Fiona Dogan Ranked Among Top 3% of All Company Agents

When selling your home, choosing the right person to assist you can make all the difference in the world.  On that score, look no further than Fiona Dogan, the consummate real estate professional, who was just ranked among the top three percent of all agents at William Pitt Julia B. Fee Sotheby’s International Realty for sales in 2019. That placed her in the top 30 brokers across 26 brokerage offices in Westchester County, Connecticut, and Massachusetts!

“This achievement could not have been realized without the extraordinary service, exemplary client experience, and commitment to hard work you demonstrate every single day—all core values shared with our company,” Paul E. Breunich noted in a letter to Dogan notifying her of the recognition.  Breunich is president and chief executive officer of William Pitt Julia B. Fee Sotheby’s International Realty, an affiliate of Sotheby’s International Realty.

“It’s terrific to be recognized, of course,” Dogan says. “And, particularly rewarding when it’s for work I love to do. I’m happiest helping clients find their perfect home, or finding the buyer that is just right for their property.”

As real estate decisions are among the most important financial and lifestyle decisions people make, it is critical to have the guidance of an expert broker with extraordinary judgement, impeccable taste, industry expertise, and a vast knowledge of the local and global market.

Dogan’s experience spans over a decade and includes work in new construction, home staging, and buying, selling, and renting homes in Rye, Harrison, Purchase, Port Chester and White Plains. She also serves international clientele looking to relocate to the area. Dogan offers concierge service to her clients, a differentiating factor that has helped her become a top-producing broker.

“I work with individuals and families to develop an understanding their needs at the very beginning of the process. That ensures a customized experience,” Dogan emphasizes. “I’m involved in every aspect of the sale: research, staging, pricing, marketing, inspections, negotiating, and more. I go the extra mile.”

Her affiliation with William Pitt and Julia B. Fee Sotheby’s International Realty benefits her clients in myriad ways, too.

“Through our affiliation with Sotheby’s International Realty, we achieve much broader exposure than any other firm for our listings. Coupled with my own extensive network, I’m able to assist buyers and sellers locally and around the world.”

Dogan’s top ranking recognition is the latest in a series of accolades received by Dogan, who also achieved the top three percent ranking in 2018 and in the same year, was named to the America’s Best Real Estate Professionals by Real Trends list in 2018.

Why You Shouldn’t Skip the Inspection When Buying a Home

Congratulations on finding the home of your dreams! Now it’s time to make sure there are no significant issues before you sign a binding sales contract. The best way to do that is to schedule a professional home engineering inspection.

It’s also a valuable opportunity for you as the new homeowner to shadow the inspector while the inspection is being performed. You’ll gain an understanding of the house’s systems and how they work — a great education for a first-time homeowner.

Be prepared for anything to arise. Some issues that come up in an inspection are deal-breakers or are so severe that the seller must remedy them in order to sell the house. Others may be more easily addressed. Sometimes it comes down to a matter of  “how much?” and “who pays?”

It’s important for you to know that the inspector is obliged to note exactly what he sees. An inspection report can sound extremely alarming, as it will reflect everything that is older or damaged or deteriorating. Unless the home is brand-new or unless the seller has addressed everything before they list their home, a first-time home buyer can be totally upended by an inspection report.

Here are some of the hot-button findings that you should be aware of:

  1. Buried oil tanks: These are frequently found in the yards of older homes and merit careful attention as they present the possibility — but not the certainty — of soil contamination if they leak, and significant future costs if they need to be removed. However, a buyer or seller can carry out an oil tank test to determine if the tank is secure and get a cost estimate for removal so this potential issue should not be an insurmountable obstacle.
  2. The presence of asbestos: Asbestos in construction was banned in 1977 but up until then was commonplace. Asbestos is only considered dangerous if the fibers are inhaled, so the mere presence of sealed asbestos in an older home is less problematic than the potential cost of removing it according to state and environmental regulations. A seller could remove any such asbestos before they list the house, or a buyer can get a quote for the cost of removal and negotiate the cost with the seller. Either way, this issue can be managed and should not stop the buyer from moving forward with the purchase of the home.
  3. The presence of radon: Many new home buyers are very concerned about the presence of radon in the lower levels of a home. Radon gas is present in nearly all soils and very low levels of radon gas are found in the air we breathe every day, so a slightly elevated radon reading is no reason to walk away from the deal. In most cases there is a simple and relatively economical ventilation solution that can be quickly and effectively installed to take care of the problem.

