Do You Work with Renters?

Recently I’ve had a few people contact me and ask if I can help them find a rental property. Some agents will help clients find rentals, while others won’t. I’m happy to help people find rentals, as there are often good reasons why the person shouldn’t be buying a home at the current time. Maybe you’re new to an area and want to determine what areas you enjoy. Renting for a year might be a good idea. Maybe you’re trying to save for a down payment on your first home. Maybe you just don’t want to be responsible for any maintenance. Whatever the reason, using an agent to find your rental may be the right choice.

If you’re planning on eventually buying a home, using an Realtor for a rental is a good way to “test drive” an agent. The agent should work diligently on your behalf, as they would with any buyer or seller. They’ll understand your needs and then search to identify a rental that works for you. If you find that you were happy with the Realtor’s service when finding the rental, you’ll probably want to use that Realtor again when you buy. You’ve built a relationship with the agent, they understand your needs, and will most likely be effective in a purchase transaction.

You may wonder how the agent gets compensated when finding a rental. If your Realtor finds a rental for you using the Multiple Listing Service, you typically pay nothing because our fee is covered by the landlord listing the rental. If they find you a rental using Craigslist or some other service, the landlord may be willing to pay the Realtor’s fee. It’s important that the agent talk with the landlord prior to showing so that you understand how their fee will be paid. If the landlord is unwilling to pay the agent’s fee, you may need to compensate the agent. Commission on rentals varies, but a good rule of thumb is half a month’s rent. So if you’re looking for a $1000/month rental, the agent would receive $500. Make sure you clarify how the agent will be compensated before you start working with them. If you don’t want to pay out of pocket, specify that they use the MLS to find you a rental.

Berry Season is Upon Us…

June is finally here, which means that it’s the start of berry picking season. Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries. We kick off the summer with strawberries and then work our way through the rest.

If you’re like me and don’t mind getting some straw stuck in your knees and burning up in the sun, a great place for Pick-Your-Own berries is Rose’s Berry Farm in Glastonbury. There are two locations, the main farm at Matson Hill and the Wickham Hill Farm Stand located on Hebron Avenue. It’s always best to call before you go, as the different locations are open on different days and you never know when the crop will be ready, picked out, etc. Just dial 860-633-7467 and you’ll get a recorded message telling you what’s available and at which location.

In addition to picking berries, Rose’s has excellent local food products for sale. They are also well known for their Sunday brunch (at the main farm only), so stop by to enjoy a delicious meal with the freshest berries available.

Blue Back Falls Behind…

The Hartford Courant reported today that portions of the Blue Back Square project have fallen behind schedule. While construction delays are common with new development projects, Town Manager Jim Francis reports that he is confident that the grand opening scheduled for November 1 is still on track.

A nice surprise was that the estimated tax revenue of Blue Back this year was initially projected at $500,000. They are now estimating tax revenue of $828,000. Hopefully all of the current traffic hassles from the construction will be worth it…

Discover Farmington Avenue- Saturday June 9

“DISCOVER THE AVENUE” is on Saturday, June 9th, 12-5pm, rain or shine, on Farmington Avenue in Hartford. This street festival is sponsored by the Farmington Avenue Alliance and celebrates the arts, culture, architecture, and history of our Farmington Avenue neighborhood. There will be trolley rides, activities at the Harriet Beecher Stowe House, music at the corner of Girard and Farmington Avenues, architectural walks in the neighborhood, an exploration of the Park River, artists exhibiting their work for sale, clowns, plein air artists painting neighborhood sites, and more. Here’s an outline of the events:

Noon to 5:00PM
Harriet Beecher Stowe Birthday Celebration
Location: Forest & Farmington

Nook Farm Green Arts & Crafts Show & Music
Location: Farmington & Woodland

Corner of Girard/Farmington
Swing to gospel, soul, R & B, and reggae in an afternoon of music sponsored by West End Civic Association featuring Tony Harrington, Precise and local performers.

Hartford Preservation Alliance Walking Tours
Meet at Nook Farm Green, Farmington & Woodland
12 noon – Nook Farm
1:30 p.m. – 4 p.m. – Park River
4 p.m. Asylum Hill (Woodland/Niles)

Immanuel Church
Location: Farmington & Woodland
Sanctuary open all afternoon, organ and bell ringing demonstrations

Stowe Center
Strolling musicians, drumming, community choirs

Nook Farm Green
America’s Music…Celtic Roots. The Boys of Wexford featuring P.V. O’Donnell, fiddle, John Taub, accordion, Paul Recker, “Old Time
Country,” Claudine Langille, banjo and mandolin.

Immanuel Church

Corner of Girard/Farmington
Tony Harrington, featured vocalist. Gospel, soul, R & B, and reggae

The Hartford Insurance Group
10-piece salsa band, Mikata

Art and crafts for show and display at Nook Farm Green.
Clowns, mimes, street entertainers, Praise Dancers at the West End Community Center.
International art exhibit at The Hartford, with salsa band and free dance lessons.

West End Community Center
Location: 461 Farmington Ave.
Children’s Playscape, face painting, water balloons games, pony rides.

Stowe Center
Carriage rides, hat decorating, drumming, lawn croquet

Nook Farm Green
Bead table

Immanuel Church
Face painting

Noah Webster School
Location: 5 Cone Street
June Fair – games for young children

Refreshments at Stowe Center, Mark Twain House café, Nook Farm Green, West End Community Center, avenue restaurants.

Trolley – 8 stops runs all day
CT Transit bus – no fare with day pass (at information table, Nook Farm Green)
Walking – all Farmington Ave events are within 6 blocks

All legal spaces on street
Clemens Place (enter Mark Twain
House driveway on Farmington Ave.)
Sherman Street – UConn Law School
Sherman Street – Hartford Seminary
Forest Street – lots with signs
Woodland Street – lots with signs
Farmington & Kenyon – Kinko’s lot (aka West End Plaza)

What's a Fixture?

Many times when I’m walking through homes with clients, they often ask “Does that come with the home?” and point to something that appears to be attached to the wall. Essentially, they are asking if the object is a “fixture” or not.

Typically in real estate transactions, “fixtures” convey with the property. Fixtures are items that are permanently attached to the home. A central air conditioning system, wall to wall carpet, and a built-in oven range would all be considered fixtures. When you write an offer, you will review an Inclusion and Exclusion form that the seller completed. This form will state what they plan on leaving with the house. Usually all fixtures are assumed to be included, unless they are specifically stated as “excluded” on the Inclusion/Exclusion form.

There are some gray areas when it comes to decorative items like curtains, drapes, and rods. Additionally, small sheds and yard ornaments usually cause some confusion. The best thing you can do is walk the property and write down all the things you would expect and like to stay (within reason, of course) and then make sure your agent includes those items on the purchase contract. You may negotiate back and forth with the seller some, but at least your request will be clear. The worst scenario would be doing the final walk through and realizing that the curtains you loved in the dining room did not convey with the sale. If it’s agreed to in the contract, it should convey with the property.

One final word of caution: plasma TVs. Because they are wired to the house, plasma TVs are being seen as fixtures. So, if you’re a seller and really want to hold on to your plasma TV, make sure it is specifically called out as “excluded” on the Inclusion/Exclusion sheet. You’ll save yourself a lot of headaches down the line.