Monday, February 13, 2017

Valentine's Day Last Minute Gift Guide

Have you waited until the last minute to get your loved one a Valentine’s Day gift? Don’t worry – we have you covered. Below is the 2017 Chilton & Chadwick Last Minute Valentine’s Day gift guide. All of these pieces are available in Greenwich and our partners would be happy to assist you.

Diamond Pendant Necklace

This 5.02-carat heart shaped diamond pendant necklace is surrounded by a halo of 38 round brilliant cut diamonds and 18-karat white gold. It is the definition of sophisticated, and guaranteed to please the woman in your life.

Inquire about this necklace by reaching our friends at Shreve, Crump and Low at 203.622.6205.

GGACHI Handmade Chocolates
Back 40 Mercantile

Local mother and chocolatier, Heather Terry, produces delicious and beautifully packaged chocolates that are guaranteed to woo your valentine. The chocolates are made locally in Greenwich, CT.

Inquire about your board by calling our friends at Back 40 Mercantile at 203.637.0240. 

Alicia Adams Baby Alpaca Pom Pom Reversible Throws
Back 40 Mercantile

Alicia Adams moved to New York from Germany with her family where they bought a farm and started raising Suri alpacas, one of the world's rarest breeds. These throws are beautifully crafted with the most intricate detail.

Inquire about your board by calling our friends at Back 40 Mercantile at 203.637.0240. 

Vividus Bed from Hastens
Price upon request

Sleep is important for your health, and for your relationship. Share the gift of a Hastens bed with your loved one. This is a gift that keeps on giving, and is available from our friends at Hastens.

To inquire about options, e-mail

Hublot Men’s Watch
Shreve, Crump & Low

The Hublot Big Bang Meca-10 Titanium is a serious man’s watch. Durable but chic, it will look good on him whether he is in a suit or a yacht.

Inquire about this watch by reaching our friends at Shreve, Crump and Low at 203.622.6205.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Remodel or Replace? Top 10 ROI Opportunities in Home Improvement Projects

By Chris Rediger

  • 'Greige' (subtle yet powerful) improvements pay off the best.
  • This year's report reflects continued optimism for the housing market.
  • Replacements beat remodels and exteriors beat interiors.
The 2017 Cost vs. Value report by Remodeling magazine documents the national and regional costs and ROI (return on investment) for 29 popular home improvement projects.
Overall, these 29 improvements paid back 64.3 cents on the dollar in resale value.
What that says to the homeowner is that spending money to sell a home requires research.
The goal of improvements from a seller’s standpoint is to attract buyers and achieve top dollar on a listing. But finding the balance between updates and return isn’t that simple.
In a seller’s market, spending (significant amounts of) money on improvements for resale may not translate to added value. As the tide turns to a buyer’s market in the next year or so, agents will need to carefully track ROI numbers to advise sellers.
Those surveyed about the return on remodeling projects were licensed agents, so Remodeling Editor-in-Chief Craig Webb says the report is a reflection of confidence in the industry:
“I think that this year’s Cost vs. Value report actually reflects the general optimism that both remodelers and Realtors have about the state of the housing economy. We are building more and more homes, slowly in this country, but that’s rising. Remodeling activity is as active as it’s ever been in history. And so, consequently, the prospects are good for everyone involved in the process: the consumer, the remodeler, the Realtor.”

Why the top 10 doesn’t matter

National numbers don’t really mean anything to the individual homeowner.
Improvements that pay off (or not) depend on the same three factors that affect home prices: location, location, location.
Agents should drill down to regional or city numbers in this study to find more applicable ROI numbers.
“There’s variation by projects and variations by the cities,” Webb explained. “Sometimes it’s labor and sometimes it’s the perception of Realtors.”
That being said, there are some interesting national trends that may impact homeowners locally. Note that these projects are broken down into mid-range and upscale categories to account for building materials and finishes.

Subtle changes pay off

The No. 1 trend in this year’s numbers is that the subtle changes make for the biggest return on investment.
Remodeling compared these minor improvements to painting with “greige” — the popular mix of gray and beige that’s a subtle but wildly popular color this year.
The two highest percentage returns nationally came from low-ticket improvements under $2,000: attic insulation came in no. 1 at 107.7 percent, followed by entry door replacement (steel) at 90.7 percent.
Read more here

Monday, January 30, 2017

Warhol Prints Recommendations

Warhol prints are a fun and relatively inexpensive way for young and new collectors to begin their collections. It is also a good training ground, as you can explore and test different theories of collecting in rapid time: do you wish to go broad, deep or specific?

Broad would be collecting all different types of prints; deep would be collecting thematically, e.g. world leaders; specific would be going in to particular images and their variations, e.g. Chairman Mao.

1st Dibs has numerous prints for sale right now, and we have curated our recommendations based upon a broad strategy of focusing on world leaders.

Warhol’s portraits of Queen Elizabeth II was part of his reigning queen series and was developed from a photograph taken of the queen in 1977 during her silver jubilee. The series also included portraits of Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, Queen Ntombi Twala of Swaziland and Queen Margrethe II of Denmark. Warhol’s portrait of Elizabeth II is about as iconic as it gets, and whether you focus on creating a collection of world leaders or not, it should still be a staple of your collection.

Not unlike artists have done of late for President Obama’s campaigns, Warhol created the original Vote McGovern image in order to raise funds for George McGovern’s campaign against Richard Nixon in 1972. But rather than produce a flattering image of McGovern (like he did for Jimmy Carter) Warhol created an unflattering image of his candidate’s opponent, and clarified his position by scrawling on the bottom: “Vote McGovern”.