Issues that come up at inspection have the potential to stop you in your tracks. However, if you are working with a highly experienced realtor, she will help you understand the issues and the questions to ask. You’ll be able to discuss any concerns calmly and rationally with the appropriate construction professionals, these issues need not be deal-breakers.

To learn more about what to expect from your home inspection, talk to Fiona Dogan! Call 914-414-5147.

When Renovating, Should You Choose Value Over Happiness?

Homeowners typically will weigh the cost of a home renovation project against the value it will add to their house. But the pleasure of enjoying a new kitchen or bathroom should be considered, too, according to a new report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), with insights from the National Remodeling Industry.

Let’s look at the kitchen renovation, for example. A little over 60 percent of the cost of a major kitchen remodel is recouped by the homeowner, according to the NAR report. But, the project earns the top score for the joy it brought homeowners, a perfect 10!

The 2019 Remodeling Impact Report examined 20 renovation projects and ranked them according to how happy homeowners were with their renovations. The study also measured return on investment. The top three projects with the highest “joy score” were kitchen renovation, closet renovation, and a full interior paint job. Renovations with the greatest return on investment were new roofing, new hardwood floors, and refinished hardwood floors.

So, should you tackle projects that will make you happy or ones that will add the most value to your home? Here are three factors to consider:

  1. Even if you’re not planning a move, ROI is an important consideration. Life is full of surprises and you never know when you may need to sell. ROI is as important for the young millennial family who just moved into their first home as it is to the Boomer couple looking to age in place. By choosing the correct projects, you can enhance the functionality, livability, and beauty of your home while increasing property value at the same time.
  2. Not all remodeling projects are created equal. Purchasing a home is often the biggest investment any individual makes, so it is wise to carefully consider any work that affects that investment. The improvements should be in line with the value of a home, just as the cost of a home should be in line with the neighborhood it’s in. So, while a homeowner might enjoy heated floors and imported tiles in her master bath, the cost of the renovations may exceed the value in the long run. By researching the value of specific renovations, homeowners can avoid unpleasant surprises when it’s time to sell the house.
  3. ROI can vary significantly depending on the local market and local buyer preferences. Generally speaking, remodeling a lower-priced home will increase the home’s value more than remodeling a higher-priced home. A brand-new kitchen in a starter home will stand out more than an upgraded kitchen in a luxury mansion. In higher end neighborhoods, installing a swimming pool may add more value. In colder areas, attic insulation may make more sense. Local variables need to be considered.

Should you do it? Back to our kitchen renovation example: what I’m seeing in the marketplace is buyers who are looking for HGTV-ready kitchens that are modern and beautiful, and also highly functional with state-of-the-art appliances, attractive light fixtures, and new hardwood floors. What’s more, today’s lifestyles center around the kitchen. It’s understandable that a completely renovated kitchen brings homeowners joy, and from my experience, an updated, sparkling kitchen can help seal the deal when it comes to selling your house.

My advice? Talk to your realtor about the local market. Balance your immediate desires with the big picture. Choose remodeling projects wisely. Avoid lavish lighting and ornamental wall finishes that are on trend today but may be out of date in a few years. The cost of highly personalized additions such as a children’s theatre, elaborate home gym with rock climbing wall, or indoor hot tub may never be recouped. In addition, steer clear of custom finishes. A large nautical star in your entryway floor may appeal to the boat lover in you, but not to a potential buyer with Western ranch on his mind.

If you’re planning to stay in your house for a very long time, and remodeling will enhance your enjoyment of your home, it may make sense to follow your gut on renovation projects. But ROI should always be a consideration. And remember, it’s not a one-size-fits all model. I’d be happy to help you evaluate your potential projects, and to talk to you about what’s selling in the Rye and Westchester real estate market.

For more information, call Fiona Dogan at 914-414-5147 or email her at Fiona.dogan@juliabfee.com

The Art of Pricing Your Home to Sell

Determining the right price for your home is complicated. It’s a balancing act. You don’t want to price so low that you are leaving money on the table, but you can’t go so high that would-be buyers are turned off. Pricing your home is part art, part science, and part psychology.  It is also the most important part of the entire sales process.

