Selling Your House This Winter? The Weaver Team Is Your “Winter Team!”

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow. After all, we do live in the Northeast where winter means snow, ice, and cold weather. But, does it mean you will be miserable if you have to sell your house before April?

There’s a reason that most sellers wait until spring to put their houses on the market. Most sellers would rather not deal with salting and sanding walkways, plowing driveways, and gathering kids, dogs, boots, shoes, and mittens, to leave a warm, cozy house to accommodate a showing. Should you wait until the snow melts?

What if you have to sell? Don’t bother jumping online and googling “selling house in winter” or “should I wait until spring to sell my house” instead, follow our 3 steps:

You Need our “Winter Selling Strategy.” We both love the cold and snow. Get out a calendar and strategize with us. We know the ideal times to put your house on the market in any month.

Identify your goals and we will get it done. Need to be in another house by March? We will outline the process to get you there.

Don’t worry about winter showings. Because we list and sell houses in all types of weather we will share our tools, tricks, and tips to make it easy on your lifestyle and your household.

We look forward to helping you in any season. Don’t despair if you find yourself moving in the winter, we’re here to get you into your next home no matter what the weather.

Pack It Up! Yes, This Is The “One Thing” You Need To Do To Sell Your House

4b35a73e36bc822188b42a2f19e1a9c5Let’s make it easy, pack up your house! Yes, this is the “one thing” you need to do during the home selling process – start packing and keep packing!  On the Weaver Team, Jennie and I have moved several times and we understand the struggles, indecision, and fatigue that creeps in when you have to pack and move an entire household of items, furniture, dishes, sports equipment, pots, pans, food processors, etc., from one house to another.

You will feel overwhelmed, exhausted, sore, and mentally challenged during this process. Your goal is to “thin out” your belongings by packing what isn’t necessary in your day-to-day routine. Some call it decluttering, but this is more than that – it is a system to start the moving process in a predictable and measurable manner. Instead of decluttering, let’s just pack it up. Who wants to think of their collections, belongings, and decorations as clutter?

We recommend doing a few boxes a day to alleviate some of the stress. Here are our tips to start this process:

  1. Gather boxes, packing tape, bubble wrap, newspapers, scissors, and a big black Sharpie or any permanent marking pen.
  2. Next, find a central place in your house to keep these supplies in view. When you have a moment, grab a box and fill it with items that you don’t use every day. Think potato masher, extra kitchen towels, ‘nice’ dishes, surplus mugs, etc. then wrap them up, put them in a box, seal the box and mark it “Kitchen.” After you take your morning shower appraise your towel collection and box up any extras. On your way to the living room? Why not grab a box and start wrapping the delicate items on your shelves?
  3. Move the box to the garage, storage shed, or special spot in the basement.

We have helped hundreds of sellers get prepared for putting their houses on the market. And, of course, there is a list of items that need attention, however, doing this “one thing” will make every other task go more smoothly.

What Is Your Zestimate?

Screen Shot 2019-09-24 at 2.34.04 PMIf you’re a fan of Zillow.com then you are familiar with the “Zestimate” value of your house. Of course, it is an “estimate of value” but because it is generated by Zillow they have added the “Z” to make it proprietary. Recently a buyer asked why a Zestimate was so much lower than the asking price for a house. Good question. Let’s discuss.

Have you checked your house on Zillow lately? If you have, then you may be wondering how Zillow came up with that value. As a real estate agent and as a member of the National Assocation of Realtors, Vermont Association of Realtors, and the Northwestern Vermont Board of Realtors,  I have access to many estimating programs that use data differently than Zillow. In addition, I have access to hyper-local real estate information that is reported monthly.

If you are looking for a true “range of value” for your house, then I need to visit. There are many factors involved in pricing a property and the online resources give us a guide, but do not use data points that are crucial in our local area.

Back to the original question, “Why is the Zestimate so much lower than the asking price of the house?” The answer is, “Because Zillow has never been to the house, has never seen the house, and, relies on data that may or may not be accurate.”

For more information on your house, and, to see if your value has truly increased or decreased, get in touch with us.

3 Things That Happen in the Real Estate Market After Labor Day

four colourful houses

Photo by Jeffrey Czum on Pexels.com

Labor Day Weekend heralds the end of summer fun and vacations for most people. It’s back to school, back to business, and goodbye to the hazy, lazy, crazy days of summer. What does this mean for our local real estate market? There are 3 things that happen as the weather cools in our region:

Buyers jump back into the market, making looking for a home a priority. With the kids back in school, parents are able to look during the day without having to juggle swim lessons and camp pick-ups. While some families may want to wait until the end of the school year to make a move, many families are ready to transition during this season. Buyers who have been on “hold” due to vacations and trips to the beach are now committed to looking full-time.

Sellers concentrate on repairs, painting, and landscaping. Taking advantage of cooler temperatures and after-work daylight hours, sellers begin to focus on sprucing up their landscaping and the exterior of their homes.

