Our mobile site is optimized for smaller screens.

TRY IT NO THANKS

Blog

Grillsdale!

CT Real Estate Agent William McGinn

Back for its second year as one of the most tantalizing evenings of the summer, GRILLSDALE proudly spotlights the bounty of Columbia County, Dutchess County, and the Berkshires—featuring some of the best grilled small plates from top restaurants, chefs, and purveyors from the area.

Set against the hills at Roeliff Jansen Park in Hillsdale, NY, on Saturday, August 26, from 6:30-11:30 pm, watch the sunset while sampling your way through an all-inclusive food and drink menu.

For live music, The Wayside Drifters from Ancram, K Sloan & The Melodics (from Detroit by way of NYC), and Sittin’ Plush from Ancramdale featuring chef Job Yacubian, all performing on the big Herrington’s truck-stage.

If last year is to be any indication, GRILLSDALE will sell out fast, so get your tickets now! For more information or to purchase tickets online, click here.

    Comments

    1. No comments. Be the first to comment.

    Creative and Easier Shade

    Martha Mullins, Salisbury CT Realtor

    Beat back the sun and use your patio and deck all day by installing temporary shade.  Beyond planting trees and shrubs nearby or putting up an umbrella shade over your patio set, there are some fun ways to keep your outside space cooler by using creative shading.

    A climbing trellis can blunt slanted sunshine that tends to heat under awnings in the mornings and late afternoons.  Clematis is one of my favorites, but morning glory and bougainvillea are popular choices as well. Potted trees are also helpful but take a bit of extra care than trees in the yard.  If you don’t have a green thumb or you don’t have the time to use your green thumb, sail shades might work. They are triangular or square sections of strong nylon that come in a variety of colors.  A temporary change of décor to brighten up your summer and cool you down.

    Trellis, potted trees, or sail shades are sturdier and offer fun alternatives to the umbrella -- and you don’t have to keep putting it up and taking it down!

      Comments

      1. No comments. Be the first to comment.

      An Abundance of Farm Stands!

      Connecticut Realtor Mary Taylor

      We here in the Tri-State Corner are spoiled with fresh farm products.  All of our local towns have farms with farm stands—far too many to mention in one blog, so I’ll focus on those close to our home base in Salisbury. Each farm stand offers a variety of food.

      Salisbury:
      Whippoorwill Farm
      Weatogue Farm

      Sharon:
      Pine Hill Farm  860-364-0416
      Q Farms
      Paley’s Farm Market

      West Cornwall:
      Hautboy Hill Farm
      Ridgway Farm

      Cornwall Bridge:
      Stone Wall Dairy Farm

      The Canaans – Falls Village:
      Lone Silo Farm
      Freund’s Farm Market
      Ford Farm
      Mountain View Farm


      Enjoy the freshest possible food while you support our local farmers!

        Comments

        1. No comments. Be the first to comment.

        Thinking of Buying a Fixer-Upper?

        Salisbury CT Realtor Pat Best

        As an HGTV addict, I understand how appealing it can be to dream about transforming a dated or dilapidated house like the Property Brothers seem to do so effortlessly--and usually in 4-6 weeks! (Remember, it’s TV.) I have been a partner in several projects in Sharon and Salisbury and, while it can make sense depending on the purchase price, location, and the extent of the renovations, it’s not for amateurs.

        In the Tri-State area, we have many homes for sale with dated kitchens and baths, and those renovations usually make sense.  However, beware of larger projects entailing systems, roofs, drainage, etc. Those items will suck up your budget and leave little for the fun stuff like a new kitchen and baths. National average bath remodels run $100-$200/sq. ft. and kitchens range from $30,000-$80,000, depending on material and appliance choices. It will probably take longer and cost more than you thought, so make sure you have a contingency. Look for a house that has been well maintained but needs cosmetics.

        A good real estate agent can help you find a good buy--it can be cheaper to buy the more expensive house.  Call or email us if you need help!

          Comments

          1. No comments. Be the first to comment.

          Black Bears in Our Backyards

          CT Real Estate Agent Mary Kirby

          The black bear sighting reports in and around Sharon and Salisbury seem to increase each season. A startling event is finding a bear on your patio or while out for a walk.

