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The Truth About Security Deposits

Wednesday, June 8th, 2011




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Yesterday the Department Of Consumer Protection sent this out to the Realtors in Connecticut:

The Astonishing Truth About Security Deposits

The most frequently asked questions so far this year have been about security deposits. Many of you assume you know what the law is on security deposits, but because we have had so many calls about security deposits, we thought we’d clear up any misunderstandings.

Landlords frequently tell their listing agents they want their tenants to pay first month’s rent, last month’s rent, two months’ security deposit and a pet deposit, all at the beginning of a lease.

If that’s what your landlord thinks is legally correct, he is wrong. If that’s what you think is legally correct, you are wrong, too.

There’s actually a Connecticut statute that is just about security deposits. CGS §47a-21.

“Security deposit” is a defined term. It is “any advance rental payment other than first month’s rent and a deposit for a key or special equipment”. That’s any advance rental payment other than first month’s rent for a key or special equipment.

Notice there is no mention of a “pet deposit”.

Notice there’s no mention of “last month’s rent”.

First month’s rent is okay.

If the tenant is giving the landlord money that is not for the first month’s rent or a deposit for a key or special equipment, it is considered security deposit.

The statute tells us how much security deposit is allowed:
 If a tenant is under 62 years of age, the landlord may take an amount equal to two months’ rent.
 If a tenant is 62 years of age or older, the landlord may take only one month’s rent.

Adding it all up, the most a landlord can take up front is:
 first month’s rent,
 two month’s rent as security deposit, and
 a deposit for a key or special equipment.

That’s it. That’s all.

No pet deposit. No last month’s rent.

The landlord is required to deposit the security deposit money into an escrow account where it should remain until the tenancy ends when the landlord can use it to offset any damage to the premises caused by the tenant.

To read CAR’s Q&A on Security Deposits, go to www.ctrealtor.com, click on Legal/Forms, click on Q&As, scroll down the alphabetical list to Q & A on Security Deposits.

 

So if  you have been asked to provide anything more than what is allowed above, contact the Department of Consumer Protection.

 



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  • wp socializer sprite mask 16px The Truth About Security Deposits | CT Real Estate
  • wp socializer sprite mask 16px The Truth About Security Deposits | CT Real Estate
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Stamford CT real estate…to list or not to list??? that is the question.

Monday, October 25th, 2010




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We all realize that it is not the ideal time to try and list your home, but if you are buying in the same area, say, Stamford CT for example icon wink Stamford CT real estate...to list or not to list??? that is the question. | CT Real Estate then your lowered house price will also be reflected when you buy your replacement house. Nothing is lost therefore – or is it?

Sometimes we can become aware of the fact that we really must move. Maybe the children are too big and we really need to move for that extra bedroom; perhaps there is a need for a bigger rec room, or an extra bathroom.

Many circumstances make house-moving come to mind, but have you worked out the cost of remodeling as opposed to the cost of moving? When we think about moving, we often think of all the irksome things about our home, but we do not remember all the conveniences that might not be available in the next home.

What about the qualities you really like about this home? Even small things like the sun shining into your kitchen in the morning are priceless to some people.

One of the first things to consider is your ‘gut feeling’. Do you want to move because you want to get away from something that is bugging you in that house? If so, think about including that in a remodeling project (as long as it is not an irritating neighbor!)

Write down all the things that are missing in the house you are in, that you know you can afford to buy in the next house. For instance, a third bedroom is one reason you must move, and you would like a big yard. But have you checked the prices of three-bed roomed homes with a big yard in your area?

Cost is really the biggest factor that we all have to takeinto account. Obviously the comparative costs of moving versus re-modeling may play a part.

It is easy enough to calculate the cost of remodeling, you simply ask a builder for a quote. (Use several builders.) If you are doing it yourself, then it will take longer to calculate everything you need to buy. Some hardware stores offer a quotation service. There are on line services for instance on the Home and Garden Web site, where you can pick out your kitchen or bathroom type, choose cabinets and colors of your choicer, one click and it all whizzes into place!

