The One from Washington DC

When I travel to Washington DC, I always take photos of the same monuments and scenes in hopes of adding to my collection of DC favorite photos. I have a gazillion photos of the Washington Monument shot over the years with different cameras and lenses. This photo was taken with my “little Lumix” not my best camera but the one I like carrying because of its size. This year, the photo below is “the one”, my favorite of all the photos I took this trip. Taken at sunset, I call it “Fishing with a View”.

IMG_0369


Connecticut Real Estate in Small Doses

I mostly talk about Ledyard on my blog but when it comes to real estate it is good to occasionally take a peak at what is happening throughout CT. Here are a few small doses of real estate news beyond our borders. 

“We’re feeling good about housing.”  -  Not so fast Connecticut.
Connecticut’s painfully slow method of processing foreclosures continues to add to the delay in the state’s real estate rebound. While other states saw a reduced volume of distressed sales leading to increased prices, Connecticut had the fifth largest share of distressed sales in February 2015 at 19% according to a recent report by Housing Wire. The news is rosy in most parts of the country but Connecticut isn’t feeling the homebuyer love.

Ledyard Real Estate KCM 1

Can you say FLAT as a Pancake?
The number of home sales are up but prices remain flat throughout CT.

5-16-2015 CT Sales YOYCopyright 2015 RealEstate Business Intelligence,LLC
All Right Reserved. Data Source: Core Logic
 

Countdown to August 1st – It could get scary.
On August 1st new rules are going to change home closing procedures.The most challenging change is that closing documents need to be ready three days prior to closing. This is going to require cooperation from lenders, agents, attorneys, buyers and sellers because making changes during that three day period will get tricky. It may even force us to all get along.

Time for some good news so ring that school bell.
When it comes to relocation, schools matter. Connecticut may not be making the grade when it comes to the real estate recovery but  it is s at the top of the class in education and one of only 3 states that deserved an “A” according to this research by SmartAsset.

Dog Dishes, Dish Towels and Toilet Paper.
I really dislike seeing certain things in real estate photos. The dog dishes and dish towels are easy to move but the toilet paper presents a bit  of a challenge when photographing bathrooms. How about considering some toilet paper origami if your home is for sale? I like the idea.

Yes, we’ve been spoiled now for quite awhile.
So I’m old enough to remember interest rates hitting 17%.  While that doesn’t seem to be in our future, it does seem that the organizations who predict these things have been saying for at least a year that interest rates will be rising. It hasn’t happened yet but eventually the “experts” are going to be right. Might be time to make that move especially in CT where prices won’t stay at pancake levels for long.

April2015-31 Mortgage Rate Predictions

About the author:  Linda Davis has been a licensed real estate agent in Ledyard CT for over 35 years. She has a long history of community service and currently serves as Chairman/Deputy Mayor of  the Ledyard Town Council. Linda is the administer of the popular Ledyard Community Forum on Facebook and also teaches and speaks on technology, mostly for beginners. Linda can help with homes for sale in Ledyard as well as homes for sale in Eastern CT including, Groton, Mystic, Stonington, Norwich, Montville, New London, East Lyme, or Waterford.


A different return than expected

On Monday  I wrote THIS BLOG POST  about how much I enjoyed traveling by train and how “I  love the stress free travel, the views along the way and my final stop at Union Station”.  Ironically, Amtrak and I even had a little exchange of tweets as I traveled to Washington DC.

Amtrak Tweet
Monday was not a very good day for photos. It was cloudy and overcast but I hoped to get some good shots on the way home like the photo below I took on a previous trip to DC. I always love the challenge of getting a photo from a dirty window on a moving train.

Views from Amtrak
Sadly, a horrific Amtrak derailment suspended all travel along the route between Philadelphia and New York. I was fortunate in several ways including a call from a friend. I was sound asleep in my hotel room at the Washington Hilton when I received the call alerting me to the news. As a result, I was able to quickly regroup and secure a flight and avoid the chaos of those with Amtrak tickets trying to find a way home. My only loss was a few dollars and a shortened event. My plans to blog about CRS as a member of the blogging team at NAR Legislative Live came to a quick end.

