You Will Never Find the Perfect House

high-angle-shot-of-suburban-neighborhood-1546168Don’t let the title of this blog scare you. Yes, you will find a house that you love. No, it will not be house of your dreams. Why? Sometimes dream houses are just that, dreams. This doesn’t mean that you need to crumble up your sketches or your list of “must haves,” it just means that your dream house may morph into an unexpected “happy place.”

After selling hundreds of houses, condominiums, and new construction properties I can confidently say, right now, that 100% of my clients are happy. When they begin the process of buying many people are looking for something rare, or, in many cases, non-existent. Whether it’s the style, the price range, or the location, you need to know if your dream house is a possibility.  Together, we will explore options to find you a house that will satisfy as many of your wants and needs as possible.

You will never find the perfect house, but you will find your “happy place.” Now, more than ever, it’s important to choose a Realtor that has extensive local knowledge to help you with your dreams. Contact us today to discuss your wants/needs and get the ball rolling on finding your happy place.

Pandemic Precautions in Real Estate: Video Touring, Vetting, and Sanitizing

pexels-photo-3769717We get it. We fear germs and viruses just like all of you. Federal, local, and town governments have cautioned us to stay home and practice social distancing. We want to do our part as responsible citizens so we, too, are working from home.

The Weaver Team has implemented the following business practices since we started and they are more relevant than ever. Videos, Vetting Buyers, and Sanitation is truly “business as usual” for us.

Videos – We have been proponents of video for several years. Subscribe to our YouTube Channel to view our past listings and the video tours.

Vetting Buyers – We set up all showings and always fully vet buyers and buyers agents prior to setting up showings. This protects Sellers from unnecessary showings. Some agents rely on Showing Time and other services and they have no knowledge of the buyers.

Sanitation Measures – In our daily real estate practice we are conscious of germs, viruses, and bacteria every day, no matter what the season. We carry hand sanitizer, wipes, Lysol, booties, and gloves in our vehicles that we share with buyers when showing houses. As we face a virus that we haven’t tackled before, COVID-19, coronavirus, we are adding a basket of sanitation supplies at our listings for everyone’s protection. Buyers and their agents are encouraged to wear booties and now, gloves during showings.

If you want to sell or buy during this time reach out for more information on our safety measures.

Do’s and Don’ts for Choosing a Realtor

portrait-of-young-woman-using-mobile-phone-in-cafe-323503Let’s face it, there are plenty of Realtors out there. They are in your book club, your networking club, at your gym, and at the dog parks. Realtors wear vests, coats, and even dog leashes emblazoned with their brokerage logo. And, if you even mention “moving” at a Starbucks be assured that there is a Realtor lurking at the next table.

So, how do you pick a Realtor when it’s time to buy or sell? Here are three tips to help you choose:

Don’t be swayed by their claims of being #1 in the Market. If the agent is focused on their firm’s or their individual accomplishments that may be a red flag. The goal of being #1 comes at the expense of client service and attention.

Don’t fall for lower fees. If the agent tells you that they have the lowest rates don’t believe them. Shop around for fees and services. You may want to know why their rates are so low.

Do ask about their market knowledge and how your house compares to others. All real estate markets are hyper-local. Home prices vary from city to city and from street to street. Make sure your Realtor has direct knowledge of your neighborhood. Ask how your house compares to others in the immediate area.

On the Weaver Team we hear from sellers who are unhappy with their agent. If you follow these Do’s and Don’ts you are in a better position to be a satisfied seller in the long run. Remember, real estate transactions can be complex and you will need someone with experience, knowledge, and a professional approach to get you to the results that you want.

Moving In 2020? 3 Simple Steps To Get Started

It’s time to move! Where do I start? Sometimes, the decision to sell your house is planned. Other times, it happens quickly, unexpectedly. In either case you will want to do these three things right away. Of course, the first thing you should do is call or email us for our “Prep for Success” program. Next, get started with these 3 simple steps:

Take a tour of your house. Assess your decorating, furniture, and organization. Note items that can be removed, moved, packed, or reorganized. Include closets, kitchen drawers, and wall decorations.

Gather your utility bills. How much did heating fuel cost last year? What was your electric use? Who is your internet provider? Do you have a water or sewer bill?

Assess your needs. Do you need to get a storage unit? Should you repaint your ceiling? Is it time to get a plumber to fix a pesky leak? Don’t get overwhelmed at this point. Make a list and show it to us. We have a trusted network of vendor partners that can help.

Planning is key to a successful move. Don’t underestimate your ability to get packed, organized, and moved this year. We will be with you every step of the way providing personal solutions to all of your problems, issues, and challenges that inevitably occur. Our professional advice has saved our clients time, money, and stress during this process.

Thinking about making a move? Contact us today to get started!

4 Easy and Affordable Ways to Get Your House HGTV Show Ready

living room areaWho doesn’t love to watch HGTV (Home and Garden TV)? From “Love It or List It” to “Property Brothers,” we spend hours watching the transformation of living spaces.

Try our 4 favorite tips to create a designer “look” at your house:

Buy new pillows and throw blankets. Add seasonal trends with textiles. The easiest way to perk up your couch and bedrooms is to drape a colorful throw and stack different sized pillows.

Rearrange your bookshelves or built-in shelving units. Take a photo of the “before” then remove all books, objects, and decorative items from the shelves. When you put them back arrange by size, color, and special grouping of items. You don’t need to fill every space, think in terms of a decorative vignette to tell a story. Then, take an “after” photo to admire your decorating skills.

Add some local items to your décor. Whether it’s a welcome mat with your favorite sports team or a bowl of pinecones collected from your backyard, local touches are great conversation starters when guests arrive.

Pick up battery powered twinkle lights and a remote. Why not have some fun with setting a festive mood even if you are the only one to enjoy it! String the lights on a mantle, around a bannister, or even tucked into a floral arrangement. Use the timer feature on the remote so you don’t have to worry about turning them off.

Need more decorating help? Jennie is an Accredited Staging Professional and can help you create your dream spaces. We make house calls to get your house “show ready,” whether it’s just for your own enjoyment, or, if you are thinking of selling.

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!