Wednesday, March 6, 2013
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Monday, December 3, 2012
Thank you so much for the incredible brownies.You know how the smell of cinnamon and nutmeg reminds you if the is season? Well now it wouldn't be the holidays without the smell and taste if your brownies!
Running!!! Xoxo That is to the mailbox!!
Linda, the best batch ever. I am the luckiest girl. Your tin arrived & no one is home. I ate 4 and I will dream about the rest. They will be gone by tomorrow. Thank you, thank you, thank you, and then some. Xxxxoooo
Do not mention them in front of my husband and kids – I told them that you don’t deliver them anymore. I don’t want to share!!
thank you so much, delicious as ever!
They are safe and secure in my house! Thank you so, so much -- I look forward to these. I hope you have a great holiday season, and that I see you soon!
You're the best!! Thank you sooooo much. Love them! Best wishes for a happy and healthy new year,
Kids went crazy when they saw them.
Thank you, Linda!
Wow, I think you set a new record this year! Simply scrumptious!
Yum! Thank you very very much!
Your brownies are the highlight of my week. So yummy. Mark and the kids went crazy for them. Glad I took mine first. P.S. If we buy another house, do we get two tins?
this is such a wonderful tradition, thank you
Omg Linda! Fabulous as always and totally worth breaking the no carb diet! You are rock star in this house tonight. Thank you. Have a wonderful holiday.
How do you get them to taste so good? Ridiculous!! We all thank you very much!! Xo
Thank you so much. I am hiding them from the kids.
got them, thanks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Thank you, sweet lady!!
Once again, I BARELY got to the brownies before they were eaten by my hungry family! Thank you so much, Linda, for remembering us yet again.
We always look forward to your holiday treats.
such happiness!! yummy, yummy, yummy!! thank you, linda!!!
Thanks Linda !!! Yum.
yummmmmmm! thank u!!!!!!!!!
thanks so much for the brownies!!! always such a big hit in my house
thank you Linda - delice
Yay..... Thank you Linda!!!!!!!
We always look forward to your holiday treats.
Wow are those yummy! Thanks again and Happy Holidays!
First thing this morning - I treated myself to 2 Linda Skolnick holiday treats.
I think you should be added to the Maidenform payroll. You keep baking your brownies and everyone will need to wear Maidenform / Flexees Shapewear.
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
• #1 Best Overall Academic Performance in CT – Staples High School– Bloomberg/BusinessWeek
• Rating 10 out of 10 – Staples High School – Great Schools Ratings
• 2012 America’s Best High School list #234 (Staples) from list of top 1000 picked from 24,000 secondary public and private schools in the US – Newsweek
• #1 Staples High School - Connecticut Coalition for Achievement Now
• Top 5 High School in state including public and private – US News and World Report
• #1 High School in state – Connecticut Magazine
• Staples High School ranked as an ‘elite” school amongst public and private schools in the nation – Wall Street Journal
• Staples High School – 5 out of 5 ranking – School Digger
• AAA rating for the town based on a stable outlook – Moody’s May 2012
• 3rd Healthiest state in the US Health Ranking - State of Connecticut – United Health Federation
• #1 Town in the state – cited for Westport Schools, leisure activity. Relatively low tax rate, low crime rate – even though it noted that its high cost of living was a negative – Rate our towns edition of Connecticut Magazine
• #1 Best Crime Rate and#1 for Best Cities for Teleworking – Best Places to live in Connecticut
• #15 Most Secure places to live in the US – Farmer’s Insurance
• Best School Newspaper in the State – Inklings - Staples High School Paper – Hartford Courant
• #3 in the Nation – Westport/Weston YMCA Gymnastic Program – competed in the US Gymnastics Federation all Champion Challenge and in 2011 competed in the World Gymnaestrata in Switzerland representing the US – noted as the only YMCA in the nation invited to take part in the World Games.
I know that Westport can boast so many more top rankings. If you know of any that should be included, we would all like to know! Post them on my blog and I will update the list in a future column.
Monday, October 1, 2012
Presently there are 321* houses on the market in Westport, with an average list price of $1,829,552. The most expensive home listed for sale is priced at $27,500,000., located on Beachside Avenue, owned by two of Westport’s most famous residents, offering 6.56 acres, a 8716 square foot main house plus a free standing gym on over 2 acres and 420 feet of direct waterfront access. The least expensive home on the market in Westport is listed for $309,000. on Crescent Park Road with 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, and a fireplace in 1152 square feet on .12 acre .
In 2012, 277 homes have closed (sold) year to date, with a median list price of $1,485,000., and a median sales price of $1,225,000. The most expensive home sold in 2012 in Westport closed for $5,250,000. It is new construction located on Minute Man Hill on 1.23 acre, offering 7600 square feet, an in-ground pool and walking distance to the beach. The least expensive sale was $390,000., located on Frescenius Road.
In 2011, during the same time period, 286 homes also sold in Westport. With a median list price of $1,399,000, and median sales price of $1,085,625 . The most expensive home sold last year during the same time period closed for $6,300,000 on Bluewater Hill Road. The home featured sweeping views of the sound, a pool, 7500 square foot house on 1 acre with tennis courts as part of the Bluewater Hill association.
