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.

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

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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!

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.

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.

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.