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.

What Does ‘Broom Clean’ Mean for Real Estate Buyers and Sellers?

pexels-cottonbro-4108715One person’s “clean” is another person’s “yuck.” In the realm of real estate there is an ambiguous phrase embedded deep in the purchase contract and it reads something like, “property to be broom clean and free of all occupants and belongings.” What about vacuuming the carpets?

Let’s decipher the legalese for the average buyer and seller. What does “broom clean” really mean? First of all, who has a broom? We vacuum, we Swiffer, we mop, right? I think we have a broom in the garage. Witches have brooms, early colonists used brooms to sweep around the hearth, but in the 21st century we have Dysons, Sharks, and fancy cleaning tools.

So, does “broom clean” mean I need to vacuum and Swiffer the floors? Sure, if that is your idea of clean. Others may go one step further and mop or steam mop the floor. One of my favorite clients introduced me to a steam mop when she was getting her townhouse ready for sale. Wow! Steam mop versus broom, no contest.

Because the purpose of a broom is to sweep the floor many sellers just focus on this when moving out of the house. Other “hot spots” that need cleaning include showers, glass shower doors, tubs, sinks, etc. But what area is overlooked the most? If you guessed the “inside of cabinets and drawers” then contact us right away for a prize.

When you sell or buy with The Weaver Team you don’t have to worry about these pesky cleaning issues. Did you forget to clean the kitchen drawers, no worries! The Weaver Team will head to your house with our hand-held vacuum for last-minute cleaning. We still don’t know how we would use a broom …

Have You Seen The Muffin Pan? 5 Tips For Reorganizing Your Kitchen

kitchen cabinet storageTrue story – Carolyn spent most of this month looking for a muffin pan that she knew was somewhere in the kitchen. But where? The muffin pan odyssey led to a complete “redo” of her entire kitchen cabinets, drawers, and the troublesome lazy susan corner cabinet. This journey led to our 5 tips for reorganizing your kitchen:

  1. Take an inventory of the items in your kitchen and give away your “multiples.” Everyone love a good frying pan. How do you love 7 frying pans stacked on top of each other? Pick your favorites and find another home for the rest. We are giving the extras to a friend who just bought a second home and needs to stock a kitchen.
  1. Group all “like items” together. This advice would have saved hours of time searching for the muffin pan. All baking pans in one drawer. Period. Same advice for mixing bowls. This step, combined with the “inventory of items” led to another donation of two sets of bowls.
  1. Use containers in your drawers. I have to admit, this was not my idea. When a good friend, and, as I discovered a member of a professional organizing group visited my house I took her on a tour of kitchen. When I opened the drawer for pot holders, aprons, and kitchen towels they had already jumbled themselves together. While the grouping of “like items” together was successful the drawer was still messy. She suggested that I put the tea towels, aprons, and pot holders in their own separate plastic cubes/containers in the drawer to keep them divided. Brilliant! Thank you!
  1. Rethink your routines. Pet confession – our dog’s food, treats, medication, and pet bowls took up the entire base of our lazy susan corner cabinet. Every day we would spin the wheel to feed our furry friend. After the purging of the frying pans we had an entire drawer that was empty. To our amazement all of the dog items fit nicely into the empty drawer. Bonus space reclaimed in the lazy susan.
  1. Toss all spices that you never use. I’ll admit this isn’t easy. As soon as I toss the Old Bay Seasoning I will need it for a recipe, right? If your spices are overflowing you have to make some tough choices. If you haven’t cooked with that spice in a few years then it’s safe to say it’s not a keeper. We said goodbye to curry paste, mustard seeds, very old bay leaves, and whole peppercorns (we don’t have a grinder).

Where was the muffin pan anyway? In the midst of the entire kitchen redo we really can’t remember where it turned up. Now it has a home in the baking pan drawer. Blueberry muffins anyone?

Seller’s Market: Do I Really Need To Stage My House?

sidekix-media-t294_ZZP2pg-unsplash“You can’t judge a book by its cover” is a well-known idiom that simply does not apply to real estate. Unfortunately, buyers do judge your house. If you wonder what they say we recommend binge watching Love It Or List It on HGTV.  Your house may be eliminated, or, even worse discounted in the buyer’s eyes well before they ever visit.

On the Weaver Team, the combination of Jennie’s keen sense of style and trends combined with Carolyn’s exhaustive knowledge of buyer mentality benefits our sellers by setting them up for maximum profit potential.

Staging is not just getting your house show ready, it is an important part of the sales process to help you maximize your profit at the end of the transaction.

This is the real reason that you need a professional consultation – Photos.

Yes, the buyers don’t just start judging your house when the cross the threshold, they start online scrolling through photos on their favorite real estate app or site.

Jennie and Carolyn have staged and sold hundreds of homes using our combined knowledge of home trends and current buyer preferences.

If you’ve been thinking about selling, call us for a consultation to see how we can get your home ready for the market.

Winter Is Coming: Will The Hot Real Estate Market Cool Off?

pexels-jeffrey-czum-2501965Is the real estate market cooling off? No.

Will the shorter days and longer nights put a damper on buyer activity? No.

Will houses stay on the market for more than a day or two? No.

Will prices continue to rise? Looks that way.

Navigating the real estate market has been a challenge for the last few years. Multiple offers on properties. Many “cash, no contingency” offers are hard to beat for the average buyer who needs a mortgage loan and simply wants a home inspection. Houses that sold a few years ago show up on the market again with eye-popping prices.

The last quarter of 2021 shows no slowing of prices or buyer activity thus far. Low interest rates and low inventory continues to drive market activity. All price ranges are competitive. This may sound depressing for buyers but there is hope.

What do we predict for 2022? If you want to dip your toes into the fast moving waters of Chittenden County real estate, reach out. We have a track record of success for buyers as well as sellers. Our networking, relationships, and strategies guide our buyers to their goals.

We can’t wait to help you find your Home Sweet Vermont!