Typically, the most closings happen in May, June, July and August , and in 2012 it was no different. During May 32 homes closed, June 54, July 49, August 39 and last month, in September 22 homes closed. These stats are similar to 2011, when in May 42 homes closed, June 54, July 36, August 43 and September 26 homes closed. Although we are on par with last year, we do still have quite a bit of inventory. As of October 1, there are 369 homes on the market with a total market volume of $788,304,205. Currently we have 17 months of inventory available for sale compared to the same time period in 2011 when we had 15 months of inventory available to sell.
The bottom line, the Westport Market is alive! Properties are selling when priced correctly. Our buyers in Westport are well educated. They know the market, and are not willing to overpay. Based on the median dollar listing amount of active homes compared to the median of actual sold listings this year, it appears that we have a large quantity of overpriced listings. The market will not allow you to under price your home (the price will be bid up by savvy buyers), but the market will allow you to hold on to your overpriced listing for years! Price it right and be ready to negotiate.
*These statistics are based on the homes listed for sale through the Greater-Fairfield County Multiple Listing Service as of October 1, 2012.
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
According to CNN Money, “There are several reasons. Home prices are falling. Mortgage interest rates are at historically low levels and rents are on the rise. Of course, many renters are not in a position to buy. For one, it's hard to get a mortgage these days, despite low rates. And paying rent can push them further away from being able to afford to buy.” Overall, cost is down for home purchases while rental prices are continuing to rise – if you can even manage to find a property to rent. It’s partly as simple as supply and demand. More homes available to sell – prices are lower, while fewer rentals available to rent- prices are up.
“Rising rents make it harder for people to save for a down payment, which is the biggest barrier to buying a home that aspiring homeowners face,” Jed Kolko, Trulia’s chief economists says.
While supply and demand are indeed a large part of the equation, low interest rates and tax benefits cannot be ignored. Although we have heard many times over the last few years that mortgages are being offered at historically low rates, there really hasn’t been a time in recent history where they have been offered at these current low rates. Most lenders agree that there is no further room for them to decrease.
In addition, with tax day fast approaching, tax deductions have never been more important. A homeowner can gain tax benefits for their property taxes and interest paid on the first one million dollars of a first mortgage and interest paid on an additional $1,000,000 of a second mortgage. When you rent your home, you will not have access to these write offs. On top of that, you will not build equity in your property since you don’t own it.
Ken H Johnson, a professor of real estate at Florida International, who has extensively studies the “rent vs buy” quandary believes home prices nationally have bottomed out. “The ship has turned,” he says. “Markets should slowly start to recover. Housing will return to its traditional role of a safety investment.”
There are so many great incentives to buy a home right now. Whether for a tax benefit, low borrowing rates of the ability to build equity through ownership, buying a home continues to be a wonderful investment in your family’s future.
Monday, March 12, 2012
If your property isn’t attracting serious shoppers, your agent may recommend that you invest in an appraiser to get a second pricing opinion, as the appraiser will come in with an independent, unbiased opinion to help ensure your price will hold its value with a bank “An appraisal is important in today’s market especially, because it’s an objective and unbiased source of information,” says Matt Ernest, president of Ernest Appraisal Service Inc. “The appraiser is an independent professional who performs a service for a fee rather than for a commission and is therefore not as invested as others are who are making pricing decisions.”
Appraisals allow for homeowners and buyers to establish “fair market value.” In addition, an appraisal allows a lender to know how much they can safely lend. “Credible opinions of value can help to stabilize the real estate market,” says Joseph C. Magdziarz, president of Chicago-based Appraisal Institute, a global membership association of professional real estate appraisers. “Appraisers today are doing the same thorough, fact-based research and analysis they have always done.”
A home appraiser will compare the condition of your house in relation to the comparable properties in the neighborhood and will give you a reasonably good idea where your house fits in relation to recent sales.
According to Ernest, a home appraisal can range in length from two pages to more than 100. It will include details about the house, a description of the neighborhood and side-by-side comparisons of similar properties. It will also contain an evaluation of the area’s real estate market, notations of major problems with the property that will affect its value and an estimate of the expected time it will take to sell the property.
In addition, earlier this year, the Appraisal Institute released several tips for consumers and guidance for homeowners and buyers seeking to ensure their sales are completed in a timely manner. These will be important when selling your home.
• Make sure the lender hires a qualified appraiser (such as a designated SRA, SRPA or MAI member of the Appraisal Institute). The lowest-priced appraiser does not necessarily equate with the most qualified. This is a time to get the numbers right.
• Accompany the appraiser during the inspection of the property if possible. The more active of a participant you are in the process, the more you will understand it, and be able to catch any errors.
• Request a copy of the appraisal report from the lender. Federal law requires that you receive a copy of the appraisal within 30 days.
• Appeal the appraisal if appropriate. Market conditions do change, especially in these economic times. If you feel that new information may change the appraisal, be sure to speak up.
• Have your agent ask the lender to order a second appraisal by a qualified and designated appraiser.
• File legitimate complaints with appropriate state board or professional appraisal organizations.
Remember, you don’t need to agree with the outcome of an appraisal. You and your agent can work with the figures and determine if you should change the sale price or not. A home appraisal, no matter how scientific, still ends up being the opinion of the appraiser and to some degree is a judgment call.