Andy Warhol’s portrait of the Russian political leader, Vladimir Lenin, diverges from many of the conventions that seem to define Warhol’s oeuvre. In this piece, Lenin is set against a deep red backdrop, with minimal lines, only employed to distinguish his face and hand. The print lacks the contrast and details that characterize so many of Warhol’s prints. The only aspect of the print that is not enveloped by the solid block of a deep, crimson red is the yellow of Lenin’s face and hand and the gray of his collar and armrest. The lack of extraneous detail and color deters the viewer from focusing on anything else other than the face of the communist maverick who is one of the most notable political figures of the 20th century.

Andy Warhol created this green and blue version of Mao Zedong for his 1972 portfolio featuring the former Chairman of the Communist party of China. Reminiscent of the artist’s celebrity portraits, Warhol puts a pop art twist on the image of totalitarian propaganda by depicting Mao in bold vivid colors typical of his celebrity portraiture. In Mao 90, Andy depicted the Chinese ruler with a flamboyant blue face and light pink lips in make-up-like fashion. The subject stands out against the bright green background and the screen print is decorated with black squiggly lines, used to demonstrate the cult of celebrity that surrounded the Communist Chairman. The images are a sharp contrast to the Communist ideologies Mao represented, which rejected individualism. Andy Warhol took this juxtaposition further by creating the portraits of Mao Zedong in ten different color variations, typical of the pop artist’s method of repetition.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

January, February Prime Months to Purchase a Home

By Marian McPherson

  • Ready to become a homeowner? Nerdwallet and Chief Economist Jonathan Smoke say January and February are the best months to purchase a home.
  • The median home sold in January sold for $7,003 less than the listing price, and home sales drop by 47 percent.
  • Smoke says another reason buyers should act now is an upcoming hike in mortgage rates, which are expected to reach nearly 5 percent.

New year, new home?
The NerdWallet team says January and February are the prime months to purchase a home, thanks to lessened competition, lower home prices and higher mortgage rates looming ahead.

Take advantage of savings now

According to two years of data that includes the 50 most populous metro areas, home prices in January and February are, on average, 8.45 percent lower than prices in July and August — two of the most popular homebuying months.
This trend is expected to hold true in 2017, but chief economist Jonathan Smoke says the savings won’t be as large as seen in years before.
The fall 2016 housing market, which the National Association of Realtors dubbed the “autumn revival,” was especially strong, which means sellers didn’t feel the pressure to lower their sales prices in order to get their home off the market.
Despite this, Smoke still suggests homebuyers grab whatever savings they can get because spring home prices will likely increase more than normal.

Cold weather keeps competition at bay

According to NerdWallet, home sales in January are 47 percent lower than in June, which means less competition for buyers looking for the perfect home.
But there’s one caveat — buyers will still have to battle with low housing inventory, although the offset in competition helps.
“You basically face almost half of the competition with almost the same amount of inventory in the market,” Smoke says.
Read more here

Friday, January 20, 2017

How Not to Sell a Home in Greenwich

How to sell a home is as important as how not to sell a home. 

Mark Pruner has some excellent advice in the Greenwich Sentinel

Presently, we have nine houses that have been listed on the GMLS for more 1,000 days and almost a fifth of our 438 listing have been on the market for more than a year; so what keeps houses from selling?
INITIAL PRICING: The biggest reason by far is over-pricing the house when first listed. The first two weeks of a listing is critical and if buyers think the house is overpriced they won’t even go see the house. Even if their agent recommends seeing the house, if what they see doesn’t match up with their idea of its value they will turn down the showing.
So why do owners over-price their houses? 
First, it’s just human nature; no one wants to leave money on the table if a buyer would have paid more, so why not take a flyer at a higher initial price. This hope and dream approach can set off a cascading list of issues that can easily leave the house on the market for a year or more and result in a sale price well below what they might have gotten.
To continue reading, click here

Thursday, January 19, 2017

3 Perfect Homes for Golf Lovers

Everyone knows a crazy golfer – that person who treats the fairway like a church. Perhaps you are one of those people yourself. If you are, we have curated our 3 favorite homes in Fairfield County for golf enthusiasts.

None of them are more than a few minutes to the first tee, and two of them you can actually walk to! (Photos are above the descriptions.)

45 Doubling Road
Greenwich, CT

This home on Doubling Road offers one of the best locations in all of Greenwich: off of North Street, south of the Parkway, and for all of you golfers: walking distance to the Greenwich Country Club. Granted, you must become a member of the country club in order to play (and we suggest you do), but if you don’t feel like joining then there are several public courses within a few miles of the property.

8 Waterside Terrace
Westport, CT

This property is a serious gem! Waterside Terrace is located within the grounds of the old Longshore Country Club, which is now a public golf course in Compo that also has sailing, tennis, fine dining and more. Living at this house is literally like living in a country club, but with none of the dues! You can walk to the first tee, or to tennis, or to sailing, or to any of the many other activities that are within Longshore. There are less than 10 homes in this neighborhood, so having one of them is quite prestigious.

69 Welles Lane
New Canaan, CT

This beautiful new construction on 2.05 acres is close to both Sterling Farms Golf Course as well as the Woodway Country Club. It has 6 bedrooms, 6 full and 2 half baths and almost 10,000 square feet in total. Listing courtesy of Halstead Properties.