Homes are priced realistically. Sellers who have their houses on the market in the fall are “ready to go” before the snow flies. Buyers, too, want to be settled in time for the December holidays.

For all of these reasons the “Fall market” continues to be one of our favorite times to help buyers and sellers. Many real estate agents tell you that “anytime” is a good time to buy or sell, but, is it? When it’s time for you to jump into the market be sure to contact us for an overview of the current market conditions.

“What? A Radon Test? I Have To Keep My Windows Closed? It’s August!”

apartment bed bedroom comfort

Photo by Burst on Pexels.com

Everyone looks for ways to cool off from the “dog days” of summer that settle upon Vermont in August. Whether it’s a trip to the Waterbury reservoir, a dip in a quarry, or a leisurely canoe ride down the Mad River, everyone has their own way to beat the heat. And, New Englanders know that it “cools off at night” so many of us forego air conditioning in the evening and throw open the sashes to enjoy summer evening breezes and fresh air.

If you’re selling your house this summer the heat and humidity pose another challenge – a radon test. When the buyer orders a home inspection as part of the contract they may add a radon test. The inspector instructs you to close up your house 24 hours prior to the radon inspection. Inevitably this will happen during a heat wave or during the hottest, most humid days of summer, called “dog days” as ancient Romans associated the steamy temperatures with the dog star, Sirius.

If you’re not ready to pack up and go camping prior to your radon inspection the here are some tips:

Get your Radon tested in January. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) chose January as it’s Radon Awareness Month for a reason, having your house closed up in January usually is not a problem.

Contact the Vermont Department of Health to request a free kitTesting Your Home for Radon. The use of a long-term radon in air test kit is best because radon levels can change daily, weekly, and seasonally. We recommend that you test your home for 3 to 12 months (ideally including a heating season). Longer test periods ensure the most accurate measure of actual exposure. Free long-term radon in air test kits are available to Vermont residents. You can request one from the Radon Program by calling 800-439-8550 (toll-free in Vermont) or emailing radon@vermont.gov.

On the Weaver Team we are committed to help you prepare your home for sale and to help you throughout the process. Contact us for more tips and information, we are happy to help!

Are You Looking For a Unicorn? Download Our KW APP to Find Your Dream House!

IMG_6240Frustrated with your home search? Can’t find what you are looking for? Maybe your dream house doesn’t exist, can’t be built, or will never “pop up” on your Zillow alerts. Depressing, right? How did this happen? Why can’t you find the perfect house?

First, it’s not your fault. Perhaps you met with an enthusiastic real estate agent who promised you that, yes, indeed, your dream house is right around the corner and will hit the market soon. Or, you binge watched HGTV and want to find something similar to a house that Joanna Gaines renovated on Fixer Upper. In either case, you can’t find your dream house. Let’s regroup.

Does your perfect house exist? It’s easy to figure this out. Houses are everywhere. Get in your car, drive around and find your ideal house in your preferred location. Open your KW APP ( Download Here ) and see if there is anything available for sale in the area. If you see something in the area, then send it to me and I will let you know if I can make your dream house a reality!

Refresh Your Nest: The Forgotten “Spring Cleaning” Items

adeolu-eletu-101178-unsplashThe days are longer, the sun shines brighter, and, oh, those windows have a dirty film on them! Everyone sweeps floors, dusts baseboards, and neatens up at this time of year, but, how many of us remember to maintain and clean windows, screens, duct work, light fixtures, chandeliers, and bathroom fans?

Sometimes it’s the things you don’t “see” every day that really need to be cleaned. Instead of the usual “spring cleaning” blog this month we are taking a venture into the forgotten areas of the home. Check out these 3 neglected areas of your home:

Let the sunshine in! Windows and screens – What better time to throw open the curtains, open the windows, and let the fresh air in! You may want to hire a window cleaning company for the exteriors. Give your screens a quick sudsy bath before installing, rinse them twice!

What lies beneath? Duct work – Do you have a forced air heating and cooling system? Who gets their duct work cleaned? Duct cleaning professionals suggest getting the duct work cleaned every five years.

Look up! Light fixtures, chandeliers, ceiling fans – Start your cleaning from the top to the bottom. Choose from the many cleaning dusters that are available, there are even special cobweb dusters. While you are sweeping away the dust from the ceiling don’t forget to check on the bathroom ceiling fans.

If you need more information on spring cleaning or want our list of “tips and tricks” get in touch. If you are looking for a professional to help with any household issues we have many recommendations. We are always available to help you “refresh your nest.”

Sunday Open Houses or Private Showings?

OpenHouse

p: Enid Buzz

If you are selling, do you really want the public tromping through your house on a Sunday afternoon? If you are buying, do you really want to leave your shoes in a pile at the front door and hope no one slips into your shoes by accident on the way out? Some of the Weaver Team buyers frequent Open Houses with our approval as they are “scoping out” the area, so, they are helpful in that circumstance. Most of the time, though, beware of the pitfalls of this Sunday afternoon activity.