          For the uninitiated about bears on one’s property, it’s important to be vigilant, especially at night. Their presence in our neighborhoods can be frightening, yet fascinating, to observe. Bears are seen more frequently when they are in search of food. It behooves everyone to remove bird feeders, pet dishes, trash/garbage cans, and barbecue fragments from outdoor locations when bears are not hibernating.  It’s an open invitation to bears and other animal scavengers when garbage containers are placed at curbside in the evening awaiting pick-up in the morning! Lessons to be learned are awareness of bears in the outdoors and even on the highways.

          The CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection  (DEEP) has issued an information sheet called “Be Bear Aware: Black Bear Do’s and Don’ts” which can be found on their website and on local town hall bulletin boards.

            Comments

            1. No comments. Be the first to comment.

            What's That Smell?

            Connecticut Realtor William McGinn

            The kiss of death for any real estate showing is the customer refrain “What’s that smell?” Whether it is mildew, fireplace, cat litter, or septic system, those odors have to be identified and eradicated.

            A thorough cleaning of the house is always in order. Cleaning the cat litter box, cleaning the fireplaces, and emptying garbage pails are all part of routine maintenance which must be done continually while a house is on the market.

            Some smells, like dampness, can be improved with products such as “Fresh Wave.”

            A septic odor is not necessarily a sign that the septic system is not working.  Often when a house is not occupied for a period of time, or even if a shower is not used for a period of time, the water in the sink traps evaporates, and the septic gases can back up into the house.  Running the water in all tubs, showers, and sinks will block that smell.

            When you are looking at how your house appears to prospective buyers, make sure to use your nose as well as your eyes!

              Comments

              1. No comments. Be the first to comment.

              The Power of Paint

              Pat Best, Salisbury CT Realtor

              I recently read Hammertown’s article about the impact of paint colors on a home’s appeal and couldn’t agree more. As a realtor, I can’t overstate how important it is to paint your house, inside and out, in colors that are popular with most buyers. 

              Exterior choices are often inspired by the architecture of your home. Barn style homes seem to look best in dramatic reds, dark greens and, popular right now, black. Take a look at the converted barn that is part of Best & Cavallaro’s listing at 245 Belgo Road in Lakeville.   

              However, the 1845 Greek Revival next door (at 251 Belgo Road) just called out to be white.  Currently, the most popular interior colors are shades of gray, beiges and soft blues. I will always thank my friend who, knowing I wanted turquoise kitchen cabinets when I built my last home, convinced me to use gray and get turquoise accessories – which she provided as a housewarming gift! Pops of color are easier to change than cabinets – and tastes and styles do change. I encouraged clients to paint their house in Sharon CT, which was light blue with red shutters, a medium gray with black shutters and – guess what – it sold!

                Comments

                1. No comments. Be the first to comment.

                What Should I Pay for Rent?

                Connecticut real estate agent Martha Mullins

                Figuring out how much rent to pay can be painful.  Making a mistake by assuming too high a monthly rent can significantly impact your lifestyle.  

                In general, the basic rule is to spend no more than 30% of your after tax take home pay. To figure that out, take your annual salary and deduct taxes. Divide that figure by twelve. Subtract your monthly necessary expenses, such as car payment, car taxes, health insurance, loans, groceries, etc. Multiply that number by .3 and you’ll know what you can afford to pay. This isn’t what you should pay, though.  

                If you like dining out, events, activities outside work and home, then spend less and direct the additional funds to your social life. If you prefer to stay home maybe spend up to that 30% mark. Remember to inquire about all expenses: utilities, lawn mowing, snow removal, association fees, etc. when asking about rent.  

                Enjoy what you pay for!

                  Comments

                  1. No comments. Be the first to comment.

                  Bicycles Sharing the Road

                  Lori Belter, Western CT Realtor

                  Before you head out for a bike ride in our beautiful Northwest Corner of CT, it’s important to know the rules of the road, designed to help keep cyclists safe. 

