Luck of the Irish: Feng Shui and the Four Leaf Clover

By Joan Law
Feng Shui Joan’s Way
FengshuiJoansWay@gmail.com

One of the underlying premises of Feng Shui is that our space is affected by an invisible energy that flows around and through us. If you are a Star Wars fan you might call that energy “The Force”. Feng Shui philosophy is built upon the idea that it is possible to influence the force around you.

The Right Stuff

You already know from my articles that clutter and too much stuff is a Feng Shui no-no. But the type of stuff you surround yourself with can impact your life in positive or negative ways.

As we approach St. Patrick’s Day we think of lucky charms. The Irish talk of four-leaf clovers, Leprechauns, and a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. All cultures can draw upon favorite signs of luck. And, of course, the Ancient Chinese were no different. Items often used to create good luck or positive energy in Feng Shui are crystals, images (flat and three dimensional of animals, birds, fish, and flowers), light, water features, fire features, and plants.

Is it Good Luck or Science?

Utilizing good luck symbols in your life sounds simple enough. But honestly, there truly is a whole science behind the manipulation of the energy in Feng Shui. The principals of Feng Shui are based on a bit more than luck.

Feng Shui principles are built around the Five Elements: Water, Fire, Earth, Wood, and Metal. Too much or too little of an element in the wrong corner or room of your home or office can impact your life Chi in dramatic ways. Feng Shui also believes that we process our physical environment through our five senses.

When we determine your space can benefit from a Feng Shui cure, we spend a great deal of time on accessing the balance of all the elements and your intentions. For example, candles are symbolic of the fire element and can be used to balance an area of your home where a water feature may be too dominant or to stimulate fame and strength. Coins may be utilized to attract positive energy to financial ventures. Images of two birds can attract positive energy to the relationship sector of your life. Music and scents can be used to trigger pleasant memories and encourage positive well-being.

The Why Behind the FSJW/Ask Joan Hotline
The reliance on good luck charms vs. the science behind Feng Shui is one of the dominant reasons I established the FSJW/Ask Joan Hotline. Many of my clients pick up a few Feng Shui tips when working with me. And, heck, Feng Shui is fun! Folks like to engage with it once they open the door to its principals. I have found, once we are done working together, former clients still need help figuring out how best to use a cure.

I cannot tell you how many clients call me from HomeGoods to ask if this item or that item would help or hurt their space. The FSJW Hotline enables former clients to call anytime for my help – kind of a direct line to the Feng Shui Force.

Keep in mind, you don’t always need to introduce a new item into your mix. More often than not, folks have just what they need already. They simply need to know how best to use it for good Chi. Consider joining the FSJW Hotline for my help finding the right cure for your space.

And don’t forget to email me your snail mail address to get your FSJW GIFT from me! St. Patty’s Day is the last day you can register for your “Helping Hand” from Joan! May the FSJW force be with you!

 

Couch Potato No More: Fitness For All

Level Up Community Gym

By Malcolm Wilson
trainwithlevelup.com

Level Up Community Gym is a registered nonprofit guiding its members to new levels with affordable small group and 1-on-1 personal training. Our purpose from the beginning was to transform lives but we now see the opportunity to transform communities. We’re raising funds to provide low-income members with the opportunity to live healthier.

Originally from New York, I have lived in the Stratford area for about 6 years. I am qualified to be a trainer: I have been in the health and fitness industry for a decade. I have certifications in National Association of Sports Medicine (NASM), nutrition, and many others. I continue to obtain certifications relevant to this field every year to stay up to date with new information. All the staff in our gym are certified personal trainers and are thoroughly trained through the Level Up Community Gym system. Overall, the main qualification is our passion to help people become the best version of themselves.

Levels of Workouts:

We help people from beginner level to advanced. Our workouts are functional to target weight loss and build toning for the whole body. In addition, we help individuals build their strength and obtain skills of physical balance which in turn benefit their lives.

We offer fitness assessments for everybody that visits our gym and is interested in becoming a member. The fitness assessment is designed to collect data on an individuals’ current physical and health state. We analyze their endurance, strength, balance, flexibility, and goals. We consult with each individual and go over the data we collected to develop a plan so individuals can reach their goals.

