Sep 02


Plainville, CT 06062
2 beds, 2.1 baths, $269,900



  • Listing Information:

    •  Plainville
    •  CT
    •  06062
    •  Plainville
    •  Hartford
    •  $269,900
    •  G694103
    • Condo/Townhouse/Co-Op
    •  Resale/New
    •  Pine Meadow
    •  New
  • Property Information:

    •  Townhouse
    •  2
    •  2.1
    •  2006
    •  1490
    •  Full Basement With Walk-Out
    •  Attached
    •  Assigned
    •  5672
    •  Central Air
    •  Heat: Warm Air; Water Heater: Natur
    •  No
    •  2.0
    •  Deck
    •  No
    •  Ceiling Fan(S), Fireplace, Slider
    •  Dishwasher, Disposal, Dryer, Refrigerator, Washer, Oven/Range
    •  Public Water Connected; Public Sewer Connected;
    •  209
    •  Grounds Maintenance, Management, Snow Removal, Association Insurance
  • Listing School Information:

    •  Wheeler
    •  Plainville
    •  Keller Williams Realty

Aug 29

This Weekend in Connecticut: August 29-31 and September 1, 2014 – Labor Day!

August 29-31 and September 1, 2014

Labor Day

One month left to the summer season and there are all kinds of fun to be had during the Labor Day Holiday Weekend. The Historic Festival 32 Vintage Auto Racing Extravaganza will be a feast for the senses with more than 250 vintage race cars; plus five cars from Ralph Lauren’s private collection at Lime Rock Park in Lakeville (Thursday – Monday). Participate in collecting and examining animals from Long Island Sound on the Marine Life Study Cruises in Norwalk (Friday-Saturday). Or, enjoy West Hartford’s Labor Day Concert featuring The Hartford Pops Band performing Broadway favorites (Monday).

Discover Connecticut’s coastal vineyards along the Connecticut Wine Trail; dine at a local favorite restaurant and sleep in total comfort at the Inn at Harbor Hill Marina with their Wine & Dine Package. Package includes:  Two night stay at the award-winning waterfront bed and breakfast; Candlelit breakfast each morning overlooking the marina; $50 dining gift certificate to your choice of three local favorite restaurants; gift bag with wine glasses and certificate for a wine tour and wine tasting at Jonathan Edwards Winery*; complimentary bottle of wine during your wine tour; coupon for a complimentary gift at nearby Divine Wine Emporium; and complimentary snacks and beverages throughout your stay. Rates from: $445 to $860 per couple based on room choice and season.

More holiday weekend activities:

“Things We Do for Love” -  Westport Country Playhouse, Westport 06880
Experience Alan Ayckbourn’s wickedly funny play that questions just how sane anyone really is when it comes to love. (Thursday-Sunday).

Words & Birds – Farmington Valley Arts Center, Avon 06001
View a series of works dedicated to many avian species (Friday-Saturday).

“Farm, Winery, Bistro II” - Six Summit Gallery at Chamard Vineyards, Clinton 06413
Wander through more than 100 pieces of fantast farm, winery and bistro related art and sculpture featured throughout the winery (Friday-Sunday).

Railroad Day - Connecticut Eastern Railroad Museum, Willimantic 06225
Tour the Museum and check out the equipment as you’re entertained with music and song.  Enjoy a nice ride in an open air train car (Saturday).

Constitution State Feis – Irish Dance Competition - Quassy Amusement Park, Middlebury 06762
Watch hundreds of dancers from throughout New England compete. Guest watching the Feis are encouraged to bring lawn chairs for seating. (Saturday-Sunday).

Labor Day Farewell - Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo, Bridgeport 06610
Wish a fond farewell to the zoo’s special summertime guests – the Zoo’s three visiting camels (Monday).

These highlights represent just a sampling of the many exciting events taking place across Connecticut this weekend. For more information about these and other entertaining activities, use the Events Quick Search on the right side of the page.

This Weekend in Connecticut
August 29-31 and September 1, 2014

August 29 – 31 - “Opera and Giant Puppets: Amy Trompetter’s ‘Barber of Seville’. Ballard Institute & Museum of Puppetry, 1 Royce Circle, Storrs, 06269.  Time: Fri.-Sun. 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Amy Trompetter’s spectacular display of giant, life-size, and miniature figures, which reveals the stunning potential of puppets and opera, was performed to great acclaim in New York City and Vienna from 1983 into the 21st century. This exhibition reveals not only Trompetter’s vivid sculptural and performance style, but also her dynamic and unconventional approach to the classic opera, an interpretation that both supports and transgresses the original. Admission: Free, $5 donation appreciated. (860) 486-8580

August 29 – 31 - “Connecticut at Work” - Nathan Hale Homestead, 2299 South Street, Coventry, 06238. Time: Fri.-Sat. noon-4 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Connecticut Landmarks is delighted to host the Smithsonian Institution’s exhibition The Way We Worked at the Nathan Hale Homestead. The Way We Worked draws on the national archives’ rich photographic collections to document 130 years of changing work life in America. Admission: Free with museum admission. (860) 742-6917

August 29 – September 1 – Haddam Neck Fair – Haddam Neck Fairgrounds, 26 Quarry Hill Rd., East Hampton, 06424. Time: Fri. 4 p.m.-10 p.m., Sat. & Sun. 7:30 a.m.-10 p.m., Mon. 7:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Major agricultural fair featuring baking contest, tractor pulling, horse show, road race, exhibits, family entertainment, midway, truck and tracker pulls. Admission: varies. (860) 267-5922