Based on my recent experience visiting a Sunday Open House, I now encourage buyers to call me for private showings. Bumping into other people in the hallway and stepping around toddlers in a basement rec room detracts from the overall house-viewing experience.

First, let’s look at it from the buyer perspective. Serious buyers typically sign Buyer Agent contracts with real estate agents. While most buyers say, “I will know it’s the right house when I see it,” that is just the beginning. In fact, the decision to buy property hinges on many factors including location, price, and condition. Material facts and information concerning major systems and components of the property weigh heavily in the completion of a purchase. Questions like, “Has the house been tested for radon gas?” and “What are the options for Internet?” simply cannot be answered thoroughly at an Open House.

Next, let’s look at it from the seller perspective. If you think that Facebook or Google is invading your privacy, that’s nothing compared to having the public crawling through your house unsupervised. Do you want strangers viewing your house and pawing through your linen closet and medicine cabinet? The contents of your medicine cabinets, closets, drawers, refrigerator, etc. are now exposed to random strangers. Alcohol, medication, jewelry, and small electronics provide temptation to some people, even if they look like honest, upstanding citizens.

In our opinion the “awe, c’mon in and look around” days of real estate are over. Buyers deserve more than a quick run through on a Sunday afternoon and sellers deserve more than random people pawing through their personal belongings. Reach out if you want to start the process of buying a home. We are happy to schedule private showings.

The Cold Truth About House Hunting in the Winter – 4 Challenges

winter driveway“Do people buy houses in the winter?” is a question that I often hear since winters in Vermont bring snow, sleet, ice and wind. Well, yes, people buy houses, however there are at least 4 challenges in the winter months:

Challenge #1: Vacant Houses – Get ready to trudge through knee-high snow in an unplowed driveway. I will never forget the buyer that drove to Vermont one year in a snowstorm because he had to buy a house that weekend. By the time he arrived the snow had stopped, but we ended up forging our own trails to the front doors. Even if a seller has arranged for a plow service to maintain the driveway and walkway after a snowstorm, the plow person may not see the vacant house as a priority.

Challenge #2: Chilly Houses – Forget about taking off your coats when you are looking at houses in the winter. With the high cost of fuel to heat houses most people turn down their thermostats when they leave for the day and turn them back up when they get home.

Challenge #3: Wet, Snowy Boots and Shoes – Unfortunately you will have to remove your wet footwear to avoid tracking snow and salt into the houses. Try to wear a pair that is easy on/easy off. Your feet will most likely suffer a bit (see #2, above) so we recommend a pair of Vermont Darn Tough wool socks to get you through these houses comfortably. Feel free to bring your own footwear in a separate bag if you are uncomfortable in stockinged feet.

Challenge #4: Icy Driveways and Walkways – This is a true hazard and best to be avoided. Inquire if driveways are icy. If you must go out, make sure you have proper footwear. One of my clients wore “Yax Trax” on her shoes and took them off when she got into the house. They are a removable “gripper” type contraption for your footwear.

So, yes, you can venture out. Just be ready for a few chills and hopefully no spills! If you are ready to face the elements, we are here to help you find your house, no matter what the weather brings.

Why You Won’t Find Your Dream Home on the Internet

aerial-agriculture-architecture-388830The home you are looking for may never show up on a public website like Realtor.com, Zillow.com, or your favorite real estate site. Over the last several years the public has increasingly become annoyed with searching for houses online. To really “find” your dream home you may need to “phone a friend.”

When I meet with buyers for the first time it is usually because they are tired of searching online. Tired of hearing a “ping” on their phone notifying them that a new house was just listed. Weary, because none of the houses seem to be just right for their needs. “Where are the good houses?” they ask me. By good houses they mean the floor plan, location, and condition that they “know” is out there, somewhere. Isn’t it?

Well, yes, their dream home exists. It is just never available, at least that’s what they are learning after contacting multiple agents online. For example, a house may appear to be available and for sale when, in fact, it may be under contract and not available. In other cases, consumers believe they are contacting the listing agent, when, in fact, their request for more information is sent to several different agents, none of whom represent the seller. The public is confused. Who are they calling? Who is showing me the house? Do I need Buyer representation? How does this work?

What is the answer to this morass? First, to untangle the “mess” of having several agents call and email for days, weeks, and months, it’s best not to click on any links that say “Ask a Question.” Instead, use the “phone a friend” approach. Call one of your friends, ask who they have worked with as a trusted real estate professional. Better yet, if you have a real estate agent as a friend, give that professional a call. Let your real estate contact know your house “wishes.”

Many times, because real estate agents are consistently meeting with buyers and sellers, we have inside information on houses that may be for sale soon. So, reach out, phone a friend, and log off the internet. Your dream house is right around the corner.