3 Reasons Why Daylight Showings Are Best

205 Fiddlehead Ln SPRINGWelcome to Daylight Savings 2018 where we “fall back” an hour on November 4 and await March 11, 2019 when we adjust our clocks again to “spring forward.” Until the Winter Solstice, December 21st losing a minute or so of daylight every day. By the end of November, the sun will set around 4:15pm in Vermont.

At this time of year real estate agents receive requests from buyer clients to see homes in the evening hours, usually after work. And yes, while we all know that real estate agents are “on call” for night and weekend showings there is an exception to these circumstances during the winter months.

There are 3 reasons why you should see property in the daylight:

DSCN5098Location, Neighbors and Views – You will want to be able to see the boundaries, tree lines, fences, etc. when you visit the house. In the dark you won’t be able to discern any of this. Also, you will want to see check out the view from all of the windows. Just “driving by” doesn’t give you a good sense of what you will see when you look out the windows onto the side yard or back yard. One buyer drove by a house, fell in love, then when finally able to get inside the house and look out the back window she realized that she was staring at a neighborhood playground that wasn’t visible from the street.

Condition of the Exterior and the Roof – Sure, you can shine a flashlight on the exterior, but who wants to circle the house in the dark hoping to see peeling paint on a fascia board? It’s even more difficult to see the condition of the roof.

DSCN4994Natural Light – Yes, you have a compass app but it is still no substitute for being inside the house to experience natural sunlight. How dark is the house, really, during the day? Is there enough natural light? You will only know if you view the property in the daytime hours.

You just can’t “see” in the dark, whether it be views, neighbor’s houses, boundaries, or the condition of the exterior. Carve out some “daylight” time to visit houses with your real estate agent. You will save yourself the frustration of guessing what the house offers in the daylight.

3 Home Improvements That Pay Off

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p: Pinterest

There are likely some home improvement projects you’d like to tackle, but which ones will pay off when it is time to sell? If you are planning on spending many more happy years in your home, your return on investment is really the joy you get from living in a home that you love. But, if you may sell in the next few years, you need to consider which renovations will offer the best return on your investment.

Here are our top 3 home improvements that pay off:

New Roof – A new roof tops the home project list in rate of return. While it is a costly investment, the potential ROI is 109% (according to HouseLogic), and Realtors® say that a new roof helps make a sale over 30% of the time. A new roof will add to your curb appeal and improve energy efficiency.

Hardwood Floors – Most buyers today want wood floors, in fact, they almost expect it. Hardwood floors offer one of the best returns on a home investment – they can add 2.5% to the sale price. A beautiful, durable, and timeless addition you can enjoy until you make your move.

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p: clopaydoor.com

New Garage Door – Okay, so maybe it’s not the most glamorous home improvement, but a new garage door will immediately boost your curb appeal and make your home shine. And bonus – it’s also one of the most affordable improvements! If you have an attached garage, an insulated door can also help lower energy bills.

Does Decorating Matter – How do I Stage my House for the Holiday Season?

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p: jennycookies.com

As we get into the decorating holidays, Sellers always ask, “can I decorate for the holiday?” The short answer, “yes, with some ‘staging’ recommendations.”

True story – I once showed a house with one fully decorated artificial Christmas tree in every room. Well that’s not too weird, right? Did I mention it was July?? Sometimes it’s difficult to imagine “not” displaying treasured holiday keepsakes or seasonal decorations when your house is on the market. So, what about decorating for holidays when it makes sense – October, Halloween; November, Thanksgiving; December, Christmas/Hanukkah? Unless you are showing houses to Scrooge, most buyers are in the holiday mood and a welcoming seasonal wreath, doormat, or display on the kitchen island makes them feel welcome. Too many decorations can be distracting to buyers, much like a wall of family photos. Here are the Weaver Team’s tips for the upcoming holiday season.