August 29 – September 1 – Woodstock Fair - 281 Rte. 169, South Woodstock 06267. Time: Fri.-Sun. 9 a.m.-11 p.m., Mon. 9 a.m.-8 p.m. The state’s second oldest agricultural fair featuring crafts, lots of food, livestock shows, petting zoo, free stage shows, midway, go-kart races, Better Living Center, vegetables, flowers, strolling entertainers, and much more. Admission: General admission $12, seniors & active Military $8, children (10 and under) free. (860) 928-3246

August 30 – September 1 – Goshen Fair, Goshen Fairgrounds, 116 Old Middle St. (Rte. 63), Goshen, 06756. Time: Sat. & Sun. 8 a.m.-10 p.m., Mon. 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Major agricultural fair with livestock judging, draft horse show, woodcutting competition, entertainment, food vendors, midway, arts and crafts, home exhibits, and more. This celebration includes an adult spelling bee, fireworks, hay bale toss contest, parade, pie eating contest, and a skillet throw contest. Admission: General admission $8, children (under 12) free. Senior Sat. $5. (860) 491-3655

August 31 United States Coast Guard Band Concert - Fort Trumbull State Park, 90 Walbach St., New London, 06320. Time: 3 p.m. The United States Coast Guard Band performs at the historic Fort Trumbull State Park with a vigorous program including Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture with a cannon fire. Admission: Free. (860) 701-6826

September 1 - 5K/10K Run/Walk Family Fun Day - Stamford JCC, 1035 Newfield Ave., Stamford, 06905. Time: 9 a.m.-noon. Enjoy lots of family fun after the walk, including classic field races. For the safety of all participants and to satisfy insurance requirements, no bikes, skates, scooters or animals are permitted. Open to the community. Admission: Free for spectators. (203) 487-0941

Aug 28

Tips on Being Green Throughout Your Renovations

Tips on Being Green Throughout Your Renovations - Quicken Loans Zing Blog

Whether your current house is old and outdated and it’s time to make a change, or you’ve decided to buy a home and renovate it before your big move, it’s time to start planning your renovations. It’s becoming increasingly important every day to make eco-conscious decisions, and there are plenty of things to keep in mind to ensure your renovation is as green as possible.

Planning and Demolition

  • Determine the minimal amount of material you’ll need to remove in order to have a strong foundation and keep creative freedom over your new floor plan. It’s important to keep as much as you can so that you produce less waste and save on costs of new material later.
  • One you’ve cleared everything out, dispose of it in an eco-friendly way. Check to see if it can be recycled or reused by anyone on Craigslist, or donated to Habitat for Humanity Restore before sending it off to the dump, especially your appliances!

Who You Hire

  • It’s crucial to hire a contractor who focuses on sustainable practices. The number of green vendors has gone up significantly in recent years, so it’s okay to be selective. Before meeting with a potential vendor, have very clear objectives and requirements in mind to make sure they’ll fully support your green goals.
  • Make sure that your contractor has LEED certification, indicating that they have up-to-date knowledge of eco-friendly certified building techniques.


  • Consider using other green materials for the new and improved interior on your home, such as bamboo flooring in your living room, coco or leather tiles in your kitchen, and 100% recycled bio-glass in your bathroom. Coco tiles resourcefully make use of discarded coconut shells and leather tiles recycle leather from furniture, vehicles and clothing to make an end product that looks and feels similar to wood.


  • When purchasing a new refrigerator, look for styles with the fridge and freezers stacked on top as opposed to side-by-side; they use less energy. In addition, opt out of buying models with unnecessary features like auto-defrost.
  • The most eco-friendly kinds of ovens available right now are induction and sun ovens. Induction ovens solely heat the pot or pan you’re using through direct contact, which severely minimizes the energy used. Sun ovens are environmentally friendly because solar cooking eliminates the use of fuel, electricity and smoke.
  • Most new models of washers and dryers are front-loading, which generally uses less energy and water than a traditional model. Remember to always adjust the settings to fit your load size and temperature to avoid wasting any water.
  • If you’re in the market for a new dishwasher, look for models that are labeled “energy-saver” and have features like air-dry, which generally save money and resources over time.

Investing in being green throughout your renovation process will reduce your carbon footprint in a big way and end up saving you money on your utilities in the long run! Have you ever practiced any of these green techniques yourself? How did it go?

Aug 27

Locking in Your Mortgage Rate 101

Locking in Your Mortgage Rate - Quicken Loans Zing BlogYou probably know by now that you can’t just GET a mortgage. If you think about it, it makes sense. It would be crazy to lend a friend $200,000 when they have a bad track record of paying you back. Well you’re not that guy, and you think you’re qualified enough to start shopping around. After all, you hate throwing money to your renter knowing that they secure that equity, not you. You might be ready to take on a mortgage of your own. Congratulations!

When shopping around for a mortgage through different lenders, it’s important to look for the best rate when securing your loan. The best rate, however, is not the only consideration you should keep in mind.

Can they work with my credit score, my schedule, my home?

Is the lender going to give me the best mortgage product (30-year fixed, 7-year ARM, etc.)? Part of that mortgage product is the rate associated with it. You want a great rate and your lender understands that. That’s why it’s important to lock in a mortgage rates while they’re still low.

The Importance of Locking In

Once you’ve chosen a lender and your mortgage product is decided, you need to lock into an interest rate based on the market at that particular time. It’s important to lock in your rate because the market is always changing and rates can easily go up. It’s a guessing game that most people don’t want to play.

Your rate lock is a binding agreement, especially after you make a deposit to secure that rate. Sometimes, borrowers see a falling interest rate based on the updated market trend and walk away from their locked-in rate—risky move. This is a dangerous gamble because it is hard to predict the market. Just when you think rates are going down, they could shoot up over night. That’s why it’s very important to lock in rates right away.