                  If you are riding on the road, behave like a car. One reason there may be animosity between drivers and cyclists is that some cyclists take liberties with their bicycle, riding 2-3 wide, ignoring traffic lights, or switching between the road and crosswalks. Yes, cyclists have a right to the road, but most laws state they must follow the rules that apply to cars, including riding with the direction of traffic, stopping at stop signs and lights, and yielding to pedestrians. Be sure to stay as far to the right as safely possible, maintain as straight a line as possible, and avoid swerving around objects.  Be predictable so cars know what to expect.

                  Wearing a helmet and being highly visible are most important - wear bright/reflective clothing and be sure you have front and back lights and reflectors, especially if you are riding at dusk or dark.

                  A little caution will help you to stay safe while sharing the road.

                    Comments

                    1. No comments. Be the first to comment.

                    Spring for Sound 2017!

                    William McGinn, Connecticut Realtor

                    Spring For Sound is an all day, rain-or-shine music festival on June 10, 2017 in the village of Millerton, NY. All proceeds go towards the work of the North East Community Center, which provides healthy, caring, and responsive services to the residents of North East, Millerton, and its surrounds. 

                    Performances are scheduled from 10 am to midnight (roughly) on multiple stages at partner venues throughout the village. One ticket gets you a wristband and admission to all stages. Spring for Sound is suitable for all ages and children 12 and under accompanied by an adult are admitted free.

                    Tickets may be purchased in advance at a discount at springforsound.com or at the NECC office at 51 S. Center St. in Millerton,  52 Main, and The Black Rabbit in Lakeville, CT. 

                    Tickets/wristbands will also be for sale on the day of the show at full price and may be purchased at the Perch at Gilded Moon or NXNE Stage ticket booths. 

                    What a great way to start your summer, enjoy outstanding music, and support an important local resource!

                      Comments

                      1. No comments. Be the first to comment.

                      What To Do This Weekend?

                      CT Realtor Mary Taylor

                      It’s a weekend and we’ve promised the young and young at heart a day trip.  Where can we go, what can we do?  Here are a few places to explore:

                      Visit the Berkshire Museum, which offers an array of exhibitions and activities. 

                      Visit the Berkshire Scenic Rail Museum which is preserving the history of railroading.

                      Visit the Trevor Zoo at Millbrook School, a one-of-a-kind, AZA-accredited zoo with over 160 exotic and indigenous animals.

                      Enjoy trails, live animal exhibits, nature programs, and conservation-themed events  at the Audubon Society in Sharon. 

                      On a Saturday afternoon, go for a farm tour at Arethusa Dairy Farm in Litchfield, CT.

                      Experience a replicated Algonkian Village at the Institute of American Indian Studies in Washington, CT.

                      Visit a replica of a pioneer cabin at the Sloane-Stanley Museum & Kent Iron Furnace.

                      And be sure to visit the Best Bets page or our website for more ideas and upcoming special events!

                        Comments

                        1. No comments. Be the first to comment.

                        Memorial Day in Salisbury, CT

                        • By
                        • Posted

                        Salisbury real estate expert Lori Belter

                        Are you looking forward to summer? Picnics at the lake, walking the Appalachian Trail, picking up fresh produce at a farmer’s market, enjoying backyard barbecues, riding bikes around Twin Lakes or on the Rail Trail, or maybe putting in the canoe on Lakeville Lake?   

                        Traditionally, Memorial Day is the kick-off of the summer season. In Salisbury, we have a wonderful parade that honors the men and women who have served our country, followed by an ice cream social on the lawn of the White Hart Inn, hosted by the Salisbury Visiting Nurse Association. 

                        Many towns in our region have similar celebrations on Memorial Day – traditions that help make our part of the world so special. Check out the listings in your local paper to find out how your community honors all those who have served and continue to serve our country.

                          Comments

                          1. No comments. Be the first to comment.

                          Summer Farmers' Markets are Back!

                          Salisbury CT farmers market

                          This weekend, on Saturday, May 20, we are excited to welcome a new Salisbury farmer’s market around the corner from our office on the Scoville Library lawn on Main Street in Salisbury, CT!

                          There are also Farmer’s Markets in Millerton, Amenia, and Hillsdale, NY; Cornwall, Kent, Norfolk, and Winsted, CT - they all offer products ranging from locally-grown fruits and vegetables to organic meat and poultry to vegan food to fresh baked goods and crafts.