It wasn’t long before elected officials began pointing fingers and politicizing the tragedy. Personally, as a rider, I am waiting for the official word of what caused this accident and rather than offer an opinion instead offer my prayers to the family and friends of those that lost loved ones because of this tragedy.

About the author:  Linda Davis has been a licensed real estate agent in Ledyard CT for over 35 years. She has a long history of community service and currently serves as Chairman/Deputy Mayor of  the Ledyard Town Council. Linda is the administer of the popular Ledyard Community Forum on Facebook and also teaches and speaks on technology, mostly for beginners. Linda can help with homes for sale in Ledyard as well as homes for sale in Eastern CT including, Groton, Mystic, Stonington, Norwich, Montville, New London, East Lyme, or Waterford.


Ledyard Buyers Beware

This didn’t happen in Ledyard but it could have. I received this from an agent in the West Hartford area. As she suggests, this is serious business.

"I wanted to let you know about this as many people are quick to comply with things especially when it’s in relation to purchasing a house……this is serious!!!!!

An agent in my office went to a closing yesterday where she was representing a seller.  The buyers had received an email from their attorney's office that morning telling them that the bank check they were bringing to the closing was not going to be accepted and they had to wire the $54,000 deposit to an account with routing and account number provided.  They did so and received a nice "Thank You we have received your wire".  When they arrived at attorney's office, no one in the office had any idea what they were talking about. Long story short:  Their $54,000 is gone.  It was initially wired to Sun Trust in Rocky Hill and quickly moved out.  The FBI is now involved but there is little to no chance the money will be recovered.

I was told this happened again in Glastonbury today.

It has happened several times in Rhode Island in the  past weeks.

It appears the attorney's email accounts are being hacked.  Just in case the attorneys aren't warning clients about this, I wanted to warn you about any wire transfers without carefully checking first with your attorney to see that it is legitimate.  Wire Transfers are NEVER requested, a bank check is always accepted.

This was a young couple buying their first house and it was their life savings.

I would hate for anything like this to happen to other unsuspecting people.  Feel free to share this with your friends."


New London CT to Washington DC

AmtrakThe National Association of Realtors is holding their legislative meetings this week in Washington DC. I’m not sure how many times I’ve visited Washington DC but I do know that the first time was with my 8th grade class from Corpus Christi Grade School in Pittsburgh. Early in my marriage,  we lived in Maryland and visited quite often. It was a cheap date and politics is in my blood, so Washington DC has always been a favorite destination of mine.  I mostly go there by way of Amtrak. leaving early from the train station in New London CT and arriving in DC about 6 hours later. I love the stress free travel, the views along the way and my final stop at Union Station.

Union Station isn’t just any train station.  Built in 1907, it has a rich history plus offers more than 210,000 square feet of retail space, including a number of restaurants. While I don’t go there for the food, I admit I’ve had more meals there than I can count as I always make sure I leave plenty of time to grab a meal for my journey home.

Union Station is home base for many of the tours that take place in the Washington DC area including DC Ducks and City Sights. And while I am traveling for business and I’ve seen just about every corner of the city over the years, I’m taking the night tour this visit. If you have never traveled to Washington DC as a tourist, do it!

About the author:  Linda Davis has been a licensed real estate agent in Ledyard CT for over 35 years. She has a long history of community service and currently serves as Chairman/Deputy Mayor of  the Ledyard Town Council. Linda is the administer of the popular Ledyard Community Forum on Facebook and also teaches and speaks on technology, mostly for beginners. Linda can help with homes for sale in Ledyard as well as homes for sale in Eastern CT including, Groton, Mystic, Stonington, Norwich, Montville, New London, East Lyme, or Waterford.


The Town of Ledyard Budget

The following is a letter to town residents as part of the budget presentation at the Annual Town Meeting that will be held at Ledyard High School on Monday, May 18th, at 7:00 p.m. The budget referendum will be held on Tuesday, May 19th, from 6:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.  This letter provides a good overview of the budget.  You will find the complete budget HERE.