Here at Quicken Loans, we do everything we can to secure the low rate on your loan. We even offer extensions when paperwork takes longer than expected or other problems come up.

Useful Information on Securing a Locked Rate Through Lenders

Based on advertisements

Mortgage rates change daily. This guide can help you predict rates. What you see on TV might be an outdated ad by the time you give them a call.

Additionally, you might not qualify for specific programs and qualify for others, depending on your credit score and other factors. By having a quote tailored to you (which often means pulling your credit and looking over tax information), you can be sure it more closely matches the rate you’ll receive.

Understand the lingo

Understand that a “rate quote” is just a quote—nothing is promised.

  • rate lock is a signed agreement with your specific interest rate.
  • rate cap means your rate lock could be anywhere up to that cap amount, but not above. Find a lender that will secure your rate lock and not delay the process. You should be in-the-know about every step of your loan.

Getting started

When you secure a rate, know how long that lock on the rate lasts. Some are only good for 7 days, 14 days, or more. The rate lock should reflect how long it will take to close the loan, so 7 days will probably not be enough time. Sometimes you have to pay for a longer rate lock. Quicken Loans offers 30-day rate locks with the possibility of a free extension. Most clients get 15 days more for free, offering more time to process extensive loans.

Rate locks can expire depending on your agreement, so when a lender asks for documents, be ready to deliver them right away. This will expedite the entire process and ensure you keep your rate to closing. Many lenders charge a fee when the rate lock expires and the loan isn’t closed.

Understanding Mortgage Points

Your locked in interest rate isn’t the only variable to worry about. There are also mortgage points. Mortgage points are essentially pre-paid interest. Sure, paying 3% interest is awesome, but you might have to pay 6 points to get that quote, costing quite a bit more than what it looks like. One point is equal to one percent of the loan value. One point on a $100,000 loan equals $1,000. On a $150,000 loan, a point equals $1,500.

Let’s rewind a minute. What are points, anyway?

There are two kinds of points associated with loans: origination points and discount points.

Origination points

These are ultimately paid by you to the lender for closing your loan and getting you money. One origination point is normal in the mortgage industry.

Discount points

Discount points are pretty cool and let you “negotiate” the interest on your loan before it closes. I might be able to pay a half point now in order to save on a lot of interest down the road, which lowers your mortgage payment and the entire amount you pay altogether.

For discount points, lenders can show the breakdown of payments depending on the points paid for the cost of future savings. You’ll pay more now to save big later.

It’s important to know that one discount point is equal to one origination point. If I’m charging two points to you, it doesn’t matter what kind of point it is.

Now that you know about rates and points, you know how it can affect your money at the end of the day and will be more prepared for the loan process.

Aug 13

Escrow Accounts Explained

Couple Viewing Computer with Agent

Most people wonder why escrow accounts are necessary — why can’t they pay home-related bills on their own? An escrow account helps homeowners by allowing them to pay bills, such as property taxes and homeowners insurance, over a 12-month period, rather than in one lump sum.

There are all kinds of “escrow” you may encounter as a homebuyer.

For example, your builder should place your deposit money into a separate escrow account, where it will be safely held until it is applied to your down payment at closing or returned to you if you should change your mind for some reason.

The escrow most new home buyers fret over is the account held by their lenders — or more likely the loan’s “servicer,” which is the company that will administer your loan.

How Does An Escrow Account Work?

An escrow account is set up to collect your payments for property taxes, homeowners insurance and possibly other items, in equal amounts over a 12-month period, to be paid on your behalf when those bills come due. The question most people have is why can’t they pay these bills on their own? And the answer is you can — if your lender agrees.

But the choice is entirely up to the lender, or more likely, the investor that ultimately buys your loan. And since investors want to make absolutely sure those bills are paid, they almost always require escrow. After all, if your property taxes aren’t paid, it will result in a lien against the house, a lien that supersedes theirs. And if your insurance isn’t up to date and you have a fire that results in a major loss, there will be no protection to cover the cost of rebuilding your place, which serves as the underlying collateral for your loan.

For novice home buyers, a little explanation: Lenders fund mortgages, but they typically sell their loans shortly after closing to investors on the secondary market. Those investors could be another bank, a pension fund or even a foreign investment group, among several other entities. But whoever ends up with your loan usually hires a third-party servicing company to collect the payments and disperse the funds. For our purposes, from here on out, it is easiest to use the term “lender” to refer not just to your lender but also investors and servicers.

Why Escrow Taxes and Insurance Fees?

Most people find that it is easiest on their pocketbooks to pay their taxes and insurance on a monthly basis, so they welcome escrow accounts. Face it: it takes an extremely disciplined person to remember to set aside money every month on their own so that there’s enough to pay those bills when they are due every year. And it is too easy to dip into those funds to pay other bills if the money is sitting in your desk drawer or even in the bank. So look at an escrow account as a form of forced savings, assurance that the bills will be paid on time without penalty or late fees.

When lenders require escrow accounts, the law limits the amount borrowers must pay. Generally, the lender will divide the cost of your anticipated property tax by 12 and collect that much each month in addition to your payment for principal and interest. It will do the same to cover the cost of your homeowners insurance, plus any other items for which escrow might be required, such as your owners association dues or flood insurance. And taken all together, these costs will equal your payment to escrow.

How Is The Amount Of Money Placed in Escrow Determined?

To get an idea what your monthly escrow payment will be, simply add up all these charges and divide by 12. For example, if your annual tax bill is $2,000 and your insurance is $600 a year, than your escrow payment will be $216.67, or $2,600 divided by 12.

