Laundry Room Safety Check: My Story

6a9356e5a1f3b04b68ec25490352d2e5If you follow our blog you know that the real estate biz is not all glitz and glam as represented in the media. If you watch “Million Dollar Listing” or other such shows you may be lulled into thinking that we drive around in our luxury vehicles all day and host lavish buffets at our listings.

On the Weaver Team we spend our time helping clients navigate all aspects of their sale including laundry room safety. This month, Carolyn hired a Dryer Duct Cleaning company to check out her 8-year old dryer duct. Surprisingly the technician found that the dryer duct had separated and lint and hot air was blowing in the attic. Luckily he had the tools to fix the problem. We never would have known if we hadn’t had it serviced.

This month’s blog focuses on safety in the laundry room. There are three things to check in your laundry room:

Dryer Duct Cleaning – one of the main causes of house fires is a clogged dryer duct. Getting this cleaned and inspected is worth the time and effort.

Electrical Outlet – check to see if the outlet servicing your washer and dryer is a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI).

Hoses – swap out your hoses for a higher grade model.

If you need trusted service providers to help with getting your laundry room up to today’s codes, get in touch.

We specialize in helping you get your house ready to sell – from staging, quick fixes, and pre-inspections, we’ve got you covered! Contact us to see what your home may be worth in today’s market.

Do’s and Don’ts for Staging Your Kitchen

photo-of-white-kitchen-4682110Everyone’s first question about staging their house is, “What should I do with my kitchen countertops?” Most days none of us have our countertops “photo-ready.” Right now my countertop boasts a blender, a toaster, a large white pitcher, a bowl of fruit and bananas and random dishes drying on a dish towel. Yours may have a coffee maker, knife block, canisters, and assorted water bottles. What stays? What goes?

Don’t take everything off your countertops. Some Realtors will tell sellers to “take everything off.” Others ignore the clutter and say, “oh, it’s fine.” In our opinion the “take everything off” approach gives the impression that the house is vacant. When you leave everything on the counter the photos tend to look too busy. We suggest a balanced approach to give the impression of a well-organized countertop. So, yes, if you have a classy cannister set, leave it. If your coffee maker is overtaking your counter then stash it in a cabinet. Fruit is always a good idea.

Do invest in some new dishtowels. Coordinated dishtowels help define your dishwasher or range.

Don’t remove your rugs and runners. Keep your rugs and runners as long as they are coordinated.

Do clean off your kitchen island and find an appropriate accent piece. Flowers are passe.

Don’t forget about your lighting. If you really want to make a your kitchen “pop” then consider updating your light fixtures. A quick trip to the lighting aisle yields a big return.

Do call us if you need an electrician to install your new lights. Don’t mess with the electric unless you really know what you’re doing.

And, lastly, don’t forget you’re never alone when you’re transforming your house with The Weaver Team. We’ll help you get your kitchen “show ready.” Contact us today for a virtual staging appointment to get your house in tip top shape.

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.

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.