What makes a great Real Estate Agent…

Purchasing real estate is one of the biggest investments a person can make in a life time. It is important to hook up with the right Realtor. Especially with what has happen in the real estate market lately. Home prices have adjusted from the last real estate bubble. Lenders were loaning money to people that could not other wise qualify for. Many people got slammed into sub-prime mortgages they had no business taking. Here are some things that would qualify an agent to be great.

1. Integrity – Following up and doing what they promise.
2. Honesty – Telling the client the truth even if it means not getting a sale.
3. Knowledge – Knowing their market and what direction it is heading.
4. Education – Informing their client of different areas and neighborhoods.
5. Resources – Knowing where to direct their clients to do the proper research to make an informed decision.
6. Team – Having a team of professionals like Home Inspectors, Mortgage Brokers and Attorneys that put the clients interests first and not their own.

Our team strives everyday to live up to these standards. Any Realtor that takes their business seriously wants to be the greatest real estate agent in the world. I also know some of the greatest agents in the world that do the same. If you are relocating to Connecticut, we can help you locate a Realtor in your neighborhood to sell your existing home. Please do not hesitate to contact us before you come to Connecticut. We are here to help.

Water: Where you want it, and where you don’t

While April showers might bring flowers, when water is concerned, a homeowner should be on high alert. Having water where and when you want it can be a blessing, but it must be properly controlled and monitored so that you are fully aware of its presence in your environment.
When moisture is not dealt with appropriately homes can become contaminated with molds, rot and other issues that can be costly to repair. Floors can buckle, doors and windows can warp, and electrical issues can occur. Yet we all want and need water for our homes. Cooking, cleaning, gardening, and other pleasures like fountains and water features in landscaping, hot tubs and pools, pets, all require water and as homeowners we should understand everything we can about how water works in our homes.
Generally, we have two jobs: First we need to understand how to manage water and moisture from outside forces like rain and groundwater that might threaten our structure. Secondly, we need to understand the water that we choose to bring into our homes and use for landscapes through plumbing systems.
Rain should be guided off the roof and into gutters that drain away from the home and foundation. The condition of the roof must be monitored and maintained so that leaks don’t occur; if leaks do occur they should be fixed as soon as possible. Gutters should be cleaned and downspouts fixed with extensions as needed to ensure that water is guided appropriately and safely away from foundations, crawlspaces, and basements. Windows and doors should seal properly and roof areas that collect debris should be swept free of leaves, pine needles, moss or other elements that impede water flow.
When groundwater is present, measures should be taken to ensure that water isn’t collecting near the foundation, under the house, or in the basement. If water collects in any of these locations, steps should be taken immediately to correct pooling/collection issues to prevent damage. Curtain drains or culverts may aid this process, but getting qualified help to assess the situation and help in engineering a solution is advised. Look at the entire system to ensure that you are not creating more problems for yourself or other people as you seek to improve an immediate issue.
In areas where groundwater might enter basements or crawlspaces, consider keeping a sump pump handy in case of emergency. If your home relies on a septic system, ensure that there is a tank alarm and that it is in working order. Should your septic system fail, this alarm can alert you of high water in the system prior to a release of sewage into the environment.
Sometimes we do invite water into our homes. Running water is considered to be a critical factor in determining whether a home is suitable for habitation. Plumbing that carries water, whether it be clean or waste water, represents one of the most important systems in your home. Like the electrical system and the heating and cooling system, the plumbing is a system that has mechanical parts that can fail. Excessive heat or cold, age, the quality of the pipes, and water quality are all factors that can contribute to the overall health of your plumbing.
Understanding how water gets into your home and your responsibilities around that is another area to investigate. If you are on a private or shared well, public water system, a water district, or have other arrangement for getting your water, it is critical that you understand who is responsible for the pipes that bring water to your home and how your system generally works. Do you know who to call in the event of a water emergency? Failure in pipes that bring water to your home can lead to expensive water bills, property damage, and disrupt your landscape if repairs require uncovering them. Knowing where water pipes are located leading to your home helps you avoid damaging them when driving heavy machinery or vehicles on your property.
When pipes, faucets, toilets, or appliances that use water inside our home begin to leak, there is opportunity for water to make its way into areas where damage may occur. Periodically checking the seal around your bathtub surround and shower, sinks, toilets, and grout in tiled areas that receive water can prevent undetected water damage. Don’t forget to inspect your water heater regularly. Many hot water heaters hold as much as 50 gallons of water, and should they fail, could result in substantial water damage. If you are unsure about the condition of your water heater or its connections, have a plumber inspect it for you.
Check dish washers, clothes washers, ice-makers and other appliances that are connected to water. Be vigilant and do an annual inspection in and around your home, and you might catch a problem before it starts. Know how to turn off water to an area or to your home if needed, and repair leaks and seals as soon as you find signs of deterioration.
Do you have a fish tank? These habitats can contain many gallons of water – and that is water that should not be ignored. Ensure that fish tanks are secure and non-leaking, and inspect them periodically. If you live in a part of the country prone to earthquakes, or if you have small children or active pets, take extra precautions to prevent tipping or hitting of the glass. Consider the water issues around filling, emptying and cleaning these tanks, as well.
In areas where there are freezing temperatures, ensure that pipes are protected from cold and that systems can be drained if needed to keep pipes from bursting. Insulation or heat-tape around pipes that carry water in colder climates is an investment worth making. Heat lamps can be another powerful tool to have handy should your area face an unusual cold snap and you are dealing with frozen pipes. Many people advocate leaving one faucet in the house running slightly because running water will keep the pipes free of ice

