WESTPORT, Conn. — You’ve perused countless real estate websites, trooped through endless open houses and searched month after month for the perfect home. And you’ve finally found it.
So, now what?
According to Jen Schwartz, a Realtor with Connecticut Select Homes, a team in the Westport office of the Higgins Group, the process is not as daunting as it might seem. Schwartz and her partners, Danna Rogers and Elizabeth Steffen, have generated more than $50 million in sales throughout Fairfield County since 2009, and are well equipped to advise buyers.
Here are some of the Connecticut Selects recommendations:
• Review with your agent recent selling prices of similar homes in the area to establish a reasonable offer price.
• Ask your agent to do a comparative market analysis for homes of similar size/acreage/quality that have closed within the past six months.
• Ask your agent plenty of questions, among them: What is the list to sale price ratio in a particular town? For example, if most homes are selling within 95 percent of asking, that will inform your offer price. How long has it been on the market? Why is it being sold? What are its advantages and disadvantages?
Consider the home's resale value: Doing your homework will help you make an offer that meets the needs of both buyer and seller. When an offer — typically a fill-in-the-blank form — is formally accepted, a buyer has a purchase agreement. This is often referred to as a "binder."
It covers many items, such as the purchase price, total down payment and closing date. The purchase agreement also states the date by which you will complete satisfactory building inspections, which party will pay for which settlement or closing costs, the type of loan you are applying for and the date by which you must have the loan.
In many parts of Connecticut an offer will be submitted on a purchase agreement form. Once the seller signs the purchase agreement, it becomes the contract between the parties.
Clients should seek an attorney's review of the contract and have contained in the purchase agreement a provision requiring that an attorney approve the agreement, Schwartz said. It is “the consumer’s prerogative to have an attorney draft a real estate contract, and in Fairfield County, this is common practice. If this is the case, the attorney's contract supersedes the purchase agreement.”
Combined on the Connecticut Select team, Schwartz, Steffen and Rogers have lived in Westport for a total of more than 40 years (Schwartz, nine; Steffen, 22; and Rogers, 12). The team is raising and has raised their families in the town about which they feel so passionate. “We are three working moms who are very active in the community, chairing charitable organizations and school programs,” said Schwartz. The three women “share a love for the Westport/Fairfield County lifestyle, culture, schools, beaches and outdoor recreation.”
According to Rick Higgins, you can't find a better trio than Connecticut Select. They are the quintessential Christie's representatives, and they personify elegance, sophistication and creativity.
The Higgins Group is the exclusive affiliate of Christie's International Real Estate for the Westport and Fairfield regions. They have 12 offices located throughout Fairfield County and over 350 agents.