3 Reasons to Hire a Buyer’s Agent

buyer agentDid you know that when you contact random real estate agents they are “not” working for you? While  they may be friendly and accommodating, they do not have your best interest in mind. Until you sign a contract with a real estate brokerage firm you are an unrepresented buyer. While there is no requirement that you engage a professional to represent you in the purchase of a property you may get weary of not having “one” real estate agent as your fiduciary, someone to put your interests first. Here are three reasons to hire a Buyer’s Agent:

1.     You need a Navigator. A Buyer’s Agent will help you navigate the online sites to organize your search for housing that meets your needs. If you’ve been using websites to look for houses then you know that properties “pop up” that look interesting and then they disappear. What happened? Which sites should you use? Which are the most reliable?

2.     You need an Insider. A Buyer’s Agent will be able to set up a showing quickly and get you any additional information that you request. Trying to get hold of real estate agents is frustrating. If you don’t have a Buyer’s Agent you will need to contact several different agents and wait for them to call you back to set up a showing. Many buyers have requested private tours on websites and have never received any response.

3.     You need a Negotiator. A Buyer’s Agent will negotiate on your behalf. Your Buyer’s Agent is on “your side.” If you are unfamiliar with the current trends in submitting offers, contingencies, and other details you will have no one to guide you through the process.

If you are serious about buying then you should hire a Buyer’s Agent to move you forward in the process. Many of our clients wish they were working with us earlier in the process after they discover the benefits of hiring us to facilitate their purchase.

If you are frustrated searching for homes on your own, get in touch with us for more information on becoming a Buyer Client.

Your Holiday Home: 3 Easy Updates to Freshen Your Space

0f09f3c87f53ec2f15725da17c390eacThe “Decorating Season” is here! If you celebrate any of the holidays in your home you may feel some pressure to get your house “holiday ready,” especially if, like us, you are binge watching the Hallmark Channel Christmas movies.

Instead of decking the halls with the boxes of decorations that are in the attic or basement, we recommend focusing on 3 design elements: Light, Fragrance and Plants.  These small tweaks to your current decor will freshen your space with minimum fuss and easy clean-up in January.

1. Merry and Bright – Indoor String Lights bring unexpected “pop” to windowsills and mantles. Try a string of lights along your countertop or on a windowsill. Or, if you are looking for more of a design change in your living spaces or bedrooms switch out your table lamps. You’d be surprised how a new lamp can create a fresh “vibe” to your room.

2. Fragrance – We are obsessed with home fragrance. There’s nothing like a warm, welcoming scent to cheer us up after a long day. Try a novelty candle like “Buttered Maple Syrup”—- find this and other specialty scents at our favorite local store — The Willow House in Shelburne

3. Indoor Flowering Plants and Greenery – Buy an Amaryllis bulb now and by the holidays you will have a beautiful large bloom that is a great conversation piece. African Violets bloom year round in a sunny window. Bring in some greenery like a Rosemary herb plant that some gardening centers sell during the holiday season. You can have fresh herbs all winter long along with its signature aroma.

Need more decorating inspiration? Follow our Facebook page for Tuesday Tips.  If you try any of these tips let us know, or better yet, send us a photo of your space!

Who Buys and Sells in Vermont in the Winter?

annie-spratt-MMh57gXsTug-unsplashWe do sell houses year-round in Northwest Vermont. Who are these buyers and sellers? Why can’t they wait until the “spring market” when the grass is green and the ice has melted from driveways?

You will most likely encounter two types of winter sellers:

One motivation to sell is to get a “jump” on the market and put their houses on the Multiple Listing System (MLS) and the public websites when there is less competition. Sometimes in February your house may be one of only a handful on the market in a certain price range. This means that you will capture buyers who are focused on your particular location and price point.

Another type of seller has already bought another property and are ready to sell. Their house may be vacant and they are motivated to sell quickly rather than continuing to heat the house and pay for driveway plowing. Savvy winter buyers don’t mind trudging through the snow and ice to find a motivated seller or “jump” on a property themselves that meets their location and pricing criteria. Most winter buyers don’t need to “wait to see what comes up next,” they are ready to go when they find the “almost perfect house.”

The combination of motivated sellers and buyers means that we do sell and show houses in January, February, and March. Some of my favorite clients have bought and sold during the cold, snowy weather and have enjoyed the less frenetic pace of the spring market. If you’re thinking about selling this winter we’re ready to help – all you gotta do is call (or email)!

What Does a ‘Shifting’ Real Estate Market Mean for Buyers and Sellers?

DJI_0736 SMALLWe all hear the news – inflation, fuel, food prices, and mortgage interest rates are rising or higher than before. All of these factors weigh on some buyers who are thinking about purchasing a property.