There are also short cuts you can take to get your dream kitchen, like just ordering new cabinet doors and drawers instead of refitting the whole kitchen. These replacement doors come in various price ranges starting from inexpensive white laminate up to classy dark cherry wood.

The cost of moving is harder to calculate, as it contains many hidden costs. For instance all the small costs like a day off work to move, the cost of moving boxes, the paint costs to touch up the outside of the house and those extra shrubs you will buy to make the yard look good.

The larger expenses are easier to spot, for instance: the fee to the realtor, the difference between the cost price of selling your home and buying the new home, the closing fees and legal fees for both houses.

Then there is the actual cost of the physical move, will it be by a removal company or do you plan to do it yourself? Once in the new home, what of drapes and any extras that will be required.

Once all the figures are in, and you have done the math, you may find it easier to make a logical decision and you also feel better in knowing all the cost factors involved – so there will be no surprises. If you do decide to sell, i would love the opportunity to provide a FREE no- obligation market analysis for your Stamford, CT real estate! Just email: nicole@thepropnet.com for an appointment!! icon smile Stamford CT real estate...to list or not to list??? that is the question. | CT Real Estate



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Distressed Homeowners. Options for your Stamford Short Sale.

Monday, October 18th, 2010




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Real estate is not always an easy venture to be involved in. Mortgages are huge loans, and monthly payments can be extremely steep. Especially with the trend a few years back to give out sub-prime mortgages, there have been a lot of foreclosures lately. But foreclosure should be avoided at all costs.
So let’s assume for a moment that you are unable to make your mortgage payments. You become a defaulted owner. Now what? Well, typically, your lending institution will foreclose its mortgage. If this happens, not only will you lose your property when it goes back to the bank, you will lose all your equity. In addition, foreclosure reduces your credit rating, leaving a permanent stain on your credit account. This can be extremely hard to remove, and may prevent you from ever borrowing again. Finally, you may even have to pay taxes on the debt reduction amount. So in trying to save money, you’ve only added another expense to your list of bills. All in all, foreclosure is a bad deal for you.
There are two main types of foreclosure, foreclosure by judicial sale (the type we have here in Connecticut) and foreclosure by power of sale. In the former, the court supervises the sale of the property. In the latter, the bank or mortgage holder sells the home. In a strict foreclosure, not in use in all states, the bank would assume the deed of the defaulted mortgage, without the obligation to sell. This method is less popular as few banks want to become landlords. Usually, by whatever means, the foreclosure involves the sale of the property. In Stamford, CT Foreclosures are Judicial.
If you are unable to make the mortgage payments on your Stamford, CT home, or in any other way are unable to fulfill the obligations of your lending contract, it is best if you sell your real estate as soon as possible. This may mean selling at a much lower rate than market value, however as a homeowner, you may be able to retain some equity from your home, and you will definitely save your credit rating. This is very important for your future real estate purchases, and just about anything else in your life. By selling your home yourself, with or without the help of an agent, you are keeping the power in your hands. Even if you come out of it with no equity, the chances of losing money is slim unless your home has become totally derelict. Even then, you are still better off selling it yourself than allowing a foreclosure to go ahead.
While in a stressful situation such as mounting debt, it can seem like the easy thing to drop everything and run. But as I’ve outlined, it is never to your advantage to let a property foreclose. The key to saving yourself from this fate may be an honest analysis of your expenses. If you can see a problem coming, you have more time to act on it. Rather than waiting to the last minute, put your home up for sale as soon as you suspect you will have trouble making payments in the future. The more time you have to sell, the more likely you’ll walk away with a fair price for your property. You may even be able to find another, cheaper home, and nobody will have been the wiser that you narrowly escaped financial disaster.