We offer personal training 1:1 and small group personal training. Small group personal training consists of 3-5 people. The group is team oriented, so we base it off similar availability and goals.

Black Merchant Exposition:
My team and I organized a black business merchant exposition in July 2020. We had about 15 volunteers and gym staff participate in making this event a success.

This past year was tough for everyone, and this exposition gave us an opportunity to bring unity in our community by shining light to black owned businesses. Given the circumstances our black brothers and sisters have faced with racial discrimination, we wanted to provide support and empower black business owners in this exposition.

We had about 30 black business owners participate as vendors in our recent expositions and over 50 people from our community came by to shop, play games, participate in raffles and even be guest speakers or entertainers. We practiced social distancing and everyone at the event wore masks. The area was big enough to host this amount of people without having to be so close to one another. Every vendor had a mask on and hand sanitizer at their station. The news came to record the event and the word spread around. The next 2 events we had were just as great and we hope to have more expositions in the future.

Real Estate Staging with Feng Shui

By Joan Law
Feng Shui Joan’s Way
FengshuiJoansWay@gmail.com

What is Real Estate Staging? Basically real estate staging is prepping your home for sale. You or your Realtor may hire a professional to stage the home to create more interest. This process can be as simple as removing clutter or as dramatic as fully re-decorating your home to set the stage for a quick and lucrative sale.

A real estate staging with a Feng Shui twist takes a deeper look at the challenge. Sure, clearing clutter and a coat of paint may do the trick. But, more often than not, a seller or rooms in the house may be generating an energy that does not support the end goal of moving or change.

Sharon’s Story: “I had been thinking and talking about downsizing for some time. I was at a place in my life where I knew that I needed to move forward from some significant life transitions, but just did not know how to start.

I was afraid and overwhelmed with the prospect of taking such a big step on my own. Preparing a home for sale and the tremendous amount of mental and physical effort it takes is ever so stressful.

With the current housing market being so strong, I realized I should think about getting serious. I hired Feng Shui Joan’s Way to help. At the outset, my end goal really was not to sell immediately. I just wanted to be able to go when I was ready.

Joan took the time to understand my unique circumstance and literally held my hand through every step of my journey. She created an approach to the process that was thoughtful and supportive.

Hard choices need to be made when you are going through a lifetime of stuff. Figuring out what goes and what stays on your journey forward can be daunting. It is so much easier when you share this hard work with a friend. Joan becomes that friend.

Well I did put my house on the market, and it sold in three days and over the asking price. Even better, I am not weighted down anymore. I have my wings to fly! I love the stuff coming with me to my next home and I honestly do not miss the things I let go. I simply could not have gotten through this effort without Joan by my side.

Take a look at one of our before and after photos. They can be seen at www.fengshuijoansway.com. The photos show the physical transformation. But remember, this is more than a physical exercise.

Be happy. Be well!

Snow, Dogs, and the Super Bowl: It’s All Feng Shui to Me

By Joan Law
Feng Shui Joan’s Way
FengshuiJoansWay@gmail.com

What do snow, dogs, and the Super Bowl have to do with Yin and Yang and Feng Shui? You would be surprised!

It is Super Bowl Sunday morning, and I am watching the heavy snowflakes fall across my world. They are quite beautiful. The view is clean, quiet, and calming and I start to think of the balance of life – Yin and Yang.

Winter is considered a Yin season, a time of year to look inward and reflect before we go all Yang in the Spring and Summer. Yin might be likened to the dark side, while Yang would be the light and bright.

Embracing the darker characteristics of winter does not have to be a negative thing. The winter months allow us to focus on the quality of life inside our homes. This is actually a great time to get some of those organization and clutter clearing projects out of the way. A quick, virtual consultation with an expert can be the spark of light you need to get started on a project that will reduce the physical and mental weight that too much stuff creates.

Let the sun shine in!
Sometimes something as basic as opening up your curtains can change the feel and energy of a room. That’s what happened to a recent client and she fell in love with her space again.

Sounds simple. Surprising that somebody might not think to do that? This is why discussing and questioning the obvious during a Feng Shui consultation can lead to amazing transformations.