                          Here are a few in our region:

                          New York farmers markets

                          Amenia - May-Oct, Fridays 3-7 pm, Town Hall parking lot, Rt. 22. ameniafarmersmarket.com

                          Copake/Hillsdale - May 27-Oct. 28, Saturdays, 9 am - 1 pm,  9140 State Route 22, Hillsdale, NY.  copakehillsdalefarmersmarket.com

                          Millerton - May-Oct, Saturdays, 9am-1pm, Millerton Methodist Church at Dutchess & Main. millertonfarmersmarket.org

                          Connecticut farmers markets 

                          Cornwall - May-Oct, Saturdays 9am-12:30pm, 413 Sharon Goshen Tpke./Rte 128, Wish House. cornwallfarmarket.org

                          Kent - May-Oct, Fridays 3– 6pm, Saturdays 10–noon, Rt. 7, across from Fife ‘n Drum  FB: @KentCTFarmersMarket

                          Norfolk - May-Oct, Saturdays 10am-1pm, 19 Maple Ave., live music.NorfolkFarmersMarket.org

                          Salisbury - May-mid-Oct., Saturdays, 10am -1 pm, Scoville Library lawn

                          Winsted - June-Oct, Fridays, 3-6 pm at East End Park. winstedfarmersmarket.org

                          Stop by to enjoy the freshest food and to support your friends, neighbors, and local farmers!

                           

                            Comments

                            1. No comments. Be the first to comment.

                            Spring: A Time for Renewal

                            • By
                            • Posted

                            From my favorite window, I’m gazing out at the landscape, noting spring’s late arrival this year in our Northwest Corner.  

                            Birds dart from tree to tree, grass is finally green, and a fine mist is making its presence felt with splatters on the windowpane. And yes, the roving threesome of deer have just come into view. A pretty pastoral scene.  

                            Spring is a time of renewal for ourselves and our homes.  Winter always creates projects requiring our attention in the interior and exterior of our homes. Has paint peeled indoors or out, requiring touch-up? Fireplaces and woodstoves should be cleaned, and how about the chimneys?  

                            A septic system needs to be pumped every two to three years and its condition checked. Remember to schedule the annual heating system tune-up.  Testing the fire alarms and other safety systems is a must. And lots to do outdoors.  Great exercise!

                             

                              Comments

                              1. No comments. Be the first to comment.

                              It's May - Time for Trade Secrets!

                              Patricia Best, Sharon CT real estate expert

                              Every May, an amazing event takes place at the beautiful LionRock Farm in Sharon, Ct.   Rising like the proverbial phoenix each year, an army of volunteers creates a magical village of tents for 60 vendors selling beautiful, rare, and unique plants, garden antiques, and decorative items. The setting is gorgeous and the shoppers are too, perfectly clad in Wellies and straw hats. You can even enjoy a delicious lunch under the tent.  

                              On Saturday, May 13, for the Rare Plant and Garden Antiques Sale, there are “early bird” tickets, regular admission, and even “late bloomer” tickets for those who can only get there for the last couple of hours. Best of all, Trade Secrets is the largest fundraiser for Women’s Support Services of Sharon, Ct., a critical nonprofit organization helping victims of domestic violence in the Tri-State area.  

                              Be sure to get your tickets at TradeSecretsCT.com! (Please note: If you have not yet purchased tickets for Sunday’s Garden Tour on May 14, this year’s Tour is already sold out!)

                                Comments

                                1. No comments. Be the first to comment.

                                Antique Houses & Historical Societies

                                • By
                                • Posted

                                William McGinn real estate advice

                                If you are a new owner of an antique house, you will most definitely want to join one or more of our local historical societies.  

                                Sharon Historical Society, Salisbury Association, and Northeast Historical Society are but a few of the local ones.  Litchfield Historical Society, Dutchess County Historical Society and Columbia County Historical Society are active groups at the county level.  

                                The restoration and preservation process naturally requires research into local vernacular architecture.  These historical societies offer a wealth of resources in their libraries and archives.  

                                I have personally found the staff of each of these organizations to be most helpful and friendly.  For those of you who are really enthusiastic, please consider joining Historic New England. This organization offers a number of resources for its members, including help with research of an historic property.