Here are 3 signs of a “shift” from a predominantly seller’s market to a softening of buyer response:

  1. Price Sensitivity Due to Inflation and Mortgage Interest Rates

Right now mortgage interest rates are hovering around 6%, an increase of approximately 3% since the beginning of the year. What that means is that buyers who still want to buy or need to buy are facing higher monthly payments which translates into modifying their purchase price. 

  1. Less Enthusiasm for Repairs and Remodeling 

Buyers are less inclined to embark on remodeling projects due to the rising cost of goods and shortage of contractors. “Move-in” ready houses will again start to be more desirable.

  1. Seller Must Prepare for Maximizing Value 

It is more important than ever for sellers to be prepared for the buyer response to the current real estate market. From cleaning carpets to replacing wood rot on your house we can let you know which “fixes” will net you the highest purchase price. 

These are just some of the trends that we see today in our encounters with sellers and buyers. For more specific information for your home search or home sale, get in touch to see how we can help! 

How to Get ‘Top Dollar’ in Any Housing Market

mike-gattorna-YqbvabE8AHc-unsplashAre you afraid that you missed out on selling your house for the “highest price ever?” Well, fear not. We have been helping sellers get top dollar long before the meteoric rise in sale prices over the last few years. Our “Prep for Success” program provides a roadmap to maximizing your house’s value.

Here are our 3 top tips to get top dollar:

Take down your pictures and photos and paint your walls. This will make your rooms look large and fresh. 

Turn your dining area or room “back” into an eating area. Let’s face it, most people have turned their dining rooms into toy rooms, offices and yoga rooms. Buyers get thrown “off” when they start looking for a dining room and instead end up in a room of exercise bikes, toys and yoga mats. Move those items to the basement if possible. 

Start packing! You’re moving, right? Instead of rearranging your closets, bookshelves, desk areas, etc. grab a moving box and start packing. Stack the boxes neatly in the corner of the garage or the basement. 

For all of our seller tips and more information on our “Prep for Success” program, give us a shout

We Love Your House! 3 of Our Marketing Secrets for Sellers

Colchester Sitting AreaWhat do you love about your home?  Our marketing program goes above and beyond your average real estate listing. We take the time to research your location, amenities and unique features to attract qualified buyers. We love what you love!

Here are 3 ways we excel at getting you “out there” for maximum advertising impact:

The Great Outdoors – In Vermont it’s all about the outdoors and enjoying nature. Whether it’s mountain view, trail access or even a quaint waterfront sitting area, we highlight all of the features of your home. We feature all of your outdoor space and amenities. Are you near a bike path, VAST trail, walking and hiking trails? Are you lucky enough to have a mountain view or a water view? Do you have a patio, deck, covered porch, hot tub? Does your property have raspberries, blueberries or wildflowers?

Local “Hot Spots” – We love everything about your location. Are you close to a ski area? Do you have restaurants and pizza places nearby? Where is the summer farmer’s market? Does the town band play at the gazebo? We dig into the local culture to spotlight food, music and recreation. And, everyone want to know, “Where is the closest Starbucks?”

Unique Features – Because we see so many houses we get very excited about unique features. A fully fenced yard, an outdoor shower, a porch swing or even a special rock where you sit and watch the stars are a few of the features that we love. We find features that may be part of your everyday routine and bring them to the buyer through our marketing platforms.

Follow us on Instagram and Facebook or search our website to check out our latest homes for sale.

Rising Rates & Our Local Market

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How do interest rates impact our local Vermont real estate market? Good question considering that rates have jumped from 3% to 6% over the last few months!

Here are 3 insights about our local market based on our many years of experience in “all” market conditions:

1.     Buyers will adjust to the current mortgage rate. The most important factor for buyers is their “monthly payment” and their comfort level with that amount. We often hear, “I don’t want to be ‘house poor’” meaning that they want to be able to pay their mortgage and have discretionary funds. This may mean that they readjust their “purchase price” down to suit their household budget.

2.     Sellers may have fewer qualified buyers depending on their list price. We have seen more “cash buyers” over the last few years however we predict the new buyer pool will seek mortgage loans. This means that there will be fewer cash buyers in the market. Some properties will be impacted more than others.

3.     In any market there will always be people who need to sell and people who need to buy. Our local real estate market is driven by life circumstances rather than speculation. This means that our market will remain more stable than other parts of the country.

 Making the decision to buy or sell is always stressful and wrought with questions. If you want more information about the current market and how it applies to your situation reach out to see how we can help you!

5 Upgrades That Buyers Love

HGTV Smart Home 2022 in Wilmington, NC

HGTV Smart Home 2022 in Wilmington, NC

If you follow our blogs you know that Carolyn works with buyers and sellers in the Northwestern Vermont market. Buyers are “wowed” by certain features that may surprise you.

