Real Estate Information Archive


Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 11

Discover Chester Charter at Chester Airport

by Mick Marsden

I love to soar in gliders and I love powered planes too. It's one reason I love doing my own aerial photos for real estate clients. I don't need much of an excuse to get into the air. I was just up doing some aerial photos of a new Essex listing coming on the market in a week or so. I flew down the CT to Essex Village to get some general aerials on my approach to the subject property on Benson Lane.

Your's truly in front of the Skyhawk. Proof I lived through my own piloting. 

I took some great photos of friend's house on Foxboro Point then over the foot of main towards Benson. After that we flew down the river to take photos of the shoreline, Old Saybrook, Fenwick and then to Chalker Beach to take photos of 98 Chalker Beach Road (visit: before we turned to back to Chester. I took a few more of homes I am hoping to list soon. Positive thinking is the key for sure. 

The Foot of Main and The CT River Museum in Essex, CT

20 Benson Lane on Middle Cove in Essex available for sale now. 

When we landed I blurted out to my great pilot Jason "You have an extra hour?" 

Jason said: "In fact I do!"

I told him how I started to take lessons when I was young and asked if we could go back up only with me behind the yoke. And that was that. 

I taxied ok until it came time to stop on a straight line which took getting used to again. After making sure it was clear push the throttle to full and moments later after I gently pulled back after reaching 60knots I felt us lift off and I was flying. 

Jason Fanghella, my very competent charter pilot and instructor

Jason is a deft pilot and instructor and directed me through numerous turns, ascents, descents, and the like. I had turned the plane north towards East Haddam to land at the Goodspeed airport as I've seen many a time done by other pilots on my trip home across our famous swing bridge. It was not graceful but acceptable as we were able to take off again. 


Jean Dow, your trusted facilitator of flight, charter, and lessons.

I took off from Goodspeed and turned on a heading of 240 for Chester Aiport where my landing there was more like a real landing. I can't wait to come back for more. 

When I was paying the bill I looked up and realized what happened when I read the quote they had on the wall: 

For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return. 

Leonardo DaVinci

Chester Airport is a very well maintained small airport in Chester, CT. Chester. It's easy to find when in the air, easy to get to by car, and offers many services from service to private charters to lessons. Even in Bi-Planes!

Chester Charter is owned and operated by Bruno Kitka, Chief of Operations and Chief Pilot. Most everyone gets to know his partner Jean Dow, who is Chester Charter, Inc.'s VP. Last but not least and my favorite pilot is Jason Fanghella. Frank's direct line is 203-415-0498 and his email is

Chester Charter and Jean can be reached by telephone by calling: 860-526-4321. She's a delight to work with and will arrange your charter, lessons, or rental. Chester Charter is located at 61 Winthrop Road, Chester, CT 06412. 

East Haddam, CT  - Citizen requests, Selectmen support, staff suggestions and volunteer efforts have moved East Haddam’s new municipal website from concept to reality.  What has emerged is not only an updated website to meet today’s communication and information needs; but one that promises to change and grow with the town into the future.  



From the bid process through the creation of the new municipal website, the quest for the following new features, has guided the process:


  • A centralized community calendar with customized views.  Citizens will be able to submit appropriate calendar events themselves – their postings would go live on the calendar following administrator approval.  
  • One Town website combining the appropriate content of the old municipal site and the Economic Development Commission’s business and tourism site
  • An updated, user-friendly design and navigation system that allows an interactive form of communication between citizens and the Town governing body.  
  • A comprehensive search feature to allow for an easy search through all documents, PDF’s, pages and calendars within the site.
  • A content management system for organizing, storing and accessing municipal documents, such as reports, agendas and minutes.  Designated Town staff or volunteer administrators will have the ability to post or revise their own content in a timely manner, without the need for a website programmer.
  • The ability to download forms on-line and an option for departments to allow citizens to submit forms on-line in the future.
  • A RSS “subscription push system” to notify residents of emergency information, alerts, news, and calendar postings.
  • Photo showcase of key Town locations.

The Town of East Haddam is pleased to present this new website to the townspeople to use, maintain and support.  We hope that residents and visitors will browse the new website and enjoy the new content.  Check back often as the website will continue to be revised as everyone learns the best use of this new technology together.

FHA Now Accepts Electronic Signatures

by Mick Marsden

The River to Shore Group remains on the cutting edge of technology. Yes we will be getting Apple's iPad and making that part of our arsenal for sure. We've been using Docusign for months now and our clients LOVE it. Imagine being able to sign all necessary documents without having to print, sign, fax or scan and email back to your agent and lender? You can even sign on your iPhone. It's fast, safe, secure, and makes things most convenient for our clients. Once in a  great while there are some banks that will require a physical signature on some documents prior to closing but that's the exception of the rule. 