Opening and closing of your window treatments is also a habit that tells the body and mind that the new day has started or that it’s time for rest. Everyday rituals are especially important during Covid-19. So many of us are out of our normal routines and that alone can create great stress.

Much of what I write about is the negative energy that clutter creates in our lives. Fixing that negative energy is what I do. Feng Shui study is pretty clear about how too much baggage physical or mental does not promote healthy yin and yang or life energy.

I think most of you recognize how the weight of stuff impacts your life. But did you know that clutter is also bad for your pets?

So, pets are really good Feng Shui!!
As long as you take care of them, pets bring positive and circulating (Yang) energy into your environment. If that environment is cluttered and your own energy is depleted or compromised by stuff, your pet will reflect your stress.

Your pet gives you unconditional love and makes you happy – so make sure you remember they need you to think about how your environment effects their lives.

Keep your pet’s eating and sleeping places clean and odor free – that is good for both of you. Pets actually need to know their place in order for good people-pet energy to thrive. Letting your dogs or cats rule the roost can overwhelm other relationships in your household.

Remember sometimes people and pets need a break. That is why I love Wag Central in Stratford.

My two four legged family members also make me laugh. And, as we prep for the big game (Puppy Bowl and all), Otis and Murphy are on the sidelines waiting for family to gather and food to fly. And, Otis loves his spa days at Wag Central.

A reflective morning that leads to full on energy in the evening is indeed a very Yin Yang day!

PS   My team won!
Don’t forget, the services I provide can be life changing. Call or connect via email any time to discuss how I may be able to assist you with challenges you are facing.

Be happy. Be well!

How the CARES Act is giving you Time to get a Fresh Start

By: Max L. Rosenberg
Bankruptcy Attorney
Rosenberg, Whewell, and Hite, LLC

To many, the extension of the unemployment benefits associated with the CARES Act was a breath of fresh air. Additional funds can go a long way to putting food on the table, keeping the lights on, and putting your mind at ease.

During this devastating time of crisis in our country, we should take stock of our own situations and look f or ways to improve our mental health, physical health, and our financial health. Personally, I took up acrylic painting. My family has filled our walls with YouTube Artist tutorial inspired color and technique. It has been one of the greatest outlets for us to mentally unwind at the end of a stressful day filled with uncertainties. We have kept ourselves safe from COVID by disconnecting from the outside world and staying socially distant from friends and family. It has been challenging, lonely, and it feels like a real sacrifice.

Financial health is trickier. Like many, my family has had to evaluate our choices and shift accordingly. It’s not easy to admit or face that business is hard right now. Not only for us, but for many of you out there who own a business that depends on customers physically being in your store or providing a service for people in person.

Money is tight. Incomes have decreased. Many are facing the difficult task of choosing between spending funds on food, medicine, or electricity. While utility companies, like UI, Eversource, and Southern CT Gas, are not shutting homeowners down yet, that day will come.

Landlords are not evicting but back rent is building. The foreclosure moratoriums are extended, but the balance due is rising. These are cold hard facts of life. They are unpleasant to think about and they are hard to face. The stress of the pandemic, a work or school from home “new normal”, and the myriad of life restrictions is hard enough without facing a crushing ever growing mountain of debt.

Why am I pointing all of this out to you? My dear reader, it’s time to evaluate your situation.
Are you taking this time to pay down your debt by keeping up with interest payments or minimum
payments due? It’s important to see where that money is going and how it is serving you. The answer
to the latter is that it is not serving you at all, but it is paying the credit card companies their salaries.

Did you know that credit card companies make most of their money from interest and fees? That’s
right. Your CARES Act Stimulus payment or Unemployment payment you have been provided from
the federal government to help keep you afloat, that you used to pay the minimum balance or interest
only payment to your credit card minimum balance due of $35 just helped pay for the CEO’s cup of
coffee. Nice!

COVID Cares Act does NOT stop credit card companies and debt collectors from going after you for
debt owed to them. Most companies are now offering deferments or accommodations for paying
back the debt, but you have to be very careful about the fine print. They may still be charging
you interest during that time. While you were very careful to buy the clothes, groceries, or other
necessities on sale, your interest rate on your card you used may erase any savings you may have had.