Ledyard Town HallDear Ledyard Resident:

The Town Council has approved to forward to the townspeople a proposed Fiscal Year 2015/2016 Budget in the amount of $53,621,977 comprised of a General Government Budget of $23,030,681 and a Board of Education Budget of $30,591,296. This represents an overall increase of $956,742, or 1.78%, over the current Fiscal Year budget; with 71% of the overall budget allocated for Board of Education expenses, including in-kind services; and 29% for General Government expenses.

The Board of Education’s budget includes an increase in the amount of $361,434 or 1.20%. The Board’s proposed budget continues curriculum development and instructional supplies at its current levels, maintains extra-curricular activities, provides staff revisions for social studies, adds a digital literacy and computer science teacher at the Middle School; improves the technology infrastructure and will improve Ledyard’s regional competiveness as a viable option for students interested in the School Choice Program.

The proposed General Government budget saw an increase in the amount of $471,308 or 2.18% over the current Fiscal Year budget. The proposed increase was driven by increases in employee expenses, along with $6,922,053 of Board of Education expenses, that are included in the General Government side of the ledger, which includes: Health Care $4,679,284; Workers Comp $289,038; Pension Obligations $231,000; School Nursing $329,288; Liability Insurance $103,089; and other in-kind services $961,066.

The General Government’s budget maintains essential services to our citizens and continues to invest in technology. Highlights of the proposed Fiscal Year 2015/2016 Budget include: (1) Continued shared resources between the General Government and Board of Education such as: (a) the Administrator of Human Resources; and (b) Munis Financial Management Software program; (2) Advancement of on-line services include: (a) electronic public access to land record recordings in the Town Clerk’s Office; (b) on-line dog licensing; (c) human resources automated timekeeping/payroll software for all General Government employees and Board of Education non-certified employees; (d) continued implementation and expansion of the PeopleGIS Land Use database/forms program, reducing staff time spent on permit applications for the building department, planning & zoning and the inland wetland and water courses, providing online access for the public to submit, track, and receive workflow notifications and also making land records available remotely; (e) continues the use of the IQM2 media portal for online access to meetings and internal workflow, improving communication with the public by streaming live and on-demand meetings increasing government visibility, accountability and reducing the cost to conduct business; (f) on-line payments for property taxes and water services; (3) Provides funding for current and future infrastructure and capital needs; (4) Continues Single Stream Recycling, which reduces tipping fees, that will provide direct savings in tax dollars; and (5) Gales Ferry Landing (formerly known as the Former Gales Ferry School) continues to be financially self-sustaining as a business incubator with increased tenant occupancy generating sufficient revenue to pay for utilities, building maintenance and capital improvements.

The General Government budget allocates $771,502 from tax dollars for the future Capital Improvement Plan (CIP), including $150,000 for Board of Education capital initiatives. This funding, combined with State and Federal grants, provides for a total CIP in the amount of $3.26 million allowing for critical road repairs/maintenance, streetscape improvements in Ledyard Center/Route 117 and sinking fund allocations for emergency services equipment, future vehicle purchases and technology enhancements.

Despite the slow economic recovery in Southeastern Connecticut, Ledyard’s Grand List saw a slight increase of $285,000 or 0.83% which will help to offset the budget increase. Although Ledyard’s State Municipal Aid has been projected to increase by $300,000 this funding was offset by a similar reduction in education grants and tuition income; in addition, revenue from the Federal government continues to be unpredictable. Putting all these factors together the Town Council anticipates that the proposed Fiscal Year 2015/2016 Budget will require a slight tax increase 0.507 mils for a projected mil rate of 30.41.

In preparing this year’s budget, consideration was given to the future impact of the issuance of bonds for the following long-term projects: (1) $6.75 million Police Headquarters Facility Project approved by the townspeople on May 20, 2013; (2) $65 million School Consolidation/Improvement Projects approved by the townspeople on January 20, 2015; and (3) $1.3 million Waste Water Treatment Facility Upgrade Improvements approved by the townspeople in December, 2014. These projects are expected to come on-line during the next few years with the financial impact to our debt service projected to peak at about $4.65 million in 2021.