Also realize that the law allows lenders to maintain a “cushion” of no more than one-sixth of the total amount paid out of the account — two months’ worth of payments — so that the escrow account always has a balance. And realize that your escrow payment could change every year if your taxes or insurance costs go up, or if the cushion amount needs adjusting.

Despite this rather long explanation, all this should happen automatically. But that doesn’t mean that mistakes aren’t made, so you should check your account periodically. You’ll know something is amiss if you get a late notice from the county or your insurer. But don’t worry: the lender should pay all penalties for failing to pay on time.

Toward that end, the law requires that you be given a complete breakdown within 45 days after establishing the escrow account, showing the anticipated amounts to be paid over the coming year. You also must be provided with a free annual statement that details activity in the account — what bills were paid and when — as well as an explanation of how much you must pay in each of the next 12 months to keep your account current.

When the loan is brand new, lenders tend to lowball the amount they collect for taxes and insurance primarily because they can only estimate those costs. Plus, it makes your initial payments more affordable. So, plan for an increase in the escrow portion of your payment — the TI (tenant improvement) part of your PITI (principal, interest, taxes and insurance) — after the first 12 months. Sometimes the hike will be large enough to give you a jolt, so be ready.

What If You Have an Escrow Shortfall or Surplus?

If there’s a shortfall in your escrow in any given year, your lender is likely to offer some options to make up the difference. For example, you can pay the shortfall in full now or via 12 equal payments over the following year, so the deficit is made up by the next anniversary of your loan. Sometimes, you may even be offered a combination of the above — pay some now and the rest over the next 12 months.

If there’s a surplus in your account — the lender collected too much over the previous year — one of two things will happen, depending on the size of the overage. Above a certain amount, the lender will cut you a check. For smaller surpluses, the lender will apply it to next year’s escrow payments. If you’re given a choice, realize that what lenders giveth in one year is  likely to be taken away next year in the form of a tax increase or higher insurance premiums. Unless you absolutely, positively need the money, it’s almost always better to let it ride.

Aug 12

The Mortgage Process: A Step-by-Step Look and Checklist

Man and Woman Shopping

Finding and securing a mortgage to finance your new home can seem like a daunting process, especially if you’re a first-time buyer. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

By using this checklist (and by reviewing the other recommended articles below) you can break the home loan process down into much simpler and easier tasks and stay on schedule to complete each action item.

This step-by-step overview will help you be prepared for the paperwork and disclosures involved. You’ll know what to expect regarding loan fees and settlement charges and be better equipped to find the lowest cost home loan available.

Finally, this list is designed to help make sure you don’t miss any steps that are crucial. Let’s get started with the first four steps; these are best done well in advance, before you begin actively shopping for a loan.

First, Review Your Overall Your Financial Picture: Take a detailed look at your overall financial picture. Understand and be prepared to document your monthly income, your current costs of living, and the savings on hand or equity from a prior home that you plan to use for a down payment. Ask yourself, what can I really afford to pay for a mortgage? As a rough estimate, calculate your overall debt-to-income (DTI) ratio, that is, the portion of your total gross monthly income that now goes to pay debts for credit cards, auto loans, student loans and other expenses. See the link to my article, “How Much Home Can You Really Afford?” for more resources and information on this step.

Check Your Credit Reports: Order all three of your national credit bureau files (Equifax, Experian, Trans Union) at least two months in advance of shopping for a loan. They are each free once a year from If you see errors, omissions or outdated information, demand corrections from creditors immediately. It’s your legal right under federal statute.

Check Your FICO Scores: Your FICO Score is the only credit score that matters. See the article below, “Understanding Your Credit Score” for more information. After reviewing and correcting your credit files, order your FICO scores from one or more of the three major credit bureaus or through As a general rule, you’ll need a FICO score of at least 680 to qualify for most loans, and a score of 740 or above to earn the lowest mortgage rates and fees.

Compare Mortgage Types: 30-year mortgages offer lower monthly payments than 15 year loans, but shorter mortgage terms enable you to pay off your debt much faster. FHA, VA and Rural Housing loans offer the lowest down payments and require the lowest FICO scores. Hybrid adjustable-rate loans give you fixed payments for an initial term of years (say 5 or 7) but then turn into annually-adjusting rates, exposing you to higher payments if interest rates rise. Conventional (Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac) loans often offer the best deal if you can make a 20 percent down payment.

Start Shopping for a Mortgage: Get an overview of prevailing rates for different loan types and payment terms among multiple lenders online and offline. Be aware, however, that without pulling your credit information and a formal application from you, lenders’ or loan officers’ quotes are not binding.

Shop Smart: Compare key features of loan offerings from competing lenders:

Interest Rates: The cost of mortgage money is basically the same — or in a very narrow band — nationwide on any given day. Beware of exceptionally low interest rate quotes; the key differences are usually the result of differences in fees and loan origination charges.

Points: These are the extra fees the lender charges as part of its compensation for making a loan at a particular interest rate, given the perceived credit risk of the borrower. They can either be paid at the time of closing financed over the full term of the loan. As a general rule, if you intend to stay in the house you are buying for just a few years, it is better to pay less on points, even if the quoted rate is slightly higher. If you intend to stay in the loan for many years, opt for a lower interest rate and slightly higher points.

Annual Percentage Rate or APR: Check to see what the annual percentage rate is for each mortgage you consider. This is the effective interest rate you will pay with points and loan origination charges included. This will always be different from the published rate alone.

Rate Lock Costs: How much will it cost to “lock” the quoted interest rate – guarantee it, no matter what happens in the money marketplace – beyond 30 days? 45 days? 60 days?

