards to allow an FAR of 0.5, except in the BCD and BCD/H, and to require that at least 40% of the existing non-residential floor area as of the effective date of the amendment must remain on site; Section 32-12.8, Architectural Design, to add language to the architectural design standards and to require Public Waterfront Access on sites adjacent to the Saugatuck River; Section 32-12.9, Signs, to reference standards in Section 33; Section 32-12.10, Parking,  to reference standards in Section 34; Section 32-12.11, Landscaping, Screening and Buffer Areas, to reference standards in Section 35 and to require a 15 foot wide buffer strip adjacent to any residential lot abutting the development and to reference standards in Section 44-5.5; Section 32-12.12, Utilities, to add language on storm drainage facilities; Section 32-12.13, Change of Use, to modify section number; Section 32-12.14, Affordabililty Requirements and Plan, to add a section identifying there is an Affordable Housing Requirement and to identify there is a requirement for submission of an Affordability Plan and Section 32-12.15, Traffic Analysis, to add a section identifying there is a requirement to submit an Traffic Analysis.

 

 

       

 

                                        

Final score $ 8,000 for homebuyers

February 19th, 2009

Final score: $8,000 for homebuyers

First-time purchasers get a tax credit windfall if they buy before December.

A big plus is that the credit is refundable, meaning tax filers see a refund of the full $8,000 even if their total tax bill – the amount of witholding they paid during the year plus anything extra they had to pony up when they filed their returns – was less than that amount. But there has been a lot of confusion over this provision. Adam Billings of Knoxville, Tenn. wrote to CNNMoney.com asking:

I will qualify as a first-time home buyer, and I am currently set to get a small tax refund for 2008. Does that mean if I purchased now that I would get an extra $8,000 added on top of my current refund?”

The short answer? Yes, Billings would get back the $8,000 plus what he’d overpaid. The long answer? It depends. Here are three scenarios:

Scenario 1: Your final tax liability is normally $6,000. You’ve had taxes withheld from every paycheck and at the end of the year you’ve paid Uncle Sam $6,000. Since you’ve already paid him all you owe, you get the entire $8,000 tax credit as a refund check.

Scenario 2: Your final tax liability is $6,000, but you’ve overpaid by $1,000 through your payroll witholding. Normally you would get a $1,000 refund check. In this scenario, you get $9,000, the $8,000 credit plus the $1,000 you overpaid.

Scenario 3: Your final tax liability is $6,000, but you’ve underpaid through your payroll witholding by $1,000. Normally, you would have to write the IRS a $1,000 check. This time, the first $1,000 of the tax credit pays your bill, and you get the remaining $7,000 as a refund.

To qualify for the credit, the purchase must be made between Jan. 1, 2009 and Nov. 30, 2009. Buyers may not have owned a home for the past three years to qualify as “first time” buyer. They must also live in the house for at least three years, or they will be obligated to pay back the credit.

Additionally, there are income restrictions: To qualify, buyers must make less than $75,000 for singles or $150,000 for couples. (Higher-income buyers may receive a partial credit.)

Applying for the credit will be easy – or at least as easy as doing your income taxes. Just claim it on your return. No other forms or papers have to be filed. Taxpayers who have already completed their returns can file amended returns for 2008 to claim the credit.

Lukewarm reception

The housing industry is somewhat pleased with the result because the stimulus plan improves on the current $7,500 tax credit, which was passed in July and was more of a low-interest loan than an actual credit. But the industry was also disappointed that Congress did not go even further and adopt the Senate’s proposal of a $15,000 non-refundable credit for all homebuyers.

“[The Senate version] would have done a lot more to turn around the housing market,” said Bernard Markstein, an economist and director of forecasting for the National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB). “We have a lot of reports of people who would be coming off the fence because of it.”

Even so, the $8,000 credit will bring an additional 300,000 new homebuyers into the market, according to estimates by Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors.

The credit could also create a domino effect, he said, because each first-time homebuyer sale will lead to two more trade-up transactions down the line. “I think there are many homeowners who would be trading-up but they have had no buyers for their own homes,” Yun said.

Who won’t benefit, according to Mark Goldman, a real estate lecturer at San Diego State University, are those first-time homebuyers struggling to come up with down payments. The credit does not help get them over that hurdle – they still have to close the sale before claiming the bonus.

One state, Missouri, is trying to get around that problem by creating a short-term loan on the tax credit of up to $6,750. The state would loan borrowers the money so they could use it at closing as part of the downpayment. Then, when the buyers receive their tax credit from the IRS, they pay back the state. Other states may follow with similar programs, according to NAHB’s Dietz.

Many may look at the tax credit as a discount on the home price, according to Yun. A $100,000 purchase effectively becomes a $92,000 one. That can reassure buyers apprehensive about purchasing and then watching prices continue falling, he added.

And it provides a nice nest egg for the often-difficult early years of homeownership, when unexpected repairs and expenses often crop up. Recipients could also use the money to buy new stuff for their home – a lawnmower, a rug, a sofa – and, in that way, help stimulate the economy.

 

Frozen Pipes

January 14th, 2009

Frozen Pipes Mean Major Trouble

One of the worst disasters that can strike a home is a burst water pipe and the leading cause of it is a pipe that freezes during frigid winter weather. When water freezes, it expands and the pipe ruptures. And according to the American Red Cross, the problem is frequent in warmer areas of the country where buildings are not well insulated. Water from burst pipes ruins floors, walls, furniture and electronic equipment in over 250,000 homes every year. Here are some steps you can take to keep it from happening to you. Shut off water to outside faucets and drain the water remaining in the pipes. Insulate water lines that run through attics and crawl spaces. You can get the supplies you need at any home center. Make sure that there is heat in every part of the house where pipes are routed. If you plan to be away during the cold weather months, don’t try to save money by shutting off the heat. Reduce the thermostat to no lower than 55° F. And make sure you know where your main shut-off valve is and learn how to use it. If your home needs more protection for water damage, fire or other risks, call NRT Insurance Agency at 1-888-717-1776 or go to .  www.nrtinsurance.com