The CT Real Estate Perspective of Kiara Rusconi
Have you ever stopped and thought, ‘what was life actually like on this date last year’? Well, when I have, I quite often can’t believe how different that was to today. Although while many people seem to find the negativity in our current state of affairs, I, for one, always look for the good, the positives, those golden nuggets! One of those ‘golden nuggets’ was shining brightly during a recent conversation I had with one of Connecticut’s up and coming real estate agents (who also happens to be a dear friend and client), Kiara Rusconi of William Raveis. What was supposed to be a quick update on a few projects we are collaborating on, our time together spun into a deep discussion about the direction of the real estate market, what clients are asking for, and how designers, like me, can better assist them and…well WOW…so much more! We decided we needed to start sharing these discoveries with you, our followers. Together we are going to help you discover new opportunities in real estate and design. But first, while you all know me pretty well, I’d like to introduce you to Kiara, yep you’re gonna love her!
I met Kiara about 9 years ago when she and her now husband Peter needed a designer to pull together the design for their home. It was the beginning of a great relationship. Kiara is a California girl by birth but has called Connecticut her home for 25 years. However, that California vibe is still alive within her soul; I see that west coast sun radiating through her smile every time we meet. Kiara draws on years of valuable experience to the benefit of her clients and industry as a whole. She is a nationally recognized business leader and a former Executive Vice President in the fitness industry. With this she brings a reputation for unmatched work ethic, keen attention to detail, commitment to excellence and dedication to results. You better believe her clients reap the benefits of all of this and more! Kiara uses her vast knowledge of Central & Shoreline Connecticut to take her clients on the journey of a lifetime. She also shares some common missions with LDD. We believe in creating environments where life is experienced and cherished memories are made … Kiara is dedicated to finding the home with the right bones to make all this happen. Sit back and enjoy our most recent conversation and learn more about what the current landscape of the Connecticut real estate market looks like.
Lisa: Kiara, to say 2020 has been a unique year would be the understatement of the century. As a glass half full gal, I strive to find the ‘golden nuggets’ during this new world we seem to be living in. One of my favorite nuggets is the resurgence of the real estate market in Connecticut! Homes are sellin’ like hot cakes! Kiara, what are you finding is the driving force behind these sales?
Kiara: I may be a bit biased, but Connecticut has long been a wonderful place to live. Situated just a short distance from Boston and New York City, we are rich in New England culture while enjoying the benefits of a more serene suburban lifestyle. It is not surprising that in the days of COvid-19 Connecticut is experiencing a resurgence of its real estate market. Its close proximity to major metropolitan hubs makes our state an ideal location for buyers who are seeking to move out of population dense cities where the quality of life has been significantly impacted by the pandemic. For in-state buyers moving from one home to another, we are seeing a shift in the home features that are being desired.
Lisa: Well as a Connecticut native I echo your bias! So, what do your buyers look like? Where are they from?
Kiara: Shelter is an essential aspect of life. Buying a home is done to satisfy a need or to solve a problem; buying a home is not simply done for fun. Buyers today are more serious and committed to their search than ever before. We are seeing a broad profile of buyers both locally as well as buyers from many states across the country. For example, I am currently working with buyer clients who are looking to make a move to Connecticut from California. We have perfected showings via FaceTime to allow them to tour properties in real time.
Lisa: It has to be challenging with COvid, although clearly, you’re rising to the occasion and offering your clients whatever they need, even if they are close to 4,000 miles away! Inquiring minds want to know, what are your buyers looking for?
Kiara: We have never spent so much time in our homes as we have done this year. In doing so, buyers are reprioritizing what is most important in their search. While open concept floorplans have long been desired, buyers today are finding renewed value in rooms that offer privacy and separation. Home office space is among the top features that buyers are requesting. Additionally, with travel being limited, buyers are prioritizing the quality of outdoor living and entertaining space. Beautiful backyards, pools, and proximity to recreational features are increasingly common requests. Renovated kitchens fall next in line as we are now spending more time cooking and less time dining out of the home.
Lisa: I couldn’t agree more, I’ve written quite a few blogs already on many of these features! I would venture to say we are in a Bull Market for real estate in Connecticut … what are some of the challenges that sellers might be facing? How about the buyers?
Kiara: As a seller, if you are thinking of selling your home in the next year, now is the time. Inventory is incredibly low, and the buyer demand is extraordinarily high, resulting in record sale prices with very little time on the market. While a quick sale with maximum value is likely when represented by a professional realtor, sellers face the unease of having their home open to the public to tour. Health is of the utmost importance to me and I take proper precautions to ensure that property owners and buyers alike are able to safely navigate the sale and purchase of a home during this time. For buyers, this market is highly competitive. There are far fewer homes available than there are buyers and, if you love a home, assume that there are several other buyers who do as well. Multiple offers and bidding wars often drive up sale prices over asking and can make for a disappointing outcome as only one offer is accepted. Being highly responsive to new listings, getting pre-approved for mortgage financing, and working with a realtor who is a partner with you in the process is key to buyer success.
Lisa: Well that offers a layer of challenges many of us may overlook! This last question is out of curiosity … what is the percentage of new home build/purchase vs existing homes that may need updates? Do you have any insight on why buyers are choosing one over the other?
Kiara: The cost of materials is currently incredibly high. Import restrictions are inflating costs of goods and often create significant delays in delivery, making home building today challenging. The price per square foot of new construction is almost always higher than what a buyer will pay for the resale of a home. We are more frequently seeing buyers interested in existing homes with the intention of making updates that reflect personal style and current design trends. With mortgage rates currently under 3% in many cases for 30-year fixed rate loans, buyers have more reserve funds to buy a home with the intention and ability to update it. Home renovations have skyrocketed this year as homeowners seek to improve the environment where they now live, work, conduct homeschooling, entertain, and staycation.
Lisa: Can I just say that selfishly I’m loving that homeowners are seeking out existing homes with the ability to update?! Personally, my design passion lies with remodeling! Nothing brings me more pleasure than turning design on its head … which is exactly what we do with remodeling!
Stay tuned folks … we’re just getting started! There is so much for us to share.