Nicole Borsey is a Stamford Short Sale Expert.

Contact her for FREE advice. There ARE options!!!



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Short sales-Protect your credit score

Saturday, October 9th, 2010




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It is in the news. Bank of America suspends foreclosures. This does not let you off the hook; you will just dangle a little longer. But it gives you time to start the short sale process and limit the damage to your credit history. Remember, a foreclosure stays with you forever, can affect your security clearance, and can even affect the value of your neighbor’s homes. Contact me now if you have a hardship and can not maintain your mortgage payments.



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7 reasons to own your home

Friday, October 8th, 2010




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1. Tax breaks. The U.S. Tax Code lets you deduct the interest you pay on your mortgage, your property taxes, as well as some of the costs involved in buying your home.

2. Appreciation. Real estate has long-term, stable growth in value. While year-to-year fluctuations are normal, median existing-home sale prices have increased on average 6.5 percent each year from 1972 through 2005, and increased 88.5 percent over the last 10 years, according to the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. In addition, the number of U.S. households is expected to rise 15 percent over the next decade, creating continued high demand for housing.
3. Equity. Money paid for rent is money that you’ll never see again, but mortgage payments let you build equity ownership interest in your home.

4. Savings. Building equity in your home is a ready-made savings plan. And when you sell, you can generally take up to $250,000 ($500,000 for a married couple) as gain without owing any federal income tax.

5. Predictability. Unlike rent, your fixed-mortgage payments don’t rise over the years so your housing costs may actually decline as you own the home longer. However, keep in mind that property taxes and insurance costs will increase.

6. Freedom. The home is yours. You can decorate any way you want and benefit from your investment for as long as you own the home.

7. Stability. Remaining in one neighborhood for several years gives you a chance to participate in community activities, lets you and your family establish lasting friendships, and offers your children the benefit of educational continuity.

Online resources: To calculate whether buying is the best financial option for you, use the “Buy vs. Rent” calculator at www.GinnieMae.gov.

*Reprinted from REALTOR magazine, with permission of the National Association of Realtors. Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.



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8 Tips to Guide You on Your Home Search

Thursday, October 7th, 2010




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1. Research before you look. Decide what features you most want to have in a home, what neighborhoods you prefer, and how much you’d be willing to spend each month for housing.

2. Be realistic. It’s OK to be picky, but don’t be unrealistic with your expectations. There’s no such thing as a perfect home. Use your list of priorities as a guide to evaluate each property.
 

3. Get your finances in order.Review your credit report and be sure you have enough money to cover your down payment and closing costs. Then, talk to a lender and get pre-qualified for a mortgage. This will save you the heartache later of falling in love with a house you can’t afford.

4. Don’t ask too many people for opinions. It will drive you crazy. Select one or two people to turn to if you feel you need a second opinion, but be ready to make the final decision on your own.

5. Decide your moving timeline. When is your lease up? Are you allowed to sublet? How tight is the rental market in your area? All of these factors will help you determine when you should move.

6. Think long term. Are you looking for a starter house with plans to move up in a few years, or do you hope to stay in this home for a longer period? This decision may dictate what type of home you’ll buy as well as the type of mortgage terms that will best suit you.

7. Insist on a home inspection. If possible, get a warranty from the seller to cover defects for one year.

8. Get help from a REALTOR®. Hire a real estate professional who specializes in buyer representation. Unlike a listing agent, whose first duty is to the seller, a buyer’s representative is working only for you. Buyer’s reps are usually paid out of the seller’s commission payment.

*Reprinted from REALTOR Magazine, with permission of the National Association of Realtors.


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Connecticut Real Estate – Pleasant Northeastern Escape

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010




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Connecticut is close to all the major attractions in the Northeast, but has much to offer on its own.  If you’re looking for a little peace in the Northeast, Connecticut real estate is a good option.