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p: houseofhargrove.com

First, Halloween. Don’t get us wrong, we love Halloween – who doesn’t? The candy, the costumes, the orange & black decorations – what’s not to love? Many of you will even buy a costume for Fido or Kitty. Awe! Cute! Pumpkins, mums, decorative kale and cabbage, all safe bets if your house is for sale. Unfortunately, most buyers are a little scared of zombies, skulls, and anything with fake blood. For more formal spaces, like living rooms and dining rooms, try a “Martha Stewart” type vibe with white Cinderella pumpkins and black branches. Orange and black are not everyone’s favorite color combination so be careful not spread the decorations into every room. If you need to be “spooky” try to keep it on the front porch or back deck, that way once inside the house the buyers feel more at ease.

1-Rustic-Fall-DecorNext, Thanksgiving. Autumn and fall colors blend nicely with most décor. A spray of silk autumn leaves or mums fit nicely into nooks and bookshelves. Your fall-themed pillows, blanket throws and flower arrangements will add a cozy and warm vibe to the interior. Don’t skip the autumn decorations in November and go right to Christmas. If you get weary of thinking that you need to overhaul the house again for November here’s another Weaver Team tip – “layer” your decorations. Place autumn first as a base, think leaves, mums, fall colors and then add your Halloween decorations. When it comes time to switch on November 1st just remove Halloween and voila! All set for November.

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p: theharperhouse.com

Finally, everyone’s favorite decorating holiday – Christmas. Okay, you have permission to dive right into the holly and “ho-ho-ho” the day after Thanksgiving. Here, again, just a caution about overusing red and green in every room. Like Halloween, you may want to research a more elegant look for your formal rooms. Gold, silver and white may be decorative enough to add an air of festiveness to your living room without overwhelming the buyer’s senses. If you celebrate Hanukkah then you are all set as the silver, white, gold and blue theme compliments almost all styles.

So, go ahead! Trim the tree, display the Menorah, put a scarecrow on your front porch. But, remember, take them down when the celebrations are over. You don’t want to end up in my blog – like the condominium owner that still had a Halloween mat at his front door – in March!

3 Reasons Why Your Listing Agent Isn’t Showing Your House

realtor_showing_house_451242040Every once in a while a seller client will ask, “Why aren’t you ever showing my house?” It’s a very good question. Shouldn’t the seller’s real estate agent, the one who listed the house, the one whose sign is in the front lawn, be the agent that shows the house the most? Just a common sense, right? Actually there are 3 reasons why your listing agent isn’t the one showing your house.

1. Buyers are represented by Buyer’s Agents who represent the buyer, not the seller in the transaction.

2. Your listing agent may get inquiries on your property, but when the buyer finds out that the listing agent can’t represent them in the transaction they seek out a Buyer’s Agent.

3. The listing agent’s marketing is reaching buyers who are just entering the market and will eventually sign up with a Buyer’s Agent.

Over the last few decades Buyer’s Agents have been able to represent buyers in many markets. Years ago, all agents where agents of the Seller. No agents were looking out for the buyers.

Realtor Showing Hispanic Couple Around New HomeAs state regulations on the real estate industry evolved it became part of real estate law to recognize that buyers may need protection in the real estate industry. In today’s real estate world most of the activity occurs on the internet. Real estate agents “buy” leads. When a prospective buyer finds your house on a website the inquiry to show the house goes to an agent “other” than your listing agent. As listing agents, we make sure that we promote our listings to all real estate agents, our friends, past and current clients.

When there is a request for a showing we make sure that the “showing agent or buyer’s agent” knows all of the features and amenities of your property to show it in its best light.

5 Reasons Why Keller Williams Vermont is our Happy Place

KW Office ExteriorWe are obsessed with lists. The top five places to camp in Vermont. The best ice cream in the area. Budget-friendly design secrets from the pros. So, when Keller Williams Realty was named in the Forbes magazine list of “The Ten Happiest Companies to Work for in 2018,” we were intrigued.

After all, that is where the Weaver Team hangs a Vermont real estate license. So, in the true spirit of lists we have compiled the top five reasons why, indeed, Keller Williams Vermont is one of the “Happiest Companies” in Vermont.

