Visitors and residents of Stonington Borough usually say
they fell in love with the place for its quaint and quirky characteristics. The
narrow streets are lined with historic houses painted a bouquet of colors. The sidewalks are wide and welcoming, some parts have given way for trees that let in just the right amount of sun. Homes are buffered from the bustle by neat rows of bushes.
Many of the businesses there have also been around awhile – some more than others–and recently, Patch sat down with one of the Borough’s newest commercial residents.
Karen Hanson, of Stonington Realty, moved from her home office in Pawcatuck to 160 Water Street in June. Stonington Realty is a boutique real estate company specializing in residential, commercial, luxury and waterfront properties.
Patch sat down with Karen to talk about her business and find out more about Stonington’s real estate market.
What's your background and why real estate?
After graduating Stonington High with the Class of 1995, Hanson went to Providence College and graduated with a degree in marketing. She said she worked in sales and started her real estate career in Maine in 2003 doing commercial real estate in Portland. Later Hanson relocated back to her hometown and worked at Pequot Commercial from 2005 to 2008.
Meanwhile, her uncle owned real estate locally and he must have had a big influence on Karen, who began investing in real estate in 2002.
“I have a passion for homes, houses and commercial real estate but I also really enjoy the residential side and rentals,” she said.
Stonington Realty is licensed in Connecticut, Rhode Island and Florida.
From real estate broker’s perspective, what made you pick this spot?
“I thought it was a very visible building, it’s the first building you see as you enter the borough,” said Hanson.
And she smiled knowing she had picked a gem. The tall white walls and big front-facing windows give clients a front row seat to the relaxed streets of a seaside town. The long marble centerpiece table, the hardwood floors and Hanson’s down-to-earth approach add purpose to the light and airy space.
Stonington Realty is located at 160 Water Street and it’s the first storefront on the right as you’re driving into the Borough. You’ll recognize it by the listings hanging in the window and the fresh plants and manicured bushes outside.
Inside, the space was renovated slightly and painted. Hanson said she’s looking forward to decorating the already welcoming room. She employs two people and will add one more in the summer.
So what does
Stonington’s real estate market look like?
“I’m keeping very busy with rental market but the residential side is the most active on both ends of the spectrum,” said Hanson.
How has the industry changed over the years?
Hanson said websites like Zillow and Trulia have really changed the market.
“A lot of people are going through the internet for homes and it’s very important to market online,” she said. “It’s much more worthwhile to advertise online.”
Hanson said Stonington Realty will soon connect with Multiple Listing Service and they will embrace the latest technology and marketing tools but they will remain a local boutique real estate company that offers something for everyone.
How does southeastern Connecticut stack up against other seaside towns?
Hanson said New London and other areas have a lot of potential to grow to be more like Portland, Maine and Portsmouth, N.H.
“It would take little bit of money and a lot of collaboration for this area to reach its potential,” she said. “This is a great location because of its proximity to Boston, NY, Providence, Hartford and Watch Hill and beaches."
So how is the real estate market doing nowadays?
"The whole market has changed in the last year and we've seen an upward trend in real estate so it’s heading in the right direction, she said.
Stonington Realty is located at 160 Water Street in Stonington Borough. Call 860-535-3100 for more information, or check out their website.