Debt-to-Income Limits (DTI): Can the lender accept the DTI you calculated above without charging you more in rate or fees for the type of loan you want?

Loan Amount: Based on the information you have provided, what size loan will the lender consider?

Turn Time: How long will the whole process take from application to closing? What is the lender’s average turnaround time?

Junk Fees: Ask competing lenders what they charge for origination, processing, doc prep, courier and application fees. These have traditionally been areas where lenders pad on dubious extra charges. Add up each lender’s total estimated loan fees to see how they stack up against competitors.

Lender ratings: Some online mortgage sites featuring multiple lenders also include borrower ratings by borrowers regarding service, efficiency, accuracy and the like. Check them out before submitting your application.

Pick the Best Lender: Select the loan that best meets your objectives and financial situation, with the lowest total cost package.

Request a Pre-Approval Letter: This will state a maximum loan amount from the lender you expect to use. This will greatly help you shop for a house, since it will tell a builder or home seller that you are financially qualified.

Select the Home You Want to Purchase and Sign a Contract to Buy It: A copy of this contract will need to be part of your loan application.

Now It’s Time to Formally Apply for the Loan You Identified Earlier: Be sure to review the Truth in Lending and Good Faith Estimates lenders are required to provide you within 3 business days of application. If you have questions about any fees, get them answered early in the process. Confirm closing/settlement date and location.

Check the Status of Your Mortgage During Processing: Did the appraisal come in at the amount needed for the loan? Do underwriters need additional documentation? Any problems that could delay – or derail – the closing? Request copy of the appraisal after it is completed.

Request a Copy of the Settlement Sheet (HUD-1) three days in advance of scheduled closing: Compare line by line with earlier estimates. Ask for explanations or corrections of any discrepancies or higher than expected charges.

Closing Day Arrives: Now it’s time to sign the closing documents. Congratulations, that new home is now yours!

Aug 08

This Weekend in Connecticut: August 8-10, 2014 – Campfires and Country Fun!

Campfires and Country Fun

What says summer more than making s’mores while camping out under the stars? Enjoy a night of tree climbing adventure, moonlight zip trips and overnight camping at the Family Camp Out in Middletown (Saturday). Visit a true Country Fair in Lebanon and see livestock, crafts and carnival rides (Friday-Sunday). Experience world class jazz in a country setting at the Litchfield Jazz Festival in Goshen (Friday-Sunday).

Cheer on the boys of summer with this Bridgeport Bluefish with The Westport Inn’s Take Me out to the Ballgame! package. This deal includes: Overnight accommodations for four guests; Four Box Seat tickets to a Bridgeport Bluefish Game at Harbor Yard; and a $50 breakfast voucher in the Lobby Restaurant – Bistro B. Rates from $229.

More pastoral activities:

Podunk Bluegrass Music Festival - Hebron Fairgrounds, Hebron 06248
Revel in the music of local, regional and national bluegrass artists. A family-friendly event with camping on site, workshops offered, children’s activities and a children’s academy (Thursday-Saturday).

“Enjoying the Country Life: Greenwich’s Great Estates” - Greenwich Historical Society, Greenwich 06830
Visit an exhibit that examines the era between 1880 and 1920, a period marked by unbridled spending in Greenwich by America’s elite, to explore the impact it had on the town’s landscape, its culture and its place in history (Friday-Sunday).

Kid’s Cruise - Eagle Landing State Park, Haddam 06438
Join in a special cruise designed for young children, their parents and grandparents as they learn about birds, nautical terms, and the ecology of the river and other points of interest including Gillette Castle and the Chester/Hadlyme Ferry (Saturday).

Westside Reggae Festival - Ives Concert Park at Western Connecticut State University, Danbury 06810
Catch an island vibe with Beres Hammond, Morgan Heritage, Barrington Levy, Anthem Band, Lupa, Nachy Bless, Johnny Osborne, Ky-Enie King, and more (Saturday).

“Charles W. Morgan” Returns - Mystic Seaport, Mystic 06355
Welcome home the 1841 whaleship Charles W. Morgan after a historic 38th voyage to historic ports of New England. Enjoy a spectacular welcome home celebration (Saturday)

Historic Guilford Bus Tour - Community Center, Guilford, 06437
Relive history on a two hour tour featuring major historic areas of Guilford; including the Guilford Green, Town Center, West and East River areas, Sachem’s Head, Leete’s Island, Town Marina, and North Guilford sites. All tours begin and end at the Community Center, 32 Church Street in Guilford. (Saturday).

These highlights represent just a sampling of the many exciting events taking place across Connecticut this weekend. For more information about these and other entertaining activities, use the Events Quick Search on the right side of the page.

This Weekend in Connecticut
August 8-10, 2014

August 7-10 – Kent Sidewalk Festival - Main St., Kent, 06757. Time: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Fun, food, car show, cash raffle ($1,000, $500 and $250), sales and activities for all ages. Admission: Free. (860) 592-0061

August 6-10 - “La Cage Aux Folles” - The Ivoryton Playhouse, 103 Main St., Ivoryton, 06442. Time: Fri. & Sat. 8 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m. This Tony Award winning musical remains one of Broadway’s all-time biggest hits. After twenty years of unwedded bliss, Georges and Albin, two men partnered for better or worse, get a bit of both when Georges’ son announces his impending marriage to the daughter of a narrow-minded politician. Albin tries to help by making a perfect family, with hilarious results. Admission: Adults $42, seniors $37, students $20, children (12 and under) $15. (860) 767-7318