The 800 pound gorilla in the room was of course FHA. Well that ape can now leave as FHA has now officially accepting Docusigned contracts. 


We'd love to represent you as a buyer's agent or seller. Give us a short amount of your time and allow us to show you how we differ from other agents and teams and why we continue to produce sales beyond expectation. 


Here are links with more info on this announcement. 

Mortgage Letter

HUD.GOV website

Acceptance of Esign



Become part of our success.

It's a shore thing.™


Circling Back to the Hilltop BBQ and Steak House

by Mick Marsden

This is a follow up blog post about Hilltop BBQ and Steakhouse located in Moodus center. I circled back for many reasons not the least of which both my wife and I are so busy we don't have the time and energy to cook. And believe me when I tell you we're great cooks and make a mean BBQ sauce and ribs (from of course). 


Each time I returned it's been busy regardless of the time I was there. Ernie's big smile is also there to greet you many times. Nothing, I mean nothing was a disappointment. One Friday night I brought my young nephew Dan to dinner with his insatiable appetite and upon my suggestion wolfed down a delicious half pound, stomach busting, Bison burger that he loaded with cheese, bacon, and sauteed onions. He was just getting going. 


Although I was intending on ordering the burger too I had to try the Prime Rib. I took the end cut and it came to me just the way I like it, medium rare (rare for end cut, I know). The portion was huge, the meat tender and flavorful, as was the au jus.

Hilltop BBQ's new outdoor dining area under the lights. 

What prompted this "circling back" blog post was Wednesday evening with my beautiful daughter Aimee and my grandchildren Phoebe Shea and Zane. Of course the kids wanted to eat outdoors which was a great idea given the unseasonable 85° temp we enjoyed. Hilltop BBQ was busy inside and out! Many families were outside because the rug-rats could carry on and the noise just went out into the warm wind. We enjoyed a great sunset and had a great meal. 


The kids loved the children's menu and the adults their choices. Hilltop does a great job on their sliders by the way. 



There were some that posted negative comments about pricing which I will respectfully have to disagree with. It's more about the value than being "cheaper." I love the convenience of a great family restaurant a mile away. The 16oz. prime rib I had was just $14.95. 


Service remains great and their success seems to be insured given the many patrons I see when I dine there. Ernie and company are doing a great job. Check it out soon. 

I hate painting! But I know someone who loves it!

by Mick Marsden

I hate painting. I hate painting ceilings even more. I also have a deep disdain for contractors who don't call back. Let's keep this going: I don't like contractors who do show up that are unprofessional, rude, or one who'll give me an estimate that doesn't line up at all with the quotation. My guess is that I am not alone and perhaps even you feel the same way or have had experiences like the above. 



Enter stage right: Gene Coviello of Top Coat Painters and Ceiling Pro Cleaners. Gene has a smile as wide as the Nile and a personality that goes along with it. He's a little Mario Brothers and a little atomic bomb. He absolutely LOVES what he does and it not only shows in a general conversation or when he speaks at the Riverside BNI meetings where he services as Secretary and Treasurer, it shows up on the walls and ceilings he and his crew touches. Whether you're looking to quote a commercial job or a residential job, call Gene to get a quote.


My first experience with Gene is when a home I was selling just two weeks from closing had water damages caused by clogged gutters and ice damming. To make matters worse it was a pop corn ceiling. I called Gene and within the hour on a Saturday morning I received a call back. I gave him the scope of the job and within the next hour he was on the line with my seller. 



Suffice it to say that during that week he showed up with that smile and a crew and over the next few days made the repair and repainted the ceiling and you could not tell where the old popcorn left and the new popcorn began. We closed on schedule and the buyer was delighted to see the 'free' improvement. 


Assisted by BNI member Chris Burdo, Gene Coviello of Top Coat Painters and Ceiling Pro Cleaners demonstrates the efficacy of his acoustic tile restoration process. 


Gene's Ceiling Pro's do some unique work and restoration. How many times have you looked up an an aging and stained Armstrong suspended ceiling and asked yourself when the store or office was going to do something about it? Riverside BNI meets at the Essex Town Hall Auditorium and man could that ceiling use some help. It just makes the place feel old and unkempt instead of historic if you get my gist. 



Until I met Gene's Ceiling Pro's I had thought it was simply taking the old ones down and tossing them and putting new ones up. That is of course if the suspension frame isn't discolored and rusty. During Gene's presentation to the chapter and to the amazement of all, Gene treated the worst of the worst panels and they miraculously returned to their original color and appearance! How green does that get! 