Here are our top 5 upgrades that buyers love:

  1. Trex or other types of composite decking – Previously this type of decking was a luxury item but now, due to the rising costs of pressure treated lumber, many houses are opting for composite decking. No more staining!
  2. Gas fireplace inserts – Nothing beats the smell of wood burning in a fireplace on a crisp Vermont evening, but the wood, ash, and family allergies sometimes puts a damper on this scene. Today’s updated inserts and realistic flames impress most buyers. No more chopping wood!
  3. Freshly sealed driveways – Vermont driveways take a beating. Snow, salt, sun, and the inevitable fading and cracking. A freshly sealed driveway upgrades your curb appeal instantly.
  4. Smart thermostats – Buyers love this energy efficient feature that you can control from anywhere with your phone, and helps reduce heating and cooling costs.
  5. Solar panels – Buyers get excited when they see solar panels for an alternative energy source. More people are driving electric vehicles in Vermont and they want to add charging stations to the system.

If you’ve been thinking about selling and want more information on any of these “wow” factor features, reach out! We will help you with everything – from the beginning to closing the deal.

Let It Snow! How Weather Effects the Real Estate Market

Snowy SpringWe are obsessed with the weather. When The Weaver Team works from home one of our favorites is The Weather Channel.  People often ask me, “Does it slow down in the winter?” Well, yes, in normal times. Then, they ask, “When is the best time for my property to go on the market?”

Today, April 19, 2022 we have scheduled a full day of showings for our newest listing. I asked Alexa if it was going to snow last night and she said, “there is no snow in the forecast.” Right now, 4” of snow and increasing rapidly. Our lilac tree split under the weight of the heavy, wet spring snow.

Still, we persevere.  The buyers and Realtors will show up to see the property. But, there will be snow, wet shoes, and wet coats to shed upon arrival. The boundary lines are hard to decipher amid a sea of white.

So, when is the best time? We like May 1st to minimize the chance of snow for photos, showings and other reasons. Who can resist a front porch with a fresh spring wreath and pots of colorful flowers? Ah, but that is still an aspiration here today. We would love to continue this blog but Carolyn needs to find her boots and winter coat for today’s showings.

Stay warm and dry out there, Spring will be here in a few weeks, we are certain!

If you want more information on the seasonality of real estate, reach out – we are always available to help with all of your Vermont real estate needs.

6 Spring Cleaning Projects to Tackle for a Sparkling Home

pexels-jos-van-ouwerkerk-1075960Spring is just around the corner (March 20th to be exact), which means warmer temps, green grass, beautiful blooms and everyone’s favorite – Spring cleaning!

Here are 6 of our top Spring cleaning projects to get you started:

Complete a Thorough Dusting – You may swipe your Swiffer duster through the surfaces of your home on weekly basis, but we’re talking about getting down and dirty here. Remove all of the items from shelves and tabletops and give the surface a good wipe down with a multi-surface cleaner or furniture spray. Now is also the time to tackle ceiling fans and the top of cabinets.

Wash Walls, Cabinets, and Baseboards – Vertical surfaces may not look dirty, but enough dirt and dust cling to these surfaces to justify a seasonal cleaning. Use a clean sponge and water mixed with a few drops of dishwashing liquid to wipe down walls, cabinets, and baseboards.

Wash Windows – Step it up a notch from your normal Windex and paper towel routine and really take a minute to get your windows to sparkle. Vacuum the inside panes, sills, and window frame. Choose a cloudy day to clean your windows to prevent streaks – heat from the sun will dry the glass too quickly. Create a window wash solution by combining 1/2 cup sudsy ammonia (which is a specific type of ammonia), 1 pint of rubbing alcohol, 1 teaspoon of dishwashing liquid, and 1 gallon of water.

Refresh Window Treatments – Just like your walls, they may not look dirty, but dust clings to everything! Take down and throw washable fabrics in the washer and air dry. Intricate curtains and draperies can be cleaned using the upholstery attachment on your vacuum, or you can take them to be dry cleaned. To remove dust from sheers, toss them in the dryer on low with a fabric softener sheet.

Clean Carpets – Rent a carpet cleaner and start with a hidden spot of carpet to make sure the treatment will not cause discoloration. To save yourself some time, move furniture slightly rather than clearing out a room. Place wax paper squares under the feet of furniture to protect the carpet and keep the furniture from getting wet as the carpet dries. Open windows to speed up the drying process. Don’t feel like all the work? Hire a professional to take care of the carpets for you.

Freshen Your Space – Not so much a cleaning project, but a quick and easy makeover for any room is changing up or adding textiles! Put a brightly colored table linen on your dining room table, spruce up your living room with fun throw pillows or a patterned rug, swap out your bedding, or switch out the towels in your bathroom – any of these will revive your home for Spring.

If you need a list to stay focused, or if you love the satisfaction of checking off a task when completed, we found a very thorough downloadable Spring cleaning checklist from Better Homes & Gardens.