A for Accessible

When purchasing a home there are many considerations – space requirements, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, location, proximity to work and services. Additionally, there are the aesthetics, the style of the home, its condition, and price. However, there are other important considerations that many people overlook – and these fall into the realm of Accessibility.
The term Accessibility is often used in relation to public buildings and public transportation, and we know about it largely because of a piece of important legislation called “The Americans with Disabilities Act”, or ADA. The ADA provides the framework that ensures that public structures are able to be used by a wide population, including people in wheelchairs and those who have other physical challenges, to ensure their success in a wide range of “major life activities”.
If you have ever tried to go somewhere or reach something that was essential to your well-being, but beyond your grasp, you know the frustration and helplessness that this can evoke. Imagine facing this time and again, in your own home. Whether you are facing a physical challenge due to an accident, or aging and can no longer move and achieve as you used to, your home should be a place where you can live, work and play in a way that is easy for you. Sometimes this means that issues of “accessibility” are at play.
Accessibility can also come into focus when you have a visitor to your home that uses a wheelchair or walker, is blind, or cannot use stairs for some reason. Aged or injured guests benefit from a home that is thoughtfully designed with accessibility as a focus.
While it is possible to retrofit or remodel a home to make it more accessible, this can be an expensive and time-consuming process. Some of the principles of accessibility to consider when purchasing a home include:
Can everyone, of all ages and abilities, use the home equally well?
Are the rooms “flexible” – can they be used for a variety of activities?
Are items in the house simple and intuitive to use?
Is it easy to see where you are in the house?
Do the entrances make sense?
Is storage easy to find and use? Are closets in the right places?
Is it a safe place?
Are there railings and places to hold on to, at heights good for all ages?
Do stairs, windows, and hallways make sense? Are bathrooms where you expect them to be?
How much physical effort is required for day-to-day activities?
Has effort been made to make it easy to see and get to all features?
When a home is designed and built, it should meet the needs of people despite their age or ability. The ability for it to be flexible and adaptable is an important factor, so that as needs change the home does not create obstacles for the inhabitants or guests. Modern architecture began following the adage, “Form follows function” early in the 20th century, and home buyers are advised to evaluate homes in light of functionality as well as style.
Difficulties arise when homes present barriers to the people who live in or visit them. If the owner ages significantly and loses abilities that made living in the home possible, then something must change. If babies or children enter the scene who might be hurt by stairs or other hazards, those dangers must be addressed. Accidents or other medical issues can result in sudden changes in mobility or self-sufficiency requiring adjustments to improve accessibility. In short, it might be prudent to consider accessibility when buying, building, or remodeling a home.
Looking at a building’s “bones” enables you to understand right away where barriers might occur. Pay attention to hallways, doorways and stairs – even when there are just one or two steps, as each of these elements can be an obstacle to someone who has mobility or sight issues. While doorways can be widened, hallways are more difficult to modify. Additionally, hallways can be dark areas and “wasted” space. Is there a good place for a lift-chair or elevator should someone in a wheel chair have to go up stairs? How easy will it be to control the light, reach counters and cabinets, enjoy the grounds, live daily life?
Cabinets, doors, faucets and switches can be difficult to operate, but easy if you think clearly while choosing these options. As you move around your home, look at these features and how it would feel to use each of these should your hands become stiff or painful. Traditional doorknobs can be replaced by lever-style “knobs” that could even be operated with an elbow or chin in an emergency. Faucets that operate with levers are also useful, as are switch-plates that operate with a simple touch – but beware that they are intuitive to use.
When you are buying a home that might require “adjustments” to afford the accessibility that you desire, consider the spaces and structure of the home. Is there enough property to create ramps to the entrance? Is it feasible to enjoy the best areas of the home and property if mobility is impaired? Are there steep inclines on the property or is the property exposed to extreme weather conditions that could increase hazards seasonally? Look at the approach to the property and how close you might bring a car to the entrance. Are the walkways easy to traverse?
Understanding the more challenging issues around a home or property might not rule it out, but will give you insight into the cost of overcoming these potential obstacles. Pay close attention to bathrooms and stairwells to ensure that you would have the space you need to adjust bathtubs and showers, or to install lifts. Is there a bedroom or office on a lower floor? In the event that it is needed, having an option to create single-level living arrangements could be a boon to your family.
Homes are designed to shelter people and their possessions, provide space for cooking and eating, hygiene, and sleeping. Entertaining in your home is a luxury for some, and a necessity for others. In each function, age and physical ability must come into play, and so architects and builders who consider accessibility up front will usually build more adaptable homes. If you believe that accessibility could be an issue for you or members of your family, consider taking the time to have an expert evaluate a property that you would like to buy. There is a list of professionals in the area of accessibility through the National Council on Aging In Place (NAICP.org). Going in with your eyes open will result in long-term satisfaction and a plan for the house and people alike.