Connecticut

With a colonial history, beach towns and little seaside villages, Connecticut is a classic Northeaster state. Unlike its neighbors, Connecticut tends to be less populated and have a bit of a slower pace of life.  Sitting close to New York City, Connecticut is a popular relocation spot for people working in the city, but trying to avoid the population crush.

Hartford

The capital of the state, Hartford is a modern city and considered the insurance company capital of the United States. With such a title, you might think Hartford isn’t exactly a vibrant city. Unfortunately, you’re correct. There isn’t much to recommend the city if you’re looking for nightlife or outdoor experiences. Real Estate prices, however, are reasonable for the Northeast and it is a relatively short trip to more vibrant locations.

Mystic

Unlike Hartford, Mystic is a town with a ton of culture. Located on the Atlantic seaboard, the town has a strong seafaring history and takes pride in it. With colonial architecture, the city is bursting with color as the leaves turn in the fall.  A classic seaport, Mystic celebrates the history with maritime museums, classic whaling schooner and as pleasant a group of people as you will ever find. You can even order 5-cent beers in a few local taverns. Admittedly, the glasses are very small but 5 cents is 5 cents!

Connecticut Real Estate

Connecticut real estate prices differ greatly from location to location. Generally, the closer the location is to New York City, the higher the prices. A single-family residence in Hartford will set you back $325,000 but prices range from the low $200,000 to over $1,ooo,ooo throughout the state.



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To Rent or To Buy??

Sunday, August 29th, 2010




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If you are wondering if you should rent or buy in Stamford, CT (or Beyond!) this video we found by the NAR® might help icon smile To Rent or To Buy?? | CT Real Estate

Source: Homes: Rent or Buy, (YouTube Video, Feb. 12, 2009).



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Welcome your guests with open arms, tips for creating curb appeal

Saturday, August 28th, 2010




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McDowellFrontyard236772 C22 Welcome your guests with open arms, tips for creating curb appeal | CT Real Estate

Backyard outdoor rooms are extremely popular everywhere in the United States. Outdoor kitchens, spas, video centers, fireplaces, pools, gazebos—all help to establish a wonderfully useable, comfortable, desirable living space in which to entertain family and friends. But many homeowners tend to forget about the front yard and entrance to their homes because…simply…they don’t spend much of their time there. “An owner returning home from work drives along the driveway to the garage and enters the house from that doorway, never even catching a glimpse of the front door of the house,” says Scott Cohen, a designer regularly featured on HGTV and the owner of The Green Scene, an award-winning residential landscape design and construction firm. “Owners feel that, although the backyard is theirs, the front of the home belongs to the neighbors. They often neglect it because they practically forget that it’s even there.”

Cohen says the front of a home should actually be of paramount importance. It’s the primary area seen by those approaching and leaving the home and by all passersby. The front entryway is the first thing an invited guest sees, so it should be attractive and hospitable. “I like an ‘open arms’ design for an entry,” explains Cohen. “The base of the stairs should be wide and, as they lead to the front door, the width should be reduced somewhat. The perception is one of welcoming, open arms to anyone moving toward the entry.” Cohen also advises against “duck walks” or an entryway access that is so tight that people must walk single file to reach or leave the door. “The entry should be generous and comfortably allow for two-way traffic,” he notes.

Cohen discourages owners from creating too many approaches from the front yard to the house. “Some homeowners offer a multitude of walkways to visitors,” he explains. “There’s a path from the front to the backyard, another path to a side yard or garage, as well as the steps leading to the front door. All these paths are confusing to guests; they don’t know which walkway to use.” Cohen believes the front door should be the main focus, and the walkway or stairs leading to that door should be prominent in the front-yard design.

Landscaping and architectural details that coordinate with the original structure will look like they belong and have always been a part of the house, Cohen says.

He advises using the same materials and shapes that are on the house in the landscaping design. “If a house has a low horizontal plane, so should the landscaping,” he says. “A grander home can handle a grander scale of architectural and landscaping details.” Nevertheless, he warns, “Never overdo or overpower the home itself.”