Unintended benefits of BNI: Meet Wealth Advisor John Parunak

by Mick Marsden

As I've mentioned in other blog posts, my joining the Riverside BNI chapter in Essex, CT has many unintended benefits. For one, I now know 30 business people I hadn't been acquainted with just 12 twelve weeks ago. Another is I became aware of services I hadn't considered utilizing, and in some cases, didn't know existed. This blog is about the latter. 


Week after week this amiable man named John Parunak got up to do his 30 second commercial as we all do at our meetings. He broadcast that he was a wealth advisor which certainly was nebulous to me. He kept saying that he wasn't there to replace my estate attorney, my stock broker and the like. He used an analogy of getting up in a helicopter to see the big picture and how the various disciplines in one's life plan may have holes or oversights whereby one might be giving a lot of money to the IRS or an unintended beneficiary. 


I decided to use John but warned him that he need only a step ladder to sufficient altitude to see my "big" picture. John arrived at my home dressed as you'd expect an financial man of his caliber to be, and an essence that gave one comfort as he came into my home. 


John was erudite, articulate, and thoughtful. He spent 45 minutes asking questions, making sure we knew the information we gave him was confidential, and we quickly got that his varied experience a banker, in life insurance, and investments was key to his ability to do what he is doing now. I could see that he really loved what he was doing. I know because my level of wealth certainly could not be the reason. 


John Parunak doing what he loves...


John returned a few days later with what he discovered: the were perforations in our life plan. He found a whole life policy was still pointed to an ex-spouse and her son for starters, good one, and many other areas that needed attention that you tend to forget about once you get caught up in life. 


We have decided to continue to tap John's vast knowledge and expertise so formulate a plan that works for us. From business succession to estate planning to insurance and more. We love his congenial personality and warm ways. 


At this point in life you probably already have an estate attorney, stock broker, insurance agent, and the like. My wife and I certainly have all that in place. John doesn't and isn't looking to replace anyone. He looks for where these disciplines may not be quite lined up. He looks for oversights in current estate planning, business succession plans, and the like. It's different for everyone. 


Here's the good news. Meeting John for 45 minutes to get a look at what you're doing is free. He may just say, "Hey…you are looking great and really don't need me." At that point you'll have had the pleasure of meeting this man which will not be a regret. You can take that to the bank. If you do need him, his value will always exceed the cost of services. That too can be banked. 


Click here to visit John's Website


Call him: 860 575-0422

Contractors that show up?

by Mick Marsden

80% of Success is Showing Up -Woody Allen


The stereotype for contractors is that they don't show up, do what they say, finish the job, charge what they estimate, or simply call back. Certainly I've experienced this stereotype more than I'd like to remember. As a successful real estate agent, it's critically important to me to have a pool of contractors to not only follow Woody Allen's 80% model, but to give me the other 20% for a fair price, (Notice I didn't say "cheap price." Cheap seldom puts you ahead of the game), complete the job in a timely manner, clean up behind, present an invoice that reflects the original estimate, etc.


I wrote recently about a client who had a water in basement emergency and was out of state for the foreseeable future. I had reached out to A J Shea Construction for emergency services (most connote A J Shea with just building but they're much more. Read "Water in your Basement Blog") to remediate the water and propose a plan for the homeowner to return whole. 


Ed Epright of Riverside Electric


Joseph reached out to another Riverside BNI member Ed Epright of Riverside Electric (no, we didn't name our chapter fate Ed's biz so he must be honored in a way.;) and both Joseph and Ed met me at the house on a sunny and beautiful Saturday morning. Joseph had already cleared the water and dried a great deal of it out and installed a temporary installation to maintain a dry basement while permanent repairs were underway. 


Ed Epright & Joseph Shea discussing next steps to take


Ed quoted assessed the electrical work to quote it accurately for my client as the flood impacted and compromised many electrical components on equipment and we discovered some safety items that needed attention at the same time. 


Lucky for me I could turn to Bob Nason of Dutch Oil in East Haddam, now offering complete propane services too, who quickly scheduled me late Friday evening for an early Monday AM appointment. As I expected Bob called to let me know that his guy was on the way. The burner and controls had been completely submerged so I can count on an honest assessment and quick and fair remedy. Bob is a Riverside BNI member as well. 


Bob Nason of Dutch Oil (He's all over whatever you need done...and with that smile.)


I'll let you know how it all turns out in another post real soon. You can count on it! I'll close by saying that I've never been associated in one place with so many top business men and women in such a variety of fields. I feel there isn't any problem I couldn't find a solution too for a seller or buyer of mine with a pool of talent like Riverside BNI has in it's membership. 

