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.

Where Have All The Vermont Houses Gone?

Essex neighborhoodVermont is small, our population hovers around 620,000. Yes, that’s the whole state – men, women, children. We have never had a housing “boom” like other states. Demand for housing has outstripped our supply over the last few years. In certain price ranges there are perhaps 40 – 50 buyers looking at the same house.

The housing shortage in Vermont is ongoing. History, regulation, geography, topography, economics, etc. all play a role in the current state of our housing stock. Even in a “normal” year people have a difficult time finding a house. In the not-so-distant past buyers could find 10 houses that would be on their list of potential abodes. Now, there are none. Zip. Zero. Nada. Or, okay, maybe one – but there are 20 showings and all contracts need to be submitted within 72 hours. This causes a frenzy. Houses are popping up on the internet and disappearing – all within a day.

Discouraging? Sure. Now the good news. We have, so far, helped all of our buyers find a home. Through it all — the shortage, the bidding wars, the crazy rush to get in – we have guided our clients through the process.

We are here for you too! Contact us to help you find and close on your new home.

Safe Showings: Do’s and Don’ts

98197322_666623473898167_8624237915972567040_oWhat does it mean to be safe when you’re looking at houses in the midst of a pandemic? While there is no way to be 100% protected, you can minimize your risk of exposure. Here are some Do’s and Don’ts:

  1. Don’t attend weekend Open Houses. 25 people are allowed to be in a house at the same time. These events are hard to manage. Touching, coughing, sneezing, and the inevitable dropping of one’s face mask to breathe, etc. are just some of the activities that will occur.
  2. Do wear a mask. This is a requirement by the sellers.
  3. Don’t wear gloves more than once. Use fresh gloves for every house. If you must open drawers, doors, refrigerators, etc. grab a pair for each house.
  4. Don’t take off your shoes. Wear contractor booties. We have never been a fan of walking barefoot in stranger’s houses. Now, even more so.
  5. Do use wipes on surfaces that you touch after you leave the house. Once you get to your car wipe your hands, phone, steering wheel, keys.
  6. Don’t plan on using the restroom.
  7. Do spritz some Sanitizer on your hands. For the extra special scent of “clean.”
  8. Don’t linger in the house. Look at the house and talk outside.
  9. Do bring a trash bag to dispose of used items.

We’ve always been clean freaks on the Weaver Team, little did we know that our cleaning fetish would now be necessary for all real estate agents! Carolyn stocks her showing bag with bleach wipes, sanitizer, 409 spray and paper towels to ensure that our buyers are ready for any house they enter. We also prep our sellers on best practices and ensure other agents showing our listings are prepared.

If you’re a bit skeptical about looking at homes or listing right now, contact us to walk you through the new process.

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.

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.

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!

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.