The Town Council remains committed to consider all options to restructure how our General Government and Board of Education operate in an effort to utilize available resources with surrounding municipalities, the state and regional non-profit agencies to ensure we are providing the best services to our residents and are effectively managing our tax dollars. As a community it is imperative that we continuously evaluate what services we need as a town to remain a vibrate and progressive community as we plan for the future.

Finance Committee Chairman Fred Allyn, III, and members Tom Malone and Bill Saums are commended for their diligence, attention to detail, numerous hours and commitment in preparing this responsible budget. In addition, we thank the Mayor, the Superintendent of Schools and the Board of Education for their efforts; as well as Marcia Hancock, Town Director of Finance, and Jason Lathrop, Board of Education Business Manager for their support.

We also express our appreciation to our dedicated Town and Board of Education employees, who year after year, continue to look for new opportunities to improve services to our residents and reduce costs by working smarter with the implementation new software platforms, while continuing to meet the challenges each year in serving our community.

The Town Council would appreciate your attendance and participation at the Annual Town Meeting that will be held at Ledyard High School on Monday, May 18th, at 7:00 p.m. and at the budget referendum that will be held on Tuesday, May 19th, from 6:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. Absentee ballots will be available at the Town Clerk's office on May 4, 2015. Pursuant to CGS 9-396c, eligible persons requesting an absentee ballot must apply in person at the Town Clerk's Office.

According to the Town Charter, if the budget referendum does not pass on May 19, 2015, a new budget will be presented at a second referendum two weeks later and, if necessary, a third referendum two weeks after that. In the event all three referenda fail to pass a budget, the Town Council is required to adopt a Fiscal Year 2015/2016 Budget by June 22nd.

Although our state legislatures are committed to holding municipalities harmless, that with the State’s looming budget deficits and potential changes to the Resident State Trooper Program; the best we can expect from State Municipal Aid is for Ledyard’s revenue to remain flat.

We encourage you to contact your elected state officials to ensure that Ledyard continues to receive a fair share of state and federal funding in the coming fiscal year.

Representative Mike France: 860-842-1423/800-842-1423; E-Mail: Mike.France@cga.ct.gov

Representative John Scott: 860-240-8700/800-842-8267; E-Mail: John.Scott@housegop.ct.gov

Senator Catherine Osten: 860-240-0579/800-842-1420; E-Mail: Osten@senatedems.ct.gov

Thank you for your interest and participation in Ledyard’s budget process and taking the time to vote, and for the opportunity to serve you.

Sincerely,

Linda C. Davis

Chairman


Ledyard Real Estate Update

View - springThe Ledyard Real Estate market is BUSY. Although Ledyard home inventory has increased by10% in the past 30 days, usually not a good sign, the good news is that the number of pending sales has jumped accordingly. A busy selling season generally means rising prices but we are not seeing that quite yet. The Ledyard real estate market is still relatively flat in terms of sales prices. This is pretty disappointing but we are still experiencing a number of “short sales” and foreclosures. According to the real estate resources I access, about 8% of Ledyard homeowners are delinquent in their mortgage payments. Often this will lead to “short sales” where a home sells for less than the mortgaged amount and often below market value due to the limited amount of buyers willing to wait out the long process to close. To date in 2015, our median sold price of $186,00 is significantly below the 2014 price of 219,750. That being said, it is still early in the year and higher priced homes in Ledyard traditionally have sold in the second half of the year.

P.S. If you would like to view homes anywhere in CT, CLICK HERE and sign on to my home search website. It is pretty revolutionary! You can like or dislike any photo, bookmark your favorite listings, and invite your family and friends to join you.

5-3-2015 Ledyard Home Sales

The average list price (asking price) of the 112 homes currently on the market is $258,069. There are currently 31 homes pending with an average list price of $219,726. There are an additional 18 homes listed as pending -"show for backup" with an average listed price of $214,294.