Save on insurance? You bet I did!

by Mick Marsden

I originally joined when invited to the Riverside BNI chapter in Essex to get to know other businessmen and women in my area, expand my sources of services I'm always asked in my service to buyers and sellers of real estate, and to obtain referrals to expand my business. What I did not expect was the motivation to improve on some things in my own life and to find people in business genres that I wanted to do business with. 

As I listened to Dianne Vizzo from the Hillcrest Agency in Centerbrook, CT speak each week it dawned on me how unhappy I was that my current P&C insurance broker was not coming back to me with more competitive pricing for all of my insurance. So I gave all of what Dianne asked for from me and reached out to her to see if she could save me money while maybe even improving my coverage. Why not? You don't get what you don't ask for. 

Dianne Vizzo, The Hillcrest Agency

In a few days and after replying to several more questions as Dianne was working it for me, I received a request to meet in person. I visited Dianne in her Centerbrook office and met her key employee Seana, who was just as pleasant and on her game. 

Suffice it to say I was delighted to hear that she saved me $2,000 per year and with better coverage and deductibles!! Fantastic. 

Moral of the story. It will not cost you a nickel to call Dianne and ask her to do the same for you. If she can't, you've made a new friend and you'll never know when you'll need one. 

Davis Gallery: Photography on Canvas by Mick Marsden

by Mick Marsden

I was flattered when Davis Gallery owner Jennifer Duff encouraged me to show my work. Although I've been an avid photographer for 35 years and have worked professionally on a part-time basis in the past, I never looked at my work to be displayed in a fine art way. Many have complimented me on my "eye" and abilities which has been the word of mouth that has driven the professional work I've done, it was just hard for me to wrap my arms around the idea that my work was fine art quality. 

On April 17th 2010 from 1-4 I am my show and reception begins. Please come and judge for yourself. I am hoping you will love what you'll see and perhaps go home with one of the 31 images Jennifer has selected from my library! That would be great. If you can't be there for the reception my show will be up for 30 days. 


The River to Shore Group prides itself on provided exemplary service and service beyond the call. We checked on a house we represent for an absentee owner as many of our other clients called us to say they could not take any showings because they had water in their basement for the very first time. 

A beautiful spring scene. You just don't want the stream in your basement. 

In this case our seller has never had water in their basement for 25 years. However, when River to Shore Group member arrived at the home and went to the basement she found 2.5 feet of water. My first thought was to upgrade the listing feature to include an indoor pool, however, getting this fixed seemed more important. 

2.5 feet of water and a potentially hazardous situation

As a member of the Riverside BNI (appropriate name in this case) I thought of Joe Shea, owner of A J Shea Construction in Essex for many years. As a member of this chapter I can't count on a quick call back and then some. Joe called me within the hour and was on scene for me within 3 hours. 

What I like about Joe is that he does what he says he's going to do. He calls back and shows up which flies in the face of the contractor stereotype. Joe is a service company. He can do anything. He's great on a ground up commercial project or doing a residential remodeling job. He does great work for a great price and his work is guaranteed. But I digress...

When Joe arrived and determined the power needed to be cut to the house he broke the seal on the meter and pulled it and went into the dark wet basement to assess why the owner's sump pump failed. 

Joe discovered that the exit pipe separated for the pump and thus the pump was merely circulating the water within the basement. Joe set up the pump he had on hand and went back to Essex to get yet another high volume pump to remove the water. 

Joe Shea in action.

Joe told me he had his whole crew on water issues for the past 3 days and only had one carpenter working as a results. Fire departments were flat out and ran out of pumps and had called another BNI member, Tom Kelhenbach of Sea Tow and PromoFloats for any he could spare. It's been epidemic. 

Joe came back to finish the job today which included wet vacuuming the remainder of the standing water and setting up drying fans. Joe brought appropriate talent to restore the well's jet pump to working order that was submerged and restored the permanent sump to working order. 

Bob Nason of Dutch Oil came to the rescue to evaluate and restore the furnace to working order, yet another BNI member whose dedication to exemplary service returned his call in 5 minutes and immediately scheduled his man on the job when Joe completed his work. 

I should mention that Joe is multi-talented in that he is an expert in green technologies like Geothermal heating systems, uses green construction techniques when you're looking to build an addition to your residence or simply remodel what's there. Building a new home from the ground up? Do yourself a favor and get him to quote your job. 

Thanks Joe for a great job and getting there as quick as you did. 

Visit Joe's website:

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 11