August 8-10 - The Hartford Wagner Festival - Kingswood Oxford Scholl, 170 Kingswood Rd., West Hartford, 06119. Time: Fri. & Sat. 7 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m. Utilizing a state-of-the-art Digital Orchestra, “Das Rheingold” will be the first production of the “Ring” of the new opera company. Following each year, the Hartford Wagner Festival will add the next installment of the “Ring” cycle until in 2017; they will begin presenting two complete “Ring” cycles each year. Hartford will now become the second location where the Cycle can be seen on a yearly basis. Admission: Call for ticket information. (860) 606-0560

August 9 - ROC Race 5K Hartford - Rentschler Field, 615 Silver Lane, East Hartford, 06118. Time: 8 a.m.-2:30 p.m. This 5K race is the original game show-inspired obstacle challenge that features larger than life obstacles like the infamous wrecking ball, the world’s largest inflatable water slide, and the brand new sweeper, among several other epic obstacles strategically placed along the course. For participants, use promo code CTVISIT for $5 off and sign up at Admission: Free for spectators.

wb girl3 Hartford

August 9 - Historic Downtown Walking Tour - Meet at Parson’s Complex, West Main St., Milford, 06460. Time: 10 a.m. Part of Milford’s 375th anniversary. The Milford Historical Society will provide the walking tour of historic downtown Milford. Admission: Free.

August 9 – Three Dog Night - Ridgefield Playhouse, 80 East Ridge, Ridgefield, 06877. Time: 8 p.m. From 1969-1974, nobody had more Top 10 hits, moved more records, or sold more concert tickets. During this period, Three Dog Night was undoubtedly the most popular band in America with 21 consecutive Top 40 hits and 12 straight gold LPs including, “Mama Told Me Not To Come,” “Joy To The World,” “Black and White,” “Shambala” and many more. Admission: $87.50. (203) 438-5795

August 10 - Estate Tour: Flying into the Future - Hill-Stead Museum, 35 Mountain Rd., Farmington, 06032. Time: 2 p.m. Take some time to enjoy a lovely estate walk and revisit the shift from carriages to cars, ocean liners to planes to the beginning of a wireless world. Admission: Free with museum admission. (860) 677-4787

Aug 07

Connecticut Home Sales Get Boost In June!

Connecticut home sales in June posted the strongest gains so far this year — with Hartford County leading the way — an indication that the well-watched spring home buying season may have been a bit stronger than first thought.


Sales of single-family houses statewide rose nearly 6 percent in June, to 2,779, compared with 2,646 for the same month a year ago, according to a new report Tuesday from The Warren Group, which tracks housing trends in New England.

“No question, it is better than this time last year,” John Zubretsky Jr., president of Weichert, Realtors — The Zubretsky Group in Wethersfield, said. “People who were concerned last year, are a little less concerned this year for their jobs. There’s more optimism than at any time last year.”

Zubretsky said the spring market — typically the busiest of the year — was disappointing, but there are still interested buyers and sellers in the market. Statewide sales declined on a year-over-year basis in both April and May — so June’s sales were welcome, he said.

Hartford County registered the strongest gain among the state’s eight counties, with sales jumping nearly 14 percent, according to Warren Group.

The median sale price again showed weakness in June. Statewide, the median — where half the sales are above, half below — fell 3.2 percent in June, to $276,000, from $285,000, for the same month in 2013. Hartford County also saw a similar decline, down 3.7 percent, to $231,000 from $240,000 a year earlier.

Donald L. Klepper-Smith, an economist at DataCore Partners, Inc. in New Haven, said the decline in median is not so much a reflection of declining values but an indication of the mix of houses that are selling. There is much more activity among lower priced homes, he said.

“There is a lot of the upper-priced stuff that isn’t selling,” Klepper-Smith said.

Timothy M Warren Jr., Warren Group’s chief executive, said Connecticut continues to show signs of improvement in what has been a prolonged, slow recovery from the last recession.

“Real estate closings in June, July and August are typically the highest of the year as the deals made during the spring selling season get officially recorded,” Warren said. “While not robust, the Connecticut real estate market continues to show a solid recovery.”

Even with the encouraging bump up in June, sales of single-family houses statewide are still lagging last year’s pace. Through the first six months of 2014, sales are down almost 2 percent, compared with the same period last year. Prices also are lower, down 3.2 percent for the first six months of this year, compared with 2013.

Ronald F. Van Winkle, an economist and West Hartford town manager, said even with the increased June sales, the levels are still below the 4,000 or so sales Van Winkle said he would expect in a healthy June market in Connecticut.

Connecticut ended 2013 with a 6 percent gain in sales and an 8.3 percent increase in the median sale price.

Klepper-Smith said he expects both sales and the median price to end 2014 with increases in the low- to mid-single digits.

“I fully expect by December, the numbers are going to look positive,” Klepper-Smith said.,0,1164312.story

Aug 05

Clean, Declutter, Discard: Make a House Shine for Resale!

Purging belongings can be an arduous task for sellers.  13 decluttering tips to prepare a home for sale.

Sentimentality can be a powerful disincentive to declutter. How could a loving daughter sell her family silver, even though she dislikes the pattern? How could parents ever discard a painting by their young budding Picasso, even though he’s now 30 and hasn’t picked up a paint brush in 20 years?

Most home owners avoid those tough decisions and schlep possessions from house-to-house. But it’s far smarter to shed before moving. Not only does it clear out space to make a listing look its best, it also saves on moving costs to transport less stuff.

Are your sellers clinging to keepsakes? Share with clients these 13 steps to help make the task of decluttering less daunting.