Welcoming atmosphere. From the day we walked into Keller Williams in September, 2014, the atmosphere has always been upbeat, friendly and professional. From the lobby to the conference rooms you will see people smiling, greeting one another warmly.

Educational classes and seminars. Every day there is a class or seminar in the training room that adds to the real estate knowledge that we have accrued over the years. National and local experts keep us up to date on financing options, inspection items and economic and housing trends.

Training roomModern offices, lunch room, meeting spaces and conference rooms. You need to visit our South Burlington office to understand. Let’s just say we have views of the Mount Mansfield Green Mountain range and a lunch room with two refrigerators. Oh, and if you come in when it is dark the lights automatically turn on as you enter the building.

Access to Industry Leaders. On-site mortgage lenders, attorneys and our leadership team provide face-to-face interaction on a daily basis for questions and provide solutions to challenging situations.

Culture. This is the sum of all of the above. Why we are here. If you don’t believe us, call us for a seller or buyer consultation and meet us in the office. Would love to show you our Happy Place.

Home Inspections – The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

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p: lasvegasrealproperty.com

If you are buying or selling a house in Chittenden County, Vermont then heed this warning, “The house may not pass a building inspection.” What do you mean, “pass an inspection?” Are inspections now pass or fail? The short answer is “yes.”

Your Purchase and Sale Contract may include an Inspection addendum, with the caveat “Inspection report shall be to Purchaser’s satisfaction.” Satisfaction? Like a Yelp review on a restaurant? Does satisfaction mean a 5-star review? Or just, yeah, okay, satisfactory, like a 3-star review. Or satisfaction like the Rolling Stones, “Can’t get no satisfaction?”

And finally, is it a case of, there are no bad inspections, just buyers with high expectations? Let’s explore.

Let’s dive into the good, a 5-star inspection. Congratulations, the house you are buying has no significant structural, mechanical, electrical or plumbing defects. You may move along toward closing, this contingency is satisfied and the purchase price on the original contract remains intact. Or, maybe the house needs some GFCIs (ground fault circuit interrupters) and a mixing valve on the hot water tank. Oh, and the smoke detectors are over 10 years old and now need to be photoelectric. As the seller you will have to sign a document that states the smoke/fire/co2 detectors meet the current electric code. Most sellers will concede to some electrical updating along with the smoke/fire/co2 detectors.

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p: thebalancesmb.com

Let’s look at a bad inspection, one that produces a laundry list of items that includes every historical leak (darn it, we knew we should have repainted the ceiling after the tub overflowed 5 years ago), creak, nail pop and flaw in the house, interior and exterior. The exterior suffers from peeling paint on the trim, curling asphalt shingles on the roof, gutters that are full of leaves and a driveway with potholes.

Now, let’s look at a plain old ugly inspection. This one has an active leak, usually a sewer pipe in the basement (don’t step in the puddle), mold (dead or alive?) in a poorly ventilated attic, and, everyone’s favorite, an old oil tank in the basement or an old furnace.

The issues that arise at inspection range from good, bad to ugly. That is why you want to hire an experienced real estate agent to walk you through the different scenarios. As a buyer, your agent can tell you which items you should ask the seller to take care of, if you should ask for money back, or if you should back out of the deal all together. As a seller, your agent will be able to advise you on which items are typically taken care of and what you can say no to.

6 Reasons to Sell With a Realtor®

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p: MarketWatch

If you’ve been thinking about selling your house, you’ve likely thought about selling on your own to forgo the cost of commission. Listing your home on your own can cost your time, stress, and in reality, it can end up costing you money – research shows that FSBO (for sale by owner) listings sell for about 5.5% less than comparable properties sold through the MLS.

Before you decide to go the do-it-yourself route, consider 6 of the invaluable benefits listing with a Realtor® offers:

Knowledge – A Realtor’s knowledge is priceless, we can provide insight that you cannot get online. We know how to make sense of the data and the entire selling process so that you and your home are fully prepared before hitting the market.