History of Ledyard Home Sales 
47 home sales have been reported closed in Ledyard during 2015, 
with a median sold price of $186,500

Ledyard Home Sales through 2014

Ledyard Real Estate Statistics -Last 180 Days

On May 3rd, the Connecticut Multiple Listing Service shows a total of79 contracts have closed in the last 180 Days with an average sold price of $206.764 (Median of $199,000). 

A total of 63 listings have expired in that same time period. This continues to be a large increase over previous months but sellers who haven't sold often take their homes off the market this time of year and hope for better results in the spring. Listings may expire for many reasons such as being priced too high,having been inadequately marketed, the property was in poor condition, or perhaps the owner had second thoughts about selling at this particular time. At this time of year, sellers often take their homes of the market due to the upcoming holidays.

Listings and sales reported by the members of the CT Multiple Listing Service, Inc and may not represent all sales. Information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. 

About the author:  Linda Davis has been a licensed real estate agent in Ledyard CT for over 35 years. She has a long history of community service and currently serves as Chairman/Deputy Mayor of  the Ledyard Town Council. Linda is the administer of the popular Ledyard Community Forum on Facebook and also teaches and speaks on technology, mostly for beginners. Linda can help with homes for sale in Ledyard as well as homes for sale in Eastern CT including, Groton, Mystic, Stonington, Norwich, Montville, New London, East Lyme, or Waterford.


Little Bites of Ledyard

toughloveTax Credit Programs for homeowners 65 years old or older or 100% disabled have until May 15th to apply for tax benefits. Contact the Assessor’s Office at (860) 464-3237 for information and applications.

Are you interested in volunteering at the new Ledyard Food Pantry? Then you'll want to attend a required training program on May 5th at 5:00PM at the Ledyard Congregational Church (LCC) Social Hall. Jennifer Blanco, Feeding Site Specialist at the Gemma Moran Food Bank will teach us about the "best practices" for operating a food pantry. Registration is required.Please email LCC Mission Board at Ledyardfoodpantry@gmail.com or telephone Melanie at LCC 860-464-9926 with your interest in attending. Not able to attend? No worries, additional training opportunities will be available.

Healthcare today is rapidly changing and Ledyard Regional Visiting Nurse Agency is changing with it. As a tax payer, you have at your disposal Ledyard nurses when you are sick or after surgery. The only thing you have to do is ask for your Ledyard nurses from your doctor or hospital/nursing home discharge planner. If you don’t, due to the competiveness that now exists in healthcare, another agency will be sent to your house. LRVNA (860) 464-8464

About the author:  Linda Davis has been a licensed real estate agent in Ledyard CT for over 35 years. She has a long history of community service and currently serves as Chairman/Deputy Mayor of  the Ledyard Town Council. Linda is the administer of the popular Ledyard Community Forum on Facebook and also teaches and speaks on technology, mostly for beginners. Linda can help with homes for sale in Ledyard as well as homes for sale in Eastern CT including, Groton, Mystic, Stonington, Norwich, Montville, New London, East Lyme, or Waterford.

 


New London County Real Estate Market Update

This report of Single Family Homes in New London County is generated by the 10th of each month with information from the previous month. It includes new listings, pending and closed sales in New London County for the month of March.

What’s up and what’s down from a year ago? Year to date (YTD) inventory in March is down 7% from a year ago while the number of closed sales is down about the same. Pending sales in March were down 30% from a year ago (23% YTD), most likely due to the wrath of mother nature.

For a complete (and easier to read) report including condos and single families click on the report below.

4-19-2015 New London County Real Estate

These statistics are generated from a paid subscription to Market Trends Premium. CoreLogic. Copyright © 2015 RealEstate Business Intelligence, LLC.  All Rights Reserved. Statistics calculated April 8, 2015.

About the author:  Linda Davis has been a licensed real estate agent in Ledyard CT for over 35 years. She has a long history of community service and currently serves as Chairman/Deputy Mayor of  the Ledyard Town Council. Linda is the administer of the popular Ledyard Community Forum on Facebook and also teaches and speaks on technology, mostly for beginners. Linda can help with homes for sale in Ledyard as well as homes for sale in Eastern CT including, Groton, Mystic, Stonington, Norwich, Montville, New London, East Lyme, or Waterford.