1. Study the entire house. Sellers shouldn’t tackle every room in one fell swoop. Advise them to go room-by-room, starting at the front door. Sellers should pretend they’re seeing each room for the first time, says Kammie Lisenby, CEO of The Organizing Experts in Seattle. The goal is to make rooms resemble those in a hotel, says professional organizer Katrina Teeple, owner ofOperation Organization in Los Angeles.

2. Make piles. Sellers should organize piles as they clear each room — for example, stack items to keep, give to family or friends, donate to a charity, sell online, get hauled away, and consign. They should bear in mind the size of the home they’re moving to, their degree of sentimental attachment, and the financial value of each item. It’s best to put highly personal items aside in the keep pile, such as family photos they don’t want buyers to see during showings, says Lisenby.

3. Create a spreadsheet. A master list of what rooms will require organizing tasks can be helpful. This will also aid in prioritizing expenses, such as home improvements, paint, and staging elements. To play it safe with finicky buyers, sellers should go neutral in paint and decor, says Teeple.

4. Empty closets. Often becoming a graveyard for all the belongings home owners don’t know what to do with, clean, spacious closets are a coveted feature among buyers. Izsak suggests eliminating anything not worn or used in the last two years. Aim to dispose of 50 percent of wardrobes since most people only wear 20 percent of their clothes 80 percent of the time, he says. The remaining items should be stored on uniform rods, or in labeled, see-through bins, says Teeple.

5. Clear off counters and bookcases. Get rid of books that won’t be reread, particularly now that so many people read online. Add a few home decor items for sparkle. When in doubt, follow the “rule of three,” a mantra among home stagers, by clustering items into threes to create visual appeal. The final effect should reflect a neutral style.

6. Inspect the home’s exterior. Depending on the time of year, sellers may need to hire a professional to clear leaves, snow, or ice, so that they don’t hide a home’s features. Messiness and wear and tear on the outside indicates to buyers that the inside hasn’t been cared for well.

7. Check curb appeal all around. While the front yard is key to making a good first impression, more home owners spend time out back, so sellers should be sure lawns, shrubs, trees, and amenities like a fence and air conditioning condensers are maintained.

8. Spruce up the kitchen. This is the home’s most popular gathering spot and another place where everything gets dumped—backpacks, car keys, cell phones, etc. The rule of three applies here, too. Tell sellers not to stuff anything into a pantry or cabinets; get rid of it if it hasn’t been used in a few years. Also, clean out the refrigerator and freezer.

9. Make bathrooms spotless. Not every seller has a spa bathroom to unwind in, but clean grout, tiles, shower door, and vanity can make a big difference in an average bathroom. Clear out the prime real estate of a medicine cabinet, add crisp white or other neutral towels, fresh soaps, and a plant, Teeple suggests.

10. Purge basements, attics, and garages. These are a home’s purgatories—where stuff goes to never see the bright light of day, says Izsak. Anything that’s been moved at least twice and not opened needs to be reassessed, says Chris Seman, president of Caring Transitions in Cincinnati, a relocation service. Separate the items to be stored in see-through bins to reveal their contents; do so by categories, such as holiday decorations; and be sure bins are labeled clearly and have lids to keep out pests.

11. Professionalize an office. With more home owners working from home, a separate room or corner for an office can boost sales appeal. Have sellers clear up paper piles and file documents—but remember, most home owners only reference 5 percent of their files, says Seman. The work area should include good illumination, a comfortable chair, and clean equipment, says Izsak.

12. Get rid of belongings. Now it’s time for your sellers to rethink what to do with everything in piles. Here are some upsides and downsides to these decisions:

  • Sell or auction through an online vendor like Craigslist or eBay or at a flea market. Downside: It may take time to get the desired price.
  • Leave at a consignment shop to get stuff out of a house now. Downside: Proceeds get shared, and it may take a while to sell.
  • Give away to family, friends, or a nonprofit such as Some communities let residents leave stuff outside their house with a sign, “Take it!” Upside: It gets rid of things fast.
  • Have a group haul it away such as 1-800-Got-Junk? Upside: This avoids driving it to a dumpster.
  • Donate to a charity. Upside: It gets out of a house, helps someone in need, and provides a deduction. Fill out IRS Form 8283 if total exceeds $500.
  • Organize a yard sale. If time is of the essence, the seller could hire a professional who sets up tables, takes money, and gets rid of what doesn’t sell. Downside: Proceeds get shared.

13. Don’t repeat collector mania. Once sellers move into their new home with fewer possessions, advise them to purchase carefully. Sending organization ideas and decluttering tips is a great way to keep in touch with past clients. Check out HouseLogic’s REALTOR® Content Resource for helpfulhome staging, maintenance, and organizing articles you can use in your newsletter or blog, or share them on your social networks for free.

Aug 01

This Weekend in Connecticut: August 1-3, 2014 – Tasty Treats!

Summer events with fun foods and rides are easy to find this weekend. Gratify your starchy-side at the North Branford Potato & Corn Festival (Friday-Sunday). Mix camping and gourmet cooking at the Muddy Chef Challenge 3 at Lime Rock Park in Lakeville (Friday-Sunday).  Sample some authentic Caribbean cuisine at theTaste of Caribbean & Jerk Festival at Hartford’s Mortensen Riverfront Plaza (Saturday).


Satisfy your yearning for the sea and explore one of Mystic’s finest attractions with the Fish and Ships Packageoffered by Howard Johnson Inn – Mystic.  At the Mystic Aquarium, spend a day getting acquainted with the fascinating animals that inhabit our oceans and local waters. Then soak up the flavors, fun and activities of Mystic Seaport’s bustling recreated 19th Century coastal town. Package includes: Two adult tickets to Mystic Aquarium, Two adult tickets to Mystic Seaport, and a $10 voucher to the Mystic Diner Restaurant, per day. Room for a two night stay (choose one king or two queen size beds). Rates: Starting at $168.