If you get it right, your home will sell quickly at a price that pleases you. But an overpriced home may cause buyers to simply wait till you lower the price or worse — they will move on quickly.  Remember, the list price of your home is not necessarily the sale price. The list price of your home is designed to generate showings, and produce offers. It usually takes into account some negotiation.

The critical time to attract buyers is the first 2-3 weeks of listing your property. If buyers perceive good value, you may receive multiple offers. If your house is not well-priced, you will lose showings.

So, how to master the art of pricing our home?  Here are five strategies you may find helpful:

  1. Price your home based on facts not emotion. Don’t assume that the buyer is willing to pay a premium for your years of happy memories. Do not compare the price of your house with a price your neighbor got a few years ago. Markets change quickly by season and by year. Buyers are able to do their own research, and decide how much your home is worth by deciding what they’re willing to pay for it.  
  • Determine the appraisal value. The most valuable marker for the price of your home is the appraisal value. A lender will set the appraisal value based on comparable sales within the last 6 to 12 months within a half a mile to mile radius. This will give you a valuable indicator of the value of your own home.
  • Package your home for sale. Your pool of buyers today may be very different from the buyer pool you were in when you bought your home. Today’s new young buyers, for example, are HGTV-savvy and have different expectations. So, be prepared to take your agent’s advice. They usually recommend that you bring your home into the best possible marketable shape by renovating, repairing, decluttering, and upgrading. The size, condition, and finishes will all influence the pricing.
  • Make it easy for buyers to make an offer. Sellers wonder why buyers don’t simply “make an offer.” Psychologically, if buyers feel the asking price is too far removed from what they are willing to pay they often do not want to insult the seller with a low-ball offer. They can also be reluctant to engage in a long and difficult negotiation process with a seller they perceive as being unrealistic and unmotivated. Buyers always have an eye on future resale and do not want to feel they overpaid. Pricing slightly below your competition can make your home stand out from the noise and reduce your days on market.
  • Don’t go at it alone. Bring in the professionals! Hire an outstanding local agent whose full-time job it is to track and analyze the market. The price you may want for your home has nothing to do with what it is actually worth on the open market. Your realtor is on your team! She is your best advocate. She will perform up-to-date quantitative analysis in order to make a realistic pricing recommendation to sell your home quickly for the best possible price.

Call Fiona Dogan at 914-414-5147 for more information on pricing or selling your home!

Life in Rye: 26 Things You Should Know, from A – Z

Welcome to Rye!

Congratulations on one of the best decisions you’ve ever made. As a Rye resident, you have access to top notch schools, great food, waterfront recreation, arts and culture, and a warm and welcoming community.

As you settle into your new hometown, you may have many questions about where to go, how to get around, and what to do in your new hometown.

I’ve called Rye home for over 25 years and feel uniquely qualified to offer some tips on this very special place to live. My children attended Rye public schools and I’ve been a very active member of the community (details here!)

I’m happy to offer a list of extensive resources for you to find answers to some of those questions! You’ll find links to important government, education, recreation, and community resources here.

Fiona Dogan’s ABCs of what every Rye Newcomer Needs to Know

For a more personal look at what I love about Rye, here’s a list from A to Z for you to discover what makes Rye such a special place:

A is for Arcade Books, Rye’s only independent bookstore. In operation for over 30 years, it’s a local favorite. A is also for the Rye Arts Center, a terrific community resource for art classes and so much more.

B is for the beaches! Rye Town Park has 34 acres of beach and swimming areas (also known as Rye Beach and Oakland Beach) and Rye Playland Beach is backed by the boardwalk and amusement park. Plenty of space for frolicking and fun in the sun and sand.

C is for the croissants and other delectable offerings at Patisserie Salzburg, a European-style café in Rye. 

D is for our lively downtown Purchase Street, lined with upscale shops for and restaurants. It’s also the site of many wonderful events put on by our active Chamber of Commerce, including the annual Sidewalk Sale and Mistletoe Magic.

E is for the Expat Connection, a terrific resource for the community of expatriates from other countries who now live in Rye.

F is for Frankie and Johnnie’s, Rye’s fabled steakhouse that is just a short walk from the Metro North train—perfect for dinner and drinks on the way home!

G is for the city-owned Rye Golf Club, home to a challenging 18-hole course with spectacular views of the Long Island Sound and an Olympic sized swimming pool.

H is for the hometown feeling you have when you live in this tight-knit community that is so warm and welcoming.

I is for indoor ice skating at the Playland Ice Casino, which offers a nice schedule of public skating time.  