Time – Do you have time to play the Realtor’s role? Are you available to show your home at a moment’s notice? How will you handle showing requests if you are away? Are you able to respond to buyer’s questions, concerns, and/or objections in a manner to help overcome hesitation and move forward? Are you able to offer solutions to buyer-perceived obstacles with the property? Are these questions stressing you out? Uncertainty in any of these areas could translate into a lost opportunity, thankfully, we handle everything.

Presentation – Image is everything when it comes to real estate. Do you know how to prepare your home for sale? We can tell you what your home needs, what you need to get rid of, what needs to be fixed, and how to stage it to appeal to potential buyers. We also take professional photos and video to show your home in the best light.

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p: Zillow

Marketing – How are you going to market your property? You can post your listing yourself on Zillow, FSBO sites, or Craigslist, but you’re not going to reach all of your potential buyers. We have a network of agents that we pre-market your property to, sometimes selling a property before it even hits the market! We also enter your listing in the MLS that sends the listing info to all of the top real estate sites that buyers are searching.

Negotiation – So you’ve received an offer, how do you respond? What do you look for in a purchase agreement? Are you prepared to take multiple offers in a hot market? Do you know how to negotiate to keep the buyer in the game versus walking away? What costs should you and shouldn’t you incur? We negotiate on your behalf to ensure you are getting the best deal possible, while still working with the buyer to put the deal together.

Inspection – How should you handle items that are flagged as needing repair or replacement by a home inspector? Who do you contact to take care of the repairs? We will negotiate with the buyer’s agent to only take care of necessary items, and once the list is nailed down, we have a roster of professionals we recommend for the work.

This post was adapted from “8 reasons selling without a real estate agent is a recipe for disaster” by Cara Ameer, inman.com.

5 Kitchen Remodeling Ideas That Will Last the Test of Time

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p: Houzz

It’s easy to get swept up in the latest design trends, but if you choose something that’s too trendy you may regret your choices a few years down the line when the fad is long gone. Chances are you’re only going to remodel your current kitchen once, so it’s important to get it right!

It’s best to stick with the classics to ensure your remodel is timeless and will retain it’s marketability and value. Here are our top 5 picks:

White never goes out of style. White is fresh, clean, and bright, a no-brainer for the kitchen. Because it is a standard color for manufacturers, you’ll find white cabinets, tile, counters, faucets, sinks, and appliances at any price point, making it an ideal choice for any budget. You don’t have to go all white in the kitchen – add your personal touch with wall color, colorful small appliances, or display colorful dinnerware.

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p: Houzz

Install hardwood flooring. Buyers love hardwood floors – it’s one of the most requested wish-list features when searching for a house. Hardwoods add warmth to a space and make it feel more inviting, and as the ‘heart of the home’, you want your kitchen to feel welcoming. With such a large variety of woods and stains available, hardwood flooring will pair well with any kitchen style.

Choose Shaker-style cabinets. Shaker cabinets look good in any setting thanks to their clean, simple lines – something that will never go out of style.

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p: Kindesign

Carrara marble countertops are timeless. Carrara marble has been used in homes for thousands of years – it’s white color and lacy graining look great in a white kitchen. It’s readily available, making it less expensive than other high-end choices, such as quartz.

Subway tiles are classic. Choose a white or neutral subway tile for the backsplash to blend with any look. Ceramic subway tiles will guard against moisture, are a snap to clean, last forever, and always looks classy.

Are you Looking for a House or a Home?

DSCN4282Are you looking for a house or a home? This question seems redundant. Is there a distinct difference between a house and a home? Houses exist everywhere, they are easy to find. Finding a home is more elusive.

Looking out my kitchen window I can see two houses across the street. Opening my KW app (download the app here) on my phone it’s easy scroll “nearby houses” with photos and prices of houses in Williston. Jumping in my truck and driving to Shaw’s at Maple Tree Place I pass village houses, neighborhood houses and a condominium community all within my four-mile drive. These are all physical places where people live.

A house is a building where people live. Location, size, bedrooms, bathrooms typically define a house. For example, a friend may call and ask me to look for a 4-bedroom house within walking distance of UVM Medical Center. Moving involves changing your physical location from one house to another. Often, when showing a house I am asked, “Why are they selling?” In all cases, it’s simply because they are moving.