In order for steps to be attractive and safe, certain design elements should be included. Wide landings are comfortable to walk on and impressive looking. Stairs should be well lit for safety reasons. “Never light stairs from the top because that will cause a shadow. Light stairs from the side with eyebrow or pilaster lights or on the face of the step itself,” Cohen suggests. “I prefer side lighting myself. Lights on the face of a step tend to look more commercial.”

Landscaping plantings can be simple and monochromatic or ambitious and colorful. Dividing walls can be stone, stucco, or live hedge. But all the details should complement the original structure and coordinate with the original materials used in the construction of the house. Cohen adds, “A well-planned and appealing front entryway says ‘come on in’ to visitors and tells them that the owners are proud of their home and warmly welcome guests.” Written by Carolyn M. Runyon.

Be sure to check with your local municipality for set-back requirements or restrictions before designing your new front yard.




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  • wp socializer sprite mask 16px Welcome your guests with open arms, tips for creating curb appeal | CT Real Estate
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Open House

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010




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Open House 1-4pm.

-By your Staff Writer for the Property Network, Matt Giles

I spent the day with my fiancé running around to all the open houses in our area. There was a lot to see and some nice and some disturbing finds. Either way we are just one step closer to buying a new home.

First we plotted our plan of attack. We spent Saturday night on the computer looking for all the open houses in our area and surrounding areas. And boy did I get lucky….not like that; I got lucky because all the open houses were in the town I want to live in over the towns she likes.

We were on the computer looking at all the different houses we could afford and that we liked. She looks at the layout and how updated the kitchen was and I look to see if there is a sewer over septic and what the other utilities there are. When it comes to heating the house I would like natural gas over propane or oil and I will put my foot down on electric heat. I lived in Boston in an apartment with electric heat and our bills were almost as high as rent and it was never warm.

So anywho, after studying each picture and seeing what each listing had to offer we decided we would make an afternoon out of open house hunting. What I found out was some of these realtors try to lure you in with cookies. One had a big tin of sugar cookies and another was baking chocolate chip cookies why we were walking around. Very clever marketing ploy. Make the chubby out of shape writer want cookies and a place to live.

Now, I’m sure some of you have had this experience before. I’m not ashamed to admit before my relationship now I tried the whole internet dating thing. With that experience I found out that most of the time the person in the picture is not what you see when you actually meet. That is exactly what was happening today.

Every place we saw in the pictures looked like the ideal place to live. Just paint, maybe some updates in the kitchens but nothing to bad. In real life every place we saw needed all the carpets ripped out from one foul funk to another (now I know why she was baking cookies to cover up the stench of something).

The other thing I noticed was all the awful touch up spots that people tried to touch up either spackle or paint. Oh man, hire a professional to do the work if you don’t know how. It just looks horrible when what are supposed to be smooth walls are textured from the lack of patience to sand the spackle before you paint it.

The last thing is buy some caulk. Houses settle causing nail pops and things to move. Sometimes trim will separate off the wall from the house settling and the trim guy missing a stud when he nailed it on. Caulk fixes that problem and makes it look nice. Most trim is painted white so if you by white caulk and spend a few hours on a Saturday re-caulking it will help when people walk through.

That is one of the first things I notice, big black gaps against white trim. Just looks bad. I get not going through the hassle of fixing nail pops (nailing the nail in, spackling, sanding, spackling again, sanding, and than painting the whole wall so it blends), but get the caulk and have fun.

Needless to say we did not find first home lust or love today. We found a lot of places that needed a lot of work before we could move in. So now we are going to be setting up times to go see all the other houses to see how they compare from the pictures. I’m just hoping at least one looks better than the pictures this time.

-Matt Giles, Staff Writer for the Property Network, Freelance writer for hire. For more info visit www.mdgcopywriting.com



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