J is for the Jay Heritage Center, the historic landmark home of American Founding Father, John Jay. An active museum, educational programs and historical tours are all offered here.  

K is for kid-friendly! There’s no community more suited to family-life than Rye! With top-notch schools, kid-friendly restaurants, waterfront fun, easy hiking, and a walkable downtown. Life’s a beach!

L is for Longford’s Ice Cream, simply the best! Small batch, premium ice cream for the past 26 years in downtown Rye.

M is for the 5.5 miles of pristine Long Island Sound shoreline you have access to, now that you live in Rye!

N is for Rye’s Nature Center, a wildlife preserve offering hiking, recreation, and educational programs and special events throughout the year.  And the Rye Newcomers Club — and excellent resource!

O is for oyster bar, as in Ruby’s Oyster Bar, a Rye mainstay serving up delicious steak, seafood and so much more in a chic and comfy setting.  

P is for Rye Playland, the historic art deco amusement park home to Westchester’s famous Dragon Coaster. Hours of entertainment!

Q is for all of your real estate questions I’m happy to answer! Just email me at Fiona.dogan@juliabefee.com

R is for our fabulous recreation department, which hosts several community events throughout the year including summer concert series, magic shows, Shakespeare in the Park, October Fall Festial, and much more.

S is for schools — Rye is home to two top-ranked public school districts, Rye Neck and Rye City school districts.  

T is for our beautiful 62-acre Rye Town Park with verdant spaces for relaxing and shoreline for swimming and historically significant buildings and structures.

U is for the dozens of upscale shops on Purchase Street which offer everything from clothing and home décor to wine, fresh produce and prepared food.

V is for very close to New York City! Whether you’re doing the daily commute or just popping into the city for dinner and a show, you’ll appreciate the quick trip in and back.

W is for the Wainwright House, a beautiful mansion that houses health, wellness, spiritual, and ecological centers. A great place to rejuvenate your mind, body and spirit!

X is for the eXcellent opportunities to volunteer in and around Rye. From getting involved in your children’s schools to joining a community organization such as the philanthropic Woman’s Club of Rye, there are several ways to give back to your new community.

Y is for the Rye YMCA, an important community organization offering exercise, swim, and sport programs, in addition to arts and community health programs. They host birthday parties, too!

Z is for Zoltar, the fortune-telling machine on the Rye Playland Beach Boardwalk where the 1988 fantasy comedy “Big,” starring Tom Hanks, was filmed.

10 Great Starter Homes on the Market in Westchester County

A majority of Americans — 79 percent, according to a 2019 Bankrate survey — believe that owning a home is a hallmark of achieving the American dream. The challenge is, many young buyers don’t have enough cash on hand for a down payment or can’t afford the high monthly mortgage payment that goes along with a ‘dream home.’

But, you may be able to swing a “starter home,” typically in the lower price range of homes on the market. Because of their affordability, starter homes may be in need of repair or updating and are smaller than higher-priced homes. But if you are just starting out, a starter home offers the opportunity to own a property and to start saving for a larger home as your housing needs evolve.

Finding a starter home can be challenging, especially when their owners remain in their homes longer. But by turning to an experienced real estate professional who knows the local market trends and your particular criteria, you will get the right guidance in your search to find a home within your budget.

The good news is that for families looking to move out of their New York City apartments, there are starter homes in Westchester County that are within your reach! Check out this list of great options — all on the market now. From center-hall colonials to mid-century modern, this list has it covered. I’d be happy to show you around. Contact me to schedule a showing. For more information on any of these homes, call me at 914-414-5147.

 

1. Rye Brook, NY
Listed at $829,000

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Mamaroneck, NY
Listed at $845,000

 

 

 

 

 

 



3. Rye Brook, NY
Listed at $849,000

 

 

 

 

 

 



4. Larchmont, NY
Listed at $895,000

 

 

 

 

 

 




5. Rye, NY
Listed at $899,000

 

 

 

 

 

 




6. Rye, NY
Listed at $919,000

 

 

 

 

 

 




7. Larchmont, NY
Listed at $945,000

 

 

 

 

 

 





8. Rye, NY
Listed at $1.15M 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



9. Rye, NY
Listed at $1.169M

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



10. Rye, NY
Listed at $1.169M 

 

Let Fiona help you sell or find your dream home. Contact Fiona at 914-414-5147 or email her directly.