DSCN4717When it’s time to change your physical location, or move to a new house, many real estate agents will engage you in a “Buyer Consultation.” Notes from this meeting include your wants, needs, and wishes for your new house. Most of the time, this involves the components or features of a house. For example, small yard, space for a garden, privacy, flat driveway, ½ bath on first level, walk-out basement, two-car garage, pool, etc. Most important, though, is your preferred location. Discussions about location involve a particular lifestyle that will, eventually, lead to finding a home. Another conversation follows involving personal questions. These are lifestyle questions, which, may sound intrusive or prying, but this is what I need to know to help you find a home. To assist in this quest for a change in location, there is a need to assess your lifestyle. Hence, the need to tell me about yourself. From parrots to parties, please “tell all.” No need to feel self-conscious as I am not judging you, just trying to help you find a home. Include your preferred forms of recreation, shopping, eating, traveling, exercising, etc.

Finding a home is more elusive than finding a house. The word “home” elicits an emotional connection to a physical place where one reads, cooks, relaxes. Your home does not need to fit the physical definition of a house. It can be an apartment, a boat, a trailer, a cabin, a room over a garage, or a yurt.

600x600bb-85If you’re still skeptical, watch one of my favorite HGTV shows, Love It or List It. A simple premise of “should we stay or should we go?” The “Love It” portion involves designer Hilary. “List It” features David a real estate agent. While it may seem counterintuitive for me to cheer for the “Love It” part of the show, let me explain. David finds them a physical house that seems to meet their expressed need to move. Yet, the physical house that he finds does not meet their lifestyle needs. Either the commute is too long, the schools have changed, they are no longer near their favorite gym, restaurant, juice bar. In the end, the talented Hilary has revamped their living space to make it truly a “love it” and the place that they call “home.” In conclusion, the perfect house may not be the perfect home.

4 DIY Projects Under $500

It seems there is always something that could use a little sprucing up, and with HGTV, DIY Network, and Pinterest, it’s hard not to catch the renovation bug. Luckily, there are some budget-friendly projects that you can handle yourself on a weekend! Here are our top 4 DIY projects under $500:

076a1834479ec7782ee48b24169cebd7--fern-on-front-porch-front-door-patio-ideasHit the refresh button on your entry. If your front entry is looking a little tired and offers no curb appeal, it’s time to freshen things up. A welcoming entrance will improve the whole house and it’s easy to create. Add a fresh coat of paint and new hardware to your front door – switch out old brass hardware for oil-rubbed bronze. Choose some sleek house numbers to add to the door or next to the door. A few brightly colored plants and a new welcome mat will add some life to the entry.

Update lighting. Changing out dated light fixtures is a quick project that will make a huge impact. Consider swapping any brass fixtures with brushed nickel or oil-rubbed bronze. Select fixtures that complement each other and your home’s overall style.

Replace kitchen hardware. It’s amazing the difference upgrading your kitchen cabinet and drawer pulls will make! Hardware comes in a huge array of styles and price points. Look at the finishes that already exist in your home – if you have stainless appliances, brushed nickel hardware will match well. If you’ve gone the route of black stainless appliances or have oil-rubbed bronze light fixtures, flat black hardware will blend nicely.

small-bathroom-makeover-ideas-astonishing-on-pertaining-to-best-25-makeovers-pinterest-11Upgrade the bathroom. Since it’s typically one of the smaller rooms in your home, the bath is a great area to upgrade, and a little will go a long way. You can choose some more expensive finishes in this space because it is so small. If you’ve had your eye on some marble tile, splurge on the small bathroom floor. Replacing the vanity will completely change the look of the room – you can find simple, single sink vanities for under $500, but will likely have to spend more for double vanities. Upgrade your shower head for a touch of luxury that will make you want to get out of bed.

These improvements will make your home more stylish and will help you to enjoy your home more every day. If you’re thinking of selling, these projects will add value by making your home ‘show ready’ to garner that all important positive first impression.