Is that fair? Maybe, who’s to say what fair really is these days. It’s the truth of the matter, which is
what affects you and your financial health. Carrying credit card debt and other debts is a burden. This
is especially painful if you got into unmanageable debt through no fault of your own. Pandemic
restrictions and other life factors affect us all at inopportune times. As is usually the case in life, we
all have to find our own way out of this mess.

The debt you owe and may be on hold for now, during the national emergency, is not going away.
When the fog of the pandemic is lifted, and we start to open the doors to business as ‘usual’ again,
how will your finances look?

Can you see how you will get out of debt before that happens? If you have over $10,000 in credit
card debt, Medical debt, mortgage arrearage, and other financial obligations, and no foreseeable way
out, it’s time to listen up. There is a way out!

Debt relief is around the corner and waiting for you to knock on the door. Bankruptcy can be your
ticket. I know, I know I said the bad “B” word that makes some people feel like they have failed in
adulting life. Stop that! You have not failed. You have not ruined your future. Bankruptcy has saved
countless futures, helped countless families, and has made it possible for so many to start fresh and
open path to success.

Imagine now, if you are collecting unemployment or receiving other relief from the CARES Act, that
you no longer have to use any portion of that relief to pay your fees and interest only payments on
credit cards or medical bills and not face consequences debt collectors calling you.
Imagine that you can actually stop paying a mortgage that you cannot afford. Imagine your UI bill
that has been on hold for 10 months suddenly reset. Imagine the debt collectors stop calling you and
you don’t have to screen your calls anymore. Imagine waking up and not being on the hook for
crushing medical debt.

No more debt means you can make choices that will help you and your family. Stop struggling to
keep above water and sit on the boat of debt free life. Use the stimulus checks to help your family get
food on the table. Use your boosted unemployment to help you get the tools you need for a new and
better job. You have the power to take control of your financial situation. It’s just a phone call away.

Call an experienced bankruptcy attorney. I will help you find the freedom in your financial situation.
It is never too late to get your fresh start.

Back to my original title question, “How the CARES Act is giving you time to get a fresh start”, it
is giving you a foreclosure moratorium, no evictions, no shut down of utility services, a stimulus
payment, and unemployment boosts. These are all intended to give you timeto act, decide, and
adjust. Call today to take a step that will help your family for years to come. Become debt free and
take control of your financial life again.

Tea for Two (or more)

Open Door Tea

By Sally Head
Correspondent

Open Door Tea, located at 3552 Main Street, Stratford, is a quaint, little tea shop that serves tea, coffee, fresh juices and delightful delicacies- with gluten-free and vegan options.

Open Door Tea, literally opened its door in 2016 and has been serving tea and homemade food ever since. The owner, Kasia Lindeberg, who has her Masters in Human Nutrition, had a passion of merging her knowledge of the healthful benefits of herbs and teas to bringing the community together, so in September of 2016, her dream became reality.

According to Lindeberg, her passion in life is to drink from all over the world and to spread the good news and the health benefits of tea. Opening Open Door Tea was an expansion of her dream to serve good food, using only pure ingredients, to help people maintain their good health.

Currently Open Door Tea is only open for takeout. Customers can still enter the shop to place their orders, or they can call the shop directly at (203) 345-9659 for curbside pickup. You can also order from a take-out app, e.g. Uber Eats or GrubHub. You can also book a virtual Tea Tasting Party, a fun and educational way to learn more about teas: where they come from, how to serve them, and even how to bake with them (teas are versatile and not just for sipping).

These guided tea tasting can be for small or large group gathering. According to Lindenberg, “they are a great way to learn about teas and the areas they come from. Everyone enjoys the teas tasting and tea tours.”

All teas served are sourced from a variety of small farms from around the world, especially in the tea regions, China, and India, or they are carefully blended inhouse to create a unique tea experience. With over 100 tea varieties, you are sure you will find a tea you like.