More delicious activities:

Parrothead Cruise - Eagle Landing State Park, Haddam, 06438
Dress in your “Parrothead” attire and meet other “Parrotheads.” This is a designed fun, active Sunset Cruise aboard RiverQuest while cruising on the Connecticut River and listening to “Parrothead” music. Bring along your margaritas or any favorite beverage and your picnic basket. . No one under 21 please (Friday).

Gathering of the Vibes – Seaside Park, Bridgeport 06605
Hear non-stop musical entertainment, ranging from jazz, rock, reggae, to rhythm and blues. Festival lineup includes John Fogerty, Widespread Panic, Umphrey’s, McGee, Maceo Parker, moe., and Ziggy Marley. Camping available (Friday-Sunday).

5K Brew Run & Craft Brew Festival – Edgewood Park, New Haven 06511
Start with a 5K that begins at noon at Edgewood Park and the brew festival that follows at 12:30 p.m. The Brew Festival is open to all 21+ race registrants after the race, in addition to those who purchased ticket for just the Brew Fest portion of the event (Saturday).

Green Corn Festival - The Institute for American Indian Studies, Washington, 06793
Come and enjoy fun-filled activities for the whole family including drumming, dancing,  kids’ crafts, storytelling, powwow style food, arts and crafts for sale and much more. Held rain or shine (Saturday).

The Farmer’s Cow: Corn Roast in the Hayfield - Cushman Farms, Franklin, 06254
Indulge in fresh picked local sweet corn as it’s slow roasted in the husk over a charcoal fire. There will be plenty of butter on hand or you can ‘Shake & Make’ your own from The Farmer’s Cow heavy cream. Enjoy wagon rides around the fields, visit the cows, take a hike along the one mile rustic nature trail, or cool off with some delicious ice cream (Saturday).

Stamford Tables Summer Restaurant Weeks – Various Locations, Stamford  06901
Participate in Stamford Restaurant Weeks; a great way to celebrate the summer with specially priced menus. Reservations suggested. Starts Sunday, Aug. 3, 2014 (Sunday).

These highlights represent just a sampling of the many exciting events taking place across Connecticut this weekend. For more information about these and other entertaining activities, use the Events Quick Search on the right side of the page.

This Weekend in Connecticut
August 1-3, 2014

August 1 - New Riders of The Purple Sage - Infinity Music Hall & Bistro, 20 Greenwoods Rd., Norfolk, 06058. Time: 8 p.m. The New Riders of the Purple Sage, signed to Columbia Records by Clive Davis, released its eponymous first album in September 1971 to widespread acclaim.  In the next 11 years the band toured and released over 12 albums, selling over 4 million records. Admission: $35/$50. (866) 666-6306

August 1 – Micky Dolenz - Ridgefield Playhouse, 80 East Ridge, Ridgefield, 06877. Time: 8 p.m. Micky is known to the world as a director, author, television actor, Broadway star, and most recognizably, as the drummer and lead singer of the legendary 1960s group, The Monkees. Admission: $60. (203) 438-5795

August 1-3 - “Hairspray: The Broadway Musical” - Waveny Park, 10 Farm Rd. (New Canaan High School entrance), New Canaan, 06840. Time: Fri.-Sat. 8 p.m., Sun. 4 p.m. Set in 1962 in Baltimore, this musical tells a story of the lovable plus-sized teen whose only desire is to dance on the popular television show. When her dreams comes true, Tracy is transformed from social outcast to sudden star. She must use her newfound power to  help integrate a television network all without denting her ‘do!  Admission: $25-$50. (203) 966-4634

August 1-3 - “As You Like It” - American Shakespeare Festival Theater, 1850 Elm St., Stratford, 06615. T  ime: 8 p.m. A comedy by William Shakespeare adapted by Ellen Lieberman and set in 1969. Think Hair. Think Godspell. Think flower children…the plot involves feuding, disguised lovers and misplaced love resulting in a great deal of hilarity. Bring blankets and chairs for seating. Performances are cancelled only when weather is severe. Admission: Free. (203) 232-8805

August 2 – Clam Bake - Brownstone Park & Exploration Park, 161 Brownstone Ave., Portland, 06480. Time: 4 p.m.-6 p.m. Clam bake. Admission: $49.95 per person, plus park admission. Park admission passes will be 50% off on this day for those who purchase tickets for the Clam Bake. Reservations are required and must be made through the Sales Department.  (866) 860-0208

August 2 - Sunflower Maze - Lyman Orchards, 32 Reeds Gap Rd., Middlefield, 06455. Time: Daily 9 a.m.-5 p.m., weather permitting. It is an amazing maze, with all the twists and turns of a real roller coaster. Winding your way among thousands of sunflowers will bring you lots of fun. Nothing screams excitement like towering sunflowers providing a visual experience unlike any other. Fun trivia challenges help guide your way. Admission: $10, $5 for ages 4-12, Free for Children 3 and under. (860) 349-1793

August 3 - Niantic Bay Triathlon & Aqua/Bike – McCook Beach Park, 8-10 Atlantic Ave., Niantic, 06357. Time: Race begins 7:30 a.m. A flat, sprint distance race with a 1/2-mile swim, 12-mile bike, and 3.5-mile run. Swim is a loop course in Niantic Bay, an ocean bay with no waves or strong currents. The 12-mile bike loop is through scenic East Lyme with water views and shaded streets. The 3.5-mile run brings you through the beach community of Niantic. Aqua/bike runs simultaneously on swim and bike courses. Admission: Free to spectators. (860) 652-8866

Older posts «