Why Eric Schuell-CT Real Estate Pros and Football are very similar

Third down and ten. The quarterback drops back… the halfback picks up a blitzing linebacker while the wide receiver turns his route into a quick slant… the QB hits him in stride, he gets a great downfield block… Touchdown!!

We see this happen every week in football stadiums across the country. Intensive preparation, precision timing, flawless execution. The pros make it look easy. In those few seconds everything clicks. But did you ever stop to think how many hours, days, and weeks went into preparing for that one play?

It starts in the off-season when players focus on cardio and strength training. Then there’s mini camp where the offensive coordinator diagrams the play and walks them through it. They study film, practice blocking techniques, fine-tune the pass routes. In preseason they try the play live. Then more film, more practice, more reps, until finally in the regular season they read the blitz, execute and score. The pros make it look easy.

In real estate, we ‘score’ for our clients when we find them the perfect home or sell their home quickly for top dollar. But it’s not just a matter of showing them a couple of houses or putting our sign in the ground and a couple of photos in the MLS.

It starts with pre-licensing education, then board and office workshops. We learn how to do CMAs, write contracts, negotiate offers and counter-offers. There are scripts, objection handlers, role plays, office meetings, and certification classes. Marketing, building a web presence, lead generation… and finally, the appointment. That’s just the start.

This is our time to shine. We know the inventory, schools, financing options and builder incentives. Our listing presentation flows from bio to marketing to CMA to contract. And when the offer is accepted, our system meshes seamlessly with the other agent, our broker, mortgage rep, appraiser, inspector, and title rep to get the transaction closed.

Our clients may not realize how complex real estate is because we make it look so simple. They don’t see the hours, days and weeks that go into a successful transaction. Intensive preparation, precision timing, flawless execution. CT Real Estate Pros make it look easy.

CT Short Sale Experts-we know short sales!!!!!

Perhaps someone you know has gone through the short sale process or someone has referred you to us? Whatever the situation is that you want to know more about short sales, we know our team of experienced associates will have the answers you seek. We will make sure you are fully educated on the process and know all of your options as a homeowner. If at any time you have any questions about short sales, the short sale process, and or foreclosure please do not hesitate to contact us.

My mission is to help you avoid foreclosure, sell your home quickly and negotiate a short payoff with your bank in as little amount of time as possible. We have been very successful at doing this with hundreds of homeowners all over the State of CT because of the expertise of the team we have assembled. We specialize in the field of short sales and have built a team that will give you confidence in knowing you have come to the right place and made the right decision.

To most, short sales are something that is very new. You may not have heard of a short sale until now, if so you are not alone. Most banks didn’t even consider short sales as an option until a few short years ago. This is because when the real estate market was booming, banks did not plan for this recession, they did not anticipate for home values to decrease. This was not in the plans for anyone. However, the entire country is going through this so the banks have adjusted and realized that short sales vs. foreclosure are going to save them money and actually help communities. Your bank doesn’t want to foreclose on you anymore then you want to be foreclosed on. Banks on average lose 10% – 20% more on a foreclosure VS. a short sale and are beginning to go along with short sales in increasing numbers. Under the new HAFA program (http://makinghomeaffordable.gov/hafa.html) you can receive up to $3000 for short selling your home. This is just one example of what is being done to help homeowners and the banks avoid foreclosure.


Do you owe more than your house is worth?
Are you facing foreclosure?
Are your mortgage payments too high?
Do you want to minimize damage to your credit?
Did you experience a loss of income?
Will your mortgage adjust soon while you can’t afford to pay the skyrocketing rate?
Do you want to sell your house but there isn’t enough equity?
Do you want to avoid or stop foreclosure and get a fresh start?
Feeling the stress mounting with each missed payment and phone calls from your bank?