Before Covid, you would be able to get a whiff of your tea to make sure you like it, now you can rely on the knowledge of the staff to answer any of your tea questions. There are also varying types of tea such as black, green, Rooibis, and white tea. If this is not your “cup of tea” they also have coffee or fresh juice.

Of course you cannot have a tea without a scrumptious treat or a light meal. At Open Door, they serve pastries, sandwiches, salads, soups, quiches and other small delicacies. Check out their menu by visiting: https://opendoortea.com/pages/menu.

Open Door is a great place to get a nice afternoon pick me up or even an early morning breakfast. The knowledgeable staff welcomes your questions and concerns, especially when it come to allergies, and food sensitivities. They cover them all as best as they can.

Lindeberg saw her tea room as a way to bring the community together to live, learn and love. Even the name of the tea shop came as an inspiration from the bible verse in Revelation 3:20. “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person and they with me.” As Ms. Lindeberg shares, “we are an open door to all to enter and I look forward to opening my doors again soon for everyone to come back and dine in.”

Open Door Tea is currently open Monday-Saturday 11-4 pm. Take out only. For more information visit http://opendoortea.com/.

Back to the Future

Time to Reflect and Move Forward

By Osi Rosenberg
Real Estate Correspondent
A to Z Realty, LLC
osi@atozct.com/www.atozct.com

Welcome to 2021. Its time reflect on the past year, and look on to the new one. While the real estate market soared in Stratford throughout the pandemic and many people moved in and out of our small town, one thing remained constant, our sense of community and neighborly love. Regardless of how you feel about the events of 2020, I believe that we all shone through the darkest days with compassion and resilience, and for that, I am forever grateful to all of you.

The question we are all asking ourselves now is, “What does our future hold in the real estate market in Stratford?”. To figure this out, we start with a look back at the last few years. Almost 1,000 homes were purchased in Stratford in 2020. An increase of almost 100 homes sold from the 2019. This is significant as the global pandemic raged through the country, our town was flooded with home purchases.

I decided to investigate how Stratford stands up in relation to our neighboring towns of Trumbull, Bridgeport, and Shelton. These three towns are, as you well know, are part of Fairfield County, and each have their own attractive qualities to draw in potential buyers and new homeowners. I also remember that Bridgeport, being the largest city in the state, would be expected to have higher numbers of closed homes in any given year, just by the advantage of shear geographic size. It is that fact that makes this next revelation even more exciting.

Did you know that in at least the last 3 years, Stratford rivals Bridgeport in closed home sales, more so than any of our other neighboring towns. In 2020 Bridgeport closed 1,023 homes, Stratford a close second with 987 closings, and Shelton and Trumbull a distant 3rd and 4th with 669 and 610 closed homes, respectively. I also took a quick look at how Fairfield did as well, here are the numbers for that comparison:

As a whole, Fairfield County saw a total of 14,426 closed homes in 2020. Which is approximately 3,000 home increase from 2019. Purchasing a home is generally seen as a semi-permanent decision to stick around for at least several years. It is uplifting to see so many choose to flock to Stratford. It would be interesting to learn what prompted people’s decision to move into town. While the local government, schools, and civic organizations offer so much to the citizens of Stratford, discovering what the ultimate motivation of choosing Stratford over its neighboring towns would assist us as a community to see what we are doing right, so we can continue to push in that direction.

As we delve deeper into the single-family homes sold homes in Stratford in 2020, we can see that 314 units were sold in under 30 days. The average price of a 3 bedroom home was just shy of $300,000 and we had 2 homes sell in Stratford for Two Million Dollars or more. With interest rates staying at historic lows, we see that fixed conventional loans have been the fad of the year with approximately 331 Conventional Fixed loans used as financing. Other financing options used, included 159 FHA loans and even 75 homes being purchased with cash. Approximately 20 VA loans indicate that we have some new military families in town. I have always known Stratford to be a welcoming town to veterans and their families. We thank them for their service and their sacrifices.

What does all this mean for the future of real estate value in Stratford? Everyone hopes that the soaring home values of 2020 become the ‘new norm’, we should be cautious to take a realistic view on values moving forward. Are we in a bubble? Are there safeguards in place to prevent a foreclosure apocalypse like we saw in the 2010’s? Only time will tell. 2022 is a huge question mark of uncertainty.

