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.

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! 

Rising Rates & Our Local Market

default

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.

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 …

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!

Buyers: Ready, Set, Go!

Weaver Team SignGrab a snack and a water and let’s go find a house! Yes, it’s almost that easy. We have relationships with local lenders and an extensive network of colleagues to assist you in your quest for a new abode. Here are some other tips to speed through your home search:

How much can I afford? Get some financial advice and a Lender Letter if you are applying for a mortgage. What you can afford and what you are willing to invest may be two different numbers. Also, how much you qualify for if getting a loan and your target purchase price also may be different. Your mortgage lender should qualify you based on credit, income, and assets.

Where do I find a house? Download your favorite real estate app. We like them all – Realtor.com, Zillow, NEREN.com, but we love our own KW app! Check out houses when you’re out and about and contact Carolyn on the spot – download it HERE.

Everything is selling so quickly? Text or email your favorites to Carolyn 802-238-9779, Carolyn@WeaverTeamVT.com – the house you just saw may be “sold” in less than a day but, when you work with us our networking and connections will find you the home of your dreams!

Appraisers, Inspectors, and Assessors: Friends or Foe?

Home inspectorIt’s easy to get mixed up when you’re bantering about real estate terms. Here’s a handy guide to follow:

Appraisers: Appraisers assess the value of your house for a mortgage lender or for your own information. If you are selling your house or refinancing your house the mortgage lender will send a licensed appraiser to complete a lengthy report. The appraisers report is a “wild card.” We don’t know which properties the appraiser will choose to compare to your property. In a real estate transaction the purchaser’s lender hires an appraiser to visit your property.

Inspectors: Building inspectors assess the condition of the structure of a property and its major components. Inspectors write lengthy reports that familiarize you with the property. The report may include items that need to be repaired or replaced. Inspectors sometimes uncover mold, structural issues, etc. that are not easily assessed by buyers or sellers.

Assessors: The town or municipality keeps an “Assessor’s Card” on every property for taxation purposes. Your “assessment value” may not be an indication of the current market value. Assessor’s Cards may also be called Lister’s Cards or Property Reports.

For more information on all aspects of real estate transactions reach out to The Weaver Team, we will guide you through the entire process of selling your property or buying a new home.