Anyone who purchased real estate in the last several years or took out equity in their home when the market was at its best more than likely owe the bank more than what they could sell their home for right now or possibly in the next five to ten years. Many people used creative mortgage financing such as short term adjustable rate mortgage (ARM), deferred interest program (option ARM), 100% financing, purchase money mortgages and other financing options that are no longer available to buyers because of the drastic decline in real estate value. If you are one of these people, don’t worry, you are certainly not alone and you do have options for getting out of debt without having to pay it back or foreclosing on your property. Don’t hesitate to call or email me. 203-988-7418 or eric.schuell@remax.net

Pre approved vs Pre qualified. Is there a difference?

you’re considering the purchase of a new home, you may be concerned with the issue of finance. Attaining the right mortgage is a key step in the home buying process, but it doesn’t have to be a stress-inducing one. Most lenders offer prequalification, pre-approval or both to help you know where you stand. Let me explain the difference between prequalification and preapproval:

  • Prequalification: Prequalification is a preliminary estimate of how much you can afford to pay for a home based on information you provide. Because credit and employment information aren’t validated for prequalification, it can only be considered a rough idea of a monthly mortgage payment and loan size. This can be a useful guide as you begin the home buying process, however.
  • Preapproval: Preapproval is a written commitment from a lender to finance your home purchase up to a set amount. This indicates that the lender has taken a close look into your financial history and has agreed to lend you a specific amount of money, reliant on certain details like a finalized sales contract and professional inspection. Pre-approval indicates to sellers that you are a serious homebuyer.

Regardless of which option you utilize, or even if you take both steps, you’ll be able to shop with much more confidence. Why wait until you find the perfect home to discover problems with obtaining a mortgage?

If you would like more information on how either process can help you get into the home of your dreams, give me a call. I’d be happy to answer any of your real estate needs.

Tips for reducing heating bills this winter.

With the holidays now over, it’s time to start thinking about what the rest of the winter season will bring – ice, snow and cold temperatures. While winter weather may not be ideal, you can be prepared by following our tips for winterizing your home. These easy and affordable ideas will help keep the temperature in your house high and the price of your electric bills low during the next few months of frigid winter weather.

Insulate your windows: You can buy plastic film window insulation at any home improvement or hardware store. And, window film is easy to install –
Simply pull the film taut across a clean window pane – be sure to pull the film past the window frame.
Use a hair dryer to blow hot air on the center of the film, which will cause it to stretch tight across the window.
Use scissors to cut away the excess film.
You can also use bubble wrap to insulate your windows. The air in each individual bubble provides extra insulation.
Reverse the direction of your ceiling fans:If your ceiling fans are capable of operating in reverse motion, consider this trick –
Make you sure the fan is turned off. Then flip the toggle switch on the side of the fan to reverse the direction of the fan blades.
When you turn the fan back on, the blades will move in reverse and push air up instead of down, as normal.
By running your ceiling fan in reverse, the hot air will pool at the top of the ceiling and be forced to the outer edges of your room. It will then be pushed down along the walls to the floor. Once the air hits the floor, the hot air will circulate back towards the center of the room and up through the ceiling fan again.
This will help equalize the temperature of the rooms in your home.
Use draft stoppers: Place draft stoppers in front of any door that leads outside to keep cold air out and warm air in. These can be purchased at home improvement or hardware stores, or are incredibly easy and affordable to make yourself – you may already have many of the materials needed to assemble one.
Cover your water heater with an insulating blanket: This will help reduce the amount of heat lost when the water heater is not in use.
Clean your air filters: If the filters are free of debris, the warm air will more easily flow. Cleaning the filters will also ensure the air is free of allergens and other unhealthy materials.
Move all furniture and other objects away from vents: This will also allow the warm air to more easily flow into the room.

Another New Haven, CT Short sale closed!

Another New Haven, CT Another short sale success! East CT Real Estate Pros is proud to announce we have closed 7-9 Downing Street, New Haven. This New Haven CT multi family short sale is located 1 block from the Quinnipiac river The sellers of the New Haven Connecticut short sale had 2 loans on the property, a 1st with GMAC that was service released to Nationstar and a 2nd was a CHFA. Seller had a verifiable hardship and needed to sell the home quickly. We gathered all of their financials, hardship letter, and forms and submitted the short sale packages to both short sale departments. GMAC was way behind in processing all of their short sales. 181 emails later and with constant follow-up, our team of short sale specialist at Eric Schuell’s CT Real Estate Pros was able to obtain short sale approvals from both lenders in October 2012. Both buyer and seller were elated! The home closed in November and the lenders got what they wanted out of the deal. All of this while we were able to keep the home from. Success!!!