There is a lot to look forward to in 2021. On a national level there is promise of ongoing foreclosure and eviction moratoriums, increase stimulus payments, and other financial assistance to those in need. We are all excited for the distribution of vaccines and programs to assist us to move forward towards a brighter tomorrow. Soon, very soon, our community will be able to gather again in celebration of each other. We will bring back the Bands on the Bluffs, Tuesday Concerts on the Green, Memorial Day Gatherings, Library Lectures, Main Street Festivals, Art Exhibits, Bingo Nights, Town Parades, and all the other town and civic organizational programs that we all crave. I certainly look forward to the Shakespeare Market which will be coming soon on the grounds of the Shakespeare Theatre. I hope you join me in welcoming these events and more back to our calendars. I urge my fellow Stratfordites to participate in conversations about moving this town into a bright and hopeful post-pandemic future that will not only make our lives better together, but also invite new residents, keep property values high, and build an even stronger quality of life for all of our residents. Happy New Year!


A to Z Realty, LLC is Stratford based Real Estate Brokerage. Our office offers flexibility, reliability, and a no-strings attached initial client meeting to discuss your real estate needs, either in person, telephonically or through video conferencing. We take the sale of your home personally. Call Osi at 203.738.5999 or email Osi@atozct.com. Learn more at www.AtoZRealtyCT.com

*Note that the figures in this article are taken from InfoSparks statistics with the restriction of Stratford, CT/All Price Ranges/All Property Types/All Bedrooms/All Bathrooms/All Sizes.

Feed Your Soul

Pies to Go!

The Center for Food Equity and Economic Development (FEED), a division of the Council of Churches of Greater Bridgeport, wants you to stay out of the kitchen this holiday season!  Enjoy time with your family and delicious desserts while supporting a great cause. All proceeds support the work of the FEED Center to bring healthy foods and economic opportunities to Bridgeport area residents.

Their plain cheesecake, apple crumb pie and pumpkin pie are $10 and strawberry cheesecake is $12.  Ordering is easy and all online!  Contactless, curbside pick-up is available on Wednesday, December 23rd.

Call in orders to Shanita Santiago at 203-331-6182 or order online at https://feedbpt.smartonlineorder.com/. FEED is focused on economic development based initiatives within the food industry that build assets and wealth within the Bridgeport community by providing culinary training to low-income residents for food industry employment and entrepreneurial ventures through their CREATE (CREATE CULINARY CAREERS TRAINING COURSE) program.

CREATE is a culinary training for food industry employment for the aspiring food entrepreneur. Their culinary boot camps are geared to prepare students for all aspects of the food industry, from basic knife skills, cooking techniques, recipe testing and scaling, and ServSafe to workshops in product development, business accounting, permits and licenses, farmers market retail, and entrepreneurship. Classes are intended for under-and unemployed area residents looking to start their own businesses or explore a new career in the food industry.

Applications are now being accepted for their winter course that will run from January 11th , 2021, through to March 5th .

Olé! New Business in Town: Chipotle Mexican Grill.

Chipotle Mexican Grill has officially opened in Stratford. The chain’s Stratford location is at 100 E. Main St. and includes a drive-thru lane that allows for service with minimal contact, according to Linhart PR, a firm representing the Mexican eatery. Chipotle offers fast-casual dining and is open 10:45 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. They are also available as a partner for local fundraisers. For more information, visit community.chipotle.com. Chipotle had more than 2,450 restaurants in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France and Germany and is the only restaurant company of its size that owns and operates all its restaurants.

The Chipotle in Stratford offers fresh, real ingredients and specializes in custom burrito bowls, burritos, tacos and salads either that you can cater for your next large event or order online and enjoy a meal without the wait.

Stratford’s Town Council approved a tax break for the development in July 2019. The Chipotle location was previously residential property, but was rezoned for commercial use in 2018. Under the tax abatement approved by council members in July, 2019, Chipotle and the storage facility also located in the shopping plaza, will be 100% tax exempt for three years, and will receive a tax exemption between 33% and 72% for the following four years. Starbucks is also scheduled to go into this development, but was not listed as part of the abatement schedule. The site is being developed by Urstadt Biddle Properties Inc.

