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

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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!”

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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!

Sunday Open Houses or Private Showings?

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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.

Why We Love Real Estate: 3 Things We Learned From Our Clients This Year

blogging-business-coffee-34601On the Weaver Team, we love to write our own blogs on real estate topics. While we often impart our real estate opinions, knowledge, and advice, we decided that this month our blog is all about you. These are the three things we learned this year from our dear Real Estate Clients:

Transitions in life are difficult, but there is a silver lining. We empathize with the struggles of selling a home and moving. We have moved several times ourselves and we understand the hassles and inconveniences involved. Because most of our clients are, or end up being our friends, we often hear, “It was a stressful process but now we are so happy that we made the move.” Nothing warms our hearts more than knowing that our clients are happily resettled in a new home.

Little things matter. Small details make all the difference in the real estate experience of a buyer or seller client. We know how to overcome most of the obstacles in a transaction with our advice that we have gained over many, many, real estate sales. Our clients appreciate our attention to the little things and have told us, “We never would have thought of that!” This makes us smile.

There are always options. Often, buyer and sellers are overwhelmed with the many aspects of today’s real estate transaction. Sometimes obstacles seem unsurmountable. Our knowledge and experience bring clarity to the situation. If you have options then you have an opportunity to move yourself forward in your real estate goals. Our clients appreciate our detailed assessments of their real estate dilemmas. We love hearing, “You took the time to explain everything in such detail it helped us decide which option was best.”

Every year we reflect on the three things that we learned from our real estate clients. We look forward to learning more next year and we will share it in our end of the year blog. Until then, we thank our clients for reminding us that there is a sliver lining, little things matter, and there are always options.

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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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.