                                  Comments

                                  1. No comments. Be the first to comment.

                                  Considering a Fixer-Upper?

                                  • By
                                  • Posted

                                  Mary Taylor - Real Estate insights

                                  The fixer upper has been sitting on the market for over a year. Price reductions seem to make the house very attractive. How do buyers determine whether cosmetic fixes or a rehab are in order and within their budget? 

                                  A thorough building inspection is necessary.  Once you have firm knowledge of any issues with the home, do homework on costs to fix. Often expenses associated with inspection issues can be negotiated with the seller. Get a professional!  Have a general contractor do a comprehensive analysis of the inspection report and include a list of what you would want changed and updated - then generate a budget. 

                                  Making a Cost-Effective Home Improvement Plan

                                  Rehab vs. cosmetic updates -- painting and floor refinishing are easy and inexpensive. Replacing a furnace, shoring up a bad floor, or moving walls is not. Things like running new plumbing, updating from fuses to breakers in the electric box, or changing a bedroom to a first-floor laundry is not. Think about the task at hand and commitment required.

                                  Bringing a home back to life can be a rewarding experience.

                                    Comments

                                    1. No comments. Be the first to comment.

                                    Smarter Homes

                                    • By
                                    • Posted

                                    Martha Mullins real estate insights

                                    Every year the tech market produces the next device for a “smart home.”  Last year the smart “home hub” was all the rage.  A voice-generated command station, the home hub supplies web-generated answers to any questions from the weather to current interest rates to the time in Bora Bora. It can process online orders.  

                                    The greater use of these hubs happens when you link it to your home applications. The hub can set timers for your roast, play music, serve as an alarm clock; manage your home security, recordings on TV, the thermostat, and turn lights on and off. 

                                    All these tasks and more are possible by linking your home hub with online services you already use. The software that drives these devices is currently being installed on tablets.  So, if you’d prefer not to add another device into your home, you may want to wait for one of these services to become available via an app for your device.  Amazon’s Alexa is currently available on its Fire tablets. 

                                      Comments

                                      1. No comments. Be the first to comment.

                                      Getting the House Ready to Rent

                                      • By
                                      • Posted

                                      Preparing a house to be rented (whether furnished or unfurnished)  requires planning, time, and some hard work. Having recently worked with clients who are both landlords and tenants, here are a few suggestions to make renting a property go more smoothly:

                                      1.  Ask a realistic rent which reflects current market rates.

                                      2.  Do a professional cleaning.

                                      3.  Prepare a list of operating expenses to give to the prospective tenant: heating oil, electric, cable, snow plowing, mowing, cleaning.  They always ask.

                                      4.  Prepare a list of contact numbers for caretaker, plowing, mowing, propane, plumber, electrician, cleaning person and other services that might be needed on short notice.

                                      5.  Remove irreplaceable items.

                                      6.  Buy an inexpensive set of new cutlery, dishes, and pots, if the rental is furnished.

                                      7.  Provide new sheets and towels, if possible.

                                      8.  Empty all closets and cabinets of personal effects.

                                      9.  Clean the basement and outbuildings so that they are usable for tenant storage.

                                      10.  List the property with a local realtor. 

                                        Comments

                                        1. No comments. Be the first to comment.

                                        LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION!

                                        • By
                                        • Posted

                                        Mary Kirby

                                        I’ve been thinking about the expansive meaning of “Location, location, location” in terms of real estate purchases. Is it the setting that garners our immediate interest? Is the location of a particular property what I want or need?  Is there enough privacy, does it have curb appeal?  Are there views, and is it close enough to the amenities needed? All of the above are important considerations that relate to setting. Now think about “location” in terms of other important elements like schools, hospitals, and cultural opportunities. The Northwest Corner of Connecticut offers a wealth of possibilities for all ages. 

                                        One unique advantage of our area is the dedicated system of volunteer EMTs, the well-trained emergency medical technicians in each of our towns.They deserve our financial and moral support, especially when a new ambulance is needed, as well as funding for ongoing expenses including training. EMTs give generously of their time, day or night, answering calls and participating in many hours of training. This indeed relates to LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION!

                                          Comments

                                          1. No comments. Be the first to comment.