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Time to Sell – or – Time to Buy? 

By Osi Rosenberg,
A to Z Realty,
LLC osi@atozct.com/www.atozct.com

It is the middle of the pandemic and lockdowns are looming. Here is how things look in Stratford! At the time this was written, November 18, 2020, there are 83 properties on the market with a price range of $45,000 to $2.3M. An impressive range for our humble little town. While we don’t have a lot of inventory, the real question is, what kind of market are we in? Buyer or Sellers? Good question! It is hard to say how this will play out with so many moving parts such as the pandemic response in CT and surrounding states, the elections finalization, and the much awaited, highly anticipated vaccine. 

Key Conditions:

Let us go back to economics class for a moment. What happens when there is very little inventory (sellers), and a lot of demand (buyers)? If your Virtually Educated Middle Schooler answered prices skyrocket, they would be correct! When we have very few homes on the market and buyers pouring into the state, there is a huge demand that causes buyers to fight tooth and nail to outbid their competition. In some cases, having the winning bid meant bidding on homes $20,000 to $50,000 over asking price in parts of the state. This makes a Sellers’ market that Stratfordites and all of CT seemed to enjoy over the summer months. Summer is usually a busy time in real estate, 2020 did not change that, in fact it was impressive on all accounts. Buyers from NYC flocked to the suburbs to stretch their legs in the new remote work environment. I’ve even heard it described as the “Great Exodus”! 

Market Drivers: 

Now, the initial wave of panic has settled, and the pouring out of NY has slowed. What happens when the supply is increased and the demand decreases? You guessed it, the exact opposite, the infamous Buyers’ market. Where Buyers underbid and Sellers have two choices; wait for the market to turn, or accept lower than asking price. With the winter months approaching, colder weather, darker days and COVID-19 still looming, a Buyers’ market certainly seems very possible. 

 

Opportunities Amidst Challenges:

So where are we here in Stratford? Like the rest of CT, Stratford had its fair share of the benefits of the Great Exodus. I would attribute this to the position on the Metro North and Forest to Shore small town feel. During the pandemic, Stratfordites, supported each other through its religious and civic organizations as well as its municipal initiatives. Stratford has so much to offer and just a hop, skip, and train ride to the city. But as they say, what goes up, must come down. Homes are not flying off the market like they were, Sellers are seeing higher numbers of showings to contract, and Buyers are being braver with their low ball offers. The good news is that buyers are still looking, and homes are still going on the market, but like the ebb and flow of the tide, there is a familiar feeling in the current of Stratford Real Estate Market. What will happen going into the holiday season and beyond? Time will tell, but Buyers’ Market warnings are around us.

Fair Market values always drop a little in the winter months and it will be interesting to see how the market fairs the next few months. I’ll be watching. 

Sneak Peek at the next edition: 

Short Sales and REO’s are Reading their Ugly Heads Again. 

Now that courts are back in session, the pause on evictions, stalled foreclosures, and extended law days are coming to an end, February and March will likely see a huge uptick in foreclosure proceedings. Next edition, I will discuss the issues involved in Distressed Homes, Short Sales and how they affect the market. If you want to discuss your distressed property sooner than later, contact A to Z Realty, LLC 203.738.5999. We are always available to assist. 

Real Estate Question Corner: 

I was asked the other day about refinancing opportunities and if it is worthwhile in this market. 

Considerations:

Here are the factors to consider: 

  1. What is your current mortgage rate? 
  2. What is your current Loan to Value ratio?
  3. What is your current mortgage payment versus what you may pay with a new loan? 
  4. Do you have enough equity to do a no-money-down refinance? 
  5. Are you interested in cash out refinance? 
  6. How’s that credit score? 

Your best first step is to contact a Mortgage Professional and discuss your options. There are several mortgage professional businesses based right here in Stratford. 

*Note that the figures in this article are taken from InfoSparks statistics with the restriction of Stratford, CT/All Price Ranges/All Property Types/All Bedrooms/All Bathrooms/All Sizes.